Birthday…IS…Men…Title Revisited.

So yesterday was my birthday.  I turned 22 on 2/22 which was pretty neat.  I went out to dinner with my sorority and some other really good friends and had a grand old time.  Here is a picture to commemorate the occasion:

(I’ve promoted myself from headless fatty to face transplant fatty….maybe one day you’ll have the pleasure of gazing upon my real face.  A special thanks goes out to Raggedy Ann for lending me her face for the time being.)  That glorious plate in front of me is molten lava cake.  If I were one of those people who gave morality to food…I’d have to call it sinfully delicious.

The friends that sat near me at my end of the table at dinner were mostly seniors and at this time of year, the seniors at my school really only have one topic of conversation–IS (our giant Independent Study Projects that are due in a few weeks).  There are a few different types of seniors at my school:  Those who enjoy talking about their IS (sometimes because they are genuinely enthusiastic about their topic, but more often because it makes them feel all important); Those who just complain about IS (usually because these people just like to complain about things to begin with); and Those who will avoid talking about it.

I’m usually in the last category.  I’ll talk about how I need to work on it or some frustrations I’m having with it, but I generally don’t like to go into specifics.  Part of this is because talking about it with other seniors causes me to start comparing myself to them, which can cause me to freak out and isn’t healthy.  But also part of this is because a lot of people just don’t quite get my topic.  I suppose if I want to get good at this whole fat acceptance thing I should really want to talk about it in order to teach them about it, but it can be so exhausting to explain and possibly debate.  Don’t get me wrong, I am immensely passionate about fat positive feminism as my topic and with the right person I will talk for hours on end about it.  But sometimes I just don’t feel up to the challenge.

But last night I brought it up.  I have an adorable tiny little friend who ordered cheesecake after her dinner last night to share with my other friend sitting next to her.  She’s not usually one for fat talk, but while she was eating it she was talking about how “bad” she was being by eating it (and by “it” she meant HALF a slice of cheesecake) and how she really needs to go to the gym.  I casually mentioned that she should just enjoy her cheesecake without guilt and that she could benefit from reading my IS.  She proceeded to ask about it and showed a real interest in what I was saying, but didn’t refrain from her cheesecake guilt talk.  Kind of like “oh! that’s a great topic for you and it’s really interesting, but I still need to be hard on myself.”  I don’t blame her because it’s a way we’ve all been trained to think…but it makes me feel like I hit a wall when I get into conversations like that.

So the whole table (all girls) got into a talk about body image, not fat acceptance but still a valuable topic.  Then one of my friends chimed in with “In some ways I feel like guys have it worse”– referring to the body ideal for men.  I can’t for the life of me see her perspective.  I understand that men have issues and insecurities about their bodies, and yes that sucks.  But I do not see it nearly to the extent that I see it for women.  Granted, I will admit that I am the kind of feminist who has a lot of trouble feeling sorry for men.  I’m not a man-hater by any means (as one can see by my adoration for my father and brother as well as my unhealthy and strange affection for all things boyband and Zac Efron).

The thing is, if I consider specific men individually, I have no problem at all sympathizing for their insecurities and  and body-issues.   They are very real…men have feelings too.   But something changes when we speak about men collectively rather than individually.  I am a lot less inclined to be able to empathize.  Maybe I’m essentializing the male experience, but I can’t imagine men experiencing a beauty ideal with the same all-encompassing rigidity like I’ve seen among women.

I mean, for example fat men can definitely say a whole lot about fat oppression and they are scarred in many ways just like fat women, but I see more acceptable spaces for fat men.  And when I see a man who is not exactly a pleasure to look at  calling a woman fat or ugly, there’s definitely something going on there.  Maybe not within men individually as there are so many wonderful guys out there and when a guy sucks it’s because he sucks, not because he is a man…but I’m pretty sure there is something going on with men collectively and their power that makes me not as inclined to be able to relate to “men” in the general sense of the word.

Ok that was just a lot of rambling.

Anyway…the IS title search continues.  I had one thought, but I don’t know if it’s a big enough theme in my paper to make sense as a title… “Recapitating the Headless Fatty:  A Look at Fat Positive Feminism in Blogs”.

Ok so maybe “recapitating” is a made up word, and the “headless fatty” isn’t necessarily an explicitly dominating theme or doesn’thave very much to do with blogs, but I think it could work on a few different levels and is actually a bit…ironic?  Since blogs are kind thought of as kind of disembodied entities.  I don’t know.  I’ll keep thinking of more options.

Edited:  So a friend of mine pointed out that “Recapitating” just sounds like a foolish word.  “Putting the Head Back on the Headless Fatty” then?  Something completely different?  I don’t know…

Project title

I need a snappy title for my IS project.  Any suggestions?  Perhaps something having to do with fat, feminism, and blogging that is a fun play on words or something just plain fun.  Would love some brainstorming help.  I’m not that witty on paper.

My Screwed Up Relationship with Food

So I tried to post this late Saturday night, but for some reason WordPress wasn’t being nice to me.  So here are my thoughts as of about 3 AM this past Sunday morning…

Today I meant to spend the whole day writing my thesis (IS).  Instead I spent it watching every episode of Being Human, stuffing my face with ‘hint of lime’ tortilla chips, and toggling my computer screen between my IS and Facebook.  Although I have realized that I work better late at night, so I am trying to take advantage of that right now, but even with coffee that isn’t turning out as successful as I’d hoped.  So I figure if I write here I am still indirectly working on my project, even if it’s not in the way I want right now.  Have I mentioned I’m a chronic procrastinator?

Anyway the “stuffing my face with ‘hint of lime’ tortilla chips” has brought me to this post…

So…yes I am doing extremely well with this whole idea of loving who I am and accepting my body.  It’s really been liberating for me and I am so grateful to have discovered fat acceptance and HAES blogs as they’ve been a great help in that.

However, I am still struggling with some issues on the periphery.  First off, I have a screwed up relationship with food and I can’t for the life of me figure out how to fix it.  I eat regardless of hunger.  I just eat and eat sometimes.  When I’m home I find myself wandering into the kitchen looking for food and then asking myself why I am there when I’m not even hungry at all.  Sometimes I’m even completely full.  It’s like my legs are on autopilot though.  Like I don’t consciously realize that I’m doing it until I already have the fridge open or until I’m done stuffing my face.  When I’m at school I don’t have a kitchen to walk in and out of, but when I’m at the dining hall I often eat to a point where I feel terribly bloated and uncomfortable.  I think part of this has to do with the rigid 3-meal-or-less-a-day structure implicit in a college dining hall system.  I’m sure it also has something to do with the fact that there is so much food available….but I do know that this food will be available the next time I sit down for a meal.  It’s not like I’m eating a last meal.

I know that I’m not a bad person for my overeating.  I know that there are other things at work here.  I also don’t like it because I make myself feel like shit and also because I don’t like obsessing about food.  But I can’t for the life of me figure out how to stop.  If food is in front of me, or available, I eat it regardless of whether I am hungry or not.  I didn’t go to dinner tonight because I ate that whole bag of chips.  I didn’t mean to…but it was there, so I did.  I also know that I stress eat and I eat when I am trying to avoid something (like writing IS).  I never keep food in my room, mainly because it doesn’t last long when I do try to.  I’m jealous of my friends who have a stocked fridge and snacks laying around for when the mood strikes them.  Because if it were me, I’d have to actively resist eating it all in one day.

I’m probably making my eating habits sound worse than they really are.  It’s not like I go on a rampage, eating everything in sight.  I just do a lot of unnecessary eating and I don’t even think I enjoy it, like one should when it comes to unnecessary eating.  Like when I go for those cookies after I’m done with lunch in the dining hall.  My stomach is stuffed and they really are mediocre cookies that I could take or leave.  But I reach for them anyway.

I think I really need someone to talk to about this.  We have counselors here at school that I could see for free…but I’m skeptical that they would be equipped with what I need, or be understanding of how to approach this from a haes perspective.  I’m not sure.

This is just one of those things that makes me a bit frustrated with myself.

In other news…it is now 3:41 AM Wednesday morning and I am pulling what I think will become my weekly Tuesday night all-nighter.  This month is crunch time for my IS.  Wish me luck.

OH!  In other news!!  My wonderful, amazing, talented, delightful mother has knit me a beautiful and super classy sweater!!  She’s been working on it on and off for a few years now and I finally received it in the mail last Friday!  I am so in love with it.  She worked so hard on it and she wanted to make sure it fit well and that I would like the style.  And it is PERFECT.  Here is a picture á la headless fatty because I am a fan of my internet anonymity…

Isn’t it wonderful?? If there are any knitters reading this… the pattern is called “Central Park Hoodie”

I absolutely adore my mom.

I am Mikey Blumberg

So a recent trend on Facebook has been to temporarily change your profile picture to a picture of a celebrity that you have  been told you look like.  It seemed like a fun little game and I wanted to participate except for the fact that I could not for the life of me think of a celebrity I resembled.

Then I remembered a friend from high school telling me that I reminded him of that kid, Mikey, from Recess (a delightful and smart Saturday morning cartoon of my generation which depicts the recess playground as a microcosm of the adult world).

In case you are not familiar with the reference, Mikey is the fat one.  He is twice the size as all of his friends whether in in height, girth, or both.  First of all,we look nothing alike other than being big.  When my old friend compared us way back in the day, no doubt I was severely offended.  (Especially since I had just told him that he reminded me of the hot Latino man from CSI Miami…something wasn’t fair about this conversation).

Anyway, that was all I could think about when I tried to think of who to change my Facebook picture to.  And you know what?  I’m not so offended anymore.  Granted, he is a boy and I should find it insulting and desexualizing as a woman to be compared to a little fat boy…but after recalling the cartoon and rewatching some clips on youtube, I’ve decided to embrace it.  I mean, yes we’re both fat and tall.  But Mikey is also adorable, sweet, sensitive, usually a voice of reason with his friends, a graceful ballet dancer and sang with the voice of Robert Goulet (literally…Goulet provided his singing voice in an episode).  What a great character!  While he is not necessarily a fat positive character…(He is often shown in stereotypical positions such as eating and burping and he is portrayed as effeminate…a stereotype of fat men)…If he were a real kid I would think he was awesome!  So in the spirit of not taking life too seriously… this is my current facebook profile picture…

You go, Mikey!

Ignorance is bliss.

Today I had an appointment with the doctor at the wellness center at my school.  I have an infection in my finger (Kind of gross with pus and all so I will spare you the details).  Anyway…the nurse weighed me.  A fairly irrelevant thing to do since I’m sure they were not weighing me to find something out about my finger.  I forgave her though as I suppose it’s standard procedure.

Anywho…I tried not to look at the number.  I really did.  But I couldn’t help myself.  And then I saw it…It was the biggest number I’d ever seen on a scale.  As much as I try to practice this whole fat acceptance thing these days…that number still really rattled me.  Granted I am not a poster child health at every size (I know I am an emotional eater and not a very active person-topics I plan on posting about at a later date) so I haven’t really expected my weight to go down after accepting myself, but I did not consider the idea of it going up either.

Since that doctor’s visit this morning I’ve been trying hard all day to not think about that number…to not think about everything I could be doing to try to bring that number down.  It’s so frickin hard though.  I think I was getting good at accepting me at the weight I was, not considering the need to accept a heavier me.  How terrifying.

Although I will say that if I had seen that number on the scale a couple of years ago…I would have absolutely flipped and gone running back to Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig.  I would have broke down and reverted to that all too familiar state of self-loathing.

So when I saw that number this morning…I actively tried to remind myself of how happy I’ve been lately and how one dumb number does not really change anything.  It’s certainly about the same number as it was yesterday and it didn’t stop me from being happy then…

I can do this.

Getting courage from the visibility of others

So I’ve gotten a little behind on posting.  I’m back at school getting back in the swing of things.  It also does not help that I am in the midst of my sorority’s two weeks of pledging (I am in a local sorority at my school and we have our 2 weeks of new member education in the beginning of every spring semester).  It’s a hectic time and I’m feeling a bit overextended.

Thinking about my sorority in relation to my fat positive journey…I’ve really started to think about the effect the visibility of fat women in certain situations has had on my life.  When I came to college originally I was against the idea of joining a sorority (which was not a big deal because Greek life isn’t a major part of my school).  It was not even something I considered.  Then I met some really cool girls in the marching band here and they convinced me to go to a rush event for their sorority.  I really liked these girls and I ended up having a lot of fun at the rush.  To be honest, though, I don’t think I would have really thought about joining if it had not been for the fact that there were a few plus size members in the group at the time.  Not that this was an issue at the forefront of my mind at the time, but I know that the diversity of body sizes and shapes within the group I was joining helped me feel more comfortable with the decision to accept my bid to join…especially considering the fact that when you are joining a group that requires a pledge process, you are putting yourself at the mercy of those in the group and I felt safer knowing that some of the members were my size and therefore would not be likely to humiliate me based on my fatness.

Going back a little further, I can see this similar thought process playing out when I started high school as well.  In high school I was really into colorguard (the group in the marching band that spins flags and other fun things).  I remember, though, one of the things that helped me decide to join guard my freshman year was the fact that there was a fat girl in the guard, so I knew I would not be the only one.  I was scared to appear in a performance capacity as the only fat girl on the team.  I also had never been on a team that required uniforms, so knowing that there was another girl my size helped me feel more confident that getting a uniform my size would not be an issue…or at least not an issue that made me feel singled out.

Both my decision to join a sorority and my decision to join the guard in high school are decisions that I look back on as some of the best decisions of my life.  Being in the guard in high school really brought me out of my shell and helped me to find my niche.  It also helped me to make some of the best friends ever, gave me a lot of confidence in myself, and helped me to gain lots of leadership skills as I ended up being captain of my high school guard for 3 years.  Likewise, joining my sorority in college has given me a really valuable network of support, more confidence and maturity, and more opportunities to gain leadership skills as I am now the group’s president.  These were some of the best decisions of my life and I’m pretty sure that if there were not already big girls in these groups, then I would not have joined and I would not be who I am today.

This also leads me to think about all that I missed out on as a child because I did not want to be the only fat girl in an activity.  When I was young my mom tried to convince me to sign up for dance, but I was convinced that because of my size I was not graceful and that they would make me wear a ill-fitted leotard.  When I was in middle school and high school I always wanted to try out for the school play, but had never seen other fat girls on stage and I was too embarrassed to be the only one.  These are experiences I really think I missed out on.

Perhaps this just shows how insecure I was when I was younger, but I think that it also shows the extent to which the visibility of fat women and girls can affect the lives of others.  I’m in a fairly different place today than I have been in the past and it does not take as much courage for me to participate in activities and be outgoing, but it really helps to see other fat girls doing it too–putting themselves out there and not letting insecurities about their body hold them back.  It helps give me courage to do the same.

Perez on Hugh Jackman’s Wife

I know I’ve expressed my anger at Perez Hilton before….I really don’t know why I can’t stop myself from keeping up with his site.  But I found this post to be absolutely appalling.  I didn’t even know what Hugh Jackman’s wife looked like and I was so pleasantly surprised to see her picture.  It gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling that was then crushed and trampled upon when I saw Perez’s viciousness.

But then I saw that a lot of the comments were angry and calling him out on his cruelty!  That felt like a good sign =)