Thursday, February 26, 2015

Fat Bottom Betty

A few months ago, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and take a burlesque class. I know, I know, what about this is out of my comfort zone? I've done completely nude photoshoots and published them on the internet. Surely being only partially nude isn't as bad, right? I went into the class thinking "I've fucking GOT this. I'm going to ROCK it". 

It turns out that even I have some deeply buried body image issues still. I mean, we all have bad days, right? But this wasn't a bad day, it was bad weeks. Periods of becoming suicidal. Of thinking I should kickstart my eating disorder just to try to lose a few before performance time. It made me want to hurt myself in ways that I haven't in a long time. It was tearing me apart.

I didn't know where this was coming from! I've been a fat acceptance activist for over four years and rarely had a bad body day since. I certainly hadn't been suicidal or self harm-y because of my body in all that time. What's different? I think, partially, the fact that I deal with overly horrible people because I deal with them online is contributing. I get all kinds of threats, called nasty names, see casual to malicious fatphobia, have had photos of me stolen, photos of my family stolen, etc. People generally aren't that nasty in real life (although they certainly can be and I've had some pretty shitty stuff happen face to face too). It's especially uncommon in the Burlesque community which tends to be far more body positive and supportive than the general population. 

When I'm on stage in a couple of months, taking my clothes off to music, I'm going to be face to face with my audience. With my potential critics. Although my teacher and my classmates are all wonderful, I can't be so sure about people in general. 

I've spoken to a lot of amazing performers in the Burlesque community including plus size performers. Nervousness is normal, self doubt is normal, even really nasty thoughts about yourself are all normal even for a thin performer. Add on a social expectation that beauty equals thinness and you can feel like the ugly duckling without the beautiful swan part at the end. While it's important to remember that my self worth or my value as a person don't rely on the male gaze or my appearance, it's also important to remember that I'm doing this for myself, not potential naysayers in the audience. I want to be able to say this is something that I did, an experience that I had. I may or may not keep performing and taking classes, but at least I'll have done it once. 

Regardless of current anxieties, I'm continuing to talk to performers and I'll continue with the class and my performance, which I will, of course, keep you updated on. 

Comment below if you're a performer, especially a plus sized performer, and have any great tips or advice! Thanks duckies! 


A splash of color in a winter wonderland

Photos by Calvin S.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Dear Trolls: You're Kind of Boring

I joined the fatosphere in 2010, just over four years ago now. I remember that when I first started becoming involved in the Fat Acceptance movement, there were plenty of trolls. There was concern trolling, and threats, and ignorance, and bigotry, and hate. Everything riled me up and understandably so. But four years later and the arguments and the baiting and the trolling have gotten old. And by that, I mean that it bores me. I no longer feel the need to correct someone to take precious time out of my day to educate someone who doesn't actually want to be educated to begin with. I yawn and move on.

I've heard all of your arguments a thousand times by now. It's not new or creative or inventive. It may just be me because I see other people in the FA community get plenty mad about this, that, or the other. And sure, I'll go to town on a friend who says or does something fatphobic because they should damn well know better and, if they're my friend, I know they're open to learning. Sometimes I even still argue with people on the internet, but for the most part? I get way more excited over a plus size clothing swap, a body positive meetup, photographing some rad fatty. The positive things are so much more exciting to me now than the negatives.

Desensitization happens to pretty much everyone in every genre of being. We've all heard about being desensitized to violence, but that's only one way. You can become desensitized to pretty much anything that you deal with constantly. Women often become desensitized to street harassment, for example. It's just a regular, boring, part of our day. So that's me, I'm desensitized to fatphobia. When I first learned what it was and how it affected me, I felt like I needed to change everything and I had to do it right now.

Ah, young blood.

So, dear trolls and haters, please keep in mind that your vitriol no longer does anything for me nor to me. It's boring and tiresome and I usually don't even bother finishing a message from you. I mean, feel free to keep the ignorance and bigotry flowing as I'm sure you will, but it's not affecting me or my day. Waste all the time on me that you want though.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

I wanted to share with you my New Year's Eve dress. It's a Cherry Velvet dress obtained through Gwynnie Bee (which is the bee's knees). I hope every single one of you has a better year that the one we just left behind (whether that year was crap or wonderful) and I wish you all progress in your body acceptance journey.

Monday, December 29, 2014

No Resolutions

My end of year has been fantastic so far. I know it's not quite over yet, but I spent my final month visiting NYC and taking some great photos of beautiful women. New. York was amazing. I went to Rockefeller plaza and saw the giant tree (while being squished like a sardine!), went through time square and Chinatown, walked through central park, ate amazing food, went to the American Museum of Natural History, saw the Statue of Liberty, and spent way too much time on the subway.

 Then I was spending time with family for the holidays which included getting a new lemon beagle named Lenard whom we rescued from a local shelter. He's the best, sweetest dog in the world and I'm not even a dog person.

The holidays were beyond great. Everyone gave and received wonderful and thoughtful gifts- I gave my brother's girlfriend a book called Crafting With Cat Hair and she absolutely was thrilled with it.

There was some slight stress when we woke up and out heat was out right after we came back from NY, but I'm looking forward to New Year's Eve and staying up until midnight and kissing someone at that strike of 12.

One thing I won't be doing though? Making a resolution for the new year. Partly because most of them through my life consisted of weight loss goals- this year I'll join a gym, this year I'll stick to that diet (eating disorder), this year I'll lose 50lbs, this year I swear, i SWEAR, I'll hate myself until I'm socially acceptable. Well, for the past four years I've made the decision not to make any resolution. Not only because some research suggests that they just plain don't work, but because I have nothing to strive for that I don't already strive for all year.

Being healthy, happy, and making the world a better place. Loving myself more as much as possible, even when that means just maintaining a little self esteem in a world that insists I am worthless. But how do you survive the constant onslaught of resolutions about body hate? Well, I passive aggressively post body positive updates on social media and make snide replies like "I don't have a resolution because I love myself as I am!". I don't make comments about their resolutions or get down on them, but rather I focus on myself and how happy I am and try to set a good example.

I hope that, this year, your resolution, if you have one, is to continually try to love yourself and your body. That's not always easy, especially if your body feels like it betrays you like in the case of chronic illness for example. Trust me, I know. But loving yourself is worth it. I'm personally looking forward to a great year in 2015 and I hope you are too.