links open windows when you put a check in this box thanks to random walks!
Despite the pall of gloom that hangs over us today, I'd like to file a cautious
plea for hope: in times of war, one wants one's weakest enemy at the helm of his
forces. And President George W Bush is certainly that. Any other even averagely
intelligent US president would have probably done the very same things, but
would have managed to smoke-up the glass and confuse the opposition. Perhaps
even carry the UN with him. Bush's tactless imprudence and his brazen belief
that he can run the world with his riot squad, has done the opposite. He has
achieved what writers, activists and scholars have striven to achieve for
decades. He has exposed the ducts. He has placed on full public view the working
parts, the nuts and bolts of the apocalyptic apparatus of the American empire. --
was kind of heart breaking. All of the people in my
group are dealing with relationship breakups. Except
me. Everyone in group is at a different place on the
spectrum of partnered. But we are dealing with not really
having a partner.
don't really talk about not having a partner. And, in
truth, that's because part of me believes I never will.
So far the only thing I can do to deal with that belief
is to try and ignore it and keep my heart open.
last night when everyone was talking, and crying, I
felt it all in a different way. I guess I want to hope
that there is kindness in the world. And passion. And
I know that relationships are work. But right now it
feels like fear dominates. And love. Well. I just don't
have a lot of love in my life. And there isn't a day
when I'm not thankful for that love. And ... there is
this other kind of love. And I just don't understand
why it has to be so hard.
Thursday I meet with the advisor I'll be working with
on THE BOOK. Yesterday I took it out and picked at it
a little bit. It is kind of done. It needs work. But
I'm at a point when I can't see it clearly. So it'll
be good to work with Stephen.
And then I have to decide if I'm going to self
I wake up in the difficult world. And begin again.
and Adrienne were havingfun
yesterday. I came home from school in
a foul mood and they helped me to turn
it around. I wasn't feeling the whole
April fools thing but it did feel good
been a discussion on another blog about
the efficacy of protesting. It got carried
to other blogs. There was something
about the tone of the conversation that
put me in a spin. I'm not going to link
it up because I just...am not feeling
all the arguing.
maybe I am.
of the things I felt right after 9/11
was an awareness of how aggressive I
am. this morning I woke up thinking
about some things I heard yesterday
and thinking about how mean people are
and thinking I'm just not that mean.
Within five minutes I was having some
really mean thoughts about someone.
usually suspicious of people who are
too nice. I don't trust people who control
their anger or avoid their sadness.
I guess I try to hold my anger, sadness
and my joy. Although I'm not sure what
I mean by that. But I try to be reflective
when I'm feeling things. And I can't
always be. And I don't worry about that.
It's all a process.
these days I feel the ways in which
we aggress one another in a heightened
manner. I know people are talking about
the ways in which they lash out at their
friends and family these days. And later
they realize that it was out of proportion.
was, and maybe am, feeling like taking
a lot of links off my blog roll. I'm
not sure it will matter that much. the
people I'm reacting to don't really
read me. I doubt they'd notice. And
I doubt their stats will fall off as
a result. I'm not doing it because it
feels like reaction. It feels like a
mean thing to do. Even if no one notices.
I just don't like where it's coming
life is on the page these days. I write
here. I write in THE BOOK. I write for
school. I read and read and read.
been wanting to smoke again. Yesterday
I bummed a smoke and went out to the
patio at school and smoked. I was staring
at this grey tree. Three thin trunks
winding toward and away from each other.
The tree was in front of a grey cement
wall. And there were tiny little green
leaves beginning to pop. There were
so many shades of grey. And these little
specks of green. It was all so beautiful.
her life. Listening to those tunes. I remembered
my own. I remembered how I grabbed the meaning
from whatever she intended and made it about
me. And she said it so well. How did she
know me so well?
We had a reading from Joanne
at school. I was so filled up by these
I have to print out THE BOOK to take it
to Stephen. I love printing it. I love the
feel of it when it's in a stack of pages.
Scrolling on the screen it seems to be so
... fleeting. But when it's in my hands
it feels real.
went to school early yesterday. It just
seems like an easier commute when I leave
early. And I like to sit in the library
arrived at school during a rainstorm. I
walked up the steps of Lone Mountain being
pelted. I arrived wet and dripping and feeling
beleaguered. I listened to some
I left feeling calm.
in the day we all said peace. All us hippies. We said
peace instead of goodbye. What did we all mean when
we said peace? I doubt we meant the same thing.
of us were trying to affirm that we were not part of
the war machine. We were not with those others who were
sending our friends and our brothers and our fathers
off to a war that we knew had nothing to do with dominos.
I remember so many conversations about how to stop the
war. And the revolution. And there were people who wanted
to tear down the system and there were people who wanted
just wanted to get high and get laid.
wanted to change the world. I wanted to end the war.
I wanted us all to love each other and live in peace.
I wanted to make love not war.
then some of us became yuppies and some of us did cocaine
and some of had break downs and some of took too much
of one thing or another and died and some of us got
married in the park and had babies and moved into the
suburbs and some of were elected and some of us were
selected and some of us went to India to find Peace.
the war did stop. And some of us think we had something
to do with that. And maybe we were just high.
said peace and we didn't know what we meant. But it
was what you said if you wanted to be in the revolution.
The revolution that was going to change the world.
I printed out the pile of pages that is my testimony.
I took it to my advisor and we talked about how we were
going to do the work. I love holding the pile of pages.
I love feeling like I've written A Thing. A whole
talked about how I am trying to avoid the arc. The story
line that has a come to Jesus moment and then a way
to be that made it all OK. But there is no arc in my
life. I have lived through a million come to Jesus moments
and woken up the next day and felt like I was in the
happy ever after time and a week and a month and a year
later I was looking for a new Jesus.
always thought I was getting it wrong. That there was
a way to think or feel or be that would feel like I
was sitting under a tree, in a full lotus, eyes half
closed, half smile, calm. Peace.
it's Friday morning. My country, the country I live
in, the country I can not deny, is engaged in act
I feel powerless and angry. I have to write something
to hand in on Tuesday. I have to read stuff for Wednesday.
My hip seems to be out of place or something and walking
is painful. I have no health insurance. I need to do
laundry and clean the apartment. The big project of
my life is a pile of papers which is now in someone
don't think I'm getting it wrong.
saying peace again. I'm locating myself in that assertion.
Sometimes I sit and half close my eyes and take a few
deep breaths and try to find some silent inner calm.
And then I do the dishes and the laundry and put some
herbs on my aching joints and cry about the boy who
is not going to call and read someone else's story and
write another paper and read another book and write
I am restless and agitated and I want to change the
don't have health insurance but I do have lovely friends.
Suzanne took me to Barbara who adjusted my hip and made
it all better. I got some writing done on the piece
for Tuesday. I still need to do laundry but I may wait
till Monday. I'm not sure about pushing the hip thing
by going up and down the stairs.
not sure how Bill Moyers gets away with all he does
on his show. Last night he devoted the show to media
like war coverage and media consolidation. And he talked
It's such a relief to see something on television that
has so much substance.
is a relief. Barry does some of the best feminist thinking
I've ever read. I am mindful that a man writing something
level of insight
strikes me as so remarkable. Women write these things
every day. But it is true that I feel relief when I
find a man who gets it. Wednesday
is cartoon day.
points to a post on Silverrights.
Talking about Pfc.
Yesterday I heard a discussion on MSNBC (I think) about
women in the war. Do we really want to see women coming
back from the war bloodied or dead? No. We don't. And
we don't want to see our men coming back bloodied or
dead. It was a through the looking glass moment for
me because I found myself wanting to defend the rights
of women to go to war. And I do.
Some days I wake up blank. I read through
the blogs hoping to be sparked into thought. It just
ain't happenin today. Which isn't to say that there
isn't some wonderful stuff on the blogs. But I'm in
a drifty dreamy wordless place.
don't really know what happened with my hip. I was in
an accident when I was nineteen. My right foot was pulled
under the wheel of a truck. I have a huge scar but no
pain. Still, I know I lean on my left hip in deference
to the right foot. And now the left hip is cranky. Maybe
it's bursitis. Or Arthritis. But it felt like it wasn't
where it was supposed to be. And now it's better. Except
for a twinge or two.
I should not EVER watch main stream
TV. It is true that I too often have TV on for background
noise. Usually 26
or one of the (cough) newschannels.
But the other night I was going from channel to channel
looking for something to watch. I knew there was nothing.
But I kept looking. I came up on a show called Am I
Hot? Or something like that. I'm not searching for a
link because I don't want to look at it again. I'd seen
it once before. After two minutes of watching I clicked
away in horror. But when I saw it again I paused for
a few minutes. They were telling a young woman that
she had a body that was built for sex.
been thinking about this ever since. So, generally speaking,
all of us have the physical organs needed to have sex.
Most of us have desire and longing for sex. At least
sometimes. And of course some people have sex so that
there will be more of us around. But only that woman
has a body that was BUILT for sex.
does she get to own the tragedy? I think what happened
to her was horrible. I think her recovery is wonderful.
I think her story is beautiful. But this is about race.
The way the stories of the young men of color was dismissed
in this show was appalling. It was implied that we just
don't know for sure that they weren't part of her attack.
Again. They were impugned.
have the same feelings about how much I am hearing about
and how much I'm not hearing about
pfc Lori Ann Piestewa.
Maybe I'm not watching enough TV but I really am not
hearing about pfc Piestewa as much.
is a way in which the stories of the triumph of young,
thin white women are dominating. And I don't want to
take away from their triumph. I'm glad that they came
through the horror that they found themselves in. But
let's not spend a minute imagining that this isn't about
just should not watch it at all. I always end up feeling
like we are too far gone.
then there was the Clinton/Dole
(cough) debate on 60 Minutes.
In which they both, each in their own way, talked about
how we should all support the president in this time
of war. Debate? Two party system? Not.
is a day of direct
action in the Bay Area.
Despite the criticism that the peace movement is getting
I take some heart in these actions. I understand that
we need to have a plan for what we do now. I understand
that we are at war. The peace movement did not stop
anything. But I take heart in the people who are continuing
to agitate and say no.
I am hoping the Democratic party gets some courage and
gives me someone
that I can vote for.
In the meantime if I have to chose between toxic TV
culture or the culture of dissent I'm going for the
When I was swimming on Sunday I did
hip rotations and stretches and felt
pretty good during and after. Later
in the evening my hip started to ache
again. So I'm feeling some
pain. I pulled out an ice pack and some
and some Super
and I'm trying to make it better.
thing about pain is that it makes me
cranky. I loose patience faster. I am
less tolerant. It takes more effort
for me to give a shit about where another
person is coming from.
about my use of the word peace. And
it probably doesn't hurt to keep talking
about it. I try not to use words
without thought. In fact these days
I spend a lot of time trying to find
the best words to say what I feel. And
peace is a problematic word. It is a
word that is oppositional. Ironically
the idea of a peace movement is probably
simplistic. There is not one unified
movement. In fact a criticism of the
protest movement is that every gathering
becomes diffuse with agendas. I'm not
too worried about that. I don't feel
the need for a uniform flank of people
saying one thing. For me every protest
event demonstrates diversity. There
is not one kind of peace person. Or
peace blog. Or a peace movement.
me saying peace is a way of holding
there ever a good war? Maybe. Read
is the one I'm concerned with. Because
this particular war has no moral ground.
And it is the beginning of a darklikelyhood
and empire. Wonder why we aren't concerned
about the Kurds
do support the troops. I am sorry that
their commander in chief put them in
harms way. I want them home with their
families. And I want them
to have the support of the administration
that sent them into battle. It does
not seem to me that the way to support them
is to remain silent.
the folks who did the direct action
today. Was their experience peaceful?
know a lot of people who never want
to feel upset. They suppress their anger.
They avoid their sadness. They do not
want to feel upset. And I don't blame
them. Everyone needs to know how much
they can handle. No one needs to be
shamed into dealing with things in ways
that they aren't up to.
is true that I push myself. I feel a
need to witness and understand. I feel
the need to hold the awareness of complexity and avoid
bifurcation. I try to hold some sense of balance. And
it is also true that I go too far and I wear out. And
then I need to have a moment of simplicity. I need to
say peace. I need to feel into what that might mean.
It's an intention.
I should use the word change. Perhaps it is more apt.
Perhaps it describes what is needed with more precision.
But I guess I know that change will happen. Change is
inevitable. It is the quality of change that concerns
me. We do need to think in terms of what
to do next.
And it will not be simple. And we do need to think in
terms of the qualities that we want to see in our culture,
our economic systems, our relationships, both personal
and global. The enormity of it is overwhelming. So I
just try to focus on the next moment. The next thought.
Of all the ways that people describe
my body over weight is the one that
bugs me the most. It's such an assumption.
It assumes a right weight. Am I fat?
Yes. I am. It's OK. We can say it out loud.
received an e-mail with the new improved language for
the resolution to form the previouslymentioned task
force on childhood nutrition and physical activity.
The language is better. Two notable sections:
WHEREAS, It is important that a health-centered
solution is implemented that does not lead to the stigmatization or harassment
of young people; and,
WHEREAS, A health-centered approach that focuses
on the whole child – physically, mentally, and socially - can shift the
emphasis to living actively, eating healthily, and respecting all children and
their health and well-being at whatever size they may be;
section go farther than just removing the words over
weight. They affirm the idea of health at "what
ever size they may be."
am still worried because the list of people who will
be seated on the task force is full of medical professionals.
And it just worries me. There is one spot being held
open for a person from the health at every size community.
with my hip has reminded me how I avoid the medical
community. I'm lucky to know Barbara. I have sought
out health care providers with a size neutral perspective.
even without the size related issues there is the money.
of the mission of this task force could be to build
a new model for how we talk about bodies to kids.
we could talk about the love of how beautiful food occurs.
We could talk about bio diversity. We could talk about
we could get kids dancing and walking and swimming.
I was reading Big Fat Blog and Paul
a link to a
fat kids and quality of life. And then there are comments
to the post. Some of which are concerned with what we
do for fat kids who are suffering and some of which
talk about the idea that we can't change society, or
even if we can it will take a long time. So what do
we do? And, of course, in the mood I'm in those
comments hit me in the heart.
are no easy answers. It is harder to be a fat kid.
there are some things you can NOT do. You can NOT imagine
that making them afraid of their bodies and their appetite
is a good thing. You can NOT buy the pharmaceutical
company poison. You can NOT be passive about
the wrong ideas that they are being tortured with.
if you told fat kids how great they look? Spontaneously.
Every day. What if, when you heard a fat joke, you said
something, like, "I really don't find that kind
of humor funny." What if you engage all kids in
conversations about how different people have different
bodies? What if you held the school accountable for
making sure that fat kids are not teased? And when they
say hapless things like kids will be kids what if you
challenged that idea? What if you said kids are in school
to learn. Let's teach them about diversity.
I saying give them ice cream all day and let them play
commuter games and never move? No. I am not. Talk to
them about food. Make sure they have a variety of things
to choose. And go for a walk WITH them.
are parents who are working two jobs and they are exhausted
and it takes all the running they can do to keep up.
And if a kid is pushing them to have candy instead of
fruit... and they're too tired to argue ...so what?
I think we need to hold the space for a variety of issues.
Everything isn't going to go well all of the time.
there are the kids who are just going to want to read.
Let them. Don't imagine that their worth is bound up
in some hopped up version of athletic achievement.
I may be on the task force. But I'd rather see someone
with more experience with kids representing heath at
any size. I am staying aware of the whole project.
Cowboy Kayhill had a nice idea.
He wants to have a day of silence on the blogs to demonstrate
respect for the people who are in pain. I thought about
it. I thought about it because, frankly, it's been hard
to post lately. My emotions are all over the place.
It feels like I'm spending too much time explaining
myself. It is hard to say something that isn't simplistic
and rhetorical. But the idea of holding silence wasn't
supposed to be for me. It was supposed to be for them.
And I'm not sure how to hold silence on a blog.
obvious thing is to post an image. Or leave the space
blank. We'll see. Some people are doing it today and
some on Friday. Cowboy Kayhill says he'll do it when
there is a cease fire.
tell me to stop watching CNN and MSNBC. No one had to
tell me yesterday. It took about two minutes of the
victory dancing in the streets images and I turned off
the television. The pulling down of the statue was dubious.
I don't give a shit about the statue but the first thing
that the marines who helped to pull it down was to put
a US flag on it.
can't imagine that anyone is sad that Saddam is gone.
If he is. But the way this was done makes me sad and
angry and fills me with shame. And those Kurds that
we were so concerned with a few days ago in my comments.
Let's hope that now that they've helped us we make sure
hurt by Turkey.
I've been thinking about kids lately I remembered a
time, years ago, when I had taken a friends kid to a
toy store and given him some money to buy anything
he wanted. He picked a bad of toy soldiers and I
didn't really want to buy him a war toy. we had a long
debate about the fact that I'd said anything he wanted.
So there I was. Stuck between two ethics. Did I hold
to my no war toys conviction or the fact that I'd said
anything he wanted. It was clear to me that he
cared less about the toys and more about holding me
to my word. He got the soldiers. After a long talk about
war that made no sense to him. He was more interested
in getting the thing that held me to my word.
remembered it this morning while thinking about kids
and food. You know if candy is always a bad thing then
... hey ... I want the candy. If candy is just another
choice. Well. Maybe it's still desirable but it doesn't
have the extra charge of the forbidden. But. Ya
know. Kids are in a culture. The culture is pitching
to them all the time. It's tough for parents.
somehow all that musing about kids and desire brought
up this memory of a five dollar bag of little plastic
green soldiers. And the glorification of war.
always loved kids. I wanted to have kids. And I do have
a goddaughter who is the most beautiful, intelligent,
compassionate, creative, best, best, best, being in
the universe. But I don't think that women are the ones
who love the kids. In fact I resent the idea. I want
the relationship between men and their children to be
acknowledged and valued. And there will be some men
and women who don't want anything to do with kids. And
I'd hate to think that a woman and a man who really
didn't want a kid would have one because that what they're
"supposed" to do. I think that's probably
something that happens a lot. And no one is served by
it, least of all the kids.
We had a reading from the teachers in
my workshop teacher, read a masterful
and fun bit from a novel he's writing.
There were teachers I didn't know. It
was pretty great. But I just love Aaron.
He takes great delight in the natural
world and he articulates his delight
in a way that feels spiritual, political
and so, so, beautiful.
was the last reading that I will go
to as a student. I'm almost done with
school. Unless I decide to do a PHD.
In what? I dunno.
must have hit me because I had a crazy
dream about not being sure what to do
and I was staying with my mom, or my
aunt, or some folks who I rented a room
with (it kept changing) and I had a
small job and they had found me a room
to rent but it was somewhere in the
east coast and I didn't want to be there.
It was one of those dreams that was
layered with images and mixed metaphors.
But it felt like I had no where to go.
isn't going to be a peaceful post. As I start to write
it I keep thinking about the folks who are putting on
their raincoats (it's raining here in SF) to rally
and speak out against the war.
It seems like I should be posting something more ...
uh ... profound. Er sumthin.
has a web site if you scroll down to March 27th you
read that she asked Chris Pirillo to link to her since
she links to him and he said he would when she had a
REAL blog. A real blog is powered by some kind of "blogging
software" and had a talk back feature (comments).
Leslie Katz took it very well. She seems to have a positive
relationship with Chris. When I first read the post
at Mood Swings I thought it was about Willa. Which may
have explained my immediate flush of irritation.
Willa, who is always polite, simply says "Hm."
I probably don't need to get too crazy behind this but
it pisses me off.
did we decide on what makes a REAL blog? One of the
things I love about blogging is the chaos of it. It
is SELF publishing And SELF is a many splendored thing.
has always had a journal
and a blog.
More than oneblog
April does the same thing, journal
A lot of people do I guess. It has always seemed tidier
somehow. More precise. I admire it but I've never been
that neat. I write this mess of stuff all lumped together.
remember when I figured out how to add comments and
thanks to Dorothea
have perma links. So did I get more and more real? Will
the final moment of my ascension into the ranks of real
be the day I get MT?
might agree that Blogger blogs and MT blogs and
Greymatter blog have a look and a feel and an interactivity
that is part of what gives blog a certain feel. And
the journal sites have a slightly different feel. Maybe.
But all of those lines have been blurred. And that's
what's so thrilling. Blogging is about everybody getting
into the mix. By any means necessary.
really do have enormous resect for the designers. I
am hanging on by a thread with the design aspects of
having a page. And I have preferences, in terms of how
things look and read and feel. But when did we decide
that there was a REAL blog? Is there a check list? Do
folk with no comments get points taken off? Why does
it always feel as if, as more and more people begin
to do a thing, more and more people begin to own
the thing and create hierarchy?
don't know Chris. I've jumped to his page a few times
from other people. He's no doubt a very nice man who
really knows what he's doing. But I don't vote for his
idea about what makes a blog real. I'm going to hope
that blogs remain chaotic and SELF defined. I'm
going to hope that more and more people who don't know
what they're doing hit the web with personal writing
about their lives and their passions and their politics
and their art and their cats. And Leslie Katz is now
on my blog roll. For what that's worth.
they were painted and carrying umbrellas.
were moms and dads with kids. They were
every age, race, ethnicity and sexual
persuasion. But they
were out there.
Don't let anyone tell you that they
after the swim, Marilyn and I went to
hear a friend of hers read a poem. Her
friend is nineteen and won a contest
put on by River
It was amazing. We listened to poems
by children and viewed slides of the
Including art from children in Afghanistan.
It was so overwhelmingly beautiful.
were two kids with disabilities, one
in a wheel chair and both used a computer,
like the one Steven Hawkins has, to
read their poems. I swear. The whole
thing was such a surprise. I just thought I was going
to the library
to hear a teenager read a poem. And that was what I
was doing. But it was surprising. And powerful.
script to my page. I'd seen at Dru's
and this morning noticed it at Laurie's.
The script ads a picture of the book to my page. All
though that's not what my copy of the book looks like.
I usually link to the book I'm reading at a localstore.
All consuming links to Amazon. Which is OK. I guess.
I like the picture. I don't know how to get it to show
up in the font I want. No doubt a CSS thing. So, I'm
still looking at it and wondering if I like it.
is the first week I haven't had pain in my hip after
the swim. So I guess I'm on the mend. I'm still getting
some twinges and a little bit of ache but nothing really
is my Mother's birthday. I sent her a thing I'd written
much of which is taken from THE BOOK. Mostly the parts
that are about her. I'm freaked out about her reading
this stuff. I did my best to write about the ways in
which my Mother has influenced my life both good and
bad. Ours is a complex story. But Mom isn't big on complexity.
And I worry that she will take offence. And if she does
she's gonna really hate the THE BOOK.
is pretty fun. In a totally dangerous way. I jumped
to a bunch of cool blogs by reading other folks who
are reading what I'm reading. I do not need to spend
any more time reading blogs. Also, they do link to Booksense
as well as Amazon and all my favorite local places are
other day I was doin errands and I left
my wallet on the counter in the photo
place. I realized it before I was too
far away and went back. They had it.
It was an all's-well-that-ends-well
thing. But it made me think.
know there's something cooking in me.
I can feel it. I'm distracted. I don't
have an appetite for anything but ice
cream. There's a list of things it could
be. Full moon, the need to bleed, menopause,
Mom's birthday, things that have happened
lately that I don't have the patience
to write out, the war, school, school
coming to end, worrying about money,
my hip, my knees, my ass.
Not my ass. My ass is fine.
think it's about ...
just don't know. I have theories. And
I keep talking around it. In therapy.
With everyone. It's all of the above.
It's none of the above.
night was the last time I will have a
piece of writing workshopped. The workshop
was fine. In some ways. Painful only
in that ... there is a way in which
I was trying to tell my class mates
that there's a way that I want to write.
And I've touched on it. But I
haven't, really, gotten it. And in two
years of my MFA program there was only
one workshop in which I felt the kind
of support I needed to go for it. And
that it has everything to do with a style,
or manner of writing. A less narrative,
organized, detail laden kind of writing.
But my classmates write in a strong
narrative fashion. And they do it very
well. And I don't suck at it. I
just want to do something a little bit
different. And I may never be able to
pull it off. And sometimes I hate my
writing because it's so ...
I can't even articulate it.
in a way, I was saying you aren't giving
me what I need. But since I can't even
fucking articulate what I'm trying to
do it should not be surprising that
I can't articulate what I need. It all
just felt sad. To me. I don't know how
it felt to them.
here is the last piece of writing I
will ever have workshopped. I fixed
a spelling error and some funky syntax
but other wise it's the same piece that
my class read.
It's not the best thing I've ever written.
It's not the worst. Now I'm giving it to the workhop in
the sky. If you have a minute. Give
it a read.
I did have so much fun yesterday hanging
out with Gabe. He brought over his Play
Station so that we could play the
SIMS but I don't really know how to
work the controls. I'm not Play Station
literate. So we gave up and went down
to the wharf...
were at the arcade and he was feeding the tickets
he had won into a machine that added them up so he could
see what prize he could get. He had a ton of tickets.
He noticed that there was a kid behind him who wanted
to access the machine and he took a break so the other
kid could cash in his tickets. Gabe is so aware and
generous. It blows my mind.
said she liked the writing. But I could
feel that it was hard for her. She likes
to think in absolutes. She likes Hallmarks
stories and happy ever after. I like
holding contradictions and allowing
the piece of writing I describe the
day I left home and she talked about
how she teared up when she read that.
Mom always says she isn't someone who
cries but she cried that day. I cried
Mom doesn't get the fat revolution.
THE BOOK is just gonna be hard for her.
I'm just going to have to deal with
need to do spring cleaning. There is
was a hearing at The
Land Use committee
this week in which Matt
legislation he's writing
to make rent control broader. There
was two hours of public testimony, mostly
from people who own small buildings
about how terrible the rent control
policies are and how much worse they
will be. I'd seen part of it on Monday
when it happened but I caught more of
it last night on 26.
feel for the small building owners many
of whom are retirees who thought renting
an apartment would be a way to pad their
limited income. Most of them aren't
really trying to gouge anyone. But if
you're gonna own property and provide
the place where someone is going to
make their home you are going to take
on a responsibility. And many of them
were just so mean in their testimony.
hard. Many of them worked really hard,
scratched together enough money to get
a duplex. They rent out one apartment
and live in the other. It was the only
way that they could own their home.
And I guess owning a home is a big deal.
I mean you feel that sense of ... uh
it sucks to be a landlord and It sucks
to be a renter. And public policy makers
need to know how to create legislation
that serves everyone. I'm just glad
we have progressive thinking people
making public policy in SF. Because,
being a renter, I'm hoping that I have
someone looking out for me.
always been lucky with landlords. I've
almost always had a friendship with
my landlords. But things get funky.
anyone think that I think that my genes make me fat?
Let me clear that up for you. I do not. What I think
is that my genes
give my body a proclivity toward being fat. I'm also
tall and I have brown eyes.
There is not one fat gene that makes one fat body. There
are a bunch of gene combinations that make a variety
of fat bodies. So how I am begins with my genes and
then there is my diet history and my current diet. Can
I be thin? It has not been my experience that I can
be thin. The thinnest I have ever been was still fat
by cultural standards. Should I do anything I can to
be as thin as I can be? Why?
night on 20/20
John Stossel offered up a segment that demonstrated how
to prove your point by only asking people questions
if you know they agree with you. He did show footage
of a NAAFA
convention and talked briefly to a few of the folks
who were there. The footage showed the fat people
dancing and smiling. It was great to see Marilyn
pink hair shouting, " Welcome to the fat
But the show was a tired old fat people need to eat
less and exercise more drone. Even Barbara Walters questioned
the positioning of the segment in the little chat between
segments. Go Barbara.
didn't even piss me off. It was just too stupid. I've
heard fat revolutionaries misquoted too many times lately.
Do I think there are no negative impacts from being
fat? No. I recently read an article that said tall men
have more joint problems. Bodies have issues.
I be healthier if I lost weight? Well. You can't ask
that question with out talking about how I would go
about losing weight. If I took speed and lived on hard
boiled eggs and OJ would I be healthier? I don't think
so. If I worked out two hours a day and lived on 1000
calories would I be healthier? Maybe. But I'd be in
really bad mood. And I'm going to think that my health
might be negatively impacted by that mood.
personal experience is that when I did work out an hour
a day five days a week I got thinner but I did not get
thin. I liked doing the work out. I like swimming. But
I'm not going to be up for two hours a day. And I'm
not going to be obsessive about calories.
I over eat? Sometimes. I went to a Dim Sum place that
I love recently. I hadn't been there in a while. It's
out in the avenues and I don't get out there often.
I ate so much I could hardly breathe. It was fun.
get so sick of the way fat people are talked about.
I am not a food addict. But there are people who compulsively
eat. And I'd like them to be able to talk about their
issues with out the idea that they need to control their
addiction so that they can be thin. I'd like them to
be able to enjoy food.
haven't been eating that well lately. I've been in this
mood. I can't seem to care about things. So one night
I had fish cakes and popcorn for dinner. Odd. I'm determined
to feed myself better. Last night I have buckwheat pasta
with chicken, butternut squash, shitakes and spring
onion. It was so good.
all those dancing, smiling fat people make me happy.
John Stossel makes my head hurt.
has been writing.
I wasn't sure that he would get into it. Maybe when
spring break is over he'll stop but I love that he's
doin it now. And he' keeping track of his i-mood.
He linked to a game
where I found a version of Mahjongg.
Not good. I played a lot of Mahjongg yesterday.
had big plans for spring cleaning. I'd dusted and vacuumed
the bed room and cleaned the bathroom on Friday. Yesterday's
plans ... well.
swimming and lunch Deb And I went to
Day I Will Never Forget.
It was a difficult movie. But ultimately positive. There
are many young women and men working to end FGM.
just made me think about how easily we decide that a
thing is ...just the way it is. My Aunt used to begin
sentences with they words, "They say..." And
I never knew who they were. In the movie there was a
lot of defence of culture and they way it's always been
and this is the way we do things. It's the kind of thinking
that stops the blood flow to the brain.
also an odd way to spend the day. Swimming was so peaceful
and restorative. Lunch was great. And then. The suffering
of others. I became quite melancholy.
a hope that I have for THE BOOK. I want people who read
it to have a different thought about what being fat
feels like. For the all the problems fat people deal
with there is a way in which being in a fat body becomes
a path for deep self understanding. And that's a good
thing. It seems like I've been working on it all for
a long time and it never seems good enough. I haven't
even looked at the writing since I gave it to Stephen.
The summer will be here soon enough.
getting people to have a different view of a thing is
someone is hitting another person you can, maybe, get
them to stop the action. But getting them to really
think about why they are doing the hitting is big.
always try to hold the idea that I'm not trying to change
anyones mind about a thing but rather give them a different
view. And if their thinking changes then that's all
to the good. But if it doesn't ...oh well. It's not
an easy idea to hold when something means so much to
in recent history I've had conversations with friends
about how they wouldn't refer to me as that fat woman.
For them it was about not wanting to focus on my physicality.
But, ya know, if someone has a physical attribute that
is distinguishable I think it's OK to use it as a descriptor.
I don't think it would worry them to say I was really
tall. I love it when thin and average sized people use
the word fat as a simple descriptor.
talked to my aunt on Sunday. We were very close and
for a variety of reasons we are not any more. Toward
the end of the call she asked if I was still (pause)
big. I said yes I'm still fat.
understand the reasons why it's difficult to use the
word. it still holds so much hatred and contempt. I
hear it every day being used in a way that means wrong.
No one wants to be fat, right? Last night I saw a commercial
for dog food that keeps your dog from getting fat.
spent the day hanging around the campus yesterday. After
I recorded the student/teacher conference I had lunch
with Cheryl and played with the computer in her office.
I like the feeling of campus life.
is this weird anti-intellectualism that always
irritates me. I understand the way that people who spend
their time thinking and reading and writing seem disembodied.
And I understand the class separations in the academy.
But some of that is breaking down. And. Shit. It's about
learning ain't it? Learning is good, right?
think my post yesterday was a bit too quip. Ironically.
I'm the one talking about the importance of using language
well and then I don't use very well myself. I had a
lot on my mind about school and I just wrote the post
with out going into the issue deeply.
thing about the F word. It is very true that the word
fat still holds so much negativity and, for many people,
it is still hurtful to hear it said about themselves.
I've made an effort to reclaim
The key word in that sentence is effort. It is not true
that I have no problem hearing it. It is an effort to
feel the word differently. Fat is a descriptive
term. It aptly describes the body that I have.
some point being fat became an owned part of my identity.
After years of trying to make it go away, or ignore
it, I decided to own it. And then began the effort.
early in my life I noticed that when really little kids
told me I was fat they weren't saying it with judgement.
They were just using a word. In fact the delighted in
the word. And then the adult in their life would swoop
in and say something about it not being nice to call
someone shouts it at me from a car, or says it about
someone else, or something else in a negative manner
I respond with anger, sadness, hurt, some combination
of all of those feelings. Because it's very clear that
those people are not SIMPLY describing my body.
However, despite the improbability of this, I'd rather
have them change the way they feel about the word than
stop using it. They don't have to love fatness. But
maybe they could not hate it quite so vocally. Or at
least hate in somewhere far away from me.
course the idea that fat is the worst of all evils is
going to be hard to shift. Elayne
pointed me to this
I read a doctor who works with the Health At Every Size
community break down the flaws in the study. He was
reading from the New England Journal of Medicine. I'm
just going to react to the MSNBC article.
the article they talk about fat people not fitting into
CAT scanners and radiation machines but they don't seem
to decide that the medical community
industry might want to do a better job of taking care
of people of that size. I can tell you from my own experience
and conversations with other fat folks that we don't
always go to doctors when we should. Many of us can't
get heath insurance and most of us are sick of being
told that our only health problem is that we are fat.
Perhaps that fear of doctors means that we don't get
don't really buy the link between Cancer and fat. It
just seems illogical to me. I wish I could quote the
doctor's break down but I'd need his permission and
it's mostly numbers. I might write to him and ask his
permission. He did talk about how the data was adjusted
race and smoking, physical activity, education, alcohol
intake, marital status, aspirin use, fat intake and vegetable
I don't have the patience to read the study right now
and I don't fully grasp the notion of data adjustment
but I can tell you that it seems like if you adjust
the data enough you can get the answer you want. And
I want to know who funded the study. Why isn't that
part of the (cough) news?
I meet a fat person for the first time I am careful
about introducing the word. I know how shocking it is
to hear it said out loud. I use when I talk about myself.
I talk about why I don't use the other
I know that right now the word still has the power to
hurt. I just don't know how to shift that without using
night in class a woman was describing a former student
and she said something about her being a little tiny
waif of a girl. No one seemed to worry that describing
a person as little and tiny and waifish might be insulting.
But if my friends did say Tish is fat they would be
thought of as rude. I do understand why they don't want
to say the word fat.
my fantasy is that they will use it. And they will use
every opportunity to talk about how I have changed the
way they think about fat bodies. Of course, this assumes
that I have.
post of the day. Doesn't happen very often. But. Gosh.
got an email from J.G.at Silver
alerting me to her
about my F word postings. I've only recently begun to
read her blog. Actually I think she's only recently
begun to blog. I added her to my blog roll pretty quickly
once I read her. Ya know. Some times you just feel the
connect. In truth I haven't read her in the last few
days because school suddenly seems to be eating my brain
and I can't find time to read around. I'm behind with
most of my blog roll.
I was glad to get the e-mail alert and jumped right
over to see what she had written. And now I'm feeling
... a lot of things.
is true. I am over the medically recommended weight.
Of course it's been years since I gave a shit about
anything the medical community (darn
I keep making that mistake) industry said about my body.
It's not entirely true. I do know some wonderful doctors.
I usually look to alternative medicine. I LOVE
my chiropractor and I LOVE my acupuncturist. And I love
mentions a concern about my reclamation of the
My concern is that describing someone as fat, Chicana or the one in glasses
seems to suggest that is the most important aspect of the person, at least
briefly. Shadow may be fat, Sandra Cisneros may be a Chicana and I may wear
glasses, but there is a lot more to each of us. Additionally, each of those
descriptions focuses on something society considers not to be the ideal. I am
wary of doing anything to encourage that kind of stereotyping. In my experience,
men do make passes at girls who wear glasses. I suspect much of what
people think about what it means to be fat or Chicana is equally false.
are times when I think it's important to call out aspects
of a persons physicality. Often times it's when there
is a political aspect to the conversation. And my choice
to use the word fat is political. Because fat people
do not get adequate medical care, are denied jobs and housing,
have their children taken away from them and are denied
when they want to adopt children. we live in a climate
of fat hatred. Some folks are direct and hateful. Others
don't want to make a big deal about it but they think
I should lose weight. There are issues. For me. And
people who look like me.
uses the words that I hate so much -- over weight. They
are the two words that actually piss me off the most.
I resent the idea that there is a right weight
and that I am over that. In 49 years of life I have
been a variety of weights all of which were over weight,
if I were to accept the definition of the medical industry.
I do not. My body weight now is the weight my body is
relative to a variety of things beginning with genetics.
There is nothing over about the weight I am. I'm fat.
wonders when Camryn Manhiem will conform.
I can't speak for Camryn. She looks great to me. I can
only speak for myself. I will not be conforming anytime
please. Please don't make me talk about what and how
much I eat or how much I exercise. It's such a tired
seems to think I rethought something about use of the
word fat between my first and second posts. I must not
be writing well. I wrote the post I wrote today because
of the comments I got on the first post. I wanted to
be a bit more clear. It is not that I changed my thinking
about the use of the word but I did want to be clear
to say that I know that many, maybe most, fat folk might
be hurt by the use of the word. I'm not interested in
pushing anyone to keep up with my notion of fat
not sure how to articulate the things I'm feeling right
now. It's that rush of misery, that kick in the stomach
feeling that you get when someone does not seem to understand
you in a pretty essential way. I still think J.G. is
an interesting thinker and blogger. But she doesn't
get the fat revolution. And I suppose she doesn't have
a reason to.
I cannot think of another case where hatred and
contempt for democracy have so openly been proclaimed, not just by the
government, but also by liberal commentators and others. There is now a whole
literature trying to explain why France, Germany, the so-called "old Europe",
and Turkey and others are trying to undermine the United States. It is
inconceivable to the pundits that they are doing so because they take democracy
seriously and they think that when the overwhelming majority of a population has
an opinion, a government ought to follow it. -- Noam
sent me a link to this
Reading it stirred up a bunch of thinking
about ... it all.
the people who understand how web design is really done
saw all the steps I dance through every day to post
they'd be rolling their eyes. I'm sure there's an easier
way. I mention it because a few days ago I inadvertently
stopped putting peace at the end of my post. I didn't
even notice right away. It happened because of the crazy
cut and paste way I do things. It should not signal
that I think the war is over.
marvel at the back-to-normal stupor that seems to be
hanging over the USA.. Of course stupors-r-us. We're
pretty good at them. The other day I heard a newscaster
say that everyone in the world knows about Scott
had visions of people in Iraq stopping all the clean
up and religious pilgrimages and questioning of
continued US military presence to run and watch
CNN coverage of the trial. I have no interest in the
case. I'm sure if I were a friend or family member of
Lacy's I might have more interest. But these days we
see Pentagon briefings being interrupted because there
is news about whether
or not Scott Peterson will get the death penalty.
don't support the death penalty. Ever. I find it particularly
irritating to hear the debate over this specific death
penalty after reading about Clarence Earl Gideon. There
is little doubt that Mr. Peterson will have a good lawyer.
And there is less doubt that while he has the media
hanging on his every cough and flinch there will be
"enemy combatants" and men of color denied
due process. Now. In the land of the free.
the bombs were dropping I felt the need to say the word
peace and keep a candle lit and read and write daily
about the war. And now I find myself drifting. I do
not believe that the war is over. I think things are
much worse than they were. And I am as dumb founded
as ever in terms of what to do to get this gang of thugs
out of power.
I have stuff to do for school and stuff to do in my
apartment and the busy ness builds up and my focus shifts
falls to the back of my mind. And that's inevitable
about Gideon sent a chill through my bones. I fight
my own wars about language and representation and the
fear that it never adds up and that change does not
happen. And I draw deep breaths of relief when I
stop to notice how lucky I am. I have friends and the
time to write and the time to do all the stuff.
I have the energy to process information.
do not have peace. It might not even be the goal. We
do have a power elite that has high jacked our world.
So I guess if I can have a two post
day because I was feelin bad I can have
a two post day to share the luv. April
turned me on to this very cool meme.
going to start my tour right now. If
I don't get to you it's not about a
lack of love. I'm defrosting my freezer
and cleaning while I do the tour. And
there's a few other things I ought to be doin. But ...
I like the idea. So I'm going spread as much love
as I can.
yeah. One thing I'm happy about in my life. I'm happy
about the beets that are cooking. And I will be happier
when I'm eating them later.
went over to Elayne's
on my love tour. She was talking about
the picture of the Dixie
sans cloths. I had no immediate reaction
to the picture but after reading the
post and the comments I began to think
about it. The naked thing is always
a bewilderment for me. Clearly, women
who look like the Dixie Chicks will
be on the cover of magazines, with or
without cloths, and clearly that's reinforcing
the stereotype of beauty. But I kinda
liked way the photo called out the fact
that they can use their "beauty"
to be marketable and perhaps that will
override their "politics".
I mean it sucks. But it's true. And
none of it has anything to do with their
then Wendee left me this.
Someone had fun with photoshop. (Of
course we all know the picture of the Dixie Chicks had
some photo shopping done to it as well ... If ya know
what I mean.) It
made me laugh. I think Michael
might do something like it.
I don't know. I am not generally given
to laughing at this kind of thing.
said: As I hinted at in the comments section yesterday, many people actually regard
taking off your clothes for a magazine cover to be liberating and even feminist!
Not, I opine, as long as you have such a blatant disparity between men doing it
and women doing it. And not as long the rules of our current societal game
dictate that, no matter what your intent in displaying tasteful nudity on
mainstream magazine covers, the result is that you're still going to be ogled by
naked thing is always a bewilderment
to me. I always have mixed feelings
about people getting naked in public. I don't have a
feminist position on it. If I got naked would that be
feminist? I see a lot of fat women doing the master's
dance in an attempt to rock the house. They are demanding
to be ogled. And part of me always wants to root for
it does get tired. The whole adoration of flesh. I adore
flesh sometimes and yet ... Elayne is right. There is
a disparity in terms of who gets to be naked on the
cover of a magazine. And the reasons for why that is
are about sexism.
as I looked closer at the photoshopped
Michael picture I
began to think that the guy who did
it was slamming Michael. But I love
Michael. And I really think he might
do something like pose nude to call
out the disparity of who gets ogled and
who does not. And I think Michael is
a great looking guy.
I imagined, I did not get to everyone on my blog roll
to share the love. But it was kinda fun. Defrosting
the refrigerator took hours. So it helped to play while
I waited for ice to get lose enough to pull off the
wall of the little freezer box. I think my refrigerator
is a gazzillion years old.
I went to my first Fat think tank meeting.
I've been trying to get involved with
them for a year. It was great to hang
out with a bunch of fat radical thinkers.
community is besieged with the health
issue. I was there with three fataerobics
teachers, one fat cabaret dancer and
moms. We all know moms be movin. Everyone
looked great. And the others in the
looked great too. The conversation was
around the ideas of how we define heath
at every size.
before I went to the meeting I read
in response to my
I feel a little bit funny about the
post to post communication. I had intended
to write an e-mail to her in response
to her e-mail alerting me to her post.
But I couldn't get past my feeling
based communication is problematic and
limited. It is possible that J. G. and
I are zooming past each other. J.G.
seems to think that she communicated
that ideas about fat people are often
erroneous in her first
I didn't get that. At all. I am wary about doing
a point by point break down of what
I got from what she wrote. I think we
both feel like we aren't quite understanding
has a family with a history of diabetics.
And much has been made of the link between
fatness and diabetes.
Sunday I swim with two fat women who
have diabetes. They talk about the things
they do to control their sugar. They're
pretty proud of the fact that their
sugars are in control and have been
for quite a while.
we know this. We know that people can
control their sugars with moderate exercise
and some food awareness. In fact we
recently learned it again from our baboon
Researchers studied the eating and exercise patterns of two groups of wild
baboons in East Africa. One group of baboons had to forage for their food. The
others found a stash of food that humans had discarded that was much closer to
where they lived, which meant they expended much less energy for their daily
food raids. The fat content and number of calories that both groups of baboons
ate was about the same, but the baboons that ate the leftovers didn't have to
work as hard to get their food.
"More than a third of the baboons that didn't have to exercise as much to get
their food had indications of obesity, evidence of early diabetes caused by
insulin resistance and elevated cholesterol levels," says Banks, who also is a
staff physician at Veterans Affairs Medical Center in St. Louis. More
is a problem.
In fact my father and his mother both
had it. Am I worried? Well. No. In the
last few years I've noticed that I don't
process carbs like I used to. I also
have trouble with dairy. I've made adjustments
in how I eat. Why? Because it feels
better. I'm still fat. And sometimes
I eat too much of something and I don't
feel as good. Oh well. Life in body
is a day to day process. What I know
for sure is that I have to keep moving.
So today I will be swimming. And as
I get older it may become more difficult
to maintain my health.
I'll deal with it.
guess part of what the fat revolution
is about for me is that my health, my
beauty, my worth are not defined by
the size of my ass. I can be fat and
healthy. Whether or not I could be healthier
if I were thinner has to take into consideration
what I would do to lose weight and how
I would feel about those choices. And
whether or not I'm healthy does not define my worth.
are some troubling ideas about health these days. There
is this idea that everyone who is a good person is doing
EVERY thing they can to be healthy. And what is healthy?
All bodies feel better and worse for a variety of reasons,
all day every day. Somewhere someone is doing something
that isn't particularly healthy right now. And there's
probably more than one reason why. And there are people
ready to stick a scarlet letter on them.
the comment section of a Big
Fat Blog post
about the fat and Cancer scare a fat woman calls out
the hyper-emphasis on the members of the fat community
who exercise and eat "right". They are the
people we can put in the front line when we are besieged
by the health stuff. But there is more than one fat
body with more than one kind of fat experience. And
if someone is eating junk food and watching T.V. are
we in the community going to hope no one finds out about
why is health such a cultural focus?
the mainstream media you will hear about
how fat is linked to diabetes and cancer
and every kind of malady. You will not
hear about my friends in the pool. The
ordinary lives of fat people who work
to live well in their bodies is not
scary enough. And you better be scared.
If you eat that chip and drink that
soda you may end up looking like me.
In a time when you can't control many
things you can control your urge to
eat that chip and drink that soda. So
stay afraid and resist your urges.
of what I do here, much of what I am
trying to do in THE BOOK, is about
describing a fat life. The comforting
thing about today was that I did not have
to describe my life. Most communities
of oppression will tell you that the
work to educate people to understand
how the when you-said-that-I-felt-this
thing works is exhausting. The task
falls to me to explain how an assumption
about my body might be wrong. And that's
OK. But sometimes it wears me out.
I still read Silver Rights? Of course
I will. I do like the things she talks
about. I do think she's a smart and
articulate writer. All the more reason why I'm hoping
she'll do some work to investigate her ideas about fatness.
As I said earlier, I don't want to do a line by line
analysis of when- she -said-this- I felt-that. But it
is interesting that when she writes about me she calls
me shadow. It circles back to the thing I was talking
about in the post that began our exchange. The name
of the site is FATshadow. There's a very important political
and cultural reason for that. I've been pretty clear
that I chose the word fat because it is a part of my
identity. And when someone backs away from using the
F word, especially when describing me, I gotta ask them
to do some reflection on their feelings about fatness.
No one really needs to do that. None of us need to understand
another persons real experience. It is easier to hold
ideas that most people hold.
just sitting here drinking tea,
eating a blueberry scone and red grapes, listening to
reading blogs. Avoiding the work I need to do for class.
Avoiding the pile of bills that arrives at this time
asked me if I thought there was a fundamental
breakdown that occurs at the moment
of communication about fat acceptance.
had a working theory that it's like
speaking Spanish to a French speaker.
like the analogy. I used to work with
Spanish speaking folks. We had a very
abusive boss who spoke both Italian
and English. He would come running in
screaming about something and the guys
said they could understand him better
when he screamed in Italian. They still
didn't totally understand him. There
was just enough in the two languages
that was alike but there were differences.
a working theory.
It did make me think about all the times
I've had a moment of saying something
about being fat and gotten a response
that suggested I had not been understood.
at the fat swim, I was talking about
a time when I lost 100 pounds. It followed
a time when I'd been doing a lot of
cocaine, drinking, smoking cigs. While
I was doing all that I got really fat.
When I stopped I started drinking lots
of water and I got acupuncture and
massage. One day I grabbed a pair of
pants that hadn't fit for a while and
... they fit. I'd been weighed by a
doctor toward the end of my party days,
when I went in to see if I had really
fucked up my heart, so I knew how much
I'd weighed and how much I'd lost. My
eating habits had changed. I was eating.
During the party years I ate breakfast
but not much else.
I walked in talking about this surprise
weight loss and one of the women, who
had only caught the last part of the
conversation, said that she'd lost 100
pounds once too but then she put them
right back on. And she said with this
kind of doesn't that just suck tone.
She was only half hearing me. She thought
the weight loss was a good thing. I
just thought it was a result of a variety
of changes. Fewer toxic substances.
Needles and strokes. And it was just
a change in my body. I didn't feel like
it was better than having the body I
had before or after.
an important question.
Defining the movement with the most controversial of all the words ("Fat")
must be done with the consciousness that words are signifiers. If I tell you
"take a right" and you come from another place where "right" means "left"
then I failed to communicate my meaning to you - it is not the word that is
wrong though, it is the multiple signifiers attached to that word that
creates the confusion. Now, it is possible for me, the speaker, to learn
your language. And, this may be appropriate in some circumstances. But, what
about the word "Fat"?
it up to me to not use a word that has
so many negative signifiers in an attempt
to get the message of size neutrality
across? Or is it up to the people who
don't get fat as a positive thing to
figure out that there is a slightly
different thing being said. Or something
like that. Working theory. Remember.
We know we like fat wallets. And fat
bass sections. And some of us like fat
juicy steaks. And fat paychecks. So
fat isn't always bad.
is this problematic intersection in
my conversations about fat stuff. Many
people assume I would prefer to be thin.
They assume I would be healthier. Since
I have SUCH A PRETTY FACE I would have
so many more men interested in me. I
could sit in chairs with arms.
day, back in the time when I had lost
the 100 pounds, I was walking down the
street. And I was feeling FINE. (pronounced
foin) Some guys drove by in a car and
shouted something at me about how fat
I was. It was one of many experiences
that made me aware that I would always
be fat.I would always
have the memories of how it felt to
hear that word hurled at me like an
I could see myself as a thin person
inside a fat body, and assume that all
that extra body would just go away if
I did ... well you know ... plan A,
B, or C. Or I could own the whole of
my experience. I could take that word
and say yes. I am fat. So?
What is it that you think fat means?
Because for me it means that I have
an amount of flesh and a certain life experience that has been
part of what has shaped my identity.
It is about having people assume things
about me based on my physicality.
will be people who won't get that story. They'll get
that I lost 100 pounds and think that was the success
in the story. They'll think that the guys yelling at
me made me sad, or mad and I gave up on what I was doing
to lose the weight. They won't read that I wasn't doing
anything specifically to lose weight. I
did not then go eat a bag of doughnuts
because I had given up.
I went on with my life.
guess I feel like the burden is on the
person for whom fat is a signifier of
all those bad things. I want them to
do some of the work to educate themselves
about my real experience. I want them
to do some of the work to question the
assumptions about my body and the assumptions
about their own body.
the burden is probably mine. I'm using a word in a way
that many people aren't going to get. There is a fundamental
break down in the moment of communication. And maybe
that's a good thing. Because it creates an opportunity
in an evil mood. There's more than one reason. There's
been some confusion in the work I do for my therapist
in exchange for therapy. So the work isn't getting done
and it's not all my fault. I have a lot of work to do
for school and I'm not getting it done. Most of that
is my fault although there are reasons why it's harder
than it ought to be. And it's the end of the month which
means I'm staring at a stack of bills wondering how
much longer I can keep up the crazy way I'm living financially.
And ... more.
then there's been this weird thing that's happened twice
in the last few days. Barbara is sweet enough to
give me a ride to therapy. I go to her office and wait
for her to be done with work and then she gives me a
ride. There is a beautiful love seat in her office.
Big and soft and cushy. I swear it's one of my favorite
places to read. It's also one of the chairs I fit into
in her waiting room. There's also a straight back chair
with no arms, which is fine. The other two chairs have
arms. When I went there this week there were people
sitting in the chairs I do fit into. I went outside
and sat on the steps. It wasn't that big of a deal.
I mean I always get a miserable feeling when I
can't find a chair but I don't feel like places need
to change all their chairs. No one can control who sits
in what chair.
night we had a reading at school. There are three rooms
in which we have readings. Two have chairs with no arms
and the third has nothing but chairs with arms. Guess
which room we were in last night?
we're in that room I go to the other room and grab myself
a chair. But it pisses me off. Once Aaron saw my face
when I entered the room, figured it out before
I said a word and went to get me a chair. I spoke to
the program assistant about the issue. Last night when
I walked in I didn't see any armless chairs and I got
pissy and Stephanie went with me to get a chair.
We ran into a young man who was moving tables. He was
trying to tell us that there were chairs and I snapped
something at him about the size of my ass. Once I was
in the room I realized that there were four chairs with
no arms and some students were sitting in them. I realized
that the guy was probably trying to tell me that he'd
put some chairs in the room. I felt like such a bitch.
always saying that there only needs to be a few
chairs with no arms to make a room accessible for me.
But there were chairs with no arms in both these rooms
and it still wasn't enough.
just feel defeated by it all. But I'm not sure what
I mean by that.