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My Season

Last night at my part-time gig fielding reference questions at a public library a young child saw my name tag and exclaimed “Your name is a SEASON!”  I smiled and kindly corrected, “Close, it’s a month though!”  We both smiled and nodded and they went off on their way.

Still, things have been going rather well Chez April D so perhaps it IS my “season”.

New hair cut!  I feel like a wintery woodland nymph!

New hair cut! I feel like a wintery woodland nymph!

At my annual obgyn appointment yesterday, while saddened to not have my old doctor who scaled back her practice in order to spend more time with family, I did have a fine exam by another professional at the same facility with no problems.  Not only did weight never come up in my brief time with the doctor, I had perhaps the easiest time of all refusing to get on the scale for the pre-appointment check-in portion of the appointment.  When the nurse was fitting me with a blood pressure cuff she was laying out the steps we’d be taking next.  After “then I’ll get your weight and height and we’ll get you settled into the room” I paused, starting to get worried and finally blurted out “Actually, I don’t do scales”.  The response was a fabulous, “Ok.  That’s fine”.  Simple.  Easy.  Professional.  Talk about a happy moment!  And perhaps this number not being front and foremost on the pages of info the doctor read led to HER not bringing up the subject either.  (While my old doctor was great about keeping the appointment to things *I* actually brought up as concerns, I certainly HAVE been in situations where that WASN’T the case, when the doctor had her fingers all up in that “I’m feeling your ovaries from the INSIDE” position and ranted on at me about the horrors of being fat and, basically, ME.)

So, there’s that.  A good, quick, (healthy report on basic vitals and bits for those interested) doctor’s visit as a “morbidly obese” woman.

I made it through a rather icy storm on Monday and hear that we have another similar chance of icy ick for tomorrow.  Blech!

The ice I chipped off my car on Monday.

The ice I chipped off my car on Monday.

I’ve started posting on my blog again after a few month hiatus so that’s also fun.  *waves to the few stalwart readers still popping in or dropping by the front page after finding one of my few crochet patterns*

I’ve been crafting up a bit and finding that I’ve come more strongly to terms with what is important to me in my own life in regards to time-spent and energies expended for the person I’m crafting for.  I’ve also created and sent off my first ever commissioned piece and definitely realized that crafting for monies or *hah* Profit, is not for me.  I’m more a “knit it for the love of it” sort of Witty Knitter/Crocheter!

Wee Peacock is asking you...What?

Wee Peacock is asking you…What?

That’s the update from this lovely fat chick.  What’s going on in your neck of the “woods”?  Is it YOUR season as well?  Are are you still in the winter of another’s season, waiting for yours to finally come around?

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?

 

Starting 2012: April D through the (fat) ages (and beyond)

I’m back!  Told you I (was mostly certain I) would be! Anyway; I have been having an absolutely MARVELOUS end of 2011 and start to 2012.  Life is chugging along in a rather calm and peacefully blissful pattern that I hope to continue for as long as possible.  Here are just a few things that have been going on Chez D:

  • Adam D sporting the 13-foot-long Tom Baker Dr. Who Scarf

    Adam D sporting the 13-foot-long Tom Baker Dr. Who Scarf

    Adam D and I just celebrated 5 years of married-ness this past December.

  • I taught myself to Knit so I could make a Tom Baker Dr. Who scarf in time for our anniversary (I succeeded.  Barely in time though!  That thing is HUGE and it takes a LONG TIME to knit for someone who lives with you and is almost always home from work before you are!  It involved LOTS of being sneaky and knitting when I was sure I was going to get “caught” in the scarf-y act!)
  • We visited my folks down in Virginia for Christmas and discovered that taking the train is about as “All Day” as driving or (when you account for all the hassle) taking a plane.  I, for one, enjoyed getting to get up and walk about whenever I wanted.
  • Dance-wise I’ve been focusing lately on Tribal/Tribal-Fusion of late and have a few classes to look forward to in February to enhance my sword work!  Also have more performances lined up.  Woot!
  • Been rather lax with the trumpet playing lately and focusing on dancing.  I hope to get a bit more playing done though and, even if I’m the only one down there, want to play during the second half of my lunch break more often as I used to do.
  • After a really recharging break I’m back to posting and have lots of book reviews, tasty food ideas and general life-posty-ness to catch up on here!

To get to the point of this post though: I thought it might be nice, as I lounge on my last two remaining vacation days for this long and ever-needed holiday, to finally get up a time-line of April D in image form. It should be a fun re-start of the blog for 2012 after my incredibly restful break from blogging.

I’ve gone through many of my old photos recently to organize, purge duplicates and scan those which have no digital form.  There were, however, thoughts that KEPT giving me pause as I looked through images of my own past.  Thoughts I kept coming back to that boiled down to: what was I THINKING back then?  Why wasn’t I happy how I was?  Well, I think I USED to have a time when I was carefree and happy…but those days were quickly outnumbered by the Dieting Days…

I used to wear non-black pants!  Look at that awesome pattern!

I used to wear non-black pants! Look at that awesome pattern! You rock those odd colors young April D!

Look at that sass! What happened to that for so long?

Look at that sass! What happened to that for so long?

Oh my god I REMEMBER wearing this outfit and thinking I looked awful and unsightly!  But I'm so CUTE

Oh my god I REMEMBER wearing this outfit and thinking I looked awful and unsightly! I remember feeling constrained and sucking in my "gut" But I'm so CUTE here!

Camping in my Youth.  Look at those skinned knees!  I remember swimming, biking, running around...

Camping in my Youth. Look at those skinned shins! I remember swimming, biking, running around... and being told I didn't exercise enough because I was obviously fat.

Middle School Trumpet: Prepping to do the Memorial Day Parade marching

Middle School Trumpet: Prepping to do the Memorial Day Parade marching. Which, I obviously only sweated while doing because I was overweight, not because I was marching in a group of other sweaty pre-teens down a hot paved road on a blazing 90 degree day in dark pants while playing a trumpet.

Fruit and Boop: Also likely the first time I rocked a shorter hair style

Fruit and Boop: Also likely the first time I rocked a shorter hair style. I used to think I was FAT here?!

Ahhh High School Marching Band. The only indignity not yet evidenced here is the awful hat with the bedraggled canary bird "plume"

Ahhh High School Marching Band. The only indignity not yet evidenced here is the awful hat with the bedraggled canary bird "plume". Oh, and the horror of having to ask for the "plus size" pants to wear.

Dress shopping used to be a nightmare.  Always in the "plus" sizes.  But, look at that!  Why was I always so discontent?!

Dress shopping used to be a nightmare. Always in the "plus" sizes. But, look at that! Why was I always so discontent?! What should a freaking clothing tag's number matter!?!

I used to love those shorts.  Remember the size.  Remember dieting out of them and back into them and then beyond them forever.

I used to love those shorts. Remember the size. Remember dieting out of them and back into them and then beyond them forever. Why did I EVER give in to pressures saying I was always desperately in need of a diet????

"What would I look like now if I had NEVER dieted?? If I had just left well-enough alone?!"

Look at that incredibly Sassy Hair! What would I look like now if I had NEVER dieted?? If I had just left well-enough alone?!

Honestly, it was a pretty rough couple of nights as I sorted pictures.  I found I had to stop frequently to pick myself up both physically from the cross-legged position I held on the floor and from the rather mental-downer into which I was spiraling.

Happily, I have, with some time and thought, been able to find a calm bit of peace in looking back on these images.  Certainly there remains a tinge of bitter sorrow that I was so incredibly cruel to my own body (and let others be cruel at it “for my own good”) for so long. Likely there will also always be that occasional voice  I indulge for a moment, only now and then, to wonder just how things might have been if I’d been stronger and more self-certain and left myself (and my body) alone. For the larger part, though, I can look back and see the (fat) girl I was, struggling to reconcile the feelings of her own body with the nasty comments received from others and working to fit herself into a paradigm that, if we’re honest, has no place for women who aren’t already naturally thin, culturally beautiful, effortlessly correctly feminine, self-assured yet modest, submissively available yet not overly sexual; aka everything that no one can be all at once.  I can look back and know that these parts of my past have shaped the “me” of now.  I don’t have to have LIKED every moment but I can appreciate each link for the part it plays in who I proudly display now.

Who am I now? April D.  Fat, dancing, trumpet-blowing, husband-loving, nay-sayer-ignoring, life-living woman who has worked rather hard to show that I am a lot more than the sum of the numbers on my health chart.  Here is a rather lively number I just got to perform with a lovely local dance group this past December a Yule Hafla.  My resolution for 2012 (since I’m known to just not make them unless it is something I’m planning to do anyway?): continue being a loud and proud April D.  Fat, Visible and Refusing to Be Silenced.  Yip!

Love Your Body: Start (or Continue) Today!

Big Fat Blog posted a great reminder bit that spurred my own small prod here today.  They’ve listed out a few of the goings-on as well so check them out!  Something I’d point out in addition to the great links listed there is Golda’s offering of a free PDF download (today only!) of her book: Stop Dieting Now.

In celebration of this day here is my suggestion to you: look in the mirror.  Center your gaze on your own eyes. Remind yourself “I am enough.  Just as I am.  I love my body, my self.”  Repeat this mantra as you shift your gaze from your own eyes to each part of your body, then to your reflection as a whole.  It might feel awkward.  It might feel silly.  But, you have to ask yourself, “Why?”  Why should it feel at ALL embarrassing to look upon ourselves and say, out loud, that we ARE amazing?  As is.  Without change.  Without apology. You ARE amazing.  Your body is amazing.  Your body (and you) are deserving of respect and love.  From others but also, and most importantly, from yourself.

So take today (or even a small part of today: an hour… a 5-minute break… 30 seconds) to reflect on this dangerous nugget of an idea: your body is beholden to no one.  It is yours.  To love.  To cherish.  To fuel and to live in.  Enjoy its strengths, respect its weaknesses, and never consider that it is something you need to change in order to feel it is deserving of your love.

Throwing Axes

Throwing Axes at a Renn Faire last year. Loving my body in action!

Sometimes… it IS just As Simple As That

Today I had a follow-up with my Gastroenterologist just to renew prescriptions and touch base.  Everything she’s been doing to manage my IBS is working well and I feel wonderful most days.  I’ve been reflecting the past week since the reminder about the appointment today that I’ve definitely even solidly stabilized my weight and so that’s not even a concern.  If the weather would warm up for more than one day I could even really get to digging out the shorts from last year, into which I still comfortably fit (for the second summer in a ROW!  Something that has NEVER happened in my dieting roller-coaster years).

This is the second time I went into the office and when told “if you’ll just step over here so I can get your most recent weight” I calmly replied “No thank you.  I don’t do scales.”  The only response was an equally calm and, dare I say, respectful, “Okay.”

How easy!  It was again a simple reminder that taking care of your health by means of doctor visits does not have involve a struggle each time*.  The doctor, who did not note anything about weight last visit, did not even bring the topic up.  Instead we were able to happily discuss what options I had if the hubby and I did decide to try to have children in the near future.  It was a pleasure.  It was simple.  It was what I imagine regular check-ups must be like for people who go to the doctors and fall into the “Normal” BMI range: a routine visit with no lingering issues being dredged up or nutritionist plans being promoted, etc (even though this appointment DID take place down in what is the Nutritionists’ area today).

I love those moments when being Fat is just a component of Being Me, and not a or even THE defining factor.  These are moments I feel like rejoicing, like there is hope that at some point the world will “Get It” and look back and marvel that everyone ever treated people differently simply BECAUSE they were different instead of acknowledging (celebrating even?) diversity for the wonderful and natural trait it is.

*Bearing in mind, of course, that I am very lucky to have some amazing care-providers and that I fully understand that not everyone is so lucky.

Balancing Points: On taking a rest

Balancing a Sword

Balancing Life

There are many things in life that we balance everyday: Checkbooks, jobs and homelife, kids and careers, housework and freetime, classes, love, money, time, life, food… they all take a part of our energy to consider and require finding a balance in order to get through from day-to-day without becoming overloaded.

When do you know when  you gone over your own personal threshold?  When do you feel that sword begin to sway and the point begin to drop?  Can you feel it even?  When life is rushing past is it sometimes just too much to even notice when things are no longer a balance of come and go and have just become go, go, GO?

I know that I often advocate that no matter what you look like or how undeserving society or your own mind might think you are: everyone needs a moment to be calm and un-stressed.

Perhaps that means taking a week away from the pressures of diet ads and fat-phobic messages on TV.  Or maybe you’d rather find something that truly riles you up* and takes your mind off of any of the mundane and/or inane bits of the regular routine by placing it in the realm of a fight for social justices. Maybe being “Stress Free” for you means simply not having to cook one night. Or getting a night away from regular duties with kids or spouses or friends or the job….maybe it means turning up the radio for that one great song and dancing like no one is watching; releasing all that tension with every frantic move of your body to the rhythm pulsing around you.

Whatever it takes I am here to post another reminder that it is never “not quite the right time” to get just a moment to yourself.  It isn’t being lazy to hold up that “STOP” hand on the pulse of what is rushing around you and, in whatever manner works for you, take a mental/physical/spiritual time-out. I feel that a large part of learning to love ourselves and accept who we are, is not only to accept that Yes Virginia, Humans DO have Limitations; but to recognize, acknowledge and work to take the appropriate rest that is required for any and all of the limitations we have.  Not every moment has to be “go”.  There can (and should) also be some down-time moments for “stop”ping.

On my “Go, Go, Go” list right now I have:

  • Last class for my MLIS
  • Swimming laps Tuesday
  • Practice for Belly Recital April 3rd
  • Fencing with Adam D Thursday
  • This blog (In a related note: I’ll apologize now that there will be no food post tomorrow, I need to cook more and take more pictures now!)
  • Trumpet practice for concert this coming weekend in CT (March 13th)
  • Full time job
  • Part time job

On my “Stop!” list I need to take a few moments of breather to catch up on:

  • Sleeping
  • Cooking long meals for the joy of creating
  • Crochet
  • Thoughtful blog posts related more directly to FA (Or is that more on the “go” list??)
  • More non-planned weekends with the Hubby to just relax, make love and be together

What falls on your own lists of Busy and Rest?  Do you find yourself neglecting the Rest in order to get more done on that Busy list?  Don’t forget that the body and mind both need time to recoup to function optimally.  It is something I myself often forget and need to be reminded of (hence this post!)

*On the riling up bit: I LOVED the Hunger Game books (well the first was a hit out of the park the second was good and the third a bit disappointing) so I am thrilled at the possibility of seeing this on the big screen. But seriously?? Why post a casting call asking for someone who looks “underfed but strong” to play the female lead? I GET that these kids were all nearly starving.  But that ISN’T what you need to ask for in your damn actresses. If you’re looking for a very lean athlete; SAY THAT!  But to suggest what you’re looking for is the breed of self-starving model that already dominates the acting playing field is really head-shakingly, eye-rollingly ill-considered.  Also?  Katniss was an olive-skinned young girl.  Not a white girl.  Just saying.

Today is an “Unanticipated Orange” kind of day

clementines in the morning

Extra crispy, zesty bites of orange make for a smile for me!

Today I woke rather refreshed.  We went to bed at 8:30 last night.  Instead of the usual 10 or 11pm!

And this morning I realized that today is the kind of day when you get to work and happily realize that you have two juicy, delicious slices of orange left in your breakfast container that you hadn’t anticipated. A day of hidden surprises!

What sort of hidden surprises have you come across today (or lately) that have made you smile? Has someone complimented you in a way that didn’t make you suspicious or immediately feel that you were being only “mostly” complimented (You know: “Oh!  That sweater makes you look nice today” or “Did you lose weight? You look good today!” sort of back-handed implications that otherwise you look less than appealing).

Today I had those unanticipated wedges of citrus to start my smile.  I also get to play Christmas carols on trumpet this weekend at two different venues, one of which was a last-minute thing.  I got a totally unexpected compliment on my hair, which is about 3 months over-due for a cut and color (its one of my few bodily pamperings: coloring my hair!)

These are the kinds of days I wish I could bank up for the darker, more self-hatred-prone days that usually find me in the grey-moments of deep winter.  A sort of sunny moment to pick-up and get me through.  So here’s to hoping that keeping a mental tab on such small moments WILL be like charging up my unanticipated orange-meter in anticipation of those days where no such moments are forth coming!

What about you?  What small moments have made YOUR day/week/month/year so far as we head into the last month of this year?

Also: happy start of Chanukah tonight to my Chanukah-celebrating friends and readers!