Sunday, July 12, 2015

Fat Anorexics

I weigh almost 300lbs and I have anorexia. Technically it's designated as atypical anorexia because I, obviously, don't meet the weight requirements for the more commonly known form of anorexia which requires a low body weight. I have fat anorexia, or, the type of anorexia that you have when you either don't lose weight or don't lose as much weight as it would take to gain an anorexia diagnosis.

I want to talk for a moment about resources for fat patients with eating disorders.

Well, that was short.

In other words, aside from a facebook group which I created for fat people with eating disorders (Body Love Through Struggle), there aren't really any resources specifically for fat people. So why not visit regular ED resource groups and be a part of the rest of the recovery community? Because ED resources are typically designed in a way that's incredibly fatphobic. Fat acceptance isn't a common or welcome philosophy and, let's face it, our fat bodies? They're the worst nightmare for most recovering eating disorder patients.

Eating disorders are entrenched in fatphobia. In fact, fat people, specifically young girls, are more at risk for eating disorders than their thin counterparts. That's because fatphobia drives eating disorders for most people. To get a little personal, my eating disorder started with stealing ephedra diet pills from my mom's purse because of her own internalized fatphobia. When my bipolar symptoms began, I gained weight. A lot of weight. About 100lbs in just three years. What that taught me was that fat was the worst thing a person can be. That you have zero worth as a fat person. I was popular as a thin girl and the punchline and punching bag as the fat girl. This is what drove me to restrictive eating which, soon after, turned into anorexia.

Everyday Feminism published THIS article on fatphobia in eating disorder communities. I saw it posted on facebook and made the mistake of reading the comments. What I saw was a lot of thin people getting really defensive about their own fatphobia. "You can't tell me how to recover!" was an overwhelming current in the thread. To this I replied, "fuck that".

Let's be honest, you don't get to recover on my back, on my life. Fat people are excluded from every eating disorder conversation, recovery program, and resource for ED patients. We're almost always excluded from ED recovery blogs or posts or tumblr memes. Even the picture that I found for my own facebook ED group for fat people doesn't have any body that looks like mine, is as fat or rolly as mine. Being able to get treatment and help and find resources for your eating disorder is a part of thin privilege because when I talked about my eating disorder I was congratulated! Thin privilege is having people recognize and be horrified at the way you're harming yourself instead of wondering what you did so they can do it too. Thin privilege is surviving an eating disorder because fat people end up dead before anyone says something was wrong and, even then, admitting that what fat people do in the name of thinness is fucked up is rarely recognized.

Let me tell you something, you aren't entitled to your recovery when it costs me my life. When you're stepping me and people like me to climb that mountain isn't recovery, it's oppression. You aren't entitled to the resources that we're not allowed to have. If you think you're allowed to hang on to your bigotry because it soothes you then fuck you.

I wanted to include a list of resources that were specifically fat friendly ED resources at the end of this post. Unfortunately, other than the facebook group mentioned at the beginning of this post, I couldn't find anything. If you have a resource, please post it in the comments!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Just trying to get by

I feel like I've been doing too many photo posts and not nearly enough text posts. That's because I've been extremely busy between bouts of being very tired and very sick. As most of you know, I am gluten intolerant due to thyroid disease and a simple sandwich gifted me a two week migraine, two trips to the ER, one to an urgent care, and many many medications. This is on top of a lot of hectic things happening in my personal life.

What I did want to do was share with you a new community on facebook that I've created: Body Love Through Struggle- a body positive eating disorder resource group. '

As many of you know, I'm recovered from an eating disorder which took up a decade of my life. I occasionally still have triggering thoughts and bad body days and I realized that there were little to no resources for fat people with eating disorders, especially not ones that focused on fat acceptance and body acceptance as a path to recovery and healing.

I've joined and unjoined an awful lot of eating disorder support groups because many were constantly fatphobic, which is understandable given the nature of eating disorders- yet they refused to acknowledge fatphobia in general, let alone internalized or even externalized issues. Many refused to believe that a fat person could even have an eating disorder beyond Binge Eating Disorder, or believed that being fat was an eating disorder itself (again, related to BED). Most advocated "healthy weight gain" which often meant gaining enough weight to still be thin, just not too thin. All in all, many ED communities are very problematic.

On this new group I hope to not only be a resource for people struggling with eating disorders, but also to be able to find and post other good resources for people to follow in order to get the help and support they (we) need.

So, if you feel the desire, please come and join our group or, at the very least, spread the word.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Wood Nymph

Who knew wood nymphs came in plus size? (Hint: I did!). Thanks to the wonderful ICU Photography for this set. It was really fun putting the costume together (by which I mean burning my fingers while hot gluing things to other things).

Monday, May 18, 2015

Dieters and Fatphobia

Why is it that so many fat activists and people within the fat activist community have been turning their backs on FA in favor of The Fantasy Of Thin? I'm so tired of seeing fat role models decide to lose weight. Rosie Mercado comes to mind, but she's only one of many. I've seen many bloggers embark on a "weight loss journey". The 95% probability that they'll gain it back and then some doesn't seem to bother them, they're too caught up in dropping pant sizes. What really bothers me is the damage that this does to the fat acceptance community. Yes, it often damages individuals too, but so do a lot of things. Usually I say something's not my business... unless it's promoting oppression. As the old saying goes, your right to swing your fist stops at my nose.

Now, I'm a queer woman. I've fallen in love with men and women and had my heart broken by both. It's a pretty common belief that queerphobia is harmful and that people just, you know, shouldn't be assholes. They should be tolerant and accepting and, heck, even happy for us when we manage to find happiness, regardless of whom that's with. I don't hear a lot of people saying that it's someone else's choice to be queerphobic and we should walk on eggshells to not offend them or hurt their feelings because, you guuuuuuys, it's THEIR choice to hate people. Never mind that it results in anything from job discrimination, to suicide and murder. Oh no no, let's let them be. Live and let live, right? Except they're not really letting us live are they?

I feel the same way about fatphobes really. Even people with internalized fatphobia. It does so much damage to the rest of the fat community and it literally can cost people their lives.. yes, from job discrimination to suicide, being fat in a fatphobic society sucks, and when you give into that fatphobia, you're making it worse for the rest of us.

Now, this doesn't mean that I don't understand where they're coming from. I wasn't always a fat activist, I hated myself, I dieted, I was suicidal, I was extremely fatphobic. But I also didn't go around saying I was a part of the FA community and totally on board with fat acceptance as I'm starving myself. Meaning that if you're going to decide to lose weight, you need to recognize that you're no longer body positive and that you're harming your fellow fatties. And don't be surprised when people call you out, because people will definitely call you out.

I'm pretty tired of tip toeing around dieters in order to avoid offense. I'm not going to put up with queerphobes, sexists, or fatphobes (or any other kind of bigotry for that matter, but those are a few that apply to me). Just because something is normalized in our culture doesn't make it okay or protected.

I have a couple of people in the FA community that I still look up to. People who haven't given in. People who are still fighting for equality. But every time I see a friend or blogger or activist fall prey to this misogynistic beauty ideal, a little piece of me dies. It makes me so sad and angry and disheartened. This means that I just have to fight harder I guess.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Spring Pastels

Shoot Organizer: Sarah Robertson

photo by Quaint Designs

photo by Derek Palmer

photo by ICUPhotography

photo by ICUPhotography

photo by Wade Alexander

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

That's Life

oh, hey, i got bangs.
This is just an update on my life and what's been going on. My goal this year has been to cut back on photoshoots a bit. Partially because it's difficult to find photographers willing to work with a model of my size and shape and it's become an endeavor that takes up too much time and energy, and partially because I have so much else going on. Bellydance, burlesque, yoga, chorus, volunteering, photoshoots, working, and more. I barely have time anymore! I'm pretty exhausted, but enjoying it.

I've also noticed that I'm not shocked by much anymore, which is why I write less. I see something that, a couple of years ago would have gotten my blood boiling, and I shrug my shoulders and think, "oh, of course, here we go again". I think I'm experiencing activist burn out. And, let's face it, there's some pretty bad things going on in the country right now that are not fat related that I've been focusing on.

None of this means that I'll stop doing what I do. I'll still try to post as often as possible, both photo and text posts, but they'll be less frequent (as they already are I suppose). Don't feel as if I've abandoned you! I'm just busy living life right now. (Which reminds me, I have photos from my burlesque performance to upload!)

I do have a themed photoshoot coming up soon so keep an eye out for that (I'll be putting a lot of work into the costuming). In the meantime, how about some suggestions on topics you'd like me to cover (or re cover)? You can be my muse!