Stationary Drifting


It Gets Fatter!

A good friend (and neighbour!), her friends, and the internet at large, have started this amazing new video project called It Gets Fatter (tumblr & also vimeo). Its a space to for People of Colour (POCs) who identify as fat, and also queer, to submit videos and written stuff talking about their experiences with fatness and body loving (or not). Its a brand brand new project that has been going on for barely a week and so far a few really powerful videos have been posted about fatness vs. health and how they are not always connected, self-acceptance and learning to love your body no matter what others tell you.

Here’s a video example that really touched me:

A lot of the videos have touched me, and have made me want to delve a little into my own feelings about my body and how I get through tough situations with my family and in life. I’ve had a blog post sitting in my drafts folder for months now called ‘On Being Thick’ but never really had the courage to work it out in words and moreover to post it publicly until now. So thanks It Gets Fatter folks for opening up that dialogue and pushing me to have the guts to put it out there.

The reason the above video struck a nerve with me is because Jackie talked about her experiences within her family and their feelings around her size. It is obviously very intense when the people who raise you talk negatively about your body, and I was lucky not to have that experience growing up. I was a very tiny child; short, skinny, and rocking nicknames like ‘squirt’ and ‘spaghetti legs’ (the last one was bestowed by my great-grandmother because I had long, very thin legs). It wasn’t until I hit puberty, and honestly not until my late teens that I started to gain weight for real. Its been a slow progress and has depended a lot on how active my year has been but I’ve been steadily gaining every since.

Comments about my weight started a few years ago, when I began to push the okay height to weight ratio in some of my family’s eyes. Its rarely been direct, mostly comments on how good I looked the last time I was home because I was thinner, or how I look good now as opposed to the last time because last time I was overweight and this time I was thinner. A lot of it has been indirect, and probably not aimed at me at all but comments about personal weight gain or loss definitely affect me, as well as comments from family members about how concerned they are about my dad’s weight followed by comments about how much I look like my dad. Most of the time it was meant to compliment me, or at least not to hurt me but its really hard not to take it personally when people look at me and then decide that a conversation about weight loss would be something I’d be into hearing.

I’m having difficulty saying this because I love my mom to bits and she has been my champion in so many ways, ways that I could never thank her enough for, but when it comes to my weight I’ve recently had a few experiences with her that have really stuck with me, they both involved shopping for clothes for me together, both in the past year. Last December I was looking for something to wear to my brother’s wedding in Vegas, it was last minute and we didn’t have a lot of time, plus my mom hates shopping even more than me. I remember going to store after store trying to find something that fit, and taking longer than she had patience for to find something because I just couldn’t get that comfortable combination of style and fit that I needed to feel good. I distinctly remember feeling like I had to apologize to her for my weight, not that she was asking me to but because I felt bad about being too big to fit most of the cute things she liked. I felt a lot of shame in that moment and that I had to explain myself. I stumbled through a few tries but in the end I didn’t really have an explanation, the truth is that by a lot of standards I’m not  plus sized, mall clothing just runs small in a totally mean way. It wasn’t my fault, but in that moment I felt like it was. The second time was when we were emergency shopping for a replacement wedding dress for me and my mom suggested I try on a girdle, something that she would NEVER consider wearing and, prior to me getting to the size that I am now, would probably have railed against. Its taken me a while to deconstruct that moment, and in the end I feel like my mom thought that I needed it in order to look ‘better’ in my dress. I tried it on, hated the feeling of it and the feeling behind it and decided against it. To her credit she didn’t push it but the idea that my mom thinks I’m too chubby to look good has stuck with me.  After many conversations with M about shapewear I’ve come to the conclusion as to why I’m not into it. Its not that I’m against other people wearing it for whatever reason they want to wear it, but for me I feel like I’m lying to myself about how my body looks and hiding the parts of my body that I’m struggling to love won’t make me love it any more.

Phew, still feeling iffy about that last paragraph so I’m going to move on to this really powerful video submitted to It Gets Fatter by msqueenly (who has many blogs) about being poor, black, queer and fat.

This video is important for so many reasons, and I would love to have, heard, or read further discussions of the intersections of all the points they brought up, especially around invisibility and how movements co-opt the voices of people struggling under multiple oppressions, but for this moment I want to highlight this particular point”

“it isn’t a journey of how i decorate my body with nice clothes, nice shoes, lingerie, accessories, you know. it’s not that type of journey. that’s not how i validate my fatness or my queerness or my blackness or how i talk about my poor experiences because, of course, being poor means you don’t have the money to do those things for a lot of people.”

which makes me want to stand up and clap. I’ve been trying to articulate my uncomfortableness with some blogging I see and also with some body positive blogging I see. I love it when people get excited about decorating their bodies, however they see that to be, and I definitely appreciate a visually pleasing outfit. I also get that when it comes to fatness and body positivity a lot of it is about challenging how my, your, their body is SEEN, so blogs of people dressing hot and refusing to hide their fat bodies is great and challenging and so wonderful. I guess I’m just a little disappointed that that’s as far as a lot of people take discussions about personal fashion and adornment. While clothes, accessories, tattoos, piercings, whatever are personal expressions of self and are rad in their own ways, I don’t feel like its the be all, end all of this discussion. ESPECIALLY when we’re trying to talk about body acceptance and inclusion. Dressing well is great and all but we can’t stop there. There are so many other ways this manifests in my life, to speak for myself. It manifests in how I eat in public, how I take up space, how and when I exercise, how I sit, how I dance, how I hold my body, how people see my body. It’s an awesome feeling to be wearing something hot and tight, but that feeling can very quickly be flipped to feeling shitty as soon as I catch the eye of someone who does not feel that I look awesome in my hot, tight outfit. And that feeling is not something that can always be addressed by more great outfits. Nor is it always possible to have the clothes that make me feel pumped about my body. Lately its been about making clothes work and/or fit because my current life doesn’t support new outfits, or really anything beyond the basics.

Anyway, I haven’t really done justice to msqueenly’s video or even that one quote because it means so much more than what I feel I can say on the topic right now but I just want to put it out there that this is a really great project, one that has made me want to talk out loud about my feelings ‘on being thick’. I have a lot more growing into my feelings and thoughts about this, and especially more growing into the wider topic but I love that this conversation is happening and that so many rad people are blasting open the body positivity conversation and making people think about how the intersections of identity change, influence, support and contradict how we talk about bodies, fatness, and self-love. So cheers to that.

And to this:

from the ‘fat acceptance! Yay!’ pinterest board


Eating: Marseau Makes Meat (& cheese)

Marseau and I have come to an unspoken understanding about making food. I made big things occasionally (big meals, baked goods, soups to be frozen) and some staples (humus, bread) and he makes the in between meals. The delicious every day lunches and dinners. I like this set up a lot because it means that we eat well every day and have lots of yummy treats and snack foods. Plus it plays on our strengths, particularly mine of having bursts of energy around big projects and then sinking into cooking apathy. The decision on both our parts to stop eating out so much and start eating good, well-balance, homemade foods has been a good one. I feel a lot healthier, I eat better and more often, we save money, I feel nice and home-y when there is something delicious smelling cooking/baking away in the kitchen.

Sometimes we reverse our method though and Marseau cooks a huge meal. The kind that leaves me in a food coma and feeling so good. That guy can cook his ass off and knows his way around the spice shelf like no one I’ve met before.

Here are some of my favourites from the past little while.

The Stay-Home Date:

Pepperoni, spinach, hot peppers and cheeeeeese.

cheezy goodness

One day the other week we decided to have a stay home date. The kind where we make a delicious meal, drink some wine from the SAQ not the dep, and converse, maybe watch a movie on netflix in bed. A cozy night where we glory in the fact that we now live together. On this nights menu was homemade pizza. We took a stroll on over to Milano’s (the Italian grocery store in the neighbourhood) and got ourselves some of their pre-made pizza dough and some fresh sliced pepperoni that is so delicious it melts in the mouth. Living on the edge of Little Italy has its perks. Coupling that with spinach from the market and Silvie’s homemade pickled hot peppers we were on a pizza roll. It baked up so delicious and greasy, Marseau was adorable and insisted on serving me every slice I went back for and seasoning it himself with oregano and other good spices.

The Soul Food Night:

Featuring fried chicken, mac n’ cheese, garlic butter string beans and biscuits (that we didn’t eat because I eff’d them up)

one of the only shots I got because I was too busy eating. nom.

Marseau was missing the food back home in Philly, as well as the rest of home, so late one Friday night we decided to do up a soul food feast. Marseau was in charge of the fried chicken (breast not wings because I don’t like wings and he loves me that much), and the mac’ n cheese. I had the beans and the biscuits. Besides the small fire in the oven we caused when the oven and pan decided they couldn’t handle all the amazing mac n’ cheese deliciousness going on, Marseau cooked his ass off and prepped one helluva meal. I, on the other hand, didn’t really keep up my end of the bargain. I tried a new recipe from one of my healthy cookbooks for the biscuits (note to self: never try and make healthy biscuits again) which were too dense, barely rose and not buttery enough. Also as a result of the above mentioned small oven fire I had to take my dough over to our neighbour Jackie’s house to bake them and then proceeded to burn the bottoms of every single one. Total biscuit fail. Marseau doesn’t trust that I can make good biscuits now and I’m determined to prove that normally I make delicious ones (I made another batch this week that received a B grade. What a jerk)! On the up side Jackie joined us for the feast and we all laid around comatose for a good while after that. The beans were good too by the way, really garlic and butter-y just how I like them. Too garlicy for Marseau though, and I left him to cook them while I left to burn the hell out of the biscuits. Like I said, I really didn’t hold up my end of the deal on this dinner. I like to think I was a good conversationalist during it though…

I took almost no photos because I was too busy cooking and then eating. We had barely any leftovers, and what we jealously guarded from other people (no guests!) still only lasted one day.

Upside: we’re thinking of holding Soul Food Sundays as a fundraiser for our wedding! Must perfect biscuit recipe soon….

Burgers for the hell of it:

Cheeseburger (cheese INSIDE the burger) with maple glazed caramelized onions, chips and salsa, beer

caramelized onions are our new favourite garnish for everything

I don’t think we had a reason to make this big meal besides the fact that we were both craving protein and had the desire to eat our faces off (again). We were trying to pretend we were excited to make some sort of healthy rice and bean with veggies dish but as soon as Marseau proposed burgers I was down.

Marseau did up these thick, delicious burgers with lots of spice and (like the genius he is) put the cheese INSIDE the meat so that when they fried up the cheese melted ON THE INSIDE! I never thought of doing that, its crazy good. He also started a now household obsession for caramelized onions. These ones were a maple glazed version that added an amazing, sweet-ish tang to the spicey burger. Topped with lettuce, tomato, spicy mustard and the mayo/ketchup staples these monsters hit the spot like no other. They were so big though that it was hard to eat the chips and salad that went along with them.

****

I’m stupid lucky to have this wonderful guy and amazing cook in my life, though I’m pretty sure he’s trying to fatten me up. With food like this though I’m more than happy to let him!

****

I have some other food related posts coming up since I’ve been baking up a storm lately. Also a couple of knitting/craft ones. I’ve been really behind on my Small Things and 52 Themes projects so I’m going to try and catch up with those this week. Maybe I’ll do a personal post or something different soon too…I don’t know, my enthusiasm for blogging wanes slightly when I have a lot of work to do. These days I’m marking a ridiculous amount of undergrad papers and I feel like all my brain cells are being stolen. That said I do really like this space to write so keep checking back. I’ll have more rambling and hopefully somewhat interesting posts up here soon.