~There's a trigger warning this week for discussion of incest in the newsletter~
I always know it's a dark time when I find myself earnestly learning from the Goop newsletter, but here I am again. I think I believe this stuff about fascia? On the spectrum of Gwyneth Paltrow reality, it's way closer to the real-real end of things than that article about yelling at water, at the very least...I think.
I've been in the process of filing all the paperwork associated with a short term disability leave from my employer because migraines (the irony of not being able to do project management due to frequent intense migraines, and so getting to...manage the project of coordinating multiple doctors and a large insurance company and my employer, is not lost on me). Anyway, today was the deadline for handing over all the paperwork, now I get to find out if it's approved. What Happens If It's Not? ...it's interesting to not have answers to big questions sometimes, isn't it.
There seems to be a trend in feature writing recently, maybe due to the time of year, of people describing their creeping horror at realizing a caretaker of theirs was abusive and dangerous. My Grandma the Poisoner, My Father the Serial Killer, My Stepfather the Peeping Tom. On the last one, I do wish the author provided (or even had for herself) the larger framing of what peeping is; it's part of the sort of boundary violating behaviors and sexualization of children that is typical of covert incest.
Those three paragraphs were written ages ago and now it’s the end of the year and I’m rescuing them from my drafts folder. You all probably read those articles already and forgot about them. That Goop newsletter is, like, so old (and if I recall, it opened fairly reasonable but ended with an outlandish claim that women who put their needs last end up getting breast cancer at higher rates...par for the course and exactly why I subscribe to Goop. I’m a white upper middle class woman in her 30s; If I don’t read it knowingly, I will become it accidentally).
Allow me to talk about myself a bit longer -- isn’t this fun, you get to skip the tedious middle bits and have a fairly tidy narrative, the gift of the end of a year. Half of my medical disability claim was denied, the half that involved paying my salary. I didn’t consider indefinitely having a job held for me that I wasn’t able to work, with my company indefinitely not paying me, to be much of, well, a job, so I resigned. My spouse and I are moving to Portland, Oregon, where I’m told there is a reassuring lack of “winter” as I understand the season. If by chance you know of anyone in the market to rent a 4-bedroom apartment in the Boston area, give a shout, as I leave the city once our house is rented.
And now, here is a firehose of stuff I like. (I normally make the images links to their sources, but Firefox and Tinyletter aren't playing nicely, so I seem to have lost my ability to insert URLs. Thanks, Tinyletter! :/)
With Those We Love Alive, which is a game but is also an experience and not the sort of game where you shoot things or get yelled at. There is drawing. And a friend. http://aliendovecote.com/uploads/twine/empress/empress.html (oh hey the link box worked! ...ugh after all those pictures. crap.)
Brother Jack Gilbert...and posted on Tumblr by Mark Ruffalo, personally for me and you can't prove otherwise now can you? Actor and activist Mark Ruffalo sent me poetry, so there.
Okay that's enough for now, but goodness I have a lot of things in my image backlog. I won't promise I'll write more. I won't promise what the content will be. I'll show up and be whatever I'll be when I do show up, whatever shape that will take. I could write a whole other letter to you all right now about something...should we do that? This is a bit light on words, so sure, let's do that.
(One of the struggles for me throughout the last year has been determining what is safe to say to strangers, especially strangers who are truly unknown aka The Internet. So not just "anyone" as I imagine them now but genuinely Anyone, Ever, In The Entire Future of Time Who Can Read. Which is a lot larger than I'm capable of imagining, the world contains far more types of people than I can think of, but even the people I have interacted with, they aren't the sort of people I feel very safe talking to, or even imagining talking to. And thus, writer's block springs up when I contemplate writing about, well, much of anything that I'd find interesting to say. But we'll try this much and see what happens.)
(Also I realize I actually do know some of you, so hi to the non-stranger subscribers. It's an odd audience to straddle, between "I genuinely don't know how you ended up on this email list, h-hello, I hope you aren't hate-reading me, that seems like a stressful use of energy" to "oh I've hugged you! hi!!" My social skills are kind of shot to hell these days.)
Where were we. Ah. So! If you've seen me recently and/or we're Instagram friends you've most likely noticed...I've just spent 3 solid minutes trying to write around this delicately and I don't know who I'm doing it for. Anyway, 2014 was one of the hardest years of my life and I put in a great deal of work in just about every way, and it has been very rewarding. As a completely unexpected side effect, I ended up losing a lot of weight. If you think I can't tell the difference between a "you look terrific!" that's acknowledging that I look more at peace with myself versus a "you look terrific!" that's talking about my body, you're dense. I can tell.
It's been a really long time since I've fit in straight sizes, and while I knew the plus size clothing industry made lower quality clothes and charged more, I think I wasn't letting myself feel how angry I was about it because I had no choice. The difference in fabric and construction quality at just about every price point for straight sizes is so much higher the fashion industry should be embarrassed for itself. There is no reason for seams to suddenly not be serged properly just because a skirt is above a size 12, or for ponte knits to suddenly be much less dense, for patterns to become less complicated. There's a demonstrable lack of interest or skill in the designs over a size L as if those bodies just don't merit beauty or decoration, and I realize I'm saying literally nothing new, but I'm so fucking angry about it.
The fact is that the cheap foam and poly satin bras at Lane Bryant start at $40 but the ones at Target start at $15, but the only genuine difference is Target stops carrying above a certain band and cup size. And do you know what I bought at Target, with every color and style in the world available to me? A black bra, a beige bra, and a leopard print. (If you're a fat woman, you know why this is funny. That internalized shit runs deep.) I couldn't even let myself try on anything outside of the usual styles I'm used to wearing, because the "fun" lingerie isn't for me, even though it fits now. I don't trust it and I don't want to get used to it, when in reality, this stuff should be available in every size already...but it's not, and I am really fucking angry about that too.
I'm really tired of the persistent attitude that fat people shouldn't exist, that people shouldn't want to be them, that to be fat is to be bad in some way. I will tell you as someone who looks fairly "average" now, my happiness or sadness related to my body isn't connected to my weight, and in some respects I feel much stronger periods of deep emotional pain now than I did when I was fat. It has nothing to do with being fat, it has to do with my mental health. You can't "tell" anything from looking at a fat person except how you feel about fat people. Even the notorious "ugh but it's so hard to fly sitting next to one" excuse, well, it turns out airlines have been making all of our seats vastly smaller over the last 20 years, so. Welp. Something to keep in mind as we all head into the new year: maybe you don't need to lose weight in order to achieve your goals. And if it's at all remotely in your power, I send this wish out into the universe: Give fat people some decent clothes to wear, and by decent I mean "the same clothes everyone else already wears, for the same price". And another wish to the universe: Stop telling me I look "so much better than I used to" when you just mean "thinner". Bitch I always looked good.
New Year's Resolutions for The Year of She-Ra Princess of Power Two Thousand and Fifteen
1. Write every day (can we actually keep this up? this feels overly ambitious but wow).
2) Get a physical calendar like a Filofax or something and use it (really helpful for knowing what's going on for a given day/week, and who cares about scales of time beyond a day or a week, honestly).
3. We wanted to do a handwavey gesture but no let's spell out the self care a bit more, they're worth Resolving just to reinforce the good work that's already being done: work out 3 times a week (and let's say no *more* than that, ahem, Summer!Courtney, that time we did an hour of yoga as a warmup for running a 5K).
4. Sleep, at night, for ideally 8 hours, no less than 6 no more than 10, again, the sort of sleep that if you told a person on a bus how much and when you were sleeping they wouldn't comment on it.
5) Eat three times a day and actually at times the average human would recognize as meal times, and don't eat outside of those times.
6. Don't drink alcohol.
7. No reading any "takes" about anything...bonus: this will probably also mean talking less to people who care about "takes" because you won't have anything to say to them and they'll get bored and leave you alone quickly.
I'm really looking forward to 2015! 2014 taught me more than I thought it was even possible for me to learn, and I'm incredibly grateful to have lived through it and gotten everything out of it I have. I hope your year is ending with you in a good place, and regardless that 2015 takes you to a better one.