Fat Acceptance

My understanding of my own body as a fat body, which I think of pretty neutrally – when I say that, other people, and usually thinner people, rush to object to that. And what they’re responding to there isn’t the accuracy of my statement, right? They’re not disputing that my body is, like, actually small. They’re sort of shadowboxing with their own kind of assumptions about what it means to be a fat person, right? They’re assuming that what I am saying is that I am unlovable, that I am undesirable, that I’m ugly, that I’m rejected, that I’m unlikable, all of these sorts of things. And while they think they are defending me, what ends up happening is that they don’t end up listening to me, right? And this becomes a place where thin people start to name fat people’s experiences and bodies for us without really realizing how kind of wild that is to tell someone else how to feel about their own body and how to describe it.

Aubrey Gordon

..and on the day that someone says to me “I’m fat” and I don’t hear them subvocalizing all of those things about themselves; when the Wife says “I’m fat” and what I hear is “come over here and roll around on the floor with me you hot, round hunk of love” and not all those negative things that I know she means? On that day I’ll let the observation stand because I will know that it isn’t said out of self-pity. It’s said because you acknowledge that you need to get larger-sized clothing.

I’m fat. Everyone I know (that isn’t my hyper-vigilant fat-shaming extended family. You know who you are) is fat. The majority of Americans are fat. As the above quoted author also observed in the podcast this comes from, we are building a static environment that is hostile to the majority of us. Why are we doing this? It’s asinine and wasteful and says bad things about our own mental attitudes.

Consider This from NPR – Author Aubrey Gordon Wants To Debunk Myths About Fat People – January 12, 2023

If you are a woman in the world today looking for blue jeans, none of them is clothing is created or styled to fit you. It’s not styled to fit you unless your name is Natasha.

Radiolab – Butt Stuff – NOV 11, 2022

The idea of average-sized grew out of eugenics efforts at the beginning of last century. Eugenicists started asking these kinds of questions, and then they created answers to the questions that suited their pre-conceived notion of what normal should be. They threw out all the non-white measurements that were collected prior to the creation of these average-sized models, and then modified them to match their ideals of normal.

Normman & Norma
twitter.comcabinetmagazine.org

We have gotten larger since 1943. Significantly larger in some areas, smaller in others. Apparently. Why aren’t women’s clothes sized like men’s clothes? With sizes stated in inches so that you can tell what will fit just by knowing your own measurements? Why is it a shame-filled guessing game just trying to find a pair of pants that fits properly?

Shchedryk, 100 Years Later

“Carol of the Bells” returns to Carnegie Hall 100 years after its North American premiere on this stage, when New York audiences first experienced Ukraine’s unique choral tradition thanks to a historic tour by The Ukrainian Republic Capella. “Carol of the Bells” has since become a worldwide Christmas favorite. Hear it and other beloved Ukrainian carols in a once-in-a-lifetime holiday concert that also features contemporary choral works, a world premiere by composer Trevor Weston, and artists including conductor Daniela Candillari, soprano Janai Brugger, Ukrainian-Canadian singer Marichka Marczyk, the Shchedryk Children’s ChoirThe Choir of Trinity Wall StreetUkrainian Chorus Dumka of New York (as seen on Saturday Night Live), and Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus of North America.

carnegiehall.org/Calendar
NPR – State of Ukraine – 100 years ago, ‘Carol of the Bells’ came to America — from Ukraine – December 2, 2022

Carol of the Bells is almost unique in the fact that it is a Christmas song that I don’t automatically loathe upon hearing the first chord. Every other Christmas song that gets airplay in the United States has been played so often to my unwilling ears that I can’t stand to hear the songs even one more time.

I never knew the history of the song before today. It’s a Ukrainian shchedrivka or New Years song that was introduced into to the United States back in the years between World War I and World War II, the last time that Ukraine was desperately trying to escape from Russian aggression, Russian oppression. Happy New Year, Ukraine. Here’s hoping 2023 finally delivers you from the Russia that you never wanted to be part of in the first place.

Bountiful evening, bountiful evening, a New Year’s carol;
A little swallow flew into the household
and started to twitter,
to summon the master:
“Come out, come out, O master,
look at the sheep pen,
there the ewes have given birth
and the lambkins have been born
Your goods [livestock] are great,
you will have a lot of money, by selling them.
You have a dark-eyebrowed beautiful wife
If not money, then chaff from all the grain you will harvest
you have a dark-eyebrowed beautiful wife.”

wikipedia.org

The Carnegie Hall performance is tomorrow. Wish I could be there.

youtube.com/LindseyStirling
youtube.com/TSO

Vertigo Sailing. Vertigo Flying.

Since being diagnosed with Meniere’s twenty years ago I’ve been on a boat three times. Getting on or off a boat is always the scariest part for me, relative movement being nearly impossible to predict even for the ablest of abled people. Even when I was an abled person myself this was the task that could break legs or ankles or feet and so I took it quite seriously.

I used to own a sailboat. It was a dinky little thing, a fourteen foot sliver of fiberglass with a nineteen foot mast. We took it to Twin Buttes in San Angelo and to Lake Travis here in Austin and I’d have people hanging off the trapeze on the side of the boat while we tacked across the wind. The wind whipping your hair as the spray hit your face and you flew across the water like a bird. Those were some of the most invigorating moments, the kinds of moments that you know you are alive because your heart is pounding in your chest and the adrenaline is coursing through your veins and you know (know, because you’ve done it more than once) that one wrong move could capsize the boat and cause all manner of upset for your passengers.

I loved the water and was more at home in it and on it than I was on the land. I swam like a fish and did my best to sail like a veteran captain, but not anymore. The vertigo seems to be always on the verge of occurring the entire time I’ve been on the water or even in the water since I started having to constantly fight it. Just looking at a moving ship’s deck spikes the anxiety and makes me want to run the other direction. It takes an iron will to propel me onto the boat, and I don’t dare go below decks or fail to hang onto something that isn’t structural as I move around on deck, always keeping my eyes on the horizon so that I don’t tempt the nausea to rise.

I’m know I’m alive at these times too, but it’s not a good kind of alive feeling. I could kill the anxiety with Xanax, but then I’m not going to be at my best. I’ll just be enjoying the show and marveling at the pretty colors and people, never taking any of it seriously. So I don’t go on boats much anymore and I haven’t gone for a proper swim in almost a decade now.

reddit

This is going to change. I’m taking a few weeks off. Maybe more than a few. I’m not sure why I need to tell anyone this, I post sporadically at the best of times. Still, it bears mentioning that I will be AWOL and probably not posting much during the first few weeks of September because I’m heading to Illinois to visit relatives and to attend Chicon 8.

This will be my first convention experience since being diagnosed in 2005, much less my first flight and convention since Coronapocalypse. I might even get on a boat and go out on Lake Michigan like I did the last time I was in Chicago. The last time I was on a boat.

Next year we are thinking of going cross-Atlantic on Cunard and catching the Northern Lights (fingers crossed there) cruise ships might be stable enough for me not to notice the movement. Seven days on the water will be long enough to kill any anxiety about triggering vertigo even if it does ultimately trigger vertigo. Who knows? I used to get car sick riding as a passenger in any vehicle but these days I can’t even tell if we are moving unless I look out the window or the Wife hits a bump (she drives, I don’t) I’m planning on taking a bottle of Xanax with me anyway just in case.

Take what you need to cope and get out of town if and when you can. That is my suggestion. Take the things you need to feel safe and/or confident in your ability to manage the planned excursion and get some form of document from your doctor explaining why you need it in case anyone asks. Then just be prepared to sleep on deck so you can see the horizon line when you open your eyes. That’s my plan and I’m sticking to it.

reddit

I’ll see ya’ll on the other side. Who knows, I might even post daily from the convention. A sailor’s wish is for fair winds and a following sea. When fighting ocean currents and weather can spell death even for the best of sailors, it’s a blessing worth having. The equivalent blessing for the modern technologist? Four full bars and direct access. Fingers crossed on there being wifi.

Postscript

Yep. I was on a boat.

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…and I didn’t need a Xanax while on the boat, either. I did need to cling to stabilizing surfaces though. My balance is very bad and there is no denying this fact.

Let The World Back Into Me

This song has been haunting my dreams for a few weeks now:

spotify

At first I thought it was a brainworm, just another catchy tune that won’t go away. Now I’m beginning to suspect that this is my subconscious trying to tell me that I need to crawl back out of my shell and see if there is still a life to be had out in the wider world. A terrifying thought.

I don’t know that I can afford to let the world back into me, but I’m beginning to suspect that I really don’t have a choice in the matter.

This one too has been haunting my dreams.

spotify

I’m less mystified by what it means than what the first one means. I’m more than a little pissed at the people who have kept me locked in my house for three years. People who won’t do the basic minimum required of a good citizen. The basic minimum? Get your fucking vaccinations.

spotify

The Way of Peace

The way of peace is a seamless garment that must cover the whole of life and must be applied in all its relationships

A.J. Muste (found here)

A common observation about A.J. Muste I’ve seen many places now goes like this:

Once a reporter asked him, “Do you really think you are going to change the policies of this country by standing out here alone at night in front of the White House with a candle?” A.J. Muste replied softly: “Oh I don’t do this to change the country. I do this so the country won’t change me.”

facebook

I haven’t found a reliable source for the quote or the observation yet. He died on this date back in 1967. There is a foundation that was established in his name located at this URL: ajmuste.org

I am not a pacifist. On the other hand, I’m beginning to think that I probably should have always been one.

Relapse? Resurgence?

Migraines are kicking my ass. Have been kicking my ass for all of January so far. At least it’s not rotational vertigo, that is even harder to manage. I’ve gone through this sort of thing several times since 2003. I think I’ve got the pattern down and then, Wham! It hits me again. Migraines. Tinnitus. Vertigo. Then I reassess and I get back up and try again. Get back up and try again as soon as you are able. That is the hard part.

I’ve been puttering around the house for the last month. Every time I go out for a walk I get a migraine. I’m pretty sure it’s Austin’s notorious cedar fever that is getting me now, which is weird since I didn’t have a cedar allergy last time I checked. I got new masks to see if it filtered enough of the pollen, but no. So I’m stuck cooling my heels indoors for the duration. I’m about to start chewing on the furniture.

reddit

The belief that you have found the pattern is where the error lies. That you were actually symptom free for the span between attacks. Little things pop up, but they are little things, things you can cope with. You can cope with them until you can’t, and then you start trying to see what you did wrong. You didn’t do anything wrong, you have a chronic illness.

It isn’t karma or luck or moxie or mojo or any other version of magical thinking. Your physical form torments you because it is flawed in some undefinable way and it’s not your fault it’s just how you were made. This is categorically unfair and it is proof that the universe and unjust and unfair. That there is no god and if there is one he is a sadistic bastard.

Got it all wrong, holy man. I absolutely believe in God… And I absolutely hate the fucker.

Riddick, Pitch Black

Tell the universe to fuck off and get back up and live anyway. It’s the best answer to the pain.

Why Worry?

Baby, when I get down I turn to you
And you make sense of what I do
And though it isn’t hard to say

But baby, just when this world seems mean and cold
Our love comes shining red and gold
And all the rest is by the way

Why worry
There should be laughter after pain
There should be sunshine after rain
These things have always been the same
So why worry now
Why worry now

Dire Straits
spotify

One of my favorite songs from one of my favorite albums. It’s nice to be able to hear these songs again. This is all thanks to Aftershokz headphones. I have several pairs now. It’s been a musical desert for me until just recently. I was a serious audiophile once. Now nothing sounds right if it isn’t coming to me through these headphones.

Chemically Dependent

These feelings come from chemicals, I remind myself. It is fitting that this is true. How did the complex carbon chains that started this process we call life feel? Obviously they were attracted to each other, not pressured into existence like the elements themselves were.

Was there more than attraction? Was there a drive to reverse entropy, if only on a tiny local level? A desire to return to the simpler, hotter times of a young universe? A time when galaxies could pop into existence in the blink of a geologically-tuned eye? A time when anything could happen, matter itself barely even a concept yet?

After three or four transitions through supernova, were the carbon atoms ready for a change? Let’s try something different? Was life a kink that carbon engaged in on a lark, just because it was bored? Or was it something that carbon felt it was suited for, it’s many connection points needing attention all at the same time?

Featured image from: redbubble.com

Quantum

A human is a quantum particle. When watched the human remains a constant, never changing. When unobserved the human shifts direction and state, never the exact same quantum particle twice. It throws off energy and matter as part of its existence, and no amount of measurement will ever accurately assign the value of the quantum human. There will always be something lost just in making the attempt to measure it.

Texas Standard – It Took This Houston Family Two Years And Legal Action To Gain Special Education For Their Son – January 26, 2021

(Justice delayed is justice denied. Education delayed is education denied)

Do not destroy the quantum human particle. Nurture it. Let it grow and change and create its value unobserved when possible. Let it become what it’s unknown state of being wants it to be. Only then will its true value be realized.

breathe in. breathe out. move on.

Relax. I think It’s Over?

C-SPANNational Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman at Presidential Inauguration – Jan 20, 2021

There is always a light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.

Amanda Gorman

For the first time in four years, we have a President again. Someone that wasn’t sold to us by Russia. Someone that won’t sell us to profit himself. Someone that might actually try to do his job. Even if he doesn’t do anything, he’ll be a better President than the last one was.