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Rolling through life!

I keep forgetting how long it has been since my last post. Every time I think of something to place here it turns out that weeks or even months have passed! Yikes! It gets hard wanting to get riled up and ranty for all the many various and sundry ways that the world around me hates my body size and shape and would love nothing more than for me to give in, give up, submit to incessant public demands to hate myself and prostrate myself before the alter of Potentially Getting Thin(ner). So, as I’m rather enjoying being a lovely, confident, currently ranting-on-hold, fat woman, I will instead post some highlights of what I’ve been up to of late

Last weekend, I got to attend a medieval themed wedding in a mountain-esque region New York. There were some awesome statues outside in the gardens at the wedding site and I couldn’t resist a picture!

Prior to that I was dancing for various events in central Mass. One of which was a Pride event that totally ROCKED! The energy of the folks cheering us on was exhilarating. The crowd loved our moves to Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”.

I also applied for a fun sounding position at a fairly nearby town’s public library…but used the wrong TOWN NAME three times in the coverletter and email.  What’s worse is that it wasn’t a matter of using an old coverletter and forgetting to replace the company/library name.  I introduced the errors manually.  C’est la vie, so it wasn’t meant to be!

I’m crocheting a half-sized Dr. Who scarf for Adam D. so he can wear it more frequently than the full sized 13-foot scarf of uber-awesomeness.

No other fun library interactions of note to report since the “Artist” came by (and for those wondering, I haven’t seen him since…)

I’ve recently read two books with fatness as a theme/major component.

  1. The United States of Air was a fabulously funny and, at the same time, horrifyingly chilling satire on the US’s twin obsessions: Fatness (and it’s eradication) and Wars on Things/People/Ideals. Agent Frolick is the Ambassador to France, relating his personal story of how he came to fully believe in the US’s new Prophet’s demands that people subsist only on eating Air.  Caloric intake is Food Terrorism.  The parts I found most frightening were those that, outside of this book’s world, many people would off-the-cuff agree to as a “solution” to all us darned fatties existing in this realm!  (Fat Camps, fatties sent without trial to such places to learn to “eat air”, advancement in any military or government establishment based solely upon waist size, corruption of the highest order…)
  2. Butter tells the story of one fat boy’s often sad and all too relate-able attempts to just get through life. He finds himself thrust into popularity when, in the depths of depression and self-loathing, he starts a blog dedicated to the count-down until the night he plans to eat himself to death.  It was a well-written, though certainly trope-y book with a character who is overweight (according to the book) largely because he overeats dramatically.  For that reason it held less appeal than it could have as a touching story about a troubled boy finding his way.

What’s next?  More dancing this weekend, a new hair today that reveals, once more, my neck to the glorious breezes of Autumn. What’s next on YOUR plate?

 

“I’m….an Artist.” Adventures in Librarianship

I had an interesting interaction in my part-time role as a Reference Librarian in a public library from a bit back that I thought might be fun to share on this near-end-of-summer Thursday.

(Scene opens)

Nearly 8:10pm. We close at 8:30. Tall, thinnish, mid-30′s-40′s white guy in a clean orange polo asks for scrap paper and pencil. He sits at the patron desk right next to my work desk. A few minutes pass as I finish up deleting some old books.

Guy: Excuse me. Do you do art?

Me: ….ANYTHING artistic or did I study it? Are you looking for BOOKS on art? Inspiration of some kind?….

Guy: No. I meant study art. See…. *dramatic pause, looks up at me from under his eyelashes with a smug look of self importance* I’m an Artist.

Me: Okay.

Guy: …So. I made this….carving.

Me: (Dude I am SOOO not interesting in your carvings…but please DO go on). Okay.

Guy: A BEAR carving.

…..

Me: Out of wood or…

Guy: Yes.

Me: Okaaaay. (Where in the heck is the question here???)

Guy: Yeah. I carved this bear. And, see, I’m a bit disappointed in myself for doing it.

Me: …..

Guy: I mean it’s a NICE bear. Looks like any OTHER carved wooden bear you might see by someone who *gets an additional gleam of self-love in his eye* carved a bear with a SAW.

Me: Mh hmmmm, sure, of course…. (Holy FUCK where is this guy GOING with this?!?!)

Guy: So. It’s a good bear. Even burned it so it’s black. You know, a Black Bear?

Me: ……mmm hmmm

Guy: But I feel like it’s missing something…

Me: (OOH! He needs ideas! I can HELP get him books on that.  Reference Librarian Powers: ACTIVATE!) Oh, so you need to figure out how to fin…

Guy: (all interupt-y) No. I don’t need to figure it out. That’s what I was drawing. See. When I was sawing…. carving. I cut a little too deep into the bear’s belly. So, just under his arms there’s this deeper slice. And I was thinking. See…

*gets up to walk the few inches to my desk to show me his “artistic doodle” of a “bear” with a fucking KNIFE in it’s gut.

Me: ….

Guy: I was thinking I could put a KNIFE in that slice, ya know? Something like that. Is that creepy?

Me: You mean this conversation?

Guy: The knife thing.

Me: Oh! (Crap, that was out loud?) Well, no. Have you ever been to the George Pompideou?

Guy: ….?

Me: Modern art museums? Avant-guarde stuff? Yeah, no. It’s certainly a bit macabre but it isn’t creepy or really that unusual. A conversation starter for sure. (Dear god I’m NEVER gonna get outta here on time. )

Guy: But do you think it would be GOOD?

Me: Do you mean….would it be more MARKETABLE? Or more Artistic? I can’t really speak to either personally….

Guy: Cause it’s a good bear.

Me: *shuffling papers desperately as the clock clicks ever closer to closing time* Right….

Guy: So what kind of knife do you think? A kitchen knife?

Me: (!!!?? What. The. Fucking. FUCK?) Uh….a ginsu? Then you could put a sharpener in the slot and call it a knife sharpener.

Guy: Oh I could put like a credit-card sharpener in it. You know, like from those late-night shows? Where they chop a tomato and a credit card?

Me: (oh. my. god. Just fucking agree with everything. Maybe he’ll go away.) Mmm hmm. Yeah. Sounds good. It would sure be artistic.

Guy: Yeah. Hey thanks for the paper and pencil. I just…wanted to draw that idea out. Here’s the extra. And your pencils back. See: this is the bear. Yeah.

Me: (another night at the public library. Exit, stage left. And SCENE)

What I learned from this adventure?

When a guy starts his question with “So, do you do art”? Your answer should be “No. No, I do not” lest you be dragged into a baffling 10 minutes of hearing an “Artist” describe how he carved a bear. With a saw. And wants to put a KNIFE into the mistake he made in it….so it will be creepy. Or something. Yeah.

It was quite an interesting moment in life and really a great reminder of the vast variety of personalities one can encounter in the public library (and the world in general).  Any fun encounters you’ve had lately?

Finally Finished: Ode to the Picard Maneuver

This video is something I’ve been working toward for over a year I think.  It has taken a long time, in very small doses of work, to get this done.  So, to promote working hard and long towards fun goals I now present for your viewing pleasure an “Ode to the Picard Maneuver”: a compilation video of every time Captain Picard of the Starship Enterprise (the Next Generation) tugs his uniform shirt.  Prepare to giggle and enjoy! Anyone else have fun projects to share?

Dancing again! Candle Duet

The summer is winding up and dancing is going strong. SCA (Society for Creative Anacronism) Haflas are all over the place and Renn Faires are getting into full swing!

I went to a faire last weekend and got to wear this amazing dress from Holy Clothing.  Also bought a new and rather dashing hat to save my head from the sun. Worked like a charm.

I danced at a Hafla in CT this weekend. Managed to finally find and buy a beautiful and colorful dance cover-up with snaps up the front for easy exit before a performance and that was awesome!

The video below is of my “candle” dance duet.  The fun glowing effect of the broken glow sticks inside each “jar” (which is what I am doing in the image above) is lost with the rather sunny room but it was still a fun performance!

How are your summers (winters?) shaping up?

Mischief: A Dance with Candles and Diversely Sized Bodies

So this past weekend I had the awesome pleasure of being one member of the last group to perform at the fabulous NEFFA event (New England Folk Festival Association). For one choreography I was even the “leader” to guide the number. The audience was pretty full and despite a few glitches in timing from the folks in charge of lights and music we all had a blast and pulled it all together like the stupendous group of dancers we all are :)

The only downside?  Dancing those 20 minutes with a nice sliver of some glass costume bead that must have broken earlier in the day on the stage lodged in the ball of my left foot.  Still, the show must go on, right? With a bandage and a lucky wet wipe find infection was prevented and until I got home and Adam D did his Eagle Scout thing and totally took care of my minor wound.

Bonus of the day?  Adam D and I got to sit in on a class to learn to play the Dulcimer together with extra instruments that the instructor provided. It was a laughable hour but so much fun.

This is my “Move IT!” activity of late, along with some nice lunch-time walks in the lovely weather. So, what have you all been doing lately?  Fun crafts? New activities?

Short, Fat, Female and In Power

I have started getting the NAAFA Newsletter via email and the most recent update has an brief snippet about a woman from Ancient Egypt who has long fascinated me:  Hatshepsut. As I have of late been rather burnt out trying to maintain a constant level of rage against the many atrocities against fatness in daily life, not to mention those being even more forcibly and dangerously foisted upon the rights of women of all sizes, I found this brief mention of an amazing woman from the past to be a breath of fresh air. Not least of which because researching it lead me to the discovering of ANOTHER amazing woman…

Hatshepsut: Woman Ruler of Egypt (First of the few female rules to actually take the title of Pharaoh) for 20+ years (around the 1500s BC), established trade networks to rebuild the wealth of the 18th dynasty, commissioned the first recorded attempt to procure and transplant foreign trees (Myrrh), one of the most prolific builders in ancient Egypt with hundreds of works commissioned who was not shy about self-promotion of her amazing feats.

In short, she was powerful, intelligent, rich, important and knew her own value.  She was unafraid to not only use her connections and monies to the benefit of herself and her nation’s glory but she was out there for all to see: proud and fierce and female. Now, while researching the claims that she was also fat and short I was coming up…short.  Most representations of Hatshepsut in images or text refer to her beauty and blooming youth, etc.  I was happy to read that she ran the Pharaoh’s circuit in her 40s (go older woman!) but failed to find clear references to the woman actually being short and fat.

Queen of Punt

Source: Wikipedia images

However, I *DID* find references to the wife of Parihou/Perehu: Ati/Eti, the Queen of Punt (where Hatshepsut got her Myrrh trees to transplant).  This is where the true awesome rests.  The queen of punt, you see, was described as “short, fat, long-armed, and with a prominent behind”.  Rock on, Fatty Queen!

There is really not much written on the queen (or even her King for that matter) as records are more concerned with the goodies that Hatshepsut brought back from her expedition abroad to the still disputed location of the  Land of Punt than with the fat queen from the land they visited. However, she was certainly NOT the general image of a queen, so much so that artists depicted her vastly differently from other generic people images of the day.  Her non-thin appearance in such images is, to this day, discussed amongst those destined to find out, fromQueen of Punt in her Yellow Dress such depictions alone, what was “wrong” with her body.  Me?  I’m just happily enjoying the idea that a woman was queen of a land abroad and left such an impression that artists felt the need to capture her image.

Perhaps they were doing what amounted to mockery at the time, you suggest?  I feel that would have been a waste of time and talents when crafting a relief for the queen’s huge temple of Deir el-Bahri.  To me, these images are a representation of a woman that people were impressed with, enough so that they refused to carve her as yet another generically similar body-shapes but felt compelled to portray her as she was.

I say: Rock on you fabulous women of ancient days!  You RULED!

I Stand: for Loving all Bodies.

What a great thing to come home to after a long day waiting for my wonderful Adam D to get out of gallbladder-removal surgery (he’s doing well and recovering at home now!).

I stand for loving your body. Any body. All bodies. Mine. Yours. All of ours.  Using shame, bullying and hatred to inspire health is the furthest thing from healthy.  It is destructive, cruel and intentionally hurtful to the very thing such behaviors are purported to correct: health.  Stop the bullying.  All bodies deserve love and respect.

As my poster declares: I Stand for breaking the cycle of shame and hatred.  Body Love has NO limits.  Stop weight bigotry.

To see a Tumblr of these amazing posters go to I Stand Against Weight Bullying.  The submissions are so diverse and empowering.  So many voices crying out for a halt to hatred.  It is truly inspiring and hopeful and beautiful.

What do you Stand for?  (Or Sit for?  Or Pump Your Fist for?  Or Cry Out For?)

Not letting fat define you: doing what you want. Today’s example: Soldering

I’m a firm believer in the idea that you should never wait until your body conforms to some imagined shape/size/look limit before allowing yourself to do or be something amazing that you’ve always wished to do or be.  It is with this in mind that I write about the awesome adventure my hubby and I are currently undertaking.

We’re building a robot.

That’s right.  Freaking robotics.  We’re talking, circuitry, wires, mechanical parts, motors and a long-term end-goal of a smaller but functional version of Dr. Who’s K-9 unit. So far Adam D and I have put together a small kit with wheels and a base and managed to get all 4 wheels to spin, in the same direction!  (I fondly dubbed it “Flat-bot” because it is, thus far, a rather flat square chassis with wheels and one LED)

Yesterday we took out a kit to teach ourselves to solder.  Because many of the kits we got ourselves (using our pooled monies from the fairly recent holiday season) to make this eventual end-product require lots of small-wire soldering.  So, we soldered.  Like excited beginner pros!  It was fun.  It was a learning process.  It was something I’ve never though I would sit down and do.  Not necessarily because my body wasn’t the right size but perhaps because it wasn’t the right gender or some related fear that I wasn’t smart enough to take on the field of freaking robotics.  Yet, here I am.  Working on a robot.  Learning to solder and wire circuits to light up LEDs and spin wheel motors.

Soldering

Very intensely concentrating while trying to look through safetly googles that fit rather poorly over glasses. Next item of business? Prescription safety goggles!!

Things to get excited about

I’m not talking arousal here, though who knows this might tickle that fancy for some.  I’m talking about some really good and promising news on the FA front as well as some great rebuttals going around that bash some Fat Tropes with an Awesome-sized Science & Common-Sense Hammer.  Let’s see what’s in our bag of goodies, shall we?

First:

Obesity Timebomb notes that a new journal (Fat StudiesAn Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight and Society ) has been published! While not the first journal to approach these issues from the more radical side of current thoughts on fatness, it is a solid peer-reviewed academic journal its potential is seen in its ability to, as Charlotte so aptly puts it:

“shift critical and scholarly discussions of fatness out of health or ‘Obesity Epidemic’ and into a much broader arena where things like culture, community, rights, embodiment can be addressed. “

Kudos to the editor (Esther Rothblum) and also to Charlotte (whose article “A queer and transfat activist timeline” appears in the first issue!

Second:

Ragen over at Dances with Fat does a fabulous take-down of the recent furor over Paula Deen’s announcement that she has Type 2 Diabetes. Not surprising to me is the finding that people love to get themselves whipped into a good self-righteous rant over how obvious it is that a fatty would catch the fatness disease. However, Ragen touches nicely on the myth of diabetes (particularly Type 2); the rampant erroneous assumption that weight loss, should it even be achievable long-term, is desirable; the body as public property; and the meme of Public Health as Public Thinness. One of my favorite (of many) great quotes:

“Being for public health means that you are for people having access to the foods that they choose to eat, safe movement options that they enjoy,  and affordable evidence-based medical care. If public health is important to you then you fight like hell for people to have access of these things, then you butt out and let people make their own choices.”

Really well done and worth reading in its entirety.

Third:

Big Fat Blog clued me into NPR’s recent acceptance of something we’ve known since at least 2003: Obesity rates have already “peaked”.  Otherwise known as “all you proponents of fat-shaming who keep asserting that Obesity Rates Are Rising are not only wrong but HAVE BEEN WRONG for many years now”.   Still, NPR’s admission is more cued as a “hmm, rates MAY have peaked! And it must be linked to all these awful behavior strategies in schools and such that studies have yet to show do anything other than increase the likelihood of persons feeling smug for hating on fatties”; especially given the lovely headless fatties gracing the article with a caption filled with scare figures of the “jump” in fatness since 1995.  (You know, before they changed the BMI limits on what is considered “fat”?).  A really interesting quote from the article:

“”Obesity prevalence can’t keep going up year after year indefinitely. Ultimately we’ll reach a state where those individuals who are susceptible to becoming obese for genetic reasons have already developed obesity,” Ludwig says.”

I love looking at quotes like the one above and replacing the word “Obesity” with “Fatness”.  Just try it.  Doesn’t it sound as ridiculous? However, while there is the usual fat-hand-wringing in the middle, the article ends with this rather awesome nod to body and size and perhaps even FAT acceptance:

“Others say the whole idea of an “obesity epidemic” has been overblown and that more emphasis should be put on getting more Americans to become fit rather than fixate on losing weight.

“Most people who lose weight will ultimately regain it. If you do this do over and over and over again you develop a nation of weight-cyclers, a yo-yo-dieting society and there are risks associated with yo-yo dieting that are every bit as hazardous as the risks associated with just being fat,” Glenn Gaesser of Arizona State University.

Fourth:

This is my favorite bit of activism in a while.  Ragen over at Dances with Fat (thanks to Unapologetically Fat for redirecting me to this post I missed!) has initiated something called “Rolls, not Trolls” a self-proclaimed Ninja Commenting venture designed to spread a bit of FA love into comment threads usually filled with hatred and shaming.  I love this not only because it has a Facebook group (which it now does) where folks can share ideas of things to post, not only because Ragen so nicely asserts that this is something to be used NOT for diet-centric spaces (because I wouldn’t want to see such messages in my Diet-Zone anymore than I want to hear their diet tips in my Diet-FREE-Zone), but because the passing of POSITIVE voices into what are usually negative threads online fills me with a fat, fluttery, hopeful feeling of warmth. THIS is one of the small moments of activism which will begin to creep in to tear down the walls of shaming and hatred. I love it!

As the Queen in Alice in Wonderland is known for saying, “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”  I’ve got 4 here already; what else have you heard this week?

*ETA: This is, apparently, my 400th post!  So; maybe that’s a 5th great thing!

Mid-Week Music to Lift my Spirit

I spent today “enjoying” time at home while my digestion waged war with my menstrual cycle over who would reign supreme over my lower body.  I’m still not sure what’s “winning”…

With THAT lovely image in mind, I did find some comfort today as I was browsing the Internet between costume designing, laundry washing and watching some channel’s marathon of self-purported “Movies That Don’t Suck”.

One bit of fun was this little stop-motion animation of books doing the jig to a song that I’ve recently danced in a huge skirt:

The same folks also did a bit longer and more elaborate animation that was cute as well. Then, I found myself falling into… not so much a “melancholy” so much as a mood wherein I really appreciate a good somber bit of video set to a good swelling of emotional music.  It led me to this fantastic piece with a Cello, a Piano, and a Drum that really makes me want to be the sort who creates emotional videos with scenes from a show because I think it would PERFECTLY work with a series of scenes taken from the Dr. Who universe:

I liked it so much I found the song on Amazon so I could purchase the mp3!  Not only is that music beautiful to me, it is a very creative embellishment on classical works; a taking of something “original” and “classic” to make it one’s own; to give it a new and broader life. The height of creativity to my thoughts today.

In a more FA-related finding I came across this fake advertisement for a new beauty product called “Fotoshop by Adobé”:

It is, for the most part, a rather clever put-together of many of the ideas that many have already discovered about today’s media images: that they are all creations manipulated from reality in such a way that no one can actually approach the goals of “beauty” they uphold.  My slight “beef” with it is a line about “why eat right or exercise when you can just LOOK like you do” for the, hopefully obvious reason (among others) that it fully endorses the conflation of visual appearance with internal health. Otherwise it is at least a bit encouraging to me to see something of this nature making the usual Facebook rounds.  There is room for improvement but I still hold out hope!

Thought that in 2012 I might give readers a taste of some small measure of what else makes April D “tick”.  This is today’s “entry”.  What’s making YOU tick on this early January day?