This past weekend I dedicated myself to doing things that would be relaxing, calming, soothing, or otherwise get a load off my mind/body/soul. I have been headed towards burn out for awhile and after getting mega sick a few weeks ago I knew that I needed to be more mindful about these things on the regular. So, Friday after work I had an appointment with my ex-husband/CMT for a massage. I went home and completely chilled out after with a comforting meal (roast chicken, rice, broccoli, leftovers from a work lunch), and watched the last episode of season 2 of Harlots (Hulu) and then began Black Mirror (Netflix) and curled up on my lil’ loveseat with my puggo.
The following day I didn’t want to get out of bed, it was just so comfy! But I did and the notion coffee lead the way like an old cartoon. I put on music instead of the t.v. and sat with my thoughts before I plotted the day ahead. And that’s when I saw how bad my toenails looked! HAHAHA! True facts! I looked down at my feet, ever the shoe gazer, and saw the jagged edge of my big toenails and decided I needed to get a pedicure. It had been almost two months and in that time I was in a dance show while also discovering a new found love of wedges. My poor feet needed some love, so I called my favorite salon, 20 miles south of where I live, and made an appointment for that afternoon.
It was hot that day, which made leaving the house that much harder, but worth it once in the air conditioned salon. It was just me and about 6 nail technicians. I picked my color, OPI (always) and in a lovely light violet-shimmer, and had a seat. My technician was Wendy. She was sweet and seemed to genuinely care about me. I’m sure part of that is simple customer service, I mean props for that too, but when my nails were drying she and I started to really chat. Well, I should say, she started to talk at me at first and I immediately went from defensive to offensive. “My daughter, you know, she’s fat like you. She never goes out. She doesn’t want to, she just stays home and eats. So sad.” My knee-jerk response, “There are many reasons for being fat, eating is not why I’m fat. Have you considered that perhaps how she’s treated “out” in the world may be the bigger reason why she doesn’t want to go out? Maybe she’s depressed? Maybe she gets harassed? Maybe she just prefers to stay home.”
I could see right away that this was not the typical “OMZ OBEEESITY” conversation I was having as her eyes lit up when I said all of this to her. She then asked about my life and shared some factoids about her own. When I told her I was forty, healthy, and loved my body, and being single, she smiled so big! We talked about balance and how important that is over everything else we’re told to do in the name of health and she closed her eyes and looked quite serious for a second and then said, “Honey, I know you’re right. I need to stop worrying. Thank you.” I promised her that I would ask for her specifically the next time I had an appointment. It was kind of beautiful, that convo could have really soured my experience there had it not gone the way that it did.
I don’t have to talk about my life to strangers. I don’t have to talk about myself at all, anywhere. I don’t have to share my stories and life experiences here; my blog is a luxury, not a necessity. I gain no money or “exposure” from such things. It is these small moments of connection, enlightenment, and sharing that keep me doing it! Those smiles or eyes when they light up give me so much more than money can buy. It is a special privilege to touch the lives of others and to have my own touched right back. (Okay that sounds weird, but you get me.) I cherish it far more now than ever before.
As a fat person living their life in the western world, I’m used to remarks and comments from strangers. I am often on guard because of this. You just never know when a simple comment or response can turn into harassment or assault. I tend to walk around with a “fuck you” vibe when I’m running errands, I suppose it’s my own defense mechanism. I’m not here to be anyone’s jolly fatty! I am a mostly jolly fatty, but I don’t need anyone telling me I need to be or any other ridiculous notion folks get in their heads about fat people in general. Sometimes I engage when comments fly, sometimes I aggressively roll my eyes or flip them off, it’s all in how I am feeling in the moment.
There is just too much stigma about fat bodies in the world, much of it absolute lies. I’m not here to be or prove myself as a “good fatty” in anyone’s eyes. I prove myself every fucking day by living it on my own terms! I don’t need anyone’s acceptance or validation. I don’t need to be liked or popular by any standard. I don’t fear much in this world as it all feels mostly predictable, but it is the unpredictable and unstable folks and their actions that I do fear. I am in no way suggesting anyone do what I do or say what I say to strangers in the wild. I have 25 years of honing my customer service and interpersonal skills, I can usually tell where things are headed and choose my own adventure from there. If ever I feel unsafe I have a plan in place to do what is needed to get to safety.
You don’t owe anyone your attention, time, response, apologies, explanations, or anything. You are allowed to exist in this world no matter what you or your body look like. People may act poorly, but that is on them! What anyone thinks of you is none of your business! Seriously! It’s so easy to get caught up in all of the bullshit around these things, but create that boundary for yourself, it helps so much! Or just laugh it off, in their faces! Ha-ha! I love that, too! Honestly, laughing at things has become a bit of a defense mechanism for me as of late. When some agro-dude cuts me off and we end up at the same light, I look over and LAUGH!!! (Picture me laughing wearing giant, heart-shaped, mirrored sunglasses.)
Self-care isn’t just having a pedicure or a spa day. For me getting a pedicure is only an occasional luxury. It was something that I felt I needed at the time, but self-care is SO many other things, too! Self-care is staying hydrated, taking your meds, being mindful of how you’re feeling, taking a shower, putting on makeup or a cute outfit, saying no to things, asking for help, masturbating, taking a mental health day, taking selfies, shutting off your phone for an hour…self-care is anything that helps you, in my opinion. Something that gives something to you, (calmness, relaxation, a moment of silence, a mental/physical breather) feeds you in a sense. A lot of times we think we’re doing ourselves a favor by engaging in things that often take from us or damage us in the long run.
What are some things that you do to give something back to yourself? I would love to hear about other folks’ self-care things! Have you had a positive conversation about fatness with a stranger or service provider? Or perhaps it started negative but it ended up being better? Tell me!
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