This Fat Girl Isn’t on a Diet

donut dietYou’re probably coming into this post going, “Who cares?” because you’re probably tired of people talking about their diets (and exercise routines, but that’s another post). You’re tired of hearing about paleo and gluten-free and high protein and low fat and no carbs and fasting and juicing and everything else that everyone else is doing in order to get healthy, be healthy, and lose weight. You’re probably wondering, “Why does this ditz need to proclaim that she’s NOT dieting?”

I’m glad you asked.

Two reasons.

1. I’m probably giving people mixed signals in regards to my eating because I can’t eat mass quantities in one sitting (I’m the disgrace of my family; my tiny little ninety year old great-aunt eats more at a family dinner than I do) and I do eat fairly healthy most of the time. I don’t drink a lot of soda, I don’t eat a lot of fast food, I don’t eat a lot of sweets or candy, I don’t eat a lot of processed food, I make a lot of vegetarian meals, I will crave salad, and if I’m not careful, my baby carrot addiction will get out of hand and I’ll end up turning orange.

So, it can look like I’m on a diet. Especially if you see me eating celery because who in the hell eats celery any other time?

(For the record, I actually eat it to help with acid reflux. And it works. Weird.)

And since it can look like I’m on a diet, then it also looks like I’m going off my diet or cheating on my diet when I talk about eating my weight in Sorrento’s pizza. Or when I talk about drowning my sorrows in ice cream because the Cubs lost. Or when I post pictures of me eating a plain cake doughnut with strawberries and whipped cream. Or any other time I talk about eating stuff that’s “bad” (the labeling of certain foods as bad irks me, but again, another post).

I don’t want you to panic and think I’m failing at yet another thing in my life. I’m not. Everything’s cool. I’m not riding on any wagon so you don’t have to worry about me falling off.

Also, that baby carrot intervention isn’t necessary. I can quit any time I want.

2. It’s easily assumed that because I’m a fat girl that I should be on a diet so I can qualify for Good Fat Girl Status.

You know what that is, don’t you? Good Fat Girl Status? Being a “good” fat girl means that you’re trying to lose weight. When people see you eating healthy and/or exercising, they assume you to be a “good” fatty because you’re trying to no longer be any kind of fatty.

Well, you know what happens when you assume, right? I wreck your world and burst your bubble and make you sad.

I am not on a diet. My health focal points actually have nothing to do with weight loss. For me, weight loss is a side effect of doing better for my health. My ultimate goal is to feel better, a total subjective measurement that only I can evaluate. My “diet” for this is drink a lot of water and don’t eat too much garbage food. That’s it. It gives me far less angst than counting calories or keeping track of points or wondering if cavemen ate cottage cheese.

And if that gives me Bad Fat Girl Status, then I’m cool with that.

We all know that bad girls have more fun.

Being Fat on Twitter

Full fat aviThe past couple of weeks, I started getting a lot of friendly interaction from guys on Twitter. Friendly to the point of being straight up creeper. In one case I was pretty sure I was being measured for a skin suit and the guy doing it was kind of underwhelming and I was seriously bummed by the anti-climax there.

But, I digress, as I so often do.

At first, I couldn’t figure out why I was getting all of this attention. I wasn’t tweeting anything differently than I normally did. If anything, I’d been tweeting less than usual.

And then it hit me.

I had put up a new avi a few days after New Year’s Eve. A head and shoulders selfie of me wearing a white cami (that’s a kind of tank top, fellas) that I’d tinted to blue to give it a wintry look. I liked it. I thought it fit the January feel and I was looking for something I could have for a while before I got bored and decided to change it. Sounds pretty legit right? Nothing weird. Nothing overtly sexy. Nothing overtly anything, I thought.

Except the angle, the framing of the picture, well, you couldn’t tell that I’m fat.

January aviAhh! That’s it!

Guys think the “fat girl belly dancing” line in my bio is some sort of self-deprecation thing when they see that pic. I actually had one guy tell me that I’m “not that big”. Thanks, dude. Didn’t ask for your pitiful reassurance, but okay then.

As soon as I figured this out, I changed my avi to the full-figured shot at the top of the post. And I made a vow. Only full-fat avis (avies? avi’s? I still don’t know how to spell that) from now on.

First of all, that does cut down on some of the questionable attention, except for the odd chubby chaser.

Second of all, I don’t want the people that follow me, that read my tweets to forget that I’m legit fat and not “OMG I’M SO FAT!!!” fat. That when I talk about my weight, even when I joke about it, I’m talking about my actual state of existence. I’m not fishing for a compliment. This is my actual being, kids. I am fat. Legit fat. For real. And I’m going to comment upon it from time to time.

I don’t want guys to be misled because I put up a picture of my pretty face and they miss out on the rolls in the bakery and cottage cheese in the dairy section. I want them to know that I am more than likely a girl they wouldn’t give the time of day to on the street because she’s a “fatty”.

This is a public service, my friends.

I just can’t be responsible for anymore broken hearts.

Sew, It’s a Mini Dress

The mini dress as first pieced together.
The mini dress as first pieced together.

I had two button down shirts that I bought ages ago but never wore because I hated the sleeves on them. Hey, plus size clothing designers/manufacturers, some of us fat girls have fat arms, too. I know! Shocker! Anyway, I shoved them away in my “fabrics and projects bin” with the idea that I would make something out of them. They’ve been in there for several years and I’ve periodically pulled them out and messed with them whenever an idea hit me. I was stuck on the idea of turning them into a skirt, but I just couldn’t get that to work out. What mostly held me back was how to work the waist.

And then finally the glowing spark of epiphany hit me.

I’d make a shift dress out of them!

I love the shift dress style. It’s very ’60s and I love clothing from that decade (’70s, too, particularly boho stuff). I also decided to go bold and make it a mini dress. I’ve recently become very enamored by the concept of mini dresses, something I thought I shouldn’t wear because I’m fat and have fat legs and such. But now that I’m wearing tights with a lot of my dresses, my fat legs aren’t such an eyesore anymore. I thought this would be a good chance to give a mini dress a try.

When I first started piecing this dress together, I already knew that I’d have one problem with the set up: the shirt I used on the bottom would have to be split up both sides and fabric added so that it would fit my hips. And since I was using the red gingham on the bottom, well, that was going to be interesting. Soon I also realized that I was going to be cutting mini dress really close if I wanted the dress to look the way I wanted to. I had limited fabric I could comfortably work with. There was also the problem with the fabric itself. It’s a crinkly sort of thing that frays pretty easily. I decided the best thing I could do was go for a deconstructed look, which solved the fraying, patching (because the shirts acquired a couple of holes), and pattern matching problems, and pray that the dress would be long enough in the end, knowing I could add fabric to the bottom if I really needed to (but really didn’t want to).

I started by cutting off those hated sleeves from the red shirt and then cutting the bottom of it off. I cut the top off of the gingham print shirt, slit it along the seams up the sides, and pinned the two pieces to the bottom of the now cropped red top. I tried it on to get a feel of how much fabric I’d need for the new sides and the length was pretty shockingly short. This was the moment I doubted that it would work. And so, instead of giving up or trying to work it as something else, I said, “fuck it”, and whip stitched the new top and bottom together to see what would happen.

The length got better.

I sewed in the new sides, which basically completed the overall form of the dress. And it worked! It’s really short as a mini dress should be, but I was pleased to realize that I didn’t HAVE to add any fabric to keep my dignity. If I find that it rides up too much, I can always weight the fabric later.

Featuring my newly acquired button skills!
Featuring my newly acquired button skills!

After I reinforced the stitching between the two former shirts and patched up the holes (gingham on red, red on gingham), I turned my attention to the buttons. In cutting apart the shirts and sewing them back together, there was a gap where a button should be. I debated about this because I had never added a button hole to anything before. I thought maybe I’d just sew that gap together and disguise it with a bow or something, but in the end, I decided to go for broke and try a button hole. If it didn’t work out, I could still cover up my mistake.

I Googled how to do it, ended up learning a new stitch to do it, and, TA DA! I did it! I’m pretty proud of that bit.

And I’m pretty pleased with how the dress turned out.

Oh, and just as a reminder, I can’t work a sewing machine. This was all done by hand.

The Uneven Body Quirk

Aloha!Nobody is perfect and no body is perfect, either. Definitely not mine. I’ve been rather forward with all of my short comings.

Today, I want to point out a very specific body quirk that never fails to baffle and amuse me.

It’s a reasonably known fact that when it comes to body symmetry, things can be slightly uneven. Typically, the dominate side is slightly bigger simply because it gets worked more. Though, my friend Haley told me that while most women have one boob bigger than the other, it’s usually the left boob that’s bigger regardless of the dominant side. She brought it up because she wondered if that were true for me, since I had breast reduction surgery. It turns out, my left boob was bigger both before AND after surgery, though  the size difference after surgery is much less notable.

But I digress a little (you people know so much about my boobs…).

An example of my body symmetry being off with my dominant side, in my case the right side, being bigger can be seen in my calves. My right calf is bigger than my left, though it’s not immediately noticeable. Lots of people have body symmetry like this. It exists, but you only really notice it if you look.

This is not true for my upper arms.

Of all of the body parts I have available to cause me insecurity, my upper arms are the part I have picked to worry the most. I started doing certain weight lifting exercises to strengthen, tone, and shrink my upper arms, and they’ve been working! But one little thing remains.

My right arm is significantly bigger than my left. Like immediately noticeable, ridiculously bigger.

arm fat

This should give you a decent idea of the size difference, but you can really tell when I spread my bat wings (which I don’t have a picture of). It’s a thing of unsymmetrical awe.

I have no idea if I keep doing these exercises if I can get my right arm to shrink down closer to the size of my left, but it certainly won’t hurt anything to try. And if it never happens, if my arms remain lopsided forever, well, I can live with that, too.

I’ll use it as a conversation piece.

PSA: Stop Saying “Being Fat Isn’t Healthy”

stopThis is going to be short because I want to be able to use it as a reference for people every time they make this comment. I want to be able to link to it and call it all good.

Three reasons for you to stop saying “Being fat isn’t healthy.”

1. You can’t tell the state of someone’s health by looking at them. If you could, then doctors wouldn’t need to go to school for so many years because anyone could be diagnosed with a glance (which is, unfortunately, how many doctors do diagnose fat patients). And if all it took to be healthy was to be thin, then Mary Tyler Moore wouldn’t have diabetes, Weight Watchers would be a cure-all, and there’d be no tragic articles about people who did all the right health things and still got cancer.

2. The lack of affordable healthcare in this country, the fact that healthcare is considered a privilege, the fact that healthcare is a for-profit business has contributed more to the state of my and many other’s health than weight ever will.

3. NO ONE IS OBLIGATED TO BE HEALTHY ANYWAY. For real. Fuck off.

So the next time you feel the urge to come at a fatty with the pseudo-concern blather of “being fat isn’t healthy” refer back to this list.

Particularly the last two words of number three.

Picture: Fat Girl in a Two-Piece

Fat girl bikiniWhen I posted about my fat girl two-piece swimwear a couple of weeks ago, I was pretty torn on the idea of actually posting a picture of me wearing it on the interwebs. After all, this is the shit memes are made of. “A fat girl in a bikini? Let me caption this! LOL!”

Also, I am by no means popular, but this sort of thing is a magnet for assholes. “Here! Allow me to comment negatively on your body for no other reason than I like to make other people feel shitty as a means of a controlling them!” For real, that’s what you’re doing. Even if you do it nicely under the guise of being “real” or “truthful” or “helpful”, in the end you’re just propagating stereotypes and garbage knowledge because to allow this sort of thing to exist without comment would go against society’s grain and that would make you feel oogy.

But I said, “fuck it”, and posted it on Twitter and Facebook. And now here.

Isn’t it funny how a picture can bring out this sort of thing? Not just the insensitivity and the bashing, but the discussion of the social implications of me, a fat girl, a woman in general, posting a picture of myself in a swimsuit.

When I first decided to change my Facebook and Twitter profile pictures and use this image, I thought I should crop it to reduce the amount of skin showing. I didn’t want to make certain relatives and friends uncomfortable on Facebook and I didn’t want to appear as unprofessional on Twitter since I do hock my cheesy wares over there from time to time.

Isn’t that funny?

I worried about making people who are supposed to love me for who and what I am uncomfortable by putting up a picture of who and what I am.  Now that’s just stupid. First of all, that picture shouldn’t change their feelings. Second of all, I already make many of them uncomfortable because of who and what I am without displaying any fat rolls. The picture is of no consequence.

I worried about appearing unprofessional on Twitter because I have this thing about being respected and laws knows that a woman can’t be respected if she is at all comfortable with her body and displays it in any way she sees fit. By the power vested in my boobs, I’m already starting way down the respect ladder. And if I show them off in any way, knock me down a few rungs more. Ain’t that some bullshit?

It’s summer. My Twitter bio says I’m the Lincoln Land Cleavage Queen three years running (thanks for that, Carl). Why can’t I be professional AND have a profile picture displaying both of these facts? I think I can and I did. The picture won’t change what I tweet and won’t change the fact that I have always and will always demand the respect I think I’m entitled (I’ve got a real hang-up with it, kids, enough to warrant its own post).

Now, let’s take a look at the picture itself. Pretty nice, huh? Love the hat. The pose and the angle doesn’t really show off the full effect of my 240 pounds. The way I’m angled so you can’t see how wide my hips and shoulders are, the way the swimsuit sits so the fat rolls are subdued, the fact that my arms and legs are mostly out of the picture, it all sort of lies. I mean I do carry my weight somewhat well, but this angle makes me look better. This actually wasn’t my intention. My roommate Carrie said I looked like I belonged on the Riviera, so I posed as such.

From this angle, you also can’t see my bad skin, as it’s mostly on my right side and my back. The height of the bikini bottoms hides the stretchmarks on my upper belly. The bikini top hides the worst of my boob stretchmarks, but if you look sharp there, on the left side just above where that strap comes around my ribs, you can see one of my surgery scars. Snazzy, huh?

When I look at this picture, you know what I focus on? How great my rack looks in the bikini top. Seriously. The girls look fabulous.

You know what bothers me the most when I look at this picture? I’m not wearing lipstick. I wish I was sporting my berry color just to brighten up my face and give myself a little more glamour. Also, I wish I’d picked a different color nail polish. My pink or coral or blue would have been better.

Yeah, I’m  pretty vain like that.

Fat Girl in a Two-Piece

Two-pieceIt was a half-price sale that got my attention. I like the sound of things being half-price. It sounds like me spending money on things I wouldn’t ordinarily buy.

This half-price sale?

Swimwear.

I haven’t owned a bathing suit since high school. I think the last time I wore one was my freshman year during a band trip to Virginia Beach. At least that’s the last time I remember wearing one. After that, my swimwear was usually an old t-shirt and an old pair of shorts. This was mostly because I didn’t really go swimming enough to justify buying a new swimsuit. It was also because after my freshman year, my chest grew to such a size that finding a bathing suit that fit was incredibly difficult and even if I did find one, I wouldn’t want to be seen in it.

So here were are about twenty years later and I’m faced with a half-price sale on swimwear and I think to myself, “Man, I should really buy a swimsuit. I haven’t had one in years and Mom has a pool and this is just fate, really. I shouldn’t fight it.”

I looked through the offerings of fat girl one-pieces and wasn’t exactly thrilled with them. “Control panel” is a phrase I regard with some suspicion because I interpret it as “SQUISH!” and that doesn’t thrill me. All of the one-piece suits had this feature and it bummed me out because I didn’t want to smoosh my fat and internal organs just to possibly not offend some delicate snowflake that might faint at the glimpse of my pudge.

I thought I was out of luck, and then I thought, “Why can’t I just get a two-piece?”

Indeed, why couldn’t I? Sure, I’d been told by society at large, not to mention people I converse with directly under the guise of being friends and family, that fat girls weren’t allowed to wear two-piece bathing suits, that actually fat girls shouldn’t wear swimsuits at all, but if you insist, cover as much fat and skin as you can. But wouldn’t a two-piece be the answer to my “control panel” problems?

It would.

It would also be cheaper.

See, buying separates meant that I could buy the bottoms from the fat lady department and the tops from the non-fat lady department (thank you, breast reduction) and it’d be cheaper than two fat lady separates or a fat lady one-piece. Plus, more variety.

In looking through my choices of tankinis, another thought occurred to me.

“Why can’t I get a proper  two-piece and just let my fat hang out?”

Again, the only thing I could come up with was society not wanting to see my rolls. But they wouldn’t. I’d be in my mom’s backyard. Only, she, my nieces, my roommate, and maybe my stepdad would see my rolls. And they’ve already seen them. Besides, the cottage cheese would already be on display in the dairy section that is my thighs, so who cares about some rolls in the bakery? Really, what’s the big whooop?

In the end, I got what you see in the picture. A pair of bottoms, a tankini, and a halter style top. I was pretty excited about getting them, more excited that they fit, and positively thrilled at the fact that I think I look pretty damn spiffy in both top styles. Yes, even the one with my fat belly exposed.

Twenty years ago, when I was actually much thinner, I NEVER would have worn a bikini. I wouldn’t have done it seven years ago after I’d lost forty pounds. But today, at age 34 and weighing around 240 pounds, I now own the first two-piece swimsuit I’ve had since I was probably a toddler and I’ll rock it like a badass.

My fat rolls thank me for the freedom.

Fat Girl Fashion in a Small Town

Kiki's '60sToday (as in the day I’m writing this blog post, not necessarily the day I’m posting it) I was feeling a ’60s vibe. So I wore a coral shift dress, white flats, and tied a wavy-patterned, purple bandana around my head in a ’60s style, fluffing up my my hair at the crown of my head to really sell it. I even did my make-up in a more ’60s style, but not too overtly ’60s. I don’t have the skill with false eyelashes and eyeliner to do that.

I also don’t own any white lipstick.

Then I went out and ran errands.

While out and about among the people of my little town in the cornfield, it was pretty obvious that I was operating on a different fashion level than the people I was around. Not a better fashion level, just a different one. And when you operate outside of the normal levels, well, you tend to stand out a little more.

Coral shift and white flats (legs)I fell into a fashion rut a few years ago. Part of it was because I was broke and couldn’t afford new clothes. Part of it was because, even though I wanted to rock some new, stylish duds, I felt like I needed a place to wear these things. Just going out around town to run errands or going to teach homeschool or ferry the kid to and from school didn’t seem like a good enough reason to deviate from my t-shirt and jeans. I’d stand out and I didn’t want to stand out.

Patterned pixie pants (legs)Last year, this started to change. First, I was able to afford new clothes. Second, I decided to stop worrying about what other people might be thinking about me because I chose to wear fishnets and boots to the liquor store (for the record, the older ladies at the liquor store have always been very complimentary about my style). Just because people around here were used to seeing only t-shirts and jeans, and people who knew me were used to seeing me in t-shirts and jeans, didn’t mean that I had to continue in that rut.

Coral shift, olive jacket, fishnets (legs)I’ve been a little adventurous in my fashion choices as a result. Wearing my coral shift dress with an olive green military style jacket, bright purple scarf, flower fishnet tights, and black suede boots. Rocking black and white patterned pants with a black or white t-shirt and black or white flats, depending on the need. Wearing an olive green tie dress and bright purple scarf (that scarf became a favorite over the winter) with gray and black fishnets and black combat style boots. Pairing my black shift dress with a red plaid shirt, gray tights, and boots.

Olive dress, fishnets (legs)I got a million of them.

(Okay, not really, but I wish I did.)

I kidded on Twitter that if I had a full-length mirror, people would be getting daily tweets of my outfits. Only, I wasn’t really kidding. I really would do that just because I’m so pleased that I’ve broken out of my fashion rut in such a colorful, fun way.

It gives the folks in my small town something different to look at, too.

Change and a Haircut

Kiki's red hairNot to be too dramatic about it, but something significant happened after I got all of my hair cut off.

I changed the way I saw myself.

Okay, yeah, duh, of course I would. Having really short hair makes me look different than when I have semi-short hair that I can still pull back into a ponytail. It’s very different from the long hair I had years ago. But the difference I’m talking about goes deeper than just hair length.

The best way I can explain it is like this. I have two shelves that house some of my Cubs memorabilia. On one shelf is a picture of me taken with a friend and a player. Every time I look at that picture, I think to myself, “I’m not that person anymore.”

Of course not. That was two years ago. People change in two years. Hell, people can change in two days. But seeing myself in that picture with my old hairstyle, it’s a physical representation of how I have changed.

The person in that picture was kind of depressed, not very confident, constantly bombarded with negative thoughts. She was insecure, unsure, and feeling pretty weak.

I am not that person anymore.

Photo of a Bad Fan.

Okay, I can still be somewhat negative because I’m pessimistic by nature, but I’m not focusing that negativity on me. I’m using it more as a tool of realism instead. I’m more confident about who I am now, more willing not to feel bad about not living up to society’s ideals.

The girl in that picture gave a lot of lip service to an idea that she was a worthwhile human being just as she was and people needed to accept it because it was their hang-up, not hers, and she really wanted to believe that idea, but couldn’t quite make it.

I’m not that girl anymore. Now I believe what I say. I believe that idea.

Sometimes when I think of myself, see myself in my head, I picture myself with my old hairstyle and I have to correct myself. That girl I used to be didn’t disappear; she lingers. This me grew out of that me and I have no doubt that another version of me will grow out of the me I am now. I am an always evolving thing.

Obviously, the haircut didn’t start that.

It just reminds me of it.

Esteem Problems

esteem“I don’t have low self-esteem. I have low esteem for everyone else.”

If you are of the generation that was around for an MTV show called Daria and if you were one of those generation members that watched the cartoon, then that quote should sound familiar. It’s a quote that’s been stuck in my brain since I first heard it, so we’re talking a few years.

It stuck with me because it’s true. It is an accurate statement about myself.

Whenever I find myself feeling bad about myself, thinking I’m fat*/ugly/stupid/worthless/unsuccessful**, it’s not because I truly think I’m fat/ugly/stupid/worthless/unsuccessful. It’s because I’m thinking about other people thinking that I’m fat/ugly/stupid/worthless/unsuccessful.

Other people’s hang-ups bring me down. Thinking about what they’re thinking about me bruises my ego.

Of course, I don’t know for certain that everyone is thinking these bad things about me, but if I were to go by what I know about society, there’s a good chance I’m being dismissed as no good. It makes ME dismiss people as not worth my time pretty easily.

This sort of thing has plagued me for a pretty long while. Some days it weighs on my mind heavily, bottoming out my self-worth. Some days I can’t give a damn and don’t give anyone else’s firing synapses a second of my time. Either way, it’s impacted my behavior, my choices, and my own mind.

It’s a complicated sort of thing to deal with when you think you’re pretty great, at least there’s nothing seriously bad about yourself, and yet you know most people you encounter don’t agree. Like a black cloud on a sunny day, you keep your eye on it because you know that sucker is just gonna grow and downpour all over your laundry. It’s a confusing cognitive dissonance. How am I suppose to feel about myself when I have this consensus that’s so different from my own opinion?

Also how am I supposed to feel about other people? It’s really hard to like someone or even want to like someone or want to get to know someone that I’m sure has already judged me poorly because I don’t fit into society’s neat little box. I realize that it makes me the same kind of asshole that’s got me pissy in the first place. That little bit of reality isn’t lost on me.

I’ve lost out because of this way of thinking. I already know what the answer is so I don’t bother to ask the question.

However, I think there’s a change on the horizon.

Last month, during a week-long fit of esteem troubles, I was driving to one of my jobs when I had an epiphany, a thought so sudden I swear an actual beam of light came into my brain and chased all the dark thoughts right out.

It’s very easy for me to imagine folks judging me harshly. But it’s just as easy for them not to. It’s just as easy for them to take one look at me and think, “There is a cool cat and I’d like to know her.” And what kind of asshole am I not to even give them a chance? I should. Give them a chance, that is. Not be an asshole.

I like that way of thinking better. I’m kind of enjoying it.

I think I may have found a cure for my esteem problems.

*Fat meant as a bad thing. I am fat, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing.

**Unsuccessful based on certain society standards such as being married, having kids, having a real job, having a college degree, that sort of thing. That normal road that we’re all expected to walk and considered losers if we don’t.