Thursday, 25 April 2019

On fat hate & the Avengers

Like many, I was excited to see Avengers: Endgame.I bought my tickets months ago and took satisfaction knowing I’d get to see it before most people as it opened here in NZ a day before the States (yay International Date Line!). I was thrilled that my local cinema put on a late night showing of Infinity War the night before, which I attended.

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While far from perfect, I liked Infinity War and this was the fourth or fifth time I’d seen it. And because I’d seen it before, I knew when to zone out to avoid the fat jokes about Pratt’s character, Quill. I remember, though, having the wind knocked out of me when I watched it the first time. It was completely unexpected, and it took me quite awhile to shake it off the first time I saw the film.

*spoiler alert for Endgame*

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In Endgame, the fat jokes aren’t for Quill, but Thor. When they go looking for Thor to bring him back into the fold (post finger snap), they find him drinking himself into a stupor, with lots of messy hair and a substantial beer gut. The intention is clear: Thor has “let himself go”. The obvious fat jokes (both non-verbal and not) are made, including a reference to The Dude (who Thor now closely resembles).

The idea that fat people are fat because they “let themselves go” is canon. We believe that fat people are fat because they made bad decisions, failed to exercise appropriate self-control, and were undisciplined with their bodies. Fat people are cautionary tales. We look at them and think, “I never want that to be”; “I never want to look like that”.  We lament when someone previously non-fat becomes fat; we see it as a waste, a shame, a reason for sorrow and grieving.

The fat jokes about Quill in Infinity War didn’t stay with me the entire film. I’m not particularly fond of the character, or of the actor who plays him. And I (rightly) assumed that the jokes about his size (oh no! He’s one cheeseburger away from being a fatty!), while hurtful & gross in the moment, wouldn’t continue past the scene.

But with Thor, one of the original six, I knew – just KNEW – that his size would continue to draw feedback through the film, especially as others see him and his new body for the first time. So from that first moment (which was met with hearty laughs in my screening; Thor! The Thunder God! Fat! HAHAHA), I was holding my breath waiting for the rest of the hits. And sure enough, they kept coming through much of the film. It was an necessary distraction, and a hurtful one as well.

Did the writers fall into the lazy narrative of fatness as shorthand for depression or unhappiness? Did they assume that they key market for the film would enjoy laughing at Chris Helmsworth in a fatsuit? Will Thor 4 explore this further; maybe Thor goes to fat camp on a planet adjacent to Ragnarok?

(I will say that Thor’s new size didn’t impact on his ability to be a badass Thunder God at all in the battles, which I appreciated)

I get that most people don’t care about this. They don’t care about fat people at all, and couldn’t care less about whether we are harmed by far hate in our TV and movies. They definitely don’t care if fat hating material makes these spaces unsafe for us, and they won’t apologize for laughing at the jokes as the filmmakers intended. But they will be mad with me for calling it out as not okay. I’ve already seen them on Twitter, imploring me to get the fuck over it and just enjoy the movie.

But I care about this. I care that an actor I admired agreed to wear a fatsuit and make fun of a vulnerable population for laughs. I care that this bit will make the Tentpole movie of 2019 (the culmination of 22 movies across 11 years!!!) difficult to watch and enjoy for a lot of fat people. I care that the fat hate in the film will reinforce the fears that oppress a lot of people everyday.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t see the movie. Or that you aren’t allowed to enjoy it. I am asking that you be aware of the fat hate that exists in the film; and encouraging you to reflect on whether you feel it was needed. I am asking that you consider what it means when the biggest movie of the year (of forever?), weaponsises fat hate for laughs.

And if you imagine yourself a fat ally – or interested in social justice – you’ll speak up about it when you have opportunities to talk about what you liked and didn’t like about the film. I hope you include the fatsuit & fat jokes in the latter.

I also hope that you’ll support size affirming, and especially fat positive, media. New shows like Shrill on Hulu and Dumplin’ on Netflix are refreshing alternatives to the usual anti-fat bullshit we consume.

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Support the creators making positive stories about fat characters. Support the creators allowing far characters to be more than just cautionary tales. Support the fat people in your life by making sure you’re seeing more than just fatsuits.



via Friend of Marilyn http://bit.ly/2GDW9nw

Monday, 22 April 2019

On the bright lights of Broadway

I was lucky to treat myself and a friend to see a travelling performance of the Broadway musical, “Aladdin”, in Auckland earlier this year. I was super excited to attend; while I recognise how problematic Disney films are, I love them all the same and Aladdin was my favourite movie as a teenager.

I loved the sets and costumes (never have I see so much bling on stage! One review claimed the show had 337 glittering costumes including over 500,000 Swarovski crystals); the “Friend Like Me” number was the most outlandish and fantastical thing I have ever seen. Ever. The old songs were great, the new songs okay, and the call-backs to other classic Disney films of that era were fantastic (including The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Mulan).

I expected to be awed, and I was – especially during the flying carpet scene of “Whole New World”. It is truly magical. And as expected, I had to remind myself to keep my mouth shut during the show; the desire to sing along with the songs was strong.

What I did not expect, though, was the amount of fat shaming material in the show. Now, as a super fat woman who studies fat stigma, I’m aware that fat hate is all around me. In every movie I watch, television programme I view, and magazine I flip through, I’m prepared to be confronted by fat hatred. I even have a sense for it; I can almost feel it coming, like a Spidey-sense. I often hold my breath to see how bad it’s going to be. But I was not expecting as much as there was in Aladdin, and the first bit came in the opening number (“Arabian Nights”). During the opening, as the Genie extolls all the wonders about the land, he includes, “’Welcome to Agrabah – land of one percent body fat!’”

As the show moves forward, the fat shaming continues, both from the beloved Genie and all his many issues and shame around food, and from others about one of Aladdin’s friends, Babkak. Babkak is fat and food obsessed; his fatness and food obsession is frequent fodder for laughs from the audience. Aladdin is not the first musical theatre foray into fat shaming and fat jokes. And I’m not the first to lament the presence of fat hating material in any otherwise delightful trip to the theatre. Others have written about this, including a harrowing story from CeCe Olisa on her blog, and a reflective piece by Maggie Rogers in American Theatre. Maggie asks,

Fatness crosses every race, creed, and culture, and you want to tell me the only people that are worth seeing onstage are thin? Please. You can get on board with helicopters landing onstage, witches flying through the air, and puppets, but not a size 22 playing a lead?

I remember speaking with my friend Sofie Hagan (of Made of Human and Secret Dino Cult fame) about our mutual love of Hamilton. She shared that when she first heard the soundtrack, she assumed that the youngest Skylar sister, Peggy, was fat. As soon as she said it, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t made the same connection. Peggy, with her largely muted role and introduction of a single heavily delivered line, “And Peggy”.

Like an afterthought. Which is the common place for fat people. Both Sofie and I were relieved, in a strange way, to find the suspicion wrong. Peggy isn’t fat (of course she isn’t; she plays the love interest in the second half!), and we were glad for that. But also, a bit bummed, because how great would be to have a fat character in the new hot musical.

Because if fat performers are not allowed to play the straight sized roles (which are ALL roles unless otherwise specified, of course), then how many fat character roles are available in their fat glory in musical canon. Mama Morton in Chicago, Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray, um. I’m sure there are more. Right?



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Thursday, 18 April 2019

THIS FAT OLD LADY GIVES HER PSYCHIATRIST AN EDUCATION

THIS FAT OLD LADY GIVES HER PSYCHIATRIST AN EDUCATION

From Terri’s “ThisFatOldLady” blog – a piece on passing on information to healthcare professionals that may help others in the fat community.



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Wednesday, 17 April 2019

THIS FAT OLD LADY LOVES GOOGLE SCHOLAR

THIS FAT OLD LADY LOVES GOOGLE SCHOLAR

Here’s a link to Terri’s other blog that is related to the fat community!

 



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Tuesday, 16 April 2019

US Airline Customer of Size Policies

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I recently wrote about the many ways that airlines mistreat fat passengers. That resulted in a lot of people asking me about the policies that airlines have around their fat passengers (often called “Customers of Size” or COS policies.) I looked around but couldn’t find a fat positive comprehensive list of United States airline carriers COS policies, so I decided to create one. Here it is:

Southwest Airlines

I’m going to start with Southwest for two reasons. First, they have literally the only fair and appropriate COS policy in the United States, and second because there are a ton of misconceptions floating around about that policy. Third (bonus reason!) because they used to be one of the absolute worst airlines for fat passengers and they have turned it around and I want to reward that.

Here is the official policy:

Customers who encroach upon any part of the neighboring seat(s) may proactively purchase the needed number of seats prior to travel in order to ensure the additional seat(s) is available. The armrest is considered to be the definitive boundary between seats; the width of the narrowest and widest passenger seats (in inches) is available on our Flying Southwest page. The purchase of additional seats serves as a notification to Southwest of a special seating need, and allows us to adequately plan for the number of seats that will be occupied on the aircraft. In turn, this helps to ensure we can accommodate all Customers on the flight/aircraft for which they purchased a ticket and avoid asking Customers to relinquish their seats for an unplanned accommodation. Most importantly, it ensures that all Customers onboard have access to safe and comfortable seating. You may contact us for a refund of the cost of additional seating after travel. Customers of size who prefer not to purchase an additional seat in advance have the option of purchasing just one seat and then discussing their seating needs with the Customer Service Agent at their departure gate. If it is determined that a second (or third) seat is needed, they will be accommodated with a complimentary additional seat.

Here is my commentary to try to correct some common misconceptions (scroll down for all the other US carrier policies):

Southwest’s Customer of Size policy offers 2 or 3 seats for the price of one. This is because they are in the business of flying people from point A to point B and that requires a seat that accommodates you. Since airplanes are still being built like fat people don’t exist, this is their workaround.

You have the option of purchasing a 2nd or 3rd seat when you book. If you do that, you just need to contact them after the flight and they will reimburse you EVEN IF YOUR FLIGHT WAS FULL OR OVERBOOKED. You get reimbursed no matter what.

You are NOT REQUIRED to purchase a second seat. You can simply go through the full-service check-in line when you get to the airport, tell them that you are using their Customer of Size policy and they will book you the 2 or 3 seats that you need EVEN IF YOUR FLIGHT IS FULL OR OVERBOOKED.

If everyone shows up and the flight ends up being actually overbooked, they will use their overbook policy, which involves offering customers travel vouchers to take a different flight. You will not be treated differently in this situation because your 2 or 3 seats are treated like a single seat (because they are a single seat.)

You will be allowed to preboard to make sure that you can get 2 seats together. You will be given a document that says “Seat Reserved” to put on your extra seat. If people ask, simply say “I’ve reserved both seats, this seat is not available.

My partner and I use this policy all the time and have never had any trouble. Of course we have a lot of privilege, including and especially white privilege, and that can’t be discounted in our experience. If you do run into difficulty, you can ask to speak to a supervisor and refer them to their own policy: https://www.southwest.com/…/help/faqs/extra_seat_policy_faq…

Note: Southwest has a stated preference for people purchasing the 2 or 3 seats that they need in advance and then getting reimbursed. While I can understand that, I also understand that many people do not have the money to loan Southwest Airlines the cost of their ticket (or twice the cost if they need 3 seats) from the time of purchase to sometime after they fly, which is why the policy doesn’t require you to purchase seats in advance.

Southwest always has the option of creating a booking process for Customers of Size that does not require a loan of hundreds of dollars, which would solve all the problems that people paying for multiple tickets and waiting to get reimbursed solves.

Other Airlines
Now let’s go to the other airlines. I want to point out how when they say that they care about the “comfort and safety” of their passengers, they mean their thin passengers. If they cared about the comfort and safety of their fat passengers they would create policies (and insist on planes) that actually accommodated us, rather than asking us to pay twice as much for a solution that leaves us far less comfortable and less safe than the thin people they actually care about.

The links go to the COS policies. Last updated: 4.16.19 If you see any inaccuracies, please feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org. Thanks!

American Airlines

“For the safety and comfort of all customers, if a customer’s body extends more than 1 inch beyond the outermost edge of the armrest and a seat belt extension is needed, another seat is required. We encourage customers to address all seating needs when booking.

  • When you call to book, Reservations will make sure you get 2 adjacent seats at the same rate.
  • If you didn’t book an extra seat in advance, ask an airport agent to find out if 2 adjacent seats are available.
  • You may be offered a seat in a higher class of service that may provide more space; in this case, you’ll be responsible for the fare difference.
  • If accommodations can’t be made on your original flight, you can buy seats on a different flight at the same price as your original seats.”

Delta Airlines

“We want to do all things possible to ensure your comfort. For customers who need extra space outside the standard Economy Seat — which features 31-32” of legroom with a 17.2” width — you can ask to be reseated next to an empty seat or pay to upgrade to First/Business class. To ensure your comfort, you might consider booking an additional seat. If you have questions, Delta Reservations can assist at 800-221-1212. We’re happy to provide you with an FAA-approved seatbelt extension, but do not allow personal seatbelt extensions to be used.”

Alaska Airlines

“We strive to best serve our customers’ unique needs by providing a safe and comfortable flight for all passengers.

We require the purchase of an additional seat for any customer who cannot comfortably fit within one seat with the armrests in the down position. The armrest is considered to be the definitive boundary between seats; width between the armrests typically measures 17 inches for coach and 21 inches for First Class. The purchase of an additional seat(s) serves as a notification to Alaska Airlines of a special seating need, and allows us to adequately plan for the number of seats that will be occupied on the aircraft. Most importantly, it ensures that all customers onboard have access to safe and comfortable seating.

After you have completed travel, if all Alaska Airlines flights in each direction departed with an open seat available, you will be eligible for a refund of the second seat.

Booking instructions
Please call Alaska Airlines reservations at 1-800-252-7522 to ensure your reservation is booked correctly.

Benefits of booking ahead through Alaska Airlines reservations:

Call center ticketing fees are waived
Adjacent seating is reserved in advance
Both seats are purchased at the same low fare
Refund instructions
You can request a refund by using our online form or contacting Customer Care at 1-800-654-5669. Simply provide the name on the ticket, travel dates, flight information and ticket number. Refunds must be requested within 90 days of travel.

Seatbelt extensions
The seat width on all Alaska Airlines aircraft (armrest to armrest) is approximately 17 inches and the seatbelt length is approximately 46 inches. Passengers needing extra coverage may ask the flight attendant for a seatbelt extension, which adds 25 inches to the seatbelt length. Only seatbelt extensions provided by the specific aircraft operator may be used onboard.”

Allegiant Air

“Allegiant’s mission and responsibility per our Contract of Carriage is to provide safe and comfortable air transportation for every customer.

The airline seats measure 17.8″ from inside of armrest to inside of armrest. Passengers who are unable to lower the armrest and/or compromise any portion of adjacent seat(s) should purchase an additional ticket during the initial reservation. Two seats will be pre-assigned (at no additional charge) in order to ensure the passenger of size has two seats side-by-side. If on the date of travel, a passenger of size requests a second ticket, the agent will be unable to sell a second ticket unless two seats are available side-by-side. In the event the flight is sold out and an extra seat is unavailable, the passenger of size shall be denied travel in the interest of safety.”

Hawaiian Airlines

“Most of our seats are 18 inches wide. For larger guests, this may create a safety issue. If you are unable to sit comfortably in your seat with the armrests lowered, we will try to find a suitable alternative. However, if no safe alternative seating can be found, we may not be able to transport you on your ticketed flight.

If you may need extra room, we highly recommend booking an extra seat in advance. Please reserve your extra seat by calling our Web Support Center at 1-866-586-9419. Our agents can assist you with booking two adjacent Coach or Extra Comfort or Preferred seats. Each seat will be charged at the lowest available fare.

Note: Extra seats booked online are not guaranteed to be adjacent. To book an extra seat, please call our Web Support Center at 1-866-586-9419.”

Frontier Airlines

“Customers who are unable to lower both armrests and/or who compromise any portion of adjacent seat or aisle should book two seats prior to travel. The armrest is considered to be the definitive boundary between seats. Additionally, armrests (when fully lowered) are viewed as providing a measure of safety by restricting the seat occupant’s lateral (side-to-side) movement.

It is Frontier’s goal to ensure a safe, comfortable flight for everyone and to make every customer’s travel experience pleasant from beginning to end.”

JetBlue

“An extra seat can be purchased for customers needing additional seating room:

Follow the normal booking instructions but make the reservation for one extra person
Book the first seat with the traveler’s name, i.e. SMITH/ROBERT
Book the second seat with your traveler’s last name and ‘EXST’ as the first name, i.e. SMITH/EXST
Include the following SSR message in the record: SSR EXST B6 NN1 JFKMCO0031Y31JUL-1SMITH/ROBERT.OVERSIZED
Select adjoining seat assignments in the GDS or on http://www.jetblue.com/seats
When you purchase an extra seat, both seats must be booked in the same fare option. The fare option selected will determine your baggage allowance. The carry-on baggage allowance remains the same per person.”

Spirit Airlines

“They don’t seem to have an official policy online, but I found this in their Q&A section:

Q: Can I purchase an extra seat for myself or something I’m transporting?

A:  Yes, in fact we require it in the following circumstances:

-To accommodate a guest of size who encroaches on an adjacent seat area and/or is unable to sit in a single seat with the armrests lowered;
To transport a guest who, because of his or her particular disability, would be unable to travel without the purchase of additional space on the aircraft;
-To transport large musical instruments or electronic audio/video, medical, or other sensitive equipment unsuitable for carriage as checked baggage, as specified in the Contract of Carriage
-You can purchase an extra seat by using your name for both tickets and selecting the desired seat assignments.

NOTE: guests who require a seat belt extension may not occupy any seat equipped with an inflatable seat belt. A seat belt extension may be used in a seat equipped with an inflatable seat belt in order to secure seat baggage (e.g., a musical instrument).”

United Airlines

“A customer flying in the economy cabin who is not able to safely and comfortably fit in a single seat is required to purchase an additional seat for each leg of their itinerary. The second seat may be purchased for the same fare as the original seat, provided it is purchased at the same time. A customer who does not purchase an extra seat in advance may be required to do so on the day of departure for the fare level available on the day of departure. The customer may instead choose to purchase a ticket for United First®, United Business® or United Polaris℠ business class, or elect to pay for an upgrade to a premium cabin if there is availability to do so. United Airlines is not required to provide additional seats or upgrades free of charge.

A customer is required to purchase an additional seat or upgrade if they do not meet one of the following criteria:

The customer must be able to properly attach, buckle and wear the seat belt, with one extension if necessary, whenever the seatbelt sign is illuminated or as instructed by a crew member. Footnote*
The customer must be able to remain seated with the seat armrest(s) down for the entirety of the flight.
The customer must not significantly encroach upon the adjacent seating space. See our seat maps.
United will not board a customer who declines to purchase a ticket for an additional seat or upgrade for each leg of their itinerary when required.

Customers who do not require two seats but require a seat belt extension may request one from a flight attendant on board. Customers are not permitted to bring or supply their own seat belt extensions.

Footnotes
*The average length of the seatbelt extension is approximately 25 inches. As the seat designs on our aircraft vary, it is possible that the seatbelt extension presented on your flight provides less than 25 inches of additional coverage. Regardless of the actual additional length the extension provides, if you do not meet the first criteria listed above when using the extension provided on your flight, it will be necessary for you to purchase an additional seat or an upgrade, where available.

Additional procedures
The additional seat must be available without downgrading or unseating another customer. If an additional seat is not available on the flight for which the customer is confirmed, he or she is required to rebook on the next United flight with seats available for accommodation. United will waive penalties or fees that may otherwise apply to this change.

If the customer is away from his or her home and must rebook for a flight for the following day, amenities including applicable meals and hotel accommodations for one night will be provided as appropriate. When the customer is able to rebook for a later flight on the same day as originally scheduled, amenities will not be provided.

Baggage allowance
Checked baggage allowances are determined by the number of seats purchased. When two seats are purchased for one customer, the allowance for checked baggage is doubled. The number of carry-on items permitted is determined by the individual passenger allowances set by the TSA, rather than United policy. Consequently, the carry-on allowance is not doubled. Learn more about baggage allowances.”

So that’s it. If you know of something I’m missing here, please let me know!

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Fitting in Amongst the Misfits

I’m in a lot of fat groups on facebook. It’s one of the main reasons why I haven’t left FB all together. The groups I participate in run the gamut of fashion, fatness, activism, feminism, queerness, sex, love, science, art…you name it! Each group has their own set of rules, most of which boils down to: don’t be an oppressive jerk. Even groups that are not fat specific will have rules against body comments or shaming of any kind.
I’ve been writing about my own fat life for over ten years here on this blog-a-ma-thing. Before I took the plunge of starting my own blog, I read so many others! I loved them, too, though most are now defunct. It all felt so exciting and new and thrilling when I first happened upon fat acceptance back in ’05. I wanted to shout from the rooftops and tell every person I encountered that they don’t have to live with that oppressive way of thinking any more! Ha-ha!
I made my own mistakes, too. My passion would overwhelm my reason and I would say something or frame it in such a way that would rub others, more in the know than myself, wrong. Especially on any of the LiveJournal blogs and groups I was in at the time, they also had their own sets of rules and what was not okay to say in a post, and for good reason. We get this oppressive messaging literally everywhere else in the world, we didn’t need it in our “safe space” as well!
Over time these things become reflexive and we can forget our own first few stumbles along the way. I was reminded of this today in a group I enjoy because someone posted for the first time and instantly broke the rules of that group. The thing is, the group is for misfits. This isn’t a group for your plus size instagram models. This is for the offbeat, the dark, the weird, and those who don’t fit in elsewhere. So, I understand their initial confusion when others instructed them to read the rules before posting in the group or at the very least add a trigger or content warning. Instead they did what so many newbies do, they protest and rebel. They also didn’t know there were any rules to speak of.
When I commented that their mention of “progress” of recent intentional weight loss was something that would be rewarded literally everywhere else and that fat people live with that oppression constantly, others chimed in with their knee-jerk congratulations. UGH! I understand wanting to be compassionate, but there was some harmful and triggering language and many commented saying so as well. But I noticed that while they were seeking reinforcement, that they also admitted, at length, how they were full of self hate on the inside.
When I read further down the thread of comments and the poster’s responses it became apparent to me that they were lost and simply seeking connection and advice. That is when I got it and understood exactly where they were at in their own self acceptance journey and I could relate and connect with that easily. When I went to comment I got an error message that the post had been taken down. They didn’t have to delete it, only edit to add the trigger/content warning. So I direct messaged them what I had tried to submit as a comment:
I don’t know that they will read/see my advice. Maybe it came off too harsh. I can be too blunt at times, but I also know that we need that voice in the darkness sometimes. We need someone to call us out on our own bullshit. We can get so confused and caught up in it all that we can absolutely forget to just sit and be with our feelings. It’s a valuable thing to do, don’t discount it. They were much younger than I, but already on the right path towards acceptance. If only they could let go of the voice of the oppressor in their own head. I feel that, deeply.
How hard it is to break up with those old ways and thoughts and truly start anew! To not just understand but to know that your life and your future is in your own hands, to be designed and decided upon as you see fit…right now! Not some far off distant future. You cannot get there though by stepping on others. When you harm others you carry that with you forever, whether you’re aware or not.
So, okay, the “how” part…First, stop lying. Stop lying to yourself that being smaller feels better when you know it doesn’t. Stop trying to be the “good fatty” always trying to fit in when the world won’t make room for you no matter what size you are or aren’t. Stop throwing other fatties (bigger/smaller/in general) under the bus so that you can get brownie points from straight-sized folks! Stop lying in general about anything and everything, to yourself, about yourself, to others and about others. Just stop! This alone will get you on the right path towards authenticity!
Yes, to be authentically oneself is something that is undeniable. To shut out the gross voices in our heads, or in our lives, and to finally walk a path of our own making. You hear that? No? Oh, that’s the sound of my own personal horn section warming up. They get going any time I am about to leave the house. What? The world needs a heads up! I am unstoppable, so long as I stay true to me! The same could be said of you! Give it a spin, couldn’t hurt!
Rad Fatty Love to ALL,
<3
S

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Monday, 15 April 2019

You Can Surprise Even Yourself

I’m a lifelong sufferer of insomnia. I have struggled with sleeplessness since I was twelve years old and I was just starting junior high, and also getting bullied. Even before the PTSD-C that my abuser gifted me not long after (at age fourteen), anxiety must’ve started with me even earlier, likely around five. In any case, it’s usually falling asleep that is the hurdle to get across for me. Of course I’ve tried all the remedies, homemade or over the counter, I’ve mostly shied away from prescriptions, but that’s more due to access than other things. Over the years I have found what works best for me and when to use or not use certain methods.
I have never been what one might call a “morning person”. *Shivers* No one has ever called or mistaken me for one either, I can assure you. Yes, I’ve had a few jobs that required that I begin my shift at an ungodly hour: 6 am. It is one thing to have to wake up at this time, but it is another entirely to have to be up and awake and alive and ready to work and interact with other humans. Perish the thought! But I’ve done it, many times, for many years even. First at a wedding website, then for a quality control company for insurance agencies, and finally at my own cafe. I always managed, in my own odd ways.
When I have had jobs that allowed me to have a weekend off, I always want to sleep in! There is nothing more delightful than relishing in the comfort of one’s own bed. Ahh! Yet I have not once had a bed partner who would agree, hardly fair, I think. Can my next bed partner be all about hanging out in bed?! Ha-ha! Even my puggo likes to get up and have breakfast before the sun comes out before going back to bed again.
I’ve lived on my own a good long while now and for sure every weekend I do sleep in. I may get up a couple of times, but I’ll go back each time to fully commit to that good weekend morning sleep! An ex-boyfriend didn’t understand it, my ex-husband felt much the same way, but it is a type of rest that only comes when there’s no anticipation of an alarm clock or obligation.
To my own utter amazement I did not sleep in this weekend, at all! It wasn’t planned and I had no intention of getting up and starting the day so early, but on both days of this past weekend I was up and dressed and doing things before 8 am! I do tend to go to bed early on Friday evenings, but that’s never caused me to wake up early before! Ha-ha! Perhaps I’m at a point where my sleep cycle is no longer running on a continuous deficit? I can’t be sure.
On Saturday I don’t think it even registered how early I was up or maybe I just didn’t want to acknowledge it. It wasn’t until Sunday, as I was at the checkout line at Trader Joe’s, the last stop of my errands, when I looked at my phone with astonishment: 9:28 am. I had already made three previous stops. I couldn’t believe my own eyes and just sort of stood there dumbfounded for a moment, but then it was my turn to check out so I snapped out of it. Ha-ha! It was a strange feeling, though, to feel good and be doing things and yet have it all feel as though it’s not you doing it?! Hard to explain.
I think I’m in a phase of some sort, of possibly shedding some old ways. Can only be good, I’m certain. On Saturday I had made sure to take care of some things that would allow me to feel less stress and to set myself up for a better week ahead, too. I didn’t get around to washing my bedding, but I may just do that tonight. The best part is that it doesn’t matter at all, not one bit! There is no one it affects but myself and I don’t have any sort of need or care about such things, only a fleeting fancy here and there.
Oh I did get a lovely pot of chrysanthemums (white with yellow centers) and a small mint plant that I promptly added to my lil’ garden/planter box. I forgot to snap a photo, but it’s not much to look at just yet. It did make me happy though, to be in the morning sunshine for a few minutes, massage living things into the dirt. And I had started to write again, more poetry/rant-y type stuff, in a notebook that day and kind of kept it going through Sunday.
I feel good. About all this, about my life right now. I have worries, but I think things will work out just fine. They always do somehow. I feel that I have let some internal notions go and this has given me new strength or motivation. I don’t always want to hide from the sun, the world. I do enjoy the more gentle rays of late morning or early evening. If that ain’t a metaphor for my life I am not sure what is?! Ha! I just know that, as troubling as things have been, better, so much better, is on the horizon…for all of us.
Let us each dig deep into the earth, into ourselves, and free up what has been tethering or weighing us down. We can choose to let go and lift ourselves up, even and especially if it feels funny in the moment. I can’t truly explain the serenity I felt this past weekend, but it’s wholly my own and that is fucking priceless!
We do not have to carry habits that no longer serve us. We do not have to follow suit, simply because “that’s how it’s always been”. We can choose to step away and observe and decide for ourselves what is right, what feels best for ourselves now. Do not give thought or concern to what was. As the dead leaves have nourished the soil beneath the trees from whence they came, so too can you feed your roots and give yourself and your life a new chance to bloom into the life and garden of your own creation.
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: http://bit.ly/2zKvPnQ

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (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 don’t post much, I have been trying to: http://bit.ly/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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Saturday, 13 April 2019

A Night Out for SmoJoe’s!

If you were to ask me at random if I like musicals I will tell you that I do not. I may add a caveat of, “except for Hello Dolly and JC Superstar” but even that is rare. In fact I actually cannot stand at all the way modern broadway vocals sound, it’s all very nasally and obnoxious to me. We all have our preferences, though, so it’s whatever, ya know? I have been incredibly fortunate to have a BFF who is also a skilled and talented (yes, both!) actor, dancer, singer, choreographer, writer, and director. They’re kind of a big deal! Over the last twenty years I have seen most of the shows they have been in or directed. I say most because they were in a million shows in 2017 and I know I missed at least two! Ha-ha!

The very first show I saw Jery perform in was Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and it made me see them in a new light. Now I’ve seen a ton of their shows over the years, but the stand out favorites have been JC Superstar, their Judas was unparalleled and just blew me away, West Side Story, the production wasn’t great but their Chino brought tears to everyone’s eyes I swear, White Christmas, ohmigosh I don’t even like Christmas but I cried my dumb face off at the end of that one they were so damned amazing in it, and then my memory gets hazy. I recall some plays they were in that were incredible to watch, titles escape me but one was for MACLA a local org and another at the San Jose Mexican Heritage Plaza Theater, both were sublime. I can honestly say that their theater resume is varied and rich with content!

It has been an honor and a privilege to see someone I know and love and drink with often evolve and grow and flourish in their abilities. Even when the show wasn’t great, their performance proved a shining beacon no one could deny. Catch me if you can was a delightful romp and a bit different than what I had seen them in previously. Several years ago I recall seeing them perform in a revue-like show called Smokey Joe’s Cafe and I had no idea how much I would love it. That production had built a story line into it, but I honestly didn’t notice! Ha-ha! I was so dazzled by well dressed men singling splendidly and dancing around on stage. And I knew all the songs! That had never happened before. I truly loved it. When they told me last year that they would be directing and choreographing Smokey Joe’s Cafe this year I was stoked!

When my BFF from Ohio came to visit we had no idea we’d get the exceptional opportunity to see Jery’s production of SmoJoe’s, as it is oft referred, the night before it opened! Wow! What a treat! Y’all! We were fucking blown away! The caliber of talent in the cast was beyond compare. Not just in vocals, but the dancing! SO MUCH DANCING! I was blissed the fuck out, lemme tell ya! Ha-ha! I just love seeing people dance and that choreography was so fun! I noticed some lil’ easter eggs, if you will, he’d thrown in there. Maybe not just for me, but a few of ’em felt like it. Ha! (J you know which move I’m referring to! Ha!) After seeing so many shows and even this same show before you’d think I’d be tough to impress at this point, and I might agree with you. However, Jery is a seasoned professional with great vision and a rich pool of talent from which to build his show!

Of course I would have preferred to see them in the show singing and dancing too, but seeing the end result was nothing short of awesome. I must admit it was a bit of a treat, though kinda wrong, to see them anxious and sweating bullets before opening night. I just so rarely see that side of them and always feel like a complete mess myself. Ha-ha! That’s what friends are for, right?! Everything went off without a hitch and anyone who saw the show gushed about its greatness, I can assure you! I was lucky enough to see it twice! I love a good opening gala!

They will likely hate me for posting this picture but I fucking love the hell out of it and I hope they get that part before the self deprecating thoughts/comments begin.

I kind of love “bad” pics of myself at this point…but I really love this outfit! 

One of the shining stars of the show, Tony Gonzales, and their ever-espressive face! Ohmigosh! When the group sang “Ying Yang” Tony’s face was the whole show! Ha-ha!

These are Tony’s precious puppers dressed for the opening gala reception and to theme in their poodle skirts! Too cute!

After the show was the gala reception with champagne and h’ordeuvres and all the chatting and laughter you can imagine. It’s always a great time, but for me especially because it means I’m hanging and chatting and drinkin’ champers with my two BFFs! J’s spouse P never misses a show…or the rum balls! Ha-ha! With all of the hustle and bustle in the lobby slowly dying down, some of the cast and it’s illusive director popped back onto the stage for a quick celebratory Sake Bomb, only with cider instead of beer. J had asked if I could take a quick video of it for them and I said, “Of course…if you’ll snap some pics of me at this bar right now!” and so…

That’s me on stage, hanging out at Smokey Joe’s Cafe! During the show the shelves were all lit up beautifully!

I highly recommend supporting your local theater. You may even be surprised to find that you like musicals after all, as I did. Ha-ha!

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: http://bit.ly/2zKvPnQ

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (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 don’t post much, I have been trying to: http://bit.ly/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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Friday, 12 April 2019

Walkin’ in the Sunshine…Whooooah!

One of the things that I have struggled with in the past has been taking regular walks with my puggo. In his youth, he’s now 9, he would get 4-7 walks a day and went to work with my ex-husband everyday. In my last two dwellings there was a big yard and another dog for him to run around and play with. In my new place, while I do have a tiny yard, I knew this would be a big hurdle for me to get over. He does just fine on his own during the day, sleeping being his main hobby, but I worried about the walks. I am happy to report that this has been mostly a non-issue for me. I love my apartment and my neighborhood is pretty chill. There are a lot of dogs, but most (or their owners) are not friendly so we keep to ourselves.

My neighborhood is mostly medical offices/buildings, which sounds boring, but we enjoy the landscaping they each have. Now that the weather has been warming up and the sun coming out more often, it seems everything is in bloom! Don’t worry, I started on my Flonase Sensimist in early February! Ha-ha! It’s gorgeous though! One problem, I’m allergic to sunscreen and burn in mere minutes. What’s a Morticia-life gal like me to do? Well, timing is everything, but I have a UV Parasol just in case, too. I prefer to take our main walk around 6pm and this has proven to be juuuuust right!

I talk a lot about my amazing group of friends and it’s no lie. They lift me up, they keep me grounded, they show me the light of my own shine sometimes when the grossness of the world dulls my ever perspective. They also give me one helluva hard time when it’s been “too long” since I’ve posted selfies or outfit photos. Ha-ha! I appreciate their love so much, y’all, I have no words to even describe it! The photos thing? Well, I’ve been workin’ on it. I no longer have my very own in-house cheerleader and personal photographer (Ash-Cat! *Hugs*) but I do have great lighting in my bathroom and the best camera on my phone ever (Pixel 3 for the win!).

Having the walk to give my brain a break after work but before I settle in for the night has been wonderful. And the changing season’s light has been very nice for my selfies. I do try to get good pics of my sweet lil’ pugtato, but he’s just not a fan of the cam, nothing I can do about that. Ha-ha! So here I present to you some pics from walks and selfies in my bathroom, because because because. Ha!

3-10-19 This was a post-Drunch selfie after I had finally found my beloved Madonna shirt I thought I had lost a few years ago. I was sober when I got home but then hit up that lovely Trader Joe’s prosecco I love so much to keep the party going! Ha-ha! (My BFF Michaela got a hilarious video that day of me dancing/lip synching “Little Red Corvette” as a result!)

3-17-19 St. Patrick’s Day I had a brunch date with a new person. It went well. We had lovely BBQ food.

This green dress is my newest from Eshakti and I love it so! I get custom sizing because you can also style it yourself. I added the puffed sleeves. 

Wish I’d gotten a full-length shot of this dress, it’s from H&M and the only thing that fit out of an order of 6 items. I get compliments on it a lot. I enjoy it’s floral pattern with fall colors (my jam!) and the midi length with not too high slits on the sides. It creates a neat-o swish when I walk.

Dorking it up, but what else is new?!

I wear these Doc Marten’s nearly every day at this point. They go with everything, are comfortable af, and are just my signature style thing!

Majestic pugtato, doing his darnedest to not look at the camera, ever! He was nice enough to climb up on this rock for after all. “Isn’t that enough, Mama?” *PuggySigh*

I have a thing for trees. In all seasons, really. 

I wish I’d gotten better shots because the colors are just glorious, but he wasn’t having any part of it. Just kept sniffin’!

This was my bombshell dress from Eshakti last year. I still love and wear it so much. It classes up any occasion and fuck yeah I’ll wear it with Doc Marten’s!

I so rarely think to take a side shot! I’m glad that I did. Double bellies to the front! 

The sun actually felt good to me that day. I can’t explain it, but I’m sure it is a normal feeling for most folks. I just rarely get the chance to actually enjoy it.

This is my favorite! Actual proof that I don’t burst into flames when in direct sunlight! Oh yeah! (Duffman voice! Ha-ha!)

Had to go to the dentist two weeks ago, this painting was in their restroom, when a fruit gusher (my first one ever) took out a crown. That one tooth will end up costing me $4600 out of pocket and that’s after my insurance pays their part. UGH!

This magnolia not two weeks ago was mostly bare branches with those big white and magenta blossoms falling from it everywhere. Now it is so lush with fresh leaves I couldn’t look away!

I never wear this top. It’s from Avenue, 3+ years ago. I always get compliments, but it’s not a favorite. The necklace, however, is a prized possession. It’s a sterling silver peace sign my father had designed/made for me when I was 12 years old. I’ll always be a hippie at heart…even if my heart is black now. 

I just love the fuck out of this meme. It’s 100% true, for me, too! I’ve had another date since that St. Pat’s one, and it also went well…and we’re meeting up for drinks tonight!!! In all honesty, though, cis-het-men are just phoning it in on the daily and I don’t have time for that bullshit. 

I hope you have enjoyed my ridiculousness. I know a couple of my BFFs will be texting me the moment they read this. Ha-ha! I love it! I love you! Thank you so much for reading my blog-a-ma-thing. I always mean to write here, to write more, to write at all, but my ideas get too big and I can’t get the words together. I’m still here, fatting it up, just doing my thing. I would love to hear from you about your life and interests or what you’d like to see here. Is there a topic you’d like me to dive into? Would you like to write a guest post? Share a Tank Top Tuesday pic? Haven’t done those in ages, but I miss it so! Wishing you all the very best in all that you do.

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: http://bit.ly/2zKvPnQ

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (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 don’t post much, I have been trying to: http://bit.ly/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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