Thursday, 19 May 2022

Abuse Survivor’s Can See You! (Heard/Depp Defamation Trial)

TW/CW for mentions and descriptions of abuse, control, and violence. Also when I use the word women in my writing I always mean all women, not only cisgendered women. Trans women are women! TERFs are never welcome on this page or anywhere near me, ever! 

I have not been following the Heard/Depp defamation trial. I tried everything I could, actually, to avoid hearing about it. But no, every fucking day I have to hear or see something so unbelievably triggering it is incredible that I am able to function at all. I’m serious. If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, my abuse survival comes up pretty regularly. Guess what?! My abuse survival comes up in my everyday life, everyday. It’s not something I ever get to just put away for a while and forget about. Far from it! Lately it’s been so bad that I have such levels of exhaustion that I keep testing myself for covid (so far very much negative and grateful). The amount of hate and violence towards women, reminding us every fucking waking moment of our lives that much of the world would prefer we were dead rather than non-compliant to any whim of the status quo. 

I rarely share my abuse survival with people I work with or new people that may come into my life. Not because I fear for how they would perceive me, I rarely consider that side of it but I’m now thinking that perhaps I should start, but because of the fact that the few people who have heard any details simply cannot handle it at all. I’ve seen grown men turn pale when I describe one or two specific instances, not even the really bad/terrifying ones, or even outright refuse to accept it. “That cannot be true!” they exclaimed with an insistent look on their face. I’ve had people get mad at me about it, like I had some say in the matter. I’ve had people stop talking to me because they really couldn’t wrap their head around someone they know/like (me) having gone through what I did and being a decent human being in the end. Or of course the delightfully gaslighting that is, “Why didn’t you leave?!” or “Why didn’t you call the cops?!” Which are not real questions and only prove that survivors really can’t ever fucking trust anyone.

The truth of what I really survived will likely never be known by anyone but me. I don’t get to choose that, either. My C-PTSD brain likes to surprise me with dreams and memories, as vivid as daylight sometimes, of what happened to me. It also does its best, as it did then, to protect me in order to survive. To literally continue living and breathing, my brain had to hide things from me while it was happening and after too. My entire being was taken from me, and while I rebuilt it/me, nothing would or really could ever go back to what it/I once was. I don’t and won’t ever get to see the world or any cisgendered, heterosexual, male human as safe ever again. It hasn’t just changed me or colored how I view things, it really rewired my brain. I wasn’t claustrophobic before I met my abuser and now it is the actual worst, for example. 

Seeing the media publish headlines like, “Can we believe women ever again?” about this fucking defamation trial has resurrected a level of dread over my own existence and the world’s. The ceaseless scrutiny of every facial expression, garment worn, even who/when/if eye contact is established with anyone in the courtroom at all. It’s maddening and so predictable! The entire world hates women it feels like. If not for intersectional feminist groups online, I would fully believe it was the entire world that hates women. I do not believe that anyone with any measure of power in this world gives a shit about us, that is for sure! Ahem!

Abuse survivors didn’t choose to be abused. We often never even got to choose to survive. There were more times than I could ever count that I didn’t want to survive. I remember wanting him to finally fucking kill me and get it over with so that a.) he might actually be punished/accountable/imprisoned/removed from society, and b.) to finally be free from the constant violence and threats of worse, always worse. The really important part about all of this and the subject of domestic violence (really it’s gendered violence, I hate the word domestic), abuse survivors don’t owe anyone a damned thing! We don’t owe you our stories, or our testimonies, we don’t owe anyone an explanation or retelling or reliving our traumas to “make sense” of anything for others. It doesn’t make sense. It won’t make sense. Sense was never part of the picture. It is all and always will be about power dynamics. 

Tell me you hate women without saying you hate women: Tell me how you feel about this defamation trial! The “hot takes” are cold wet garbage spouted into the collective void of the internet to make themselves feel a taste of that power. They fucking envy this shit, I promise you that. It doesn’t mean that they would enact the same violence to get it, but they envy it. Because what does anyone gain from saying all of this horrible shit about a woman they truly know nothing about? Momentary feelings of relevancy? More likes or followers? It’s embarrassing. 

I’m at a point in life, especially being single and dating in this so-called modern world, that I am not convinced that most cis-hetero men actually like or want to know anything about women. They refuse to learn even basic anatomy and biology, they refuse to grow and learn to be better people in general (often insisting they “were raised right” so believing nothing to grow from),  most have no interests that would ever overlap with an actual grown ass woman, refuse to do anything in the world to make it a better or safer place for the children they believe they should be bringing into this it. Again, it’s very embarrassing for them, or should be anyway. I’m bisexual, I date all genders, but it does feel awful to be attracted to those you know fucking hate that you even exist. Ugh!

Abuse survivors are only believed when they are absolutely perfect and angelic to start with, and the abuser is the biggest monster with witnesses galore, and even then it is a long shot. That’s it! Outside of that very narrow scope, we are never believed and are always punished for reporting/telling anyone what happened to us. It is kept under wraps by families who find out out of fear of making the abuser “look bad”. More often than not, it is the abuser that gets protected, shown sympathy, and is held up as the victim. Classic! It would be laughable if it wasn’t so terribly tragic. 

If you’re familiar with patterns of abuse, then you already know about DARVO. It is a way to recognize what is happening and when I first heard about it I thought, “Wow! This really fits the bill!!!” Definition of DARVO: DARVO refers to a reaction perpetrators of wrong doing, particularly sexual offenders, may display in response to being held accountable for their behavior. DARVO stands for “Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender.” The perpetrator or offender may Deny the behavior, Attack the individual doing the confronting, and Reverse the roles of Victim and Offender such that the perpetrator assumes the victim role and turns the true victim — or the whistle blower — into an alleged offender. This occurs, for instance, when an actually guilty perpetrator assumes the role of “falsely accused” and attacks the accuser’s credibility and blames the accuser of being the perpetrator of a false accusation.

Again, I have not followed this defamation trial, but since it is being shoved down my throat each and every day, I can tell you that much of what I have seen and heard aligns very much with DARVO and my own abuse experiences. The smashing of glass, cupboards, walls, those horrific texts (no one who actually loves someone talks like that about them I assure you), and the worst of and the most viscerally real for me was the glass bottle insertion…I have been in that moment. It feels like the world stops turning but worst of all is that no one knows and nothing stops. You feel yourself leaving your body because your brain is desperately trying to protect you. You can’t process what is happening because it can’t be happening, right?! The abuse never seems “that bad” or even real until it goes way beyond anything you thought you could survive and then it’s too fucking late!

I was fourteen years old when I met my abuser, who was twenty-one. It took only three months for him to take over every aspect of my life, move into my family’s home, and beat the ever loving shit out of me on a daily basis. He forced me to drop out of school. Every phone call, he monitored. What I wore, if or when and how much makeup I was allowed to have on each day, he would supervise. After five months he had made certain I had no contact with anyone else without his physical presence. When I started working full time, he went with me my first day because he needed to know that I was only working with women. Thank the stars we didn’t have cell phones, the internet, or social media, I cannot imagine what he would have put me through over that stuff. He even convinced my dad to sign my emancipation papers by saying it would insulate me and possibly my siblings from the pending custody battle my dad thought he’d be facing at the time. Really it was to protect him and no one else. 

The only way I was able to escape after five years of daily violence and terror was simply that someone noticed something was off. That’s it! They didn’t see anything or hear anything, they hadn’t seen me in years and actually wasn’t at the house we shared to see me at all, but they noticed a vibe. They were gentle and kind about it and simply said, “I don’t know what is going on, but if you ever need a place to stay…” I left the very next day! I had never even heard of the town I moved to twenty miles south of my hometown, but it has been my favorite city ever since. Had that one person not given me an out, I don’t know that I would have survived even the next month, the violence was at an all time high at that point. I mean steering wheel grabbing and opening doors on the freeway level violence.

Today the media is playing up, “Is this the death of # Me Too?” nonsense, which is so fucking appalling! Because how dare anybody try to hold anyone accountable for anything at all ever, oh unless you’re a woman. Then you get punished for fucking existing! The fucking hoops we have to jump through just to get by in the world is too damned much. Not even taking into account that gendered violence is waiting for us around every damned corner! But please, do tell me how we’re all a bunch of fucking liars! (Insert epic eye roll here.) They want it both ways, but we refuse to give it to them, so they try to destroy us. They want something that never existed in the first place and they are pissed as hell about it. 

I used to love Johnny Depp. I won’t hide that. 21 Jump Street and Nightmare on Elm Street were a big part of my childhood. I had a crush on this dude, but I didn’t know anything about him. I do remember though when he got the “Winona Forever” tattoo for Winona Ryder who he was dating at the time. My abuser got a tattoo of my name across his heart without warning or notice, he just showed up at my school and pulled up his shirt to loudly (mega embarrassingly) proclaim his “love” for me. I was disgusted by it, still am. To think that fucker has my name on his flesh for life? Well, mine wasn’t even the first and I knew that, so when he got it and showed me, it just felt like any other time he would punch or kick me in the stomach. I never talked about it. I don’t know if I have ever told anyone about that part. 

The similarities of Depp and my abuser are painfully obvious to me now. The big proclamations, the over the top devotion (that was fake as hell and I knew it), the way they would say the most horrific things to my face about how they were going to destroy my body in the most horrific ways after they killed me, saying they would sexually violate me post mortem, or even while alive because they insisted that they owned me, making it clear every chance they had (without witnesses) that there was no escape. The threats of violence were incessant. The physical violence always came in a moment of calmness, though occasionally not. Usually the violence, both physical and verbal, were related to his intoxication from pills and booze, though certainly not at the level of Depp’s addictions. In public and especially at bars, he would publicly propose marriage so that the entire bar would celebrate and buy him more booze. I got nothing from it but humiliation and occasionally a roll of quarters for pinball, I was too young to drink. He’d use the same trash fingerhut ring and would beat the shit out of me when I would take it off because it kept turning my finger green.

If you had asked anyone at the time about seeing bruises or marks from the physical violence they would have been shocked and appalled. They never saw a thing! I became very good at hiding hickies in the seventh grade, my friends would come to me to cover them, and of course I covered my own too. So I already knew how to take redness and purple marks and turn them into nothing you would ever notice in a lifetime of being right there looking at it. We didn’t even have all of the wonderful products for evening tone and texture like there are now. My secret weapon was a green eyeshadow, the right pink shadow, concealer stick, foundation, makeup sponge, and of course that classic green compact of Covergirl’s pressed powder at the time. More often than not, especially after one time where I couldn’t leave my bedroom because there wasn’t enough makeup in the world to cover the level of swelling and bruises I had, my abuser wouldn’t hit me somewhere that would show or garner attention. That would have defeated the purpose. No, he made sure to hit/punch/kick/grab my back, stomach, thighs, and every tiny tender spot you can imagine. I have no doubt that makeup helped me survive, I know for a fact that it provided the opportunity for me to hold a job and be out in public when I otherwise would not have been able to. Demonizing this is offensive and wrong. Demonize the abuse and abuser, not the survivor trying to maintain any semblance of normalcy in the world.   
The aggression you see, the banging on things, breaking things, throwing things, it is a show. They want to show you how they feel about you. It’s what they truly want to do to you, but they know they can’t, so they destroy you in other ways. Calling you a whore, a slut, a piece of shit, isolating you from everyone who cares about you, controlling as much as they possibly can about your day to day life, they will degrade you in every way imaginable and then keep going beyond even that. They will tear you down to nothing and then plant seeds all around to destroy your reputation, too. Talking to a grocery store cashier could get you thrown into a closet, beat up, pissed on, and locked inside for three hours. Well, that happened to me anyway. I have no doubt that there are instances that Amber Heard can’t yet recall because her brain won’t allow it, it’s still trying to protect her. She has gained nothing through all of this. I genuinely hope that she can isolate and do some healing and has the support in her life to create a new and more positive existence for herself. She. faces a lifetime of flashbacks, sleepless nights or ones filled with nightmares, hypervigilance, and so much more.

Oh, right, the “mutual abuse” thing. No. That isn’t a thing! Though I do understand wanting that to be true, it takes some of the pressure off of us and the abuser to believe that. I remember one very specific instance where I not only fought back, and didn’t go thinking survivors don’t fight back, but actually scared the shit out of my abuser by how I did it. This was like 3-4 years into the situation (I refuse to call it a relationship when I was an actual fucking hostage), and my own rage and strength surprised me. I don’t remember the start of the fight, but I remember how it ended. I lifted him two feet off the ground and slammed his back right onto the ground with every fiber of my being. The look of terror on his face I will never forget. I remember him laying there, very close to tears (hawd how they love to pull out the fucking alligator tears when the tables turn for even moment), trying to raise himself back up and insisting, “Sarah! You could have killed me! You could have really hurt me! You know about my medical conditions, how could you even think of doing this to me…ME?!!!” I vividly recall stepping back and laughing too. 

Everything you think you know about domestic abuse, gendered violence, unless you’ve lived it, you don’t know shit. It is everywhere, right under our noses, we walk by it everyday and don’t notice it. It flies under every radar because there is no radar for this. There is nothing that exists today that would prevent it from happening. Oh, well, sure…education! Ha-ha! But in the USA that is a shit show all on its own, so it’s a joke to even suggest it. Education would help tremendously, though. I think things like consent, understanding boundaries and appropriate versus inappropriate behaviors, should be taught in kindergarten and continue through into higher education because the relevancy and tactics of abuse change and mature as we do. There are signs of course that you can keep an eye out for and absolutely should, but I want to ask you pointedly, if you knew something was going on with someone you knew, what would you do? We often have grand ideas about such things. Reality is much more disappointing though. 

I am personally asking you to never call the cops, and to instead save your local crisis center hotline in your phone now so that when an occurrence arises you will have it handy. And then… What can you truly offer them? A place to live? An income? Safety? Do not confront the abuser, your priority should be the safety and comfort of the abuse survivor and nothing else. Confronting them dramatically can set off a shame spiral. Be gentle! Let them know that you are concerned and want them to have the life that they want for themselves. Let them know that their comfort and safety is all that matters to you. Let them know you have thought this through and have a plan of escape, even if it is literally jumping out a window with no possessions in the middle of the night. Let them know up front that you know it’s not their fault, no matter what they or anyone else says, it is not their fault!

I called the police on my abuser twice. Both times the cops aligned with him upon arrival and painted a nice pretty picture of my insanity (note: they keep saying Amber heard has a number of mental illnesses when she more than likely has C-PTSD). When I had bruises and blood from fresh wounds, they accused me of abusing him. They accused me of purchasing my emancipation papers illegally (it is very hard to get emancipated as a minor, you must prove your independence, have both parents sign, and go before a judge to plead your case). I have never called the police for anything ever again and I won’t. That is not what they are there for or are trained for. My abuser made it clear that a third attempt would mean not just my life but my entire family’s lives, too. He reminded me every day that he had the power, and that at any point in time he could simply choose to slaughter them all, in front of me, in the most gruesome of detail. This is all so on the surface of what I went through, but I think you get the picture by now. 

The only way I was able to escape was by absolute luck! Had that friend not just happened to be visiting another occupant of the house we shared, had he not offered me a place to stay, had he not picked up on something being off (my abuser wasn’t present when this happened), who knows what could have happened. I don’t for a moment believe that I would have gotten out. By that point I couldn’t get a job, I was applying and interviewing, but not getting offers. Finally, once I moved away, I found out that he was telling potential employers that I was dead. I started to give my grandma’s phone number instead, and bam, got a job! That job led me to every good thing in my life ever! What saved me, ultimately, was my abuser not knowing where I was and not knowing who I was with or anything other than where my family lived and I wasn’t with them. When he discovered where I was living he showed up and beat up my other two roommates to find out where I worked. He only knew I had a job because my grandma didn’t know not to tell him, my family really thought that whole five years that I was just in a weird relationship. Ugh! He showed up at my job, I had only had a few weeks at that point, covered in blood and tried to grab me from behind the counter. Had my boss not just happened to be there on his day off to run payroll, who knows, he may have succeeded in trapping me with more violence again. But My boss heard the commotion, called security, and came out and physically apprehended him until security could take him out. That was the last time I saw him. I looked over my shoulder for another ten years after that. Now I worry about how I might react if I ever crossed his path again. The truth is I don’t know. I have had some wild and violent fantasies, but I can’t say at all that that is within my nature. 

My abuser never stood trial, was never arrested, never punished in any way whatsoever. He went on, I imagine, to live whatever the hell life he wanted. He’s still alive. Several years ago, out of morbid curiosity, I looked him up on Facebook. The picture of him now was a shock. He was already disabled when he was twenty-one, so I have no idea how his health may have degraded since. Part of me imagined that he would have died by now, certainly, with all of the drugs and scams (drugs, credit card and check fraud, outright mugging people, fencing of stolen goods, I suspected some pimping towards the end as well) he was always doing. I needed to know that he didn’t live in my hometown, having had to move back there for a few years. And luckily he didn’t. Moving back there gave me the worst flashbacks of all, it was a constant source of triggers, I hope I never have to go back. 

Notice I said “have to”? Yeah, financial abuse is all a part of this as well. When I had jobs, he took my money. When I didn’t have a job, he made me pull scams and dumpster dive. I never had cash to buy my lunch at work, but he always had money for beer and pills. Any means of control, and an abuser will attempt it and even work hard to succeed in their aims. Restraining orders at the time were about $800, per county. Because I moved to escape, that would have meant needing two restraining orders since my family lived in another county where my abuser also lived. I had only just started my retail job at the mall (1996/1997 wages, y’all!), where was I going to come up with $1600? And go to court? No thanks, I had seen enough courtrooms by that point to never want to be in one again. Come to find out, the island-owning Depp has financial issues! That and punishing Heard for ever speaking up at all (she never named him until the defamation trials, and she won the first one) is surely why this suit was brought to the court of Virginia (a state neither lives in, and has much more lax laws about domestic abuse). Abusers always want the last say, the last laugh, the last blow, the last drop of your blood and they will never be satisfied with even that. 

So unless you can offer someone a place to stay where their abuser will never think to look for them or know anyone around you or your circle at all (snitches are everywhere), there’s only so much you can do. Shelters have a lot of restrictions and requirements and often foster more abuse in those settings. There’s no magic charity that can swoop in and save someone with free fresh clothes, a place to live safely, and a means of indepence like an income. And even then, they will need so much support, therapy, learning how to live a normal life again, and years of needing all of that and more just to get to a sense of safety and normalcy. And what if they aren’t willing to leave the abuser? What then? Be present! Stay present as much as you possibly can, even be annoying-level present! Most abusers will almost never show their ugly side to anyone but their victim. Your presence could keep their victim safer than without. It is in isolation that they do their worst. 
This defamation trial has been unbearable for abuse survivors the world over. It shows us everything we always suspected was true. It supe-mega sucks! Seeing people in your own life side with an abuser is devastating. We now know for certain who we can never trust, never want to be alone with, never feel safe around again. The outcome of the trial is still unknown to everyone. I am dreading the day when the judgement is handed down, regardless of what it is, because once again we will feel it like a sucker punch to the gut, collectively. Worse still is that this trial has the potential to create a blueprint for abusers to further harm their victims. Already Brian Warner (Marilyn Manson) has filed a defamation suit against Evan Rachel Wood, it’s a terrible tool of the powerful to further cause harm. Because the power was already in their hands or they never could have perpetuated that level of abuse against us. They are charming and can convince anyone but their victim of their innocence. Until women are believed and supported when they do report and speak up, nothing will ever fucking change. 


I’m here for realness and sincerity, honesty and vulnerability, I’m here for the good and juicy bits of life that shine for me when I know I’m heading in the right direction.

Rad Fatty Love to ALL,

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via I'm Not Blue at All

Sunday, 15 May 2022

Cat Made Me Do It

I wasn’t going to write on this blog ever again. I left it up so people could see my old posts, which I am very proud of, both for my writing itself and the work I did as a fat activist. But I was done with blogging. But then something awful happened. So awful it has taken me weeks to settle into a place where I can talk about it publicly.

One Saturday morning in March, I received a Facebook message to tell me that my darling friend Dr Cat Pausé had suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. A Facebook message sent to me by her devastated father, all the way from Texas. As I typed a shocked response to him and then started working on one to her dearest friends who found her, my phone rang in my hands and another lovely friend was calling me to tell me she was gone. I was in shock. Her father gave me permission to share the news publicly, and the shocked emails, messages, tweets and posts came in and I went into “helpful” mode, trying to console others, making sure the people who mattered to Cat and whom she mattered to were informed, and looking for other ways I could be supportive and useful.

I was deeply honoured to be asked to represent the fat community at the private service for her, where I was asked to speak on behalf of the community and be one of her pallbearers. I wrote a piece that I hope expressed how much she mattered to me, to us, which I will reproduce below. I also gave a similar version at the public memorial held at Massey University the following week, where I was so fortunate to finally meet in person her lovely parents, I can’t imagine the grief they are going through. I wish there was more I could do for them, I hope that I have expressed to them how much she was loved and respected and will be missed dearly by so many people.

I still hadn’t really cried right up until I literally had my hand on her coffin at the funeral, walking it through the funeral home, to the sound of the karanga, the formal Māori call to ceremony. Even then I know I still wasn’t grieving fully, it really wasn’t until after the service when two lovely wāhine Māori I didn’t even know held me so tight until I finally let myself fall into grief and begin really mourning my beautiful friend.

And it was at that moment I knew I would be blogging again on this page. Bloody Cat, she was always pushing my boundaries, in a way that always turned out to be good for me. I have heard from others in the fat community that they also have a fire lit under them to continue their activism and work in fat liberation. She will always be an inspiration to us, even though she has been taken from us so early.

So far we have already had a clothing swap for size 24+, organised by Joanna of House of Boom (she has a new range out, go support a fatty’s small business eh?) which was an amazing event of community, seeding Cat’s beautiful wardrobe out into the community of super fatties, the group most neglected and disrespected by both fat activism circles AND the entire community. It was a delight to sit back and watch so many fat babes comfortably trying on clothes and delighting over having something, anything available to them for once. To tell these fat babes they looked fabulous (they did!) and encourage them to adopt Cat’s lovely clothes and love them as much as she did. Cat would have loved it, I could feel her presence several times. She would have been in the thick of it, throwing garments and compliments around the room, as she had in life many times.

I’m not sure what I will write, or how often I will do so, but I at least wanted to take the time to pay respect to and remember Cat and share the piece I wrote for her on behalf of the fat community mourning her loss. My world will never be the same without her, and the world in general is diminished without her in it.

Cat and I in 2012 at the first Fat Studies New Zealand conference in Wellington.

Vale Dr Cat Pausé

What do I say? There are not enough words to convey what Cat meant to me personally, let alone the fat community in general. I first met her in 2010 in Sydney at the Macquarie Fat Studies conference, where this short redhead with the biggest smile I’d ever seen appeared beside me and fan-girled all over me. I’d never experienced such adoration in my life. Once I calmed her down we instantly became friends and in that time she has been my greatest champion, fiercest protector and strongest confidant. She is the reason I finally moved to Aotearoa after talking about it for years.

When I started sharing the news with the community that we had lost her, I expected to hear back from mutual friends. But I have received hundreds of messages in the past week. Cat touched so many lives. From her students, to the listeners of her radio show, fellow scholars, activists like myself, and just dozens of people living in fat bodies who had either seen a news article she was quoted in or chanced upon her social media and been deeply moved by the work she did. I have been told of her kind words, her fierce encouragement, he raucous laugh, her astonishing generosity and mighty intellect touching people she never met, or only met by chance. There was always word at every event or fundraiser that Cat had secretly contributed a lump of her own money to enable others less fortunate to be included. She once told me that her biggest goal was that she would no longer be the go to voice for fat community, because she would no longer be needed, that we would be respected, listened to and believed enough not to need her scholarly input.

We still need her. I still need her. But she gets to rest now, and there has been nobody who has earned that rest more than she has. She was an angel here on earth while she was with us, and I have no doubt wherever her spirit is now, she’s still an angel, just the one with the loudest laugh and biggest smile.

via Fat Heffalump

Friday, 6 May 2022

System Overload, I Guess

TW for brief mentions of r*pe, abuse, molestation, abortion

Where do you go when you don’t feel safe anywhere or with anybody? The internet? Peak triggering right now! I go into work, all smiles and professional attire, but inside, every day this last week, I am fucking screaming and crying and dying inside all at once. It is literally too much for my mind to process!

The Heard V. Depp Defamation trial has been soooo fucking triggering and terrible. I have lived through a similar relationship and allllll of the fucking gaslighting and internet fanboying over Depp has been nauseating at best, soul crushing and triggering actual flashbacks at worst. Throw on top of that the SCOTUS leak and then Mother’s day this weekend and I JUST CANNOT!

Having to unfollow and even block people over this shit is not what I expected from anyone I follow or share mutuals, but 2022 is full of fucking surprises, eh?! The media has been particularly violent and repulsive with shit like, “Can we really ever believe women?!” as headlines. 

Reproductive Justice has been a part of my life since I was twelve! Part of me still wanted to believe that they couldn’t take Roe away. In 2016 I knew better, but still…here we are. And all of the horrible memories of trying to access birth control covertly when my abuser was poking holes in condoms and flushing my pills and raping me on the regular all come flooding the hell back. Seeing folks gaslight fat folks over emergency contraception effectiveness and accessing healthcare, fucking appalling! 

Autonomy is pretty much my number one thing always. My biggest fear? Losing autonomy! When I had my surgery last year, it’s all I could think about. I would wake up from nightmares about waking up after surgery to find that they performed other procedures and removals and such, just horrible shit. Humanity knows no bottom when it comes to the horrors they will enact on “others” and we all fucking know this!

I want to write, like so badly, I keep starting and stopping. I have a formed thought but then it’s gone when my fingers hit the keyboard. There is something there that I want to get out but my brain won’t allow me to come up with the framework for it, I feel it, it’s just like NO BITCH NOT TODAY! So I wait and keep trying. It’s not fun to write about your own abuse survival, but it can help, and at the very least it can get me to push through some stuff so that other things can be processed. But my brain? Not having it this week. Too much happening!

On Sunday I will be attending a workshop for children of toxic mothers. Yeah, it will be mother’s day. That isn’t usually a difficult thing for me to deal with, but can occasionally be an annoyance. This year though, not sure why, it just feels extra terrible. I can’t even say that my mother was toxic. My mother was mentally ill, emotionally neglected, and basically unable to truly raise her children, so I did. Explaining to a beloved that I was never the little girl with or wanting baby dolls or to play mama like other little girls because at five years old I was already changing my new baby brother’s diapers. Wow! I still need to process that little factoid.  

Our brains protect us from things that we aren’t able to process or understand at the time. In my thirties I was constantly remembering shit I hadn’t for most of my life. Now it’s more random bits and bobs, but it’s also how I can see things differently now. I have so much more compassion for my mother’s now-obvious plight, but I don’t love or forgive her or her actions/choices. I can understand why and how and all of that, and I don’t wish her ill or spend energy actively hating her anymore, but I would rather not know or think about her and that’s the truth.

If anything I’m more mad at those she depended on for love and support in her own life and how they failed her at every turn. I do think she should have aborted me though and wonder if her life and mental health could have had better outcomes had she terminated the pregnancy. My parents did what they could with what they had, I’m sure. I am certain their intentions were good. But neither were equipped mentally or financially to raise children. Just my opinion. None of my newer perspectives or newfound compassion towards my parents changes that they did nothing to protect me from molestation or abuse. No one did. NO ONE! Not at 7 years old when I was molested by a family friend of my childhood best friend, and not at 14 years old when a 21 year old took everything from me and destroyed all that I was or could have been. All of my survival skills, and they are plentiful, I learned from friends or just figured out on my own from just trying to stay alive. I still have huge gaps in my basic human skills, but what can ya do?!

What gets me through is me. All that I have been through and overcome and have achieved on my own, it inspires and motivates me to keep going even and especially when nothing fucking makes sense in this world. My imagination is alive and well and ready to transport me where I need to be to feel safe and free. It’s why I prefer to be alone more often than not these days (covid19 still being rampantly infectious EVERYWHERE – I follow wastewater reports, y’all! – is also a big factor).

It is hard to imagine the (romantic) love I know I deserve in my life when I have never seen it in real life. I have never had the kind of relationship I’m “supposed” to. I’ve never had the kind of partner that sees me and supports me fully. It’s hard to even want what I do and know I should have in a partner when betrayal or abandonment is inevitable. I think I might, maybe, possibly, be ready for like an actual romantic relationship again, but the prospects and platforms for these things are beyond upsetting at this point. So I ignore it all and trust that when something is right it will just be right. I keep trying! I don’t even know why I do sometimes, but I keep getting back on that big dumb proverbial horse! Ha-ha!

The last two weeks I have had so many people tell me that I have really lived a full life, I’m so smart and knowledgeable, and “Sarah knows everything!”, “Sarah’s done it all!” when I see myself as so boring and basic. I know I’m not but I don’t feel like I do or say anything particularly interesting or special. At the same time, if I’m being real open and honest (when am I not?! Ha-ha!), I’ve also been absolutely full of myself in the best possible ways! Like I LOVE looking at myself in the mirror lately, even full length ones! Surely this isn’t allowed! Ha-ha! 

I love my own company, I have the best time. I put on music every night when I get home from work and allow the music to create some imaginary respite for myself. I linger and relish over my white wine spritzer and it never ceases to surprise me how quickly the ice melts! (Bota Box Sauvignon blanc with Vizzy watermelon hard seltzers, for the curious.) Food is food and rarely piques my interest these days but a human’s gotta eat and so I just stick with simple things I can easily grab from the fridge or freezer (spinach quiches for the win!). On weekends I have given the occasional Sarah concert to my adoring (it’s possible!) neighbors. Ha!

I miss my beloved puggo still so much it is truly unbearable but I try to keep going. I look at dogs for adoption almost weekly but always close the page before I can get through the pics and bios. I’m not ready. Puggo got me through so much so maybe I’m supposed to figure out this next chapter on my own? My gut tells me yes so I’m sticking with it until it no longer feels that way.

I choose to romanticize all I can in my silly little day to day life because it really does help a lot. I make rules for myself too because they can help me stay true to myself when my reaching for creature comforts can cause more bad than good (shopping!). Here I am writing all of this while complaining that I want to write and can’t! Ha-ha! I will never claim to make fucking sense, okay! The truth is that I am okay, but I am only just barely okay. My house is once again a disaster zone and I’m oscillating between giving zero fucks and way too many about it but my body is like TOO FUCKING BAD! So I make peace with it, with myself, with my body, with this life I have fought so hard to carve out for myself. I choose to trust in myself, knowing that I have survived so much and will continue to so long as I choose it. And I do! I choose to survive and keep on keepin’ on every damn day. I worry that I am too content in my aloneness. And then I just don’t care! Because that is also acceptable. 


I’m here for realness and sincerity, honesty and vulnerability, I’m here for the good and juicy bits of life that shine for me when I know I’m heading in the right direction.

Rad Fatty Love to ALL,

Check out the Fat AF podcast on your favorite podcast app for all things fat sex with me and my BFF, Michaela! (We only recorded a few episodes but they were good!)

Donate to this blog here: currently donations will be given directly to Black women in need through my network.

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (updated frequently and not just about fat stuff): 

Or get the same shared content on Twitter: @NotBlueAtAll

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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.)

via I'm Not Blue at All

Friday, 4 March 2022

Better For Who?!

“I want someone who makes me want to be a better person”

We’ve all heard this type of thing, right? Or someone newly in love saying they’re with someone “who makes me want to be better…” in whatever ways they are gushing about at the moment. Why does it take someone new to motivate us in this way? Why is this deemed something to aspire to in a relationship? 

I found myself in a situationship a few months ago where the other person really had no ambitions in life. They seemed resigned to working unfulfilling part time jobs (despite having degrees), living with their parents, and not even really pursuing their own hobbies or interests very much anymore. We met, had a couple of really great dates, and suddenly on the third date (my b-day) they told me they were in love with me. It was all too much for me, but also very fun and flattering and I quickly got caught up in all of their feels, without realizing they were not in fact matching my own feelings. 

They were all too comfortable in my apartment that night (third date), we had fun and all, and hey the sex was nice, but I didn’t invite or ask them to spend the night, yet they had an overnight bag in-hand already. I rolled with it, but in my head it really bothered me that they never explicitly asked that it was okay. They would do the same for two more nights, bringing more and more full-sized toiletries and sundries into my bathroom and bedroom. After a few nights of little to no sleep I told them they needed to go home. They assured me they would, but then got too stoned to leave at a reasonable time and truly tested my patience. I needed alone time, they left me with barely enough time to sleep!

Then I got a glimpse into their life by way of how they handled their “best friend” calling them out of the blue. They literally didn’t know how to handle it at all. At first they ignored the call, we were in the middle of picking food for dinner to order and go pickup, but upon my insistence, they picked up the call but appeared confused and distressed. They kept trying to look at my phone (where the menu was displayed) and talk to their friend on their own phone. The result was an overall rudeness to all parties that chafed me terribly. This continued, this half conversation with the friend who was only inviting them to a party, and their distracted half interest in the physical-present moment with me. When they finally hung up (after I insisted they take their friend off speaker phone – how fucking rude) I was shocked and appalled. They apologized for the phone call. I replied, “I’m more worried about how you treat your friends. I take friendships very seriously. If this is normal for you then this simply won’t work out.”
A week later I broke things off. It took four and a half hours of talking, crying, begging, pleading, bargaining, and completely refusing to listen to me when I tried to explain that I just couldn’t be in a relationship and that I needed to prioritize my own mental health as I had only two weeks prior lost my dog-son to illness after a month in and out of the ICU. My life was in shambles but this person had already decided that I was “the one” and that they had already begun to invest and improve many aspects of their life. I explained that I was happy for them and that they should continue to do those things because none of that had anything to do with me and everything to do with their own brighter future.

If you’ve never broken up with a cisgendered, heterosexual adult male, it is a trying and difficult thing in the best of circumstances. It became apparent to me very quickly as I tried to explain that I needed to break things off that this person had lived a very sheltered life and still clung to the few accolades they received in high school as though they were still relevant. They insisted they screwed things up and would make things right with me. When I explained over and over again that I simply needed to heal and grieve, they refused to hear me. I barely knew this person and they were on their knees and in tears begging me for a lifetime of love and partnership. 

I’m an empathetic and compassionate person, I cannot simply be callous in the face of heartbreak and pain. I was calm, I was patient, I wanted them to know that I cared but that I couldn’t be with them. I told them almost a hundred times that night that they did nothing wrong, this was me needing to care for myself, but none of it mattered. Once they felt they had lost something they believed to be fully theirs already,  they became so stubborn and obstinate that I finally insisted, “Do not make me kick you out tonight.” To which they replied, “You will definitely have to kick me out, I can’t leave if I don’t want to.” 

They began to list each new thing they had started to improve or invest in their life. They insisted they wanted me to meet their parents (I told them on our first date I never wanted to meet anyone’s parents). It became unbearably obvious to me that I wasn’t a whole person to them at all but merely someone to fill the void in their life and check all of their boxes for a girlfriend or partner. I asked them if they felt all of this on our first date and they admitted that they did. I had a hunch that they saw my profile on Tinder and simply decided I was their person. It’s bizarre but it happens. This isn’t even the first time this type of thing has happened to me.

How could someone you barely know inspire such passion, such motivation, such sudden desire for self improvement? I’m not here to blame or imply that there was anything wrong about this other person, simply that it wasn’t the right time or fit for me. They refused to let go and continued to text me for the next few days. I had told them I was going out of town to visit a friend and would have my phone off but that I wouldn’t block them but I also wouldn’t reply to them. Their texts were hot and cold, pleading and then flippant. Finally they left me a voice message that was very long and upsetting. I told them it was enough and they agreed. I thought it was done. I found out later that they had sent a friend request to my bff on facebook along with a lengthy diatribe about how “She’s a player and uses men all of the time! She’s no good!” and so on. My friend refused to screenshot the message but read it to me while I was driving one day. It really felt like they crossed a line by messaging my friend like that, but I told my friend that I wouldn’t do anything in response either way. I was done. 

The last time I remember being the one to say, “They make me want to be a better person!” makes me wanna laugh or barf to think about now. The person was a loser, obsessed with get rich quick ideas but did little to nothing in their actual life but the bare minimum, but I was dazzled by their good looks and seemingly hot job. Ha-ha! It took dating two different Googlers to say, “NEVER AGAIN!” Looking back I see now that there is a reason for this “better person” stuff. It is often the first time, or maybe just the first in a long time, that someone was looking at me with new eyes/perspective. They were reflecting only positivity towards me. Nothing shocking there, new relationships bring about all sorts of seemingly new and good feels. To have someone see the parts of you that you hate or others have disparaged and actually admire and adore those parts? It can be transformative. And it was for me then. 
What is interesting to me is that very few relationships have made me feel that way. When I met my ex-husband, while we were friends first, I never had that feeling of needing or wanting to grow/improve/invest in myself “for them” in that way. We met very young though and weren’t fully formed individuals then. We were together for fourteen years, mostly happy, but then we simply wanted different futures. We split ten years ago. We’re still friends. My subsequent relationships have been far less interesting and exciting, but certainly filled a need I had at the time in one way or another. No regrets! Ha-ha!
After my last LTR ended on a sour note (some people are just plain rude) I decided I wasn’t going to jump into anything again so soon. I wanted to take some time to get right with myself before sharing my life like that again. Previously, I had always struggled with being alone. I grew up the oldest of three siblings and always had to share. Even when I left my husband I moved in with a roommate. After all was said and done, I suddenly found myself alone, unemployed, and wanting to figure out how to be okay with that in a very deep and real way. I did not know what I was asking for! Ha-ha! 
I have C-PTSD, so silence was a big trigger for many years because silence meant something was wrong or about to happen. Silence would make my skin crawl. Silence was never to be trusted, and people less so. Some friends gave me an Amazon Echo around the same time and when I was faced with the possibility of being able to simply say any song or artist and have it play it, my brain broke. I sat there for almost thirty minutes completely frozen. I usually have at least two songs stuck in my head at any given time, so this was a shock. I had nothing. I sat there in silence. Hating it. Confused by it. Fighting it but unable to conjure anything at all, until I was finally resigned to it. I would eventually tell it to just play something eighties, and soon had music playing almost constantly. 
It was a dark time personally. I had been thrown under a bus by my manager and fired over the most petty nonsense ever. Soon my whole team would quit that place. I turned forty. I didn’t want to date anymore. I hated where I lived. The only thing I loved at that time was my beloved puggo. Everything just seemed terrible and so I shrank my life and world down to almost nothing. All I did was apply for jobs, interview for jobs, and walk and feed my puggo. I was barely eating, certainly not enjoying life in any real way, but it felt necessary. 
Then my former teammate reached out and asked that I apply for a job at her new employer’s office. I did and I got the job. After nine months I moved back to a town I love and got my own apartment for the first time ever. I still can’t believe it sometimes. But that time I spent alone, really and truly alone in the world and not seeking any sort of external validation, taught me so much. I’ve always known I was a survivor, but to be truly independent and on my own terms felt unreal and magical somehow. Even if what felt like a palace to me would be a shack to others, I was proud and started to truly feel good about myself and where I was heading. 
I know, I know, “What does this have to do with that whole being a better person stuff?!” The thing was, it was never dating or status or money or a job or validation I needed to actually be a better person. I just needed to get to know myself on a deeper, quieter level, without all of that external “noise” so to speak. So much of what we surround ourselves with is actually negative and not in alignment with our paths or passions. That is the “noise” I mean. The more time I spent alone, quiet and just allowed to be, the more I loved my life and myself, and of course that amazing puggo. 

I have a lot of past birthday related trauma, so I often try to peace out so I don’t have to pretend or possibly get triggered and lose my shit. Feeling quite good about where I was headed back in 2019, a colleague insisted that I should do the things I was wanting to do but holding myself back in fear. “No one can do that for you, so just do it!” So I booked my first solo travel adventure to Hawaii and not only checked off something that had been on my bucket list for ages (visiting a seahorse preserve in Kona and holding a seahorse), but it was also a life changer. Yes, Hawaii is beautiful and special and if you do it right you don’t have to have a negative impact on the nature or culture there. For me it was about getting out of my comfort zone and routine and finding my inner peace. I found it! And I actually slept so well the first night that I woke up refreshed for the first time in my entire life! 

I’ve had insomnia pretty regularly since I was twelve years old. Waking up refreshed always seemed like something that only happened in commercials or movies. I have always hated mornings, even when I owned a cafe and had to get up before the sun each day, I got used to it but never enjoyed getting up. That first morning in Hilo was magical! All I could hear were nature sounds. What sounded like a bajillion frogs, singing birds, rustling trees in soft breezes, the gentle lapping of the waves at the shore nearby, all became a symphony. The air smelled sweeter! I visited the lava flows that day on my own in my rental car with The Carters and Lizzo to keep me company along the way. I couldn’t stop smiling and singing. It was so surreal to see the landscape change from paradise to post apocalyptic, but it also felt comforting in an odd way.

I had no one to share this magical experience with. It didn’t bother me or make me sad, it was simply a fact and I accepted it and was committed to enjoying myself as much as I possibly could. The next day I visited that seahorse preserve and stayed the night in Kona. The next morning I woke up refreshed again. All I could hear were the waves. I stretched out in the king sized bed in the condo I rented and relished in the moment. Every part of me felt in harmony, inside and out. I went for a drive and got some yummy coffee and checked out some little shops but found myself in a sad mood on my birthday. I was nervous about the activity I had booked for myself that evening, but maybe also excited. 

I wanted to be excited but there’s so many things that can happen when you’re just trying to do regular things in the world when you live in a fat body that I was getting increasingly anxious about going snorkeling that night with manta rays. I had never snorkeled either, but I am a decent swimmer, and it said kids were welcome. I got a massage to try to relax and calm my nerves. I had a mimosa on the balcony of the condo at sunset and texted my friends about my adventures. Then it was time and I headed out to the dock to meet up with the boat crew. It all went great and I had the time of my life! The manta rays would swim up and do backflips almost a foot away from my face! It was exhilarating!

I drove back to the condo exhausted, wired, and starving, so I stopped off at a Taco Bell drive thru for my bday dinner. Ha-ha! When I got back to the condo I put my feet up and scarfed down my tacos with glee. Feeling fully satisfied, I put something silly on Netflix and just sat there for a few minutes when it hit me: Bliss! Peace! I felt so satisfied with just everything in that moment. All that I had been through, all that I had done or even given up, all that I had chosen and moved towards and it was all syncing up and I felt so at peace. I then had like the best shower of my life and slept better than ever, again awaking refreshed. 

I realized that this waking up refreshed business had everything to do with not having the “noise” of others around me. Not that where I was staying was secluded at all, in fact it was a tourism hot spot, but I don’t just mean people in general. I mean the “noise” and influences in our day to day life. The things we must say and do in order to keep the peace for others, in order to get through the day, in order to keep our jobs or a roof over our head, the mask we must wear in order to live in a capitalist society that fails us all every single day. It’s a lot! We don’t even realize it because we’re so used to it. It feels normal because it’s all we know. That inner peace stuff always felt like some myth or mystery only to be unlocked by those worthy or studious or whatever, certainly not me.

You don’t need to go to Hawaii to find your inner peace. In fact, please don’t, the Hawaiian people are struggling and we should do all we can to support them and not invade or make their living conditions (ie drinking water) worse. You can find that peace within yourself. Not through meditation, though that works for some, I could never quiet my mind enough to actually get any benefit from the attempts. Much of life is in the trying though, and I put value in that for sure. Much of getting anything or anywhere on this journey of life is simply showing up. So how do we find this peace and show up for ourselves? Why do we rely on others as a cue to want to better ourselves? Why does it feel impossible to find a mate? Why does it feel far fetched to find inner peace? I don’t consider myself a dreamer. I don’t really feel that I have any dreams like I once did long ago for my future or whatever. I do think life is a journey and what you put in you will often get back in return, but not always. I don’t believe that anything in life is meant to be or fair. Things happen, nature takes its course, you can learn and grow and move on, or you can wallow in your misery and get stuck. I got real comfortable in my own misery. I cast myself in the wrong movie, you see, and found that I was “just fine” in its sad storyline, until I wasn’t. 

Even when I was dating physicists, oncologists, security engineers, developers, and millionaires, I just wasn’t feeling it. Even though these suitors were high caliber, even at the top of their fields globally, and definitely into what I had going on, it wasn’t right. Because they had focused so long and so hard on their careers, these people weren’t emotionally equipped to connect with others at the depths I was seeking. Even deep conversation was a lofty goal for some of them. I soon became far less dazzled and intrigued by the usual resumes found on dating sites and stopped dating entirely for a couple of years. I thought at first that there must be something going on with me to not feel as into these people as they did me. 

I don’t care what a potential suitor does for work, so long as it isn’t a torment in their life. I don’t care what kind of car they drive or brand of clothing they wear, I only care about getting to know someone and connecting. That’s it. It seems so simple and easy but boy howdy is it not! If you’re dating cisgendered, heterosexual males, you are dealing with humans who have not been socialized to develop many likable traits or even a full personality. Many don’t have a thought of their own in their head to share, yet they are deemed successful by society because of their degrees or career or their possessions and status. 

We often talk about what people are bringing to the table. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want anyone to bring anything to my table but their whole selves. I don’t want anything material or monetary, I want realness and truth. I want people in my life with flaws and big hearts. I want people who haven’t had it easy and have found a way to be true to themselves anyway. A degree sounds good or looks great on a CV, but when it comes to love and romance and building a life with someone, it doesn’t mean shit. You can only learn so much in traditional schooling. You cannot learn to love yourself there. There’s no degree in being a good person.

I don’t need a person to share my life with in order to feel fulfilled and I know this now. I am actually and truly happy on my own. It is a little scary, to be honest. Scary to be so contended with one’s own company that I cannot imagine wanting to live with another person again. Another person in my space? Yikes! No thank you! Ha-ha! I mean it, but I also know that life has a way of showing us what we need when we need it to. So I have faith in myself and that what I am doing is right because it feels right. I dip my toe into the dating pool from time to time but it’s not something I feel that I have to do in order to fit in or feel complete. I am a fully formed and whole person. I don’t need someone else to feel complete. I can live as big or as small of a life as I want to, and that is liberating!

I don’t think most folks have had the time or desire to really just be alone with themselves and to truly get to know their own nature on a deeper level. I know I didn’t for a long time. It is hard to face. It is hard to hold yourself accountable for your own growth and fulfillment. It is so much easier to look outside of yourself or your life and seek/find fulfillment there, or to blame others or just circumstance on what is lacking in our lives. It is what’s expected. Get the degree, get the career, get the car and the house, get the spouse and the kids, live happily ever after. But that is not how my story goes. There is sooooo much more to life than just the obsolete nuclear family fantasy. 

When you do get to know yourself, when you can fully trust your instincts and know your needs and wants, all of that other stuff feels so silly. If you’re seeking happiness as a destination, you have already gotten lost! Happiness is a benefit or a passing but hopefully frequent feeling. It is the result of being on the right path for you. It is not somewhere you can just plug into your GPS. Happiness and the true meaning of life, I think anyway, is connection. Feeling connected to others, to ourselves, to our community, not only brings feelings of happiness but also increases longevity. That is a fact proven by science! When we feel more connected we are happier and live longer, regardless of our lifestyle or health.

I don’t think any of this is a secret but it may feel that way. I know it did for me for a long time. What we want from connections matters too, though. I think intent/motivation plays a larger role than we want to believe it does. If you wait for someone to come into your life to shine a light on the parts of you that you didn’t like so that you can be a better person, it’s a half truth in a way. Or a half life. To do it for yourself because you know you deserve to feel happiness and fulfillment is something wholly different. So much of what we feel about ourselves inside and out has nothing to do with our own thoughts or beliefs at all! So much of it is society, capitalism, beauty standards, religion, or familial obligation. 

We aren’t born into this world hating our bodies or assuming we are wrong simply by existing. This is all pressed upon us from such an early age we have no memory of it. And it is all so socially accepted that few even question it at all. If you can get rid of all of that for even just a day, and just sit with yourself quietly and listen to the true you inside, not the negative plant begging for water/attention (ego), you will find that peace you seek inside of you. You will find the parts you want to improve or regrow, they will become apparent. You will see that you’re not wrong, you were hindered. 

Look, our parents did what they could with what they had at the time, and as we get older ourselves we may see the effects our upbringing has had on our lives and ourselves. It is up to us as adults to re-parent and better support ourselves in the ways that work for us now. It means not allowing the negative self-talk to take over but to acknowledge that the thought is there but it doesn’t belong to or come from the real and true you. You can picture letting it go like a balloon, if you’re the visual type. You can picture it as an poisonous plant that keeps trying to take over the lovely garden that is you! If you water (give attention to) the negative plant it will grow and take over. If you ignore it and deprive it of attention, it will wither. You can water the rest of your garden and allow your inner self to flourish. When you do you will soon see that this can have a ripple effect on the rest of your life. 

You are worth showing up for. You are worth trying for. You are worth every ounce of effort and energy there is in the world in order to feel better about yourself and who you are. Where you live, what you do for work, what you possess materially, those are not who you are. Marie Kondo cannot tell you what brings you joy, only you know that part! Fads pass, retail therapy is so fleeting, but you are with you for life. This is the relationship we need to nurture and cherish and protect from harm. When we do this the rest really does follow! 

We can better ourselves now, without paying for it or seeking permission externally. We can be our best selves every day. What that looks like will change, maybe even every day as well. And why not?! We are constantly growing and absorbing new information, so we should accept that our best selves are constantly changing too. We can take inspiration from anything but I choose nature itself to be my muse. We have worked so hard as a species to separate ourselves from nature, but that is where true connection lies, I think. The more connected we are to nature, the better our understanding of our place in it and our impact on it and each other. With that in mind, how could we not want to better ourselves?

It feels impossible to find a mate because we seek something outside of ourselves in the hopes of “having it all” or finding happiness. That isn’t how it works though. You gotta know that by now! I’m not saying you can’t find love until you love yourself. I am saying that the love you find is where you are at in that moment of your life. It is up to you to decide if it is right and sustainable for you or if you’re not ready for your ultimate love yet, like I am. I’m still very much loving my solo life and almost sort of falling in love with myself in a way. I don’t want someone at my table or to bring anything to it. When I’m ready, I am certain that another person will come into my life when they are ready and whole and loving themselves too. I imagine the connection will feel like waking up refreshed. I want that for all of us. We deserve it. But so few of us realize it or put in the work to get ourselves there, ya know?


I’m here for realness and sincerity, honesty and vulnerability, I’m here for the good and juicy bits of life that shine for me when I know I’m heading in the right direction.

Rad Fatty Love to ALL,

Check out the Fat AF podcast on your favorite podcast app for all things fat sex with me and my BFF, Michaela! (We only recorded a few episodes but they were good!)

Donate to this blog here: currently donations will be given directly to Black women in need through my network.

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (updated frequently and not just about fat stuff): 

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’m also on Space Hey: NotBlueAtAll

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.)

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Wednesday, 2 March 2022

Who The Health?!

We’ve all seen similar stories covered in our local news or even in our news feeds online, “So and so was a nurse who loved snowboarding with their spouse and doing things in their community until one day they injured their back lifting a patient and later found they couldn’t move without excruciating pain.” and then they get into all of the care they were offered, therapies tried or meds prescribed. They get into how their life was taken away from them by the pain. Now house or couch bound, hope seemed all but lost. Then one day something they were offered works and “now they’re running 5k’s again! Isn’t life full of miracles!” BARF! Look, I’m not a full on hater here, but we’ve all seen these stories of otherwise socially acceptable-bodied individuals getting everything offered and thrown at them so they can “get back to living!” and all of that. The reality for anyone outside of what is deemed to be a socially acceptable-body is far more grim.

I know so many people, myself included, who have lived with chronic pain for over a decade. We have had to bear witness to our own limitations increasing along with the pain. Because we live in bodies deemed “other” we don’t get offered anything but enforced suffering or outright denial of our personhood. It is so appalling and degrading and wrong and yet this feels more common than those feel good stories will ever be (at least in the USA). I’ve had well meaning friends insist I get my right knee “checked out” and all I can offer back as a response is a slight smile because I can’t do the emotional labor of having to explain the failings of our healthcare for profit system and how it seeks to do anything but care for us. It seems an easy thing to say, hey go see a doctor, but the reality is so fucked up I can’t go to a doctor’s appointment or even the ER without first fasting because they will see my fat body and immediately pathologize it/me as diabetic (I’m not, but that is beside the point).

The way hospitals and doctors treat those in pain is absolutely horrific to me. I was accused of being both a drug seeker and not in pain at all when my gallbladder failed and I had to drive myself to the ER and refused morphine or any other pain meds. I explained to the team caring for me that I wanted to be clear headed so I could make informed medical decisions for myself and their reactions were akin to seeing an extraterrestrial. At one point the doctor looked right at me and said, “I’m not even sure you’re in any pain.” and smiled at me. I looked them dead in the eye and said, “I came in here at a 9/10 and you’re saying I’m not in pain? I’ve been vomiting from the pain alone!” It would take another 3 months to get the correct diagnosis (after 3 wrong ones) and another 9 months after that before I could get on the schedule to have my gallbladder removed. And mine was a common and relatively straight forward procedure. Imagine if it was rare or involved far more complicated issues?!

If you are white, able bodied, and below a size 14, you get treated with care, urgency, and kindness. If you are anyone else it is an absolute crap shoot! If you are Black, fat, queer, non-binary or trans, you will be forced to prove yourself and your humanity at every step if you’re lucky enough to get past the initial “Oh maybe there is something medically going on with this person” and that is a tough one to get past. I know some pretty incredible, talented, brilliant and the most caring of people and the level of pain they live with day to day absolutely boggles the mind. I say this as I am coming to terms with my own chronic pain. Realizing all of these years later the damage past jobs have caused to my body and how those 11 months of excruciating pain changed me as a person but also took a lot of my mobility away.

To seek any kind of treatment is like gearing up for battle. One must steel themselves before opening up to medical professionals these days. We must advocate for ourselves and ask ridiculous questions like, “What would you offer as treatment to someone in a smaller body with this same issue?” because we know the only “treatment” we are ever offered is to shrink our bodies and suffer in pain regardless of scientifically known outcomes. Many physicians won’t even physically examine our fat or Black or disabled (or all of the above) bodies. To them we are a nuisance at best and repulsive at worst. It is at the hands and words of these so-called care providers that we get the worst of the abuse and trauma thrown at our bodies and minds. What about the lives we were meant to be living? What about our contributions to community or the world? Just because I have no desire to run any k’s ever, doesn’t mean I should have to suffer and lose mobility or be denied treatment. And the shit thing is, even when we are offered treatment for pain relief (often meds), it doesn’t even mean it will work or be sustainable. I have friends who get regular cortisone shots in their spines and knees and hips and things just to barely get by. They are not thriving, they are functioning at a very low level, but not because of anything they have done or deserve at all. As if being a good or bad person should have anything to do with getting the medical care and attention one needs. 

Living in a body deemed as “other” means having to ask again and again for accommodation. Will the waiting room have a seat I can use comfortably? Will the hospital gown fit? Will I be able to get up on the exam table? Will I be able to get up onto the x-ray table (that thing is tall!)? Will I fit in the MRI machine? Will they have a back/knee/arm brace that fits me? Will I be denied surgery due to my size? And all of this is before we get into insurance coverages, co-pays, or final billing amounts. UGH!

There needs to be a massive overhaul of our entire healthcare system, but failing that (because it has always failed us), a paradigm shift so that simply seeking relief from horrible pain isn’t seen as “drug seeking” or simply being a “big ole baby” (the way nurses talk about patients when they don’t realize we can hear them! Whew!). I think there have been some recent attempts here for better and more accessible tele-health options. I think I read about one specifically aimed to help fat folks get better medical care too, forgive me for not knowing the name (please comment if you know it!). I think it’s a great idea and good first step in the right direction. I wonder to this day if I would have gotten the same correct diagnosis from a surgeon I never met because they had a hunch on over the phone. If they saw my fat face would they have still ordered that one last test? Would I still be suffering from a zombified gallbladder? I can’t know, but I have a hunch. 😉

Because I’ve had such physical jobs in the past I have also been injured on the job and had to go through worker’s compensation processes in order to get care. In case you didn’t know, you cannot just go to your regular doctor if you get hurt at work. Nope! You have to go to an occupational clinic and lemme tell ya, both times I had to do this they treat you like a scammer the second you walk through the door, no matter your actual injuries. It is utterly dehumanizing and I hated it so much. Having said that, they did have a back brace that fit me and it has been a life saver for me over the years since I’ve had it. But there was zero care, zero compassion, zero empathy in these clinics. 

I don’t really have a big point here other than just UGH FUCK THIS SHIT! I am currently in need of an eye exam (I’m way overdue), a dental cleaning (and like many thousands of dollars in dental work that I likely won’t ever actually afford to get and thus have a tooth rotting out of my head), and either physical therapy or chiropractic adjustments/treatment for my knee (I feel like it’s misaligned at my hip maybe). Only the eye exam and teeth cleaning would be covered by my insurance and I have pretty damn great coverage, all things considered. Yet it is somehow on me to “BE HEALTHY” and all of that bullshit thrown at us in marketing campaigns every fucking day of our lives. Health in this way is not accessible or even attainable for everyone. We all need to let go of that notion. 

No matter your life or lifestyle, being able bodied or healthy is temporary at best. There will come a time when you will need medical care/attention/treatment. This is simply how bodies work, they break down over time. Just because my car guy says that my little Toyota will “run forever” doesn’t mean that I will. My running days are long gone. I wish I could just go in for a tune up like I can my car! Ha-ha! I really hope I can find a chiropractor who will treat me humanely and with compassion because I have some childhood trauma from chiropractors that I’d rather not revisit but also unafraid to, ya know, because I think it’s my best option for my knee knowing what I do about going to the doctor for such things. And I think it’s perfectly “healthy” to be pissed off about all of this! Because it’s fucking maddening and we all know better, dammit!

I saw a post in a group I’m in on FB yesterday asking if everyone is always denied knee replacement and must suffer many years of pain and mobility degradation or if smaller bodies get approved for these procedures right away. What I thought is what I saw in comments, that yes smaller folks get more approvals, but more often than not it isn’t the patient that is the issue but the “success rate” of the procedure as far as longevity. One person said they knew someone young and thin who was denied and forced to suffer for decades because it wouldn’t be viable to do it again at age 60 if they did it in this person’s twenties. That person died in their early thirties because they also had seizures, and living with the pain, decreased mobility and a myriad of meds, lead to their quality of life degrading. Had they had the knee replacement they could have survived the seizure that took their life away because the other issues that came after would have been prevented. But it is doctor’s who insist on these “success rates” and such because to them it’s about “the work” and never the human receiving the procedures.

To be told to lose weight in order to get necessary medical procedures/surgeries is inhumane, cruel, and dangerous. You are telling someone that their pain and their life mean nothing if they are not such and such a size. You are telling us all that we do not matter to the world in any capacity unless we accomplish what no scientific study to date has proven to even be possible! What the hell is the point of that?! You might as well ask me to jump over the Empire State Building as it is just as likely to be possible! Even if it was possible to lose weight (insert the biggest eye roll emoji here), how could anyone expect to accomplish this while suffering in excruciating pain? To look someone in the eye and insist that their life is in their own hands in that most vulnerable of moments?! Are you fucking kidding me?! We should all be glad that I am not in a position of power and punishment doling because I would have a special sort of place juuuuust for such “care givers”.

The stigma our healthcare system has custom built-in for itself to deny care to as many people as possible is also claiming it is all our own faults for being fat in the first place, regardless of what our medical needs actually are. Not to mention the fact they no one truly knows for certain why populations of humans, and many other species, have increased in size at the same rates globally. I’m no scientist, but I read a lot of articles written by them. I know that no scientific study has ever found a way to lose weight in a safe, meaningful (as in more than 10 lbs), and permanent way, ever. So when a doctor gets on their high horse about this stuff or reached for the stomach amputation pamphlet (they always do), I ask them very pointedly if they consider themselves a believer in science. Not that I think belief has anything to do with science, but you know what I mean. Someone who studies science and uses its principles in their work should not be offering suggestions of health organ amputation to anyone! Nor any other ridiculous method of weight loss getting hyped up today. They should know better, they are paid and educated to know better, and yet they and the insurance companies refuse and we are left to suffer at their hands and willful ignorance.

May the force be with us all.


I’m here for realness and sincerity, honesty and vulnerability, I’m here for the good and juicy bits of life that shine for me when I know I’m heading in the right direction.

Rad Fatty Love to ALL,

Check out the Fat AF podcast on your favorite podcast app for all things fat sex with me and my BFF, Michaela! (We only recorded a few episodes but they were good!)

Donate to this blog here: currently donations will be given directly to Black women in need through my network.

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (updated frequently and not just about fat stuff): 

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’m also on Space Hey: NotBlueAtAll

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.)

via I'm Not Blue at All

Friday, 18 February 2022

When Someone Says “I Just Want to Get Back to the Weight I Was When I Felt Best”

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Fat patients shouldn’t have to accept “maybe if you were in a different body you wouldn’t be in pain” as a treatment plan or prescription. They should be given the same options for dealing with aches, pains, injuries etc. that thin people get.

I often hear from people who say something like “I just want to get back to the weight I was when I felt the best.” or “I know that when I’m a size x I’m healthier, my body is happiest at a size x.” When I ask them how they know that they will typically point to a time in their life when they were that size as proof.

Often in a conversation like this:

Me: When were you that weight?

Them: When I was 18

Me: How old are you now?

Them: 57

People don’t come to these conclusions out of nowhere. In truth, this idea is often driven by subconscious internalized fatphobia driven by the diet industry, and even if it were true the chance of succeeding at significant long-term weight loss is still miniscule. Luckily there are other, much more evidence-based ethical solutions to this dilemma.

There’s a lot to unpack here, so I wrote a piece about it for the Weight and Healthcare newsletter,.

You can read the full piece here!


Understanding the Research About Weight and Health

SPECIAL DATE: Thursday, February 24, 2022 5:30pm Pacific Time
Plus a video in case you can’t make it live (or want to watch again!)
Pay-what-you-can option available

The research around weight and health can be daunting, dense, confusing, and downright misleading. A mix of diet industry involvement and weight bias (from methodology to media reporting) has created a world where what “everybody knows” about weight and health is often not supported by the actual research. In this workshop we’ll talk about the existing research around weight and health, learn techniques to evaluate media articles and studies to see past the weight bias and diet industry smoke screen and get to the truth. This workshop will deal with concepts in plain language and is for research nerds and non-research nerds alike, including those with no experience at all in research methods.

Full details and Registration:
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Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization (and I can do it remotely!) I speak to healthcare, college, corporate, and general audiences about topics including weight science, weight stigma, and the Health at Every Size paradigm. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org

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