Friday, 25 May 2018

Advocating for Yourself at the Doctor

My family had to switch insurance recently. That meant doing the thing that I hate the most ─ finding a new primary care provider. I dreaded it and stressed over it for months. Then I had my first appointment this week.

I needed to get in quickly to get a particular vaccination, so I took the first available appointment with the first available doctor. He was not one I would have picked for myself, since he specialized in men's health and sports medicine. Ugh ─ my experience is that sports specialists are very biased about people of size. I uneasily anticipated a fight over weight loss, weighing regularly, and lectures about nutrition, dieting, etc. I went in primed for a fight.

I am so happy to report I was totally wrong. Not that we were in total agreement about everything, but he listened very respectfully to my point of view and conceded some arguments. He took a very long time in my appointment, much longer than I expected, in order to get a very complete history, and he was very gentle and caring overall. What a tremendous relief!

To advocate for myself, I brought  the Health At Every Size Information for Providers cards from the blog Dances With Fat. That opened the conversation on a productive note; he appreciated me sharing my concerns so he could address them. The good thing about the cards is that they give a quick summary of Health at Every Size and there are research citations with links to the research. That kind of thing resonates with care providers and shows that HAES is not just about “giving up and letting yourself go” but truly about promoting health. Care providers respond better when they realize that.

Another thing I did was take informational handouts about Lipedema from the Fat Disorders website. Some doctors know about lipedema now, but it's surprising how many do not. And of those who do know about, many have only cursory information. It's very helpful to have a handout with details and research citations about lipedema if this is an issue for you. We had some interesting discussions about lipedema as a result. I think he learned a little bit more about it from me.

I also took in a one-sheet summary of my medical history. It lists all of my care providers (with contact info), any health conditions, all of my medications (with current dosages), and any history of surgery (with the year) etc. I don't have a lot of family medical history because I'm adopted, but what information I do have is very revealing, so that is on the sheet as well. The doctor was very impressed at having such a quick Cliff Note's version of my medical history and was happy I provided it. I highly recommend having a summary like this.

One thing I didn't need to do was question his care recommendations for me. That was so refreshing! He stuck to the issues at hand and didn't automatically recommend weight loss. Nice! When a doctor recommends weight loss and you are not interested, the best question to ask is, If I were thin, what tests and treatment would you recommend and why? Challenge the doctor to see you and treat you like any other patient, without seeing and trying to treat the fatness first.

I didn't do one of the most common things recommended to patients of size ─ bring along an advocate ─ but then I know how to advocate for myself pretty well these days. However, if you have trouble standing up for yourself or just need someone in your corner, I highly recommend taking an advocate to an appointment, either to get better care or just to take notes for you. I have done so in other types of appointments and it was very helpful.

 I think it also helps to look for specialties that tend to be more holistic, like a D.O. instead of an M.D. (both are fully qualified, just from different organizations), or who have a bigger picture of health, like a family doctor instead of an internist. Many practices now have Physician's Assistants and Nurse-Practitioners, and they often are more holistic and understanding than the M.D.s in the practice. Remember that midwives can also do gynecological care; many women of size choose to get their annual pap smears and care from a good nurse-midwife practice instead of an OB.

Never assume size-friendliness from a person's initials and certifications, however. Always ask lots of questions and don't assume that a certain title means size-friendliness. There are many wonderful doctors available and sadly, there are some very fat-phobic nurses and family doctors out there. Start with the least invasive, least high-tech specialty, but do your homework and ask lots of questions before making a final decision about the best care provider for you.

The Tricky Issue of Weighing


One of my main concerns in going to a new doctor was not having to weigh every time I visit. I was fine with getting on the scale for our initial appointment because I believe it's useful for them to have a baseline weight on record. However, I informed the doctor I would refuse to be weighed on repeat visits unless there were a pressing medical need for it (like impending surgery, weight-based dosing of certain drugs, certain conditions like Congestive Heart Failure, etc.).

He agreed that I always had the right of informed refusal, and he listened to my reasons of why I find it so triggering and objectionable. He said the med techs might still ask me each visit because it is so part of their routine, but that he would put in the chart that I should not be harassed or pressured about it (which has happened in the past). After a discussion we came to my usual compromise; I would be free to decline the weighing every visit, with the understanding that if there were large changes in my weight I would report them (because that can be a symptom of a medical problem), and if there was ever a legitimate medical need for weighing I would agree to do it. Weighing itself doesn't bother me, and I don't care what the number on the scale says. For me, it's the act of being weighed in public that is just very triggering and stigmatizing. It's part of my personal empowerment to refuse such unneeded requirements.

I should note that I've written about this before and people noted in the comments that when they refused to be weighed, some med techs told them they did not have the right to refuse, that the insurance companies required it in order for the visit to be paid for. This is baloney. Weighing is like any other test or "measure of health;" you always have the right to informed refusal. If you are firm in your boundaries, most of the time they will back down. I've had some fights over this but have always won because of the right of informed refusal. If all else fails, state strongly, "I DO NOT CONSENT." This has more legal heft because it could potentially lead to being sued. Most of the time they will stop badgering you.

However, according the comments on my previous post, once in a while there is a doctor who will dismiss you from the practice and refuse to provide care if you refuse to weigh at every visit. Even in the face of legitimate protests, some won't back down. All I can do is sympathize and say is you are better off without a provider like that. You have to decide if avoiding weigh-ins is worth it to stay with that particular provider. Generally speaking, a provider that doesn't respect the basic right of informed refusal is not worth having as a care provider anyhow. I would worry what other medical procedures or interventions they might try to bully me into. I would not want to stay with a provider who used such strong-arm tactics. They are not trustworthy. It would be a giant red flag to me.

If you don't have any other choice than to see that provider, do your utmost to challenge the decision. Don't make it easy on them to disregard your rights. Write letters to the practice manager, to the insurance company, to the hospital, etc. If you really do not have a choice, make it clear you are weighing under duress and launch a social media campaign against the practice. Do what you must to get the care that you need, but don't take medical bullying lying down. Even if you don't succeed in getting this rule changed right away, you might with time. At the very least, you put pressure on the doctor and force him to defend why he is disregarding the patient's right to autonomy in their medical decisions.

Concluding Thoughts

Image from Dances with Fat blog, link here
Print this out and take it to your first visit with your provider
Finally, I just wanted to note that sometimes people of size avoid doctors because they are afraid of battles like these, of mistreatment and fat-phobic treatment. I know it's tempting to just avoid the battles altogether, but it's not wise. I would like to urge my readers NOT to avoid going to the doctor. As we age, it really is important that we go see a care provider regularly. It is very important to get regular lab work done to track the results over time, to catch any problems early, and to have a provider with a broad base of knowledge look for issues if needed.

Even though your past contacts with medical providers might be negative, it doesn't mean it will always be that way. You might luck into a truly size-friendly provider, or at least find a size-neutral provider who is willing to discuss things and compromise with you. More and more practices are trying to be open to a more size-neutral approach. There ARE good providers out there.

I learned that this week. I was all ready for a fight, and I was sooo pleasantly surprised that I didn't need one. My intent had been to use this doctor for the purpose of my vaccination, then switch to one of his colleagues, but now I think I'll stick with him. Finding a size-friendly provider can happen. It's best to be ready, just in case, but remember, you might be pleasantly surprised too. 


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Thursday, 24 May 2018

CrossFit Gym Confuses Fat Shaming With Advertising

You Forgot Your BullshitCrossFit Logan Martin in Pell City, Alabama has put up a sign that says “Tired of being fat and ugly? Just be ugly.” When people pointed out that being in the business of appearance-based shaming is not a great look for a gym (or, you know, anyone,) owner Scott White decided his best move was to tell the people who he targeted with his offensive ad how they should feel and react:

“Come in and talk to me. We’re super nice. I get along with everybody. I love everyone. We’re a Christian-based gym. And so a message of love is what we preach here. You know you can’t take yourself too seriously. Especially when it comes to a fitness journey.”

I’m not feeling the love there Scott (or the “super nice-ness”) and you’ve made it very clear how you feel about people who look like me, so the absolute last thing I’m going to do is walk into your gym to talk to people who put up this sign and then defended it. What I am feeling is that you think it’s perfectly ok to harm fat people. I’m feeling that you are likely being purposefully, aggressively obtuse. I’m feeling like it’s ridiculous to try to defend appearance-based shaming by claiming a “christian” identity. I mean, what’s next – selling WWJFS (Who Would Jesus Fat Shame) bracelets?

While obviously nobody of any size is obligated to participate in fitness (and participating doesn’t make someone better than those who don’t) the truth is that fitness culture can be incredibly unwelcoming to fat people, and then our thin-obsessed society turns around and blames and shames fat people for not engaging in fitness culture. Here is a place that is supposed to be about gaining fitness that, instead, is shaming fat people for how they look (and before somebody tries to claim otherwise, suggesting that fat people should want to look different than we do now is absolutely shaming people for how they look,) and suggesting that fat people should join CrossFit not to gain fitness, but so they aren’t the subject of shaming (like the kind of shaming the gym is doing with this sign.) Obviously, that’s total crap and what this gym is trying to do is profit from appearance-based stigma, and thus, they can bite me.

I also want to point out the all-too-common practice of someone who isn’t in a marginalized group making a “joke” at that group’s expense, and then trying to make themselves the arbiter of how the people they are oppressing should react – and the “correct” reaction always seems to be to calm down and learn to “take a joke.” I don’t think the problem is that marginalized populations can’t “take a joke,” I think the problem is that we live in a society that is comfortable telling groups of marginalized people that they need to “toughen up” and become better at being stigmatized and made fun of without complaint, so that other people can laugh at their expense without having to feel badly or have their bullying behavior pointed out. Oppressive behavior is not ok just because some people think it’s funny.

Most of the articles I’ve seen about this focus on whether or not the sign is legal. The gym was asked to take it down or face a $500 fine because it doesn’t meet the local requirements for a sign. Apparently, they’ve worked with the city and received a deadline extension and fatphobes have created a GoFundMe to cover the fees lest the gym not be able to shame fat people through signage.  Other articles claim (though without giving any method of calculation that I’ve seen) that the majority of people want the sign to stay up.

If that’s true it’s quite sad, but it really doesn’t matter to anyone who wants to be a decent human being, because it doesn’t matter how many people want to oppress a group, oppression is still wrong. And because internalized oppression is a thing, and no community is a monolith, it doesn’t even matter if some people who are part of the marginalized group think it’s ok. The standard shouldn’t be how many people are ok with a marginalized group being oppressed, the standard should be doing our best not to shame or marginalize anyone.

If you value my work, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time contribution or by becoming a member.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

 Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members)
Click here for all the details and to register!

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.



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Sunday, 20 May 2018

On the Fat Studies MOOO

As a Fat Studies academic, I’m delighted at the number of undergrad and grad students who are interested in studying Fat Studies. I’ve met them all over the world! Some want to take a course or two, some wish for a qualification in the discipline, and some would hope to acquire a terminal degree.

Unfortunately, nowhere in the world can you earn a qualification in Fat Studies. Some FS courses exist, mainly in the US, but neoliberal Universities are culling disciplines such as Women’s Studies, Queer Studies, Indigenous Studies – not supporting new ones. That’s why it’s important we support each other in our quest to study – learn – build – the discipline of Fat Studies. We share texts, we host conferences, we cultivate FB groups and Tumblrs, we share our lived experiences and connect with one another as best we can.

For my part, I act as an unofficial supervisor to many PhD students around the world; allowing them a space to talk about our epistemologies, and methodologies, and ontologies. To listen to rants about supervisors who just don’t get it, and share in the joy when something clicks. I also participate in #FatStudyGroup, a great tag created by @KivaBay as a way to co-construct our knowledge and share our literature with one another. It’s important work to do, and critical to building our field. And that’s why I’ve created the Fat Studies MOOO.

It isn’t a MOOC – it’s not an online course taking place over several weeks/months. Instead, it’s discrete events that will happen once a month. Guest scholars will bring their expertise on a topic within Fat Studies to share with a small group. I’ve envisioned this as a resource for students who are eager for a chance to take a course in Fat Studies, but it’s open to anyone – student – academic – activist – anyone – who wants to build their understanding of this field.

The first Fat Studies MOOO finds us in the company of Professor Esther Rothblum, exploring the discipline itself. Each month, a new scholar and a new topic. I’ve reached out to Fat Studies scholars from across the world. They are an incredible group of scholars and incredibly generous to share their wisdom. If you’d like to learn more, you can read the info here: https://friendofmarilyn.com/fat-studies-mooo/

And if you’d like to participate in the first one, register at https://tinyurl.com/fsmooo1



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Downsides of Diet Culture

Pie-1-1

Picture of a adorable pug named Biscuit walking toward the camera saying “If I want the Food Police I’ll call Pie-1-1”

Today a new blog reader asked me “I’ve heard you talk about “diet culture” but what do you mean when you say that, I mean, what are the downsides?” Well, unless you are one of the people profiting from diet culture, it’s pretty much nothing but downside. Still let’s look at some specifics:

Conflates size and health, pathologizes some body sizes

Diet culture sells the lie that weight and health are the same thing (despite the fact that it’s plainly observable that there are healthy and unhealthy people of all sizes – knowing, of course, that health isn’t an obligation, barometer of worthiness, or entirely into our control.)  Diet culture seeks to pathologize body sizes (with terms like “overweight,” and “obese”) because it creates a greater market for diet products that don’t work.

Encourages following external rules about what, when, and how much to eat

Diet culture tries to convince us that we can’t be trusted to choose what to eat or how much as if what they suggest instead isn’t completely ridiculous.

Suggests that people are more or less good/moral/worthy based on their body size

We see this in the headless fatty pictures, and in the suggestion that someone’s body size tells us whether we should vote for them.

Creates thin privilege – makes thinness a gatekeeper for jobs/benefits/comfort/accommodation

In telling us that thin people are worthy and fat people are not, diet culture creates a culture where fat people are not seen as “deserving” of the same basic accommodations as thin people – chairs, blood pressure cuffs, seats on a plane, safe restraints on amusement park rides, etc. It also makes being thin the gatekeeper for being hired and paid fairly. It tells us to assume that someone’s size can tell us how good a singer, actor, or dancer they are, or you in a way that makes being thin a privileged identity (even though, yes, bad things still happen to thin people, and diet culture still hurts people of all sizes.)

Suggests movement as punishment for, or prevention of, being fat, rather than for other reasons like fun, or personal goals

Nobody is obligated to participate in fitness, and participating in fitness doesn’t make someone better than those who don’t. But for many of us, things that could be fun hobbies get ruined by a culture that suggests that the only reason to exercise is to punish or bodies for being fat, or prevent them from getting that way. That’s total crap. Many a messy breakup with exercise could have been avoided if people weren’t given such messed up ideas about movement.

Views fat people as less valuable – more risk-able

A thin person goes to the doctor with type 2 diabetes. They are given interventions that are shown to control T2D with minimum risks. A fat person goes to the doctor with the exact same symptoms. They are told that they should have a surgery that amputates part of their stomach and creates disease in the small bit that remains, even though organizations who advocate for this procedure claim that it kills 15 out of 1,000 people who have it (likely a low-balled number because of the tendency for blaming the patient for dying because they are fat.) Those who do survive can be left with horrible lifelong side effects and require many more surgeries, many people gain their weight back, and many people end up seeing their T2D return. Not to mention that fat people are prescribed (highly profitable) medications that could literally kill us, for the small hope of losing just a few pounds. Fat bodies are seen as infinitely more riskable than thin bodies. Doctors seem to believe that the misery that is created by fatphobia means that we are better off literally dying to be thin than trying to live our best life in a fat body (rather than, you know, ending fatphobia.)

Diet culture creates a world that is permeated by discussions of food, weight, exercise, diets. The supposed “right” to discuss these things in every environment is fervently defended.

In diet culture you can’t turn on a radio, television, look at a billboard, open a magazine (or look at the cover for that matter,) without hearing diet and weight loss talk – this is significant because weight loss talk reinforces the idea that thin bodies are better than fat bodies which reinforces all the downsides we just talked about. Diet culture means that you can’t have a Facebook group with a no weight loss talk rule, without needing an army of moderators to delete all the posts of people who insist that, even though they know that the rule is no weight loss talk, they feel that their weight loss talk is special and that they should be able to talk about it.

Diet Culture Perpetuates Eating Disorders and Prevents Full Recovery

In a culture where hating your body and being terrified of being or becoming fat or gaining weight is considered normal, eating disorders can be expected and full eating disorder recovery can be impossible.

Nothing good comes from diet culture. If we want a world where people can actually pursue health by their own definition, prioritization, and path – then they need people to be able to get honest information, we need people (and their families, friends, and healthcare providers) to have the opportunity to see their bodies as worthy of care, and the access to the things that they need to pursue their goals. Diet culture (and the for-profit healthcare system it rests upon) will never allow that to happen. So we need a paradigm shift to a Health at Every Size and Size Acceptance paradigm.

If you value my work, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time contribution or by becoming a member.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

 Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members)
Click here for all the details and to register!

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.

 



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Friday, 18 May 2018

Asking For Accommodations As A Fat Person

High bar chairsThis popped up in three Facebook messages from readers at virtually the same time today, so I decided it was a sign to post about it. One reader did her research to make sure that a destination that she wants to check out at on vacation is accessible, but is worried about how to ask for it when the time comes. Another was uncomfortable at the doctor’s office because they don’t have many fat friendly chairs (don’t even get me started about fat people and chairs,) and the ones they had were taken up by thin people. The third wanted to know when it’s appropriate to ask for accommodations (spoiler alert: you are obviously never obligated to ask for accommodations, but it’s appropriate to ask whenever you need them!)

Asking for accommodations can bring up a lot of emotions – stress, embarrassment, shame, fear, anger, guilt.  I think that one massive problem is that we’ve been told that asking for accommodations is asking for some kind of favor or special treatment above and beyond what everyone else gets.  Also, as fat people, we are told that we should simply get thin so that we don’t need the accommodations (which, even if it was likely to work – and it’s not – doesn’t help me fit in that small chair with arms for this office meeting I’m required to attend.)

Let’s examine the situation: There is plenty of evidence to show that people are a variety of sizes for a variety of reasons which are not necessarily within their control and that we have no proven method to change size over the long term.  More importantly, it doesn’t matter why someone is fat or even if it was possible to be thin.  We have every right to exist in our bodies as they are, and we don’t owe the world a body that fits in a restaurant booth. The same goes for people who desire or require accommodations due to physical or mental illness, disability or any other reason.

Asking a business for an accommodation is not asking them for special treatment. It is doing them a favor, and one you shouldn’t have to do.  You are doing them the great courtesy of pointing out something that they probably should have thought of already, or at least should be grateful to know about now. The people who opened that restaurant know that fat people exist and eat out, so why didn’t they make sure to have chairs that fat people can fit in? When the hospital opened to provide healthcare to the community they were aware that the community includes fat people; so please don’t act all surprised and inconvenienced when my fat ass shows up and needs a bed that fits me, you should have ordered that bed when you ordered all the rest of them. If people on the plane who aren’t fat have a seat they can fit into, then when a fat person asks for a seat they can fit into they are not asking for special treatment, they are asking for what everyone else already has.

So what can you do about accommodations?  First, realize that you shouldn’t have to ask for them and that if you do you aren’t doing anything wrong or asking for anything special, you’re doing the business a kindness. They should be embarrassed.  Second, you get to decide how this works depending on how you feel on any given day. Let’s use restaurants for example: If you want to be confrontational you can go into the restaurant and ask for a chair without arms and if they don’t have one then ask for the manager, raise loud hell, start a letter writing campaign etc.  Or, if you’re not up for a fight today you could call the restaurant ahead of time and ask if they have chairs without arms or pick a restaurant that you know works for you.

You can tell the host/ess “Three for a table please” to avoid being seated at a booth. Is there a policy that parties of less than four have to sit in booth?  Well, that policy is for other people – how about we cruise on over to that six top so that I don’t have to eat with my boobs resting on the top of the table and my spleen being compressed, you can take away the three extra chairs. Obviously this isn’t just for fat people – maybe you need a seat out of the sun or close to the entrance, somewhere to put your walker, a table that works with your wheelchair, a place to sit in your class that is not a tiny chair with a connected desk, to not have to sit at a long bench with your table super-close to strangers.  You are paying this business money so making you comfortable should be a primary goal for them, not an inconvenience.  If it’s not, then you get to choose what to do. It turns out that fat money spends the same and so if a business isn’t interested in attracting and keeping me as a customer then I take my money to one that is.

You can also help others out by reviewing businesses (positive or negative) on Is It Ample – a site that is basically Yelp marginalized bodies in the US, including fat bodies, trans bodies, and disabled bodies/bodies with disabilities.

Remember that none of this should be necessary, and each person gets to choose how they handle it in each situation. Whatever decision you make is the right one, as long as it’s the right decision for you.

If you value my work, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time contribution or by becoming a member.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

 Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members)
Click here for all the details and to register!

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.

 

 

 

 



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Wednesday, 16 May 2018

When Is It Ok To Be Fat?

Actual SizeRecently I’ve seen a lot of people saying things like “It’s ok to be fat as long as you’re happy with your body”  or “It’s ok to be fat as long as you’re healthy.”  The idea being that if a fat person is not happy with their body, or not healthy (by whatever definition we’re using) then it’s time to try to become thinner. So I’m reposting this post as a reminder of exactly when it’s ok to be fat.

First of all, we know that being unhappy with our bodies and having health issues are not exclusive to fat people – there are people of all sizes who hate their bodies, and people of all sizes with health issues, which means that being thin can neither be a sure preventative, nor a sure cure. The idea that if a thin person is unhappy with their body or is not “healthy” then they should focus on things that would make them happier and/or healthier, but that a fat person in the same situation should focus on being thin is sketchy at best.

And that doesn’t even take into account that the most common outcome of intentional weight loss attempts is weight gain, and thus even if someone thinks that being fat is the problem, recommending intentional weight loss is statistically the worst possible advice.

We live in a world where many National governments (including in the US, my home country) suggest that fat people should be singled out, stereotyped, stigmatized, and blamed for everything from global warming to health care costs (actual evidence be damned.) Under those circumstances, someone being fat and not liking their body isn’t exactly shocking.

The problem, to me, occurs when people (often the same people perpetuating fat hate and stigma) suggest that fat people should try to solve social stigma and oppression by changing our bodies, rather than insisting on an end to stigma and oppression. This is tantamount to telling a kid to give the bullies her lunch money and hope that they stop beating her up (when we know damn well that the bullies will always find another reason to pick a fight after school, and find more and more that they can take. )

As far as health goes, health is an amorphous concept, it is not an obligation or a barometer of worthiness. Nobody, of any size, owes anybody else “health” or “healthy behaviors” by any definition,   Health is also never guaranteed and never entirely within our control.  Genetics and the effects of past behaviors (like repeated dieting attempts!) can affect our health.  Access plays a major part– that includes many things including the ability to get and afford things like evidence-based healthcare, the food we want to eat, and any types of movement that we would like to do (in ways that are both physically and psychologically safe). Finally, the link between weight and health (yes, including our knees) is more complicated than what is often suggested by the media and even healthcare practitioners, and the idea that becoming thin is the same thing as becoming healthy, and that  weight loss behaviors are the same thing as healthy behaviors are simply not supported by the evidence.

The bottom line is that it’s ok to be fat. Full stop. No matter what. It doesn’t matter how you currently feel about your body, or your current health status, it’s still ok to be fat and to not try to become thin.  If we don’t like our fat bodies, we have the option (but never the obligation) of working on loving them as they are.  If we are having health issues, we can research the options for dealing with those issues (including asking our doctors the magic question – “what do you do for thin people with this issue?”)

Each of us gets to make choices for our bodies, and if we want to do something regarding other people’s bodies or health we can work on creating a world without appearance-based stigma, shame, and oppression, (or racism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, agism, misogyny and other marginalizations) and we can work to make sure that everyone has the food, movement, and healthcare choices that they want available to them.  And then we can mind our own business, because public health should be about making information and options available to the public, and not about making the individual’s health the public’s business.

Nobody has any right to create qualifications for when it is ok for fat people to exist. It is absolutely fine to be fat!

If you value my work, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time contribution or by becoming a member.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

 Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members)
Click here for all the details and to register!

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.

 

 

 



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Friday, 11 May 2018

Grey’s Anatomy, WLS, and the Thin/Fat Double Standard

facepalmI was watching an old episode of Grey’s Anatomy (I think it might even be from the first season.) That illustrates perfectly an issue that is still happening in the double standard of care between thin and fat people.

In the episode, a girl with an extremely critical and overbearing mother is discovered to have gone to Mexico to have secret Weight Loss Surgery. (Note that this practice is still happening, for example, it was recently discovered that the owners of LuLaRoe were profiting from sending fat consultants to Mexico to have their stomachs amputated.)

The players here are: Dr. Bailey, the resident who is supervising Dr. Grey, who is an intern. Claire is the patient. Let’s take it bit by bit.

After discovering that the girl had surgical scars,  Dr. Grey gets the required scans and shows them to Dr. Bailey where they note that she has had a stomach amputation.

Bailey: Is this girl fat?

Grey: Not at all, she’s a normal college kid.

WT Actual F?  “Normal college kid” is not the opposite of “fat girl!” Fat college kids are normal college kids (inasmuch as “normal college kid” is really a thing.)  But it sets up the foundation for the rest of this episode which is something that the brilliant Deb Burgard first pointed out to me – that we prescribe to fat people the same things that we diagnose and treat in thin people.

 

Next we move to a conversation with the parents:

Grey: Gastric bypass is a procedure normally done on obese patients to help them lose weight.

Dad: Claire? She doesn’t need to lose weight.

Mom: Are you kidding? This means the world to her. But it is so typical of this girl to take the easy way out. She’s done it with everything since she was a little kid.

Bailey: Mrs. Rice, nothing about this is going to be easy. She’s gonna face a lifelong struggle with malnutrition unless she has surgery to reverse the procedure.

Note that if the girl was fat, they would not only be fine with a lifelong struggle with malnutrition, they would have recommended the procedure rather than freaking out and insisting it be reversed.

Next Dr. Grey is explaining to Claire that her parents have agreed that the best option is to reverse the surgery and she balks. Dr. Grey explains that there are “serious complications” and says “This is about your health.” Claire responds “But I’d rather be thin.”

This is supremely frustrating to me because when fat people tell doctors that they aren’t interested in being thin if it means risking serious complications, we are scoffed at. But here it’s shown as absolutely tragic that a thin girl would ask for the exact treatment that a fat girl would be pushed to accept.

During the surgery to reverse the procedure the doctors speak to each other:

Bailey: This poor girl, what was she thinking

Grey: She wants her mother’s approval, she wants to please her.

Bailey (sadly): and this damaage is the result?

Again, not to put too fine a point on it, but if a fat girl agreed to undergo this dangerous, often deadly, procedure to please her mother, doctors would congratulate the mom for helping her daughter make the right decision.

Dr. Grey tells Claire’s mom “I think Clarie is killing herself to please you.”

Then Dr. Grey lets Claire know that she’s called social services to help her parents, telling her:

“You don’t know this yet, but life isn’t supposed to be like this. It’s not supposed to be this hard.”

“Killing herself” by having a surgery that is recommended to fat people literally every day. And I can’t help but note that the behavior that we are all supposed to see as overbearing, overly critical, and harmful from Claire’s mom (because it is!) is behavior that is the recommended treatment for fat people, even by (severely misguided) bio-ethicists.

And I’m pretty sure what she meant to say was “life isn’t supposed to be like this FOR THIN PEOPLE. It’s not supposed to be this hard FOR THIN PEOPLE,” because doctors and plenty of other people seem to want life to be precisely this hard for fat people.

I’m here to tell you that if you are a fat person facing medical fatphobia and doctors who would rather risk your life to make most of you disappear, than help you live your best life in a fat body, life ISN’T supposed to be like this. It’s NOT supposed to be this hard. Your body is never the problem, fatphobia always is.

If you value my work, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time contribution or by becoming a member.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

 Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members)
Click here for all the details and to register!

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.

 

 

 



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Thursday, 10 May 2018

Health is Wealth – FML

Content Warning: I mention and use images to discuss and take apart the things people attribute to being healthy or unhealthy, I do not believe these things as I explain below. My use of said images is meant to be sarcastic and in no way promotes this toxic bullshit, I assure you.

Image result for health

WHO THOUGHT THIS BS UP?! IT’S TERRIBLE! STOP!!!

“Health is wealth, and I’m broke, so that’s all I’m after! Ha-ha!” he said with a hearty chuckle after no less than three people stood around my desk talking about their individual and collective weight loss successes and how they each achieved it in different ways. I wanted to growl at them, loudly. There’s no use in reasoning with people like this. The one with manners then apologized to me for being so distracting. If only they knew how absolutely full of shit each of them truly is! Ha-ha! The “Health is wealth” one admitted they no longer eat dinner and only half the lunch portion they used to consume. The classier of the three gets just shy of evangelizing, “Keto! You either know it or you don’t, but once you start you’ll never want to stop, it’s brilliant!” It was all I could do to pretend to ignore the entire conversation just feet away from me. Internally I may have rolled my eyes so hard the southern hemisphere rippled. (Also, none of these three has ever been fat a day in their lives!)

Health is wealth is the biggest piece of shit thing to say that I’ve heard in awhile! And that’s saying a lot, it’s not like any of us can avoid what our current president says every fucking day! But Health is Wealth is so classist it’s anger inducing and that doesn’t even get into the rest of the ball of bullshit wrapped up in that phrase. So let’s shred it, shall we? Let’s!
Image result for health
SUCH BULLSHIT!
Health: Is not what most of us think it is. It’s not a destination. It’s not something you can put your finger on. It’s not something you get to choose from a list of options. Many people are born with health issues/concerns, they never get to say “Health is Wealth” and that’s even if they get the best treatment there is. Health is more of a buzzword than anything with any actual meaning now days. I hear it so much every fucking day, “Oh that’s not healthy dude!” or “Look at me being healthy!” it’s not a verb, it’s not an adjective and it’s certainly not wealth in any sort of way that matters to me. It’s so aggravating and I do push back, a lot. It’s meaningless. You can slap the word healthy on anything these days and no one questions it. It is a noun: the state of being free from illness or injury. See, nothing to do with food whatsoever!
Food in and of itself is neither healthy or unhealthy, no matter what food it is or how it is prepared. It’s an inanimate object! That’s it! There’s no good or bad, no healthy or unhealthy, it’s just food. You either eat it or you don’t. I’ve had enough conversations about this that I am usually ready to explain myself because I am always questioned by the “healther” I’ll call them, or those that proselytize “health” as something we must all strive for constantly with our every waking breath! Fuck that!
Image result for sugar heroin
FAKE AS FUCK!
Very recently I was at a professional networking event and there were vendors giving samples and informational brochures about their products and services. There was one vendor I had been emailing with and had even scheduled a call to discuss how they might fit my current employer’s needs. But when I got up to the table to talk to the guy and introduce myself I very quickly saw that their entire marketing platform was built on the demonization of sugar consumption. That eye roll thing happened again, but I introduced myself anyway. And then I asked if this was their only marketing strategy currently. He never actually answered that question, but very quickly jumped to the, “It’s as addictive as heroin!” garbage and I asked why he was quoting an article on a study that was published over six years ago and has since been proven to be speculative bullshit. (It hits the same reward centers of the brain, so do likes on social media, there is no evidence of actual addiction to sugar). He insisted it was true and absolute. I asked him who paid for the study and how that information corrupts “results”. He didn’t know. I told him to follow the money. I told him that the American Medical Associate is funded in part by the beef and dairy council, he responded with, “Well, sure, if you look into something enough you’re gonna find something!” which was my point exactly. Their table was set up with samples of snack items with comparable brands and beside each were stacks of sugar cubes representing in grams what each serving size would be. He finally pressed, “Fine, what is healthy to you?!” and I said what I always say, “It’s our behavior, not food, it’s what we do with it. Life should be full of variety and moderation in most things. That’s it!” he had nothing to say to that. We both said we’d schedule that call, and neither of us have. Fuck him and his bullshit company.
I run the food and beverage program for a tech start up in silicon valley as the office manager. I have run many food programs for startups in the area. I’ve owned and operated my own restaurant. I’m food safety certified and a genuine food/nutrition nerd. I know more about this stuff than most folks, sadly and often, more than medical doctors, too. The average MD gets approximately 40 hours of nutritional education. I’ve had far more by leaps and bounds than 40 hours! I have read countless books, guides, workshops, you name it! Knowing the science about food was an eye opener and a game changer for me. Having people close to me with severe and “bizarre” allergies (or so doctor’s told them) taught me a lot, too. I have seen people destroy their lives over their food choices. My own food choices have created problems in my personal relationships in the past. The more you know the more informed decisions you can make for yourself. That is really all I am ever talking about here, autonomy! It’s a beautiful thing!
Because I run the food program for my company I am well accustomed and attuned to people’s “feedback” about the options we have on offer on any given day. 98% of this “feedback” is full of bullshit buzzwords that are so meaningless you can actually see the fear growing in their eyes as I open my mouth to ask them to clarify or provide more detail. Ha-ha! It tickles me sometimes, other times it’s down right triggering and fucking depressing. These are grown ass adults getting paid a fuck ton of money to do a job in one of the hottest markets in the country and yet they never bother to question what they are putting in their mouths (or heads for that matter), but they love to question me about it daily. I’m tough, I can take it, and I have a great work bff and personal support system in place when I need it. Not everyone does, though, and to me that’s the real trouble. They shame and blame others, they shame and blame themselves, never realizing that it’s all made up! No doubt this has caused many eating disorders and body image issues the world over. But please, let’s all continue to blame fat people for everything! Ha-ha!
Image result for health
NO IDEA WHAT’S GOING ON HERE. STAY AWAY GERMS, OR SOMETHING!
Also, fuck health! I live with old and recurring injuries. While I have no on-going health issues, the very size of my body is so often pathologized that I know to fast before going to any doctor’s appointment, even if it’s just a pap smear or a cold, because they take one look at me and send me for a fasting glucose test (obv fat = diabetes y’all, duh! – NOT!!! And that is not how that works!). It’s fucking everywhere, this toxic bullshit mentality. I want to punch it in the face! I know, I know, “it” doesn’t have a face. But it IS destroying us and our “health”! I hope that we can all trust in ourselves and our bodies to do and know what is right, and to seek solid information to better inform our decisions. If you haven’t already read it, I cannot recommend enough the book Health At Every Size by Dr. Linda Bacon, it was such an eye opener for me and showed me the ways in which we are taught to not trust our own bodies and minds. To me this is such a tragedy. I hope we can one day find ourselves not even talking about food and health in these ways.
Rad Fatty Love to ALL,

<3
S

P.S. Check out and use the hashtag: #FatAndFree on Instagram & Facebook!

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, though I need to get back into posting there: 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



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Is There A Connection Between Fat and Cancer?

Whenever anyone claims to be studying the _effects_ of having a fat body, they are also likely studying the effects of constant stigma, and the of a lifetime of weight cycling.More and more we are seeing the suggestion that being fat is connected to having cancer. Some lie and say that research shows the being fat causes cancer. Some are slightly less dishonest and say that being fat is related to higher rates of some cancers. So what is true here? Let’s take a closer look.

What are they actually studying?

These studies look for correlations between larger bodies and types of cancer. Correlation means that the two things often (but not necessarily always) happen at the same time, not that one thing causes the other. In fact, the first thing you learn when you study research is that “correlation never ever, never ever, never ever, implies causation.” That’s because if A and B are correlated, it’s possible that A causes B, it’s possible that B causes A, it’s possible that they are both caused by a third factor, and it’s possible that they are actually unrelated. Implying causation when all you have is correlation is not only unprofessional and unethical, it can be harmful.

What variables aren’t they controlling for?

Studies attempt to control for confounding variables – these are extraneous variables that can ruin the experiment by affecting the variables being studied. In a society rife with weight stigma, where fat people are subject to a government-sponsored “war on obesity” that produces a tremendous amount of shame, stigma, bullying, and oppression, and where fat people are encouraged to diet early and often, there are some variables that can have a major effect on study outcomes that cannot be controlled for. Thus, whenever anyone is studying the “effects” of having a fat body, they are also studying the effects of constant stigma, and the effects of a lifetime of weight cycling (aka yo-yo dieting.)

That means that if something is actually causing a higher cancer risk, it’s just as likely that the culprit is stigma and/or weight cycling, and not body size. If that’s the case then a “public health” message that suggests that fat causes cancer, in a culture where people with health issues are stigmatized, will cause additional stigma and thus more cancer risk. And/or if weight cycling is actually the cause of cancer, recommending that fat people try to become thin(ner) as a way to reduce their cancer risk (when we know that the most likely outcome of dieting is weight-cycling) will actually increase cancer risk – that’s why we have to be extremely careful not to draw conclusions for correlation. The bottom line is that this so-called “public health” message is phenomenally irresponsible.

What Do They Want Us To Do? (Hint: follow the money.)

There isn’t a single study of any intentional weight loss method where more than a tiny fraction of people succeed at significant long-term weight loss. (For more in-depth information about the embarrassing state of weight loss research, check out this piece.) Stomach amputation surgery kills people, and often leaves the survivors with horrific lifelong side effects (you can’t find them in groups with names like “Weight Loss Surgery Ruined My Life.”) So the idea that we should risk our lives purposely create a disease state in our currently healthy digestive system to try to avoid a risk of cancer that may or may not have anything to do with our body size seems ill-advised at best.

If you’re anything like I was, you’ll also be surprised to learn that there is literally NO study that compares formerly fat people who have maintained weight loss to people who were always thin to see if they have similar health outcomes. The study has never been done – partly because there aren’t enough fat people who have maintained weight loss.

As usual, when it comes to the weight loss industry, we just have to follow the money. It turns out that a lot of this research about cancer was funded by weight loss companies, who are now using the research to try to sell their weight loss products. (With thanks to readers Kat and Maria for sending the info on this.)

So What Should We Do?

Just when you thought you were going to get through a post of mine withotut reading this: health is multi-faceted, not an obligation, a barometer of worthiness, not entirely within our control, and not guaranteed under any circumstances. The decision of how highly we prioritize our health and the path we take to get there is intensely personal – and it’s nobody’s business unless we ask them to make it their business. The problem (and the issue that public health needs to focus on) is that currently not everyone has access to the same choices and options because of issues like poverty, oppression, and for-profit healthcare and insurance.

So when it comes to the idea that fatness increases cancer risk, we each have to make our own decisions about what we believe, and how we react.  As for me, I think that bodies come in lots of different sizes for lots of different reasons, and I have not seen any evidence that attempts to manipulate our body size are likely to be effective, and I’ve seen tons of evidence (and my own experience corroborates) that attempts to manipulate body size lead to nothing but yo-yo dieting, and a life that was nothing like any life I would want to live.

Maybe I’m at greater risk for some health issues because I’m fat, but I’m also at greater risk for some health issues because I’m a cis-woman, and because of my genetics, and because of the places that I’ve chosen to live (and the places that I didn’t choose to live as a kid, ) and plenty of other reasons. That’s the way health goes, it’s a moving target and, as much as we’d like to think it was, a lot of it isn’t within our control.

So I’ll put my time and energy into ending medical fatphobia so that doctors will actually give me proper examinations to detect health issues and treat them properly, rather than just diagnosing me as fat and prescribing another diet with absolutely no reason to believe it will help. I’ll put my time and energy into trying to counteract the effects of a fatphobic society I’ll spend my time and energy giving my body my full-throated supported and being clear that, no matter my size, my health, what illnesses I may or may not have or be at risk of having, my level of ability or disability, my body is amazing and worthy of love and care.

If you value my work, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time contribution or by becoming a member.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

 Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members)
Click here for all the details and to register!

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.



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Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Without A Mother; Mother’s Day

I posted the following on my personal Facebook page yesterday:

  Sarah   May 8, 2018:
Sharing this memory as all the usual feels are beginning to swirl and the rising tide of “BUT YOUR MOM!!!!” messages for this made up holiday have reached a deafening level. There’s no card for this shit. SMDH.

  Sarah   May 8, 2016
Shout out to all the kids who had to grow up too early or sacrifice way too much of their childhoods because their parents weren’t equipped for the job, for whatever reason. We don’t get a “day” but we don’t need one because the things we had to do for others were never done for us anyway. Keep on keepin’ on! 

There are things we go through in this world that cannot be put into words. Emotions, experiences, and while some words do exist, what does it truly mean and feel like to be in “awe” or “miserable”? As I reread what I had written back in 2016, I paused. I took a slow, deep breath. This isn’t unusual these days as I have been practicing this for some time in order to actually consider things before responding to them (rare in modern society, imho). I realized in this pause that I had had some tension building up inside me. That I had been getting grouchier in recent days without knowing why or really even questioning it. For transparency sake I will admit that I simply expected the constant numbness inside me which often precedes full blown depression to be the culprit followed by PMS, but now I think it’s marketing for Mother’s Day. Ugh!

Image result for anti mother's day
First let me just say that I don’t have anything against mother’s and I fully support them in all that they do. Having said that, I have never had a mother figure in my life, save for the first 5 years of my life. My mother was physically present after this time, but rarely mentally so. I’ve written about this before, so let’s not get back into those specifics today. No, I want to talk about those of us who had to step in and up, without really understanding or knowing what we were undertaking at the time of course, because we had to. I hate that I have felt shame over this. I hate that I have felt hurt and scornful and full of wounded pride that doesn’t even belong to me over this. I hate that my biological parents will never admit to how things really were for us kids.
But I am not filled with hate. I am definitely not filled with anger (yuck). I am filled with a sense of loss and longing for something I have never had. I’ve witnessed countless families with fully or mostly functioning parental figures. Not to knock my dad, he had to work all of the time for us to just scrape by ( but my shit with him is heavier and darker and that is not what this post is about). I saw broken families with strong maternal bonds in my childhood neighborhood. My childhood best friend’s mom always kept me at a distance, but did her best to include me and my awkward ass from a poor family in things that mattered. I always felt like an outsider, no matter how long I knew a friend and their family, I never felt like I got a ticket to the having a mom in your life ride. That unconditional love shit? Where do I find this? *DigsForWallet*
I have friends who have incredible and beautiful relationships with their mothers. Single mothers and their eldest daughters being in the majority amongst my circle of friends. Even friends with parents who have married and remarried seem to actually love and like each other and that honestly just does my head in at this point. While all unique and none without issues, they are all what I have never had and there’s really no way to make peace with that. There’s no way to fill a hole you didn’t know you even had until later in adulthood. I’m not one for black tar heroin, so passe, but I also don’t seek fulfillment in that part of myself at all. (Okay, if I do I am completely unaware of it!)
The closest thing I’ve had to a true maternal figure in my life was my grandma, my dad’s mother. They had a great relationship, she was a wonderful human being in the truest sense. She was a registered nurse, met my grandpa in WWII, worked in elder care for a convalescent hospital for my entire life…but we weren’t very close until I was about 19 years old. I had escaped an abusive relationship that I’m not sure anyone in my family was even aware of (though much of it happened in our home), I’d been living twenty miles away until my roommates got us evicted (they were such sweet stoners until they brought meth into the equation). I had to move back home. My grandma had the best sense of humor and a way of seeing the world’s beauty and misery in a way I want to believe that I have carried on. There is so much I wish I could talk to her about now, but I wasn’t the person I am today, then. She passed away in 2003, just a few months before my first marriage. (I’m assuming another marriage though I have no plans, hopes, or desires. Ha-ha!)
Later I bonded with her (only slightly) younger sister who was such a spitfire! She saw the bullshit my dad’s wife was dishing and sought to gain my trust and confidence, and she succeeded. She taught my then husband and I to play her favorite dominoes game and to make a great (strong!) vodka-tonic. She saw me as an adult, something my dad just could. We lost touch due to said dad’s wife and her incessant lies that tore our family apart. At her funeral her children demanded to know who I was and I don’t know what hurt more that or losing her all together. It was the end of matriarchs in my family. It was also the end of my family, imo. It’s not about forgiveness or anything of the sort. It’s about just being human and doing the right thing, even if it’s too late.
Fleeting but strong bonds that have carried me through darker times than these, that continue to inspire and push me to keep on keepin’ on. Truly, though? I have come to distrust the motherly tone of anyone aiming their vocal chords in my direction. Years of Mom-agers in tech startups bullying or gaslighting me (for real!) have proven to be the worst of the worst in my book. I am a feminist! I don’t have anything against actual mothers, in fact I admire them. But a Mom-ager is something differently entirely. Other women I have known have really been great friends, lifelong friends even, and I hold friendships to a very high standard. It’s not the same though. Not having that person you can tell tough things to, to show you how to “be” a woman or do “womanly” things, I have never had. From my period at age 9 to my first pubic bush in all it’s lustrous glory, kissing and sex, relationships and my own identity struggles, you name it, I have relied on other weird kids I hung out with for information and tips and advice, even the library proved more fruitful than adults growing up.
The marketing and manipulation that Mother’s Day brings is so fucked up it creeps up on me every year and I always think I’m immune to it at first. I just roll my eyes and figure it simply doesn’t apply to me and try to live my damn life. But it’s EVERYWHERE!!! Just now I received an email from a company I like (Rainbeau Curves) with the subject line, “Celebrate Mom!” UGH! I still feel mostly numb inside, like I haven’t felt anything in awhile. It’s weird, but familiar. It’s better than being overly emotional in that at least my lack of emotion doesn’t offend anyone or leave me drained and wrecked. I go through spells where I long to feel something, but then those floodgates open up and I wish it would all go away again. Even all this motherly stuff hasn’t brought on any actual emotions, just tension and frustration in a physical sort of way. Meh, I’m weird.
Image result for anti mother's day
So shout out to the weird kids who are still just weird kids in grown up bodies struggling to break free of the bullshit that distorted their world views and robbed them of their childhoods. Shout out to the weird kids who had to hide to survive, who struggled their entire lives to fit in or even be seen…by anyone at all! We don’t get a holiday or greeting card companies profiting off our collective weirdness. But I see you, I celebrate you, and I embrace you and alllllll of your amazing weirdness! We hold together the very fabric of society and no one seems to realize that. Fuck ’em! We don’t need them, we’ve figured it all out by now and can support one another from here on out! So I hope you do something absolutely wonderful for yourself this Sunday, I’ll do my best to as well.
Rad Fatty Love to ALL,

<3
S

P.S. Check out and use the hashtag: #FatAndFree on Instagram & Facebook!

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, though I need to get back into posting there: 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



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