‘Mama, I love your big fat bod.’  Raising a fat positive kid, hopefully (PART 4 – THE END…FINALLY).

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photo by my kid. She really takes the best pictures of me. 

You made it to the end? Congrats. I don’t think I would have so good job. I don’t know why I left number 8 here to start off this round(I CLEARLY need an editor), but I did so I guess here is as good a place as any to start…

8. We look at pictures of fat people ALL.THE.TIME.

Ok, so I totally stumbled in to this one by accident. Instagram is my social media platform of choice and I have a heavily curated group of fat babes that I follow all over the world that have style I want to jack. This means that there are ALWAYS fatties in my feed and my kid has, to date, grown up mostly looking at fat bodies and checking out fat fashion. I really feel like constant fat babe exposure is great for kids cause mine doesn’t even blink an eye about fat babe crop tops and she likes to see what people are wearing as much as I do. A fat babe in a bikini? My kid only ever says things like ‘mama, I like that one.’ OR ‘I wish that came in red’. The bodies wearing the suits are not an issue. I know that shit is gonna change as she gets older, but for now I am so over the moon that the social media she is consuming centres the queer, fat body. I especially love this cause we don’t have to have a big to do every time we talk about fatness and how fat bodies are good bodies blah blah blah, cause she can see that, right there, as I scroll down and find the cutest sequined miniskirts on the fat babe market.

 

Here are the last few items that I probably should have edited out but couldn’t because I have zero ability to keep shit focused and also my vanity means I think i need EVERY WORD. I tried to keep it short and sweet, but really didn’t or whatever. Here, in no particular order, are my final thoughts.

  1. Lead by example: Similarly to the point above, We find fat people who are doing activities that my kid loves to show her examples of fat people doing those same things. Fat babes dancing, fat babe artists, fat babe yoga teachers, fat athletes, fat designers etc
  2. No shame in our eating: We NEVER talk shit about our own bodies before we eat. EVER. There is a weird white lady cultural thing (maybe this happens with other folks too, but I notice it with white ladies the most) that happens where people need to be disparaging about their bodies before they eat – ‘I shouldn’t…just goes straight to my hips’, ‘ugh, I’m trying to lose weight who do I think I am eating this sandwich?’, I’m so baaaad.’ – etc etc. People don’t even notice they do it. It is as regular as breathing for a lot of people out there. Well, we don’t do that in our house and we don’t let other people do it either. We aren’t dirtbags about it, we just make it awkward. ‘What do you mean you are bad? for eating that pizza? How is that bad?”Aren’t you hungry though?’. We think those turns of phrase are toxic to our kid and her relationship to eating and food and can set her up to slip right into body/food shame. So an awkward conversation where we make those statements a real part of the conversation and not just unacknowledged body hatred filler means that we don’t have a ton of this happening when we have company over (also we don’t have a ton of company that isn’t fat positive to begin with, but I recognize that is not everyone’s world).
  3. Don’t be positive when you don’t feel positive. We don’t pretend being fat is easy. It isn’t. The reality is that fat bodies have a harder time navigating the world and people fucking hate us for being fat. Like they are really, really mean, you guys. And I begrudge exactly zero fat babes for trying to make it through the day with their families however they need to. It is hard for a fat babe about town not to internalize the socially acceptable hatred of our bodies. And, like everyone else, we don’t expect to feel good about our bodies every day, and so if we are talking about our bodies in this way, we try to be gentle and generous about anything that feels hard when it comes to how we look, and we talk about context always. This does NOT mean that I talk shit about myself in that constant perseverating way that many of us do because we think it is the expectation. I hear parents (especially mothers) talk about what they hate about themselves right in front of their kids, all the time, and it is so pervasive we don’t even hear it. Now, I parent a young kid who still thinks I am beautiful and amazing and I want to make that last as long as I can, and not make her second guess her feelings about me by shitting all over myself. How she sees me is true and real and magical and wonderful. I am happy to tell her that some days i don’t feel as comfortable in my body as others, but I do not, and will not, insult my body in front of my child. I never want her to think that it is ok to hate yourself casually in the lunch room as a way to bond. I don’t need to perfectly love myself to teach my kid, I just need to be super intentional about how I talk about myself because while I don’t want her to feel bad for feeling bad, I also don’t want her to be ashamed of eating or her body when eating. It is a fine balance, y’all.

 

  1. No Food Policing at the Dinner Table – We talk to our families and loved ones about their fatphobia, body negativity, and food hang-ups, set boundaries, and do not let them be crossed. I feel like there is a lot at stake here, so I tend to be a wee bit rigid on this. There is a strict ‘no food policing’ rule in our family and if it happens anyways at least our kid sees that we are addressing it straight on with people. (This is how white people should be dealing with racism at the dinner table as well, FYI). If you want to know how we do it, we literally shout ‘no food policing’ at people, or say ‘you weren’t just trying to tell me what to eat were you?’. People are mostly so worried about making a scene that it doesn’t often go much further than that. If it did I think I would turn to my kid and say ‘auntie so and so doesn’t understand the rules in our house so we will talk to her about it later and let you know how it goes. Would you like to be excused and go watch a show?’ And then I would go in with auntie so and so. Overall though, I don’t need people to change their opinions about the obesity ‘epidemic’, to suddenly become pillars of fat positivity, or to stop judging the food I give my kid, I just need them to get very quiet about it in my house. So quiet they are SILENT. Sure I want them to get with the fat babery, but barring that I want them to respect me and the rules in my house and with my kid. At the end of the day if they can’t just get with the program they don’t get to hang out with us. Sad for them because we are super party time and aren’t weird about food.

 

  1. Manners. We don’t talk about other people’s bodies unless we have explicit permission. EVER. Manners, babes.

That’s basically it team. My anecdotal approach to (hopefully) raising a kid that is minimally fucked up about food and her body. I sure don’t have all the answers- or even like a dozen, but I’m trying and figured this might help some of you out there who are navigating this stuff as well. Bottom line there is always a do over if we screw it up. My kid is very used to me apologizing to her when I mess up, and she lets me try again on the regular. So, hopefully this series was helpful and didn’t just make you feel worse which is what ALWAYS happens to me when I read stuff about parenting. To be clear here, I am just a fat parent trying not to raise an asshole, so for real, don’t go thinking I’m some child expert. I just know how I want to be treated and so I’m trying to do that for her, and I know that is how you are trying to raise yours too. So here’s to growing a generation of kids who do no harm and take no shit.

Smooches.≈

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‘Mama, I love your big fat bod.’  Raising a fat positive kid, hopefully (PART 3).

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Street art in Iceland – because I am Icelandic and unicorns, and rainbows, ok?

Part three and there is still another round of this stuff. I kid you not.

In which we talk about activity and moving our bodies and ‘health’.

So I wanted to tackle this section without sounding like an ableist asshole. I tried to write in a good way and also probably some of this still might sound sketchy. If it does feel free to slide into the comments and let me know – if you have the spoons that is. Just to be totally clear, I do not think fat bodies only have value if they are healthy AND I do not think that ‘health’ is a ethical metric for measuring worth.

6. Move your body cause you love it, not cause you hate it.

We talk about learning our bodies and how good it feels to move them, to get sweaty, play games, run. Too often people are exercising as punishment for being fat, or a consequence for something that they ate. That babes, is a heaping serving of bullshit. We should every time move our bodies because it feels good, or because we get a major benefit from doing it. There is a reason so many people feel like they should drag their ass to the gym or outside or whatever and I blame this on our fucked-up belief in the ‘activity as punishment’ model (I also blame rampant fatphobia in gyms, but I digress).  Our kids should not learn that every time they eat dessert they should do 50 crunches and a couple laps around the block. Adults suck the fun out of so much the least we can do is keep fun policing away from food and activity. Kids want to be active. They want to play and run and learn what their bodies can do. This step is easy, we literally just have to get out of their way! We try to give our munchkin all kinds of chances to be active. Even just little things like climbing trees, digging in mud, creating weird obstacle courses, or jumping onto a stool from the ground without a head start, all these little moments of learning what our bodies can do help our kid feel great in her skin and curious about what else she can learn to do.

7. Fat bodies don’t tell us anything about what people eat or whether they are ‘healthy’.

We talk to our kid about how looking at someone does not tell us their story. We started this early by talking about gender (since she has so many queer people in her life and she was learning pronouns at the time anyways). We learned our approach from an 8-year-old we know. She taught us that we never know whether people feel like a girl or a boy or both, or neither, or something else entirely unless we ask them ‘how they feel in their heart’. Is that not the goddamn nicest? So, we talk a lot about how people feel in their heart and that it is a personal question that we can only come at lovingly. Our kid, like all kids, is boss about the flexibility of gender and doesn’t blink an eye if what is in someone’s heart is different than what she first thought. It is gentle and kind and creates space for the queer or gender non-conforming kids in her life to talk about how they feel and identify. Thank goodness for genius kids who understand implicitly how to be generous about gender (unlike the vast majority of adults, currently).

We have also applied a similar line of thinking to fatness. We talk about how different bodies can do different things and we can’t tell by looking at them what they can do. So, we should ask if it (whatever activity ‘it’ is) is something people can do and something they want to do and not assume that because a body is skinny that it can do a thing or that because a body is fat, that it can’t. Look, the truth is that someone’s ability to engage in a particular activity, or their overall health status are not things we can know unless we are told. Lots of skinny bodies have high blood pressure or bad backs, lots of fat bodies don’t and so on. The definition of ‘health’ is widely debated and hotly discussed out there in the world and so we don’t spend any time talking to the kid about what is healthy and what isn’t, instead we emphasize the importance of moving her body and putting the food that she needs for fuel into it (also, for the record the idea that a person is only valuable if they are ‘healthy’ is ableist and just a shit thing to believe overall). We debunk myths about fat people, like the assumption that if you are fat, you are ‘unhealthy’ AND that ‘health’ should be the ultimate goal for fat people- especially when skinny people get to choose from any number of other life goals. If skinny people can have life goals that do not revolve around their bodies and health than so the hell can I. With our kid, we mostly just talk about how silly it is to value people based on what their bodies can and cannot do, rather than explore the gifts people do have and honour those.

Health trolling side bar – everyone wants to shame fat people and say that they are concerned about our health when the truth is people, almost exclusively, only give a shit about ‘health’ when they encounter a fat body. There are tons of medical studies out there (google ‘obesity paradox’ instead of getting up in my comments about this) that show that people who are in the first couple categories over ‘normal’ on the BMI scale (also problematic as hell, but whatever) live longer healthier lives, but you don’t see ‘concerned citizens’ on Instagram, or doctors for that matter, encouraging people who are underweight or even in the ‘normal’ BMI ranges to gain weight. Skinny people do not have to deal with the same pervasive and never ending health trolling that comes with fat bodies, it is a different scenario all together (although many like to insist that they are also targeted and maybe they are and that sucks, but it is not the same level of cultural and social pervasiveness and honestly, let’s be real, the visceral hatred is reserved for people with bodies like mine). Also, the idea that my body only deserves respect if it fits into some fucked up definition of health is ludicrous, mean-spirited, and, categorically illogical.

So there.

Last round tomorrow…

‘Mama, I love your big fat bod.’  Raising a fat positive kid, hopefully (PART 2).

Part Two, Y’all: Sections 2 through 5. In which we talk about talking about food.

IMG-16662. Fat is a necessary part of every body.

The role of the body is to store fat. Surprise. That is the literal point. Tell your kids that when you are talking about bodies. Say to them ‘Hey kid did you know that a really important thing that our bodies do is store fat and that is what has kept our species going in times of famine? Did you know that our body can burn fat to keep us warm when we are cold? Our fat is an important part of keeping us alive! ISN’T THAT AMAZING???’ Fat is not a thing our kids should fear, it is a thing they should understand. The more we can buffer kids from the fear of fat, the better – cause that fear sets our kids up for worry, low self-esteem, and a solid shot at disordered eating, all because of a part of our bodies that we all need to goddamn survive. Fat is just fat. I don’t want my kid afraid of any part of her body. Because bodies, and the parts they are made of, are flipping amazing and if our kids learn that from us, then they are less likely to believe any random busybodies who try to tell em different.

3. Be value neutral about food.

We talk about the benefits of food for our bodies in terms of energy. In our house, there is no such thing as a food that is ‘bad’ for you. We never talk about clean eating or healthy vs unhealthy eating – That kind of talk is FORBODDEN. Every kind of food serves a purpose. Food is not just about nutrition, it is comforting, celebratory, ceremonial – this is as important to us as the role food plays in keeping us alive and our bodies working well. So, for us foods like candy or cookies are treats and they taste good, and feel special to us. That is important. Other foods like bread and pasta give us short energy really quick which is good when we are feeling low and need a speedy surge, Things like fruit give us quick energy that also lasts a little longer than say, white bread. Protein gives us energy that takes a while to get going and then gives us a ton of steady, over time, energy. We have found that talking about food in terms of energy is value neutral and teaches our kid about how to mix and match food to get the right kinds of energy, for the right activity, when she needs it. For example, if she is going outside to play and is feeling hungry, she knows that she should snack on something that will give her a quick jolt of energy and probably something that will give her more lasting energy. That could be a cookie and some tuna, or cheese and crackers, apple and peanut butter, or carrots and hummus – really any number of things. This teaches her that food is an important part of her life and helps her do the things that she wants. It also eliminates the idea that food is bad, cause y’all once our kids learn from us that certain foods are bad, then that opens the door for the rest of the world to get a chance to tell them what is bad too, and that is where (if they have blessedly not started at home) fucked up relationships with food can begin. Don’t let other people get their twisted food relationship tenterhooks into your kids – no one needs to feel shitty for eating a potato, and yet, here we are. Protect your kids from that garbage. FOOD IS NOT BAD. IT IS LITERALLY ESSENTIAL TO LIFE.

4. Listen to your belly.

Since our kid was little we have been asking her to listen to her belly. My partner did a ton of research on how to talk to kids about food and read something about telling kids their job is to fill their bellies. We were into it, and because we like to amp shit up, we made it a HUGE thing in our house. Our kid’s belly is a girl (Natch) and babes, she has got a lot to say. When our kid eats more that she needs, her belly lets her know. When my kid wants a snack, we ask her belly what kind of food she needs so she can get the energy she needs. Her belly tells her when she is full. That belly is wise as hell and teaching our kid to listen to that wisdom has meant that she checks in with herself on the regular. She lifts her shirt, gives her belly a look, and really listens. Her belly also tells her when she has eaten too much and when that happens we have a conversation (a kind, compassionate curious convo) about what we could do next time to help our belly not feel sick from eating when she had already had enough- like listen to your belly ahead of time, take breaks from eating so your belly can take stock of what it wants etc. Our kid has had conversations with us about how her belly sometimes tricks her because the food tastes so good so we have talked about how sometimes our belly needs a moment to finish enjoying her food so she can then figure out when she is done and avoid feeling sick afterwards. Now, obvi, no one needs to be that literal, but regular belly check ins do tell us when to eat, what to eat, and when to stop eating. We have also found that bellies generally don’t believe in diet culture so that is a bonus.

5. ‘Too Much’ sugar.

Have you ever heard someone say too much sugar is not good for you? Wait don’t even dignify that with an answer. How about someone saying, ‘too much steak is not good for you?’ or ‘too much lettuce is not good for you’? My guess is a strong ‘probs not’ on those last two. And yet the truth is that ‘too much’ of any one food is not good for you. There are a million complex reasons people choose the foods that they do for themselves and their families and honestly, I’m not interested in getting into this debate with anyone. The bottom line is that a positive relationship with food is more important than our kids understanding that simple sugars aren’t the greatest. ESPECIALLY SINCE LITERALLY THE WHOLE WORLD IS TEACHING HER THAT. That information does not protect you from disordered eating. Seeing food as positive and a way to fuel our lives does.

Part 3 tomorrow – I told you it was SUPER LONG. Your fave has a lot to say about this one.

‘Mama, I love your big fat bod.’  Raising a fat positive kid, hopefully (PART 1).

IMG-3191Hey babes, so I have been tinkering away at this blog post for a year or so. Mostly because it is so freaking long and I am tres realistique about how many words to foist upon you at any given time. I’m super clear that as a rule, I could be a little less verbose/everything I write could use a hard edit, but, I have decided that it is, after all, just a blog so if it is kinda shitty, the stakes are low. I’m gonna share it in a few parts so  people will be able to get through it without muttering curses at me under their breath. There are no cliffhangers though so you are gonna have to rely on intrinsic motivation to get through all the parts. Hopefully it can help us raise a fiery band of fat positive kids who look upon diet culture with disdain and pity. Fingers. Crossed.

My kid is lucky. She has fat parents who don’t hate their fat bodies 24/7. We are basically the fat positive needle in the parent haystack. Even better, we are for sure the vainest babes in our peer group. I believe that my kid’s accidental good fortune in the parent lottery has meant that her relationship to her own body is pretty damn good, at least I freaking hope it is. I have never heard her say a bad word about how she looks or her body overall which is saying something. If anything, we have tipped her over into a deep sea of vanity which, to be perfectly honest, I consider a protective factor against the body hating fatphobia of the rest of the universe. Now can I say for certain that having fat positive fatties as parents is *directly* responsible for the fact that at 7, she does not know what a diet even means? Well not totally, but I mean SURELY we have been a contributing factor? I mean I will concede that, in general, my parenting approach is ‘cross your fingers and hope I don’t fuck her up too much’, and I am certain that much of my parenting ‘skills’ could be improved dramatically, but I feel like in this area, I have done some on purpose shit that I think has contributed to (at least for now) a less messed up perspective on bodies and fatness. And, at the bare minimum, has not added to the constant barrage of media and moral panic around fatness that is coming at her.

I know I’m not the only one who gives a shit about this stuff. Other people, who are also in charge of raising a better generation of humans than us, want their kids to love their bodies, act as allies to fat people, and not have disordered relationships to food and activity as much as I do. I know this is true.  Now, obviously, desire and action are two different things and most of us are so busy trying to keep these tiny people alive that we don’t always have time to share what works with each other. Which means we don’t always have the tools we need at our fingertips. What I also know is that, like most other fucked up shit in the world – I’m looking at you white supremacy, cissexism, racism, settler colonialism, ableism to name a few off the top of my head – if we are not constantly examining how we engage with fatness and interrupting that shit with our kids, they will just end up defaulting to the socially acceptable norm, which to be clear is actively harming everyone and is literally dangerous for those of us navigating these norms in a fat body.

And for kids being raised by thin privileged parents it is extra important to make sure that the kids that you raise won’t be the ones making life a living hell for the fat kid in their class AND that, if you are lucky enough to be raising a gorgeous magical fat kid, that they know that you love their body and them and that you will fight for a world that can recognize how goddamn valuable, beautiful and important they are.

So, I want to share some of the things that I have found helpful (or at least not actively harmful) AND some of the things that I do in my day to day to counterbalance the influence of every other input in the lives of our kids. I want her to be the best fucking accomplice to fat people she can be or a fat babe living her best life, so I do what I can. I’m working hard now because I am very aware that in a hot second she will think everything I have to say is irrelevant garbage. The clock is ticking y’all. So, let’s get to it.

  1. Fat Neutrality VS Fat Positivity

We use the word fat not only in a neutral way, but in an actively positive way. It is not enough to use the word ‘fat’ simply as a descriptor. It is a good start. OK let’s be real, in the current social context that shit is a radical start. And yet, babes, I feel strongly that just because the bar is miserably low that doesn’t mean the bare minimum will cut it. we need to take it further. If we can get to a place where we are talking about all the amazing things that fat bodies can do (float, offer comfort, lift things, etc.) then we are rejecting the idea that fat bodies have nothing to offer. When I was a kid I remember walking the dog with my dad, who is also fat. I was a kid and I must have said something about being fat that didn’t sit well for him – likely wishing I was thin like my mum and brother. And my sweet, fat, gentle, science fiction loving dad, who probably had no clue what to say to his girl, looked at me and said something like ‘different bodies are good at different things. For example, in an apocalypse you would probably live longer because you have more fat stored than skinny people.’ Now, this sentence probably began my obsession with apocalypse planning, but it also shifted my thinking about bodies to include context, and I goddamn hung onto that over the years. Cause even though it was a weird as shit thing to say to a kid, it was also the first time I had heard an adult name a strength associated with being fat and therefore my body. He acknowledged my body, saw it, and in his weird way acknowledged a scenario where my body would survive. Bodies have different value depending on what is happening around us and thinking about that context starts us thinking about systems and shit outside ourselves that plays a role in how life plays out. Now we certainly don’t need to get that heady with 6 year olds, just pointing out how fat bodies are valued in different contexts and how awesome fat can be is probably enough for now.

In a similar, but slightly different vein it is also important to move past saying things like ‘all bodies are good bodies’ and engage in ultra-specificity around the awesomeness of the fat body. ‘Look at your mum’s beautiful belly that feels so good to rest your head on.’ ‘Auntie Maggie’s bathing suit looks amazing on her.’ Etc. I mean obviously get permission to talk about someone else’s body, but you catch my drift. Pretending my body is not fat is not being fat positive. Cause, while all bodies are good bodies, some bodies have to shout a little louder to make sure the punks in the back can hear. So, the more of us shouting the better.

Part two continues tomorrow…

Surviving the heat like a fat babe does

Yo! Babes!

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see what i mean? Its freaking hot.

It is hotter than my ass in short shorts out there, and I’m feeling a certain type of way about it. I am not a babe who copes well in the heat, and shit has been hovering around what feels like 36 degrees celcius (thank you humidity) – so essentially, I am living in hell, and frankly, so is everyone around me.

I walk across the room and my body is pouring sweat – My fucking knees were sweating yesterday and I didn’t even know that was a thing that happened. I live in a house with no air conditioning and I’m at the point where I will literally come for you if you step in front of my fan. Don’t even bother asking me to set it to ‘oscillate’, that option is not on offer, not by a long damn shot.

So yeah, its hot, my mood is piss poor, my temper is short, and my goal is to get through this heat wave without being responsible for the total decimation of every good thing in my life – if i make it through successfully it will be a goddamn miracle sent from our holy mother of fatness.

Part of the problem is my own heat addled attitude for sure, but the bulk of the issue here is the way the world treats fat babes when the temperatures soar.

Look babes, being hot in the summer is a universal feeling, but for fat people it comes with a little extra je ne sais quoi- as if I’m not already on the fucking edge of reason. Cause like many, many things in life, fat people are not allowed to look hot. And I don’t mean hot as in ‘lets do this thing, babe’, because against all odds, we fucking pull off that kind of hot just fine, thank you. I mean the sweaty, sticky, stifling kind of hot.

There is a lot of pressure on fat people to ‘manage’ our bodies. If my body is gonna be fat, there is a cultural expectation that I keep it quiet, or at least out of view when it just does what is natural for bodies to do. No one gives a shit when skinny people are sweating. No one cares if the sweaty size 4 sits next to them on the bus. People are fucking charmed when skinny people’s hair sticks to their sweaty faces – the ‘pushing the sticky hair out of her face’ move is one of the more common, tired rom com tropes out there. Only thing is, ya can’t be fat. Cause when you are fat, that shit is not cute. We have been told over and over again that our bodies are not deserving of respect and nothing underscores that more than the way we get treated in the motherfucking heat.

It is already the worst out there, but fat babes have to consider so much more, just to stay cool. We do not live in the same spaces as our thinner brethren. I am under constant public scrutiny every time I leave the house in shorts, never mind when I am also red-faced, sweaty, and miserable. Strangers REGULARLY have a thing to say, or a look to give, or a giggle behind a covered mouth. I am the proud owner of a deeply practiced strut, sneer, and snark combo that allows me to wear what the fuck I want, but on days like this, when it is hot as balls out there, I can barely muster a sneer. And, to be crystal here, I shouldn’t have to. My body is fat, and sweaty, and red, and now it is time for everyone to get the fuck over it. Cause it’s summer out there and I got shit to do.

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This was my outfit the other day. The double take/jaw drops were fast and furious. On the upside I was femme flagging so hard I’m pretty sure no one thought I was straight. #smallmiracles

And I’m trying babes, but my fat babe armour is too hot for teacher, and in this heat, I don’t always have the emotional wherewithal to bounce back from the casual fatphobia of strangers (read: i turn into a temperamental fat bitch- and to be real here – its too hot out for that kind of exchange.). And yet, as per usual, I’m gonna do what I want. So in the interest of laying it down for a fatphobic jackoff, here is a list of things that I have done and will continue to do as long as I feel like it. I have also helpfully included the appropriate public response since civility, it seems, may in fact be rocket science.

1. I’m gonna wear the romper that is so short that you can see the pimples on my inner thighs, a result of sweltering heat induced chub rub and exercises in hair removal working in tandem to piss me off. And you are gonna appreciate the balls it takes to be hot and fat in the world and you are gonna see those pimples as goddamn badges of honour in a world that wants my body in pants all summer long.

2. I’m gonna bring my sweat rag (that’s a hankie to wipe the sweat off my brow for those not in the know) along with me whenever I’m headed out in this heat and I’m gonna use it, as needed, in front of people. Said people are going to say ‘goodness it is hot, you are a beautiful fat genius to have brought along your hankie’.

3. I’m gonna wear my bikini top and nothing else (except maybe a denim vest, see above), like every other damn broad in the world. People are gonna mind their own business, close their gaping jaws, and stop double taking, and in return they will not have to enjoy a public call out, by moi.

4. I’m gonna use my shirt to wipe off boob sweat when I’m at the garden cause the sweat stings my eyes and feels like bugs and if you see my tits in a bra then you are just gonna deal, old man.

5. I’m not putting on shorts the second I’m done swimming. My suit is wet and I’m hot and I don’t wanna. Also, your kids need to see fat people who are living their lives like bosses, so you are also welcome for the teachable moment.

6. Bras are gonna be fucking optional and if you see a little nip you are going to be polite as fuck about it.

Babes, It is hot out. Our fat bods are tryna stay cool just like everyone else’s. There is nothing wrong with fat babe bodies in the heat – even at our sweatiest and hot messiest, our majestic bods are worthy of respect and some goddamn admiration. The people that cross paths with us may want us to take up as little space as possible, well I want them to zip it lock it and put it in their damn pocket, but apparently in this heat, no one is really getting what they want. And I, as previously stated, am gonna do what the fuck I want. And what I want is to stay cool enough that I still have a little kindness for the people i love, so if that means the world gets to see a little more of me then the world is gonna have to just eat it. And then they are going to LOVE IT.

So, given this heat, and the hair-trigger temper it inspires in me, I fucking dare anyone to try a thing with me or my fat babe fam. JUST. TRY. IT.

Smooches.

Writing Hate Mail Like a Fat Babe Does

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Connect the dots, asshole.

Dear fat babe harassers of all ages and genders,

 

I get it, it’s summer, people are wearing shorts when its hot and that has got you seriously bothered. We all fucking know you, you are entitled, you hate when fat femmes feel safe in the world, you are bored, you get off on scaring us, you love the vibe you get after you shame us for existing, you feel like it is your god given right to police other people’s bodies, and you need to feel like a big fucking deal cause you are deficient in other areas – namely decency, but probably also your ability to get laid by someone who is actually into it. I do really get it, lemme summarize: you are a fucking dick and telling you to go fuck yourself is LITERALLY too good for you. See, I get it, I’m an emotional empath like that; I understand that you are a sack of shit that doesn’t deserve nice things.

And yet here I am wasting my time and energy on you because you have been fucking with a lot of fat babes I know lately, and we are more than a little tired of dealing with the nonsense that is your existence. You have been shouting out of cars while we are out walking and riding our bikes, you are getting in our way at the beach, speaking when you have most definitely NOT been spoken to, and honestly, you are just taking up the fucking space we are entitled to, and you can’t shut the fuck up about it. Even though we have heard your shit a fucking million times before (yes i have a fat ass, yes I’m a fat bitch, yes i have thunder thighs, yes i do think i should be wearing this, yes i should go fuck myself, obvi.) you still think we need to hear it again and again and again.

Now I will be real clear here, you are not novel, you are not new, you are not special.  Seen one bag of dicks and you have seen ’em all, amiright, babes? Most of us have been putting up with you for the better part of our lives and mostly we have learned to do what we need to do to survive you measly little ass wipes. Whether we shout back, find solidarity with other fat babes, smash your windows, cry hot angry tears, key your cars, put up with your fucking shit at the family dinner table, or like, follow your sorry ass home, track down your mother, and fucking tell on you, we are taking care of business like the fucking boss bitches that we are.

But we are also tired. We are tired of having to brainstorm witty comebacks to the fucked up shit you feel entitled to say to us. We are over having to brace ourselves every time we go out in the world. We want to be able to do the shit that we want to do without fear of you opening your mouth and taking a big shit out of it. Taking care of business takes a fucking toll and that is on you. You are responsible for stealing our joy in moving our bodies. You are the reason, we don’t wear the things we want to wear. You are why we avoid beaches, pools, gyms, doctor’s offices. You are responsible for fucking with our lives. You are the fucking reason we carry shame about the bodies that have survived you over and over again.

But just because you are the reason doesn’t mean you have the power. Just because you want to destroy us doesn’t mean you will. Just because parts of us are so deeply and irrevocably hurt by you doesn’t mean every part is. For example, my fist is SUPER fine.

We have spent our lives building up armour so that we can protect the gentle, delicate, sweet, and fragile parts of us that hold space in our bellies, and upper arms, and thighs, and chins, chests and hearts. We protect those parts because they are vulnerable, but also because they are fierce and eventually, we hope, they will be the parts of us that we allow to be free, even for just a moment when we know it is safe enough.

Cause asshole, you may be a constant in our lives, you may find the words that can cut us down even when we know they shouldn’t, you may even sometimes trick us into thinking we deserve what you are dishing out, but you don’t fucking own us. You are not in charge here. You are a thing we get together to manage, deal with, work around. You are a problem to be solved. And if there is one thing angry fat bitches are good at it is asshole mathematics. All we need to do is knock down the first domino and the rest of you will come toppling down. Its douchebag physics, you taught us that.

Motherfucker, you are mean. And boring. And mean, boring, motherfuckers need to get the hell out of our way. Because as of this fucking minute, we are coming for you.

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Always dead to me,

Your Fave Fat Babe

 

Being a goddamned perfect angel baby here on earth, like a fat babe does.

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.

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I mean, wouldn’t you?

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.

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DO IT!

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.

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Just a Goddamn Perfect Angel Baby Here on Earth.

SMOOCHES!

 

 

Stepping into 2017 like a Fat Babe does

 

2016 You.Did.Not.Break.Us.

(me unleashing the fuschia sparkle on new years eve and Princess Leia keeping it motherfucking real. RIP.)

Babes welcome to 2017. We made it through what was, for many of us, a shit-box of a year. Box after box, babes, just full of shit. We all just kept unpacking it and unpacking it. But we are here, the last carton full of crap has been delivered and, if you are reading this, you have hopefully emerged unscathed. I feel like a goddamn warrior slowly standing the fuck up after a serious, didn’t know if I would make it, battle. 2016 babes, she was a doozy. For me personally, for nearly everyone I know, my community at large, and the planet, specifically. For real, babes, 2016 unleashed a bag of dicks upon humanity and I for one am ready to put those dicks back where they belong: on the internet quietly jerking off to shit they find on Reddit.

And now here we are in 2017. ‘Who knows what this year will hold’ feels pretty goddamn ok to me. I’m not gonna lie I get wooed by a new year. Feels like the world is full of possibility and that suits me. That said, I’m not really a fat babe who waxes philosophical about the new year, and goal setting, and intentionality. I’m down for however my fellow fats want to roll, and I’m not gonna lie, I get inspired by that shit all the time,  but y’all I’m still wearing my armour and I’m hopped up on the adrenaline rush of getting through 2016, and it just seems like maybe a bitchy, blaspheming, Fat Babe in full armour is just what we need to get through the fuckery that is January. I mean, babes, it is a month like none other for the spewing of body hating nonsense. It is the month where collectively the universe does that thing that I hate the most about office lunch rooms: atoning for the fun you had on the weekend by punishing yourself come Monday. Fuck. No.

Welcome to January. Had fun over the holidays? Saw people you love? Ate seconds at turkey dinner? Went out drinking with friends? Got sick by eating multiple boxes of tofifee? You didn’t think you could get away with just enjoying life did you? DID YOU? Don’t worry, January is here to disabuse you of that notion. January is here to say natural consequences are not enough, that you should be mixing that hangover with a hearty dose of shame. January is here to sell you lies about your body. January is here to distract you from the fact that we have some serious organizing to do in order to deal with the aftermath of 2016.  January is the fun police. January is a punk ass mother fucker and I have no time for that. So here I am, feeling ballsy as fuck for getting through 2016, and I think Ill just ride that feeling a little goddamn longer. Cause babes, we can gently, lovingly, and intentionally work our way through January by giving zero fucks about what she has to offer.

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Looking hot as fuck while giving exactly none.

 

6 ways to give zero fucks about January, her evil twin Fatphobia, and her kid sister, Capitalism

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Don’t drink the mother fucking Kool-Aid– do not be fooled. January is not about making changes. It is about making us feel so shitty that we buy stuff/memberships we are not actually gonna use. Once the ‘joyful xmas/xmas frenzy’ marketing strategy of December is behind us, capitalism switches gears to bring us the ol ‘buckle down/you are the worst’ strategy for January. In the same way that December manipulates, so too does January. And it is sneaky and, unfortunately, a part of the collective consciousness. It is at the dinner table, in our workplaces, and cozily wrapped in our hearts and minds. We confuse naming our hopes and desires for the year with guilt and the feeling that we have somehow cheated and must atone. We need to slow down that thinking to give it a closer look. Cause when we really think about it, we know what is real. We know that behaviour change is complicated and isn’t magically successful just because the year turned over. That is clearly bananas. I go to the gym every damn day and January is full of people ‘making a change’, but y’all, come February it is back to regulars. January is not about behaviour change, it is, like always, about consumption and capitalism. Babes, lets not get sucker punched by some gym trying to sell us a boxing class, yeah?
  2. Make space – making space for reflection, goals, and hopes for the new year is a bomb ass thing to do – in January or when the fuck ever. Fat Babes, we deserve to take a minute, catch our breath and think about what we are proud of, what we wish we could do more of, and how we want to move in the world. So feel free to make some space in the world for yourself. Space that allows you to gently and kindly celebrate who you are and who the fuck you want to be. Sit down with a coffee, or tea, or whatever you drink, and think about how you honoured yourself last year and what you want to do to honour yourself this year. It may be cheesy as fuck but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good for you.
  3. Take space- Babes, remind yourself of why you are worth rejecting the resolution, you are goddamn enough. Ima just say that again for the hell of it. You.Are.Enough. No one has the right to tell you to change, to suggest you improve, to tell you what would make you better. You are the only one who can do that for yourself. And only if you goddamn want to. So take space back from the toxic lunchroom chit chat, don’t attend family dinners that make you feel bad for eating, and go dark on social media if your feeds are all about body hating and diet talk. Resolve to take that space back for yourself. Go ahead. You deserve it.
  4. Remember to breathe – Babes, if you had asked me 10 years ago if I would ever consider mindfulness to manage my anxiety, and my constant state of being emotionally over stimulated, I would have told you to take your junk science and get the hell out of my house. Today I can say that I was deeply wrong and for that I am sorry. If I can do nothing else but save other cranky dirt bags the time it took me to get over myself and try a thing that is super far outside my comfort zone, my work on this planet will be done. Look I get it. It is a stretch, a different way to heal from what many of us have been taught. And also, it seems kind of like the ol ‘take a bath and go for walks’ strategy to manage the deep traumatic ache of the planet. I mean exactly how many baths must one fat babe have to get rid of rape culture, hmmmmm? Self-care practices ain’t gonna convince brahs to change a damn thing. But babes, my logic was flawed and my attitude was shitty. And really, where has cynicism and detached irony got us anyways? If we are gonna be tackling this shit head on, if we are going to stand firm, if we are gonna protect each other, we need to breathe. We need those moments to store up a little flicker of energy and hope here and there. So whether it is a bath, or a walk, or shaking your ass on the dance floor, remember that you are storing up these tiny breaks so that you can face the world with an open heart and kindness while giving a total of zero fucks. Taking a breath to be in the present, to just be alive, and feel the wonder of that, is not twee (or like maybe just a little twee). It is living. I even have a fucking app that guides me through the whole practice of mindfulness. That is how hard-core I am now. An app. So whatever your version of breathing is, however you take space for yourself to be alive in your body do that now, cause we need it this time of year.
  5. Move your body – Yall just cause I am opposed to having exercise sold to me under the guise of self-improvement/body hatred doesn’t mean I don’t love getting sweaty. I love exercise for my body, but mostly to quiet my mind. I even love going to the gym (even with all of the MANY flaws of gym culture). I am so here for fat babes moving their bodies in ways that feel fun and empowering. If you can find a way to move your body in a way that celebrates it, then for shit sakes, go forth and move.
  6. Eliminate diet talk- I did this for myself years ago and it is the total best. I started telling the people around me that I didn’t want to hear about diets or the ways they hate their body. I was ruthless in that I was all ‘look you can either stop talking about it around me or we can’t be friends. It is that important to me.’ I reminded my people that they can be celebrated for their diet talk by nearly EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD so surely they could just not around me. It worked. I had maybe one post on my feed about losing weight this January. That’s it. Feels good. Maybe that should be the resolution, y’all.

Babes, it turns out we can step into new things, and care about ourselves in loving ways, and swear like a sailor, and shit talk the clusterfuck that is January, and fight the fucking shitstorm of douchbaggery. From where I’m sitting, 2017 should have literally nothing to do with diets and weight-loss workouts and EVERYTHING to do with loving our selves in a deep and real and fucking righteous way, and then getting out there to fight the misogyny, racism, white supremacy, and other tomfuckery that is exploding extra all over North America. If our resolutions have nothing to do with fighting oppression and everything to do with fighting our bodies, well, babes, we are doing it all wrong. Don’t let vapid resolutions take up any brain space just cause your co-worker/sister-in-law/auntie/bestie is making bad choices. Make your body a safe and cherished place to come home to. Cause babes, it’s a riots not diets kinda year. Welcome to 2017.

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Smooches.

 

Dreaming of Safe Gyms like a Fat Babe does.

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Babes. Hey. So, if you have been keeping up with my blog life from the start you know that I have been working out at my local gym now for a few years. And in a lot of ways it is the total best thing in my life. I am there easily 4 times a week. They know my name which is charming as fuck. I do cardio and recently, a smidge of circuit training. I am still fat. I go to the gym cause moving my body and getting sweaty makes me less crazy and it feels good. I do not have a weight loss goal connected to my working out, nor do I ever intend to. This makes me a fucking unicorn in the world of gyms and muscle heads. I am usually super fine with my gym role as Our Lady Of Perpetual Fatness, but lately I have noticed that I am developing a bitter resentment towards gym culture. I mean not to go all conspiracy theorist on all y’all but I am basically sure that gym culture is all built on massive lies that are messing with me and my fellow fats. No, fer real.

And the biggest lie is this: HEY! GUYS! GYMS ARE FOR EVERYONE!!

Bull to the motherfucking shit.

Gyms are deeply and committedly not for fat people. From the physical space to the attitudes that abound. Sure there are fat people in gyms, but we are having to hold down space for ourselves on the regular and it ain’t always easy. More importantly we shouldn’t have to steel ourselves to use a goddamn elliptical machine. The truth is this: Fat people have to do about a million times more emotional prep work just to walk through the fucking door of a place that is supposedly for everyone. So I have been feeling like I deserve the mother load of cookies for going as often as I do. And yes, I mean both actual cookies that I can eat and the righteous cookies that feed my soul. What can I say, babes, I want it all.

Instead this is what I and my fellow fat people get from gyms:

NO FATS NO FEMMES

Not a single staff person who works in the actual gym portion of the Y looks like me. Now I know for a fact that there are fat people who do gym shit for a living (or they would if we could lose our craptacular attitude about fat) so why are my people never represented? Hmmmmmm? If we know that dieting is a failed experiment and weight maintenance is what all the kinesiology academics are talking about as a realistic goal, then why can’t fat babes see other fat babes as boss fat trainers? I mean babes really, its science. And while there are some people working the ‘front of house’ who look like they are not hard core gym bunnies, they are most certainly not fat. At least not in the conventional sense (like they probs think they are fat, but they are tops a size large in straight sizes).

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I am squarely in the MO FATS MO FEMMES camp. Obvi.

PETITE POWERLIFTING ONLY

Nary a fat person working out on the free weights and weight training equipment. This is what is giving me the most rage cause I wanna use that stuff – I want to learn to power lift that shit. And I will, but currently the intimidation factor is greater than my rage fueled sense of fat babe entitlement. Look, maybe all those buff people are the sweetest in the world (the trainer friend that I know and love is – she just wants everyone to feel good and work it out – bless her), but I don’t know for sure and gym culture means I am way too intimidated to risk it.  Cause gym culture is super clear on who should be lifting shit and it ain’t me. We generally have two groups of people at the gym feeling entitled to dead lift: 1. ripped motherfuckers (as in ‘holy shit you are a ripped motherfucker). 2.brahs (as in ‘brah! spot me while I bench press the shit out of this weight). Surprise. Not fat people. Babes, I’m not saying ripped motherfuckers and brahs should not have access to equipment – of course they should, but do they have to get all of it?

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I mean wouldn’t you want this babe to get up in your powerlifting?

PRETENDING WE ARE NOT FAT

PSSST, babes. Its not a secret, amiright? Pretending like all bodies have the same workout needs and that we are all intimidated by gyms in the same way is just as bad as telling me I shouldn’t even bother. Yesterday, for instance, I watched as a very skinny gym attendant oriented a very nervous looking fat couple to the gym. I could feel their unease as they were shown around by a well-meaning, but totally ill equipped gym babe. She was super friendly and I heard her say ‘with a membership you have access to all of this equipment!!!’  All I could do was smile encouragingly at them while sweat poured off all of us. Now obviously I don’t know what was going through their minds, so let me just spell out how this experience has played out for this fat babe at the gym, yeah?

Here are the pressing questions I have had as I was oriented to a new gym  – will I be able to use the equipment as a fat person? Will I fit? Why are the cardio machines squished so close together? Will I fit? Can I take a class and keep up? Are there other fat people who go here? What if I sweat more than the skinny broad next to me? Will she notice? Are people in the lockers going to talk about anything besides how they hate the fat parts of themselves, and how many calories they burn? Am I going to break the equipment? Am I going to break myself? How the fuck do you use this shit? Is this stuff safe for me? Are they going to whisper about me? Do I shower naked? Are there stalls? Will I fit? Are people here going to be kind to me while I learn to love my body with exercise?

Here are the answers that I am given in response to my unasked questions: Here are all the activities that you can do here! Everything here works for everyone! Welcome to the gym!!! GYMS ARE FOR EVERYONE!!

Y’all, fer real, the exclamation point does not make it so.

sweaty-babe
Exclamation Point! Nice Try! No one gets anything past this fat sweaty face!

Here is the truth about many gyms: The cardio machines are too damn close together and squeezing by people working out is humiliating. My legs don’t fit on every single machine cause these thunder thighs are next level glorious. People in the locker rooms almost exclusively use body shaming as small talk with one another and we have to hear it. Sometimes classes are too fast for me and I can’t keep up. Instructors that are not fat are terrible at developing adaptations for fat bodies. No one talks about how exercise just makes you feel good. Sometimes I get hurt because fat body expertise is not something that trainers learn (Which is totally fucking wild cause the entire world just wants fat people to stop eating and work out – EXCEPT WE ARE NOT WELCOME). So a big hearty fat babe fuck that to fucking hell, fer fucks sakes is clearly in order.

Gyms are not for everyone (even though they damn well should be). Saying that they are just invisibilizes all of the bodies that don’t easily fit into the perception of gym culture. And that invisibility means that these spaces don’t take us into account. And really, they don’t take a lot of bodies into account. Queer bodies, Disabled bodies, Trans bodies, BIPOC bodies, femme bodies – None of us are centered at the gym. Not surprisingly because gym culture is just a more intense and like, steroid addled version of the fat hating, body shaming, cis normative, white supremacist world we live in. It sucks because moving our bodies in a way that feels good, that tires us out, that makes us sweat is a sweet sweet gift we give ourselves.

And this is where I have found myself recently – a kind of pissed off fattie that works out at a gym that doesn’t quite meet my needs. And if that is true for me – a privileged, albeit fat as all get out, white, cis, mostly able bodied woman then I feel super confident in saying that there are a bunch of us who are feeling a certain type of way.

But babes, What if the lie wasn’t a lie? What if gyms actually were for everyone?

What if they were spaces that warmly welcomes all bodies, but especially bodies that are not privileged in regular gym culture? A place where the locker room talk is never about how much we hate ourselves. Where exercise goals are not linked to weight loss, but to strength, endurance, having fun, sweating. Movement for the sake of movement. Nothing more. Where getting a milkshake after a work out is as celebrated as a protein shake. Where I learn to dead lift without feeling shitty about being fat, and where my fat body is honoured for being able to move serious poundage! Where the pictures on the wall are of us – fat babes getting sweaty together, dancing, lifting weights, running, lunging. And where the staff step into things with you, where they work to ensure the most welcoming, body positive, diet-free, unintimidating, fun, goddamn workout of your life. I would so fucking totally go there.

scale
This is the scale in my locker room today. Unclear whether the thing is actually broken or if some fat babe angel just went rogue with the post-its. Either way. YES.

Now, every time I work out, I spend a significant chunk of my time fantasizing about a gym for fat babes, for all bodies. Look, not every fantasy can be a throw down, hot for teacher scenario, ok?

I have a friend who loves to say ‘mass moves mass, baby’ about her fat babe workouts, and maybe she is right. Maybe if we demand that our bodies be honoured in the gym. Maybe if we refuse to let gym culture mess with our chance to move our bodies. Maybe if we hip check ourselves into position in front of a mirror with some weight to lift. Maybe we can get there together.

Hell, who knows? Maybe I will open a fucking gym. Its not like I’m doing anything else.

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me. looking hot, fat, and doing – literally-nothing else.

Smooches.

Quitting like a Fat Babe does.

 

stardust

Babes. I fucking quit my job. A job I loved. A job I was good at, that I think made a tiny difference. And, let’s be real, a job that paid half the bills and meant that we could have fancy cheese sometimes.

That is some messed up, holy shit, mid life mother fucking crisis business, no?

Rhetorical question – IT IS OBVI WILDLY RECKLESS. Especially for a fat babe with a protestant prairie work ethic. YOU NEVER QUIT A JOB WITHOUT ANOTHER JOB. It is the middle class mantra of prairie people since time immemorial. But I totally fucking did. So there.

Welcome to the party. Confession: by party I mean the exact opposite.

I am fucking exhausted. Babes I’m tired. The kind of tired that makes me want to sleep for days. The kind of tired that makes nothing seem worth getting up for. The kind of tired that often requires expensive therapy and significant life changes. And, y’all, I have been tired for a while. So I quit.

Look it was either quit or lose everything, so the choice was a no brainer. I mean, babes, I pretty much have it all : partner that I love and that I still think is a total babe who is kind and patient and knows how to fix shit, a scrappy kid that is pretty much the best thing that ever happened to me, a couple dirt bag dogs, a mostly un-fucked up family that loves me, enough disposable income to ensure that I look sick as fuck, and a place to lay my head every night – not the worst life. In fact, kind of the best life.

And then there was a moment in time (my fucking birthday if we are going to be specific – which I am) where my S.O. was all ‘get your head out of your ass and engage with the people who love you like you love them back or I am outta here’ – Babes that is the kind of sentence that you fucking pay attention to. And then you fix it.

The reality of my life is that my anxiety has always been a tricky little fucker. And the other truth is that the kind of work that I do is deeply impactful – in all the good ways and all the really fucking bad ways. And then this other shitty thing happened where my crazy went and tied itself to land and humanity and the ways that this planet and her people are so sick. Babes, there is no escape from a sick planet. A lover once said to me ‘i don’t know how you can manage your anxiety when the world is so full of hurt’. She nailed it, babes, how do we manage in a sick world? How do those of us with giant hearts who feel things hard and long and deep stay afloat?

The hard truth is I have no fucking clue. I can’t tell when I am sick and when I am just anxious. I feel like I am dying every single day. I can’t turn off my worry about dying and leaving my little girl, I can’t stop being afraid that she will turn out like her mama, hurting in a world that needs more love and heart and peace than we can give. I can’t stop wondering whether today will be the day when my partner has just had enough of it and walks out the door.

Honestly, babes, anxiety has pretty much meant that I can’t have nice things (or maybe, secret confession, that I don’t deserve them). Or at least that’s how it feels. A lot.

That is why I had to quit the ever loving hell out of my job. Cause this is the kind of wonky brain stuff that fucking destroys lives and I may be crazy but I am not stupid and I was not gonna go down like that. Hell to the fucking no. Cause babes, on my clear days, I know that we are all worth fighting for, I’m worth fighting for fer crissakes. My people and community and this planet deserve a fat, kind hearted, blaspheming warrior femme to bring the noise, the chaos and the motherfucking style.

Now I get that quitting a damn job is maybe a large-ish gesture and that many people just hire a life coach or do yoga or something less, well, drastic. But I am a babe that tends to lean towards the dramatic, the hysterical, the ‘burn it with fire’ approaches to significant life problems. I mean why do anything halfway, amiright?

K, and to be clear i am also fully aware that quitting a job the same day you first think about quitting said job is not just born out of enormous balls and recklessness, but also privilege and a partner who works, so I get that I sound actually ridiculous. But here is the goddamn lowdown: I have until mid February to figure out what the fuck do with myself that will give me energy instead of suck the life out of me. I gotta figure out how to live in this world in a good way for my family and my community.

So the current plan is to start by doing myself a solid and taking some time to chill the fuck out. And from there, I am banking on the fact that adventure awaits.

So I quit. I worked my last day Friday. So that I can live.

First Day at No Work:

Post Work Out:

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My new work has an even more casual dress code than the clinic!

My New Co-Workers and Office:

 

The bar for efficiency and work ethic is extremely low here. Like, if I stay awake and don’t pee on the couch I will have surpassed my colleagues by significant amounts.