Friday, December 28, 2012

Whoops, Faux Pas

Been following the blog Love Live Grow for a while now. The author, Issa, posted some pictures of her little boy Dylan a few weeks ago.[1] Dylan's about a year and a half old. He's a heart-melting ball of cute with a beautiful baby-toothed smile and a rounded little tummy I'd love to zerbert all day.  But I thought it'd be corny and creepy to say all that so I settled for a remark that's worked for me in the past when complimenting someone's little boy:

BJ: Aw, he’s gonna be a ladykiller when he gets a little older. He’s gorgeous.
Issa: I’m having the urge to ban you . . . :-P

As you can see, Issa's reply wasn't of the Aw Shucks Thanks variety.

I was a little confused by her reaction -- I mean, I'm just being nice, right? Then I read into her blog a little bit. Specifically thoughts on pigeonholing kids into gender roles using very sexually charged terms.[2]  Another entry detailed her discomfort with the small talk that happens about and around babies.[3]

Not being a parent, my addition to the discourse on those subjects is limited. I do have thoughts on the culture's attitudes about sex and young children, but that's another entry. What I'm taking away from it as applied to this specific situation -- Issa was calling me out (in a teasing manner, she wasn't slapping me down or anything) over my use of standard-issue thoughtless mouth noise.

So Issa, if you're reading this, I'm sorry. I shouldn't make mindless, offhand remarks about Dylan. He deserves better than mindless and offhand.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Yay For Dickish Business Practises

And now it's time for the Shitty Ass Gaming Lifetime Achievement Award. This is given to the person, persons, companies, and/or fictional entities who've done the most to ruin the lives of video gamer players over the past calendar year.


And there's really only one nominee this year . . . Capcom! For selling retail copies of games with locked content on the disk that was later to be sold as "DLC."[1]

I see your eyes glazing over. Okay, here's what happened. Earlier this year, Capcom released Street Fighter X Tekken. As is often the case these days, consumers were told extra playable characters would be made available -- for a price -- via download later. However some eager beavers exploited a programming glitch and hacked a copy of the retail release. They found all the data for the extra characters already present on the disk, but locked so the data couldn't be used. That left consumers to conclude that the material Capcom was intending to sell as "extra" was in fact the unlock codes for content already in the buyer's possession. Nor is this an isolated incident; I've heard Resident Evil 6 was sold with locked content on the disk.

You remember that scene from Fargo when the bad guy's rooking the nice couple into paying extra for a car because it's got an anti-corrosion sealant the bad guy didn't tell them about when they were agreeing on a price?[2]

When asked about the situation, Capcom explained that releasing the disks with the extra content already on them was a way to make gamers lives easier later; it would cut down on multiplayer technical issues and so on.[3] Consumers aren't buying it. The scandal pissed people off so much they filed complaints with the Better Business Bureau, causing the BBB to downcheck Capcom's rating.[4]

Channel your inner ET -- ooouuuuch.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Scene Of Self-Image

Serious trigger warnings -- self-hate, self-mutilation, and (horror!) purple prose.  I'm going to make the text match the background.  Click and highlight to read.

A Scene of Self-Image

The space is a gray nothing, a cool stone floor and a place with no walls and a sky draped with lead-gray clouds.  I can see myself in a mirror, the defined reflection that looks back at me every day, plus the ghostly reflection of my back side.

There's a voices.  It has no person or gender or identity, it's just a voices -- many equalling one.  //Undress.//

I do.  Shirt and pants and shoes.  I like wearing hats, so of course I'm not wearing one here.  This is reality and reality is not about liking.

Off with my underthings, plain cotton, with a pad in the croch and a falsie where my left breast never grew.  The clothes disappear.  Here they have no use.

//What do you see?//

From head to toe, I quantify myself.  Dishwater blonde hair on a scalp that flakes.  A face boiling with fresh acne, brown spots showing where I've tried to dig it out and my ungrateful skin rebelled.  A short neck with a dark ring around the base no scrubbing will take off.  A hunched back, rounded shoulders.  One breast drooping, the other missing.  A double-keg of stomach.  It's a massive thing, this, and I describe it at some length.  It's the first and last thing anyone ever sees, it's the reason everyone knows me even if they don't.  An ass that starts above the small of my back.  Under the droop of my belly there's a shadow that might be a mons.  Legs falling down all over themselves in massive pouches.  Feet swollen and shiny with the fluid my heart's not strong enough to cycle on its own.

I hate it.  Every micrometer, every cell, every fiber.

//Then change it.//

There's a knife in my hand.  I don't know how, I tell the voices.

//We'll tell you,// the voices say, and shard into a noise of contradicting advice and instruction and encouragement.  Stab here, slice there, let this drain, pump that up.

It'll hurt.  I don't like hurting.

//There's no pain here.//

Oh.  So I go to work.  They're right, no pain.  If anything, it's all intellctually interesting, the way my body reacts to the knife.  The gray light makes everything stand out in especial detail.  Blood and fat and flesh.  It's slippery and disobedient to my will, like it's fighting me.  Why is it fighting me?  It must know this is all to make things okay.

And even if it doesn't work, at least I'll have scars to show that I tried.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Caveats, A Poem

I'm a gamer . . . well not really,
because I only own ten or so games,
because I don't play CoD or Halo,
because I'm a punchline to my peers.

I'm an artist . . . well not really,
because I only knit scarves,
because I don't sculp or paint or play,
because I can't write stories.

I'm a citizen . . . well not really,
because I can't stand up or sit down,
because I'm too weird to identify with,
because my experience is invalid.

I'm a woman . . . well not really,
because I've never been to bed with anyone,
because people can't touch me,
because I can't touch people.

I'm a sister and a daughter . . . well not really,
because my eyes are the wrong color,
because my expressions of love are wrong,
because I don't fit in my slot.

I'm a person . . . well not really,
because I am deviant,
because I am deficient,
because I am disgusting.

Because my skin is not clear.
Because my bosom is malformed.
Because my hair doesn't style itself.

Because my teeth are crooked.
Because my belly droops to my thighs.
Because my ass is a yard across.

Because there is nothing inside me but fat.
Because there is nothing inside me but need.
Because there is nothing inside me anyone wants.


Monday, December 3, 2012

It's Not Size Acceptance, It's People Acceptance

All applicable warning flags and disclaimers, I'm not a psychiatrist or a sociologist or an anything-ist, I've just lived through some interesting times, this opinion is strictly that of the opinionholder and does not reflect the viewpoint of anyone but them, et cetera et cetera et cetera . . .

You wanna know what the *real* force against Size Acceptance is?

A lot of people have hitched significant portions of their self-esteem to their image. Thin is both desireable and attainable, or so the culture says. People who are thin can therefore take pride and pleasure in that fact, and they reap all kinds of little rewards from an approving culture.

Now here come these upstarts who don't fit the standard, whom the culture judges as dirty and unworthy. These upstarts, these . . . these . . . *fat* people, suggest that body size isn't a sign of rigorous self care, adversity overcame, or the love of an approving God. That body size is as meaningless as having blue eyes and blond hair; attractive to many, symbolic of nothing.

That a keystone of your good and approving feelings about yourself and people you admire are a house of cards built on a Jello foundation.

That maybe you're not so awesome after all, because how else is awesomeness defined than by comparison to the *un*awesome? Can't have winners without a whole lot of losers.

That maybe exercise enthusiasts aren't entitled to more respect than any dedicated hobbyist -- I knit, but that doesn't give me the right to call all non-knitters unartistic time-squandering wastes of blood and organs.

It isn't that slender people have a fundamental character defect making them bigoted jackasses. It's that people aren't even aware of the little ways the world favors people for things that have nothing to do with their sterling qualities as people, and that, whether we're aware of it or not, we're all actively participating in someone else's oppression

That's a nastybitter pill to swallow. And in this era of political correctness overcorrection (another time, dears), no one likes to seem like they're too sensitive.

Friday, November 30, 2012

TMI and TW: Body Hate, A Naked Experience

I remember the first time I pulled up a website with pictures of nude fat people.

Not porn; this was a photographer's art project.  But the models were all my level of fat and they were naked.

The images weren't beautiful to me, but they were powerful.  I felt like . . . my insides were all a hollow shaft and someone dropped a piano down through me.  A great and melodic sound of destruction verborating all throughout empitness.

I'm the fattest person I've ever encountered.  I stopped fitting into anything off the rack about six years ago.  I actually go beyond belief.  Seated, I have no body.  I'm pouches on top of pouches, with two pouches on pouches legs.  Oh, and there's the gross asymmatry of my bosom -- one of the breasts never developed. 

Everywhere I look at myself, something unique, something uncorrected, something that shouldn't be there.  I only exist because my mother lost weight, for crying out loud -- she lost twenty pounds and forgot to get her diaphram refitted, ba duh bing, here's your firstborn.  It just makes sense that I'm a freak of fatness.
  Like I'm some sort of biological glitch that somehow slipped through playtesting.
I honestly thought I was the only one like me in the entire world.

Evidence that that wasn't true, that it isn't true . . . it should feel empowering, but that's not what I feel.  Exactly.  I just want to cry.  They might not be beautiful to me, but they're beautiful to themselves.  Nature allows them to exist and feel beautiful.  How is that possible?


Science, Bitches!

The problem with aruging the validity of weight loss from a scientific standpoint is that nobody can agree on what they mean when they say "weight loss." Does it mean any weight loss? A loss of X pounds? A reduction of adipose tissue only?  A loss of a percentage of one's current mass?  What percentage?

There isn't a good consensus on the definition of "overweight," either. The tool currently in use, the Body Mass Index, was conceived as a way to measure trends in large populations, it wasn't designed to be a benchmark of health

The benefits of weight loss are cloudy too -- research is indicating that increasing one's strength and cardiovascular endurance lead to more positive outcomes than just losing weight.

It hasn't even been determined that being fat is in and of itself unhealthy, because studies haven't proven that being fat directly causes any problem (excepting joint stress and even that's manageable).

So it boils down to an arguement for a phenomenon whose success you can't define, to address a problem whose criteria you can't agree on, for health benefits you can't demonstrate . . . and for that matter, that problem you're trying to correct might not be that harmful anyway. And ply me not with "common sense." Common sense tells us the world is flat.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Some Thoughts For The Acceptable

1.  Get over the idea that Fat Is Killing Me.  Fat is not killing me.  The stress of life as a person in a fat-bigoted culture is killing me.
2.  Can the melodrama and the guilt-trips and the If You Loved Me You'd Lose Weight scenes.  Good intentions don't make it any less painful and humiliating.
3.  Know that I'm the best judge of what's best for my body.  I live here!
4.  Accept that I am not "slowly killing myself with food."  Not all fat people have eating disorders and skinny people die of heart attacks too.
5.  If you believe I'm in crisis, get help.  Otherwise, respect my decisions when it comes to managing my health and allow me to set my own boundaries when it comes to others' input.

6.  Respect me as I am.  Not in spite of the fat.  I'm a person; the fat is tissue.
7.  Anyone who says fat people cost taxpayers more money is talking out of their ass.  That idea's based on two flawed assumptions -- being fat makes a person less healthy, and treating a fat person is more expensive than treating a skinny one.
8.  Keep in mind that my situation is unique, and resist the temptation to compare me to someone you've met or heard of.
9.  While we're on that subject, keep in mind that most of the people involved in the health and fitness industry are either salespeople or people who make their living by their bodies (athletes, performers, etc).
10.  It's okay for you to find fat unattractive or ugly.  Recognize that that's a matter of personal taste on your part and not a moral failing on mine.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Kid . . . Have You Rehabilitated Yourself?

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!  Have some good dinner, take fellowship with your friends and neighbors, splut[1] anyone who gets in the way of the good dinner and the fellowship . . . and join the Alice's Restaurant Anti-Massacre Movement!


The Bad Kind Of Crazy

I was keeping tabs on a flame-spat over on Fierce, Freethinking Fatties, and reading some of the vitriol I came to a couple of small revelations.


I've mentioned this -- I've been on short commons before.  It occured to me, that at the same time I was also exercising regularly.  I didn't have a car, so I had to walk a mile to the bus stop every night.  Another time, I was walking about two and a half miles a day and surviving on two small meals.

By the calories in/calories out model, I should've been dropping weight hand over fist.  Maybe I was; I wasn't keeping track.  I didn't feel any lighter or fitter and my clothes weren't hanging any differently.
Say I was losing weight.  What was the cost?

**What do you mean by cost?**

I mean, what toll did it take on me to live that way?  I was tired, a total emotional basket case, couldn't sleep, and I spent most of my time intensely depressed.  I almost killed myself once, and thought about suicide a lot.  I even had a plan; when I finally got fired from the Bank of Evil, I was going to take the razorblade out of my old box opener, go into the ladies' room, and open my wrists.

So, the side effects of dieting -- and keep in mind, I was exercising with the intensity recommended by doctors (walking at a moderate pace for more than half an hour five times a week) -- include lethargy, insomnia, emotional instability, and depression.  Is all that a fair trade for lower weight?  Especially when you factor in that long-term weight management has a roughly four in five chance of failing?

**Is it fair to judge the concept of dieting by those bad times love?  You weren't in a very good place emotionally then.**

I think it is.  The echoes come back to me whenever I get hungry enough to hurt inside.

**That's true.**

To borrow from Victor/Victoria, I've come to the conclusion that it's simply not worth it.  Dieting makes me unhappy in the extreme, and it doesn't have to be that way because there are alternatives.

**To be fat and happy?**

No, to direct my energy at things I can actually fix.  Physical frailty, hypertension, disordered eating . . . I can do things about those.  Fixating on my weight's done nothing but make me the bad kind of crazy.  I don't wanna be the bad kind of crazy anymore.  That's it.  I give up.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Process -- Always Question Yourself Kindly

One of the things Coach Carlisle[1]  talks about a lot in his postgame natter and other interviews (most coaches do) is how development is a process. Meaning that changes and improvements come gradually. It's important to trust that what you're doing is doing good, even when it feels like all you're doing is shoveling shit from a sitting position.

So I've been trying to recouch the way I think about appearance. Not just mine, but everyone's.

Someone's wearing a dress that pulls snug across a big tummy? Or they're showing off a bare midriff? Or isn't wearing a shirt? I'm trying to step back from the Go Home And Change reflex. There are standards of propriety in the professional world, of course, but when people are out living their lives they've got a right to roll however they do. My distaste is a matter of my own personal preferance, not their failure to live up to some criteria of good enough. It's wrong to insist other people live by my standards.

It's interesting. I never thought of myself as a body-hater, but a lot of my time and attention is spent doing that. Stuff like declaring when I come to power it'll be illegal to have a butt as shapely as so-and-so's, or that someone-or-other shoud really not wear slacks that snug, and of course 'Spandex -- It's a privilege, not a right.' It says I'm maybe not so free of appearance-judgement as I thought.

It's okay for me to do it to others but everyone else has to accept me as I am? Gee Beej, double-standard much?

I can't reserve for myself the bad habit I demand that everyone else let go of. Or put another way, it's very difficult to be accepting of one's self when one's busy condemning others.

**So what's the process you should be trusting?**

I kinda wandered away from that, didn't I? That I can't just flip a switch and undo a lifetime of self-hate conditioning without questioning and changing other aspects of how I relate to the world.

There's another process I need to trust too. Ragen was talking just today[2] about how giving up dieting wasn't as easy as standing up and declaring I'm Mad As Hell And I'm Not Gonna Take It Anymore! It's about giving up the hope that if you just work hard enough and wish hard enough you'll be normal and your real life can begin, all insecurities forgotten and all problems manageable.

It's the dream of a child, and it needs to go away.

**Surrendering a deep belief takes time, and beating yourself up for maintaining it doesn't help.**

I know, I know. I'm tempted to refer to the Kuebler-Ross model of dealing with loss, also known as the Jewish Law Firm from All That Jazz.

It's silly to think of Stage One of Intuitive Eating -- giving up the diet menality -- as a process of loss that requires grieving. Is this valid or am I overidentifying with a movie that's struck chords in me more than once?

**It's something to chew over anyway.**


In A Roundabout Way, Screw The Stats

I was on SparkPeople for a while about six months ago, and dropped it due mostly to bone idleness. I did get a few useful things out of it; their Nutrition Tracker can be set up to track individual nutrients, which is how I found out I don't typically get enough iron and potassium in the course of a day. These days, I take a multivitamin and keep electrolyte drinks close. I think SP's tools are flexible enough one can use it if one's a HAES adherent, but it'd be difficult. The communities and advertising are geared towards weight management.

Anyway, it's time you guys met my imaginary friend.  I popped to my neglected SP blog for this entry:


I don't really want to do this, because the inside of my head is a messy place. But my imaginary friend kind of insisted.

**She's right, I did.**

He's a figment of my imagination dreamed up to counter some bad brain habits. An externalization of the part of me that doesn't agree with the majority -- those parts that insist everything is fine the way it is, because outward form should reflect inward and there isn't anything in me worth much.

**What I'm trying to do is break her habit of cyclic negative thinking, and persuade her to change without resorting to screaming. She's had plenty of people -- some of whom really do love her a lot -- yell at her, use emotional blackmail, shame her for being different. I'm trying to untangle what she is from what she does. She's not a bad person, she's made bad decisions. Thinking she's a bad person full stop gives her the idea that she doesn't have to bother learning from her mistakes. And that's incorrect.**

**She hasn't been listening to me lately because she's had other things going on. SparkPeople looked like it was working, from a lifestyle management standpoint.**

Except that I don't like feeling constantly on the defensive about anything, and sooner or later I'll reject that paradigm. Taking questions of any kind as a sort of personal attack -- it's just one of my fantastic personality issues.

**She's oversensitive about judgement--**

Which is another way of saying I'm a huge drama queen--

**Stop that. It isn't your fault your father couldn't think of a better way to discipline you than to make you feel bad about yourself.**

Oh the nuances of communication. He was probably saying What You Did Is Stupid Don't Do It Anymore; what I heard was You Are Stupid! Stop Being Stupid! Or Else!!! I Can Hurt You!!! Even Though I Never Have!!! I MIGHT!!!!! (a sentiment communicated with that world-shattering bellow). And you know what? Understanding that doesn't make the memories any easier to live with. Just like knowing my mother's problems with touching don't have anything to do with me -- my mother's an incest survivor, she's very protective of her personal space. But I can't help but wonder; is she recoiling because she's uncomfortable with contact in general, or just contact with me? Then I remember that I'm a selfish shit for even wondering that. Go me.

**Sweet one, you feel what you feel. Remember Captain Awkward--**

"It's impossible to work through your feelings when you're berating yourself for having those feelings to begin with.[1]" I'm paraphrasing, obviously.

**You're also disassociating[2]. Go get Mr. Sadface[3] and take some belly breaths.**

. . .


A little.

It's yet another place where a sporting mindset has tried to help and failed, I think. SparkPeople's less about how one feels than the quality of the stats one keeps -- I ate my produce, I drank my water, I stayed in range, I got in my twenty minutes exercise (though to be accurate all four of those things happening at once was rare, what can I say? my taste for vegetables is a work in progress). Sometimes I felt good. Most often I felt whatever it is I feel usually. Sometimes I felt very discouraged and downright pissed at myself. Of all the possible variance in genes and physicality and environment, why did I get the body that can somehow saddle up almost 400 pounds of adipose tissue?

The trouble with applying sport's obsession with stats to health is pretty simple; people aren't machines, life doesn't follow clear understandable rules, and there's no criteria set to determine positive versus negative outcomes. I read on SP once that people intimidated by weight loss shouldn't shoot for an ideal weight -- a 10% reduction in one's current body weight would ensure significant benefits. But is that really a Weight Loss Success? Last time I weighed, I tipped a 520. Subtract ten percent, that's about 470 pounds rounded up. That's still in the Why Aren't You Dead range of BMI and still far outside the socially acceptable range of curviness.

So throw out weight as a data point. What about health conditions? A long-term study on the effects of dieting on Type 2 diabetes was shut down two years early because the data showed calorie restrictions don't produce positive effects[4]. Studies have shown many people with obesity have hypertension, but no one's been able to draw a clear parallel between weight loss and a corresponding drop in readings. In fact dieting often results in a swing pattern of fasting and feeding (weight cycling, or yo-yo dieting), and that *does* have a negative impact on metabolism, blood sugar, and blood pressure.

What I'm trying to accept is that scientific understanding of how the body needs and uses fuel and energy is a work in progress, and the work that's been done so far doesn't support the conclusions being bandied about with such evangelical fervor. I can accept being told what to do if doing as I'm told will keep me safe and happy; weight management does neither. So I'm not going to do as I'm told.

**What do you mean by that sweetheart?**

I mean:

-When I eat something, I eat it because I want to for my own reasons and don't have to justify it to anyone including myself
-I'll exercise if and when I want to, because I like to, and not because I'm afraid of Death walking with me. She does that with everybody, not just fat people.[5]
-My body is not a symbol of a public health crisis. I am not Typhoid Fatty (tm), and obesity is not a public health crisis.
-I don't have to feel guilty for not having the inclination to treat my body like a part-time job. I'm a tax clerk for fuck's sake.
-I will not focus on the numbers (except in weightlifting, where keeping track of work is how you keep from hurting yourself). Instead, I will focus on feelings.

It's not a complete list of principles to live by, but it's a start.

**Do you want to talk about your stab at therapy?**

Not right now.

[1] ". . .  it’s wicked hard to process a feeling when you’re simultaneously beating yourself up for having the feeling in the first place."
[2]Flipping between mature and immature parts of the psyche. I know that's not the proper use of the term. Sue me, I don't know a better word for suddenly turning into a sniveling preschooler.
[3]The little stuffed octopus who lives in my cube. I got him on a work outing to the Dallas Aquarium. Named for his huge sad blue eyes.
[5] Death of the Endless, the Sandman books. I love the idea of Death as a little Goth chicklette, wise as the ages yet whimsical and caring.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mental Note To Self

Just to cover my bases, I asked over on the Fit Fatties Forums if anyone else had run into the MRIs Don't Fit You problem.  Here's a reply:

Re. MRIs. BALONEY! There are "open MRIs" which can accommodate people up to 550 lbs. (and some have a capacity up to 1,000 lbs.) Something like this ( looks especially useful, because it would show the knee while weight-bearing. Here's more about a standard, open MRI. ( I'm somewhere around 360 lbs., and I have an MRI about once every three years to monitor neuro stuff.

Okay, that's useful.  This particular doctor must not've seen anything that would warrant the extra rigamarole -- I'll go with that explaination, anyway.  Either way, shopping around for another practitioner, and now I know what to ask for.

Monday, October 29, 2012

It's Not Waddling, It's Limping

Went to the osteo today to get my knee looked at.  Got some X-rays and a physical exam.  The diagnosis is arthritis, with some bone spurs.  Doctor unable to make a more definitive diagnosis or prescribe treatment, because apparently MRI machines and arthoscopic instruments are just two more things that aren't made in 7X.

About what I expected.  Along with a plug for gastric bypass -- my polite yet short reply that it's contraindicated for patients with binge eating disorders and even if that wasn't an issue the long-term side effects disincline me to consider it an option -- seemed to leave him without an answer.  Polite enough, I guess.  Helpful in that I know there's nothing icky going on in there like cancer.

So it looks like I just got a bum knee, and I have to learn to live with it.  Been doing so for a while now.

Enough.  Topic shift!

Name something about your body that you like.

That's going to become difficult in fairly short order.

**Maybe not as much as you think.**

Oh hey, look who's here.

**Introduce me later, sweetheart.  Tell me something about your body that you like.**

My eyes.

I like how they've got tiny yellow flecks right around the pupils, and I like how they can look like pretty much any color.  Depends on what I'm wearing.  They're nice eyes.  Pretty even.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

No Healing, No Forgiveness

I was bullied as a kid.  What a surprise.

What one would call malicious mischief, I guess -- constant name-calling, the occasional push and shove, some tossed rocks once, everlasting ostracision.  School was never a safe place for me.  I was fat and I was weird and I was never allowed to forget it, ever.  The best advice anyone could give me re dealing with bullies was Ignore Them And They'll Go Away.  Honestly, does that advice ever work?  I think whoever coined it drastically misinterpreted the technique of nonviolent resistance.

There's a scar on the back of my head, right above where the skull starts.  I've had it since an afternoon in the fall of 1987.  I was standing on a merry-go-round, wearing a coat with one of those built-in scarves.  I remember correcting my balance, then suddenly the world went upside-downie.

I don't remember much of what happened next, except it involved a lot of blood and a lot of screaming.  I do know the injury tally included a pair of damn-near knocked out front teeth -- adult teeth too, you can still see the damage if you look close -- and a split scalp.

I'm grateful for a few things when it comes to growing up; that after the divorce my family moved around so much I never stayed in the same school more than two years, and that it happened before the age of cameraphones.  Bad enough the bastards get their classmates as an appreciative audience.  Thanks to the Internet, they can play the entire world for laughs at the expense of their victims.  What is peopleofwalmart but a bunch of bored children laughing at the people who don't fit in?

Yes, I'm still bitter and hateful.  Full of anger that has no target and thus no way to drain away, full of hatred for myself and everyone else.

There's nothing that'll unpoison those years of my life.  You can't see the scar, but it's there and it'll never go away.

Some Drugs Are Good For You

Discovered this stuff when I was jacking a register back in the day:
Aspirin/Acetaminophen Pain Reliever Caplets, Analgesic Caplets
It's an aspirin/acetometaphin (Tylenol, or Paracetemol) mix, with a dash of caffiene.  Basically, Extra Strength Excedrin with the ingredients in different proportions.  It's the best anti-inflammatory stuff I've been able to find over the counter.  If your body chemistry is such that Alieve does nothing for you, this is the stuff you want.

A couple caveats; do not take these bad boys on an empty stomach.  You will be made to pay.  Also, if you're taking any prescriptions that use a Tylenol base (includes most prescription painkillers), be careful taking this or anything else over the counter.  It's easy to overdose on Tylenol without realizing it, because there's no symptoms.  Until all of a sudden your liver fails.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Food Insecurity

I'm not listened to when I say this. People who don't know me -- hell a lot of people who do know me -- just don't think it's possible. I weigh north of a quarter ton, it's just not possible that I've ever been capital-h Hungry.

I have been. Several times in my life. Underemployment, unemployment, bad money decisions, bad decisions generallly. Once I spent my last five dollars on food and while I was walking to the bus stop I slipped, fell on my back, and the carton of milk in my backpack broke open. Another time I lived on pizza, because the pizza place up the road took checks and always took a day or two to cash them. That sounds like fun, but trust me, one pizza wolfed down at lunch a day -- at the time I didn't have a fridge -- does not sustinence make. I've used food stamps. I've paid for macaroni with pennies. Popcorn is good; it's cheap and you can eat it by the handful. Dried pasta and a little margarine's another standby. I hate ramen soup but the noodles are serviceable and if you have a big enough bowl you can cook them in a microwave.

The longest I've ever gone without eating anything is about two days.

If you've never been in that situation . . . it's an interesting experience. From minute to minute, your awareness of yourself shifts. One minute you feel just kind of . . . translucent, but okay. The next, you feel like you could eat your own hand if you weren't so attached to it. Emotional control goes straight out the window. Everything aches, just a little. You're deeply fatigued, yet you can't sleep and what sleep you get isn't energizing. Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London is an excellent report on extreme poverty; I love his description of someone living on subsistance rations as a belly with a bunch of accessory organs.

To say that this is what a person is supposed to do, because surviving calorie deficits is what all that disgusting fat is for . . . I don't buy it. I never did, not really. Starvation, even at the very beginning of the process, is not a good thing to do to the body.

The especially insulting idea is that there's some lesson in hunger that I just failed to grasp, somehow. Because if I've ever been Hungry, I would know better than to overeat and thus I would lose weight. So somehow, not only am I a failure because I've been very poor, I'm a double-failure because being very poor didn't transform me into a socially more valuable -- i.e. thinner -- person.

It's interesting trying to navigate the doublethink necessary to make sure fat people are always the losers, but that's another entry.

Now I'm me and everyone else is everyone else and Results Not Typical as the saying goes. But it's impossible for me to feel hunger and not think of it as deprivation. Being cold and afraid, without resources or refuge and with no one willing or able to make it better. Come to find out, I'm not willing to endure that for the rest of my life in the faint hope that society as a whole might (or might not) hate me a little bit less.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I Don't Wanna Feel Pretty, I Wanna Feel Like Me

The incident itself wasn't particularly hurtful or special.

I was still able to shop in the Thrifty Acres (my dad's name for Meijer[1]) so I would've been in my early teens. My father, his girlfriend, her son, and my sister were waiting on me as I looked for some new clothes. I was in front of a mirror holding up a white shirt with a busy floral print. It was the only shirt in the entire women's department that fit. Believe me, I looked.

I was vacillating, because -- although I didn't know it at the time -- matronly is not my style. My father lost patience and told me it didn't matter if I liked the shirt or not; it was the only one that fit and was therefore the one I was getting.

Message received. Why bother with style when the grossness of my body overwhelms whatever puny statements I might make about who I am through my dress and comportment? It's a message that stuck so hard that to this day I have to remind myself to dress in clean clothes and shower daily. Who the hell cares if I spend any effort to look nice, smell sweet, or even be comfortable? I certainly didn't.

The insidious thing about the whole Fat People Must Dress Soberly In Clothes That Make Us Look Less Fat (And If That's Not Possible, To Make Us Look Like Nothing) concept is it hinders one's development as a person out amongst people. If one constantly wears clothing one can't relax and be themselves in, one is less likely to engage with the world around them. One is forever at a disadvantage; it's like trying to fight a war in spike heels, you're constantly off-balance.[2]

And it isn't just fat people, it's fashion generally. We're all being told constantly what characteristics should be flaunted with abandon and which concealed in shame, and the specifics vary according to someone else's values or whims. I shouldn't wear this because I need to hide this pocket of fat, but I should because it has those gaps in the print that're so . . . something (honestly, I don't get that trend).

Wearing what you want, how you want, for reasons you choose -- that's a revolutionary act. There's a reason the unjust regimes in dystopian fiction have dress codes.[3] Fat people get left out of the revolution because our choices are so limited, and based on the values of people who would rather we weren't visible. For my own mental health, I do what I can to buck that trend.

It shouldn't be this difficult. It's not like I'm challenging anyone's sensibilities.[4] All I want is clothing that fits, is comfortable to wear, and suits my tastes. In a society that takes pride in its abundance of stuff, this should be easy no matter how far off the mold you are. Everyone has the right to take part in their own culture. As themselves.

[2]Samurai Jack, season two, "Jack's Sandals"
[3]examples; the caste-based color coding in Huxley's Brave New World and the Party's overalls in Orwell's 1984

Saturday, September 15, 2012

STATEMENT OF THE OBVIOUS, first in a series

I hear it all the time -- just get up and move. Walk ten minutes a day, park the car two blocks away from work, take the stairs, et cetera et cetera et cetera. It's puzzling to the norms why fat people just don't get up and move.

It's time for a STATEMENT OF THE OBVIOUS! Add fanfare of choice.

Obvious -- if something doesn't feel good, you're not going to do it.

And for me the memories associated with exercise are shameful, hateful, hurtful. It's where I learned, in specific and exacting detail, all the ways I'm . . . oh, what're some words?


Circling the track at a huffing walk while everyone else jogs by over and over and over. A nasty ankle sprain caused by that sidestepping agility test. Getting smacked in the butt with a kickball and fleeing while the laughter ripples. Getting smacked in the face with a kickball and sobbing while the laughter ripples. Layup drills with scores of zero. Recesses spent hiding in the bathroom. Constant grinding knowledge that I'll be the reason my team loses, giving classmates yet another reason to despise me. Maxing out the scale in front of everybody. Avoiding the shower even though my skin is worn raw and stinging with sweat.

The catch-22 fat people face is that, although physical movement should be a source of pleasure, we associate it with shame and loathing. Our bodies fail us and our peers, therefore they are bad and worthless, ipso facto we are bad and worthless. To compound the problem, for some of us movement physically hurts. I've got a bad knee; walking for ten seconds is uncomfortable, never mind ten minutes.

In short, exercise brings me skin-to-skin with sensations and feelings so bottomlessly nasty they're hard to put into words. That's why, given a choice between staying home and playing Doom and ten minutes of limping around the neighborhood, I will probably stay home. One makes me feel good and the other makes me feel bad.

Honest, it's not that difficult a concept.

Brushing out the cobwebs, re-laying the Welcome! mat

Life in Blueface is undergoing some retooling.  This was orginally going to be fandom-centric, but life intervened.  I got assigned to a company through a temp agency and they were nuts enough to hire me on permanently.  I have a steady income and health insurance for the first time since moving to Dallas.  I've even exercised stock options.  Weirdness.  I haven't been able to give fandom the attention it needs to make this blog fly.  Sad face.  :-(

So this blog's being appropriated for more personal use.  Not private; I'm okay with a general audience.  But personal.  Specifcally about life as a fat lady.  As such, I need to make a few things clear at the outset.

I'm the one who decides what feedback adds to the discourse and what doesn't.  If I think you're making valid points that should be aired and discussed, you may make them.  If, on the other hand, I think you're being a judgemental jerkwater, unneccsarily venomous, or just plain bratty your comments will be put in the Hall Of Shame for all to mock.  This little space of the Internet is not a democracy.  This is my house and you'll abide by my rules.  Which, to borrow from Dan Connor, can change at any time -- for reasons of safety, for reasons of education, or for my amusement.[1]

There will be anger, there will be inconsistancy, there will be irrationality.  I'll do my best to mark content that might be triggering or offensive to specific people or groups.  I will do my best to make sure anything I state as fact is something that can be verified as fact, and if I don't know something I'll say so.

So anyway, about me. I'm a clerk in a tax certification company near downtown Dallas, stand five-foot-eight in shoes, weigh just north of 500 pounds, identify as bisexual, lean to the left politically. I wear glasses and my hair is blue. My natural habitat is in front of a computer or at The Church.[2]

I'm undergoing therapy to treat a compulsive eating disorder and am working to reconcile that with a Health At Every Size[3] approach.  In other words, I'm trying to be okay with the probability that even if I work through all the other issues and lead what's accepted as a healthy lifestyle, I'll still be fat.  The object is to get happy, not get skinny.

[1] Roseanne, season 5 episode 19, "It's A Boy"