- also known as Labour or International Workers' Day - can be traced back to the
19th century. In 1889, in response to demonstrations for an eight- hour day in
Australia and the US, an
international workers' congress set 1 May as a day of worldwide action to demand
fairer working conditions and better welfare. Workers the world over are still
making the same demands. And most of them consider capitalism as the major
obstacle to both social justice and global peace. - Emily
Mom called for the Friday night talk she told me that
she'd just seen a story about the Nightline
on the news. She went on to tell me why the protesters
were stupid. The big boss said don't do it and that's
the way it is. She even used the analogy of if she said
not to do something to me. The theory being that if
she did say don't, I wouldn't. I was tempted to ask
how she thought that had worked out. But my silence
was saying enough. She went on to talk about World War
II and how they didn't see the pictures of the dead.
Sometimes my mother just parrots ideas about authority
and trusting leadership and doing what you have to do.
All of which comes from the rich tradition of being
working class and a single mother who had to move back
in with her parents in order to give her daughter a
good home. I used to think it was a generation thing
but there are people her age who don't think like that.
I watched because sometimes the conversation about war
is too abstract and I wanted to see faces. It was a
lot to take in. That many faces and names passing in
that amount of time is too much to take in. As soon
as a thought would form about the age, or race, or gender
of the faces other ages, races and genders were speeding
by. Sometimes a face would look too serious for someone
that young, or a smile would look extra wry, or wide
and engaging, or someone looked like such a nice guy,
or there was no discernable expression, or outstanding
found that it was hard to breath.
was aware that for every face there was a family and
friends and a story now truncated. I was aware that
for every face there were faces of Iraqi dead not being
shown. I was aware that there were other faces of other
deaths, not having to do with this war but faces of
people who have died during the same time frame and
many in circumstances just as distorted. Or more
read the Bhagavad Gita. I called out to Lord Krishna
to whisper in my ear. Explain the field of lord again.
Help me to know my place.
at the end of my call with Mom she suddenly dropped
the phone and ran off shouting for K. Minutes went by.
She came back to tell me that he had fallen. He didn't
remember how. He may have passed out. He hit his head
on something and there was a little blood. She got him
cleaned up and in his chair before she came back to
tell me what happened. I sat on my end of the phone
waiting for information.
that happened before Nightline. And now it's late. I
went to bed but the neighbors on both sides are restless
and noisy it being Friday night and all. My mind is
tired but too full of thought. Between my inner noise
and their outer noise, I can't sleep.
so I went to Susan's
blog to get the link about Asheville. I can't
get the perma link to work on her post about it all
but it's up right now. And I thought I'd remind everyone
about rabbits and labour rights and all the things that
come with May.
other day Mark
Woods put his picture on his blog. (You have to
scroll way down to see it.) I've gotten quite used to the idea
of not knowing what he looks like. But I was happy to
see the picture. He looks like a very lovely man. I'm
not at all sure what I mean by that. I'm not sure what
makes someone look lovely. Maybe it's just the sun and
the sand and the years of going to his blog for links
to SO MUCH. Maybe I see through the eyes of affection
already established with language. I've gone back to look at the
picture a few times.
It makes me happy to see him smiling. Out there. In
thought about it Friday night while I was looking at the
Nightline photos. Some faces did make me smile. Some
made me sad. Some were scary. Some just passed by. But,
again, I couldn't tell you why. I think a lot about
my own reactions to appearance.
was jumping around the blogs and found a
post for May Day referencing both Julia Kristeva
and Camus and talking about revolt.
Truths, including scientific ones, are perhaps illusions, but they have the
future ahead of them. In counterpoint to certainties and beliefs, permanent
revolt is this putting into question of the self, of everything and nothingness,
which clearly no longer has a place. Nevertheless, if there is still
time, we should wager on the future of revolt. As Albert Camus said, ‘I revolt,
therefore we are.’ Or rather: I revolt, therefore we are to come.
A luminous and painstaking experience.
was something I'd been thinking about all day. The nature
revolt. (via Wood_s
Lot). Who we have been. Who we are becoming.
Salon a woman is reciting the names of the prisoners
at Guantanamo Bay.
been sent this
article from the New York Times so many times, I finally read it.
It's OK. You gotta hand it to the Times for being able
to find a picture of fat people in which the people
have faces. Or one of them does. Most news sources use
pictures in which fat people are cut off at the neck.
Because, after all, if you want to hate someone it's
easier if you don't have to look into their eyes. It's
easier to hate hips and thighs and bellies and arms
when they aren't connected with a life story. Sadly,
the picture is ten years old. And it's not like there
haven't been fat activist events in the last ten years.
mean, think about that. The paper of record uses a ten
year old stock photo, not to accompany an article
about history but in an article about a current trend.
guess I could I could be happy for any article written
about the concerns of fat people that does not include
the word diet. The article does give voice to some very
cool guys who wrote some very coolbooks.
And one book
by a woman. Someone is going to have to help me understand
why the idea that a moderately active fat person may
be healthier than a sedentary thin person is controversial.
Doesn't that just make sense?
last line in the article is a quote from Peter Sterns
in which he says that fat people, faced with the burden
of being seen as immoral, may eat ice cream as a way
of comforting themselves. It just so happens that
I ate some ice
cream right before I began to type. I can tell you
that it was very tasty and I enjoyed it. And somehow
I'm still pissed off about the idea of being seen as
immoral because of the size of my ass. I don't feel
a bit better about job discrimination, lack of access
to public facilities, difficulty in finding unbiased
health care, a hostile public life, and on and on and
on and on. I guess I could eat more ice cream. And yet,
since I'm not a complete idiot, I don't imagine that
it will make me feel better about those things.
know there are people with compulsive over eating issues
and I don't want to imply that they are idiots. It's
a real problem. And I also think that food can be comforting.
But. There just isn't enough ice cream in the world.
I read the article with a jaundice eye. I know it's
a good thing. My ire was already up because I watched
Practice last night. The show is ending. The one
show in which a fat woman had a dignified, serious role
will be gone soon. This season the show took a turn
for the weird. I'm not sure if they were trying to create
a new show. I'm not sure what they were up to. But I
wasn't diggin it. And last night there was a scene in
which Ellenor punches another woman attorney. The other
woman was being horrible. I might have wanted to punch
her myself. William Shatner has been playing the role
of a loopy lawyer. When Ellenor walks past him he says
she scares him but he finds it titillating.
idea of fat women as powerful and scary irritates me.
It may be true that the actual physical size of a fat
woman gives her a quality of power. Maybe that's overwhelming
for some men. I can't say. I know that, as a fat woman,
I'm not interested in being a physical threat. Not even
to those people who want to hurt me. And the punch was
just more of that characterization. Fat women are brutes,
doncha know? We're really just so close to out of control
at any given moment, I tell ya. You better hope we eat
more ice cream. Wouldn't want us to get too upset.
not that interested in power. But I do know that it's
important to understand how power operates in our lives
and in our sense of self. I'm interested in mutuality.
And engagement. And while I'm in complete agreement
with the ideas about the war on obesity as a kind of
moral panic, I'm more interested in the failure of imagination
reflected in the way fat people are described and represented.
Imagination. Vision. Revelation. Diversity. Can I hear
some new ideas? Can I see some new narratives? Can we
address the very real issues of social justice for fat
people? Can I read an article about fat lives that doesn't
conclude with the idea of me running to the freezer
for comfort that will never come?
here's the real real. I'm not interested in comfort.
I imagine that people with real social justice issues
and real lives and real longing for substantive relationship
would be pissed off with such diminution of their hearts
and minds. And wouldn't they have the right to be?
I've gotten older it's become easier to not need to
talk about everything all the time. However. Talking
is still my drug of choice.
was on the phone for a long time yesterday. Which happens
about once a week. And when I got off I was revved and
wanted more. More connection. More analysis. More and
then and then and then.
once told me a Sufi expression. To know. To dare. To
will and to be silent. My feeling of knowing expands
and contracts. I'm daring when I need to be. My will
is capricious and serves some underground part of my
heart. And silence has proven to be a comfort. The two
things that feel the best are when I'm with someone
and am able to talk and talk and when I'm with
someone and am able to be silent. Together. Just to
be with another person.
but I wanted to talk yesterday. I wanted to process.
I wanted to rant and rave. I wanted to go on and on
the silence pulled me down and in and I felt the release.
And today. I can't remember what it was I needed to
You know. If you call me. I'll think of something.
week I sent a query letter to a publisher with the first
chapter. I do this and then I chew my nails until
I get the Dear Ms Parmeley letter. And then I crash.
Not good. I know I need to get some more letters out
I read and bake muffins and and don't even get the laundry
done. And long for conversations that come from the
bones and rattle the sky.
It's the middle of the night and I'm awake.
I hate when this happens.
got e-mail from George
inviting me to join Orkut.
It's the second time he's sent me one so
I caved. Dru
sent me an invitation to something like
this once. Despite the fact that I write
my life in public I am really kinda shy.
Handwringingly shy. I do get over it when
need be. And I couldn't say no to George.
The best hug ever George. But now whadda
I do? I had a lot of trouble with the questions.
I said I dressed in an alternative manner,
which was really my way of saying I wear
bigger clothes. In fact my clothes are pretty
basic cotton whatever. I said I smoked occasionally.
I don't know why I said that. It's been
so long. I just want to keep my options
open. I think I kinda suck at writing profiles.
Maybe I'll go back and work on it. Some
shyness thing. Oh. I'm not sure what to
say about it. I like one on one, or small
groups. But. Parties. No. No. Please. You'll
always find me in the kitchen at parties.
not cash is a program to end homelessness sold to
the city of San Francisco by now Mayor
Newsom back when he
was a supervisor. It goes into effect now.
I'm just heart sick about it. The care is not there.
budget analyst for the city said it won't work. The
courts said it wouldn't work. But people are more willing
to spend money pushing through bad legislation than
they are willing to spend money creating jobs and affordable
is no place where the theory of relativity is more obvious
to me than on a bus. The bus ride home from yoga didn't
take long. I read for a while. And then stared out the
window at the bay. Trying to track something. Some kind
was just a little bit hungry and I almost got off the
bus twice for food. But I got back to North Beach and
went for coffee. And then I remembered a little cafe.
Really little. Where an extremely pleasant woman makes
great sandwiches. I mean really. This woman is always
so nice. She's in this very tiny kitchen. Just enough
room for her. And she just makes sandwiches and conversation.
I forget that she's there. She made me the wrong sandwich
and yet what she made was more like what I wanted. I
can't explain that but, really. Even her mistakes seem
to work out.
I came home and had a long talk with Kristina
about Hellenistic themes in Camus and why people who
don't have a classical education might not notice and
still enjoy the work.
was very good. My triangle
pose is getting better. That's not my picture and
my pose isn't that good. Yet.
is International No Diet Day. In some ways it's
an unfortunate name. Because we are all
on a diet. What we eat is our diet. But
when you read about Mary
Evans Young and how she got the idea
for INDD you get the reasoning. She saw
women hurting themselves and dying in pursuit of a body
and she wanted them to celebrate their body.
Last year, right around this
time, I'd just begun to get Planet
Organics. They'd sent me this pale green
butter lettuce and I made a lunch with some
broiled chicken and cucumbers in yoghurt
on the lettuce.
At one point I looked down and realized
that I was eating a plate of food that might
be eaten on a diet. Imagine my chagrin.
when I write about fat politics I'm angry.
Whether or not I can lose weight is not
the issue. The issues are about jobs and
housing and family life and access and health
care and being able to walk down the street
and not feel hated. When I tell my thin
and average size friends about things that
have been said to me they are stunned. They
don't imagine that people are as hateful
as they are. Sometimes when I write about
fat politics I'm sad. Or hurt.
I'm really OK. I had a nice day yesterday.
I got some sleep. I'm eating strawberries
and blueberries and yoghurt and a bran muffin.
I'm drinking green tea. Deb and I are going
shopping so I've have good food later. Maybe
I'll eat cookies, or cake, or candy, or more ice cream,
oh my. Maybe I won't. I'll do what I do. It's just. My life. My body.
was reading an interview someone did with
Camus in which he talked about the way Marxists
thought human nature would be formed in
the classless society of the future. He
said they rejected "the man of today
in the name of the man of the future."
He talked about mystification. And I though
about how often, in my younger life, I imagined
a future self. A thinner self. A more loveable
self. I thought about the dream state in
which I constructed a self.
I just am. Fat. And me. All the things about
me. Whatever qualities of wisdom, or grace,
or insight, or humor, or petulance, or darkness,
or jealousy, or charm, whatever qualities
describe me, all the shadows and all the
light, live in this body. Today. I sing
this body electric.
no mistake. Somewhere today a fat kid is being bullied
and the well intentioned health professionals don't
get how their articulation of the fat body makes that
possible. Somewhere someone is hunched over a toilet
sticking their finger down their throat. Somewhere,
someone is being prepared for costly surgery that
will change the ability of their bodies to digest food,
forever. Somewhere, today, someone is making a choice
not to flirt, apply for a job, see a doctor about a
pain, attend a film, because their body doesn't fit.
And they don't want to feel the hatred. Again. And you
who stand behind them in the grocery line and assess
their purchases for moral content are part of the problem.
You who talk about the five pounds you put on and how
you simply must resist the urge to have that cookie
after dinner are part of the problem. You who see fat
people and look away and never really look. Never really
Sixty Minutes II they said that one of the guys
pictures was a prison guard here, in this country.
I don't think it's useful to compare oppressions but
I'm wondering if the people who have donetime
think that those pictures reflect a truth about who
But these photos are us. Yes, they are the acts of individuals (though the
scandal widens, as scandals almost inevitably do, and the military's own
internal report calls the abuse "systemic"). But armies are made of individuals.
Nations are made up of individuals. Great national crimes begin with the acts of
misguided individuals; and no matter how many people are held directly
accountable for these crimes, we are, collectively, responsible for what these
individuals have done. We live in a democracy. Every errant smart bomb, every
dead civilian, every sodomized prisoner, is ours. (more)
America be America?
am a daughter
of America. I find no pride in that lineage. I feel
a pain so constant that it has become part of what it
means to be American.
Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--
you go to the Backtalk section of Mother
Jones this month you'll see a letter from
me. It is on
line right now but I don't know how
long it will be. The bit they published
was about a third of what I wrote. And the
box of factoids I was responding to isn't
on line so it's difficult to get the context
unless you have the magazine. I don't really
care that they cut it down but they titled
it Spanking "Fat America". Can
that be any more dismissive?
box of factoids was about how fat Americans
are and how there is a developing market
place catering to them. The tone of each
factoid was as dismissive as the title they gave my
post. They called out Ample
Stuff, referring to it as the Whole
Girth Catalogue and mentioning specific
products. Here's the list.
seat belt extenders. Clearly the
airline industry doesn't care about my safety,
my comfort, or my right to get anywhere.
And yes it is a guaranteed right. Given that, if I want to drop the SIXTY
SIX dollars so that I can know I will
have some security why should Mother Jones
question Ample Stuff and not the airline
industry? When I fly I ask for an extension.
Sometimes I get them handed to me in a surreptitious
manner not unlike the way people used to
pass me bindles of coke. Other times I have
ask two or three times.
I'm not sure why anyone owns a scale but
I know there are health issues for which
tracking weight loss and gain is important.
And this one was written about with the
adjective (depressingly). Mother Jones apparently
doesn't think people should have the tools
they need to care for themselves. Or maybe
it's just fat people that shouldn't have
second factoid was about theaters and stadiums
widening seats and instituting person-of-size
sections. Because, I suppose, fat people
shouldn't go to the theater, or sports events.
third was about the FAA upping its estimate
of the average passenger weight.
forth was about hospitals rolling out sturdier
gurneys, operating tables, wheelchairs,
walkers and bigger gowns. And they mention
that the hospitals are doing this because
of the boom in gastric bypass operations.
I'd actually like to think that hospitals
would have those things so that I can be
provided adequate medical care and not because
they have a costly and problematic surgery
they want to sell.
got a slap because their recliners can bear
600 pounds and Mc Donalds took a hit because
of their adult
Are You Looking At? was mentioned. I
could not for the life of me figure
out what they were saying by putting all
these things in a little set apart box.
Chairs are bad, diet meals are bad, people
telling their stories is bad. It's just
all bad if it has to do with fat people.
Paradise was mentioned. Coffins were
mentioned. Jim Hightower, someone who I
generally admire and agree with, doesn't
coffins either. You know how fat people
are buried if they don't fit in the coffin?
They are cut into pieces.
do get it. Mother Jones wants me to quit
eating fast food and start working out.
And then the world can be one size fits
all and won't that be better? I questioned
the tone of what they wrote. They published
my letter with a title just as quippy and
While I was looking at
the Mother Jones I saw an ad for the ACLU in
which they talk about not being Americans
who think it's ever cool to hate or to silently
tolerate prejudice. They work for the day
when people are judged by the content of
their character and not the color of their
skin, which is of course a
work for the day when the character of a
person is not measured by the size of their
always think about Victoria.
She was always a large woman but one day she just began
to gain weight and couldn't get it to stop. After three
years of having doctors tell her that she should
eat less and exercise more she was finally diagnosed
and over five million people in this country have the
same condition. Five million people being told to get
up off their couches and stop eating cake. She was also
diagnosed with PCOS.
writes about Cushing
Syndrome. I imagine she might need some of the Ample
Stuff products. And I imagine it is depressing for her
think about Anamarie
who was taken from her home because she was a fat child.
Taken from her home. Her parents were on Good
Morning America. The press went wild reporting on how
these parents let their child get so fat and now the
public health officials had to save her. Where is Good
Morning America now? Now that she has been returned
to her home, is still fat and now that she and her family
are trying to mend from the trauma of being scapegoated.
They think she may have a problem with Leptin.
They think many fat people have a problem with Leptin.
But they still tell the fat people to eat less and move
more. They don't ask how much they eat or move. They
a woman who goes to the fat swim. She wears a lime green
two piece bathing suit and she has beautiful mocha skin.
She's so beautiful. She and I have talked about her
issues with compulsive overeating. She's told me stories
of her childhood and how food was given and withheld.
She has a great life right now. She has a man who adores
her and thinks she's gorgeous. She has a job and a home
and she's active. And she struggles with her eating.
It isn't even about losing weight. She just knows she
has a problem. If she were an alcoholic or a drug addict
she might get some compassion. But she's fat.
Campos if he thought the left was more fat hating
than the right and he said, "I think it's quite possible that the left is more fat phobic than the right in
America, because much of the left tends to be culturally puritanical, and fat
hatred is in large part a product of quasi-puritanical anxieties about
indulgence, over-consumption, and lack of control. On the other hand, the right
is pretty fat-phobic."
don't know what to say to someone who doesn't want to
pay the rising cost of public health care caused by
"the obese". How is that rising cost calculated?
Are the people with failing endocrine systems factored
into those numbers? Are the people spending money to
have their stomachs mutilated in that rising cost? And
what about the medical cost of doctors treating
people for obesity while they die
from a brain tumor or a pituitary
are problems. We know that there are problems. There
is fast food and too many screens and not enough movement
fructose corn syrup and on and on and on. I'm not
wiling to do my study trumps your study. Campos is doing
Swartz is doing that. Glenn
Gaesser is doing that. All nice thin people. It's
not my area.
is more than one story to be told about why people are
fat. And when all the stories are told it will still
not be cool to hate.
was sitting here wondering what I could
write about this morning. I'm feeling worn
and dry. And then I heard a bit
on NPR. Essayist for NPR. How do you
get that gig? A friend of mine told me that
she had a friend who wanted her to do little
essays for NPR. You know, the ones you
hear on All
Things Considered. I read the piece
I wrote about the SIMS
to her and she said I should record it and
send it in. So I did record it. And I wrote
and recorded three others. She called her
friend (the one with the connection to NPR)
and he said they don't do those anymore.
I spent some time trying to figure out where
to send them. I never did figure it out.
bit I heard this morning was about favorite
food that Mother's make. I've been getting
some encouragement to do food writing and
I like to do food writing. And listening
to the NPR essayist (do I sound competitive?)
(I am) it occurred to me that I could write about
my mother and food.
mother didn't do the cooking when I was
growing up. We lived with her parents. Grandmom
did the cooking and it wasn't great cooking.
I have lots of food memories but not about
the food itself. More the context in which
we ate. I remember chipped
ham sandwiches on pasty hamburger buns
after church and rootbeer
floats on hot summer nights. My cousins
remember Grandmom's meat loaf with affection.
I remember hiding it in my napkin and
smuggling it to the trash can.
I remember most about food and my mom was
her sitting at the table with a glass of
Metrical while the rest of us ate macaroni
and cheese. I remember she and I eating
plates full of scrambled eggs on Atkins
and bowls of rice on Pritiken.
mother baked. She still does. She makes
beautiful cookies and perfect pie crust.
And we ate them with the lust that only
a person who has been living on scrambled
eggs and celery for a month can eat.
is a recipe cook. It drives her crazy to
watch me cook. She measures everything.
I measure nothing. I measure when I bake
but not with the precision that she does.
When I visit now I do most of the cooking. I
taught her how to make risotto and she brags
to me every time she does. I roast potatoes
a lot. Yukon
golds and French
Fingerlings. She loves them but she
forgets about them. She'll call me sometimes
to ask what she should make for dinner.
Fish last night. On GK's
recommendation. I made myself a bowl full
beets that I had marinated in Balsamic Vinegar
and goat cheese and I cut a thick slice
Di Altamura. Beets always seem to make
my blood feel stronger. And I settled into
my chair and watched the movie.
there's a moment when we stop thinking so
much about what we wished our parents were.
And maybe there's a way to connect with
them, even when we aren't what they wish
we were. Maybe it's the relationship in which
we most learn how to love beyond our needs
not sure yet.
maybe the reason I'm not an essayist for
NPR is because I try to write about food
and mom and end up in doubt and reverie.
did make a thing that I like. But only when she makes
it. It's called Tijuana Hash. And, oddly enough, I found
on line. I have never made it and I doubt I ever
will but Mom makes it when I go there. And I love it.
Because there are these intersections in relationships.
Places where you can only meet up with that one person.
Sunday I usually watch some of the political talk shows
but there's been so much equivocation about the Iraqi
POWs. I just didn't want to hear any more. Even on the
radio there was a guy talking about how much the need
to validate the reason for the war may have created
the environment for the abuse. Generally I like to err
on the side of understanding. I may even agree with
some of the perspective. But come on.
Today's lesson: don't rape, don't torture, don't kill and get out while you can-
while it still looks like you have a choice... Chaos? Civil war? Bloodshed?
We’ll take our chances- just take your Puppets, your tanks, your smart weapons,
your dumb politicians, your lies, your empty promises, your rapists, your
sadistic torturers and go. - River
I turned it all off. Cleaned and cooked and listened
to music. Read
for awhile. But I wanted to watch Sixties
Minutes because I knew Wally
Lamb was going to be on. I'd seen him on Book
TV last year with a few of the women from the Connecticut
prison where he teaches a writing workshop. They were
reading from the
book he'd helped them to put together. I got it
and it is now in the every growing pile of soon to be
read. Each one of them calling to me. Read me. Read
women made some money for the book and the Attorney
General of Connecticut decided to charge them for their
room and board at prison. Mean spirited. Mean. Mean
For more than a year, Lamb and the lawyers at Harper Collins tried to no avail
to convince the attorney general to drop or settle the lawsuits. Finally, the
literary organization PEN, which takes up the causes of persecuted writers
around the world, became involved, suggesting that one of the still-imprisoned
writers be nominated for a major award. “The women had exercised their
free speech and then been punished for it,” says Lamb. “I had wanted to nominate
the women as a group. But the rules said no, you must nominate an individual.”
Lamb decided on Barbara Parsons Lane, a former housewife who is serving
10 years on manslaughter charges for killing her husband after years of verbal,
physical and emotional abuse. She entered the prison in 1996 under a suicide
watch, and for two years, she could barely speak. But through the
writing program, she's become a model prisoner, not to mention an accomplished
writer. “She has found her voice,” says Lamb. “And not only has she found it,
but she had been willing to share that with other people.” And a few
weeks ago, at a New York gala featuring literary lions from around the world,
PEN awarded Lane a $25,000 prize in absentia for fighting to safeguard the right
to self-expression. The award was sponsored by A.E. Hotchner and Paul Newman,
one of Connecticut's most celebrated residents. But the story was far from over.
other story on Sixty Minutes was about Hugh
Thompson. A soldier. A great man. A man who knew
when wrong was wrong.
turned off the TV and went back to the book. This morning
the dove who serves as my alarm clock decided I should
be awake at 6:00. I didn't sleep well last night and
the coo coo coo cooing called me from my dreams too
early and too insistently. But I knew I needed to get
up. I need to be focused and get some stuff done today.
Monday. Sometimes it just works out that way.
Sunday I was dusting things on my dresser and I looked
up into the mirror. I had an ugly moment. I just thought
I was ugly. I made an effort to see differently but
to no avail. I was just ugly. Nothing I could do about
night, while I was flossing, I noticed the way my hair
was falling and it looked so perfect. I hadn't brushed
it, or anything. It was just falling in this beautiful
line. And then I saw my eyes and my mouth and it all
fit together so well. I was so beautiful. The same face
that was so ugly the day before. And yet.
seems pretty arbitrary. But I've actually worked on
what happens when I look in the mirror. I think women
get early training in visual dissection. Looking in
the mirror is a mediation on what's wrong.
I think it's getting worse for men. I see commercials
for hair plugs and six pack abs (an oxymoron if ever
there was one) and teeth whiter and I wonder how men
shake it off. There are also plenty of images of less
than perfect men with highly idealized women and wealth
and fame and on and on. The message is different. But
there's no doubt that's it's getting worse for men.
I remember old movies in which the light would spark
Erroll Flynn's teeth.
moments when I'm ugly don't hit me as hard as they used
to. I know they will pass. But they do hit me. It's
not just about vanity. I read job descriptions that
say - must present well. What does that mean?
want vision that comes from my whole self.
I really don’t know why I should so much wish you to walk with me through what
is right outside my door--unless it is that I think it almost the best thing
that I do out here--it is so bare--with a sort of ages old feeling of death on
it--still it is warm and soft and I love it with my skin...” ~Georgia
want vision that sees ugly and beauty in a constant
understand that action is seldom direct. You write your books. You scatter your
seeds. Rats might eat them, or they might just rot. In California, some seeds
lie dormant for decades because they only germinate after fire. -Rebecca
was late getting out the door this morning. Not that
late. But public transportation is a worry so I travel
early. I waited at the first bus stop for ten minutes
and the second bus stop for ten minutes. Things
were moving along.
driver was shouting at someone because they hadn't paid.
I was reading and trying to ignore it all but that wasn't
going to happen. It got louder and more contentious.
The driver was saying he wasn't going to start the bus
until the guy paid. I've lived through this particular
drama before so I tried to focus on my book.
felt like there was some thing going on that I best
stay out of. Something between men. Something about
territory. The woman in front of me got up and paid
the fare. The driver got things moving again. I told
her I wanted to pitch in and gave her some change. She
said she was working two jobs and was on her way home
and just wanted to get there. The fellow who was at
the heart of all this mess stumbled up to thank her.
The smell of gin filled the air. She looked at me. I
looked at her. She said, "I just want to be home."
got to yoga
in plenty of time. I had a hard time concentrating in
class. Sally kept saying things about letting it all
go and being in the moment. Yeah. The moment. Right.
But I did my best. We were working on Eagle
can't exactly do it. Exactly.
class I went to Yum
Yum for lunch with Marie. It was great to
see her. The waiters adore her. They came running with
her Cokewithlotsofice the minute she walked in. She
has the bluest eyes and the whitest teeth and a spirit
that fills up the room.
decided to take the 33 to the Castro so that I could
catch the F.
Waited for fifteen minutes. The bus lumbered past Mission
high where the students wear
their grief on plastic signs around their necks
that say we love you Ray.
I love you too Ray.
a poem by Edith
Jenkins carved into the concrete by the bus stop.
minutes more. For the bus driver. He let us on and then
we waited ten minutes more before he started up. A tall
man with long hair was talking about the beheading in
a manner just too close to manic. A woman sat with her
baby on her back. The baby was wearing fatigues. We
rounded the corner and I looked at the stone face of
the Pottery Barn in which there is an area, kind of
high up, cut in, not unlike what might have held
a clock. But in which there is a chair.
I thought I heard Guy
whispering in my ear.
tucked in with my book. An hour later I was home.
where to go with all of this. Just these moments of
grace and moments of grief and moments of rage. And
me. Feeling my way along.
sent me a link to pictures of her wedding a while ago.
She was a gorgeous bride. The family was gorgeous. Even
the church was gorgeous.
I looked at the photos I thought about how I'd never
imagined myself in a wedding. Not even as a kid. It
might be because I was fat but I think it was about
something else. Somehow I knew that would be alone.
guess that sounds like I believe in destiny and I do
and I don't. I believe in something more along the lines
of probable reality. We make choices and veer to the
left. Or the right. But I never did imagine myself in
a wedding. And it never made me sad. It just seemed
like the way it was.
like weddings. I like ritual and ceremony. I like public
displays of affection. And I also think weddings can
be costly and fraught with family strife. There are
too many symbols of property. Too much paraphernalia.
People get caught up in trying to have something perfect.
And perfect costs about the same amount as a car. Or
more. Weddings have always seemed like an acid trip
to me. Everything is heightened. Shiny. Distorted.
stepfather came up to me at my cousins wedding and told
me that if I caught the bouquet it would freak out my
mother. I asked her if that was true and she said something
vague about wanting me to have a man that would treat
me right. The implication was that I wouldn't be able
to find one. And that may have been about me being fat.
Or maybe it was about my dad. Or maybe it was that she
knew the thing I've always known. That I wasn't going
to wear a white dress. No matter why that idea is so
strong, the traditional wedding for my fractured
family would have been just too weird.
I was in India Baba
said I should get married while I was there. He had
a reputation for marrying people. He pointed to the
cook and said I should marry him. I've never really
understood what that was all about.
was a time when I imagined a wedding. I wanted to be
on a boat, somewhere near Galapagos.
Just me, my love and the captain of the boat. An affirmation
of our place in the mighty, swirling story. And maybe
a party with friends and family later.
I don't think about it anymore.
post rang for me. I have my own version of that
story. More than one actually. Not the formal part of
the story. I was never engaged. But I have been in relationships
lived just beyond my finger tips.
really don't have sadness about a wedding. But I do
have sadness about being alone. I have a feeling of
having failed at something. And I can do a long winded
analysis about how a woman alone in the world is taught
she is a failure but I don't really feel that my aloneness
is the failure. Not in and of itself. It's deeper.
night I dreamed I was getting married. I was in a white
dress. It was a night full of dreams. Too thick and
symbol laden to parse.
night Mom talked about how she can't watch the news.
She's watching Turner classic movies instead.
noticed the numbness setting in the other day. The numbness
that comes from over exposure. Picture of a plane hitting
a building. Picture of a man in a hood with wires attached
to his hands. The first time you seem them the pain
hits your heart. The second time it hits your head.
The meaning making begins. The reaction and response.
And eventually you stop seeing the picture. You stop
feeling. Or you stop noticing what you feel. The picture
becomes part of pressure that pushes on you. You forget
why you feel the way you do.
friend sent word that she is being published in a literary
magazine. I love my friend and I love her writing. I'm
thrilled that she is being published. She also said
that she'd been sending out ten pieces of writing a
month. It hit me. I felt like all the oxygen had been
sucked out of my chest. I think I've sent out ten things
did have a piece accepted by Yoga
International. I'm not sure when it will be out,
or if it will be on line. I'm happy about it, of course.
is a way in which I'm having trouble feeling my accomplishments.
Nothing seems good enough. I need to do more. And more.
is disproportionate. The good things aren't good enough.
The bad things are too big to hold.
apartment is four blocks from Fisherman's
Wharf. There is not A tourist season. It's always tourist season.
During the week I see familiar neighbor
faces. There's a post office distribution center down
the street so I see lots of post people. Sometimes I
We've met a few times but I don't think he remembers.
I smile and say hi. He nods.
up around holidays and on weekends. I try
not to go out on the weekends. But
I needed to go to the store. I had some
spinach and roasted tomatoes for a salad.
And I had a desire for some brie and a baquette.
The store was having a sale on tea roses.
Three bunches for ten dollars. Not fiscally
wise at this particular time in my
life. But sometimes you just gotta have
some roses. And having caved to that temptation
I got some St
Andre, instead of brie.
I was walking home a group of tall, young, blond men
passed on my left. There was one young woman with them.
They had an accent I couldn't quite place. In a few
minutes they stopped and pulled out a map and started
looking around for landmarks. Sometimes I offer to help.
Sometimes I don't.
I got home I felt unwell. Food did not sound
good. I put the roses in a blue pot on the
table. Made a big post of tea
and watched a
movie. And then I watched another.
And then I gave up on the spinach salad, the St Andre
and the baquette. I got into bed and slept a long dreamless
still a little punky but OK. I think. The living room
smells like roses. Oddly enough, having a miserable
body has shaken me out of my miserable mood.
Well, you know, California is the most bizarre place to be, in a certain sense.
It's so laden with contradictions. It is, in some ways, almost flaunting of
them. I think it flaunts more than any other part of the country, in the visual
sense: the extraordinary visual degradation, the extraordinary beauty. There are
still these vast tracts of wilderness. There is this amazing ocean. You're
constantly living in a kind of cognitive dissonance here. - Adrienne
Rich (via Wood_s
is a small room behind my kitchen. I suspect
it was once a laundry room because there's
a capped off pipe. It's not really big enough
to be anything but there are built in shelves,
on which I put all my cook books and old
cooking magazines. And odds and ends. The
waffle iron. Vases. A roll of old sketches.
Baskets. I made a desk with a board on two
file cabinets. I sometimes sit back there
and read recipes.
like that become junk rooms really easily.
If I'm cleaning the living room I just carry
things back there and dump them on the desk.
I've lived in this apartment for more than
ten years. I've really tried to keep it
from being a junk room. But it fills with
clutter and then I clean it up and it fills again.
year or more ago I took my futon frame apart.
It took up half the living room. It was broken.
I was sick of it. I rolled the futon. Put
the frame in the back room. and there it
stayed. It blocked the book shelves. And
the desk. Two or three times I took it out
and cleaned and then put it back.
kept thinking that someone could fix it
and use it. Almost everyone I know offered
to take it out of the room and down the
three flights of steps for me but it
just never happened. And then, finally,
Carrie needed a futon frame. And Carrie
knows how to fix things. So she and Suzanne
came over and took it yesterday morning.
That was a lot of set up for not much news.
spent the rest of the day cleaning. Took
out all the boxes and packing peanuts. It's
nice in there again. Although, really, I
could keep throwing things away for a while.
How does junk pile up like that? Do I really
need to keep every card I've ever received?
felt OK all day. Except once. I didn't have
an appetite but a bowl of watermelon tasted
good for dinner.
Staying away from screens. The roses still
fill the air and I'm shaking off the weary
blues that held me under for the last few
went over to Miriam's today to help her
establish a better relationship with her
computer. So instead of sitting in front
of my computer all day I sat in front of
hers. I hadn't been to her house and I wasn't
sure how to get there. We had agreed upon
11:00 and I'm a be there on time kind of
girl. Actually I'm a be there early kind
of girl. I was born early. A detail well
documented in the first
chapter of my book. (She said in a not
at all veiled attempt to get people to read
said chapter and lavish praise upon her
so that she can survive the dark days of
begging for publication of said book.)
left early because I wanted to get some
stamps and a bottle of water. There was
someone ahead of me at the stamp store and
someone ahead of me at the bottle of water
store and I was feeling a little bit tense
about time. The first bus took a while.
The second bus took a while and I got on
a third bus because it got a little closer
to where I was headed. All things considered
the three bus trip took not too much time.
I got off the bus at 21rst and Valencia,
which was a block early. The early thing
bites me in the ass sometimes.
of the things that happens in SF is that one
street can be on a really, really, really
steep hill and one block later there can be
a flat street. 21rst street is a really,
really, really steep hill going up to Guerrero
and Guerrero to 22nd is a really, really,
really steep hill going down. I know this
because I walked up and down those streets.
As opposed to the straight, flat walk I
would have taken if I'd stayed on the bus
and walked on 22nd.
hey. It was sunny and beautiful and there
was a man sitting in the back of a van with
a computer desk, typing away who smiled
and said hi and another man talking to a
baby in a stroller who also smiled
and said hi and flowers to stick my nose
into. Someone had stenciled EMBRACE LONELINESS
on the side walk. I said, "I'm trying."
just took a while. The all the way up and
all the way back down part. After all the
tension of the waiting in line and the waiting
at bus stops and the up and the down, I
was fifteen minutes early.
a big fat storm moving across my beloved
of the things I'm always trying to understand
is why the social justice movement
we call fat acceptance, which has been
around for the same thirty year history
of other social movements, like feminism,
the Gay rights movement, isn't more cohesive. And that's
if you begin counting with the beginning
Wasn't that a year? Makes my heart fill
up just thinking about it.
some ways I should track my own fat revolution
back to my mighty grandmother. A proud fat
woman. A beautiful fat woman. And I do.
But hearing Frank. That one line. In that
one song. Changed the way I saw my body.
own fat revolution happened without the
support of like minded fat radicals. But
everyone I met, or read, with any fat
radical ideas deepened my sense of the rightness
of it all. It's such a relief to have community.
Community is fraught. Being a human is fraught.
Being human together is fraught.
discussion on BFB
has kicked up the storm of which I speak.
Although just as it's difficult to track
the exact starting point of a social movement,
it's probably true that the storm was raging
week I found myself in another one of those
conversations about size acceptance being
OK but that people who are really, really
fat (and that often begins with the number
300 pounds in these conversations) can't
possibly be healthy. I made a few attempts
to explain my thoughts and listened
to the push back and then I backed away.
Sometimes I have the patience for it and
sometimes I don't.
wish that my thin and average sized friends
(And that's the short list. There aresomany.)
I wish I thought that all the writing I
do here made a difference. I wish the thin
and average sized bloggers I know who think
of themselves as political linked to things
privilege list and added some thoughts.
But I know that not everyone takes the time
to understand another person's oppression.
Paradigm shifts take generations.
And in the same thirty year time frame we've
seen a ramp up of diet products and
the fat hatred needed to sell them.
is a lot of preamble. I should be more direct.
value Big Fat Blog. I appreciate Paul. I
think he makes an effort to be inclusive
and fair. And it can't be easy. I know there
are people who leave comments there who
aren't fat radical and some are really there
to subvert the process. I've heard there
are people there who have attacked other
members of my beloved community. I wish
there were a way to do truth and reconciliation.
And I don't know if that can happen on a
blog. Paul has made it pretty clear that
he wants people who are new to the ideas
to feel free to participate. And that might
mean a seemingly endless and circular conversation.
It might mean an often truncated or sloppy
know that people have been hurt. I know
that people with fierce fat radical ideas
have not felt supported by Paul. And I wish
we could go on a retreat together and talk
till we work through the issues. But I'm
not even sure we could work through them.
sometimes we just fail each other. I fail
people. People fail me. Sometimes we just
can't be what we need to be for each other.
day long I've been reading, watching
and listening to things about Brown
v the Board of Ed and the wisdom of
the state of Massachusetts.
All day long I've been thinking about how
far things have come and how far they have
to go. Social movements take generations.
Those conversations are still happening.
people get tired. I get tired. I don't have answers.
But I know that we are a beloved community. And we're
in a long dark night. In my attempt to say something
I've wandered all over the place. I don't think we all
have to like each other. We might not even need to work
together. I can only speak for myself.
need you all.
We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable
network of mutuality. - Martin Luther King.
and Carl are in town. They filmed a little
bit of yoga.
And a bit of me yammering. Not sure what
will become of it all yet but they're on
a mission so I'm sure it will be something wonderful.
were on Church street and we passed a young man and
woman sitting on a bench. They were in a retro punk
regalia. Black clothing with lots of rips and tears.
Chains and spikes and piercings and tats. He was sporting
a Mohawk in colors not found in nature. She was wearing
makeup designed by Edward Gorey. As I passed she
turned to him and said,"Yeah, the world sucks.
Like we've been saying all along."
and Carl are in town. They filmed a little
bit of yoga.
And a bit of me yammering. Not sure what
will become of it all yet but they're on
a mission so I'm sure it will be something wonderful.
were on Church street and we passed a young man and
woman sitting on a bench. They were in a retro punk
regalia. Black clothing with lots of rips and tears.
Chains and spikes and piercings and tats. He was sporting
a Mohawk in colors not found in nature. She was wearing
makeup designed by Edward Gorey. As I passed she
turned to him and said,"Yeah, the world sucks.
Like we've been saying all along."
friend Valeri Jack used to take amazing pictures of
me to use for promo for my band.
was no way I could look at those photos and not think
I was beautiful. I think some of my sense of myself
was gifted to me by Val.
always took a few pictures before the make up, in the
shredding bathrobe, when I wasn't posing. And I always
hated them. But they were part of the gift. I just didn't
know it then.
remember the first time I saw this one.
could barely look at it. I just thought I looked so
bad. Right now I can't imagine why.
was almost twenty years ago. I was all about rhythm
and blues. It may be hard to get what's happening with
my hair. It was short and spiky and I had four long
braids, just for fun. This was the last photo session
with Val before I left Longmont, Colorado and moved
to NYC. I'm trying to clean up all these files in the
back room and all I can do is stare at old pictures
of myself. It's a particularly loopy kind of narcissism.
loved that apartment. It had two floors. The top was
the attic of an old house. Loft like, open, with a sky
light and a fire place. The bathroom and the kitchen
were on the first floor. The kitchen had exposed brick
on one wall and windows all along the other, looking
out onto the front range. Sometimes I wish I'd never
left. But then I wouldn't know what it felt like to
walk through the East Village at four in the morning
with a head full of bourbon and a mouth full of smoke.
not sure hind sight is twenty-twenty. I think it's filtered
through what if and why.
not trying to be coy. And I'm not trying
to feign ambivalence. But come on. There
many others. I didn't know I was in
the running. How did it happen?
don't want to go into a fit of metablogging.
But. Uh. For me blogging has been like a raft in
the middle of the big blue. It gives me
purpose and connection and a way to battle
my own feelings of loss and alienation. I do write about
fat politics here. Politics in general.
And I also write my way through my own daily
chaos. I make constant errors in spelling.
I ignore grammar. My design skills are less
than proficient. I care enough about writing
to make an effort to write well but I don't
I swear. I've never been sure I was getting
it right. Whatever that means. So I'm really
not sure how this happened.
I mean. Thanks. Obviously. If you are someone
who voted for me, or nominated me, or whatever
the process was ... thank you very much.
tellin ya. I felt like I might have read
it wrong so I went to the corner and got
the hard copy and there it was again. It's
timely. I spent the day yesterday wondering
if I needed to take a break. Feeling like
I have too much invested. Or something that
I couldn't quite name. Or maybe I could
name it but I don't want to talk about it out loud because
it's just too sad and stupid and I'm angry with myself
for allowing myself to have a dream that was just destined
to end with me feeling sad and stupid. Feeling like I wanted
writing has been an exercise, trying to
work my way towards clarity. Get out the
pen and face the beast yourself. What's
bothering you? Well that's not exactly it.
OK let's go a little deeper. Well that's
not exactly it. When you get to the truth,
you know...do I want to say that in public?
- Joni Mitchell
A while ago Laurie,
because she so sweet and generous and wonderful
and good, bought me a copy of Woman
of Heart and Mind. And some other time
because she so sweet and generous and wonderful
and good, bought me a bottle of Merlot.
So yesterday I listened to and watched Joni
and drank wine. Sang along and wept for
... ya know ... reasons.
I know it sounds dark and shadowy but it's
really a homeopathy
needed to stay away from the computer, for
more than one ...ya know ...reason.
It worked. I'm OK. I'm good. I also worked on
a thing I'm writing. And I had a lovely long
talk with Ari on the phone. One of those
talks that goes all over the place and feeds
your soul. I ate pizza with eggplant and
artichokes and lots of garlic.
sense of the middle way may not be accurate.
But it seems to me that it's not about being
narrow and squeezing between the extremes.
It's about being wide enough to hold the
tension of both extremes. And yesterday
was a day of holding the really very nice
with the really very painful.
I am wide.
for all the lovely comments. They were better than the
There is a
gallery a few blocks from my apartment.
The woman who runs it has been under attack
for a painting by Guy
Colwell displayed in her window. There's a description
of the painting in this
article and photos here
and there is an image of the painting on the gallery
web site right now.
know I blogged about a painter who painted
images of torture in Central and South America. I can't remember his
name I saw a film about him last year. I tried going
through my archives but I couldn't find
anything. When I saw the film I spent some
time thinking about the images. They are
hard to look at. Art has
different purposes. Artists have different
intentions. But surely one of the things
that art can do is to challenge us to face
what we are. Does the gallery owner have
a right to display what she wants? Does
the artist have a right to paint what he
feels? Isn't that about freedom, democracy,
all those things we're supposed to be fighting
people had been worried about children seeing the painting
I might have agreed. It's a family neighborhood. There's
a school right across the street from the gallery. Kids
are seeing these images on the news but the painting
does have a cartoon quality. Somehow I think that might
make them less real to the kids. I'm not sure how children
are processing all this. But the criticism of her wasn't
about kids. Maybe someone made that point but that wasn't
the biggest complaint. The complaint was that she
was being un-American.
posted an essay about her feelings about the
photos in the news. The first image she wrote about
is one I found most disturbing
and for some of the same reasons. It just
looks like such a Christian image. Jeanne
said it very well.
The images of sexual humiliation and words describing sadistic abuse have
been horrifying. But a naked, shackled and filth-splattered prisoner, arms
outstretched, speaks to the imagination of someone raised on the stations of the
cross in a unique way. It makes demands on the soul that I don't know how to
she wonders about the ubiquitous presence of
the photos on American media. Is there a
chance that we've gone past bearing witness?
Is it possible that there are those among
us who aren't horrified?
In fact, I've wondered if the same motivation that put Miss Jackson's
wardrobe malfunction on endless replay wasn't also at work in the case of the
prison photographs. At first, I thought the press might be understandably
squeamish about displaying sexual sadism, and that delicacy could provide an
excuse for not showing the photos, and perhaps not dealing with the issue. It
now looks more like the sexual nature of the photos was a sick incentive to keep
The quickest, driest way to convey the inner commotion
caused by these photographs is by noting that one can't always make out the
subject, so thorough is the ruin of flesh and stone they depict. (more)
images can too easily become abstraction. I'm not sure
we can take it in again and again. But something happens
internally when we see them. Sontag wrote a piece
in the New York Times magazine yesterday.
So, then, is the real issue not the photographs themselves but what the
photographs reveal to have happened to ''suspects'' in American custody? No: the
horror of what is shown in the photographs cannot be separated from the horror
that the photographs were taken -- with the perpetrators posing, gloating, over
their helpless captives. German soldiers in the Second World War took
photographs of the atrocities they were committing in Poland and Russia, but
snapshots in which the executioners placed themselves among their victims are
exceedingly rare, as may be seen in a book just published, ''Photographing the
Holocaust,'' by Janina Struk. If there is something comparable to what these
pictures show it would be some of the photographs of black victims of lynching
taken between the 1880's and 1930's, which show Americans grinning beneath the
naked mutilated body of a black man or woman hanging behind them from a tree.
The lynching photographs were souvenirs of a collective action whose
participants felt perfectly justified in what they had done. So are the pictures
from Abu Ghraib.
images are far too American. I know that not everyone
sees the pictures and has the same reaction. And the
more I see them, the less I feel. There's something
deeply disturbing about that. I feel the need to rattle
my own heart and remember. I'm with Jeanne. It makes a demand on the
soul that I don't know how to meet. My hope
is that they shock us into awareness and rev up our will
to change. My fear is that they are part of a national
character, so prurient and disengaged that we are lost.
After all, we're at war. Endless war. And war is hell, more so than any of the
people who got us into this rotten war seem to have expected. In our digital
hall of mirrors, the pictures aren't going to go away. Yes, it seems that one
picture is worth a thousand words. And even if our leaders choose not to look at
them, there will be thousands more snapshots and videos. Unstoppable. (Sontag)
I had a very manic day yesterday. I
kept finding myself walking in circles in
the middle of my living room. My living
room isn't exactly big enough for circles.
working on another article for another yoga
already made the connection so I think it
will get published. If I write it.
There's no real deadline but I want to get
it to them so they can tell me if they want
me to do it differently. Meanwhile, my own yoga practice
is lacking in focus.
I hit the keys and then I did the dishes
and then I hit the keys some more and
then I made some tuna salad and then I hit
the keys some more.
walked in circles.
know that thing where you get up to do something
and you walk into another room and the minute
you get to the other room you have no idea
why you're there? That was me. All day.
O showed up with cherries and peaches
and other stuff, but the cherries and peaches
made me the happiest.
It was deep into his fiery heart he took the dust of Joan of Arc, and
then she clearly understood if he was fire, oh then she must be wood. I
saw her wince, I saw her cry, I saw the glory in her eye. Myself I long
for love and light, but must it come so cruel, and oh so bright?
Beautiful Mind. I didn't think it would
pull me in again, especially not on TV,
with commercials. But, oh that moment when
she says, "I need to believe in something
swear, sometimes I just want to go to City Hall and
hug him. I want to hug them all.
didn't vote for Ms. Harris. But I'm so proud of her.
I'm so proud of the Supes. I'm so proud to live in this
city. In my seemingly never ending job search I've looked
at moving. I feel like I'm willing to move anywhere.
But on days like today I can't imagine where else I
know that this is hard for some of the people on the
police force. Despite the fact that there is language
in the resolution that talks about support for the police
I know that they are angry. And hurt. There is long
standing antipathy between
Cris and the police. I know that there are people
who see the death penalty as a way for families
to find closure. I think it's a misguided attempt at
closure and I don't think it really works and to the
extent that it seems to work I would beg for a deep
reconsideration of why.
are having a hard
time in the city of brotherly love.
death penalty is just wrong. And I am so happy to live
in a city where the leaders know that. My heart does
go out to the people who are mourning. There are too
many of them.
I walked out of the door with my eyes full
of tears. And I was having trouble breathing.
before the bus came, a swarm of kids came over from
the middle school. I mean really. A swarm. They were
all around me. There was no chance of getting a seat.
I just backed up and let them have the bus. By the time
the next one came there were several older people. And
by several I mean like six, or seven. They just seemed
to grow up out of the sidewalk. As the bus pulled up
I could see that it was already pretty crowded and these
older folks were an assertive bunch.
it seems like the nerve endings have pushed through
my skin and are dangling. Another body, even a
foot away can feel too close.
part of me that is always watching began to ask questions.
OK, Tish. You don't want to be on the bus with kids
and you don't want to be on the bus with elders. Do
you need to go back home and be by yourself today?
decided to get a cab. A cab is just not fiscally appropriate
at this time in my life but I needed the isolation.
As we crossed Hayes I saw Matt
walking along with his office guy. Matt was walking
in his long, languid steps and his office guy was walking
in shorter, faster steps, almost double time. I got
to Valencia early so I had a coffee at Muddy Waters.
Everyone got to class a little bit late. And Sally announced
that she can't do the class anymore. There really aren't
enough of us and she has to pay for the space and travel
from the east bay and she has lots going on. Class felt
heavy and distorted.
ambivalent. I don't really have the money for the class.
I have learned enough to practice at home. It was good
to have that weekly check in. But. Oh well. She may
try again later in the summer, or in the fall. I might
be able to get a ride to the east bay class sometimes.
came home and watched Lost
called while it was on so I hit pause. Bill Murray's
face was on the screen. I served Bill Murray breakfast
years ago in a diner in Boulder, Colorado. People always
want to know if he was funny. My job was to ask him
how he wanted his eggs cooked and keep his coffee cup
full. It was early. He wanted apple pie for dessert.
We didn't have any. He said something kind of convoluted
about looking in deep into my eyes and thinking about
apple pie. I said something about any apple pie
deep within me not being something he would want. It
was more odd than funny. And there was his face on my
TV screen. I've always loved the ruddy quality of his
face. I like faces that look like they've lived a life.
I wanted to press my cheek into his. In the scene on
pause he looked both forlorn and bemused.
1. Which political party do you typically agree
with? Green 2. Which political party do you
typically vote for? I
voted Green a few times in the last elections
(Yes, I'm one of the terrible people who
voted for Nader. Before you go on and on
about it try to remember that the Supreme
court selected the guy we have now.) but
I think Democrat is more typical. 3. List the
last five presidents that you voted for. Nader
vote. 4. Which party do you think is smarter about the
not sure there is a difference between
the top two and I'm not really clear about
the Greens. I guess I don't know. 5. Which party do you think is smarter about domestic
6. Do you think we should
keep our troops in Iraq or pull them out? Bring
them home. Create a reparations plan for
the damage we've done. 7. Who, or what country, do you think is most responsible for
don't think there was a country responsible.
But I do think there are reasons why "they
hate us." 8. Do you think
we will find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Nope. 9. Yes or no, should the U.S. legalize
marijuana? Yes. 10. Do you think the Republicans
stole the last presidential election? Yes. 11. Do
you think Bill Clinton should have been impeached because of what he did with
Monica Lewinski? I
honestly don't care. 12. Do you think Hillary
Clinton would make a good president? Not
really. 13. Name a current Democrat who would make a great
Kucinich 14. Name a current
Republican who would make a great president. My
Mom. 15. Do you think that women should have the right to have
an abortion? Yes. 16. What religion are
of them. 17. Have you read the Bible all the
way through? Yes. 18. What's your favorite
one I'm reading in any given moment. Although
I will say that my copy of Let
Us Now Praise Famous Men would be something
I'd grab if there was fire. 19. Who is your favorite
Be Good Tanyas 20. Who do you think
you'll vote for president in the next election? It
doesn't look like I'll be voting for
anyone. But I'll put a check next to Kerry's
name. 21. What website
did you see this on first?
They'd make you believe that your problem is one of sex, That men and
women have mysteriously become Strange and fearful to one another - sick,
diseased, cold - And that is true. But no loss of a father-image or of
Any other image, did this. Why don't you face the truth for once? You
have accepted the whole filthy, murderous swindle without A word of protest,
hated whomever you were told to hate, Slaughtered whomever you were told to
slaughter; you've lied, Cheated, made the earth stink with your very presence
- Why Shouldn't you despise and hate one another? Why shouldn't Your flesh
crawl everytime you touch one another? Why should you expect to make 'love'
in a bed fouled with corpses?
I went to see Sherman
Alexie last night. He made me laugh.
A lot. And I needed to laugh. And he read
a beautiful story from his
latest. He said he does vanity searches
on his name and for a minute I hoped he
would stop by here and read about how great
it was for me to laugh and how much better
I felt because of all the laughing. But
if he did stop by he'd see that I voted
for Nader and he has extremely unkind words
for people who voted for Nader. None that
I haven't heard before. Often from some
of my dearest friends.
always want to ask. Do you like havin seat
belts in your car?
I understand the difference between then
and now. I'll vote for whatever they toss
at me to unseat the boy prince. Just don't ask me to feel guilty
for supporting a man who has done more for
the people of this country than almost anyone
in public office.
after the Nader thing he went into a long
riff about vegans and people who dress up
as turtles for peace marches. You had to
be there. Much of it was funny. Much of
it I agreed with. But it got a little hyperbolic.
that I don't have my own tenancy to go off.
has a great new project. He's writing 365
stories of seduction. He really was so sweet
and so funny and so smart and so cute. As
soon as I stop being mad at him for the
Nader rant I'm gonna buy the book. Well.
As soon as I stop being mad at him and get
a job I'm gonna buy the book. Although an
EXTREMELY sweet person sent me a gift certificate
for Amazon. I've been drooling all over
myself trying to decide what I'm gonna buy
it was a nice day. And I needed a nice
day. There was that one e-mail. The one
telling me that I didn't have the qualifications
for the job. I haven't been getting anything
back from the places I apply. The fact that
this place had the courtesy to write back
seemed like a good thing.
some books and some laughing and I pull
back together pretty well.
As a commie pinko bastard, I am horrified that a right-wing Republican is my
president, but as a commie pinko bastard writer, I'm more horrified that he is a
malaproping right-wing Republican. - Sherman
I was thinking about how my use of the word
fat might be misunderstood. Many people, maybe even
most people, have a negative reaction to the word. Many
of the people I've been talking to for years about why
I use the word can't quite bring themselves to use the
word out loud.
me the word is simple and descriptive. It doesn't have
an inherent value. Everyone likes fat wallets or a
fat rhythm section. And some folks like a fat ass. But,
of course, that's more problematic.
been thinking about it because I'm writing these articles
about yoga and I use the word fat in the same manner
I use it here. I had to really work on setting up the
context for the use. But in a world where fat means
everything wrong with the way we live, my use may not
have a chance.
do try to make the point that fat people face increasing
discrimination in the work place, in access to adequate
medical care, access to public facilities and transportation
and a public hatred. It all sounds pretty grim. But
I value my experiences. I've had a great life in many
I heard an African American woman say that when she
left the house she walked into public as a black woman.
I'm not sure that all people of color feel that way
but I do know that people of color have experiences
(driving while black for example) in which they must
wonder if what's happening has anything to so with pigmentation.
When I heard the woman I felt this thud and connection.
Because when I walk out the door I know that being fat
will be part of what creates my experience.
think it's true for all people. All the descriptors
we live with have an impact on our experience.
made an early decision to not believe that being fat
had to mean my life wouldn't work out. And I've lived
with that attitude. Generally speaking things have gone
well. And to the extent that it hasn't gone well I always
wanna ask why? I took a lot of risks in life. And I
might have taken more if I hadn't been dealing with
the internal struggle of wondering about my body size.
hardest on me when it comes to love. Because I've always
wanted to believe that love is the arbiter of beauty.
And my experience hasn't born that weight. As it were.
I also know that when I have ... uh ... romantic feelings
for a person my perspective gets a little bit wonky.
And I think that's true for most people.
then there's the health thing. I will admit to a bad
attitude about health. Rock n roll grrrl. Drugs. Drinking.
Smoking. Blah. Blah. Blah. Some of that is about wanting
to be Janis Joplin when I grew up and part of that is
about growing up with a body that was constantly problamatized.
The more fat loving I've become the better I treat my
are always numbers tossed around. Azoowah number of
people dead from obesity. The numbers are badly drawn
in my opinion. I would like a professional health community
that could read my individual health chart. The stress
of my work history. My penchant for bad behavior. The
harm done by early dieting. The stress of living in
a hostile world. Hostile in general. And hostile in
specific to me.
terms of the community of people trying to create a
revolution, things are almost worse between us than
they are between us and the thin and average sized community
who don't understand our experience, the medical community
that want to sell us products and not care for us and
the culture that wants to dump all its meanness on us.
after all this problamatizing I am left with the story
of my life and the way in which being fat influenced
who I became. There have been prices to pay. But there
have also been gifts.
aware of the issues peculiar to who I am. As are we
all. I'm not really interested in a problem free life.
I get the idea of grist for the mill. I'm always trying
to see it more clearly.
had this experience years ago. A child looked at me
and said, "You're fat." It seemed to me that
the child was just testing out a word. There was no
obvious judgement. It was a simple observation. I said,"
Yes. I am." And we smiled at each other. And went
was excited about the return of The
Restaurant. It sucked me in last year because it
is a world in which I spent so much of my life. The
product placement got annoying. I wanted them to spend
more time in the kitchen. But I liked it. This year
is everything bad about the first season on steroids.
Not just product placement, all
Rocco product. The show is a pissing contest between
Rocco and his investor.
none of that is unexpected.
were two scenes in which two waiters from the first
season were talking about their negative feelings about
Rocco. They had to know the camera was there. They had
to know that Rocco would see it someday. Rocco hasn't
done much to build relationships with his crew but as
I watching I kept thinking that I wouldn't want someone
to watch me talking badly about them behind their back
on television. The whole show seems mean spirited.
don't watch the other reality shows but I see the commercials.
Women lined up compete for the "love" of a
man, or a million dollars? I can't figure that one out.
Men lined up to compete for a woman. People eating bugs.
Falling from buildings. Back stabbing in offices suites.
It's all so mean spirited.
sad part is that sometimes the restaurant industry is
just that mean.
grew up on fifties TV which was probably a little too
nice. Every family was nuclear and every problem got
solved. My family wasn't nuclear. And our problems seemed
to go on and on. I actually do like reality and reality
is complex. But if this stuff is reality ... well.
only part I liked was watching Rocco's mother make fun
of the way he throws salt at the pan. That made me laugh.
been sad for quite awhile. And I spend a
lot of time trying to work on the things
that I can work on to be less sad. But there
is a part of me that doesn't understand
how it's possible to not be sad, given all
that's going on in the world around me and
in my personal life. I know it doesn't serve
anyone for me to be collapsed in tears day
after day. So, I do what I can to rally.
And I do have wonderful friends who help
me. I've been dealing with something all
month that has been particularly hard and I don't think
I've been dealing with it very well. It is a sad thing.
No doubt about it. But, again, I can't spend my day
crying about things I can't change.
the battle in my life today. Accepting.
like this, when the flags are waving and the sales are
pushing product, I remember my battle blood soaked lineage.
Not with pride. Or shame. But with a deep need to understand
my true place in the line.