Precious Hungry Girls

Dear precious hungry girls,

I know that you think you know what’s best, and that you are doing just that – what is best for you. I know you think you are on the road to happiness.

I know the feelings of control, and what a rush that is. I will tell you, in all honesty, that the greatest drug I ever took was weight loss. THE GREATEST DRUG I EVER TOOK. The biggest rush, the biggest high. Better than booze, better than sex, better than cocaine. Better than the food I avoided, better than the food I scarfed down. I know how good it feels, I really do.

I also know that something that started for me when I was 12 stayed with me for over two decades before I even started to get help. Imagine that. Two decades. Twenty years. Imagine doing what you are doing for twenty more years, and still not being thin enough.

I know right now you think you are on a road to happiness. The control, being thin, then thinner, then the thinnest, you know, you just know you will be happy then. But the road is a lie. I promise you, it is a lie. You will get rushes of what you think is happy. When people compliment your weight loss, when you see the number on the scale go down, when you buy a smaller size and watch it go from tight to baggy, yes, you will feel a rush. And you will think that’s what happy is. But it will leave you. It took so much control, so much self-sacrifice, so much HUNGER to get you here, and in moments it is gone. You need more. It will never be enough. I promise you, you will never be thin enough. NEVER. You will never get that magic moment when you can live happily ever after in your new thin body, because thin ever after is a lie. The hunger will overwhelm you. The physical hunger, the emotional hunger, the spiritual hunger. The empty that once filled you up now leaves you more hollow than ever. There is nothing that will ever fill you up until you decide that YOU WILL NOT LIVE LIKE THIS ANYMORE. If you are smarter than I am, you will come to this point soon. Not when you are in your 30s, struggling with your weight even on the most minimal calorie diet you can manage without passing out, unable to maintain long-term relationships, forced to lie, keep secrets, and hide. You will have to hide, all the time, and hide, and hide. And one day there will be nowhere left to hide. You will see a shell of a human in the mirror, and you will know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you are dying. And the only way that you will be able to live again, is if you give this shit up. Give it up.

I promise you, it will kill you if you don’t. And even if you keep on living, it will be no life at all.

I never wanted to give it up. I was convinced if I gave it up, lost control, I would face a fate worse than death. I would get fat. Fat. The most horrible thing I could imagine. And you know what? I got fat anyway. I got fat starving myself. I got fat running until my feet bled, a throat scabbed over from my fingernails scraping it to throw up the meals I caved in and ate. I got fat anyway. Not because I “lost control” but because I ruined my metabolism. If you think it can’t happen to you, I promise you, it can. And I promise you that if you ever do get fat, you will think you have failed, lost control, and that you will never be happy until you are thin again. But maybe one day you will realize being fat isn’t the worst thing ever. Being afraid of being fat is worse. It is a prison. Because what you really fear is that you have no control. And I can tell you, that you don’t. You don’t have control. You think you do, with every calorie you count, every pound you lose, that you have control. But you don’t. You are in prison. You do not have control over your eating disorder. It has control over you. 

If you are living in fear of being fat. If you are starving yourself. If you are compulsively exercising to the point of sheer exhaustion and injury. If you are eating until your stomach feels like it might explode. If you are making yourself throw up. If you are weighing and measuring yourself constantly. If you can’t stand the thought of losing control. Then you are in a prison. And you will never escape until you stop doing all those things.

And it breaks my heart, because I know you don’t believe me. I know you think my experience is nothing like yours, that it doesn’t mean anything, that I don’t know you or what you’re going through. But I am you.

And it breaks my heart, because I love you. I know you don’t believe that. How could I love you? I do, though. I love you because I can look into your eyes and I see my young self there. The young self that wouldn’t have believed someone like me either. The young me that would have still ruined my body and my life for years on end because I was too much of a fucking coward to just surrender my precious control and my need to be right for a single goddamn second.

I know you believe, deeply, that you are right. And it breaks my heart, because I was right once too. And god, how wrong I was. And maybe now I am wrong to think my words will make any difference to anyone.

I promise you, one day, if you let yourself live, all of this will make sense to you. I hope that it is soon, for you, my precious hungry girls. I hope you live. I hope you let yourself.

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Skinny bashing: Why my hips don’t lie

I shall bravely go where no chubby chick has gone before: into the teeny tiny abyss – wait, can an abyss be tiny? – of Skinny Town. Actually, probably lots of women have traveled from Fatville to Skinny Town – repeatedly. Most women who have had any issues with food, or a pregnancy, or an illness, or a stressful time, or a depression, or started or quit an intense exercise program, or aged, or were born, have experienced some weight fluctuation. Some of us may have experienced massive weight gains and losses in our lives. I’m one of those people. But, as thin as I got, I would never, ever have described myself as “skinny.” Even at my thinnest, I had a frame that was … let’s see, what’s the word? Curvy? Hmmm, I guess I could go with curvy. My tits and ass might change sizes a bit, depending on my weight, but I know now that one song remains the same: my lips don’t lie. (Thank you, Shakira, for that tidbit of luscious poetry).

At my thinnest, I wore a 34B bra. Blouses and free-flowing frocks, I could wear the smallest women’s sizes (or sometimes even a little girls’ large). But pants? Oh hell no. I never got below a size 6 – which for those of you who don’t know, is tiny in Normalville, acceptable but kinda still disgusting in LA, and PLUS-SIZED in the modeling world. But the reason I could never buy smaller pants? HIPS. I remember being fitted for a costume once, and my heart raced as the tape measure went around my hips. Oh no… I was starving. I could hear my stomach growling. I’d run at least three miles that day. I could reach down and feel the pelvic bone jutting from my flesh, and yet… the seamstress measured me, look confused, and measured me again. “What?” I said, in a blind panic. She was surprised. She thought I was so “tiny” and yet my hips… wait for it… measured 39 1/2 inches. Yup, for those of you who aren’t too good at math, that’s half an inch shy of 40 inches. My hips are so big I’m even too much woman for Sir Mix-A-Lot (“36-24-36? Only if she’s 5’3”).

But at that moment, I realized something. No matter how much I exercised, or how little I ate, I could never actually starve away my pelvic bone. And I could still hear men say things to me like, “I like curves on a woman.” Or my extra-special favorite: “I like a woman with a little meat on her bones.” Yea, you never get tired of hearing that one. And that goes for all of us. Because trust me, the skinny chicks hear it too. But men say it to put them down; to make them feel less womanly. To denigrate them.

So I think it’s time we got a few things straight AND curvy. I’ve been seeing a lot of crap on Facebook (it comes in waves and was all over the place about a month ago) with images and messages that are high-fiving the curvy chicks. “When did THIS become hotter than THIS?” (With pictures of current Hollywood bods that are very close to skeletal and vintage pin-up shots of Betty, Jayne, Marilyn and Liz). Or with similar types of photos with a similar caption “Fuck Hollywood. THIS (curvy) is hotter than THIS (thin).”

Now to be clear, just as I defended us “bigger”girls and braced myself for the criticism of “fat is unhealthy” I do also realize that starving yourself to the point of emaciation is unhealthy. Yes, as a former member of the ED (eating disorder) community, I have a better shot at identifying someone with an eating disorder than the average person who has not had one. But to reiterate my previous point that you can’t always tell by a person’s body whether or not they’re “healthy,” I will say that the body can carry clues but there is something in a person’s attitude that gives them away. Women who are starving themselves are harried, frightened, living on the edge, terrified of losing control and it is almost as if you can smell the pheromones of fading flesh oozing from their pores. Even women who are “recovered” I can usually spot. I recognize the scars.

That being said, I can usually tell something else about a woman: whether or not she is operating in her “natural” body type. I am not criticizing any woman if she works really hard to stay in shape, or if she eats a little indulgently and carries a few extra pounds because of it. All I’m saying is: we have a natural body type.

Humans are very varied. Height, hair color, hair texture, eye color and skin color are just a few of the things that make up the package. What about more subtle things? How fast does your hair grow? Does it grow? Did it already fall out? Do you have big feet even though you’re short? Small hands even though you’re tall? Are you naturally muscular? What about the inside? Is your metabolism fast or slow? Are you genetically predisposed to cancer? To diabetes? The list is endless. And of the things on that list, there is only so much we can change. We are taught we can change almost all of it now. Dye your hair, get a hair transplant, a boob job, a face lift, work out harder, gain muscle, lose fat, ward off cancer, get a lap band, hell you can even get surgery now to make yourself TALLER. Seriously. Painful, expensive surgery, so you can be a little taller. (Not A LOT taller motherfucker, only a LITTLE taller). So, because we can change so much about ourselves, we can all strive toward the same ideal:

PERFECTION.

Should be easy enough, right? Tell us, oh great media whores, what the “ideal” is, and what things we can do and more importantly, buy to reach it, and we will all be fucking perfect. Only the ideal changes, doesn’t it?

Not so long ago, I came across vintage weight gain ads. If you haven’t seen this, it’s worth checking out: http://www.retronaut.co/2011/11/vintage-weight-gain-ads/. I posted it on Facebook, and got a lot of comments about how great it was that “curvy” was making a “comeback.” And it’s so great, right? Also, men love curvy women! Right? Sometimes? This ad’s first headline is “Men wouldn’t look at me when I was skinny!” Now, I actually posted the ads to make a point, quite different from the point “curvy is awesome – skinny sucks.” The point I wanted to make was this: Misogyny has been around a while, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Women suck if they’re too skinny, and they suck if they’re too fat.

Now, I throw around the word “misogyny” a lot. I think it’s pretty clear that it’s rampant.  For the most part, it seems that men in power (and men not in power) quite often, really HATE women. But it doesn’t end there. You see, the definition of misogyny is quite simple: the hatred of women or girls. So it isn’t just men who hate women. Women hate women too. It’s often pointed out that women are their own worst enemy. We let jealousy, and competitiveness and pettiness and insecurity bring down our Self, and our fellow Goddesses. And why? Because someone decided that curvy or thin, or tall or petite, or blond or brunette, or girl-next-door or exotic is “sexy”? And who is someone? The media? Hollywood movies? Victoria’s Secret? Some man? Which man? Any man? I mean, seriously, who the fuck is in charge of this shit anyway?

Every time we buy into the idea of an “ideal” we lose touch with the Goddess, The Feminine Mystique, and with our own humanity. 

Curvy is not better than thin. Thin is not better than curvy. Nothing is “better.” It just IS. I make an effort not to rag on fat people.  Sure, when I hate someone, I find myself saying things like “fat ass” or “skinny bitch” but I really do try. I try not to jump on the Kim Kardashian has a giant butt bandwagon. I mock her because she comes across as a shallow, stupid, vacuous, ridiculous media whore with no discernible talent. I don’t care how big her ass is. If she was totally awesome, and my BFF, I would think her butt was beautiful.

I’m working really hard now on not “skinny bashing” either. It’s hard not to. I’m jealous of thin women. And, it’s hard not to look at these emaciated actresses (who didn’t used to be that skinny) and not think they have an eating disorder. Maybe they do. Shit, how could they not? They are under a tremendous pressure to remain rail thin. Hell, if the average woman who isn’t modeling lingerie, appearing in a romantic comedy as America’s sweetheart or being constantly interviewed about her fitness and diet secrets feels a tremendous pressure to remain thin, what must these women in the spotlight be going through? God, I can actually feel compassion toward them sometimes. When I’m not getting caught up in my stupid female jealousy.

And what about those women you know personally? The naturally thin ones. Come on, we’ve all known a few. Maybe you’re one of them. My jealousy used to eat me alive. (Or maybe that was my starvation diet). I wanted to be thin so bad I could hardly stand to look at thin people. But then, I’ve known a few, and guess what? They suffer too. Thin isn’t necessarily the free pass to happiness we chubsters want to believe it is.

Just as fat people have to hear about how it is “their fault” that they are fat, because they are lazy weak piggies who eat everything in the cupboard, thin people get asked how they do it. What’s your secret? Do you eat? Are you anorexic? How do you you stay in shape? Hell, I get asked about my thin friends. “How does she do it?” It’s pretty simple I say. She’s thin. But how? She’s thin. She’s made that way. I’m not saying she doesn’t take care of herself, but I could match her bite for bite, do the exact same exercise, for the exact same time, and guess what? She’d still be thinner than me. The only way I might win the thin contest is if I were to suffer some debilitating disease at the same time she got pregnant with octuplets. And even then, I’d still have that giant pelvic bone to contend with. Ooh! Maybe I could carry the octuplets for her, nestled in my giant pelvis. But I digress.

My point is this: I have a naturally thin friend, and she happens to be one of the best people I’ve ever known. A true goddess. A life-saver. A fortress. And she has one of  the most beautiful bodies I’ve ever seen in real life. And you know what? Men have said shitty things to her too. Men have put her down for not being “curvy.” And she has narrow hips. I envied them for years, until I learned to accept my hips for what they are – wide. Our hips don’t lie. They are made up of bone and flesh and our own genetic maps.

We, as women, need to stop putting each other’s bodies down. Skinny bashing isn’t any “cooler” than fat bashing – no matter how many glamorous shots of Marilyn you put up to justify it. Making a woman feel like she is “less” of a woman because she has narrow hips or tiny tits or an itty-bitty booty is just as bad as making her feel like “less” of a woman if those lady parts are bigger. It’s fucking ridiculous. We can’t win for losing – or for gaining. It’s all a way of keeping us down. Men do it every time they tell us we are a little too thick, or a little too thin for their taste, and we shouldn’t buy into it. Fuck them. Most of those assholes would fuck every last one of us anyway, fat or thin, and not call the next day either.

I am glad that “curvy” is making a “comeback” in a way. I have worked really hard to accept my body as it is, as it was, and as it will be, regardless of the weight I’m operating at, and it’s a challenge every day. It would be fucking awesome if I didn’t have to just do it all on my own. If other people thought I was sexy too. It feels good to be told you’re sexy. We all want that. I want that. But I want to feel comfortable in my own skin too. My being sexy doesn’t need to mean that other women aren’t sexy. Ladies, our sexiness isn’t mutually exclusive. It’s mutually inclusive. The fact that we are so varied is what makes each and every one of us that much hotter. If we were all exactly the same, none of us could be the hottest. Because we’re different, in a way, we can all be the hottest.

So, Goddesses, just so you know, I plan on being really, really sexy most of the time. But I promise not to do it at YOUR expense.

And fellas, if you’re reading this, (which I doubt you are): BEWARE. If we women ever stop wasting our energy on bullshit jealousy of each other, we will most assuredly have the strength to take over the world. So, stay on our good side.

As Long As She’s Healthy

Well, last week was National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, and it’s appalling that Her Body Politic didn’t blog about it. But… what can I say? Lately, my life has been taken up by other things: unrelenting grief, pain, loss, tidal waves of violent hysteria and feelings and thoughts so dark that I wonder if I will ever be able to share them with another human being. Enough of that.

Here’s what I wanted to write last week:

“As long as she’s healthy.”

I’ve seen this phrase more and more recently, and it’s starting to get on my fucking already rattled nerves. Now granted, I know that because of the stress I’m under, and the pain I’m in, there’s a good chance that I am just a giant bitch. I’m willing to accept that. I’d apologize for it… but fuck that. I’m sick to death of apologizing for shit that I didn’t do, wouldn’t do, haven’t done, or have had done to me by other people. This is an epidemic among women, and certainly chronic in my case. How many times have I said, “I’m sorry,” when I had nothing to be sorry for? Countless times.

If you get a chance, check out “The Body is Not an Apology” on Facebook. I dig this page, because at first I was like, “What? What does that even mean?” And then I realized… how long I lived my life, constantly apologizing, for being me. I apologized for “being fat” (whether I was or not isn’t even the point) by starving myself, devaluing myself, and carrying around a belief that the bigger I was, the less of a person I was, and that the rules were different for me. Every human being needs food to survive. Period. If you don’t eat, or receive any nourishment, eventually, you will die. There are no exceptions. I believed I was an exception. That every morsel of food I put in my mouth was a sign of my weakness; that I should be able to survive without sustenance, where others could not.

I believed that the outside mattered most, what I looked like could tell you exactly who I was. If I am fat, I am weak, unhealthy, and lazy. If I am thin, I am strong, healthy and motivated.

I can post pictures (and I probably will at some point) of myself, “healthy” (translate: “thin”). And I can assure you that when the picture was taken, I was mentally ill and most likely starving – physically and emotionally.

I can also show you pictures of myself “unhealthy” (translate: “fat”). And I can assure you that I have come leaps and bounds in terms of my mental, physical and emotional health. The sadness I’m experiencing in my life is directly related to grief and loss and has virtually nothing to do with the way I look.

I recently saw a picture of a woman in a very challenging yoga pose (on the page I mentioned above; see below). It’s a very cool photo. She is completely nude, balanced on one knee and the tips of her fingers. The caption read something about the “lines and curves” of the human body. Her body? Large. The picture? Beautiful, artistic. You can imagine the onslaught of comments.yoga pose

 

One of them of course being “as long as she’s healthy.” I’m SO FUCKING SICK of hearing this phrase. People say it about Adele. “As long as she’s healthy.” She’s a fucking singer ass-face, not a bikini model, and further more it’s her business if she wants to wear a bikini. And the woman in this photo above? She posed for a fucking picture. It’s art. Who cares what she ate or if she runs on a treadmill? It’s art. She’s not advertising some weight loss pill or exercise equipment and claiming to “be healthy,” she’s posing for a goddamn picture. And even if she were promoting a “healthy lifestyle” and you think she isn’t healthy, how about this plan? Think for yourself, dumb-ass. You decide what’s healthy for you, let her decide it for her.

The reason this phrase – “as long as she’s healthy” – bothers me is two-fold:

First: when you condescendingly say “as long as she’s healthy,” I believe it carries the implication that she’s not. If a woman has a “great body” – in other words, she fits into the narrow idea our culture has of a great body – she is assumed to be healthy. I’m sure some people have used this annoying phrase to describe super-thin women too, but mostly I’ve heard it specifically in reference to a woman who is not thin. I feel it necessary to repeat something I posted in one of my earlier blogs: YOU CANNOT TELL BY LOOKING AT A PERSON WHETHER OR NOT THEY ARE “HEALTHY.” If their body is dead, they are no longer breathing and their flesh is starting to decompose, maybe then could you say something about what’s going on. “Oh shit, that motherfucker is DEAD.” If they are coughing up blood, you can see that they have a pretty severe gunshot wound, and their flesh is turning necrotic, you may be able to hazard a guess that they are a little “unhealthy.” If they approach you and say, “please for the love of god help me, I’m so unhealthy!,” you may get the idea that they are “unhealthy.” But if they are thin, fat, or anywhere in between, and that is your only criteria for judgment, you don’t know shit about their “health.”

Second: Maybe, just maybe, the person you’re saying this about, isn’t healthy. Okay, so fucking what? You don’t fucking know her. She’s a stranger. Maybe it’s none of your goddamn business what she does. Maybe she’s got a giant ass and she had two cans of Reddi-Whip for breakfast, and she’s happy with that. Shut the fuck up and worry about your own health. She’s not your personal trainer or your nutritionist? Don’t fucking worry about what she’s eating or if she exercises. If you love and care about someone, and they are doing something to harm themselves – starving, overeating, binge-drinking, smoking, shooting heroin into their eye sockets – then, okay, you have a personal relationship with that person, and you say, “hey I’m worried about you because…” and you fucking talk about it. But if you don’t know the person: it’s none of your business.

So, now for the onslaught of “obesity” rants. People feel like they need to butt in on all kinds of shit people do. Oh my god, obesity is an epidemic, second-hand smoke kills, drinking is bad, teen pregnancy is on the rise, fast food is disgusting, sugar = Satan. They spout all kinds of statistics about how many deaths per year are caused by these social diseases and addictions we have, and that it’s costing taxpayers bazillions of dollars in medical costs. Employers are losing money because we are taking too many sick days to smoke cigarettes and eat Big Macs and we are calling in fat to work.

Oh. My. God. There is a line between “educating the public” about the dangers of something, and “banning and ranting,” and I believe we’ve crossed it. When we rant about the ills of something, and possibly try to ban it, a few things happen. First of all, we desire it that much more.

Example: I hate Big Macs. They are disgusting. When I say I never eat them, I mean, I NEVER fucking eat them. But if I knew they were going to be banned? If someone told me I couldn’t have one? I can tell you I’d be running out to get one so fast that I’d burn all the calories it has getting to it. Vilifying something often makes it that much more appealing.

Next, we set something up as bad, we feel bad when we do it, and we also judge one another for doing it. “Oh gross, can you believe how much sugar she eats? That’s disgusting.” Because of my struggle with my weight, I used to feel (and I still fight this one) that if I ate something “bad” I should apologize for it. “I’m just really craving garlic bread, I don’t know why. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Is it PMS?” Yet a skinny person has every right to down an entire sheet cake, and she doesn’t need to apologize for shit? Well, that sucks.

I eat a lot more spinach than I do cake, but if I want to eat cake, I want to do it without judgment. I don’t want some asshole telling me that I’m unhealthy.

Let us eat cake. If we want to.

Let us be judged by the content of our character, and not by the size of our jeans… or the size of our genes.

And if you think genes don’t make a difference, try walking a mile in my metabolism.

And when you are wondering whether or not someone is “healthy,” remember that even if you could judge their physical health by looking at them, do you really think you can judge their mental, emotional, and spiritual health by looking at them? And do you really think these things are less important than physical health, or that they’re not ALL CONNECTED? If you don’t realize how connected they all are, then you aren’t “healthy” either. And even if someone tells you how “healthy” she is, and you think she looks great and has a winning smile, remember: people with eating disorders are very good liars.

I agree that the Body should never be an apology, and I know that sometimes the body is a lie. It tells ignorant people all kinds of things about the owner of it that are simply untrue.

My body is a truth. A truth of everything I have put it through, good or bad, up to this point. Only I really know that truth, and sometimes even I can get a little fuzzy on that, so the last thing I need is anyone else confusing the issue.

Why I don’t diet

Today’s letter is “D.” D for Diet. Another dirty, dangerous, destructive word for many people. Certainly for me.

How sad is it that people are starving, here in this country, and all over the world and yet our fatasses are still bragging about the latest “diet” we are on?

Well, not me… anymore. I gave up dieting. Do you know why? Because it doesn’t work. Diets make you fat. I actually looked perfectly fine, and wasn’t overweight, until I tried to get skinnier. I made a real mess of me. If you can go “on” a diet, you can go “off” it, and with every round of on-again/off-again you can put on more weight.

People who are utterly clueless about the living hell of an eating disorder might hear me say “I don’t diet. I won’t diet. Period.,” and start in on the judging.

Well, no wonder she’s fat. She refuses to diet.

Damn, she’s just giving up.

She’s just going to let herself go.

She’s one of those fat feminist types, probably a lesbian because no man will want her if she doesn’t take care of herself.

Lazy bitch.

So, let me be clear: I didn’t give up dieting because I lack willpower, or because I’m too lazy, or it’s too much trouble. I don’t diet because IT DOESN’T FUCKING WORK.

I didn’t give up dieting so I could eat bags of Big Macs, boxes of donuts and multi-layered cakes. I gave it up because IT DOESN’T FUCKING WORK.

I didn’t stop dieting because I like being fat, I stopped because IT DOESN’T FUCKING WORK.

I didn’t give up dieting because I’m self-destructive and want to DIE of a heart attack, high cholesterol and diabetes. I gave it up because I love myself and I want to LIVE.

I eat healthy food, most of the time. I eat small portions, most of the time. I don’t eat a lot of fast food or a lot of sugar. I don’t order lots of pizzas. I don’t drink any soda (regular or diet). I don’t use sugar or artificial sweeteners in any of my beverages.

But I live. I don’t deny myself everything all the time. I don’t starve myself. I don’t set myself up for failure anymore. I don’t restrict my calories in an unhealthy way. I don’t have “forbidden” foods. I avoid foods that make me feel sick or crappy, which is why I limit (not eliminate) sugar and other refined carbohydrates, fast food, fried food, and processed food.

A year ago, I was diagnosed as hypothyroid (yes, that’s the fat, tired kind). Before being diagnosed, I knew something was wrong with me. So now, not only was “dieting” out, but just trying to eat healthy and exercise did absolutely NOTHING for me. I just kept gaining weight. I was so tired, all the time, I could barely drive a car because I would nod off at stop lights. I would drag myself through a one or two (if I could even do it) mile jog. I never got any good feelings, no endorphin rushes from it. I would collapse after it, utterly exhausted and fall asleep. My weight was at an all-time high, and nothing helped. I couldn’t restrict my calories much more without risking lowering my metabolism even more. But I didn’t like weighing so much that I felt unhealthy.

Here I am, a year later. The medication I’m on helps tremendously. I still have to battle being tired, and I’ve just accepted the fact that I need more sleep than most people to function at my best. I don’t beat myself up for being “lazy” because of it. I give myself a break. I know that because of my under-active thyroid, I have to live a certain way. I do exercise, but I do things I enjoy because if I try to do things I hate, I won’t stick with it. I limit refined carbohydrates because they make me more tired, shaky and sluggish. I eat lots of fiber and high iodine foods because it helps my energy levels. It’s taken a year, but I’m 22 pounds lighter. I don’t have a goal weight in mind. I only weigh myself to keep myself “on track.” My weight fluctuates a few pounds here and there, which is normal, especially for a woman. I know that I will weigh more right before my period, but less right after it. I don’t obsess on the end result, because there is no “end result” – this is my life. I don’t care how much weight I lose, I care about how good I feel, and I care about maintaining a weight that feels right TO ME. I don’t give a raging shit-fuck what Hollywood thinks, what the fashion industry advertises, or what narrow-minded judgmental ass-fucks say. No offense, but I don’t give shit what you think, about my weight. I don’t believe that I’m less of a person because I weigh more than… whomever. I don’t believe I need to be thin in order to be loved. I don’t believe I need to be thin to attract a man. Sure, some men might think I’m too fat, but so what? Hell, some men might think I’m too thin. Chubby chasers are real y’all.

My rant about skinny privilege also has me thinking that if you have plenty, if you’re the kind of person that still thinks you need to “go on a diet”: You are very privileged.  You have more than enough, enough that you feel you should allow yourself less. Maybe “fat” is a privilege too. Maybe, you’re not even fat. But if you continue “dieting,” there is a good chance you will be.

I gave up dieting, and I have lost 22 pounds. I will probably lose more. But I won’t do it by dieting. I will do it by showing myself some goddamn respect.

I am a woman. I refuse to diet… and I’m thinking… yeah, that’s a political statement… a political statement smothered and covered in melted cheese and cream gravy.

Skinny Wednesday.

So, since yesterday was Fat Tuesday, and everyone parties and overindulges, and today is the first day of Lent, and you’re supposed to give something up, I figured I would dub it “Skinny Wednesday.” Because for some of us, we’d have to give up an awful lot to be “skinny.” And I see a lot of people saying they’re giving up sweets, desserts, refined sugar… hmmm… so are they giving it up to prove how strong their wills are, how devoted to Jesus they are? Isn’t there some secret part (or not-so-secret part) of them that’s thinking that an added benefit will be: WEIGHT LOSS. Woohoo! Skinny jeans for Jesus! Yippee! What could be better, more exciting than losing weight? Well, I can tell you, as  a former weight loss junkie, there is no greater high. Watching the number go down on the scale was the best drug I ever took. Until it destroyed me, of course.

So, I ranted on Fat yesterday. Today, I rant on Skinny. Just as Fat was my own personal demon, Skinny was my dream girl, what I believed to be my true inner self – as soon as I lost enough weight, that is. Those who know me already know this, but those who don’t, I even wrote a play where the three female characters (all based on me) were named Fat Girl, Skinny Girl & Sexy Girl. (The play is called Crack Whore, Bulimic, Girl-Next-Door and it was produced at the Psychic Visions Theatre in the summer of 2006, and again in the summer of 2009).

I remember one man I dated for five years saying to me, “Sigh – (that’s him sighing, he didn’t actually say, “sigh”) Skinny doesn’t equal sexy.” I had no idea what the hell he was talking about. Of course skinny equaled sexy! Every image in the media said so. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that as soon as I was skinny enough, true happiness would be mine. And I learned the hard way that there is no such thing as “skinny enough” when you need it to provide all of your happiness, and the fulfillment of all your hopes and dreams. I mean seriously, that’s a lot of pressure to put on “skinny” – even as awesome and empowering as you might think Skinny is.

So, how awesome and empowering is it to be SKINNY? Well, I think it’s pretty awesome. I’ve been thin enough in my adult life to wear clothes I bought in the little girls’ section. Shopping IS WAY FUCKING EASIER if you are thin. Trust me on this one. My weight has fluctuated in a 70+ pound range. I know what I’m talking about. It’s easier, when buying modern clothes, to be skinny. It just is. Any skinny woman who tells you differently is lying, has no idea how hard it is to buy clothes when you’re not skinny because she’s never been fat, or doesn’t actually realize she’s skinny. (Although I will say that there is sometimes an exception if you are trying on vintage clothes from the 50s and 60s. If you are very thin, you can’t always fill them out. Shows you how much times have changed and how much our perception of “the perfect body” has changed).

So, that has me thinking about privilege. I’ve recently read two articles (don’t remember where) about privilege. One was about “white privilege.”  The article was basically like, “White people need to acknowledge their white privilege.” Holy crap, I thought. I’ve already got white guilt, now I’ve got to acknowledge my white privilege? How the hell do I that? Is it okay to just say “I acknowledge my white privilege. I understand that the color of my skin makes life so much easier than it would be if it were any other color, especially here in America.” Okay. So who do I say it to? Do I bring it up at parties? Do I send an email blast to my “friends of color”? Do I approach ethnic people on the street and announce my deep, true understanding of my privilege?

Dictionary.com defines acknowledge as:

ac·knowl·edge

[ak-nol-ij]

verb (used with object), -edged, -edg·ing.

1. to admit to be real or true; recognize the existence, truth,or fact of.
2. to show or express recognition or realization of.
3. to recognize the authority, validity, or claims of.
4. to show or express appreciation or gratitude for.
5. to indicate or make known the receipt of.

Okay. So I admit it. I guess. Isn’t it kind of hard to acknowledge my white privilege when I really, truly cannot begin to acknowledge what it’s really like to be anything else? Can I show appreciation and gratitude for “being white?” Doesn’t that make me a racist? I mean sure, I can say I “recognize the existence, truth, or fact of my whiteness and its privileges” but then what? Have I made ethnic people feel better? Have I eradicated racism? Have I accomplished something? I’m left feeling as if I should apologize for the color of my skin, but that it won’t really matter in the end or change anything in the world. I’m left wishing the color of my skin, your skin, our skin really didn’t matter. If people would just stop being fucking racists, no one would have to acknowledge their white privilege, because it wouldn’t exist. Wouldn’t that be nifty?

So let me walk a mile in some shoes I understand. Fat shoes. This brings me to the other thing I read, which was about “Skinny privilege.” Same basic point: “Skinny people – i.e., those with high metabolisms that don’t have to worry about every morsel they put in their mouths because they are naturally skinny – need to acknowledge that they are privileged.” Okay, now I get it. Even when I was relatively thin, I had to torture myself to stay that way. But I still experienced a certain – freedom of movement. Like I said, shopping for clothes is easier. But no one assumed I was just this “privileged” skinny person. If they weren’t negative and critical assholes, they might ask how I stayed in such great shape, or say things like “you obviously take care of yourself.”  (The irony is that I’m “healthier” now than I was then because mentally, emotionally and physically, I’m not as self-destructive. But most people would probably think the other, thinner me looked “healthier.”)

So, with my sluggish metabolism, which is partly genetics, made even worse by years of bingeing and purging, and now middle-age and hypothryoidism, I don’t have to eat very many calories to maintain my “voluptuous” body. Lucky me. And yeah, sometimes I want to stab skinny women right in their prominent rib cages when they talk about the bag of Oreos they ate for dinner while pointing out how baggy their size 4 jeans are fitting them lately. So, what should I do? Force them to acknowledge their skinny privilege? Acknowledge it bitch! Just admit it! Come on! What if they do? If all the skinny people just come up to me and acknowledge how privileged they are, will I feel better? Maybe for a second. Hey, thanks for noticing I’m fat and you’re not!  But then what? Will it raise my metabolism? Will it take me down a dress size? Will it mean I can eat as much as I want without gaining weight? No.

If by “acknowledging” one’s skinny or white privilege, one is somehow implying that “it’s better to be white and/or skinny” then aren’t we taking a step back from true progress by doing so? What if Fat and Black became the new White and Skinny? What if no one had to apologize for their appearance anymore?

As empowering as it is to say “No” to any more dieting or self-torture to maintain what is for me, an unrealistic and impossible body type, I can hazard a guess that “skinny” has its privileges. So does “white.” That’s just the way our world still is.

So, to the Black/Latin/Asian/Middle Eastern/Native American/Eskimo/etc community: I acknowledge my white privilege.

To the “skinny” community: You owe me an acknowledgement.

I guess if you are skinny & ethnic, we can call it even.

But seriously, if “skinny” wasn’t treated better than “fat” we wouldn’t need to acknowledge that “privilege” either.

Maybe I’m just a dreamer, but I hope we can just get past all this stupid shit someday, and just “imagine all the people.”

That’s it. Just imagine them.

What do they look like?

Happy Skinny Wednesday, all you people who are privileged enough to be breathing, right…. now.

Fat rant

Well, it’s Fat Tuesday. Ugh. Fat. My own personal “N” word. Wait, I can’t say that. I can’t compare abhorrent racism to being a fat-ass, can I? Damn. Okay, I apologize to the Black community. Again. (I’m sure I’ve said some other stupid-ass white shit at some point).

So, the “F” word. Not THAT “F” word silly. FAT. For those of us who are fat, were fat, think we’re fat, or have been called fat (and that’s a lot of people) the word fat can be at best cringe-worthy, and at worst, debilitating. You never even have to have been fat a day in your life to have felt fat or be referred to as fat. We throw it around pretty often.

Hey Fat ass. Fat lazy piece of shit. I hate that fat bitch. Who does that fat loser think she is? But when did “fat” become “phat?” What about a fat crib, a fat ride? Or is that a phat ride? What the hell would I know? I don’t think I’ve ever been called “phat” but boy-oh-boy have I been called “fat.” A lot.

I have been told to lose weight more times than I can count. I have been asked about my baby’s due date more times than I can count. (I’ve never been pregnant). Hell, the first time someone asked me if I was pregnant I think I weighed less than 120 pounds.

I’ve stood in a bar while a total stranger (a man) yelled in my face, “You’re fucking fat!” Out of the blue. I’m still not sure why that happened. Even if I was fat, who the hell is that rude? Jeez.

Lately, it’s struck me as odd that I actually heard a lot more fat criticism when I was much, much thinner than I hear now. People actually look shocked when I talk about my body issues, or admit my past eating disorder. “You? Really? But you’re not even overweight.” Wait. What? I’m not? (Of course doctors at free clinics still love to tell me how fat I am and that I should cut back on all the fried foods I’m eating. Again – what? What? Fried foods? Seriously? They’re bad for you? Who knew? And I’m eating them? Who knew?)

But all of this makes me think I was “fatter” when I was thin. Maybe “fat” can be a state of mind. After all, it was all I thought about, all I talked about. I was fucking obsessed. I’m fat. I’m fat. I said it like a bazillion times a day. I could take any conversation and make it about my weight.

Example:

My friend: “So it’s totally annoying but I keep getting my neighbor’s phone bill in my mail, and then I have to go knock on his door and give him his mail, and he’s creepy so it weirds me out.”

Me: “I wish my mailbox was further away because I could really use the exercise. And I hate my neighbor too, because I saw him talking to his girlfriend the other day, and I’m pretty sure he was telling her how much weight I’ve gained. And I hope I don’t ever have to knock on his door cause my chubby fingers might just break right through the wood with their heaviness.”

In case you haven’t figured it out yet: I was straight-up crazy. My body dysmorphic disorder was crippling. I was totally paranoid too. I actually thought everyone had gotten together and planned something really funny: Everyone keep telling Marnie that she isn’t fat, even though she is, it will drive her crazy. I felt as if everyone was running around saying “the sky is orange” when I knew damn well it was blue. But everyone was in on it.

Comments about my body involving words like “curvy,” “voluptuous,” “luscious,” and so on, years ago would have sent me running. All I heard was “fat” and it was enough to have me sobbing so hard I puked and cut ribbons of bright red blood into my flesh. Now, those same words can make me think I’m so sexy that it’s dangerous to leave the house.

But fat. Could I handle that one yet? What if someone called me fat? What if I am, “fat?” I mean, what’s fat anyway? Bigger than a size 6? A BMI of more than 26? I think it’s relative. I grew up in the 80’s when tiny tits and narrow hips, lean and slender, sliding into Gloria Vanderbilt jeans was the symbol of beauty. But what if I had been born in the early 1600’s and Rubens was putting an ad on craigslist (or however they did it back then) for models to paint? I’d get the job over someone like, say… Keira Knightley.

But this is not 1621, and “fat” is still a dirty word. I refuse though, to believe, as some people certainly seem to, that fat is more than just a possibly hurtful physical description, that it says something about who you really are on the inside.

Fat is not a character flaw.

Being fat does not mean a person is weak. It does not mean they are lazy, or lack willpower. It does not mean they are stupid, dirty, or uneducated.

Fat happens. Skinny happens. And no matter how smart you think you are, how much you think you know about a person by looking at them, and judging them, you don’t know shit. You don’t know shit about that person’s journey. How they used to look, how they will look later, and why they look the way they look now.

I saw a (stupid) woman’s comment on a picture of a young model on the Facebook page “Healthy is the New Skinny.” (Clearly, they promote “healthy” bodies over “skinny at any cost” bodies). The model was quite pretty, not skinny, not fat. The woman went off on the model saying there is no way she could be healthy because she was at least a size 12, and something along the lines of her obviously being “addicted to sugar.” Really bitch? So you know, for a fact, by looking at a picture of a woman that she is ADDICTED TO SUGAR? Not even just eats it, or likes it, but is addicted. It’s not like she’s holding a box of sugar cubes and wearing a shirt that says, “I can’t stop eating sugar because I’m a fat lazy piece of shit sugar addict.”  This kind of ignorance blows my mind. I want to grab a woman that stupid and force-feed her processed cheese until she gains so much weight she is smothered by her own fat rolls. But I don’t have that kind of time and money, because processed cheese is expensive. And I’d have to buy tons of it because she’s OBVIOUSLY ADDICTED TO VELVEETA and I can tell by looking at her.

So, enough of my Fat Rant. Happy Fat Tuesday everyone. Think twice before you call somebody fat. In another time  or place they might be a sex symbol. They might be a goddamn sex symbol right here, right now and you’re too narrow-minded to see it.

I know I’m phat. I’m one phat-ass fuckin’ political statement.

Body blog.

It’s been bugging me as of late that I don’t have a body blog. What exactly is a “body blog” you ask? Well, hell if I know. It’s just stuck in my head.

A body. I live inside one. So do you. Unless you are a disembodied spirit reading this, in which case… cool! I’d love to have followers on more than one plane of existence. But back to bodies (no offense to the disembodied spirits), I can’t stop thinking about them. Physical body. Damn, her body’s tight. Check out his body. Body of work. Body of proof. Body of text. Paint and body shop. Body building. Body mass index. Body fat calculator. Bodies, the exhibition. Adrien Body. Wait, that’s Brody. But he’s got a body. A nice long skinny body. And when his body got all up in Beyonce’s luscious scrumptious body, in Cadillac Records, well, my body got pretty turned on. But enough.

I called this Her Body Politic because “the” body politic was already taken (and also refers to a 70’s gay Canadian monthly magazine), and also because I think Woman, and Her Body has become, maybe even more so as of late, a political issue, and a political statement. It seems that a woman can walk out her door, and by that very act alone, be a political statement. What we wear, what we eat, whether or not we marry, who we marry, what reproductive choices we make, how much we weigh, how big or little our tits are, how we walk, how high we hold our heads, how often we open up our mouths for ourselves, our girlfriends, our sisters, our lovers, our mothers, makes a political statement.

I was born into a female body. I have been told I was fat when I wasn’t fat. I have been overweight and told I had the “perfect body.” I am in my 40’s and have never been married. I have never had children, which was my choice. I have been on oral contraception most of my adult life, because I don’t want children, and because my periods were debilitating without it. My breasts are probably not the same size as yours, nor are they even the same size as each other. I have scars on my arms and legs. I put them there. I have scars on my heart. Life put them there. I have numerous tattoos. I do not “dress my age.” Hollywood and the Fashion Industry would consider me obese, but then they think a size 6 is “plus-size.” I refuse to diet. I refuse to throw up my meals. I refuse to starve myself on purpose. I exercise when, and if I feel like it. I am hypothyroid. What, and how much I eat is nobody’s business but I bet it’s less than you think it is if you are judging me based on the size of my jeans. I hate buying clothes, but I love buying lingerie. I might be wearing some right now, but not letting anyone see it. Sometimes I look at myself and think I am a straight-up disaster. Sometimes I look at myself and think it’s irresponsible to be this sexy.

I am a woman. I am a political statement.