Wednesday, 28 March 2018

What about the people who need help? – Guns and Mental Illness Part 4

This post is part of a series.  Part 1 is here. Other links will be added to Part 1 as they’re published.

Another problem with an information pipeline from your therapist to the police is that people already withhold information from their mental health providers because they don’t want to be committed, or because they have other worries.  Even though the conditions under which a therapist is required to break confidentiality are pretty narrow, there are plenty of people who avoid therapy all together to maintain their privacy.

The first time I applied for a background check that included a consent form from my therapist, I was freaking terrified that some bit of information I disclosed would screw up my background check. And I have anxiety disorder—one of most common, least stigmatized, best understood mental health diagnoses out there. Granted, that level of worry is itself a symptom of the anxiety disorder, but expecting people with mental illnesses to act like they don’t have mental illnesses is kind of ridiculous, especially when you’re making it harder for them to get help.

If I were to start experiencing scarier, more significant symptoms, I would definitely be concerned about whether disclosing them to my therapist would impact my job. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I *wouldn’t* get them addressed, but it would give me pause. If we’re going to add *more of that,* we need to be really sure it’s worth it. Especially when, as I mentioned in the last post, mental health is only a tiny sliver of the problem.

This is magnified when you talk about taking people’s guns away, particularly with groups of people who are already clinging to their guns like they live in a warzone. I mean, the NRA is literally taking potshots at teenagers with PTSD because it might threaten their supporters’ ability to sell as many guns as humanly possible. “They’re coming for your guns!” is the best, most successful scare tactic the NRA has, and an awful lot of gun owners are *terrified* of this possibility. It’s one of the reasons mass shootings are such a big moneymaker for gun manufacturers, and therefore for the NRA by virtue of donations. Every time someone murders a bunch of people, people start stocking up on weapons just in case there’s a ban.  Not only do the gun manufacturers then have more money to pour into the NRA’s coffers, but at the same time, the people buying the guns are also donating to the NRA to make sure they get to keep those guns.

So, what happens when the card-carrying NRA member with an arsenal that the local police would envy experiences mental illness symptoms? There are already stigmas about mental illness and about seeking treatment, and they seem to be way more prevalent in conservative circles. So, he’s already got to overcome toxic masculinity telling him that a real man just deals with his problems. Maybe he’s got to overcome his pastor telling him that if you have a mental illness you’re not praying enough or your relationship with God isn’t right. If we add, oh, and you might lose the gun collection that makes you feel safe and that you’ve got a huge portion of your identity as an American and as a man tied up in, he’s even less likely to seek treatment.

That’s not to say that every NRA member views their guns as a core part of themselves or as an extension of their masculinity if they’re male.  But certainly many do.  Gun advertising reinforces this all the time.

And, yeah, I value the lives of the Parkland, and Great Mills, and Sandy Hook kids much more than I value anybody else’s gun collection.  But I also value the life of the guy who’s deeply depressed but doesn’t want to seek therapy because he fears they’ll take away his guns.



via Kelly Thinks Too Much https://ift.tt/2IdQ4O1

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

What problem are we solving? – Guns and Mental Illness Part 3

This post is part of a series.  Part 1 is here. Other links will be added to Part 1 as they’re published.

Before we go too far down the road of targeting mental health as a means of solving gun violence, perhaps we should investigate whether it’s actually the root cause.  From everything I can tell, it’s not.  It’s a tautology to say that *something* has gone wrong in the head of someone who commits mass murder, but that doesn’t mean they have a mental illness.  It’s equally possible for them to simply be a selfish, or angry, or violent person who is perfectly sane.

While there are mental health issues that can mean a person should not have access to a gun, that doesn’t mean that everyone with a mental illness is a danger. In fact, people with mental illnesses are more likely to be victims of violence than to perpetrate it, and when they do, it’s mostly suicide. (I’m all for preventing suicide, but we have to acknowledge that the dangers are different.)

Mass shooters are pretty much uniformly white males, the demographic group with the best access to mental health services. The ones with the worst, black women, aren’t out there shooting up schools and concerts.

Following along with that, mental illness exists in Japan, Australia, Great Britain, and all these other countries who don’t have mass shootings.

We need better mental health care, and we should take steps to make sure that people who are actively homicidal or suicidal can’t access guns. *But* scapegoating mentally ill people not only harms an already marginalized group, but it also ignores large parts of the problem.

So, once we’ve kept guns out of the hands of mentally ill people, many of whom have never and would never hurt a fly, what are we doing about the next mass shooting by an angry white guy? I mean, you could make a compelling argument that toxic masculinity and white entitlement are mentally unhealthy, but those sicknesses exist at the cultural level rather than the individual level. Are we addressing any of that? Are we addressing the fact that domestic violence is a much better predictor of someone becoming a mass shooter than a mental health diagnosis is? Or are we scapegoating people with mental illnesses and calling it a day?

And let’s pay attention to the fact that we are scapegoating people with mental illnesses.  That stigma already exists.  People already face rejection, fear, and stereotypes when anyone finds out that they’ve got a mental health diagnosis.  When we paint mentally ill people as a shooting spree ready to happen, we only add to that.  And that stereotype isn’t even true.



via Kelly Thinks Too Much https://ift.tt/2pIHAHA

Monday, 26 March 2018

Beth or Bust!

This past weekend was full of such fun, but such struggle for me, too. After a whirlwind of a week at work office manager-ing, there was a dance night in downtown San Jose: Madonna Vs. Blondie, that a bunch of friends were meeting up for. I was so excited for it! After work I went home to rest and unwind before getting ready to dance the night away. I just kind of spaced out completely for two hours as I was fucking braindead! I did finally get myself together and changed and made it to the club before anyone else. It was more new wave music than just strictly Madonna and Blondie, but it was great music over all. When I first arrived though it was like a bad junior high dance flashback with everyone clinging to the walls and the deserted dance floor looked haunted! Ha-ha! I grabbed a cider at the bar and people watched until my friends arrived. Once they played the first Madonna song folks started to flood the dance floor. Once my friends arrived we spent the next three hours solid on the dance floor and I could barely walk the next day! So fun, though!

I literally spent Saturday just resting and recuperating from the previous night’s fun time. Everything was stiff and sore and I definitely over did it but no regrets! I had a blast and got to see my favorite people and hear awesome music all at once! Can’t beat that! I wish I had thought to take pics, but I also know that was the furthest thing from my mind at the time. I was so looking forward to that night for so long, ya know? But in the end I has to just sit at the bar until everyone was ready to leave. I felt really down for bit about it, too. But I know better and eventually snapped out of it. Aging bodies, injured bodies, require different things and can’t just keep going all night like the old days.
Sunday I had a ticket to see Beth Ditto at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco, a favorite venue of mine! Only my anxiety was running mega high (for me) all day and because of this I didn’t think I would end up going. My bff Michaela text me encouraging things, even called the box office about ADA seating in an attempt to alleviate some of those anxious thoughts, too. In the end it didn’t matter, my anxiety was in charge and it was up to me to either just sit with it or push through. I did a bit of both, actually, but did manage to push through and mostly have a good time. I sort of talked myself through it as I would a loved one. “You can just get ready, you don’t have to actually leave the house. You can just look cute and take selfies, no one will be the wiser!” I told myself as I got out of the shower and started to get my eye makeup going. Then it was, “Maybe you won’t find parking and that’s okay, you tried, that’s enough, you can just go home.” as I was driving up there. Once I got there and ended up finding pretty darn great parking, I told myself, “You’re a grown up, no one is making you be here or stay, you can go home whenever you like and that is perfectly okay.” And so I went in!
Once inside I hit up the merchandise tables hoping for a 3x in a certain pink tee, but they had already sold out, as I gotten there just after the opening act started, so they had been open for over an hour already. I will get that shirt online, no worries. The merch lady was deeply sorry and insisted that Beth always has 3x in all her merch, and I know this to be true, but it’s also rare to get a not white or black t-shirt in a 3x ever, so that is why I’ll grab mine online for sure. After that I headed straight up this very long marble staircase (it’s a very old building) to the balcony area. If it’s a general admission show, and it was, anyone can sit up there. As I had partially torn my achilles tendon the week before, I needed to sit for this show, and really all shows going forward, no choice in the matter. There was also a bar up there, so I grabbed my vodka-cran and grabbed a nice aisle seat pretty close to the stage, but up above. I stayed in that spot the entire night, except when a couple wanted to get passed me to sit further down my row. I was worried a bit that if I got up for another drink I could lose my choice of seat and having the aisle meant I could stretch my poor Achilles nicely without bothering anyone. I also didn’t want to have to deal with the bathroom situation in such an old building that usually houses punk and electronica shows. Ha-ha! All in all it worked out great!
Honestly, this was my fourth concert flying solo, but my first as a single person. I had also never had anxiety that bad and pushed through for such a public outing. So while I enjoyed myself over all, it was really fucking hard and weird to be in the moment and get into the right state of mind. Luckily it was a Beth (motherfucking) Ditto show and she keeps it 100% real, always! She came out in shining silver sequins and just lit up the entire place with her effervescence! My love for and of her knows no bounds, obviously, as I did all I could to get there and see her. I bought my ticket months ago when I was out of work because I needed something to look forward to. I should have been excited, but anxiety was such a killjoy that entire day and night. I did enjoy the show, she is an incredible vocalist, and I couldn’t believe the show wasn’t sold out. She was very funny and candid, gave the band a hard time, even got some rimshots for her cornier jokes. She had an issue with something in her eye but she was so cute and funny about it and just kept talking and singing, like the pro that she is. This was a Beth Ditto show, not a Gossip show. That was apparent, as I’d seen Gossip play years ago when their album “Music for Men” came out, at this same venue. Different vibes, but honestly, her voice was better than ever! After her “last song” she came back out for the encore in a red lame` dress (with pockets!) and did her big solo single, “Fire” as well as some Gossip songs that she threw in some other sort of mashup-y things into; such fun!
I will say that going down that marble staircase was much more difficult (and honestly a bit scary) than going up, but I managed alright and took my time. Luckily I just missed the crowd when I hit the exit and saw everyone flooding in behind me. Whew! I’m super glad I went to the show, but I cannot believe I had to push myself so hard to do it! I do not think I will make an attempt to go to a show alone again unless it’s The Cure or Portishead or some other amazing and legendary concert that I have not yet seen and would be rare to catch on tour. Like last year I had to see TOOL and it was amazing!
I used to work in music, both as a promoter of new artists for an industry magazine (HITS), as well as manager of a music store for several years. I have been to hundreds of shows. I would get tickets from labels all of the time or just happen to get on “the list” or whatever. I feel like I have seen and done it all and honestly it is rarely worth the trouble anymore, not to mention the cost. My ticket for this show was $25 + whatever absurd service fees they tacked on, and I found great and free parking. I really do like the Regency Ballroom though, both for it’s size, as it’s not too big and still feels mostly intimate, but more so it’s accessible seating for me. I was comfortable and didn’t feel squished, though I know others wouldn’t feel accommodated at all and I’m certain that there must be an elevator in the building as the ADA seating is limited on the floor with more up in the balcony, too. I considered leaving early a couple of times due to the anxious feels, but I’m glad I powered through and got to see what was a really special show.
Beth Ditto is a personal hero of mine. I have read her autobiography (and even shipped it to a friend on the east coast when I was done, Hi Charlie!), have followed her career for many years (and through many of my own careers – Ha!), bought a crystal barrette from Fat Fancy (Portland, Oregon) that she once owned, followed her fashion lines and endeavors, and truly find much inspiration in how she has handled it all. To see someone close to my size (though for sure I’m bigger than she) look so confident and present is such a gift! Her vocal abilities never cease to amaze me, and believe me when I say that she is a big reason why I wanted to start singing again at all. Her realness, her whatever we’re fucking doing this thing – ness, is something missing from our western, over-curated experiences. I did see phones and lots of videos and selfies being taken, but most folks were really there in the moment, too. That is a rare thing these days. Even at a punk show last year I was distracted and irritated with phones surrounding my eye-line to the stage that I really struggled to even see let alone pay attention or enjoy the show. I hope the rest of her tour is just as amazing! I wish her the very best, as she has given me so much over the years!
Rad Fatty Love to ALL,

<3
S

P.S. Check out and use the hashtag: #FatAndFree on Insta & FB!

Check out the Fat AF podcast on your favorite podcast app for all things fat sex with me and my BFF, Michaela! (You can listen straight from the web, too!)

Donate to this blog here: https://ift.tt/2zKvPnQ

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (and updated daily): http://on.fb.me/1A18fAS 

Or get the same “shared” content on Twitter: @NotBlueAtAll

Are you on MeWe? I started a fat-feminist group there called, Rad Fatties Unlimited, look for it!

I also have an Instagram I’ve finally started to actually use: https://ift.tt/1NpWevR

And as always, please feel free to drop me a line in comments here or write me an email, I love hearing from readers. (Tell me your troubles, I don’t judge.): notblueatall@notblueatall.com



via I'm Not Blue at All https://ift.tt/2pH7bkj

The police are part of the problem – Guns and Mental Health Part 2

This post is part of a series.  Part 1 is here.

In my previous post, I talked about the privacy concerns raised by the proposal to modify HIPAA to allow therapists to either submit mental health information to the background check database or provide it directly to law enforcement.

My next big concern is with providing this information to law enforcement, and what the police will do with this information. The police already have a tendency to shoot people who they view as behaving erratically or who they see as a threat. Telling them in advance that someone they’re going to interact with has a mental illness can prejudice them toward a belief, maybe unfounded, that the person is dangerous. And, like everything else, those prejudices get amplified when dealing with any minorities, particularly black people. So, my big question is, what information from someone’s private mental health records do you want the police to have? When police have this information, how do you ensure that they’ll behave reasonably and proportionally? How do you ensure that putting Bob’s depression or bipolar diagnosis in the hands of law enforcement doesn’t get him shot?

As a related question, if you’re changing HIPAA, are police officers now bound by HIPAA (with the related training that entails)? Or, once they know that John Q. Smith of 471 Maple Drive in Anytown, NY is diagnosed with depression and bipolar disorder, do they get to disseminate this information? And, again, what if it’s wrong? If it was actually John H. Smith who had those diagnoses, what recourse does John Q. Smith have about the false information that’s out there? Is he entitled to know the police are keeping those records? What safeguards are they using?



via Kelly Thinks Too Much https://ift.tt/2pGzDTn

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Before we mess with HIPAA, I have some questions (Guns and Mental Health – Part 1)

This is a multipart post.  Subsequent posts will go up on a schedule. (Hey, I wrote four posts today, I’m getting at least a week’s worth of mileage out of them.) They’ll also link back to the previous posts.

Part 1:  Before we mess with HIPAA, I have some questions

I have seen a lot of people arguing that HIPAA laws need to be changed so that if your therapist decides you’re dangerous, they can tell law enforcement. This was also one of the policy points from March for Our Lives yesterday.  (To be clear, I give the Parkland kids *so much credit* for taking the horrible thing that happened to them and working to make sure it doesn’t happen to the next group of kids.  This is criticism and questions of specific policy proposals, not of their motives or them as people.  We also shouldn’t expect teenagers to put out perfect policy proposals, because of course they lack the experience that adults bring to these issues.)

I have questions. And concerns. This will be long, so I’m breaking it into multiple posts.

First of all, therapists are already *required* to report if they think you’re going to harm yourself or others. This is covered under existing laws.

So what, specifically do you want to change? You want a lower standard for mandatory reporting?  Okay, what specifically needs to be reported and to whom? The therapist reports directly to the background database? Okay, who’s in charge of reviewing the therapist’s assessment? That is, what prevents a therapist who thinks *nobody* should have guns from reporting on people who aren’t actually a danger? What prevents a therapist from using this process selectively, whether deliberately or because of subconscious biases? Is the patient entitled to know that this information has been submitted? If it’s incorrect, what rights do they have to appeal it? What data on a patient’s diagnosis stays in that database, and how is it protected? (If you are found guilty of a crime, that’s a matter of public record. Your health information is not, and it requires a whole different level of security than the existing background check database currently does.)

What do you do in case of a breach? If someone steals the list and plasters it all over the web, who’s responsible, and what kind of damages are those patients entitled to? For that matter, who decides what mental illnesses get you on this list? Is there a list of illnesses? Specific symptoms? Is there a specific screening tool, or is it completely up to the therapist’s discretion? What are the diagnostic criteria? Who’s in charge of updating them as knowledge and understanding of mental illness changes?

Basically, can you ensure that whatever you’re proposing is an accurate reflection of someone’s likelihood of becoming violent, doesn’t inappropriately expose their private medical information, and doesn’t inappropriately take away their right to own a gun.



via Kelly Thinks Too Much https://ift.tt/2G5c697

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Timing of Elective Cesareans in High BMI Women


Doctors do far too many cesareans in high BMI women, especially planned "elective" cesareans without labor. Many of these cesareans are unnecessary and place women of size and their babies at risk. Research shows that about one-third or more of all cesareans done on high BMI women are planned, pre-labor cesareans done on moms who were never even given a chance to labor.

But sometimes cesareans are truly needed, even a planned, non-labor cesarean. And sometimes an elective repeat cesarean is chosen by women. When a planned cesarean happens, it's important not to do it sooner than absolutely necessary.

Labor helps babies prepare for breathing on their own. When a cesarean is done without labor, the baby often has more difficulty establishing breathing on its own. The earlier the cesarean is done, the higher the risk for breathing problems. Therefore, most obstetric guidelines now suggest not doing an elective cesarean before 39 weeks. If a cesarean is medically needed before then, then corticosteroids are usually used to mature the fetal lungs for a while before the cesarean is done.

Recent research on the CDC database now suggests that the 39 week benchmark for planned cesareans is even more important in "obese" women. 

The babies of high BMI women in the study were particularly prone to the need for assisted ventilation (help breathing) and treatment in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). A dose-dependent relationship was seen between BMI and need for assisted ventilation, and this was not modified by use of corticosteroids.

One underappreciated reason for this is that many women of size have longer menstrual cycles than average-sized women. Instead of 28 days, many have menstrual cycles of 35 days or longer. That means that when their babies are delivered at what is thought to be 39 weeks, the babies are really only 38 weeks (or even younger). As a result, their lungs are less mature and less ready to function on their own. No wonder they needed more ventilation and more NICU time!

To improve outcomes in obese women and their babies, care providers should seek to adjust women's due dates to reflect the length of their menstrual cycles, or to have an extremely accurate dating ultrasound early in the pregnancy. And unless there is a critical need to deliver earlier, planned elective cesareans should be held off until between 39 or preferably 40 weeks, especially for those with longer cycles.

It's important to keep pushing doctors to do fewer planned elective non-labor cesareans in obese women; far too many are being done these days. They should be saved for truly necessary situations. But when a planned non-labor cesarean is done, it is critical not to schedule it too soon in order to lessen the risk of breathing complications in the baby.

More attention needs to be paid to ensuring accurate pregnancy dating in women of size. This can be done either by adjusting the due date to reflect the woman's cycle length, or by doing a dating ultrasound early in pregnancy (first trimester), or a combination of both.



References

J Perinat Med. 2018 Mar 15. pii: /j/jpme.ahead-of-print/jpm-2017-0384/jpm-2017-0384.xml. doi: 10.1515/jpm-2017-0384. [Epub ahead of print] Effect of pre-pregnancy body mass index on respiratory-related neonatal outcomes in women undergoing elective cesarean prior to 39 weeks. Vincent S, Czuzoj-Shulman N, Spence AR, Abenhaim HA. PMID: 29543593
OBJECTIVE: To examine the association between pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) and neonatal respiratory-related outcomes among women who underwent an elective cesarean section (CS). METHODS: A retrospective cohort study was conducted using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s 2009-2013 period linked birth/infant death dataset. Women who had elective CSs at term were categorized by their pre-pregnancy BMI as normal, overweight, obese or morbidly obese...A dose-dependent relationship between maternal pre-pregnancy BMI and assisted ventilation was seen. Furthermore, infants born to morbidly obese women were at significantly increased risk for assisted ventilation over 6 h (OR 1.24, 95% CI 1.15-1.35) and admission to intensive care units (OR 1.17, 95% CI 1.13-1.21). Infant mortality rates were 4.2/1000 births for normal weight women, and 5.5/1000 births among the morbidly obese group (OR 1.43, 95% CI 1.25-1.64). Risk for adverse outcomes was increased with elective SC performed at earlier gestational age, and this effect was not modified by use of corticosteroids. CONCLUSION: Overweight and obese women are at particularly greater risk of adverse newborn outcomes when elective CSs are done before 39 weeks. In these women, elective CSs should be delayed until 39 weeks, as corticosteroid use did not eliminate this association.
Obstet Gynecol. 2017 Nov;130(5):994-1000. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000002257. Trial of Labor Compared With Cesarean Delivery in Superobese Women. Grasch JL, Thompson JL, Newton JM, Zhai AW, Osmundson SS. PMID: 29016512
We conducted a retrospective cohort study of all women with body mass indexes (BMIs) at delivery of 50 or greater delivering a live fetus at 34 weeks of gestation of greater between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2015...RESULTS: There were 344 women with BMIs of 50 or greater who met eligibility criteria, of whom 201 (58%) labored and 143 (42%) underwent planned cesarean delivery...CONCLUSION: Despite high rates of cesarean delivery in women with superobesity, labor is associated with lower composite maternal and neonatal morbidity. Severe maternal morbidity may be higher in women who require a cesarean delivery after labor.
Epidemiology. 2002 Nov;13(6):668-74. Influence of medical conditions and lifestyle factors on the menstrual cycle. Rowland AS, Baird DD, Long S, Wegienka G, Harlow SD, Alavanja M, Sandler DP. PMID: 12410008
...We analyzed cross-sectional data collected from 3941 premenopausal women from Iowa or North Carolina participating in the Agricultural Health Study between 1994 and 1996. Eligible women were age 21-40, not taking oral contraceptives, and not currently pregnant or breast feeding. We examined four menstrual cycle patterns: short cycles (24 days or less), long cycles (36 days or more), irregular cycles, and intermenstrual bleeding. RESULTS: Long and irregular cycles were less common with advancing age and more common with menarche after age 14, with depression, and with increasing body mass index. The adjusted odds of long cycles increased with increasing body mass index, reaching 5.4 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.1-13.7) among women with body mass indexes of 35 or higher compared with the reference category (body mass index of 22-23)....


via The Well-Rounded Mama https://ift.tt/2pDNDww

Friday, 16 March 2018

Writing & Poetry

I haven’t been writing here much lately but I have been writing! I took the cue from my horoscope about three weeks ago when it said I’d meet my next great love on a certain day. I dressed extra special that day (nothing fancy, just very me), and decided that I would go to a local independent bookstore (the last in my area) that I love. I had found a few books of poetry there years ago that really changed how I view the art form, but also how to write it. At the time it actually stifled my ability to write poetry. I began to hate everything I wrote and started to see all of my writing as whiny, teenagery, angst-filled bullshit (my own thoughts).

This time, I went with the hope of reconnecting with poetry and maybe even discovering a new writer or compilation book of poems that I could dive into. Alas, like meeting my next great love that day, it wasn’t meant to be. In fact I really struggled to like or connect to anything. I started going through the staff picks to hopefully find some direction or inspiration. I grew frustrated and moved onto biographies, again hoping to connect with something. Anything. But didn’t.
I finally went back to the poetry section and grabbed a staff pick that I’d previously put away. I decided to just buy it because I wanted to support the store, and half thought that perhaps another mood would benefit a reread of the poems within. I left the store disheartened. I had a silly daydream about reading a beautiful poem and getting caught up in the moment with an audible sigh when a kind stranger would see my expression and ask what I was reading and we’d fall into a deep conversation and live happily ever after. Ha-ha! Ridiculous, I know! So I figured I’d buy myself a nice dinner instead, only by the time I got back to my car I was just plain old sad. Driving home I even began to cry a bit, though not really having a specific reason to. (Not that a reason is required, crying can be very cleansing after all.)
The next day I took the book I’d bought to work to read at lunch. My usual lunch buddy was out of town and I figured it would be a good chance to reignite my reading habit. It worked! New day, new mood, and I loved the book! It’s called, “Milk and Honey” by Rupi Kaur and I recommend it! It’s beautiful and heart-wrenching and everything I love about poetry. And it got me to look at some of my old writing and see it in a better light. I’ve since written many new poems and have been enjoying it immensely! I have a small but steady notion to publish a chapbook, for no reason other than why the fuck not?! Ha-ha!
It does feel good to get some of these words that float around my head down in text. I don’t know yet how to go about the process of publishing my works, but perhaps just doing it myself is best. I’m not seeking anything other than to contribute to the world in my own small way. I was glad to come across a book about hating poetry but was itself a book of poems. It was lovely and refreshing, though not what I was looking for. It helped me get over my fears and hate of my own writing as well as the form of poetry itself.
I would love to get back into making art, but I think that will have to wait quite awhile before I start that up again. It takes so much time, supplies, space, energy and I’m just not there yet. I think I am getting there, though. I have been feeling so much better mentally, at least less bogged down by just internal terribleness. A local fat community member and big moves dancer/organizer passed very suddenly last week, Cindy Cutts, and it didn’t really hit me until Friday/Saturday. We weren’t close, but she was always very kind to me and encouraging and just a fantastic presence backstage at every show, and contributed so much to fat community. We’re close in age and her husband wrote the most beautiful blog post about her and I just cannot imagine such a loss. I have been avoiding social media for the most part as a result because the things folks have shared have been very moving but also bringing up a lot of things for me personally that I’m not wanting to process just now. Writing helps. Taking the time I needed to decompress on Saturday was necessary.
I’m hoping to have things to write about here soon. We should be close to publishing our second episode of the Fat As Fuck Podcast and hopefully find our groove for more to come. The feedback has been so touching and epic and inspiring and I just want to hug everyone collectively-virtually right now! Our time is too precious to waste. Tell people you love them when you can and you mean it. We forget how much impact our words can be, for better or worse. Spending time with my loved ones this last weekend really gave me some needed healing. I’ve been at my new job for over a month and really like it, so today isn’t as bad as it could be.
What are you working on or through? Do you write? Do you like poetry? What have you been struggling with this week? Are there projects or art forms you’ve wanted to try but have been hesitating? I’d love to hear from you!
Rad Fatty Love to ALL,

<3
S

P.S. Check out and use the hashtag: #FatAndFree on Insta & FB!
And the hashtag #DateMyDamnSelf on Instagram if you feel so inclined

Donate to this blog here: http://ift.tt/2zKvPnQ

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (and updated daily): http://on.fb.me/1A18fAS 

Or get the same “shared” content on Twitter: @NotBlueAtAll

I also have an Instagram I’ve finally started to actually use: http://ift.tt/1NpWevR

And as always, please feel free to drop me a line in comments here or write me an email, I love hearing from readers. (Tell me your troubles, I don’t judge.): notblueatall@notblueatall.com



via I'm Not Blue at All http://ift.tt/2FRy0sd

Writing and Poetry

I haven’t been writing here much lately but I have been writing! I took the cue from my horoscope about three weeks ago when it said I’d meet my next great love on a certain day. I dressed extra special that day (nothing fancy, just very me), and decided that I would go to a local independent bookstore (the last in my area) that I love. I had found a few books of poetry there years ago that really changed how I view the art form, but also how to write it. At the time it actually stifled my ability to write poetry. I began to hate everything I wrote and started to see all of my writing as whiny, teenagery, angst-filled bullshit (my own thoughts).

This time, I went with the hope of reconnecting with poetry and maybe even discovering a new writer or compilation book of poems that I could dive into. Alas, like meeting my next great love that day, it wasn’t meant to be. In fact I really struggled to like or connect to anything. I started going through the staff picks to hopefully find some direction or inspiration. I grew frustrated and moved onto biographies, again hoping to connect with something. Anything. But didn’t.
I finally went back to the poetry section and grabbed a staff pick that I’d previously put away. I decided to just buy it because I wanted to support the store, and half thought that perhaps another mood would benefit a reread of the poems within. I left the store disheartened. I had a silly daydream about reading a beautiful poem and getting caught up in the moment with an audible sigh when a kind stranger would see my expression and ask what I was reading and we’d fall into a deep conversation and live happily ever after. Ha-ha! Ridiculous, I know! So I figured I’d buy myself a nice dinner instead, only by the time I got back to my car I was just plain old sad. Driving home I even began to cry a bit, though not really having a specific reason to. (Not that a reason is required, crying can be very cleansing after all.)
The next day I took the book I’d bought to work to read at lunch. My usual lunch buddy was out of town and I figured it would be a good chance to reignite my reading habit. It worked! New day, new mood, and I loved the book! It’s called, “Milk and Honey” by Rupi Kaur and I recommend it! It’s beautiful and heart-wrenching and everything I love about poetry. And it got me to look at some of my old writing and see it in a better light. I’ve since written many new poems and have been enjoying it immensely! I have a small but steady notion to publish a chapbook, for no reason other than why the fuck not?! Ha-ha!
It does feel good to get some of these words that float around my head down in text. I don’t know yet how to go about the process of publishing my works, but perhaps just doing it myself is best. I’m not seeking anything other than to contribute to the world in my own small way. I was glad to come across a book about hating poetry but was itself a book of poems. It was lovely and refreshing, though not what I was looking for. It helped me get over my fears and hate of my own writing as well as the form of poetry itself.
I would love to get back into making art, but I think that will have to wait quite awhile before I start that up again. It takes so much time, supplies, space, energy and I’m just not there yet. I think I am getting there, though. I have been feeling so much better mentally, at least less bogged down by just internal terribleness. A local fat community member and big moves dancer/organizer passed very suddenly last week, Cindy Cutts, and it didn’t really hit me until Friday/Saturday. We weren’t close, but she was always very kind to me and encouraging and just a fantastic presence backstage at every show, and contributed so much to fat community. We’re close in age and her husband wrote the most beautiful blog post about her and I just cannot imagine such a loss. I have been avoiding social media for the most part as a result because the things folks have shared have been very moving but also bringing up a lot of things for me personally that I’m not wanting to process just now. Writing helps. Taking the time I needed to decompress on Saturday was necessary.
I’m hoping to have things to write about here soon. We should be close to publishing our second episode of the Fat As Fuck Podcast and hopefully find our groove for more to come. The feedback has been so touching and epic and inspiring and I just want to hug everyone collectively-virtually right now! Our time is too precious to waste. Tell people you love them when you can and you mean it. We forget how much impact our words can be, for better or worse. Spending time with my loved ones this last weekend really gave me some needed healing. I’ve been at my new job for over a month and really like it, so today isn’t as bad as it could be.
What are you working on or through? Do you write? Do you like poetry? What have you been struggling with this week? Are there projects or art forms you’ve wanted to try but have been hesitating? I’d love to hear from you!
Rad Fatty Love to ALL,

<3
S

P.S. Check out and use the hashtag: #FatAndFree on Insta & FB!
And the hashtag #DateMyDamnSelf on Instagram if you feel so inclined

Donate to this blog here: http://ift.tt/2zKvPnQ

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (and updated daily): http://on.fb.me/1A18fAS 

Or get the same “shared” content on Twitter: @NotBlueAtAll

I also have an Instagram I’ve finally started to actually use: http://ift.tt/1NpWevR

And as always, please feel free to drop me a line in comments here or write me an email, I love hearing from readers. (Tell me your troubles, I don’t judge.): notblueatall@notblueatall.com



via I'm Not Blue at All http://ift.tt/2FH6oKh

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

This Is Me In A Fatphobic World

Actual SizeAt the Oscars, Keala Settle performed the song This Is Me from The Greatest Showman. I hadn’t heard the song before and it hit me right in the feels.

Size-based oppression is structural, institutional oppression. Sadly, we are often told that the only option is to change ourselves – whatever the cost, whatever the risk, whatever the harm.

We are told that we should spend our time, energy, and money trying to force our bodies into someone else’s ideal with diets, dangerous drugs, even surgeries. I recently spoke with someone who was at a seminar on weight loss surgery where one of the “benefits” mentioned was more right swipes on Tinder. Our bullies aren’t even expected to engage in basic human decency, while we are expected to risk our lives so that they find us more pleasing to look at.

Size-based oppression is not in our heads and it’s not something that we can just overcome with body love, confidence, and a can-do attitude. We need social and structural changes to put an end to size-based oppression.

In the meantime, fatphobia isn’t our fault, but it becomes our problem. We each have to make our own decisions about how we interact with a world that shames, stigmatizes, bullies, and oppresses us. To me, Fat Acceptance is the first necessary step. In order to fight for our humanity, we must claim and own our humanity for ourselves.

It happens when we say I am a fat person, not a thin person covered in fat, and I am worthy, right now, in this body. I will wield my beautiful fat body like a weapon – I will love it, I will care for it, I will give it my full-throated support, and I will viciously defend my body against anyone who seeks to classify it as anything but amazing. I will not apologize, I will not back down. This is me.

 

That was the workshop version, for the Oscars version you can go here.

Lyrics:
I am not a stranger to the dark
Hide away, they say
‘Cause we don’t want your broken parts
I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars
Run away, they say
No one’ll love you as you are

But I won’t let them break me down to dust
I know that there’s a place for us
For we are glorious

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh

Another round of bullets hits my skin
Well, fire away ’cause today, I won’t let the shame sink in
We are bursting through the barricades and
Reaching for the sun (we are warriors)
Yeah, that’s what we’ve become (yeah, that’s what we’ve become)
I won’t let them break me down to dust
I know that there’s a place for us
For we are glorious

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh
This is me

and I know that I deserve your love
(Oh-oh-oh-oh) ’cause there’s nothing I’m not worthy of
(Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh)

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
This is brave, this is proof
This is who I’m meant to be, this is me

Look out ’cause here I come (look out ’cause here I come)
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum (marching on, marching, marching on)
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I’m gonna send a flood
Gonna drown them out
Oh
This is me

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.



via Dances With Fat http://ift.tt/2D1o9Oh

Friday, 2 March 2018

Six Years of Recovery | NEDAwareness Week

Get some encouragement on your eating disorder recovery during NEDAwareness Week on SkinnedKnees.net

Read more here!

via Skinned Knees http://ift.tt/2FkVsRK

Current Obsession: Miranda

I have been obsessed with the show Miranda (streaming now on Hulu), a British comedy series, since Christmas evening 2017, whilst trying my hardest to snap out of a really terrible pit of despair. It worked fantastically that night. I just finished watching the entire series (4 seasons in all, 6 episodes per season, but the last has only two) last night for the fourth time and it hit me right in the feels, again, but it was for a different reason. It’s funny how every time we watch something over again and again we pick up on new things or don’t know how we missed something on the first or second viewing.

Miranda, the character and the comedian playing her, is self effacing and aggrandizing. She bemoans and bemuses the minutia of life’s daily struggles. I adore and envy her relationship with her best friend Stevie in the show. She celebrates her single life, living alone, being a quirky, and often called a weirdo. She struggles with her size, but mostly (and only, IMO) due to the lack of acceptance from others. SO RELATABLE! In fact the romantic interests in her life never mention her size at all, only her quirkiness.
Miranda is a bit clumsy, a bit gassy, always hilarious – even if she’s the only one laughing, and truly and completely lovely. I won’t give away anything or the overall story arc of the show (it’s so good!!!), but I would encourage anyone to give it a shot. I think it’s the perfect sitcom, though it’s a few years old, it’s mostly a critique of the path of the traditional, cis-hetero woman in England/the west, from dating to marriage to reproducing, only she fights it every step of the way. She questions and protests, despite, or to spite, her overbearing mother’s constant intervening.
She celebrates silliness, has vegete-pals and fruit friends, creates games for her own pleasure like snack fishing and muffin tetherball. Amazing! She tries to travel solo but ends up only going to a hotel around the corner! Ha-ha! But she thoroughly enjoys herself there, perhaps a bit too much! I found such comfort and connection to all of the shows characters. I feel like she gets single life in a way I haven’t found for myself yet, but I’m getting closer thanks to this show.
Every time I watch it, I am floored in the best possible way by this line:
“Women like me can be sexy. It’s just, the world might never affirm it, so it takes us a little longer to realize it.” THIS!!!!
I hope you give Miranda, the show, a chance. I’ll be looking into reading Miranda Hart, the comedian’s books, too!
Rad Fatty Love to ALL,

<3
S

P.S. Check out and use the hashtag: #FatAndFree on Insta & FB!
And the hashtag #DateMyDamnSelf on Instagram if you feel so inclined

Donate to this blog here: http://ift.tt/2zKvPnQ

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (and updated daily): http://on.fb.me/1A18fAS 

Or get the same “shared” content on Twitter: @NotBlueAtAll

I also have an Instagram I’ve finally started to actually use: http://ift.tt/1NpWevR

And as always, please feel free to drop me a line in comments here or write me an email, I love hearing from readers. (Tell me your troubles, I don’t judge.): notblueatall@notblueatall.com



via I'm Not Blue at All http://ift.tt/2CUxEib