My new year’s cleanse 2018 – #newyearnewview reloaded

Hello my lovely badasses,

#newyearnewview[1] has been created in 2015 by none other than the amazing Virgie Tovar. Check it out if you want. It’s basically a guide to curating your social media in order to be more inclusive and diverse, which is always a good thing.

But I digress. Hi, Hey, It has been a while since we last met here. I know I know. I was busy doing other stuff, more important stuff admittedly, like trying to write that damned master thesis.

But it‘s a new year now and I‘m ready for my very own little cleanse in my life. Don‘t worry, it has nothing to do with juice or eating less in fact I won‘t change nothing in my nutrition at all. Okay well nothing is not entirely true.

I have been eating out waaaaay too often last year and while it brings me joy and alleviates a great deal of stress in my life, I need to make smart choices when it comes to money. So what I will do nutrition-wise is, to cook more at home and and prepare bento boxes[1].

[1] Bento Boxes are Japanese lunch boxes. If you need a cookbook check out http://justbento.com/ [don’t get cought up in the whole “healthy” language there.] For more inspiration www.casabento.com www.iloveobento.com www.laptoplunches.com www.lunchbots.com www.monbento.com

I also want to deal with leftovers in a smart way and try being okay with throwing away food I don’t want to eat anymore or giving said food away to neighbors or ppl in need. Berlin is known for its excellent anti-foodwaste community programs. there are even Apps (like Too good to go for instance) for that. So I should be all set in no time 🙂

  1. Cook more at home and eat out less or make it more «special» like once a month or week (date night). Prepare more delicious bento boxes and deal with leftovers in a smart, sustainable and community building way.

Almost done with this one. Phew! That feels great already. « So how about this cleanse? » you might ask. Fear not dear friend, I’m about to give you 100% of the new year’s resolution drive, sense of accomplishment and productivity with exactly 0% of the diet talk. Zit. Zero. Nada. Niente.

Granted, for me it’s easier. I just say « keep up with the good work, Dot“  And that’s it. But what do I do? Well, in a nutshell, I do intuitive eating[2] and health at every size[3]. I joined a gym in September and have been going more or less regularly since November. They have a women’s section, which is great because the machines are smaller and better catered towards my small body (I’m 5“3 /160cm tall). And there’s no explicit diet talk although it’s a mainstream gym. It’s not perfect by any means but I noticed that I have to move my body more in order to have less back pain. And that’s just what I’m willing to do. I also have some dance classes left I already payed for at a local bodypositive (not really fat-positive though *sigh*) burlesque, exotic and pole dance studio left, and I want to get into salsa dancing again. So, joy of movement and doing something for my back and shoulders all the way. Bonus: the gym has a pole in the women’s area. If I take a pole dancing class, I have a place to practice now. So nothing is holding me back in that depardment anymore. Notice how there’s still no talk of diets in here? Maybe take a moment to appreciate this while reading. Letting out a gentle sigh of relief. Aaaah. Now let’s put that on the list, shall we?

  1. Keep up the good work in the intuitive eating and health at every size department! Meaning find more pleasurable ways to move your body regularly and check in with your body’s needs and requirements regularly as well. Take good care of yourself from a loving and caring position full of compassion and DON’T BE UPSET IF YOU DON’T DO EVERYTHING PERFECTLY ALL THE TIME.

cr

(image source: ravelist)

My personal mantra for this year is PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION anyway. I guess that says a lot.

I can tell you that I have looked for help with the masters thesis and I’m doing better in that department too. However I don‘t feel so comfortable talking much about this. So for the purpose of mentioning it here, I will put « keep up with the good work in that department » in here. Just so you know. 😉

bodyposipower-1488061538279(image source: bodyposi panda)

Finally the „cleanse“ I promised you:

nynv2

(image source: readersdigest.co.uk)

3. Do a wardrobe cleanse. But do it joyfully.

Take a rainy or otherwise dull afternoon and do a personal fashion show with all your seasonal clothes! Jep. You heard me. First make a playlist of empowering songs and rock the shit out of your favorite outfits. Maybe put two or three key pieces out and hang them next to your mirror or at a door visible and out and ready for you to admire. This is key because I’m well aware that this process is going to get emotional soon (maybe have a box of tissues at hand).

So I want you to keep these anchor pieces right there if you feel the need to slip into them and lift your mood up again. Maybe grab yourself some nice coffee, tea, water or other nice beverage and something you like to munch on. And now’s the perfect time to go to the toilet if you need to. This is going to take a while. All set?

 

Let’s queue the FAQ:

  • What if you really like the piece and it doesn’t fit anymore? You always have the option of having it altered by a professional and get it tailored to YOUR body. Why the stress on your body? It’s simple, really. This piece is most likely bought off the rack. Meaning it has not been altered to fit you specifically. You got lucky with it and it happened to fit your former body but now it doesn’t . Doesn’t matter if it is illfitting all over or just in some areas. The rule is: if you love it enough that you’re willing to pay to have it tailored or altered, then by all means keep it and do so! Those are the precious pieces. They have sentimental value and most often are better quality attire than the rest. They deserve to be lifelong companions. And with all comitted relationships, you need to change yourself and the other one in order to happily stay together for a long time. And sometimes the other has to seek professional help ; by a seemstress or tailor or even better put, a sewing person of your choosing.
  • What if it’s illfitting all over and you’re not that attatched to it? There’s two options here. Does it have holes in it? Is it torn? Is is beyond wearable and beyond saving with cute patches or other upcycling hacks? If so, TOSS IT. Dont even look back. It is dead, Jim. Take your time to mourn your loss. Gather your thoughts and move on. The other option, if it’s not beyond saving (including upcycling) is to donate it to charity or organize a clothing swap! We have them more or less regularly in Berlin. But I want to stress here that this is a community building event. This next message goes out to all my conventionally sized, straight, white, cis gendered able bodied and financially independent readers. Unless you’re an ally to your friends, please don’t continue reading the next part. Whether you’re queer, femme, butch, androgynuos or non-binary ; fat, plus size, curvy, chunky or however you like to describe your « deviant » marginalized body, this is the chance for you to make a clothing swap for YOUR community. And I have left religious belief system out of the equation because that’s a different layer, ok? That’s meta. I want to focus on bodies and the need for community building. I bet if you really wanted, you could attent a church organized clothing swap easily (or organize one in a jiffy). That’s not the community building I want to talk about here. That’s for a different blog.
  • What if you used to wear it and it still fits but you’re just tired of it? If it doesn’t match your style, see above. If it does you might want to keep it stored somewhere but not completely out of sight. Or you donate it to charity or put it in a swap. Your choice.

That’s about it regarding the wardrobe cleanse. But what about other parts of our lives ? I’m going to adress something I personally struggle with a lot and have struggled with recently. It’s a fresh emotional wound so bear with me, please. *deep breath* I want to do a friendship cleanse. I mean it already happened at the end of the year for me anyway but it wasnt deliberate or by my own choosing with one exception. I got rid of a toxic person in my life and I don’t miss them one single bit. What I was refering to is, I have been dumped by some people I considered friends or at least acquaintances with the potential of becoming friends (I’m still new in town). So I’m left with the « rest ». It feels strange and really scary to do it but I want to have a look at who’s left. Assess the situation and do the same with the clothes just on a more complex level with people. Maybe keep them all stored in my heart until I have decided what to do with them ? But I do want to get rid of the toxic ones straight away and leave them behind asap. They have dragged me down and I can’t have that anymore. „But what about the ones you love and they have just some toxic behaviors but otherwise treat you well?“ a small voice in my head says. « Well Dot, have you not looked at your own writing ? You know what to do. » Take the lifelong companions to a professional who can help them. Friends and partners alike…

Greetings from Berlin, Germany and a happy new year to you.

:-*

Dot!

[1] http://www.virgietovar.com/blog/newyearnewview

[2] http://www.intuitiveeating.org/

[3] https://lindabacon.org/health-at-every-size-book/ see also https://haescommunity.com/find/

Advertisements

Fan-Service-Advertisement – Or: My clothing is political

When you walk this earth as a woman, womxn, or in my case a femme, you realize that everything you do gets controlled and politicized by society. What you say, how you say it, what you wear and how you wear it – respectively how you look like – and what you do and how you do it somehow are regarded open for other ppl to discuss and control. It is something cis men rarely experience because of our patriarchal culture. I’m sure you can see the problem in a society that values one gender over the other. It really is a no-brainer. What is also problematic is that oppression always has an impact on both the oppressor and the oppressed and impacts both sides in different ways having devastating effects on society as a whole.  Therefore clothing on a person that dresses more or less feminine is inherently political. Also as a womxn you can’t win at clothing. Either the hemline of your skirt or dress is too long, then you’re a considered  a prude or  it’s too short, then you’re considered a slut.

fc268c673e87453293474b2a05405be0

Your clothes can be too baggy, then pp suspect that you’re hiding your body or are regarded having no fashion sense and so on; or your clothes can be too tight showing of your body, which can be considered slutty or in case you have a body that is just a teeny tiny bit defying from the norm or the beauty ideal, then you’re gross, undesirable and a burden to look at. I personally face these forms of oppression every day just because I’m existing in a larger body and express my clothing in a more “feminine” way.

I wanted to go somewhere special and fancy to celebrate while working. So I packed my bag and went to a café in my neighborhood that I checked out one time before as a potential working place.

That being said let me tell you the story of what happened to me today. I wanted to work from a fancy-ass artsy hipster café today. I know I don’t have to explain why, but I kept last week indoors with tooth pain that was coming and going constantly. So now that it’s finally over, I wanted to go somewhere special and fancy to celebrate while working. So I packed my bag and went to a café in my neighborhood that I checked out one time before as a potential working place. It is a light place but the sun isn’t shining directly inside (no screen glare, yey) therefore it is not as hot as other places (VERY important). It has a nice menu offering not only coffee and tea, but also cake and lunch and smoothies. Well, they are called SMOOFEE’S so it’s in the name. But most importantly, it has enough plug sockets to comfortably work at. All in all it seems like a good place to work. Also I’ve seen ppl with their laptops there before so I knew it was okay to use it as an office. First of let me tell you that the place is great. The staff is nice the prices are a little bit higher than at my office café in Göttingen but my needs were met.

IMAG1448_BURST004

 

People were passing by the café on their way to whereever and she didn’t pay attention to the café, but to my underwear! How odd!

What happened was the following: I was working on my laptop sitting at a bar-like table in the window front. Suddenly I was disturbed by a woman coming towards me telling me “I don’t mean to offend you, but the window is transparent and the way you’re sitting there with your dress, ppl can see all the way up to your underwear”. At first I was in shock and said “thank you” trying to correct the way I sat.  I tried to sit at my working place with my legs crossed or my knees pressed together, but it was so uncomfortable that it gave me cramps very quickly. But it was only a couple of minutes after the strange woman left that I realized how wrong this whole situation was and that I should have reacted differently. I was asking myself “why is this woman, a stranger nonetheless, so interested in my underwear?” People were passing by the café on their way to whereever and she didn’t pay attention to the café, but to my underwear! How odd! Her statement didn’t indicate that she herself was offended by me wearing a short dress, sitting in a window front with my legs spread so that you could catch a glimpse of my underwear (fan service :D), but that she was telling me on behalf of myself and/or other potentially offended ppl. She was also aware that she was interfering with my personal business hence the introductory “I don’t mean to offend you, but…”.  Somehow she did make it her business and somehow she must have stared at my underwear while I was working and take enough offense in it to come at me and tell me about it. Only then did I realize what my perfect response should have been “Just be glad I’m wearing underwear today!”

Only then did I realize what my perfect response should have been “Just be glad I’m wearing underwear today!”

After further analyzing or over-analysing (guilty as charged) of what had happened, I thought that I should probably tell the staff about it. I could imagine that this form of fan-service-advertisement could be something they don’t want for their business. The male staffer (One man and one woman) was just talking to a very nice customer who turned out to be an Israeli architect from Tel Aviv, waiting for a job interview nearby. Because everyone was speaking English, not German, I told them in English and asked if I should change places to sit somewhere else. These two cis men reacted in a very relaxed and positive way. The architect was even telling me that it would be no problem to sit half naked somewhere in Tel Aviv and that this is Berlin and he expected the city to be more liberal than that. I agreed 100%. Of course, there could be the possibility for the café owners to put up Stickers under the bar-like tables to hide ppl’s legs but why should they? I also told the other staffer and she said “even if you wouldn’t be wearing underwear, how you dress is YOUR business and who are we to tell you what to wear?!” Damn right and spot on!

“even if you wouldn’t be wearing underwear, how you dress is YOUR business and who are we to tell you what to wear?!”

I am very impressed with the politics of this place and let’s just say that I found a new office and I am loving it. After I ordered my second drink, I just realize they had a carafe of water standing right on the table for free. So it even is a little like my old office in Göttingen after all.

Have a FATabulous day!

:-*

Dot!

Trauma does NOT make you a better person!

My dear lovelies,

I’m sorry this is going to be a bit of a venting post. No trigger warning this time 😉 but I am angry. Angry with motivational quotes, that leave out important messages and by doing so create an unrealistic image of recovery and set goals that might be too high for you at the moment.

News Flash: I’m on Instagram. Yes! with the SAME handle. Yes! it’s really me. Yes! My nails are fake, but my skills are real lol.

On IG there are a LOT of inspirational / motivational accounts that post messages and quotes every day. Even yours truly did this to create awareness for eating disorders. But what I find a little disturbing is that these well meant messages leave out the struggle and time recovery takes to heal properly and that some ppl need more time to heal and that this is totally okay.

Let me give you an example: best road

So let’s exmine this quote together shall we? In and of itself it is a pretty decent quote. But I see a problem with the message that “bad things” put you directly on the right part to your most amazing life ever. (totally exagerating I know). recently, I have discovered a lot of quotes that suggest that trauma automatically makes you a better person and this is just. plain. bullshit! Trauma messes you up, rips something vital away from you leaving you broken, empty, hurt and sends you on a very hard path.What trauma does, is that is forces you to quickly rethink your priorities; shifting your focus, perspectives and maybe your outlook on life. It CAN send you on a better path, but will not necessarily. That’s the truth.

Here are some statistics specifically targeted towards dieting and eating disorders (because that has been going around in my mind a lot lately). The diet failure rate is around 90% That means only 10% of dieters “succeed” in accomplishing their plans – whatever they may be-. So quitting your diet and this lovely phrase of “falling off the wagon”happens to the MAYORITY. Feel free to read Isabel Foxen Duke’s post about this. I don’t have any actual statistics about eating disorders, but we all know that the numbers are high. The real numbers will probably be even higher, because most ppl suffering from an ED keep this hidden for a loong time before other ppl notice. Anyways, what I was trying to say is that recovery from an ED is incredibly hard. Only 2 out of 10 people recover from it. That is incredibly low.

Plus I want you to know that the recovery process takes time and is really hard. Relapses happen and sometimes are inevitable. You might have days, weeks, months or even years when you feel bad. Sometimes progress looks like a crab: Taking two steps forward and one step back. Sometimes you are taking five steps back and have to start all over again… I hope you get what I’m saying.

Only after you recover does the life changing stuff happen. This is also the hard truth. And I feel that this is important to notice. It is okay to feel like a total mess because that’s part of the process! Fucking up is also part of the process! Even when you have fully recovered from a trauma, you may have a bad day every once in a while. That’s normal! That’s human! What helped me was to realize that all the time that I felt awful was okay. I forgive myself for the times I have been basically living in my bed unable to walk more than the obligatory toilet walk. I still have those days. Being stuck is part of the process! I like inspirational quotes don’t get me wrong, trauma CAN take you on the road to the best life you’ve ever had, but the road is not an easy one. Recovery does not happen over night. But once you go your own way, take TIME to heal, develop your own personalized tools to be able to cope every day, then things do fall into place. It does not happen over night! But it is worth it.

What also sets me up is the notion that “everything happens for a reason”. Although it might be comforting to think that all the bullshit you have been through has sent you on your right(eous) – because some of this inspirational quotes are highly religious and that’s just not my jam, folks –  path, sorry to have to break it to you: it hasn’t! You also did not “choose your path” you fucking MADE it yourself!! You walked the jungle armed with your little pocket knife cutting your way through. Later you may upgrade to a machete, but you still have to cut, hack, slash everyday. Because NO ONE has and will ever lay out a path for you!! It’s not that simple. Trust me I’ve tried.

Now the IG account that I took this quote from and started a discussion btw. belongs to a life coach. I’m not saying to who because I want to protect her identity and I don’t want to name names. There are some amazing quotes on her account and that’s the reason I folled her. Here have a look:

lovedkleine Schrittediet culture

these quotes are awesome. Nothing wrong with them.

but on the other hand there is this:

Although “wake up and live” can be inspirational and is not that bad. The messages on the left are motivating to get up, move, believe in yourself – which is always great- but they are doing something else when you put them together. They are creating an underlying pressure. A pressure to DO something to be active, even pro-active not to fall off the recovery-wagon. Maybe I’m exagerating here, but I don’t do well with pressure. One of my worst struggles is that I am prone to setting unrechable goals for myself. So “make yourself proud” can turn into something dangerous for me, personally. A message like “have you moved your body in a PLEASURABLE way this week?” sends a whole other message as shake your booty RIGHT NOW.

I can’t begin to tell you what is all wrong with the picture on the right. I mean it’s a good thing to pull yourself up from the deep dark swamp you’re stuck in (Godiva Tattoo reference! YAY!) You should not be forced to smile at strangers in order to feel better. People and especially women womyn etc. don’t owe the world a smile! You can be grateful, kind and accepting without smiling at ppl. And you damn well have the right to be. Also the last sentence worries me. Yes, it’s true that change does happen when you change something, but you also have to be ready for that. You can’t force change! That’s what I am basically saying here.

To finish the IG story, I have looked into her previos postings and found this:

schleichwerbung

I thought to myself that the bottle on the right of the laptop in the picture has a very specific logo on it. It could have been just a hard plastic water bottle or sports bottle or a thermal flask, but no! this looks aranged. And what can I say, my instincts did not let me down! the next post shown an unboxing of this stuff, that turns out to be a green superfood shake. UPDATE: she did reply with a nice answer aknoleding that recovery is hard and takes time. so I re-followed her. (maybe she got scared? How knows?) but she admitted that although she is a binge eating coach, she didn’t battle with BED. That is fine because you can be an amazing coach without having gone through the same stuff as your clients. Somehow my personal preference is to chose a coach has had a simmilar struggle than I had.

Here is an example of really bad coaching that CLEARLY was written by someone, who never knew BED. (Disclaimer: it’s NOT her!!)ab3dcc2542bcf20530b8f56cfc61dac9This is so bad that it is hilarious!! 😀

I must say that I have nothing against life coaching. In fact I love coaches who offer free advice and inspirational / motivational quotes and little nuggets of truth. (One day I might publish a list with ppl that inspired me besides Isabel Foxen Duke and Virgie Tovar). BUT as soon as I feel that someone tries to sell me something OTHER that their coaching, I’m off. So please watch out for this. You can’t stop binge eating by switching to superfoods! or turning paleo (Aaaargh don’t get me started) or become gluten free Love this parody!

I love you, folks

Greetings from Germany

:-*

Dot!

Hello I’m not dead! Sneak Peak

My dear lovelies,

whoa almost half a year has gone by and I haven’t written anything new. I have a LOT of stuff on my mind for this blog so I want to give you a sneak peak into what will make it’s way into here:

  • PRIMARK – a love-hate relationship: See, I already thought about a title. Basically just my experience shopping there, why I feel terribly guilty even confessing that I shop there and why I kept returning there. (This is gonna be an easy piece)
  • Hey there Godiva…: Also kind of got the title for this one. It’s the story how my tattoo healing process went wrong and how that affected me very badly but gave me the opportunity to litteraly see the bigger picture and what else I learned from it so far… (this is giong to be a pretty hard piece)
  • Why can’t we be friends?: this is going to be the next piece here, because I really feel the need to write it down. It’s about how ppl recovering from an eating disorder ANY eating disorder, because YES! IT’S A SPECTRUM!!! Are refusing to gain a meta understanding and criticise each other instead of becoming allies. (This comes with a trigger warning and is probably going to be middle-hard to write)
  • Blocked: There is a reason why I haven’t posted here in such a long time. Writing about this could be healing but since I still do not fully understand exactly WHAT is blocking me, I feel that I can’t write about it. If anything, it will be a fragmented piece of something corresponding to the wirrling fragments of something and nothing and everything in between inside my head; keeping me up at night and making me miserable. (no doubt the hardest piece of them all, because of the shame that comes with it)

I’m sure I forgot something but you’ll see anyways.

UPDATE: Now I know what I forgot:

  • Who gets to claim “fat”?: this will also be kind of a rant post reflecting on my journey into a new identity with fat-acceptance and self-love, the positive re-appropriation of the word “fat” and struggles I had in the fat-positive community.

Thank you for still reading this even if right now I’m writing to myself on a screen (Which atm is incredibly hard on it’s own). I litteraly cry right now and I’m not ashamed in admitting my weakness! – at least that’s a start!!-

Welcome back… I missed you

:-*

Dot!

 

“but you’re not (that) fat!” or Sometimes body/ size comparison CAN be healing!

Hello my lovelies,

the last couple of days, I had an amazing conversation with a friend on facebook.(Her name is M. btw.) I asked her whether I can quote her answers because I think our dialogue is brilliant and sometimes so on point. She’s totally okay with this, so enjoy:

It all began with me saying that I was afraid to go to the orthopedist, because I don’t want to hear comments like “lose X pounds and come back later then we can talk more” or “when you lose X pounds, all your problems will be gone/ you will be pain free” FYI I have hollow-back and scoliosis since I was born!! So even if I lose the extra weight, my issues will still be there. Granted, they might be less painfull, but the diagnosis will still be the same. So, I found this brilliant chart by Ragen Chastain on facebook and posted it:

12106732_10101358237093984_7620996180825805112_n

This sparked a great conversation with M . First, she stated what happens to her on a daily basis:

“* being told it’s my fault and to lose weight at the hospital, when I had an accident and got there with a broken leg (got some (terrible-quality, btw) care in the end, but seriously, WTF?! The accident had nothing to do with my weight );

* being refused a waitering / customer-service job, because told “we are looking for some SLIM (*insert condescending look here*), pretty, nice females to do this job, it’s clearly a job for a THIN girl” (ironically, this happened when I weighed mere 65kg);

* being spoken over, to skinny colleagues, even if clearly inappropriate, and when spoken to, being patronised more often than not, and spoken to like people like to speak to a child or a mentally challenged person – very basically and veeeryyy sloooowlyy;

* being often assumed, even by new people to be lazy, overeating and / or sloppy by default —> more patronising by people who barely even know me, yay! ;

* 9 out of 10 times when pulling out lunch, someone comments on my lunch (even if it’s something healthy and / or really bland and usual), and / or starts a diet convo, waiting for me to join in;

* coming to a casual clothing store meant for people my age and having a 1/1 000 000 000 chance I’m gonna find something my size (AKA The Mighty Grey Potato Sack);

* from time to time coming to a clothing shop and (sometimes following an enquiry, sometimes even before I get to browse) being given a condescending look with a remark “Oh noooo, we don’t carry sizes THIS big!” (I’m size 42/44 top + 44/46 bottom in Germany, it’s statistically UK-average… Come on!) ;

.
* being quite literally bullied on a daily basis (I live with someone who, EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I meet them around the house says something like:

– “go out before you get even fatter and can’t go through the door!” or

– “you sleep too much (actually, I’ve been having a really bad anxiety-induced insomnia over the past few months, I barely get a few hours shitty sleep once every 2-3 nights), and that makes you fat, stop sleeping so much!” (and actually going the distance to casually wake me up / disturb me every night between 2:00 and 4:00 AM, to make sure I’m not)

– “you’re keeping too warm, that’s why you’re so fat (matter of fact, 8 out of 12 months of the year the temperature in my room oscillates between +5 and -20, and due to a broken window there’s no way to heat it up)”

– “you eat too much (again, a.o. due to anxiety, I’ve been struggling to eat even once a day the past few months), stop eating that much, otherwise you’ll get even fatter and no-one will want you / (different version) you won’t fit through the house door and I’ll be stuck here with you forever”

– or just some good old “that fat as you are, you should be exercising all day every day, cause no one’s gonna want to hire / befriend / marry (depending on the situation) a fatty like you” (Umm, thanks for alerting me, otherwise I wouldn’t know what to worry about – and who needs sleep anyway, right?)

– etc. (all delivered with a diabolic smirk and, if I’m trying to say something in defence, a meant-to-be-innocent “I’m just trying to help, I’m worried about you!”)

.
I’ve been always thinking “If I were skinny, I wouldn’t have any of these problems” and even in my slim periods somehow thought that with a different body, everything would be better. But the fact that you are being fat-shamed, and not by some jealous sexist female acquaintances, but by MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS, who are supposed to be impartial and, well… professional, is really scaring me. „confused“-Emoticon Also, sorry you’ve had these experiences in general. *hug*

Sorry for the long comment, here’s a pic of a bikini-clad body-positive potato:

bodiposi_potatoe

When I told her that I was the EXACT SAME SIZE as her…

“WHUTT?! Last time I saw you in person, I would’ve sworn you’re a size M! *jawdrop*”

Me:

“See. This is why I get comments from the plus size community like “but you’re not fat”. Everytime I hear such stuff, it translates into “you don’t belong” and that’s hurtful. Yes a LOT of ppl. have told me that in their eyes I don’t seem obese. Maybe I dress really well or carry my fat in a special way that makes me look like “a size M”, but I assure you, we are THE EXACT SAME SIZE!!! So what does this teach us? First, I guess it teaches us to take more kindly to our size. 42 on top and 44/46 bottom is obviously a great size. Sure, you can’t shop everywhere, you always have to try jeans on before you buy them (with one exception: Primark! Believe it or not), me being small I always have to shorten my jeans hemlines, but we have a beautiful size! Look at Loey Lane on YouTube for instance. She’s a US size 14 just like we are and she’s rockin it! The second one leaves me with mixed feelings. On the one hand I feel that I should take it as a compliment that ppl look at me and guess that I wear a smaller size but on the other hand it makes me a not-that-visible-fatty, which sometimes gets excluded from her own community.

Her:

“I know many people say it and mean it as “pfft, the skinny chicks’ fat-talk is nothing like fat-bullying we, “really” fat people, go through”, but believe me, I didn’t mean it as “you don’t belong”, rather as: “I have always known most societies love policing women’s bodies, but for a physician to tell you you are fat, I have always thought you would need to be “legitimately” obese (whatever that means – years of my internalized fatphobia are calling). Hence I always understood this world as a safer place than in my experience, as long as one is skinny. Now as I find out that someone I have always perceived as slim / medium-sized, i.e. someone who (although they turn out to be my size) would in my understanding at least be “passing” for a slim or socially-acceptably-sized person, is going through all of this abuse / aggression / microaggression (depending on the situation), does that mean I’ve been living a lie and I’m never gonna get out of the amount of mental / social abuse I’m dealing with now / have been dealing with in the past, because no matter how much or how little I would weigh, people would always be quick to fat-shame me on a daily basis?

It’s scary stuff for me, slowly getting disillusioned with how I understand what is socially acceptable vs. what society actually accepts (not much left, I guess), and starting to question if maybe even my own body image *gasp* is skewed. Although, then again, makes perfect sense, because fat-shaming is not fat women’s struggle, it’s mostly women’s struggle. One way or the other, I never meant “you don’t belong”, or some BS of that sort, rather than that I’m merely shocked to find out how many people with bodies perceived differently by me, get their weight / body size attacked, and that even by MEDICAL PRACTITIONERS.

Me:

“I want to give you a big virtual hug right about now! No, I‘m not mad at you or anyone else calling me „not (that) fat“. I think I just needed to vent off some steam. I’m so glad that you didn’t take it the wrong way. Yes, it’s exactly that. I kind of feel sorry to have shattered some illusions or dreams. I can only tell you that I’ve been there too not so long ago and that I kind of understand. It‘s scary. It took me quite a while to realize just how thin exactly the social acceptable weight/ silhouette/ (clothing) size for women is. Jean Kilbourne said in “Killing us softly” – which btw. EVERY woman should watch at least once in her life – when showing a fashion add, “she takes up so little space [with this posture], it seems like she is almost disappearing”. That shocked me badly! If society wants women to be thin to a level where they almost disappear so they don’t pose any threat, then this is not a society that I want to live in. The sad thing is that you can’t win this game unless you decide not to play. Also I want to give you a huuuge pat on the back and a cookie, because you deserve this so much for realizing your internalized fat phobia. It takes some guts to do that. You survived, girl! (like Virgie Tovar: Fat Activist, Sexologist & Author always says). And thank you for the brilliant quote „Although, then again, makes perfect sense, because fat-shaming is not fat women’s struggle, it’s mostly women’s struggle“ I would very much like to quote that in my blog if you are okay with that. Also, thank you for this brilliant conversation. This gives me so much to think about but in a good way. I really want to write a blog post about this, because it is so essential in understanding why the #loosehatenotweight #effyourbeautystandards #bodypositivity #fattitude #healthateverysize movement is sooo important. I own the (old book „fat is a feminist issue“ and although criticized much in the community, I read it little by little (it’s a tough read for me) and I see myself in the descriptions. Let alone the fact that the book is nealry 30 years old(!) and still relevant makes me read it, think about it and reinforces me in continuing my path to self-love and body-positivity. *stroking my freshly healing tattoo*. No, you‘re not living a lie! At least not more or less than any of us other human being live every day. We are all lying to ourselves and others all the time but that’s okay because it is part of reality and life and all that stuff. And YES! You absolutely WILL get out of the amount of mental / social abuse you are dealing with now / have been dealing with in the past. Why do I know this you might ask? Again, because I have been there and I am in a very happy place now where I love my curvy (yes I know some ppl. Might take offense in that word, but I truly love it and only attribute positive meaning to it, that’s why I like to call myself curvy or lushious) body. If you want to check out my blog, it’s www.fiercefatfirefly.wordpress.com you are very welcome. Have a fatabulous day!”

Her:

“…I have “discovered” feminism as such only about a year ago. So I’ve got a lot of internalised “-isms” I’m still unlearning, and at the same time, when I read about something feminism-related, I think “duh”, because it feels like second nature. To me, it’s often just my way of thinking put into words. „smile“-Emoticon

But yeah, a lot of work to do, a long way to go. Like you said, I refuse to live in a society that classifies me as a “second-” or “third-class” citizen, I’m still trying to identify which society in the world is the healthiest / least damaged / best repaired in this aspect (Hint: It’s not the UK ).

As for the quotes, as long as giving credit (you don’t need to tag me by name, just mention that it’s coming from a friend), quote away, Babe!

Thank you for recommending “Killing Us Softly”, this is just my degree area, so any resources to dig deeper in this direction are always extremely welcome. But why is that book “Fat is a feminist issue” so criticised, if it’s so good? (not trying to be cynical here, just asking)”

So the converstion is still flowing and we both decided to hand in a paper at Demeter Press for the Call for papers on the topic “In Our Skin: Our Bodies Our Stories” http://demeterpress.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/bodiescfp.pdf To ALL my fellow bodi-positive bloggers out there: PLEASE apply!!! No one less than Virgie Tovar is one of the reviewers and she is awesome! She personally reminded and encouraged me to apply because she wants to read my paper!! And she sure as h*ll wants to read yours too!! Yes, I’m expecially thinking of you, Emily!! 😉

I also posted some of it in the babecamp graduates group. I think it’s amazing when ppl first realise the amount of their internalized fatphobia and begin doing something against it. M. is surely on a difficult path (just like we all are) but she (and all of us) are not alone! We all have been there and sometimes revisit our darkest times, but as I wrote in my previous post, body-positivity is a PROCESS, not a destination! And sometimes even otherwise hurtful stuff like body comparison or size comparison can start a healing process

Have a FATabulous day

:-*

Dot

I’m Not The Only One! Horraaay!! – Tattoos and Body Love go hand in hand

Dear lovelies,

I’ve been quiet for a loong while. I know. Thing is I was and still am sick. Guess I needed some time off everything and just sleep 12 hours a day (I kid you not!), eat what and when I want to and cuddle with my cat, Banshee.Banshee-cuddle

Over the last couple of months/weeks, I did begin to collect articles about tattoos and body positivity. Here are my finds:

Bustle has quite a lot of nice body positive stuff now:

http://www.bustle.com/articles/83102-11-fat-positive-tattoos-that-remind-us-to-celebrate-the-beauty-of-every-roll-and-wobble

http://www.bustle.com/articles/84274-7-body-positive-quotes-that-make-for-great-tattoos-because-self-acceptance-should-always-be-worn

even here on wordpress: https://fattitudethemovie.wordpress.com/2015/09/22/body-positve-journey-can-body-mods-be-body-posi-ready-for-editing/

I couldn’t help myself and left a comment at the last post *hehe*

As a social and cultural anthropologist, I know how tattoos are linked to highly spiritual topics – like ancestry, transcendance and the like – and are almost always part of some rite of passage. While I was reading all these articles, it seems to me that we are all connected by a certain desire or even longing to share our individual stories, our pride and celebrate our newly reclaimed body and it’s art while at the same time remembering how we got there. A tattoo – just like most body modding – stays in your skin forever. Also it ages just like the skin does. It becomes part of you and in these cases reflects who you are now and works as a reminder of how you achieved body-love. Demeter press is calling for papers on body-love related topics. I think I just found mine. I would love to interview tattooed celebrities who struggled with body image like Margeret Cho. She has a lot of tattoos and stated in an interview with “What’s Trending” once that she got a lot of them as a form of embellishing her body so that she could finally accept it. Ver similar is Jess Baker’s, also known as the militant baker, story. She said that she got most of her tattoos first and then learned to love her body. She was so proud of her tattoos, that she deliberately chose to put on “unloved” bodyparts, that the wanted to show them off.

I know my story and Amanda’s from Bustle’s is different because as far as I read the article right, she and I got our tats AFTER we became body positive. But nevermind, all these articles and even from a broader perspective this movement cases my point that tattoos mark a rite of passage. And I am proud to say that I graduated to loving my body and I get remindet by it everytime I look in the mirror!

Greetings from Germany

Dot!

:-*

Body Positivity is a PROCESS, not a destination!

Hello my lovelies,

Yesterday, I got reminded of a very important fact that I sometimes forget or somehow just slips my mind. We, that is the babecamp graduates, were talking on Facebook about Virgie Tovar’s article “4 tips for dealing with ppl. in the fat movement, that want to lose weight” at wearyourwoice magazine http://www.wearyourvoicemag.com/dear-virgie-can-someone-pursuing-weight-loss-be-fat-positive/. I stated that I was shocked when I joined a local self-help group for binge-eating and adiposity last week and EVERYONE except yours truly declared that their prime goal was to lose weight and that they were not happy with the way they looked e.g. don’t feel comfortable in their own skin. The latter I can relate to 100%, but I asked myself why would people, who suffer from adiposity, chronic overeating or binge-eating focus on losing weight instead of wanting to eat “normally”; which for ME means change my relationship with food to the point where I no longer lose control in the presence of certain foods in certain situations. Plus I should add that one of the consultants of the self-help group hedge organization said to the members of the old self-help group I was in, that it is not recommended for a binge-eating/ overeating/ adiposity self-help group to have weight loss as a goal. But *deep breath* everyone should choose their own way.

I was so glad when Virgie and others responded almost immediately. Virgie said

“Argghhh! I’m sorry this happened Dot. What a BUMMER. But OMG this is why we spent SO MUCH TIME in Babecamp on the history of dieting and the structural analysis of gender/weight/class, etc. I think that folks who just come into fat positivity or body positivity without any core knowledge can easily get caught up in not understanding the POINT of it all!”

that this is the reason why the first week of babecamp comprised of educational work about the politics of fat-activism and body-positivity and lists the exact mechanisms of diet culture and the reasons why womyn get oppressed by our male dominated, patriarchic society to fit a certain mold, which means being subordinate and obediant,  staying small, not taking up too much space and basically be a beautiful trophy and shut up. Of course Virgie’s right! When you don’t understand this or when you are still incorporating society’s beauty standards and have internalized fatphobia, you focus on losing weight rather than on eating normally, which would be much more beneficial to you.

The article came at exactly the right time for me, because I experienced the self-help group meeting before I read the article. During the meeting I tried to stay tolerant and just keep promoting body positivity and normal eating. But I must admit it took me back a little. It also reminded me of the time I felt self-disgust and shamed myself for the way I looked. Another babecamp graduate told me that body positivity is not a destination! There still are ups and downs. It’s not a straight but a curvy road (pun intended!) with detours and U-turns. For some ppl., certain aspects are accomplished earlier and easier, which might not be the case for others. It told me not be be arrogant and look at ppl from a metaphorical high horse. But again, I’m only human and sometimes I do pity those who pretend to be concerned about my health when all they are saying is “lose weight already, so you are assimilated into diet culture like I am.”

Update 02.09.: Okay, so the second group meeting took place and I’m biased. We had a new member today (her name is L.) and I think she could cause some problems for me in the future. L. picked small fights with both the group’s admin and me over Facebook chat. I admit, I wasn’t overall nice to L. because she accused me of not being fat enough to join the group based on my Facebook profile pictures – like WTF?!? – , but I said immediately that it wasn’t intended as mean as she thought. Somehow during the meeting – I kept advertising body positivity and fat-positivity – L. insisted she needs to lose weight because her joints are beginning to hurt. I mean I totally get this. At a point I thought that I had to lose weight for my back to stop hurting. But now I realize this is not entirely true. The pain stems from the fact that I do have a desk job, and this I’ll admit, am not moving regularly = my back hurts. Especially my shoulders. So it would be a good idea to strengthen my back muscles LIKE ANY OTHER DESK JOB WORKER! Yes! Even the skinny ones! Also I’m beginning to develop the characteristic “mouse arm” I’m sure a lot of you might know to a great extent. No carpal tunnel, thank the FSM (flying spaghetti monster) 😉

But I’m getting side-tracked: The debate – because that’s how it felt to me – hit a climax when L. said near the end of the session (and I’m paraphrasing here…)

“Of course one can lie and deceive oneself that the [own] curves look great and that one likes one’s body, but this doesn’t hide from the fact that one is still sick/unhealthy!”

At first I thought she was only talking about herself, but when I came home, I realized that this was an indirect attack against me. Or more aptly put, not against me personally but her internalized fatphobia was lashing out at my fat-positivity! L. thinks by loving my body the way it IS right now and not the way that I want it to be or look like, I’m constantly lying and deceiving myself, deliberately risking my health. She also posted something in the Facebook group that might be seen as a bad joke, but I just don’t want to repeat it here and deliberately choose to just forget it instead.

So, normally I would just let this behavior go, but I think this much is worth mentioning: Passive-aggressive behavior and indirect bullying/ fat shaming – which is masked as health shaming and concern trolling in this case – is a testimony of poor self-esteem and tremendous inner insecurities and fear of death. Although a part of me is furious right now, another one just pities her. I could sense that L. is in a way darker place than I am and she feels pressured to lose weight ASAP, because she thinks that it will considerably improve her health; and probably also because her doctor told her so. Here is an article about just that problematic http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/22/i-got-fat-shamed-by-my-do_n_2741610.html. I also suppose she might be growing desperate. She talked a lot about OptiFast, a diet program sponsored by most German health insurances that comprises of “eating” expensive shakes and a mandatory hour of intense cardio each day (excercise bulimia much. Ugh!). A former friend of mine did it and while she lost a LOT of weight while in the program, as soon as it ended she put on all her lost weight and then some (jojo effect). Furthermore the same ex-friend told me, that almost 80% of her OptiFast group relapsed. When I pointed out the politics – which are mostly making money by oppressing ppl. Like the marketing principle “sell to the pain” (thank you again Virgie for pointing that out to me) – behind those health insurance sponsored supervised crash diets, L. really got angry and said that I should think of those ppl, who are morbidly obese and have no other chance/ or get told that they have no other chance. Of course, as soon as your life is in actual and imminent danger the categories change and sometimes a stomach reducing operation (of any kind) becomes your last hope of survival. But L. wasn’t in such acute danger, because let’s be honest here, if you really are afraid your life is going to end soon, you don’t swing by a self-help group meeting. Just saying. Let me know what you think.

Greetings from Germany

:-*

Dot