Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays!

These are a little late for the winter solstice which was yesterday, but happy holidays and enjoy! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What's it like to be a 200lb 8 year old?

So this story has been making the rounds and I'm sure you've all seen it- 200lb third grader put into foster care. People are talking an awful lot about what constitutes child abuse, throwing in quite a bit of vague future health threats. They're calling it medical neglect and insisting that he's in imminent danger despite any actual evidence of any life threatening danger. The whole thing started when the boy's mother took him to the ER because he couldn't breathe (medical neglect? That seems pretty responsible to me). It turned out that he had sleep apnea, something that thin people as well and can be treated and controlled. Even if his sleep apnea was proven to be caused by his fat, it doesn't matter since we don't know how to make fat people thin.

 What terrifies me is how many parents also agree with this decision (try hanging around some parenting message boards where this is being discussed.. whew! You have to save up your mental health points for that one!) and how few people are actually thinking about how this will effect the child. Fat people, including children, are often dehumanized and objectified (sexual objectification is not the only way to objectify someone). We are reduced to our bodies, to our fat, rarely being seen as actual human beings. But for this boy, he has to live the real life consequences of stigma and discrimination. While the boy's identity has been kept secret to protect him (not that he's currently being protected thanks to the system that removed him from his home), below is a photo of another eight year old boy who was 200+ lbs, Connor McCreaddie.

How fat is this really? It sort of blows my mind that this is what everyone's ruffled about. It's true that you don't often come across a child this large, but it's not exactly new either. More so, it's not a death sentence. The number of people who have proclaimed, as if it's fact, that the boy removed from his home would be dead by 30 without intervention, is ridiculous. I've posted it before, but here's a photo of me from the beginning of my 6th grade year at 10 years old:

Ignore the 80's style dress and gigantic glasses and take a look at how fat I was. By this time I was actually about the same size I am now- a size 22 or so. And, while the vast majority of kids in my school were slimmer than I, there were two children who were larger. I'll be 30 in a few years and I don't have any "obesity related" diseases and I'm pretty sure I'm not going to drop dead by 29. But if all fat people drop dead before they turn 30 someone really needs to tell all of the fat old people, including my fat 83 year old grandmother, that they've somehow outstayed their welcome among the living. Silly fat people, didn't they know they weren't supposed to live that long?

Now, full disclosure, I didn't weigh quite as much as the little boy being taken away from his family. I weighed closer to 150lbs. I think, it's safe to say however, that at a size 22/24 at 10 years old, I was pretty fat. While reading comments about how this boy's been treated I'be seen a lot of people accuse the mother of feeding the child a terrible diet that made him pack on the pounds. I grew up with two, slim, siblings who ate exactly as I did. We were all only a year apart in age (with myself being in the middle) so our diets were almost identical. Same school lunches, same after school snacks, same meals at home. And we were banned from snacking between meals. We had the same chores, all ran around like wild things during recess, and all had the same activity level. So why was I fat and they were slim? I'm sure there are a hundred and one things that could have caused my weight gain, but that didn't stop people from blaming me, just as they tend to do now, but the fact is there is nothing my mother could have done because there was nothing that was different about me other than my fatness.

This child already has to face bullying from peers. He seems lucky that he has a loving mother and doesn't get bullied at home as well. By the time this photo was taken I had already been fat for about two years. I already blamed myself, blamed my body, and hated them both. I started weighing myself and dieting thinking, "if I can stay this weight and not gain anymore then I'll grow into it".  The emotional turmoil that led to self destructive behaviors that I experienced is likely nothing to what I would have experienced had I been taken away from my home because of my weight.

This child, this eight year old child, will blame himself for what's happened. I realize that fat children often seem older than they are, just as tall children seem older as well. A friend has a young child who's two heads taller than the other kids his age and everyone who deals with him has to constantly remind themselves to treat him like a five year old, not a seven or eight year old. No one's really considering how this child feels nor do I think they truly grok that he's only 8. I want every single person to just stop and think back to when they were that age, really remember it. Playing with your friends on the playground, holidays with your loved ones, field trips, vacation. Now think about being taken away from them, put with strangers, only allowed to see your parents or siblings for a couple of hours a week, all because you could do something right, because you couldn't change enough. You, you, you. You failed, all your fault. Now why, why, would you think it's okay to do that to a child who is loved and wanted?

And to all of the people who say that this boy will, without a doubt, get diabetes and heart disease, I put myself forth. I never developed either. Maybe I'm not quite thirty, but I have no signs of developing them either with my cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar all well within the normal range. It's not a guarantee. Fat doesn't guarantee poor health or death and him losing weight certainly wouldn't guarantee good health or a long life.

200 lbs. Yes, that's fat, but it's not so far outside the realms of reality that we need this moral crusade. Shame on everyone who would destroy this child's life, with no actual consideration of his well being beyond the borg like thought "he needs to be thin", bleated out by sheeple who haven't bothered to actually consider the consequences of what's being done. Shame on those who dehumanize a child, reduce him down to his body without a single thought towards his mind or his wholeness as a human being. Shame on those who demonize a struggling mother simply trying to do the best that she can while being threatened with the worst thing a mother could ever go through- losing a child. This case is being handled and commented upon with an almost sociopathic lack of empathy. Put yourself in this child's shoes- just for a second, and remember that he is a human being and he deserves the love of his family.

Monday, November 28, 2011

After Hours

Today's photos brought to you by the North Carolina Photography Group and After Hours Tavern in High Point, NC! This night was really just great fun. I wasn't surrounded by photographers or anything like some of my friends, but I was kind of busy dancing on the stage and singing along to Sweet Home Alabama. There's definitely an upside to a shoot taking place in a bar. Not only did I meet a couple of new photographers, but I met some fantastic new models. It's been about a year since I started modeling and I'm amazed at how many wonderful friends I've made in that time.

You know, it's interesting to participate in some of these shoots as I also talk about the problem with the objectification of women. But, of course, objectification means that you strip away the personality, the nuances, and the humanity of a person and see just their bodies, you see them simply as, well, objects for your own personal use. I'd hope that every single person who follows my blog or even just comes to visit sees me as much more than that. I share with you  my fears, my ambitions, my passions, and,  I'll just say, that if someone can really ignore all of that and see me as nothing more than a virtual blow up doll, then that's on them, not me. A woman does not invite objectification or sexual harassment regardless of how she dresses, what kind of lifestyle she has (a girl who likes to party in mini skirts is no more an object than a conservatively dressed house wife), or how she presents herself. The choice to objectify lies solely with the person doing the objectifying. Every photo you see, regardless of how attractive you find that person to be, is an actual human being with a life outside of the limited experience you've had of them. Never forget that- they don't exist for you, they are their own people with their own lives and their own bodily autonomy.

Okay, so with that little mental wandering out of the way, let's get to some photos!

By Bonnie Stanley Photography

By Harold Marley

By Harold Marley

By Mark Travis

By Harold Marley

by Bonnie Stanley Photography
By Bonnie Stanley Photography

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tips on Approaching Women

Fellow fat activist, male blogger, and feminist, Brian from Red No. 3, wrote this piece about the difference between attraction and objectification. The reactions seemed fairly typical- from various places I saw it posted it seemed to be (mostly) women who said "Right on!" and (mostly) men who said "Hey wait a minute... you can't tell us who to be attracted to!" (Go ahead, take a moment to face palm). Some people didn't seem to understand the difference between objectification and attraction. A few people expressed some confusion on how to tell a woman that you like her without walking up to her and saying "hey sweet cheeks, more cushion for the pushing I always say *wink wink*".  This is called sexual harassment guys. This issue, of course, crosses over with feminism as well as rape culture, so I'm going to tell you how to tell that girl that you're interested without sexually propositioning her.

First, let's set up the scene. You see a woman and you just feel the chemistry. You have to ask her out or at least let her know that you think she's gorgeous.

Acceptable places to approach a woman:
  • In a library
  • At a social gathering 
  • A book store
  • When she's with friends
  • At the grocery store
  • Online
  • Any public, well lit place

Unacceptable places to approach a woman:
  • Anywhere she's alone
  • In a confined space like an elevator or spaces that are otherwise difficult to escape from
  • On a dark street/alley 
  • At her home or hotel room (see a cute girl at the sci fi convention and decide to follow her back to her room to hit on her? Reconsider that) 

Okay- great! Got that? If you like her you don't want to scare her. I know you think she should assume you're a nice guy and has nothing to be afraid of, but chances are high that she or someone she knows has been sexually assaulted and she doesn't know you from Adam. By the way, these tips can be used on approaching men as well. While they're certainly less likely to face sexual assault, better safe than sorry and it's your job (yes yours since you're the one doing the approaching) to make them feel as safe as possible.

So now let's move on to what to say. How on earth can you tell a woman you think she's the bee's knees without telling her explicit details of your sexual fantasies? Easy! Just don't do it! When thinking of sexually harassing or objectifying someone, follow the same procedures that you would if you were thinking of raping them- just don't do it! Don't try to blame them- don't say they deserve it because of what they are (or aren't) wearing. Don't justify doing it because you "know she secretly wants it".

Things you can say:
  • Hi, I just wanted to tell you that I think you're gorgeous/pretty/beautiful
  • Hey, mind if I sit here? What are you reading? 
  • Would you like to grab a coffee sometime? (I'd stay away from suggesting alcohol)
  • Here's my phone number/email/chat- I'd love to talk sometime (Don't ask her for hers)

Things not to say:
  • You are fucking sexy as hell baby
  • If I had all night with you... 
  • I want to..... with you
  • Wanna go back to my room/apartment/house? 

Keep in mind that these rules apply on the internet as well. Sending a woman of a photo of your dangly bits is sexual harassment as much as flashing her on the street. 

But wait, you say, what is objectification anyway?

The simplest definition is treating someone like an object. Sexual objectification is reducing a person's role or being to a sexual one, disregarding their intelligence, feelings, or other aspects which make up a complete human being. Fat women in particular often get fetishized. So what does that mean? A fetish, in simple terms, is an object, body part, of characteristic that is needed for sexual gratification. So a fat fetishist is sexually attracted to a person's fat. I've seen this come across as specific body parts as well- belly, thighs, back rolls, arm fat, etc.

So, all you have to do is remember that people don't exist for your sexual gratification, and you remember that they are entire people, not just their breasts, not just their asses, not just their fat.. then you should be good!

Someone, in response to the whole idea that women shouldn't be treated like sex objects, specifically women who dare to have an online presence or post photos (on facebook, flickr, blogs, whatever!) should expect to be objectified- that it's common. Yes, indeed it is, but something being common doesn't mean it should be common. And it doesn't mean that no one should speak out against it. All you have to do is treat women with respect and don't think of them as sex dolls! A great post on tumblr said "My actions will never control your actions and my actions will ever absolve you of responsibility for the things you do and say to me." Now, with that in mind, you have all the tools you need, go ahead and approach that cutie!

One last thing- to avoid objectifying women while masturbating, try to picture a generic woman (if you feel the need to picture anyone at all), not any individual, or, at the very least, don't think of her as just her genitals.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Special Note on The Definition of Pride

"Fat pride? Fat people have nothing to be proud about! They didn't accomplish anything by being fat!"

The first time I heard this phrase the word "black" was used instead of fat. The second time? It was "gay". Sadly, the first time I was still in high school and I nodded in agreement, in my head trying to figure out why "black pride" was okay but "white pride" was racist. Thankfully, I managed to shake off that particular idea many many years ago as I became an adult and began recognizing that we did not, in fact, live in a post racial society as so many white kids and teens are taught. The first time I had to defend any sort of pride was in reference to gay pride. This was the point at which I realized that we were using two different definitions of pride.

See, words have a lot of meanings. It starts with one or two and picks up more over time.

Pride: pleasure or satisfaction taken in something done by or belonging to oneself or believed to reflect credit upon oneself: civic pride. 

a high or inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed inbearing, conduct, etc. 

Proud: having or showing self-respect or self-esteem.
*(I nixed the repetitive definitions). 

So the people who seem to have a problem with "pride" movements focus on the definitions that reflect accomplishment, doing, something. Like being proud of a job well done, or being proud of building something, or being proud of a practiced skill. But pride movements have more to do with the last definition- having or showing self respect or self esteem. See, we're not proud of being fat. They're right, most of us didn't actively put effort towards becoming this way. It's pride in yourself for daring to be okay with who you are when the rest of society tells you that there's something wrong with you.

But it's more than that. Because there's pride for accepting yourself and then there's the pride that you feel when you actively stand up for yourself and others who are oppressed, subjugated, stigmatized, and hated. You're proud, not of being fat on it's own, but of having the courage to not care, the courage to face a world every day that does it's best to beat you down. Pride for making positive changes in yourself, your loved ones, your community, and society. When even showing your face in public is an act of rebellion, when being happy as a fat person is a political statement, when just living your life happily in your own body is against everything that the bigots want you to do, then that? That's something to be proud of.

So no, fat pride isn't about having pride just for being fat, it's about fighting an oppressive culture through every tiny act of self acceptance.

Friday, November 4, 2011

In Graphite

This drawing is by Omari, an artist from Brooklyn, NY. I have to say, I really love being drawn. For this I simply had my husband take a photo of me in the pose that the artist asked for and then emailed the photo to him. He has all different sizes of models in his portfolio, but the best thing about them is how real the bodies are. They aren't just super thin or fat or a certain shape of body. I think most women will see themselves in at least one of the drawings done.

Monday, October 31, 2011

El Dia De Los Muertos- Happy Halloween!

Many cultures around the world celebrate a form of Halloween. Death has always been a pretty big deal throughout history and why shouldn't it? It's not only common but often times comes before you think it should and is always inevitable. I first learned about el dios de los muertos (the day of the dead) when I took Spanish back in high school. The first spanish word I learned was estrella (star) from my friend, Jean, whose mother was Mexican. I remember we all had to make a spanish dish for el dia de los muertos and I made pan de muerto (bread of the dead) which was a sweet bread that I had shaped like bones. I've never learned to make a sugar skull but it's on my to do list.

El dia de los muertos was practiced in Mexico for thousands of years before the Spanish Inquisitors came along. The Catholic church absorbed the holiday (as they had done with the Pagan Samhain) in order to gain more converts so now el dia de los muertos coincides with All Saints Day and All Souls Day (Nov 1st and 2nd).

As with most holidays of this type it's to reflect on those we've lost, celebrate their lives, and mourn the loss. I enjoyed painting my my mask- this is the first year I've done it, but it's given me the chance to explain El Dia De Los Muertos to many people who curiously asked me what it was supposed to be. So here are some photos- enjoy! And tell me, what's your favorite holiday this time of the year? Your favorite traditions? These are all self portraits, by the way, since I couldn't find a photographer on such short notice (since I only decided to do this yesterday!). Oh yeah- and the premier of my orange hair!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Garage Project

Part of the Garage Project (an entire photo project involving that garage door) by F/Stop Grooves using my dermographia. My husband was the skin artist. There's partial nudity in this post. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

"I like big women, but" Syndrome

We get fat hate from everywhere and pretty much constantly. When someone admits to being attracted to larger bodies you expect that attraction and resulting relationship to come with respect and love and be free from stigma and, yes, fat hate. But that's not always the case. In r/bodyacceptance on reddit as well as in my day to day, I've run into a few people with "I like big women, but" syndrome. It's a serious medical condition and symptoms include confusion, cognitive dissonance, bodily convulsions that result in foot-in-mouth disorder, and often the inability to function properly in romantic interpersonal relationships. The patient presents with classic signs of showing attraction to larger bodies, but also classic symptoms of fatphobia and sizism. The cure? Take some HAES and call me in the morning when you're stopped being a raging asshole.

On r/bodyacceptance this syndrome was difficult to deal with and it resulted in comment and post removals, issuing warnings and, finally, banning the individuals from the group. I recently encountered this issue (for the second time) in my personal life (and no, it wasn't a romantic interest directed at me, but rather one of my friends, but it was still personal- more on that in a bit). If you haven't seen it (and you've saved up your mental health points) you may want to take a look at Tim Minchin's "Fat Children" song which includes such lovely lyrics as "Do not feed doughnuts to your obese children" and such ableist gems as "So you're telling me that your family Has a history of obesity You got the polycystic ovaries Your mum had childhood diabetes But and in your  case There's a fucking big butt Do you think it's an appropriate treat The all-you-can-eat at Pizza Hut". Let's not forget such contradictory lyrics as "Tell them they have to jog Until their jogging shorts fit 'em If they hesitate, ask firmly If they still resist, hit 'em" (emphasis mine) and "It's [being fat] tantamount to child abuse" (can you spot which statement is actual child abuse?). So you can see why someone whom I considered a friend posting this would be quite upsetting. Especially a friend who was dating another friend who happened to be fat. 

I was horrified and couldn't imagine that he'd post this on purpose. Maybe.. maybe he was posting it to show how disgusting it was! Yeah.. yeah that's it... oh but no. Upon inquiring I was simply told that a fat child is the result of bad parenting and that, yes, fat children should be taken away from their homes. I know I know. You've probably seen this particular treasure discussed in the fatosphere quite a lot, especially after the JAMA article about the same thing, although at least they were advocating only "worst case scenarios" and "last resorts" where as this friend of mine, we'll call him Vader (because I'm a geek and I want to, that's why), believes that even 20lbs "overweight" is grounds for an investigation by our already overworked and over burdened social services department. 

I don't have to tell you that taking a child out of an otherwise loving home, away from the only people they know and care for, and sticking them in the foster system where they will likely be bounced around from home to home, and very possibly will never find a home before they're kicked out on their 18th birthdays is far more abusive than any exercise in "over feeding". We have problems with rampant child abuse, children being beaten or called worthless. We have kids that grow up with strung out parents. Kids who are terrified of going home. Kids who are sexually abused. But fat kids should be the priority here? I don't think so. 

Don't worry, I comprised a logical, calm, well thought out reply with references to studies that show that weight is mostly genetic with other contributing factor with lifestyle being on the lowest rung of the ladder. I even threw in some personal anguish about what would have happened to me if someone had deemed my mother abusive just because I was fat along with asking him to explain why I was fat while my brother and sister remained slim on exactly the same diet and amount of active play. The response? Oh... oh my. It didn't even make me angry at first.. I just sat there, mouth gaping, thinking, "wait.. what?". Prepare yourselves. The response was that "yes, I know it's largely genetic.." (good so far..?) "but only for adults". BAM! Can you comprehend that either? I didn't think so. Vader's justification? Kids have faster metabolisms than adults and therefore they can't be larger based on genetics. According to him, there is no such thing as a naturally fat child, it's 100% lifestyle. Yes folks, "obesity" is genetic, but only once you turn 18. Not that I could get him to explain thin  people who ate junk food and watched TV all day. Maybe they don't exist in his world (or just cue the cognitive dissonance part of the disease. It's not about lifestyle if you're thin, only if you're fat; that good 'ole double standard).  

Of course, poor Vader must have just been deeply confused after saying that (for adults) it was genetic but there was "no such thing as a fat person who eats healthfully and exercises". Does he realize that all of this fat hate he's spewing is directed at his girlfriend too? Does she? I see far too many fat men and women who internalize all of the fat hate and they think "yes, I'm sexy and I deserve love, but I still need to lose weight". If you "like big women, but" then how do you justify wanting your partner to be healthy but finding them attractive at a weight that you deem unhealthy? (I say "you deem" because we all know that weight isn't a measure of health, rather someone projecting their own biases, prejudices, and misinformation onto others). 

Folks, this is when my ability to stay calm and civil broke down. Because Vader was my friend I wanted to talk through this, get him to see just how hateful and awful he was being and try to nudge him into accepting that the reasons for body types are varied and complex and that, you know, maybe you actually can't hate someone for their own good. But I have to tell you, as much as I know people like this need education, sometimes I have to just look out for my own emotional and psychological well being. So after I typed another long, thoughtful, reply with net more references to more studies, I stopped, deleted the entire thing, and replaced it with, "You know what? Fuck you." and removed him as a friend. The best solution for someone who's simply ignorant and probably hasn't ever even been presented with an alternative argument? Absolutely not. But I have to deal with this stuff every single day in other areas of my life and I don't think it's too much to ask to be safe from my own friends. So viola, no more fat hating friends. Of course it's not quite that simple since we still run into each other occasionally, but I'm planning on politely treating him like an acquaintance. And Vader's girlfriend, my friend? I hope she took his fat hate as personally and as insultingly as it was. Self deprecating fatties aren't rare by any means, but it does break my heart every single time. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Friend Post

I've been delighted and surprised to find that I've made some fantastic friends since I started modeling locally about a year ago. This is the post for me to bask in the warm fuzziness of it all. Yes I've had plenty of ups and downs, especially with photographers in group settings! But I've never once had a problem with the other models and I couldn't ask to meet a nicer, friendlier, more welcoming bunch of people than I have over the past 13 months. So here are some great friends.

Model Adrienne Rose. Photo by Peggy Brutcher

With model Tona Jean. Photo by Richard Rose

With musician, model, and photographer Lauren Light. Photo by Bill Jeffries

With model and burlesque dancer Foxy Moxy. Photo by Dragon's Lair Photography
With model Terri and her daughter. Photo by William Wyrick (it should go without saying that
you are not allowed to copy or distribute this photo in any way since it contains a minor)

With model and burlesque dancer Simora Cheeks

With model and renn fair enthusiast Scott Spyglass. Photo by Rob Goldsmith

And remember, these are only the friends I've made that I've managed to get photos with! There are so many more friends I've met and more people that I'm looking forward to getting to know better in the future. Aren't friends fantastic? 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Fairies Everywhere

I attended the group costume shoot at Castle McColloch in Jamestown, NC with the NC Photography group, created and run by Chris Goette on Tuesday. I've worked with Chris and his group many times. They are simply just wonderful with so many talented people (photographers and fellow models) to work with. I've made so many friends through this group that it makes me all teary eyed just thinking about it. It just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy! As with any group shoot I'll restate that it's easier for some models than others although, in this case, I feel it had to do with quality and intricacy of costumes. Though there were some non costumed models as well.

Me, I donned two outfits with two different sets of wings from Jenniveves which are just absolutely stunning and incredibly well made. Better, there are no shoulder straps. There are wires instead that simply slip down inside your bra strap, corset, etc. My realistic looking daisy crown? Bloom Design Studio which makes gorgeous headbands, bobby pins, wrist cuffs, hippie head wraps and crowns with a gorgeous and impressive assortment of styles and colors. I got some brilliant photos and I'm happier still that I got plenty of photos with good friends (and some new friends) which I'll do a separate post for). Because of the nature of the shoot with over 80 people who showed up in a big group, the photos trickle in slowly. If I get more I may do an update post but, for now, enjoy.

By Sam McClenaghan

By Susan Bryan

By Sam McClenaghan

By Lauren Light who is also a talented musician (absolutely one of my faves!)

By Lauren Light who is also a talented musician (absolutely one of my faves!)
by Susan Bryan
by Deon Bartlett

by Scott Angel

the only photo of my steampunk wings! I guess I broke out the second
outfit a bit too late, eh? I'll use it first next time.
Photo by Susan Bryan

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fat Girl Health: Update

Remember how I gushed about the doctor not mentioning my weight? Well that didn't last long. She called me to let me know the results of my blood tests. My blood pressure was already good so she called to let me know that my cholesterol and my blood sugar were also good- a relief since diabetes runs in my family. Still, she just couldn't help (though to her credit she seemed tentative about it) but suggest that I lose weight. Being thin means being healthier! Right? But I'm already healthy so what do I have to gain exactly? More so, I'd like to know how she'd suggest I do this.

I'm going to talk a little about my health- something I avoid doing because I try to sound professional most of the time (I pull that off, right?).  I have hypothyroidism. At least according to my blood test done Dec. '10 with a TSH level of 4.1. This is something that actually impacts my  health. More recently because, despite not being medicated, my TSH suddenly dropped to 1.6 as my symptoms became debilitating. I may actually have hypothyroidism caused by Hashimoto's disease. It's an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the thyroid. When it does pieces sometimes break off and dump thyroid hormones into the body causing TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone- a hormone released by the pituitary gland in order to stimulate the thyroid when it's not producing enough hormones [T4 and T3]) to drop suddenly. The symptoms are hell to be honest. Severe fatigue, nausea, dizziness, pain.. I've been barely functioning for the past month or so.

This is partially relevant because one of the symptoms I've been experiencing is lack of appetite and nausea after eating. I've been eating very little. It varies from day to day but the most I've been able to eat in the past few weeks is about 1400 calories (I only know this because someone was concerned and asked me to add it up) and the average is closer to 700 with some days being much less. This is not okay and it also hasn't caused weight loss. So when I ask "what would she have me do?" she certainly can't tell me to eat less! This was just plain irresponsible of her. The severity is what caused me to make a doctor's appointment asap. So this, this is what actually effects my health and in a severe way.

I wanted to make the severity of my symptoms clear so that you can be shocked and outraged when I tell you that the doctor (resident) dismissed all of these symptoms. Perhaps she thinks 'oh, fattie thinks she has thyroid problems, big surprise' (even with a copy of my last blood test in front of her) or maybe she's just inexperienced- she is a resident after all. But these things she dismisses while my life is put on hold because of how sick I am, but she thinks weight loss is an appropriate piece of advice (after I informed her of my history with an ED no less- something else I haven't talked about on here because it still makes me feel ashamed and uncomfortable). There is no good excuse for this people. I have one more appointment next week and if it goes as poorly then it's time to find a new doctor!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fat Girl Health

Actually, all health, male or female, thin or fat. But this is my particular experience with my trip to the doctor as a fat woman. I didn't jump in the recent debate about Jess Weiner, the former fat activist who wrote a sensationalized article about how fat acceptance "made her" ignore important aspects of health such as seeing a doctor. Because I don't know much about this woman or her history in fat acceptance, I stayed away from it, but my trip to see a doctor today for the first time since I can remember for a checkup did remind me of her and how our culture views health in general.

First of all, exercise and healthy eating are extremely important for health. I'm not denying that, I'm not challenging that, that's not what this is about, just so as we're clear on that. Lifestyle, however, can only take you so far. I feel empowered when I go to the gym, especially after an especially hard workout. I feel empowered when I make a delicious and healthy meal or when my son rejects someone offering him fries and asks for an apple. I feel confident that I've taught him healthy habits and that makes me proud. But nothing made me feel so empowered, so in charge of my health and my life, as going to see a doctor this past week. I had blood drawn for all of the normal things- lipids, glucose, vitamin D, etc (also had blood pressure taken which was fabulously perfect even with the white coat anxiety). I feel pretty sure they'll all come back fine, but the part that makes me feel good is knowing for sure. If they don't come back fine I feel great knowing that the knowledge means that I can take control of it, change it, or treat it. And there are plenty of issues that can arise regardless of how active you are or how well you eat. You should also regularly get tested for STI's even if you're in a monogamous relationship and don't forget your general physical exam. I also got the first dose of the HPV vaccine; if you're a woman, you should be getting this.

My point is this: taking care of yourself feels good. Great even! And it goes far beyond just lifestyle and definitely beyond weight since that number can't tell you anything about your health. Sadly, almost 50 million Americans don't have health insurance. Even more have health insurance but still don't go to the doctor's because they can't afford the deductibles and copays. I'm 26 and I just now got insurance. I haven't been to a doctor for anything other than reproductive issues in so many years that I can't even remember. In fact, I may not have been to have a regular checkup since I was a kid. I'm privileged enough to have that taken care of for me. I was able to tell the doctor that yes, I wanted the Gardasil vaccine even if my insurance didn't cover it. Health is multi faceted and while the "obesity epidemic" is complete bullshit, we do have a health epidemic. Health care should be considered a basic human right and this is one area that the US is greatly lagging behind in. Maybe that's why we resort to faux epidemics and scare tactics and sensationalism. It's a substitute for actual health care and it doesn't work, not even close.

You may have occasionally heard the word healthism come up in the fatosphere and perhaps in a post or conversation about ableism. Healthism is the idea that healthy people are more moral and better people than unhealthy people. I likely don't have to tell you, dear readers, that it's all too obvious that classism is also involved since the ability to access quality healthcare is something that's reserved for the wealthy. Not even the middle class have the kind of access they need. Because I am middle class and I still have to decide if I should go to the physical therapist that my doctor recommended for an old rotator cuff injury, the psychiatrist for my bipolar medication, the psychologist for my PTSD, the eye doctor, or the dentist. I can only pick one for this month and then I have to decide who in my family gets to go get their needs taken care of first because we can't all seek medical care at the same time.

How is this a fat issue? Because healthism is deeply intertwined with fatphobia and sizism and poor people are more likely to be fatter (there are all kinds of speculation on why- my belief is that it has to do with emotional well being as well as untreated health issues). Healthism includes fatphobia which includes classism. It's a vicious cycle of violence against the sick and the poor. Healthcare is a human rights issue.

 I feel like the importance of seeing a doctor regularly is glossed over when talking about HAES sometimes, perhaps because of the huge number of people who have no way of following this advice. Our broken health care system is proof that no one actually cares about our health when they shame us, especially when you think about government programs and initiatives such as Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" anti fat kid campaign. The same people who claim to care about your health in one breath will deny you healthcare coverage in the next. So all of you health trolls- I will be completely ignoring you until you start advocating for universal health care and stop talking about fatties driving up health care costs.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cupcake Love

This was supposed to be an entire dermographia shoot. It didn't workout that way. We decided to start out with a cupcake on my collar bone- boy did that not work! You can see it a bit but the first photo shows how splotchy it was and it faded quickly. My skin was not working with us that day. Despite that we at least got a couple of good photos and John Horwitz brought some awesome broken glasses which I just love.

Dreaming of Wheels

I finally dreamed of myself in a wheelchair . How we view ourselves is often hard. What we think of ourselves, even how we picture ourse...