BAAAAAAABES! HI! It has been too damn long. This blog and all you babes have been on my mind a lot and if you could see my draft folder you would see that I have been busy as fuck starting shit I never finish. Honestly, this winter has been bullshit and brilliant and busy as hell and, just to lay it down for a motherfucker, I didn’t feel like I had a goddamn single thing to contribute (which for anyone who knows me is basically in direct opposition to my bossy, know-it-all, let me tell you how the fuck it is, true self). So I have let this little slice of fat babery lapse for a while. It’s not like i didn’t try, I literally have 23 drafts of shit i will never publish. Trust, when I tell you it is basic dreck that should never see the light of day.
I couldn’t write a single thing that felt real or honest. I couldn’t even manage surface level engaging – And fair to middling internet fuckery is a hard limit of mine. So I just stopped writing. Dark days babes, dark fucking days.
Here’s the thing though. When you are doing some serious personal time trying to figure things out for yourself, and you realize that a ton of the strategies that you had in place to cope and manage big feelings of loss and pain were actually doing you more harm than good, you may not feel like the most boss as fuck fat babe version of yourself. And you may not want to let the whole world in to see that your heart is cracked in pieces. Realizing that you may not be able to fix the things that are broken is some fucking intense and real life shit. So maybe you just start writing a million posts that you never finish. Maybe you just stop believing you have a single relevant thing to say.
That was my winter, in a nutshell. It sounds bleak as fuck, I know, and while it kind of was, it also kind of wasn’t. This was the winter of discovering that I can have my shit together at the same time as it is totally falling apart. As I have said many times before, we are complex motherfuckers like that. And again, I’m still relevant.
The thing about bleak winters and shit getting really goddamn real is that there comes a point where you either sit the fuck back and sink into the muck, or decide to fight a little harder to hold on to the things that matter. I’m still not totally sure which I did more of, but both approaches opened me up to some shit that has me thinking about my business a little differently.
And it is July now, and shit is green and I’m wearing the shortest shorts and there is something about my fat ass hanging out of a pair of denim cutoffs that inspires me to talk about shit like I’m the authority on living your best goddamn fat babe life.
(Obvi, I’m not trying to tell anyone how to make their way in the world – I can barely keep my own shit afloat, but I do think that when a fat babe has a shitty time of it and has to learn some hard fucking truths, the least she can do is share ’em. Cause if there is ANY way to make this kind of shit a little easier for another babe out there, then it is the fucking least I can do.)
****Just a little note here to say this blog is long as fuck and, if you are like me and get bored halfway through reading long ass articles, now is a good time to bookmark that shit and come back for the second half next time. Sorry (not sorry) I am so vain and think every word is critical, that’s fucking life with me, babes.*****
SHIT I LEARNED DURING THE GARBAGE WINTER OF MY LIFE/A PATH TO WELLNESS OR WHATEVER
I don’t need forgiveness to do better.
Fucking hell babes – for most of my life I have counted on the forgiveness of others to forge forward on a new path. Like, I do some dickish thing cause I often say shit I regret, apologize super sincerely (natch), and work to make shit better for next time. It has mostly served me well and I felt like forgiveness gave me permission to move on, do better, suck less. But here is the thing, babes, do you have people in your life who apologize and then shit stays the same? I can safely confirm that was me for the past 24 months (at least), so eventually my apologies meant shit and forgiveness was hard to come by. So, this winter, babes, there was not a lot of forgiveness on the table. I had checked out of life and been kind of an asshole for a super long time (like several bathing suit seasons worth) and that is a hard thing for friends and family to forgive. Like, maybe they will, but maybe they fucking won’t cause they are still pretty seriously pissed at me. So I had to learn to forgive myself and do better through the anger and hurt of the people I loved most. It fucking sucks, and im still doing it, but it is possible and also doesn’t force someone else to be the impetus for change. Especially those people who have been burned a million times before. So, in the spirit of salvaging what I had left, I decided to just try to forgive myself for not doing something earlier, and try to be more present in the lives of the people I love. And fuck me, if that wasn’t the goddamned solution all along.
I can’t just love my body, I have to listen to it too
Babes, if you have been here with me for a while, you will know that while I am a disaster about many, many things, I am not lacking in love for the majesty of my fat bod. I am so fucking down with my thunderous thighs and my heaving belly, and y’all, if you weren’t aware, my tits are amazing. I feel like at this point in my life, my sense of style and my bombshell hair are really just a given. I am deeply and committedly engaged in a very public, very vain, love affair with myself.
What I have not done up until now is listen when my body is feeling a thing. Up until, literally, the last 6 months, I have NEVER, not once, tried to figure out what my body was telling me when it was hurting, in the throes of a panic attack, or feeling like I was at death’s door. I wrote off my body’s cues, ignored it, and then managed it (poorly) when I had no choice – like when i would end up tachycardic, diaphoretic, and losing my shit- panic style. To be fucking crystal here, it is not my intent to minimize mental illness – that shit is debilitating as fuck. All I’m saying is that for the past 19 years of my life I have been looking away from my anxiety pretty damn hard and ignoring every cue from my body like a goddamn avoidance champ. Basically, I learned some shit as a teenager to deal with impossible feelings and never looked back. Yes, that’s right, I’ll say it: I have been using my coping strategies from the 90’s to manage my anxiety (The holy trinity of deep breathing, denial, and dissociation). Now babes, as you know, I believe that nearly everything from the 90’s should be featured HEAVILY in the present, but even I have come to realize that shit that i did in my 20’s may not be the next level wellness strategy I am seeking as I roll into my late 30’s. I have been realizing that while I have had an anxiety disorder my entire adult life, my body has also been screaming at me to pay attention for about the same time. And they are linked. Deeply. Can we say fight or flight times a fucking million? So, this winter I have been working on paying attention to the things that my body needs from me, fuel, exercise, rest, and gentle, loving attention (I’ll be honest here: I have varying degrees of success – it’s a day by day kinda clusterfuck of repeated attempts, so do with this what you will).
At least now I’m going to the gym to help my body regulate, feel good, and get centered instead of to run off enough energy to avoid a panic attack. I’m no longer punishing my body for sending me signals to be gentler, more vulnerable, and more present. Babes, I’m trying to lean into the hard shit and notice when my body hurts and try to just love the fuck out of it in the best way I can.
ASIDE: Fat babe shout out to body workers in my life who helped me get back inside this hot piece of ass and learn to be responsive to what it needs and to not ignore it when it has something to say, even, and especially, when I don’t particularly want to.
I am in charge of my feelings
Also, I am so thoroughly done shutting down my panic, my fear, my anger and all the other big feelings that felt too hard to manage, because, spoiler alert: they fucking catch up to you. Now, to be fair, it is possible to shut shit down for a while, but it is like putting your fist in the dike (wink), eventually a leak will spring somewhere else, and then somewhere else. It takes time but it will fucking happen, and two fists in the dike is about all most of us can handle. I will be eternally grateful to a couple of motherfucking geniuses in my life who suggested riding those feelings, like a surfer does, to see where they take me and to honour them for telling me something about the path that I’m on. Like, actually welcoming those feelings as teachings. I know that feeling feelings may not be a revelation for a lot of you, but I was gobsmacked, and this, more than anything else, has allowed me to live inside my body and not completely disassociate from it when shit gets too real. The parts of me that are raw and traumatized and scared deserve my attention and love. Those parts are also me and it’s ok to let people see that. Honestly, that has been the fucking newsflash of the decade for me. Also I love the idea of a Fat Maggie Surfer catching a wave of anger in a bikini. And who am I to deny the world that mental image?
Feeding the spirit is as important as feeding myself
Look, however you define the part of you that is nourished by family (chosen or otherwise), dogs running in fields, sweaty dance floors at the gay bar, bare feet on hot sidewalks, badass friends who stand firm, sunny afternoon naps, making out on the street at night, thunder storms that crack open the sky, or the way ice sounds when it breaks, is what I mean when I say ‘spirit’. Basically, what I’m talking about is the part of us that chooses another day. That part needs to be sustained as much as every other part of us, maybe more. That part is what makes the hard shit feel even the tiniest bit possible.
We live in a world that is not ok, babes. I don’t think I am remiss when I say shit has gone pretty fucking seriously sideways. We have built deeply fucked systems that are working super hard to destroy people and the planet. That is just the goddamned truth of things right now. And that truth has eaten away at me for the better part of my life. And I thought it fueled me. I’ve been trying to stem the tide of evil because I am afraid. I’m afraid of what’s to come. I’m afraid we won’t survive.
BUT WHAT IF WE FUCKING DO?
What if we do? What if we imagine that for a goddamn minute? What if I take all of the shit I have been telling other babes my whole life to fucking heart for once? What if I actually lead with the spirit, in my own life? Well fuck, I might be a little more flippin’ ready. A little more clear on what the hell I am goddamned fighting for. Less willing to fight from fear and fucking ready to fight for what I love. Cause I want to be able to imagine a future that is fucking full up on spirit. Where that is what we nurture, where that is what we make room for.
That is what I mean by feeding the spirit, babes. We need to figure out what sustains us, cause something damn well does or we wouldn’t be here. We need those moments of joy, of conversation, of love, of desire, and of hot goddamn nights to feed the parts of us that want to be alive. Cause, let’s be real, some days don’t give our spirits a lot of time to fist pump the universe, some days all we feel of spirit is the tiniest flicker. So babes, lets feed the goddamn flame, until we burn it all down.
Babes, that is the jist of what I have come up with in the past 6 months. I am clear that none of this is earth shattering, but (ugh) it was for me. It still fucking is, if I’m being totally forthright. It is the first time in my life that I have actually reflected on my own personal shit, and so, for the better part of 2017, mostly I have just been wandering through my life muttering ‘fer fucks sakes’ every time I realize something, or some advice I’ve been given turns out to have been right. I am not a person who has traditionally asked for help. And now, even when I do, it doesn’t come with a lot of grace – mostly it comes with a string of expletives, resistance, and then several weeks down the road, a begrudging acceptance. Charming, I know. Honestly, it is a miracle anyone will consent to working with me on this stuff. So basically this year has, so far, been an epic lesson in humility and also bravery. Cause changing how you manage shit is a fuck ton of work and, as someone who believes herself to be a charismatic, perfect, glittery, angel on earth, learning that sometimes you are just a glittery hot mess is a fucking tough pill to swallow.
I have learned the hard way (as per fucking usual) that if something’s gotta give, to make damn sure it is shit that I can do without. Cause I don’t want to lose the things that matter cause I’m too busy pretending shit is fine.
Babes, my life is a fucking beautiful disaster and most days, these days, I’m pretty, mostly, ok with that.