I’ve avoided writing an entire blog piece about this, because it incites a visceral reaction – and not a good one. It typically brings up memories long fought to keep buried underneath all the mental and emotional work I’ve done to rise above them and not let them rule my life.
Recently, I joined a few groups/communities on Facebook. Yeah. The F word, again. I know, I know. The cause of many a night, tossing & turning over what I should’ve said to that one troll or relative. Moving on…The groups are/were dedicated to the BBW/BHM public. I was looking for some motivational, community attitudes regarding size acceptance.
In case you’re reading this and don’t know, here’s what those acronyms stand for:
BBW – Big, Beautiful Women
BHM – Big, Handsome Men
What I found was all but motivational. What I found in these groups was a tendency for the men to consistently ask what sexual positions the women in the group preferred, and the women just encouraged it. WHAT? Yeah, that’s right. So much for empowering ourselves. So much for taking a stand and insisting that men see us as more than our bodies. And so much for making sure society stops labeling all fat women as easy, because we’re desperate.
Do yourself a favor and don’t google anything about fat women being easy. You won’t like what you read. In fact, don’t google anything about fat women at all, unless you add the words “body positivity” or “fat acceptance” or “size equality” or something. And even then, do so with the understanding that the world just is what it is, and it isn’t going to change unless we show them. Each of us.
There are articles, blog posts, Facebook pages and even entire websites dedicated to the sole purpose of making fun of, demeaning, and hating fat people. Don’t go find them, unless you’re prepared to spend the next couple of days crying in the shower.
I’ve dropped all but one group, as it genuinely has the potential to be something more. When I say more, what I mean is that it has potential to impact lives – maybe only peripherally, but impact nonetheless. There’s more of an energy there (at least with the admins, of which I am one) of trying to do away with the fetishization (totally just made up that word) of fat women.
Honestly, I am so sick to death of the idea that big women are inherently easier to bed, because we have to take what we can get. The thing is, until we redirect the focus onto WHO we are, instead of what we will or won’t do in the bedroom (and how quickly we’ll go there), society’s view of us won’t change.
Unfortunately, I see a lot of women who don’t realize how prevalent this stereotype is. It is 100% as commonly believed as the assumption that fat people eat constantly and are lazy. And even more unfortunate is the sad, sad truth that when women of ANY size make themselves appear to be sexually promiscuous, we feed into that ridiculous assumption, which is, in FACT, a part of the hideous rape culture, because we’re saying that we are FIRST and FOREMOST a sexual object, and THEN a really good person…so just get to know us after we say all kinds of way sexual stuff, mmmkay?
Yes, being fat comes with a whole set of personal esteem issues. We fight harder to be heard, and to be seen as more than our bodies’ extra pounds. We have to dress better, be cleaner, work harder to get the same wage (yes, its true), and generally are forced to assert ourselves as HUMAN BEINGS. We have to be louder than our bodies are big, if we want to be taken seriously.
Hey, I didn’t make the rules, and I’m not making this up.
So when these women post memes/pictures/quizzes WITHIN these groups that call attention to sex, as if the group page is their own personal Tinder account, I can’t help but shake my head in sad, sad wonder. I want to ask them, “But who are you?”
I want to shout at them to… tell me something about YOU. Not the attention you crave so badly that you’re willing to ignore the obvious fact that by posting this crap, you’ve just held a sign over your head that says “I’M ONE OF THOSE EASY FAT GIRLS! I AM ONLY AS VALUABLE AS THE SEX I CAN PROVIDE! PAY ATTENTION TO ME! LOVE ME, DAMMIT, BECAUSE NO ONE ELSE WILL! DO YA WANNA SEE BOOBS? I GOT BOOBS!”
Tell me about the princess you were and how she became the mighty woman I see dying to scratch the surface. I can hardly see her, because you’re holding a stereotype over her face. Stop posting memes about sex and start posting something real – something that graces us with your presence, not your heaving hormones.
Maybe its because I’m 42, and got my partying done in my 20’s and 30’s. Truthfully, I’ve been down that exact road. With men, I behaved exactly that way for too long than I’d care to admit. I waited on the guy who wasn’t ever going to love me. Like 9 of them. I’ve been there. I doted on someone who couldn’t be bothered to even call or text to cancel a date – just left me hanging. And then, when he finally deigned to grace me with his presence, I made damn sure I was ALL he wanted me to be. I made myself irresistible to him in every way that made him say all the things.
It made me feel powerful.
Until he did it again.
I’m pretty stubborn, so it took a while to learn that lesson. Like, several years and several men. Sad. And the thing is, when I finally started to realize the pattern, I could no longer distinguish between low self worth being the cause or the affect of that behavior.
Guess what… It was both.
There’s nothing empowering about creating a sexual persona that masks your heart and mind as the truth of who you are.
Read that sentence again.
One more time.
I’m sincerely hoping that this group, this community, really does steer the focus to more, ACTUAL empowering things…Like the stores that are getting rid of the “plus-size” departments in favor of just putting all sizes on the same rack. The fashion designer who chooses her models by their inspirational contributions to society (no matter their size) and designs clothes to fit that model – and that model walks the runway at Fashion Week. The fantastic new ad campaign by Lane Bryant and the amazing new show “This Is Us”, which features a plus-size woman in a real dramatic role – and NOT as the comedic sidekick or butt of anyone’s jokes.
These are signs of changes being made – not to promote obesity as healthy, but to love and accept each other and OURSELVES as we ARE, whatever part of our individual life journey we’re currently walking through. Fat shaming is the last socially acceptable form of prejudice, and its rampant…
It is absolutely up to us to break through that garbage – including and especially the one about super-charged sexuality being tied to low self worth. Because it is true in a lot of ways – The question is this: Is that how you really want to be seen?
Are you the sum total of your hormones – or are you a vital, thinking, breathing, emotional, giving, passionate, selfless, vibrant amazing and unique woman with a voice that deserves to be heard?
Look, I acknowledge that we’re all adults here. Do you, baby. But do a favor for those of us who want to be seen and heard for more than what’s between our legs, please?
Keep that shit on your Tinder profile and your Plenty Of Fish app photos. Stop feeding the beast that society wants to use as a justification for the things they do and say about fat people that are so, so very wrong.
Be more than that, ladies. You’re making the rest of us look bad.
“Men brag, and she is telling people that she doesn’t know men who brag. You know the people that have been to the White House?” Rush said. (WARNING: Some of the language here and later in the story may be offensive to some readers.)
“How about some of the rappers that talk about their b****** and their hos have performed such lyrics in the White House? But she doesn’t know men who talk and sing about sexual assault. It’s all over hip-hop lyrics and has been for a while!
“So is assault on the police a feature of some hip-hop lyrics, and it’s been performed at the White House. But she doesn’t know men who talk that way. She doesn’t know decent guys who talk that way.”
“Yeah, I guess Michelle Obama wasn’t there when the Rev. Wright was talking about Bill Clinton,” Rush said “You remember what Rev. Wright said about Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinsky? … ‘And Bill and Monica Lewinsky was riding dirty. Yeah, chickens have come home to roost, baby.’ ‘Bill was riding dirty,’ and the population, the congregation went nuts.”
And while Rush didn’t mention her, let’s not forget Michelle’s BFF, Beyonce. Here are some of her lyrical exploits.
(Quotes lyrics from some Beyoncé songs)
*End article quotes*
Okay, wait… So she likes Beyoncé and her former pastor talked smack and she said she doesn’t know any DECENT men who talk that way. Not that she doesn’t know men who brag. That’s not what she said. Like, not even a little bit.
This is what I’m talking about, folks. You want the world to see your point of view as Christian value-oriented, but you read and repost an article that, by ANY rational standard, is total crap?
How does listening to Beyoncé or rappers make her have a PERVERTED past?
Do YOU, or have you EVER listened to ANY artist whose lyrics are questionable?
How does something her former pastor said make her have a PERVERTED past?
Are YOU responsible for anything your former pastor has ever said?
How does saying that decent men don’t talk that way make her have a PERVERTED past?
Do you NOT agree with the fact that decent men don’t talk that way?
Look, This was ONE article, used just for an example. Its rampant on BOTH sides of this awful divided line, even within parties. Which is why I’m voting for the other guy, or not at all, because I just cannot justify in my own heart and soul casting a ballot FOR any person with whom I find such duplicitous, greedy, unethical character flaws.
I do not want to ever have to say I voted for a person that I so strongly believe should NOT lead this country. That goes for both of them, in case you were wondering.
You’re not even bothering any more to see if the stuff you post and re-post is actually truthful, from any legitimate source, and assuming because you share a political party with someone they MUST be Godly….?????
And frankly, my youthful ideals of voting straight Republican across the board have actually been demolished by the fact that religious people are backing terrible, awful, unethical people, AND by the sheer fact that when I say something against one candidate, everyone assumes I’ve crossed party lines and goes on the attack and participates in slander just as bad as they accuse others of doing to THIER candidate.
I mean seriously, how on earth do you expect the rest of the world to change their minds about God, when you are personally passing along JUST AS MANY lies and chains of gossip as you claim the “other guys” on the left are doing?
I’m just done, y’all. I’m sick to death of people telling me “don’t drink the kool-aid” and “don’t believe the left-wing media“, when the vast majority of people saying that are conservatives, spreading just as much (if not more) absolute salacious garbage.
That’s not Christian at all.
On that note, I’ll leave you with this food for thought (and I highlighted my favorites):
1 Timothy 2:1-2
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, Godly and dignified in every way.
But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissentions and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.
No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
If anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered, a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.
Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
2 Timothy 2:24-25
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth.
Final word – Think carefully about the vitriol you spread. You may be turning someone against the beliefs you hold so dear. Also, you’re starting to sound kinda Westboro-ish.
Remember when you were a little kid, and there was just no better day than your birthday?
Its really the best day ever.
Well, besides Christmas of course. With all its sparkle and excitement in the air that everyone seems to share…
But your birthday was just a little bit better, because it was all about you. Magical, wonderful you. Growing up. Everyone and everything was all about you and how special you are when you’re a little kid and its your birthday.
First, you’re excited to be 6 because you’ll be old enough for school.
Then you’re thrilled about those double digits.
Thirteen…A teenager! Gaaaah!!
16…come on, 16….I wanna DRIIIIVVVEEEE!!!
Then, mystical, magical, grown-up, nobody-can-tell-me-what-to-do EIGHTEEN! A real ADULT, DAMMIT! I can do what I want!
Of course, 21 is soon to follow. And oh, to be 21. You can go OUT to all the FUN places and DRINK all the ADULT THINGS…Yesssssss!
After that, its all bullshit.
Around then, you’ve realized the presents have dwindled. The attention has waned a bit. The “especially special” feeling begins to dissipate year after year.
You still want to do something…hang out with friends. Grasping at the magic of the birthday like the tail end of a balloon string…
Somewhere in your mid 30’s, you start dreading that day a little. You don’t really realize when it happened. There was no Ah-Ha! moment when you told yourself it wasn’t fun anymore, this whole ‘getting-older’ thing.
After 40. Well, that just blows.
I haven’t truly looked forward to a birthday in a very, very long time. The idea of being one year older , when you’re young, practically sings with possibility of the future… and somewhere along the way, it becomes a day that speaks of all that’s happened in the past.
Where did it all go? The time? The years? The sweetness of the unknown?
I look in the mirror and I wonder where she went. That girl who dreamed all the time about the future. She disappeared, and I didn’t even notice.
On Wednesday, I’ll be 42. Clearly, I’m looking forward to it.
I want to look forward to it again. Just one more time. I think that’s my birthday wish – just to enjoy my birthday (also to spend it in a pool with some fruity, frozen drinky-drinks – that is a big wish that I have every day of my life, from April to November, but most especially in July). Deep down, I still wish for that sweetness. The magic. The best day ever.
Maybe it will be.
Hmm. I guess maybe she didn’t disappear completely.
It’s funny what the mind remembers.
There are snippets of time we’d all like to erase from our memories. Words said in anger and words heard by our very souls that may or may not have been said. Fleeting emotions that we wish we could forget, always competing with ones to which we desperately want to cling.
We forget so much, don’t we? Memories are fickle things. Or, I suppose, the mind has an odd way of picking and choosing what stays with you and what gets tossed aside like a crumpled receipt found at the bottom of a handbag. Why does the world stop at the strangest times to leave an imprint on your conscience? Some of those memories are so clear for no particular reason. No argument. No tragedy. No outpouring of loving words you’ve been waiting to hear.
I remember standing on the sofa, looking over the pass-through into the kitchen on my third birthday. My mother was making a Mickey Mouse birthday cake, and I wasn’t supposed to be peeking. I remember the sound of my little hands, slowly tearing the wrapping paper on my Christmas presents later that year, and Mom getting impatient with me. I don’t remember being the least bit aware that she was in labor with my sister Holly, which is why she wanted me to hurry up – she needed to get to the hospital.
The sound of the empty gurney that crossed my parents’ Saltillo tile floor…and the sound of its wheels crossing back, heavy with my mother’s lifeless form, just hours after the cancer finally took her from us.
The moment I realized the man I loved was living a double life and had never intended a life with me, and my heart shattered, almost audibly. I can still hear the sound of the mirrored box I’d had engraved with our song for him, hitting the floor where I threw it, the glass breaking into what seemed like a million pieces.
I can easily recall the smell of the plastic on my new Barbie doll when I changed her into a swimsuit to take into the little blue pool on our back patio, and pretending she was a mermaid.
The feeling of the cream and gold painted wood finial on my canopy bed (with no canopy), as I held it in my hand and sang into it for my audience of dolls & stuffed animals along to the soundtrack of Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty”…Once Upon a Dream…
When my nephew Samuel was around two years old, I was in Nashville visiting my sister and her family. They lived in a mobile home, and Sam’s room was down the hall, the doorway visible from the living room sofa. Holly told Sam to pick up the toys he’d dragged into the hall, just outside his door. She kept walking, leaving him standing in a circle of his toys. I was watching him from the sofa, and he looked at his toys on the floor around his chubby little feet, dropped down onto his diapered butt and said to no one in particular, “But…. I’m not happy“.
There are times when I cannot bring to my mind the sound of my mother’s voice. It takes me longer and longer to pull it from the deep corridors of stored memory, like a hard drive searching for a document filed in an unknown location, saved almost too long ago. I feel myself beginning to panic, and feel enormous guilt wash over me like a wave that almost takes me under.
To pull myself out of that panicked guilt, I close my eyes and remember her skin. She had the softest skin. I used to press my face into the inside of her forearm. Even into adulthood, I did this out of a habit formed when I was very small. As much as I’d love to find words to describe that scent, there are none. The skin there was soft and cool to the touch, and gave me comfort to my very bones.
It’s funny what the mind remembers…
I’ve made it exactly one day without Facebook. It was surprisingly easy, until around 11pm. The book ended. There was nothing on television. The dogs were falling asleep. No one was answering calls or texts.
Thank goodness for Hulu. I found a movie to watch. Whew! I almost caved.
Today, I delivered a disc of photos to a friend and stayed for a visit with their new baby. Then I went to see another friend who was widowed last year, and her two little girls. She gave me a small dresser that a neighbor had given her, so I could get creative and paint it.
As much as I prefer solitude much of the time (which is what made Facebook so attractive), it was refreshing to have conversations with people right in front of me.
I think I’ll do it again tomorrow, and maybe a couple more times this week.
Still gonna download a boatload of books, though.
“Alcohol. The cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.” – Homer Simpson
At least I think it was Homer Simpson. Whatever.
This quote came to mind today, after finishing my Kindle book and getting back onto Facebook. I got right back off (again), and turned on the television. Nope. Can’t do that either, right now. Facebook is as informative as it is addictive, if that’s your main source of keeping up with people in a world where we don’t call each other on the phone anymore.
But right now?
It’s all too much.
Facebook is a shield behind which many people can be righteously indignant and say all kinds of things that they wouldn’t ordinarily say to a crowd of people. I’m including myself, but to a lesser degree, because well, if you’ve met me… I’m without filter most of the time. Oh sure, I have my church voice (not cursing) – but my personality doesn’t change according to the atmosphere. I say what’s on my mind. Sometimes (a lot of times), that gets people riled up and pissed off and maybe even let down.
I am unapologetically bold. I don’t hint. I rarely sugarcoat. I generally know damned well that what I say isn’t going to go over well with everyone, all the time. I’m apparently hilarious to some people because of this. And I genuinely give no fudges (See? Church voice.). Honestly, it means nothing to me that speaking the truth will upset people. Good. Be upset. Maybe it’ll open your eyes to a new way of thinking. Or maybe you’ll just think I’m a bitch. Either way, I’m not going to hide who I am…or cower behind any worry that someone won’t like me anymore.
That being said, I also know when I’m too incensed to keep arguing. When I am passionate about something, or irate about a truth that I know so deep in my soul that I cannot and will not be shaken, there comes a point where I have to step back to avoid explosion.
Facebook has brought me to that point in the last couple of days. I just can’t anymore. I’ve been so upset and so angry that my head hurts from clenching my jaw, even in my fitful sleep. I’m scared to death for my black friends, and at the point of asking them all to stay home and don’t drive anywhere, and offering myself as a taxi service – because my skin won’t get me killed. And maybe you’ll be safer if my lily white ass is in the car with you.
But the filth I’m seeing on Facebook…ohmygod. The denial, the whines of how the media is to blame for how upset everyone is because racism isn’t that big a deal because it doesn’t really happen as much as the media says and all lives matter…. ohmygodstopit.
Black Lives Matter ideal isn’t, hasn’t been and was never meant to be exclusionary. Frankly, the comparison to cancer is pretty spot on. I’m not going to go screaming into a breast cancer awareness rally about how cholangiocarcinoma (the one that killed my mom) matters too, dammit. Nobody would ever say it didn’t. But they’re fighting for a cure for this one, because someone they love is suffering. It really is that simple.
And then the sniper shootings…Lord Jesus, help us! How desperately hurtful to the communities across this nation. Not only is it senseless and unjustified, it just takes more fathers and mothers from their babies, and the maniac(s) responsible have just completely defeated a cause that was worth a righteous anger, because NOW law enforcement has even more reason to be overly cautious to a point of making it all worse. Now, the questionable ones who needed to use restraint have even more reason in their hearts to be afraid of the black community.
Good going, asshole.
The denial and the vitriol, the arguing and the anger is making me physically ill. I’m at a point of desperate, depressing hurt for my black friends and desperately let down by people who share my skin tone. I’m riding a fence here, because ignorance isn’t always intentional. Experience, and lack thereof, will absolutely dictate how a person perceives the world. We are each the sum of our own experiences.
I used to think the way they think, until I spent more time with people who live in a different world than the one I grew up in. I spent time with them in public places and witnessed what they’d been saying for years that I had always dismissed as, at the very least, exaggerated. For a while, it was so, so subtle that I almost didn’t catch it. Then there was that moment…the one where I thought, “Wait. Did that just happen?”. I looked at my friend, and she didn’t bat an eye, so I thought maybe I was wrong. So I asked her later if my perception was off. “No,” she said, “but you just get used to it. Could be worse.”
So then I started paying attention.
It happened so much more. Things that could be blown off as coincidence before I’d started paying attention, no longer could be. I had to examine myself on such a gut-wrenching level…and then had to work to expose my own heart and my own misgivings and my own denials…and then forgive myself and vow to do and be better, and to speak up on behalf of those who are just used to it.
What made me even sadder still, was how many times my black friends asked me NOT to say anything, because it would only cause trouble.
But back to Facebook. My point here is that I have to forgive those who don’t have the same experiences as myself. Nothing can be done to change that, which means nothing can be done to change their minds. I can’t make anyone see what I’ve seen, or force anyone to look deeply enough into their own heart and subconscious to experience a paradigm shift. Its something that will hopefully come in time. God knows nothing’s going to change much anytime soon, so there’ll be plenty of opportunity.
Until then, I want to like the people that I love. So until this dies down a bit, I’m taking a break from the pain of that fence riding that Facebook is forcing me into – it ain’t a nice feeling, y’all.
Facebook (the only social media I actually use with any regularity) is currently exposing many painful truths, while simultaneously bringing out the devil in us all.
I’m writing on my phone because my computer needs repair at the moment, but I couldn’t stand another second without putting my thoughts into words here.
All day long, I have seen posts about the Orlando club shooting. Obviously, because its huge news… But what has struck a nerve is the content of the posts. A staggering 9 out of 10 of them are polarized views of gun control, politics, presidential candidates and the ever-elusive “gay agenda”.
I’m floored by the insensitivity. I’m floored at the number of people who immediately jumped on Facebook, Twitter and the like, for the SOLE PURPOSE of vitriol.
I’m stunned that there are so many of you who skated right past the pain, making a beeline for the social media platform. Do you realize you skipped the appropriate amount of shock and grief, and went right to the fighting, bitching and whining?
Stop it. Just shut up.
All I can think about are the mothers, fathers, friends and loved ones gathered in hospital corridors, waiting to hear if their child, friend or brother is alive…or waiting to identify their bodies.
Do you think they’re thinking about politics right now? I doubt it. Right now, they just want the hell to stop…the horrific limbo of not knowing if or when they’ll bury their sons and daughters.
They’re making phone calls to tell other family members and friends that yes, he or she is gone from this earth forever.
They’re crying out in pain and exhaustion, deeper anguish than most of us know.
Shame on you. Shame on all of you. Get your head right up out of your collective butts, and get to praying for these fellow humans who are standing in a nightmare from which they cannot awaken.
Keep your gun control debating, Obama/Trump/Clinton hating/loving, “gay agenda” spouting, anti-this-or-that nonsense to yourself for just a little while and think about the young, vibrant lives lost. Gunned down because they went out dancing on a Saturday night. Hiding in bathrooms, texting their moms to say they were scared.
Think about that for just a minute. You’re hanging out at home, watching a movie on a Saturday night while you’ve got laundry going. Your phone vibrates. After folding the socks from your last washed load, you pick it up…
Its your 22 year old baby boy. “Mom, I’m scared. Call the police. There’s a man with a gun. I’m going to die.”
That happened not quite 48 hours ago. I feel pretty certain that mom is not in the frame of mind to call her congressman. Have some respect.
Shut your trap, still your typing fingers and go donate blood, for God’s sake. Quit posting memes.
Look, I get it. You’re mad and sad. Fine. We’re all mad and sad. But this social media monster is grossly lacking in humility and respect, and its making me sick.
Fifty people are dead. Your memes don’t mean two cents. Talk about that garbage next week – we all know it ain’t going anywhere. Now is not the time.
Just. Shut. Up.
Even their contractors.