Live Long and Prosper

LLAP

Leonard Nimoy, 1931 – 2015

I’ve been a fan of Star Trek since I was a kid, and the Spock character was always one of my favorites.  But aside from embodying an iconic character and just generally being a kick-ass dude, Nimoy also supported the Size/Fat Acceptance movement.

I own an incredible collection of photography that he put together called The Full Body Project in which he explored the nude form of a group of burlesque performers, none of whom have bodies that conform to narrow societal beauty standards, but all of whom are comfortable in and proud of the bodies they have.  Here’s the NYT review from 2007 in which Nimoy is interviewed.

RIP, Mr. Nimoy.  You made the world a better place.

(Please note: I found the above image through a Google Image search.  It was connected to a Pinterest account.  I have no idea if it’s copyrighted or who it belongs to, I just thought it was cool.  If it’s yours, I will credit or remove upon request.)

Fetishism for fetishism’s sake does not help Size Acceptance

A young man named David Lopera is in the news for running a little side business for which he photoshops pictures of thin female celebrities to look bigger.  And while this may seem like a boon to Size Acceptance, I don’t believe it is.

I don’t like the fetish element to this, and that seems to be what his clients are paying for.  In interviews, he talks about clients wanting to see a larger version of a favorite celebrity, and Lopera himself discusses feeling that certain women look better heavier.

Now, of course, I am an openly bisexual fat admirer, so the fetish part of my brain saw this and was like, Well, hey!  But the intellectual part of my brain quickly swooped in and said, Shut up, you!  Fetishism for the sake of fetishism and oversexualization of women is bad!  So while my lizard brain is still cowering in its neurons, let me explain why even as someone who admires fat bodies, I find Lopera’s project problematic.

Continue reading “Fetishism for fetishism’s sake does not help Size Acceptance”

The perils of chasing ideas

Like a lot of writers (and other creative types), I tend to suffer from Too Many Ideas At Once.  Which means that I start projects, but have trouble focusing on just one or two things, because ideas come at me randomly, and I chase them, and soon I’m somewhere that I never expected to be.  And for a while, I thought that was what I needed to do, because I was so afraid of possibly losing an idea.  The loss of an idea just seemed devastatingly awful to me for a long time.

But things have changed.

Continue reading “The perils of chasing ideas”

Hospitals at midnight

This past week, I was woken up in the middle of the night.  I got up, and got dressed, and had to drive someone who was in pain to the emergency room at midnight.  The good thing about driving in the middle of the night is that you can get to your destination quickly, but even though there was little traffic hindering our progress, I was a ball of anxiety the entire time.

Hospitals at midnight are strange places.  When you pull up to the emergency room, and give you name, and sit down to wait, and look around, you know that everyone else who is in there is like you – there because something is really wrong, because something is happening that can’t wait for daylight.  There’s an apprehension in the air in ER waiting rooms.

Continue reading “Hospitals at midnight”

So, that’s done.

Another job is over, and on Monday, I start a new one.  This is a Very Good Thing but I can’t help but feel that as far as general awesomeness goes, my new coworkers have a lot to live up to, because my now former ones are pretty fucking cool.  (I mean, you know.  Most of them.  But the ones that are cool are COOL.)

This morning I’m nursing a tad bit of a hangover and a whole lot of nerves, because the new job is a bit higher level than the last one and there are Expectations & Things.  I think it’s good.  The last job was comfortable but ceased to be challenging in any meaningful way.  The growth potential was limited.

Later I’m heading up to Fort Collins to celebrate.  New beginnings and all that.

 

 

How to be a girl at work

So the other day I was reading this article about Bjork on Feministing, and this particular quote from her stuck out:

I learned—the hard way—that if I was going to get my ideas through, I was going to have to pretend that they—men—had the ideas.

The timing of this article is perfect, because lately I’ve had some candid conversations with female coworkers about this exact topic.  And about one man in particular that we all work with, and how we have to manipulate him into doing what we want him to do by playing stupid and asking leading questions until he comes to the conclusion that we’ve already come to, but which he will reject unless it’s his own.

A lot of women do this.  Even the author of the article admitted to it.  I think most of us have, at some point, had to use a tactic other than simply speaking and being heard in order to impart an idea or call out an issue.  It amazed me that the two women I talked with all used the same tricks that I do – playing dumb and asking questions to lead men to the conclusion we want them to get to by allowing them to think they go there on their own, rather than stating a direct opinion.

The man we do this with the most frequently is the type who won’t even bother to look at something if you’re making a definitive statement of fact or opinion.  He’s instantly dismissive.  However, if we approach him as if we’re seeking his advice or asking him to explain something to us, we can subtly push him toward the conclusion we’ve already come to.

There’s three of us who openly admit to each other that we do this.  And I’m sure there must be more women who use similar tactics, as he works mainly with women.

Thing is, this guy we work with?  I don’t think he perceives of himself as sexist.  I think that if we actually told him how we felt about him and what we do to get him to pay attention to something, he’d be shocked.  Honestly, I think he’d deny it.

Anyone who wants to tell me that sexism isn’t deeply ingrained in our culture can just fuck right off.  I agree that not all men do this (so don’t even), and that some women can be like this too (I’ve met some), but there are enough people, both men and women alike, who will take an idea or suggestion more seriously if it comes from a man.

I dislike being subtle, or having to manipulate someone into taking an idea seriously by allowing them to believe it’s theirs.  Or to help them understand that something won’t work by playing dumb and asking a lot of questions until they realize it on their own.

I’d rather just be taken seriously.

It’s 2015 and this is still a problem.  The problem has deescalated, in that blatant, open sexism is generally frowned upon and sort of illegal, but microaggressions are still a problem.

Just one more example of how making things illegal and giving lip service to a standard of equality doesn’t equate to actual equality.

“Am I a fat admirer?”

A lot of people land on my blog because they type in search questions such as “Am I a fat admirer?” or “How do I know I’m a fat admirer?”

Well, I’ll tell you: If you’re exclusively or nearly exclusively attracted to larger body types, you’re probably a fat admirer.

So are all fat admirers also fat fetishists?

Continue reading ““Am I a fat admirer?””

You can’t fix people by loving them.

One of the hardest lessons to learn in life is that you can’t fix someone just by loving them.

Another hard lesson to learn is that if you have someone in your life who expects that their love, their guidance, their wisdom, or their presence will fix you, they will end up hating if you if you don’t get better, and taking all the credit if you do.

Continue reading “You can’t fix people by loving them.”

More promises to myself

I wrote recently about a seminar I went to in which I talked about making promises instead of resolutions.  Over the past few days, I’ve thought of a few more…

I will remember that sometimes it’s necessary to look carefully at things I don’t want to see, and listen carefully to things I don’t want to hear.  I will also remember that sometimes it’s necessary to stop looking and stop listening.

I will remember and remind others that no one is ever obligated to forgive.

I will remember that discomfort isn’t always a signal to retreat; sometimes discomfort needs to be indulged.  I will strive to discern the difference.

These are fairly formless things; they’re not measurable or something I can assign a date to.  They’re not even really promises so much as things I want to remember and be mindful of.

 

“Every choice is a loss”

I will be starting a new job in a few weeks.  It’s a job with higher expectations, and that excites me.  But it also makes me nervous, because…well, higher expectations.  I need a higher standard, I need a more sophisticated work space, but it’s also going to be a different pace.  Not in workload, but culturally.

I embrace it, but now I’m just in that weird liminal space where employees who have given notice find themselves.  I’m being uninvited from and frozen out of things.  I’m wrapping up my current job as neatly as possible and trying to disconnect myself.  And I can disconnect myself from some things.  The politics – wow, was that ever easy to let go of.  Sitting in a meeting yesterday and listening to some of the new challenges for the data people for 2015, I kept thinking, Thank god I don’t have to deal with this.

What I do have to deal with is leaving behind people I genuinely like and care about.

Believe me, I don’t like everyone I work with, but I can say that I honestly like most of them.  Everyday I’m surrounded by people who care and want to do their best, who want the best for this university, and who are genuinely distressed when leadership undervalues them and/or takes us in a direction they don’t agree with.  Everyday, I’m surrounded by people who have challenged me – some in good ways, some in not so good ways.  But even the people who challenged me in negative ways contributed to something positive in that they taught me how to deal with negative situations more effectively.

No two ways about it, I’m going to miss these people, even the challenging ones.  And though I’ll never tell them this, they’ve unknowingly contributed to me being able to get into a better headspace over the past few years.  When started here, I was not in a good place.  I was coming off of a rough year, a bout with depression, a job that was completely toxic, and several personal relationships that were not contributing positively to my life.  I came here feeling pretty battered and worn down.

In my last job, people tended to want to tear each other down.  But here, I met people who built each other up.  Very quickly, battered and worn down was replaced with energized and capable.  And I’m leaving here not only feeling like I am up to a greater professional challenges, but wanting more professional challenges.

But…this leaving is not like the profound relief I felt leaving my last job.  This leaving feels like a loss in a way that other leavings haven’t felt.  Usually by the time I leave a job, I’m already disengaged.  That didn’t happen this time.  I never disengaged here – I’m not leaving because I was miserable or disengaged.  I’m leaving because I need to grow, and I can’t do it here anymore.  I’m all I’m ever going to be here, and I don’t want to stagnate.  So I still have a lot of Feelings And Things about this place and the people I’ve grown so familiar with over the past few years.

But it’s like the poem says, “Every choice is a loss.”

Now there’s a tattoo I might need to get.

How not to raise women’s self esteem

Someone who knows me in real life sent me the link to an article from MSN discussing a study done about women’s body image.  The conclusion, which should surprise exactly no one, is that women’s body image tends to be tied to what they perceive men find attractive.

However, it was the advice given by the psychologist MSN interviewed that bothered me:

“Consequently, this study suggests that interventions that alter women’s perception regarding men’s desires for ideal female body sizes may be effective at improving women’s body image,” she says.

I read that and responded with a really big barrel of NOPE.

Continue reading “How not to raise women’s self esteem”

A gluten-free person’s least favorite time of year

It’s that time of year again when everyone makes resolutions to work out more, eat better, and lose weight.  Especially the losing weight part.  Post-holidays, the gym and Weight Watchers and other diet/exercise related product commercials go into high gear.  Many people desire to make changes.  Many will try.

My gym rat friends and acquaintances hate this time of year, because they hate dealing with resolutioners who flood their gyms and classes and work out spaces, only to disappear within a month or two.

But for me, and I’d guess for other people with food allergies, there’s another reason that I hate this time of year – because this is a time of year that a lot of people have weight loss on their mind, this is the time of year that I’m more likely to be told by others that they’re “jealous” of my allergies and diseases, because they keep me thin.

Continue reading “A gluten-free person’s least favorite time of year”

Dark green sweater

WIN_20150110_105528 (2) - Copy

I have this dark green sweater I got from a thrift store a few years ago, that’s very soft, and very oddly shaped, the kind of thing that’s constructed to not show off too much of the wearer’s figure.  This is confirmed by the school uniform label inside of it.  Any number of schools require students to wear uniforms, but I imagine it was worn by a Catholic school girl, like I once was.

My school sweater was navy blue, and not very soft, but it was large and shapeless and good to hide in.  I still have it, and I still wear it when I need to hide.  Which is not very often these days, but still, it’s hard to let go of a hiding place you’ve had for twenty-one years.

Continue reading “Dark green sweater”