Stop Blogging About Me and Ragen Chastain, K. Thanks.

So I stumbled upon this little ditty tonight https://truthaboutragen.wordpress.com/2015/08/06/ragen-chastain-md/ and realized that a question that I posed to Ragen Chastain’s facebook page  (of Dances With Fat (blog)) has been spreading, maybe not like wild fire but…quick-ish? I am not some faceless foolish fat woman who’s only hope was Ragen and her advice. I was not devastated when she would not supply me with the answers that I asked for (a body positivity community online that supports weight loss). I wasn’t even surprised. It was a long shot and It was posed in a moment of fear. Let it be said that I would never make a decision about my health based on concerns about acceptance in ANY community. I’m far too selfish for that shit.  I asked Ragen on her personal page because in the fit fatties group and haes groups I am a part of, weight loss talk violates a safe space for too many people. It’s called a safe space for a reason and we don’t get to tell people who carve out their own spot of protection, that they can’t have it just because we want to talk about something that may cause harm to others. I am not a “poor” victim of Ragen’s beliefs and advocating. I am simply someone who followed/follows her blog. She doesn’t pay any of my bills, she doesn’t live my life and I don’t want her to. We aren’t best friends, we don’t even KNOW each other. What confuses me is the way in which my question has turned me into some sort of faceless victim.

Firstly, use my name and image if you’re going to reference me. Don’t strip me of my story. I posted in a public forum and I gave Ragen permission to use my question to blog about. Make no bones about it. I don’t care who knows about what I’ve been going through. I am not the type to internalize my fear, my pain or any sort of struggle that I go through (I mean…if you’ve seen my twitter or any of my blogs, I’d say that’s evident). I am open because I am LOOKING for people to relate to, and even if Ragen and I disagree, I absolutely found what I was looking for through that post. I am not shut down and close minded about weight loss, it is possible to want to support something that is positive and to want to be a part of a group that is positive, without believing in everything that they do. I am at this point in my life where I am prioritizing my health over everything. So there isn’t a weight loss friendly haes/body positivity group? FINE. I can make one on my own. Seriously. I can.

I am looking at some major change and it’s not all to do with my size or my medical condition…it has to do with wanting a master’s degree, a new career etc. Before I was diagnosed with PTC or IIH, I was working out 2 to 3 times a week. I was eating healthy on and off. Not gorging and wasting away in bed. One thing that body positivity gave to me was …the strength to be unapologetically visible and the desire to care for myself on my own terms. The scariest thing about my diagnosis is that I feel powerless. I feel like caring for myself on my own terms is no longer an option and that I…FatFemPinUp am out of my hands. Who wouldn’t that scare? This year was to be all about me, which is why i went to get my eyes checked in the first place, went to the dentist, got a GP! See self control/determination is so very important to me and so is self love. Accepting what I looked like and the fact that I took up space and that was ok….that had to happen before a decision for health/fitness or weight loss could be made. And while I did not have any weight loss goals before my diagnosis (just goals for fitness like walk 2 miles without getting tired, etc), I have them now. I am not going to gamble ideology against science out of the fear of changing my lifestyle or paradigms. My vision is more important What I sought from Ragen was support, I went away empty handed but she is not the only source of support for women like me! I have received personal messages of encouragement and personal stories and truly that’s enough.

So….I am not some victim of Ragen Chastain ….I am FatFemPinUp. I am not a blind follower of any movement or ideology. A question to someone that I admire (and make no bones about it, I STILL admire her) does not mean I am making drastic decisions over a facebook post. I’d wager that few people do. Judging by the number of messages I recieved from other people in the HAES movement, they don’t all believe that weight loss is terrible, futile and to be untouched/unspoken of. Most of the participants in HAES believe that every health decision should be made by the individual and that we should support that individual…treat them with dignity and respect (something I think was lacking in the tone of the article above ) and support their autonomy. My weight loss journey will not be televised, or blogged about. In fact this may be the only time you see me post about it. I simply want it known that if you wonder about my motives for asking that question, you should come to the source. Suggesting that you feel sorry for me is ….super shitty. I ask/asked for no pity, especially from total strangers.

Personal Struggles

I haven’t posted anything in a while…..I seem to have that habit lol but I wanted to update you guys on my life…..so on Friday 7/31/15….I’ll be going in for an MRI and an LP due to having optic nerve edema….unknown cause. I’m terrified and my vision has been distorted….I’ve had very brief moments of complete distortion while I drive so….yeah I hope that everything is ok and I’m not suffering some sort of brain lesion (that was a caution told to me by the opthamlogist bleh!). I think it’s a psuedo tumor or side effect from the birth control I started a few months ago…but honestly? I have no clue. I am only writing this now because I have been feeling so anxious about it :/

I’m also dating someone now…..no idea what to expect from this person or from myself….but I welcome the challenge! So ….idk how many people follow me or how many people on wordpress care lol but drop me an encouraging comment maybe

A Child’s RIGHT to Bodily Autonomy

Well I have decided that I have too much invested in this idea of a child’s right to bodily autonomy, not to blog about this. Bear with me because it’s been a while. 

I’ll start with a short story: This past weekend a family member slapped her 8 year old son in the face with an open hand in front of a room full of adults. His transgression? Asking for candy. Well actually, he was asking if he could bring his aunt a piece of candy and his mother misunderstood him. Not once, but three times. Angrily. He asked and was given a stern no. He tried to clarify and was screamed at and on the third try, he was slapped.

Lets start with the fact that she heard him wrong 2 times before her irritation led her to physical violence. Sometimes parents get stressed out, they run around all day and they do for their children 24/7. They get tired, they get cranky and exhausted and they can’t always stop to have a true conversation with their child. A lot of adults rarely have the time or will to stop and have a true conversation with each other. But I want to emphasize the importance of having true conversations with our children. When we stop to really listen to our children, they feel that what they have to say has value. That feeling is important, it is directly linked to their belief about themselves. A child who is able to talk to a parent/adult that they trust, and truly be heard. Learns the power of words and learns to use words as a vehicle to standing up for themselves and others. True conversation, even in disagreement, even in flighty questions posed at random moments can shape your child’s relationship with THE TRUTH, with standing up for themselves and others and with words in general. When we teach our children the value of communication, they are empowered. The act of ignoring a child is the act of cheating a child out of their right to be heard. The act of misunderstanding a child in favor of your own conclusions or assumptions is emotionally abusive. Why? Because it is literally unjust. These small things are unjust to a child, not being heard is a huge blow to a child’s heart. Or being heard and being made to feel that what they’ve said or expressed is not important, can cause pain. Listen to your children, sometimes they talk nonsense but sometimes they speak from the heart, from curiosity or confusion….you must learn to tell the difference between their play talk and their true talk. True talk from a child must be heard, must be responded to. “because i said so” logic can never work when you are respecting your child’s rights.So in the case of this family member and her son, he posed a simple question….our children ask a lot of questions. It is in their nature. In this case he wanted permission to do something. If we parent from the understanding that we do not own our children. That understanding demands that we spend time explaining to children.It means that you must help your child to understand decisions that they cannot make for themselves. As well as decisions where their choices are limited or non-existent. Only a conversation can help your child understand this. Meaning you must have self control, when you’re frustrated and patience to stop and listen.

child slap

Lets move on to physical discipline. Beyond conventional discipline. That model of discipline where a parent pulls out a belt, tells the child to lay on the bed or a lap and spanks their bottom. Spur of the moment discipline is the most dangerous kind. Spur of the moment discipline is done out of a parents loss of control. That loss of control can cause serious harm to a child. That is why experts recommend that if you use spanking/physical discipline that you NEVER spank when you are angry or emotions are running high. This is because you run the risk of harming your child. Slapping a child in the face can literally harm them, it can cause hearing loss, it can draw blood or bruise, it can fracture bones in the face. This is why children services investigates referrals that involve hitting in sensitive parts of the body. The head/face and back, these are considered very sensitive places. Now, outside of the practical issue of spur of the moment physical discipline and physical discipline in general, you have to understand what you are communicating to your child when you hit them. When you hit a child you are teaching them that their body is not their own. You are teaching them that someone they trust is allowed to violate their body in order to control their behavior. You are teaching that child that they are powerless over their body and what happens to it. Adults understand that people are not allowed to hit them. They understand that people are not allowed to touch them without their consent. This lesson is integral to the growth and development of children as well. A child needs to know that their body BELONGS to them. That strangers are not allowed to touch their body because it BELONGS to them. That family/neighbors etc are not allowed access to their body because it BELONGS to them. That lesson is important, practically, because if someone harms your child, they need to be able to recognize that harm as wrong in order to report it. But emotionally as well because that is the beginning of self esteem and the formulation of boundaries. When human beings understand that no one has rights to their body but themselves, they naturally start to work out ways to protect their body. The desire to protect the body stems from an understanding that their body is valuable. That understanding of value is a part of their self esteem. Having the power to make decisions about your body is also a part of your self esteem. When you hit a child, you are violating their body. whether it hurts or not, whether it leaves a mark, whether it’s a spanking or a slap in the face. You are violating their right not to have anyone harm their body or threaten their body. Worst, you are sending them the message that when they do something you don’t like, they no longer own their body or have control over it. When other people can control your body, it loses it’s value. When you learn that your body is not valuable, you are less likely to believe you have control over your body. Hitting a child teaches them a very serious lesson about power and control. You are teaching them that they can control situations by violating boundaries. That they can control situations by using violence. That control and violence can give them power. Idk about you but that frightens me. We have a lot of adults now that get off on the use of power….in our government and in our prisons.

Obviously I’m not saying that children who are spanked grow into adults that don’t value themselves or know how to put up boundaries.Nor am I saying that every adult who is spanked or even abused has power/control issues. But to say that our childhood understanding of ourselves bears no impact on our adulthood, is ridiculous. There is so much research coming out now about the effects of child abuse on children. It is fact that child abuse/neglect negatively impacts growth & development, that trauma literally causes you to lose I.Q. points. People are fragile, especially young people. The way we experience and understand our world as children tends to be the way we experience and understand it as adults. If boundaries and autonomy weren’t important as a child, why would they be important as an adult? If we learn that we can gain power over others by being controlling or even violent, why wouldn’t we try this as adults? Especially if it worked on us. 

If you were slapped in the face and spanked as a child for everything you did wrong, or did to cause your parents displeasure or irritation. What kind of adult will that make you? A bully with no self control? A victim who confuses love and abuse? A successful adult with intimacy issues? because being close to people makes you feel powerless? As parents, do we think about the adults we are sending into the world, when our children are annoying 8 year olds that we have to deal with? What difference could we make in their development if we took time to listen? If we gave them more choices, even in their forms of discipline. Do we ask little Jenny if she wants her tablet taken away, a spanking or 3 hours in her room without TV on saturday? What do we have to lose by offering children these kinds of choices? Power? Why do we need power over our children? Is discipline an exercise of power, or is it a vehicle for understanding and growth? Aren’t we correcting our children in order to protect and nurture them? And if we are…as we should be…shouldn’t they be a part of that process and not a victim of it? we must EVOLVE as parents. We must learn to be CONSISTENT. 

Teaching bodily autonomy and respecting it, consistency, choices and learning to listen to children’s true talk….this type of parenting BUILDS strong empowered people. That is our sole job as parents, as stewards over vulnerable humans. 

Wound—A poem

Sometimes I want to be the “wound” Ntozake spoke about

and sometimes I simply want freedom…

oh that wound…

so you never forget

you ache in forgotten places when the weather grows cold and heavy

…tickles like phantom

sometimes I want to be a limb cut off….

slow healing, seeping scar….

i want to be that ugly thing your new lovers trace with solemn finger tips, questing in the dark….

yet my descent has slowed by pity’s hand and time’s quiet call to blush, i cannot sustain my own decay

…to wound you

Fat Bikini Babes: Defining Beach Bodies

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What is the typical fat wear in a public swim area? Especially for women? Long T-shirt over the swim suit to spare beach going eyes, a swim dress with a dragging sloppy hem…. Yards and yards of spandexy fabric in dark matronly colors and patterns to hide the lumps…. This summer these options were unacceptable.

I’m a 24 year old fat woman with curves for weeks and my bathing suit options have been so fucking frustrating! Ive wanted to feel sexy and like a Baywatch Boo coming out of the water  …..but I’ve been terrified of public swim areas after a picture was taken of me without my consent at a lake. I felt ridiculed and shamed for wanting a fun Saturday with friends. Id been wearing a one piece without a swim skirt or cover up and that was revolutionary for me at the time. I was discouraged… But i saw Gabi Freshs blog and her fatkini and i knew i had to risk everything to celebrate my voluptuousness. I also realized that the people who don’t like seeing fat bodies do not have the right to run public spaces by creating a hostile social setting.

I’m loving the size acceptance approach and it’s new catch phrase is : how do you get a beach body? You take your body to the beach. And i did…. I hope other fat gals do too! It shouldn’t be revolutionary to wear what you want to the beach/pool…. But it is…but the more of us that do… The less revolutionary it will be and that’s the point.

We aren’t promoting anything but self love and advocating for everyone’s right to access public space without fear! Buy or make a swimsuit that makes you feel like a bombshell and leave the T-shirt at home!

Its been a while

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog or a poem….i hate that and i’ll be back…there’s still do much to say and so much to learn…and so many bridges to cross verbally that cannot be crossed out loud…thank you guys for being oddly loyal and for missing me….for encouraging my every now and then tweeting….

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See you soon.

The Not So Blaze-A Poem

We’ve been reduced to regurgitating memories and feeding on phantoms

To hoping old fires could spark from melancholy fuel

I kept it alone

You lay beside the flame with empty hands
Driving need, some desperation

You took the heat

I did the work of two…. singing, stoking

Keeping such a flame too long, too alone…i turned

Sacrificial

You grew

I gathered

The fire cannot be pacified
Yet cannot burn without fuel. It can destroy abandoned

Wounded, Before consumption, I.found my portion …. relit my solitary flame

Tendrils of chill
Ushered in the dark
That cold stole through you
You sought me
Accusing eyes for the keeper of your flame

The flame you would not feed

We’ve been reduced to “remember when” and “back then”

Recalling the beacon that loving created

That apathy killed