World Piece

It’s been one of those days where all kinds of random thoughts have been popping in and out of my head. This particular one has stayed for a while, maybe even taken up residence and has made me think just a little bit deeper about it.

And here’s what I think. Despite all the hopeful beauty pageant contestants alongside political leaders and their platforms of “world peace” throughout the ages, there never has been such a thing as world peace. Never. At least not since human beings have lived on this speck of universal dust we call home.

Consider this.

mesolithic_battle_scene

 

 

 

 

The very first ever cave drawings, visual documentation of the first known human beings on this planet, contained images of battle. Everyone wanted their hand on a piece of the world.

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And surprisingly, since we are so fond of giving clever names to wars, this hasn’t yet been monikered as “The First Man Wars.” Yet it seems like this was exactly what was going on. We are so fond of naming our battles and wars in fact that we can trace “famous” wars all the way back to 1274 BC, The Battle of Kadesh. I assume someone actually knows where Kadesh is or was and why it was being fought over, but that’s not of critical importance at this moment. Wars continued to be named for a thousand years before 1 BC and we are now well in to 2000 years of named wars on the other side of 1 AD without an end in sight. So clearly, never has there been world peace, at least that I can find traces of. And I got some mad Google skills.

War

 

Dan Plesch, author of The Beauty Queens Guide to World Peace argues that “world peace requires an economic and political revolution founded on the principles of democracy and human rights.” I’m not sure we can get everyone on the same page with this. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that we are all warmongers. But it’s pretty clear that we all do want our own piece of the pie (mmmm, pie) to enjoy however we want and we certainly don’t want others telling us how, what, where, or when. So principles of democracy and human rights don’t always fit in to that same equation. We are a selfish people. We…all of us, every human being. We just are. Even if we aren’t warring nations, we are so often at odds with race, sexuality, gender and other individual rights within our own nations. Human rights!!!

In fact, experts currently believe that it is easy for us to feel like the whole world is at war because this is almost universally the case. “Of the 162 countries covered by the Institute for Economics and Peace’s (IEP’s) latest study (August 2014) just 11 were not involved in conflict of one kind or another.” Do you see that? 11! And I think we can all agree that even in those 11 countries, there is some kind of internal conflict happening. Human rights!

And to think that I am always hearing how conflict adverse people are. Seriously? Seems like a contradiction to me.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this. Just working through this lingering thought which seems to have lodged itself somewhere near the repeat button in my brain today. As an individual, though I am not without hope, I don’t believe that we as a human race are capable of world peace. We are to innately selfish, even the most generous and humanitarian amongst us. What I do think, is that we should really focus on what is going on in our own back yards, cities, counties, states, country before we go knocking on someone else’s door with our WMDs. How about just holding on to and making our piece of this world a pretty good place for EVERYONE who lives here? How about that? Why not focus on race relations, equity, homelessness, hunger, education, and all the other things that prevent us from being at peace here at home, let alone peace further abroad and world-wide.

I say, lets just do that for a while. And then, only when we are in mortal danger, or have taken care of our issues here in our own country, should we extend our involvement in to what those other humans are doing.

#ijs

Power-Of-Love

He hit me.

downloadHe hit me.
And I didn’t tell you because I was ashamed.

He hit me.
I was alone, scared and unable to move.

He hit me.
Shocked, I responded with “you don’t get to hit me.”

He hit me, again.

He hit me.
And for the first time I recognized through tear-stained lenses the choices I had made that put me here.

Too late.

He hit me.
His friends and family standing nearby, watching.

He hit me.
In a crowd of people I was alone.

He hit me.
And I realized that the only one who might have made me feel safe at that moment, had just hit me.

He hit me.
I took a deep breath and drove away, him in my car, threatening worse than what had already happened.

He hit me.
And I was frozen by fear and worried that this would not be the worst of it.

And then I got myself together and found my way to safety.

He hit me.
And when I called you crying and barely understandable, you stayed on the phone with me, until I was home. Safe.

He hit me.
And when I told you, you came to me out of concern and said you were angry with me for putting myself in that situation.

He hit me.
And almost a month later I wore the deep stains of bruising to my birthday dinner and told you.

He hit me.
Then called to wish me “Happy Birthday.”

He hit me.
And I said to him and myself, “I am not that woman.”

He hit me.
He said, “I’ll never do it again.”

“I know, I’ll never give you the chance.”

And now I’m telling you.

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For the Love of Fall

 

Photo Credit: joecephus martin

photo credit: joecephus martin

Autumn is my favorite season. The lower temperatures bring a crispness to the air that makes it feel new, even if it’s not. The staleness of the Summer heat and sweat moves on and people seem less “busy” for the sake of being busy and yet more busy because it’s a time to be in doors with those we love celebrating the many holidays that are recognized this time of year. I’ve always been at odds with the saying “Spring is for Lovers.” While I understand it, I’m thinking, really? Cause is there a better time to curl up on the couch or in bed with your lover, watch a movie…or whatever else seems good, than Autumn? Doubtful.

For many, the onset of Autumn is marked with color changes along the landscape, lower temperatures, and shorter days.

Autumn officially begins with the Autumn Equinox. But here in California we typically have about another month before Autumn really hits and without the more common signs, I’ve grown accustomed to my own signs that Autumn has arrived.

Little dogs in little sweatshirts, hoodies, and such.

Little pink hoodie

Little pink hoodie.

Trying to get out of the little pink hoody.

Trying to get out of hoodie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The patio door which has been opened more often than not for several months, now is more frequently closed.

"Let me in."

“Let me in.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Socks with pajamas…for that matter, pajamas.

Stripes and Dots

Stripes and Dots

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having been born in October, I may be slightly predisposed to a Autumn affinity. Regardless of how the changing of the seasons in your neck of the woods is marked, I think we can all agree that Autumn has officially arrived, even here in Northern California. I hope you’ll take some time to kick back and enjoy it.

Photo Credit: joecephus martin

photo credit: joecephus martin

 

Know Yourself

self-care

You may glance at the images with this blog and think it’s about food and move on. It’s not. Really. It’s about Self Care. Self care is a critical part of daily life. Most of us are really bad at it. We are really good at neglecting ourselves until we get to the point were we have no other choice. Those who are good at it, still have days, weeks, months where self care is not the priority. Life. Crazy Life, gets in the way. One of the best ways to care for ourselves is food. How much and what kind is neither of interest to this blog, nor anyone’s business. Our bodies need it. Food is a necessity. And so I pose to you that knowing yourself and what is going on in your life and preparing for that with the right foods for you is a major way to care for yourself when you might otherwise just skip right over it. The following are three tricks I use when I know life is going to be really busy and I still want to make sure to take care of me.

Fruit is yummy. I especially like berries, cherries, peaches and other kind of delicate fruits. I’m privileged enough to have access to and be able to afford basically all varieties of high quality fruit year around. Awesome, right? Well, when I’m busy I know I’m not going to have time to slice and dice fruit. Also these are the fruits that tend to lose their freshness more rapidly. So when things are busy, I purchase fruits that are easy to grab and go, like Halo Cuties, Fresh Fruit Cups, and Fruit Juices.

Halo Cuties

Halo Cuties

Fresh Fruit Cups and Juices

Fresh Fruit Cups and Juices

 

 

 

 

 

 


Comfort Food.
We all have those favorite foods that for whatever reason bring a sense of peace and comfort. One of my favorite is mashed potatoes. A super quick substitute: baked potato. I just grabbed a bag of bakers at Safeway for $5. Both economical and delicious. I encourage you to find short cuts to your favorite comfort foods so you can still enjoy them even when you are crunched for time. This is like a double dose of self care: comfort and sustenance.

Baked Potato

Baked Potato

 

 

 

 

 

 


Crockpot Dinners.
Did you know you can make lasagna in a crock pot? Yes! You can. I have a true fondness for crockpot meals. I love to walk in the door and smell dinner already cooking. I own two crockpots and have absolutely had both of them cooking at the same time. One of my favorite tricks is to prep full crockpot meals just after shopping, freeze the ingredients all together in a ziplock bag then pull that from the freezer, drop it in the crockpot, add some seasoning and come back home to a delicious ready meal that I can enjoy and then spend the evening relaxing or moving on to my next adventure.

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The best way to take care of yourself during the hardest times, is to know what you need and maybe, just maybe, try to prepare for that in advance.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Star Light, Star Bright

    starlight-starbright-by-rob

    image by Robin Hallett

    I can’t tell you how many times as a child I looked up at the night sky and repeated these words, over and over at times oh so hopeful that my wish would come true. Looking back, my inquisitive mind thinks it might have been a good idea to keep a record which of those wishes actually came true, so as an adult I would at least have a statistical basis for wish making.

    It’s been several years since I truly made a wish. By which I mean a wish verbally expressed, birthed from a desire deep down in the core of my being and pleaded to the stars above. It was my birthday yesterday, emboldened with the knowledge of Mercury coming correct and an assurance from a friend that the stars would certainly be on my side, I took whatever risk there was and made not one, but two wishes.

    The first of these wishes was for me, very personal and will go without sharing. The second wish was for you.

    Maybe I’m reaching by calling it a single wish, because within it were the many things I wish for you:

    • A life with no limits you can’t overcome; of abundance; full of all the necessities and enough of the wants.
    • A fearless life where you are emboldened to take chances and leap, sometimes without looking.
    • A life where you get to do what you love and love what you do and where you are doing it.
    • A life where challenges are welcomed adventures and opportunities for growth.
    • A life of acceptance: of yourself and others, without caveats, and with celebration of your uniqueness and gratitude for all that brought you to this place.
    • A life of peaceful presence where the past was, the future is not yet and all that is important is here and now.

    Most of all, I wish for you a life where you live your truth every day, without fear.

    How to Love a Fat Girl or Boy

    480900_451243814958361_1530752660_nI’m a major fan of the meme “how to get a bikini body.”  You know, the one that then tells you to buy a bikini and put it on your body, then you have a bikini body (pic).

    Well, I’m pretty sure that loving a fat girl or boy is similar.

    It’s ok, try not to go all huffy, hissy fit on me and start talking about how complicated love is and such. Love is not complicated. Relationships can be and I’m not in any way attempting to minimize that. Also, just like you can find articles that will tell you how to get a bikini body in just 6 short weeks, there are articles, blog posts, and other such stuff with lists of rules and suggestions about how to love a fat girl (boy).  If you feel you actually need these rules, they are a simple “how to love a fat girl” google search away from your fingertips right now. This, is not that.

    Fatties (aka fat girls or boys) are human beings. I know this because I am a fat girl. There’s nothing special or particular about us. All women and frankly, men have or have had body issues at one point in time, society basically dictates it. Some of us have lingering feelings and emotions about the ways we’ve been treated about our bodies, some of us don’t. Some of us may require a little more convincing that you really do love us, some of us won’t. I don’t think the variations are really that different from any other combination of individuals with different body types when coming together in a love, like, lust connection. I don’t believe that loving someone who is fat requires a special list of instructions (you may not agree with me and that’s ok). So basically, I’m going to keep it simple and direct. How do you love a fat girl or boy? Find a fat girl or boy that stirs that feeling in you that is undeniably about wanting to share your days and nights with her or him in all the ways a human being lives and moves through life and if she or he feels the same way about you, go ahead and love them. And be happy.

    That is all.

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    why I #selfie

    Reason 1: I can, I am amongst the privileged many who can afford the technology, time, and energy that being a regular taker of selfies requires.

    Reason 2: I’m fat. Yep, you read that right, I’m fat and it’s a reason why I take and post regular selfies. I believe that people of all sizes should be seen, not just in places where it’s expected and feels safe, but also in the unexpected, unsafe spaces. And that certainly includes places like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Selfies, and selfies of a fat girl are not safe or exempt from hatred trolls. Nor are we exempt from fetish trolls and trolls who think we should be charmed and excited that a stranger (male or female) finds us attractive enough to message multiple times with unsavory and not anywhere near grammatically correct comments.

    Reason 3: Is related to reason 2 but goes deeper. While I can now proclaim loud and even proudly, without a quiver of my confidence that I am fat and completely comfortable in the body I live in now, that hasn’t always been the case. For years, and by years, I mean over a decade, maybe even two decades, I lived without a full length mirror in my home. I had been taught and believed that I should feel shame for the size of my body; that no one wanted to look at it, so, why would I want to look at it? And so, for years I didn’t look in a mirror to check my appearance, the outfits I was wearing, nothing. I applied the minimal makeup I wear with a hand-held compact mirror and later a small round mirror hanging on my bathroom wall.

    Until I started to selfie…

    Like most of us who selfie, mine began on FB. I came to FB mid 2008 while working at Stanford University. At first FB was a distraction with games and a way to connect to people I hadn’t spoken with or seen in years.  I didn’t really interact much and I didn’t post very many pictures of myself. And when I did, they were definitely not full body selfies.

    Profile pictures in 2009

    Profile pictures in 2009

    ONLY selfie 2010

    ONLY selfie 2010

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    In 2010, I discovered a welcoming size-friendly–positive even–community that I became actively engaged with.  I had new friends and a burgeoning new social life. I started taking pics with friends going out and then in 2011, selfies prior to going out. As my confidence grew so too did my desire for more options in my wardrobe and thus more pics of me in new outfits.  It was an avalanche of confidence, acceptance, self growth and the beginnings of activism. I know not everyone agrees that selfies are a form of activism, and that’s ok. I wouldn’t say all selfies are, but I take mine with the intention of activism, a fat body being seen; being seen happy, healthy, active, relaxed, having fun, working.

    2011 Selfies

    2011 Selfies

    2012 Selfies

    2012 Selfies

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    In 2013, my taking and posting of selfies increased quite exponentially (the following is a sampling).

     

    2013 Selfies

    2013 Selfies

    2013 Selfies

    2013 Selfies

    2013 Selfies

    2013 Selfies

     

     

     

     

     

     

    At the beginning of 2014, I started the new year with a goal to take a selfie in a different location every day.  This has proven to be harder than I thought it would be and I’ve not really kept up with that, but I have taken and posted selfies nearly every day. Some from interesting places I traveled for work or vacation and others just at home or out and about with friends or at my place of work. Again, I post them primarily, because I and others like me deserve to be seen. We should be seen enjoying life: going out on the town, bathing in bikinis by the pool, chillin’ on the beach, or shopping at the corner market. All bodies are beautiful in their own ways and all bodies deserve to be seen and acknowledged. If you can’t acknowledge my body, then you can’t acknowledge me as a whole person; and my body is more than just a part of my physicality, it’s a part of my psychology, spirit, and emotion. I feel and witness all things through not only my mind, but also my body.

    2014 Selfies

    2014 Selfies

    2014 Selfies

    2014 Selfies

    2014 Selfies

    2014 Selfies

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I guess I have a hope that by visibly living in the body I have now; truly living, not just accepting but embracing its differences, its strengths and its weaknesses that others will see that it’s a much better way to live than loathing ones body or pretending that it doesn’t exist at all because it can’t be seen in the mirror I’m looking in.  And if perchance my activism by selfie method does nothing at all to change the world or another human being’s perception about bodies, its done an incredible amount of good for my own body image, my own acceptance for my own perceived body flaws. And on the “bad days,” because yes, I still have them occasionally, I can look back at the legacy of self-acceptance and be reminded of another reason I selfie…

    Reason 4: I’m stunning…to the person looking in the mirror.

    2014 Selfies

    2014 Selfies

    5K Follow Up

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    Here it is, the bi774629-1040-0040sg finish.  1:13:54. A time I’m actually pretty darn proud of considering that even right up until the race I was still dealing with the physical impact of a cold/flu something or other.  I kept a pretty steady 23 minute mile and would have actually came in at 22 minute mile if the race organizers had placed bathrooms at the beginning of the race instead of the middle.  But overall, I have few complaints about this particular organized race. Beyond the t-shirt issue which I mentioned in my last post, this race proved to be quite size friendly. The route is probably one of the flattest routes. I think they call it the fastest marathon route because it is all flat. As it happened, it was a day where a heatwave was predicted, however, the tall buildings downtown San Jose, mostly blocked the sun from beating down on us.  My friend Kim walked the route with me. She’s a great “cheerleader” to have enroute with me because she’s learning when to push me and when just to hang out and be present, which is great because at this point in my 5K walks, I need both.

    Following the race, I got a cold beer (at 9am) and then we stood in line to get our medal ribbons signed by 49er Roger Craig. Well worth the wait! He thought I’d been through the line twice for some reason and I told him he just thought that because I was so memorable he was thinking about me before he even met me.  He agreed.  10362376_10101306227566283_159620079742663971_n

    Overall, this particular 5K was a much improved experience than prior events. I will definitely do this event again and look for others that are similarly organized. I’ve written to the organization about their need to provide larger shirts, place bathrooms at the beginning of the race (since we have to line up so dang early), and how the health and fitness expo is exclusionary of several groups of individuals and race participants should not be made to walk through it. I’ve also written to the organizers of the race I walked in April about the issues there and I hope to see a change in their practices come this April.

    I have a friend who seriously offered to help organize a size friendly 5K in Portland, and I definitely want to do this. But I think its important for me and other people of size to keep showing up and keep expecting that all these other organized races are places where we can all participate and feel comfortable doing so. I’ve yet to pick out the next 5K to participate in, if you have suggestions, let me know.

    Here are some additional photos from the Rock n Roll 5K, San Jose October 4, 2014.

    Kim likes a good photo bomb (who doesn’t really?):

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    A problem with organized races; why I keep showing up…

    Notice I said “a problem,” as there are many that go far beyond that which I’m interested in addressing right now.  I wasn’t planning on blogging right now. In fact my original plan for the evening involved the “hacking” of my race t-shirt for tomorrow’s San Jose Rock n Roll 5K. Although I usually find it a fun and stress-relieving part of the process of preparing for a 5K, I’ve decided not to do said hacking this time. Mostly because I’m pissed off.

    I’ve actually been pissed off about organized races since April, when me and a couple of friends walked The Great Race 2014 sponsored by the Los Gatos Rotary. What pissed me off about that race is that as I was walking the 4 miles of uphill/downhill terrain, with a growing blister on my foot in my Wonder Woman tutu, I shared with my friends how it was a very personal goal to do these races, to show up and be a person of size amongst the hundreds of other “average” and “athletic” participants. And that although I’d done a handful of other organized races, this was the first “timed” race and the first time my name would be recorded amongst all the others, publicly on the race website. I was lagging quite a bit at the end and one of my friends, in her kind wisdom, called ahead to the finish line where another friend was waiting and she convinced them to keep the finish line up and the clock on just for me. A few days later when I visited the race website for times, this is what I found.  Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 7.19.17 PM

    Now I can tell you that the clock read 1:46:27 and I was the 985th person to cross the finish line that day. All of which I’m incredibly proud of, because I could have chosen to be home on my couch, but I didn’t. Instead I actively chose to participate in a public organized activity that publicly supports health and well-being, and yet actively participates in size discrimination.

    One of the things I’ve become known for is “hacking” race t-shirts so they actually fit me. I shouldn’t have to do this, but I’ve chosen to because I want to be a part of the event; “fit in” so to speak. I’ve yet to encounter an organized race that offers a t-shirt larger than a 2XL. Again, what this says to me, is that they don’t want to make people who are larger than a 2x feel welcome to participate in their event that is all about health and well-being. It’s the very ugly, yet not said out loud statement of “damn girl, you need to exercise but we don’t want to watch you doing it.” That is bullshit double talk, cause they will take my money to participate, but they won’t accommodate my need for a 3XL t-shirt.

    Let me paint you a picture of tonite’s adventure picking up our race #s for tomorrow. I waited to go with my friend Kim to pick up our #s because she has been very kind enough to keep me company during the 5K even though she is running the 1/2 marathon on Sunday. She’s amazing by the way!! So anyway, we went at 5pm after she got off work, which meant traffic and we had to go to the convention center downtown San Jose because this particular race makes you pick up your race #s at the “Health and Fitness Expo” which was closing at 6pm. We finally found parking and made our way up to check in. The lines were long. After getting our race #s and t-shirts, they forced us to walk through the entire rest of the convention center floor through the “Health and Fitness Expo.” This was not fun. We were both hot, tired, hungry, and grouchy. In hind sight however, I kinda wish I had felt up to a little activism.  If I’d gone earlier in the day and had to walk through every single vendor both selling nothing that would even remotely fit me, I pretty much would have made my presence known and I may have even gotten a personal escort through a quicker exit. I would have liked to share my thoughts with each vender about how I can’t find work-out gear that is both comfortable and functional. That I often have to “hack” clothing to make it functional enough for a good work-out or I have to shop online for “special” sizes, none of which any of these vendors would carry. And why not? They are after all at a “Health and Fitness Expo” and I imagine that many of those companies spend a great deal of money on advertising targeted at people my size about how wonderful the world is when we work-out and are healthier.  News Flash Biotches…I’m already perfectly healthy and fit! You just have a problem with the size of my healthy and fit body!!

    So, I’m not hacking the shirt. I’m not gonna wear their gear. I won’t take pictures in it and say “look mom…I did the walk and got the t-shirt.” EF! the t-shirt and EF! them. I will take pictures, because really…when don’t I?

    You might read this and think I’m being just a little bit ridiculous or over sensitive. You might believe that organizers of these public races don’t go out of their way to make larger people feel unwelcome at their event. You might even take the side that they can’t possibly accommodate people of all clothing sizes because their event costs would be higher. That’s fine, we don’t have to agree. But I’ll leave you with the thought that based solely on the data gathered from my registration form, which included gender, age, and t-shirt size, they estimated my 5K completion time to be 2:15:00. Tell me there’s not some bias in that formula.

    photo (3)

    I’ll see you at the finish line more than an hour earlier than that!

    Here are some pics from previous organized races.

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    Shadow on a Tightrope : Writings by Women on Fat Oppression a 30th Anniversary Celebration

    186b0e0a-6db1-43ef-8f9b-148456613195When asked to read and blog my reflection of Shadow on a Tightrope: Writings by Women on Fat Oppression for its 30th anniversary celebration sponsored by Aunt Lute Press, I jumped at the chance to do so. Many of my friends and cohorts in the Fat Activism/Liberation movement speak of this book as their first experience or exposure to Fat Liberation.  I’ve spent years hearing it mentioned during discussions and casual conversations with long-timers and budding new activists…I often felt as if this book was as important to Fat Activism as the Bible is to christian religions.  And I knew I needed to read it, and yet years in to my work in Fat Activism and I’d yet to pick it up. Now that I have, I can’t imagine why I didn’t do it sooner.  I’ve read the bible, more than a few times, and it never left me weeping as Shadow did. I read the essays and other writings in Shadow over two sittings and both times within minutes of scanning the pages, tears were rolling down my cheeks.  I thought about why this is, what about the poems, essays, stories shared in this anthology made it so poignant to me? And beyond the obvious, “I can relate” response came swarms of thoughts and emotions that required sorting through.

    I’ve often felt I was born to a wrong generation, jealous in a way of the women who’s hard work, struggle and tears have paved the way for all the liberties I enjoy today.  I don’t quite feel I belong in the “second-wave” feminist category and yet I’m much too young to be  “first-wave” and much too old to be “third-wave.” And really, these classifications are arbitrary and relevant maybe only to historians. But it doesn’t stop me from feeling like I belonged to a different time when activism was more…well, active. Because I sit in rooms with women who have long been a part of the fat liberation movement and listen to their stories from the past and musings on the present, I’m often hit with phrases like “today’s fat girls have it much easier with the internet, Facebook, and blogs.” And its true, in many ways, the internet generation does have a connection and a resource for activism that didn’t exist previously.  And yes, we often sit safely in our comfortable homes behind a screen with a blog written under an alias that protects us from the kind of political struggles that sent the original members of the feminist fat liberation movement literally fleeing from Los Angeles in 1976. But this tool that helps us to move activism forward more quickly and with perhaps fewer repercussions, also isolates us. I long to be in that room in 1972 where the Fat Underground was birthed.  Where the radical, untested concept that if a person would just “stop trying to lose weight, their ‘eating problems’ go away and weight eventually stabilizes” originated (Mayer xiii). This is the very tenement of my fat liberation faith and it happened just down the 101 in what I imagine was a small room with a handful of women speaking their truths and needing to see change in our world, bravely spoke those truths out loud to those who would listen and help move change forward. As I write now, tears are welling in the corners of my eyes…these women are the mothers, the sisters, the partners of my fatness; my ability and freedom to live so much more comfortably in my fatness than they were able to 30 years ago.

    But the fight isn’t over, and I can not rest comfortably.  In the 1970’s the “sexist industry that has made the lives of fat women a living hell” aka the diet industry was an 11-billion dollar a year enterprise (Mayer 3). Today, its 65-billion dollars a year. Is that progress? This industry feeds off what they tell us are our failures as women, as human beings, as members of a society that promulgates the “thin ideal.” 30 years ago, this was a hard-to-publish, radical anthology. Women speaking out about their experiences on being fat? Who would want to read that? And wouldn’t that just encourage women to continue to be fat?  But the memories that are contained on these pages are just the beginning of the struggle for fat liberation and as Lynn Levy reminded me “the outrages are not all memories–they continue, even after I refuse to play the game.” Our liberation “does not prevent a man from harassing me on the bus, it does not prevent airline seats from being too narrow, it does not prevent my being unable to find clothes that will fit in the styles and materials I like.” And this is how she felt in 1980. 1980! This is MY story TOO! Today, in 2013. “Passing cars, passing strangers, I harden myself to words I have trained my ears not to hear, hurled at me on the streets.  It all continues, and I look forward to the day when I can no longer control my rage” (Levy 81).

    As a woman, feminist, fat liberationist of the 21st century, the digital age, I’m frequently told that I’m much too open and honest about my life, my struggles, the things I want, need, expect. I have chosen to expose my life through blogging, Facebook, Instagram. I grew up a fat child in a family of other fat people and the only time we talked about it was when someone lost weight or someone was being shamed in to not eating something because they “needed” to lose weight.  As an adult, I will not live that way.  I will not be shamed in to stealing green apples from a neighbors tree and sneaking home after school to quickly make a tiny apple tart, eating it so immediately from the oven that it burned my mouth, and cleaning up before my mother got home from work just because I wanted it but knew it would not be ok to ask for. I will not live a life of denial for acceptance. And I will tell my stories as they happen, today and everyday. But only because these women, the women of the Fat Underground with their Fat Liberation Manifesto paved the way from me to do so. And I will continue to weep…but they will be tears of determination, born from the strength and hard work of those who came before me and the hope for those who will come after me.  I look forward to a future where the only writing being done about fat oppression is in our history books.

    The poem below is by Sharon Lia Robinson and was published in Shadow on a Tightrope. It speaks to the deepest parts of me.

    whoever i am i’m a fat woman

    the space of a silhouette
    entering the space of a silence

    curvatures of silk
    caverns flooding
    welcome to a canyon:

    she’s a horsewomon
    a tennis match
    a champion runner

    she’s an artist womon
    a desert womon
    a dancer

    she’s a fat womon

    a fashion hall for dreams

    she’s a seeker your lover your sister
    a dreamer a bohemian a thinker
    your doctor she’s a healer
    a psychic her stories will set you free

    herb lady
    masseuse
    mathematician
    architect
    sexologist
    clothes designer
    museum curator
    sculptress
    archaeologist

    a farmer

    2.

     

    a laughter’s echo
    she’s a fat womon
    a fat womon
    a womon
    bound to cut
    this earth of the shadows inside her

    cliffhanger
    ballroom dancer
    go-getter
    bartender

    scene stealer wheeler dealer

    a leaper a runner a roller

    she’s a fat womon and she’s breathing

    the unknown womon
    the womon who flavours her own song

    she’s a genius
    she’s extraordinary
    she’s an ordinary girl
    she’s a fat womon

    cab driver copper welder tea drinker
    street walker prude

    she’s a blues singer
    a floutist a drummer

    a pin up girl
    an ice skater
    an icecream lover
    a hindu

    3.

     

    a hiker a kite flyer
    your shadow on the tightrope
    she’s a fat womon

    your shadow
    a brake mechanic
    a concert cellist
    a jazz saxaphonist
    leaping on laughter’s echo the rhythms of her life.

    poet playrite witch nun jew

    surfer
    bathing beauty
    high heeled sexy tramp

    scorpio rising
    rubenesque pearl

    priestess potter shoemaker
    hairstylist jeweler
    thankyou. a furniture design.

    the womon procurred by money
    the womon who is heard above laughter

    the womon who walks beyond
    the streets of desire
    the womon who has always walked these streets
    with passion
    the womon who has taken over the space of her body
    and the womon who has refused to conquer that space.

    worker bohemian boss scholar aristocrat
    roadrunner sailor weaver

    a fat girl
    she’s a wallflower
    socializer leader recluse wanderer

    4.

     

    an advertisement for love:
    in lillian russell days
    you’d follow her
    her bare ankles
    down the rivers muddy edge by foot
    making love to her on your knees

    she’s a stallion a fleet of rivers.

    feel the womon
    whose river bathes in mammoth luxury
    tracing the moons
    that are inside her

    she’s an aesthetic womon
    she’s a plastic womon
    she’s a junkie
    a hobo
    a housekeeper

    candlemaker
    chiropractor
    stuck up bitch
    fast smiler
    on welfare
    or could be
    she’s a fat womon

    the silent womon
    worn
    with a mask around herself

    the womon who is challenged to a duel

    the womon who is tortured

    tied to the bed and raped

    the womon who always sleeps in black
    the womon who never says “excuse me”
    or smiles when she’s supposed to

    5.

     

    the womon whose existence is in question

    rough outrageous dull graceful ingenious

    exciting to be alive as being a fat womon

    she’s a deep sea diver
    a windmill climber
    a motorcycle mama
    and a bicycle rider
    she’s a fat womon

    she’s a snow shoveler
    a short stopper
    a wind lover
    a heart breaker

    certain truths
    will make your heart beat fast
    when you hear them from a fat womon

    you’ll grow pale
    get chills
    disbelieve
    but she’s marching toward you
    she’s here and she’s taking back her life.

    a tough springer
    a dead ringer
    watch the stones
    they throw
    her will turn
    to looks of beauty

    the stones
    they throw to works of art
    will turn to looks of beauty.