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Tag Archives: children

Virginia: No Lovers, But Much Love

I am officially home from my long weekend of adventure. I took Wednesday off so I could loaf. So far, I have not loafed; I’ve been doing a billion things like laundry and grocery shopping and library-visiting. (There was some sort of toddler story-hour happening when I was there and the cuteness quotient in the lobby was OFF THE DAMN CHARTS, yo. I can’t even tell you.)

Let’s see. When we left off, Heather had arrived, and we were awaiting the arrival of the lovely Laura. Heather and I decided to go pick up Laura while sj made dinner, and we were going to stop at the grocery store on the way home.

So we went to pick up Laura. On our way, we drove past an exit for “Powhite Parkway,” which made me laugh SO HARD. “There’s probably a lot of trash along Powhite Parkway,” Heather mused wisely.

Then we were at Laura’s house! And Laura lives in the most beautiful old apartment. The ceilings are the highest you’ve ever seen, and there are fireplaces and it’s decorated in this amazing kitschy way that is so amazing. And there was Laura, who is still adorable, whether she lives in New York OR Virginia! (Perhaps more adorable in Virginia, because she’s so happy that you can just see the glow in her eyes.)

Then it was time for grocery shopping! We totally had a list. We were IMPRESSIVE.

We also got up to shenanigans in the grocery store. Because, why not?

THE LOVELY LAURA!

I promised Heather I was only taking a photo of what we were shopping for. I lied. Sincerely, though, she is ADORABLE. How could I not take a photo of her?

Listen, the sign said screams started here. It’s like we HAD to do this photo, yo. WE DID NOT HAVE A CHOICE. (Side note: I think the people who worked at the Kroger may or may not have hated us. For good reason.)

Then back to sj’s we went, bearing Laura and groceries! (And coffee, because we stopped at Starbucks.)

We talked and ate and watched The Amazing Race (which is a LOT of fun when you can talk about it with real people in real time – usually sj and I text each other through it, but face-to-face is AWESOME) and then got kids to bed (and Heather to bed, because she had to leave the next day!) and sj and Laura and I watched The Walking Dead. This might have been the most fun I’ve ever had watching The Walking Dead, because listen, Laura is HYSTERICAL. She would come out with these things all matter-of-factly like “That little bitch is sick. What’s up with them sweat-feet?” and I’d laugh so hard I’d have trouble breathing. You have to imagine it in Laura’s southern accent, though. It’s better that way. More realistic.

Here's the sick little bitch now. SWEAT FEET.

Here’s the sick little bitch now. SWEAT FEET.

The next day, Laura and Heather left in the early afternoon after we sat around and talked as much as we could squeeze into the morning. It was sad to see them go. We had the best time, the four of us. Sincerely. Among other things (like the sheer fact that they’re three amazing women) it’s really nice to meet people who get you. Who get the internet references and the blogging stuff and who, when you mention someone by their Twitter handle, know what you’re talking about, and who, if you talk about the GoodReads controversy, don’t say, “What’s that? A website? Who cares?” It’s also amazing (and rare) to be around people you feel completely comfortable with. Because usually I’m awkward panda.

Some seriously gorgeous lady-action happening here, yo.

Some seriously gorgeous lady-action happening here, yo.

Then it was a napping-day. We were all very quiet and sleepy and many naps were taken. sj totally came to check on me at one point and I was all sacked out on the loveseat drooling and snoring. (SHUT IT. I am the least sexy sleeper in the history of the world. I own that shit. How can you even change something like that? I mean, it’s not like you can train yourself to be a sexy sleeper like in the soap operas. I work hard, I play hard, and I sleep hard. And UGLY. BAM, yo.)

At one point I watched some episodes of a show called Ni Hao, Kai-Lan with sj’s little girl. This is what I learned about this show: there is a monkey on this show who is such an asshole. I don’t know how anyone would be friends with this monkey. (You have to suspend your disbelief when watching this – all the animals talk, and are this girl Kai-Lan’s friends.) This monkey, Ho Ho, is constantly yelling at people, and kicking tigers, and refusing to play games unless HE can pick them, and will never try new foods. And he learns important lessons, whatever, like new things can be good, sometimes. But mostly what I learned is, if I was Kai-Lan, I would tell Ho Ho to take a hike-hike, because he is the WORST. I told sj’s daughter he was the worst and she was all, “NO.” (He totally is, though.)

This is Ho Ho, but usually he's more pouty and stompy than this. He's the worst.

This is Ho Ho, but usually he’s more pouty and stompy than this. He’s the worst.

But at the end of the night it was time for MORE ADVENTURE! sj’s husband COOKED for us. He is an amazing chef (like, the opposite of me, who just had a Lean Cuisine for lunch) and went all out. We totally had fajitas. But not JUST fajitas. He made fajitas AND salsa AND guacamole – all from SCRATCH – and I just want to say that it was, most likely, one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. EVER. And I don’t even like beef (much) OR peppers. But somehow, it was THE BEST THING EVER. (Also, somehow I’ve gone almost 40 years without ever having fajitas. And I love Mexican food. I don’t know, either. I’m weird about food. You all know that.) We were watching a movie while we ate them and I seriously didn’t even TALK while I was eating. I was in a good food FUGUE STATE. I utterly cannot imagine that I will ever eat fajitas that are that delicious again. (THANK YOU, JEFF!) PS, I totally meant to take a photo of the fajitas but I was too busy eating them ALL UP with my FACE. Didn’t even take a break for photography. SO SO GOOD.

Oh, and as a side-note, sj ALSO made delicious food for us, like split-pea soup (which is one of my favorite things EVER) and the best homemade pizza and macaroni and cheese (HOMEMADE mac and cheese, YUM) and Rice Krispie Treats which we totally went to TOWN on while they were still warm and gooey and DELICIOUS. I really need to start cooking more, don’t I? Lean Cuisines don’t count as cooking, do they? Huh.

Then the next day was going-home day. Long train ride ahead of me. Many hours trainbound. Also, how is it possible that, even though I’d given away a lot of things OUT of my luggage, and only had a few new things IN my luggage, it was virtually impossible to close my bags? I’m the worst packer. Sincerely.

Many goodbyes. Many hugs. Quick photos with some of the kiddos:

sj’s husband and the two aforementioned kiddos brought me to the train station and we watched the train come in and there were some tears from the kiddos which was so sweet and heartbreaking. More hugs and kisses on tops of little heads and off I went to the train.

I alternately slept and read and watched a movie on the way home. (What did we do before laptops and Kindles? They might be the best things ever.) I watched Les Miserables, finally. I liked it, but I think I like the stage show more. There were some changes made I wasn’t down with. (Doesn’t mean I didn’t get a little teary-eyed now and then, though.) I mostly had my seat to myself until a VERY OFFICIOUS ASSHAT sat with me from Maryland to New York City and took up more than his seat with all of this gear and his cell phone calls and his important gesticulations and that was annoying. Otherwise, all was well.

And when I got home, there was a VERY UPSET DUMBCAT who was all, “MOM MOM MOM I THOUGHT YOU WERE DEAD MOM MOM MOM” and has not left my side since I got here. Very vocal, my boy. He even meowed at me while he was eating cat treats. MEOW MOM MEOW! DON’T EVER LEAVE AGAIN MEOW! Poor guy. So lonely.

So there was my weekend of adventure, and bloggity meetups, and laughing and talking and television-watching and napping. It was a very grand adventure, and now it’s back to work and theater reviewing and such. But things are going to be a little quieter now – not so much going on at the moment – so I can relax a little, do some writing and reading and relaxing. Aaahh.

Thank you, sj, for hosting a weekend of adventure, and Heather and Laura, for making the trip, and I love your faces. Big hugs to you all for being amazing women and just as wonderful face-to-face as you are on the interwebs. All the love.

(For more posts on weekend goodness, visit sj here and here, and Heather here!)

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Meeting real people in real life: an adventure in Virginia

Much like Heather yesterday, I have stolen away like a thief in the night to quick like a bunny post something so you know that a., I have arrived safely in the land of Virginia (but, although Heather promises I was supposed to be assigned a lover per the state motto at the border, I was NOT assigned a lover, so what is up with THAT, Virginia? Seriously? WHERE IS MY LOVER. I am not enjoying your state as I should be in this loverless fashion) and that b., we are having a grand adventure, as promised.

The train on the way here was overheated and very crowded (props to the lady who realized if she put the tray-table down in the seat next to her it looked like someone was sitting there so no one bothered her, CRAFTY) but didn’t seem to take that long, surprisingly, and I’m not dreading the trip home so much. (I really do like the train better than driving, overheating issues notwithstanding. Seriously, Amtrak, make your trains cooler than you think people would like; people can always put layers ON, but people cannot strip down on public transportation. Well, they shouldn’t, anyway.)

sj‘s husband picked me up at the train station with a most excellent sign. I told him I wanted him to meet me with a sign. He threatened to have the sign say…well, see below. My dad was all, “HE WOULDN’T DARE! HA HA!”

He dared.

I laughed SO HARD when I saw this. The people around me coming out of the station were all “THIS IS A CRAZY PERSON” and edged away from me. I didn’t even care. It was an excellent start to my vacation.

(Just in case you’re wondering, I got in the car, bitch. Also, I took this photo of him, and texted sj all, “DO YOU KNOW THIS MAN?” and she was like, “NO!” Hee!)

Then I arrived at sj’s house! And GIGANTIC HUGS WERE HAD! And her kids seem to love me, because I am a whiz with children and animals! So far I have learned I’m awesome, and have long hair, and am very good at naming stuffed animals (what, “Sir Poppington the Third” is an excellent stuffed animal name) but also that I am “too loud and kind of boring” so really, you take the good with the bad. The child that said that was VERY APOLOGETIC afterward and I wasn’t even upset because I am, actually, very loud, and somewhat tedious. So I gave him a hug and a kiss on the head and told him I was not angry because how could anyone be angry at him? And all was well. I’m very good at this childrening thing. (I did make the youngest one cry yesterday for a VERY LONG TIME and I felt terrible and I kept saying “I BROKE HER” because I totally think I did but today she told me she loved me again so I think we’re cool, yo. Also, I changed a diaper yesterday, with tag-team assistance from other children. Are you so proud of me? I seriously felt like I’d won an Academy Award. I haven’t changed a diaper since high school. WHEN I WAS BABYSITTING. I was not a teen mom. Stop thinking that right now. I did put it on backwards but luckily the diapering recipient was very compliant and was like, “eh, I’ll lift my legs up again, this weird lady’s WEIRD, but she means well, yo.”)

TOTALLY IN THE SAME PLACE AT THE SAME TIME!!!

TOTALLY IN THE SAME PLACE AT THE SAME TIME!!!

Then the next day, we thought Heather would arrive around 7-ish, so we were kicking back and doing a little reading and BAM, Heather ARRIVED, and YAY!!!

Now we were THREE! (Plus sj’s family, of course. I am not discounting them.)

Much chatting and laughter and such was had until very late and then we all slept and had many zzzzs.


ALL OF US IN THE SAME PLACE AT THE SAME TIME! If you felt a disturbance in the force around 5-ish last night eastern standard time, it’s because all the awesome was in the same collective place. The rest of the world must have felt unbalanced.

Later today, Laura will arrive, and we will have MORE of a hootenanny. Well, we’ll watch The Amazing Race and chat and eat dinner, but that’s a total hootenanny, right? RIGHT.

Oh, you totally want me to talk smack about the ladies, right? Now that I’ve met them in person?

OK, here’s the lowdown. Pull up a chair.

sj…man. That sj. Get close so I can whisper, because that’s what good gossipers do. Ready?

sj is the same as she has been for the past year and a half-ish that we’ve been talking online.

I KNOW! SHOCK! AWE!

She is awesome and funny and intelligent and snarky and wise and honest.

Oh, now the dirt on Heather.

You’re going to want to tell ALL your friends this one.

Ready?

HEATHER IS ALSO THE SAME AS THE PERSON I’VE GOTTEN TO KNOW ONLINE.

It’s true!

Heather is kind and giving and patient and wacky and intelligent and warm.

Here’s the thing, guys. Heather mentioned this in her post last night, and I can’t do anything but concur most wholeheartedly.

The people you meet online aren’t always the people they are when you meet their faces.

It’s easy to slip into an online persona when you’re someone who lives online, like a lot of us do. Some people even make that their goal; their blog ISN’T them, it’s a persona they’re putting forth. Nothing against that; it works for them. I’m completely down with that.

However, it’s the people who are the same people online as they are in real life that interest me. The ones that are brave, maybe confident, enough to be themselves both in words and in life; those are the people I’m drawn to. Because when you meet them, you’re not trying to reconcile that person with the persona you’ve gotten to know. You’ve already done the work. You’ve met them through email or their blog or Twitter; they’re that same person. You’re really just in the same airspace, hearing the words come out of their mouths with their tone and inflection, seeing the emotions cross their faces. It’s really kind of awesome, seeing that, being with them for that.

The people I’ve met in person have been the same as they are online; I don’t know if I’m interested in meeting people who aren’t. I like reality and I like honesty and I like people who aren’t afraid to be themselves, warts and all, and who accept that they might be a little broken, and put it out there for all to see, and potentially judge, with a jutted jaw and maybe a little fear in their eyes.

That’s where friendship is. It’s in the “take me as I am, please; here’s me, here’s all of me, and if you can’t take that, I’m sorry, I can’t be someone else for you.”

I don’t have to be someone else for Heather and sj; they don’t have to be someone else for me. This is just as it should be. I love them for that.

Time to go be social. Enough hiding with a laptop. Love your faces. Hope you’re having the best holiday weekend. More soon upon the arrival of the luminous Laura. *smooch*


Stars and Lily and the universal language: A day of random goodness, part one

We have a lot of random things to clean up here that are all loose-endy so let’s do that today, what do you say? Shh, that is RHETORICAL. You aren’t supposed to SAY anything. Sheesh, come on. Or, well, I guess you COULD. I can’t HEAR you, though.

I just made a list. I have SIX THINGS to discuss. ZOMG! That is a lot of things! We’re going to have to split this up over two days, because I just finished writing it and it’s about three days of words. That’s a lot of words, jellybeans. Speaking of jellybeans, I had something I had to do the minute I got home tonight and couldn’t go out and get half-price Easter candy. So that means the thing I had to do was more important than half-price Reese’s Eggs. You know something’s important when it’s more important than half-price chocolatey peanut-butter goodness, right?

It's true, sometimes things in life are more important than half-price seasonal goodness. It's all about priorities, people.

It’s true, sometimes things in life are more important than half-price seasonal goodness. It’s all about priorities, people.

This is going to be the most random, sincerely. But also fun. At least, hopefully fun. I try to infuse a little fun into all the things. I mean, what’s the point if you can’t have some fun with it? I even have fun at the DMV, yo.

We are all made of stars

So I mentioned the other day: I bought, and intended to eat, FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME, starfruit. I know. It’s humorous that I’m almost 40 and have not yet tried starfruit. There are a lot of things I have never tried. We grew up eating very basic things, and I have a really weird palate and don’t like many things at all. ESPECIALLY not fruit.

However, this is a fruit that looks like a STAR. And sj’s kiddos said it tasted like strawberries and apples and someone online said also maybe lemons and those are all things I like. And I’m trying to be more daring this year. I totally have tried Thai curry AND Korean food. I deserve a MEDAL.

So Sunday, when most people were having adventures in ham-eating and egg-dyeing, or whatever it is you were doing on Easter, I tried starfruit. Starfruit! For the first TIME!

Aren't they so pretty? It's a whole PLATE of stars!

Aren’t they so pretty? It’s a whole PLATE of stars! Yes, I have the best plates. They were a housewarming gift from friend C. Thank you, friend C.!

And because I’m awesome, I totally made a video of it. I know. I’m kind of the best.

After the video, I ate the rest of the starfruit, and it kind of made me have puckery drymouth, like if you eat too much pineapple. But it was just fine. I don’t know that I’ll buy ALL the starfruit and like eat it every DAY or anything, but I don’t eat a lot of fruit anyway. I did, however, buy a bunch of strawberries this week. I’m very predictable; spring comes, and I start craving fresh fruits and vegetables. I’m going to be craving zucchini any day now. (NOT AT ALL A EUPHEMISM.) And green beans. Yum.

Doing nice things for good people

You all know Jim, right? Jim is my friend and I care about him a great deal. He is one of my most favorite writers and also just an all-around wonderful human being. (Even though he is dead to Dad. DEAD TO HIM! And now Dad thinks Jim is creating cyborgs. More on this tomorrow. Dad thinks Jim is in cahoots. With whom? I’m not quite sure, but probably the government.)

Last year, Jim and his team did a walk for Highmark’s Walk for a Healthy Community. The proceeds go to ABOARD, which is Autism Connection of Pennsylvania.

Last year, I was not able to donate much, because I had a craptacular job. (Sorry, old job. What are you going to do, fire me again? No. No, you no longer have that option.) Jim, however, sent me a wonderful teeshirt anyway. Because he’s not even dead to me a little tiny bit, DAD.

Whoa, look how short my hair was a year ago. It's much longer now. And look how happy I was! Aw, me.

Whoa, look how short my hair was a year ago. It’s much longer now. And look how happy I was! Aw, me.

ANYWAY, this year they’re doing it again. And luckily, because I have an amazing job and have money to buy things and donate to good causes, I was able to donate a little more. Not as much as I’d like, or as much as they deserve, but a little more.

The walk this year is Saturday, May 18, so just about a month and a half from now. The goal is $2,500, and they still have a long way to go. It’s only at 23% right now.

I know times are tough and I know you have to buy things like food and gas and pay your rent, but I’m going to be totally relentless evil right now and show you the Lily that Team Lily is named after (and also her dad, because why not, he’s ok too, I suppose):

Come on, seriously? THE CUTENESS HERE IS OVERWHELMING. (Jim's ok, too, I suppose. Whatever.)

Come on, seriously? THE CUTENESS HERE IS OVERWHELMING. (Yeah, yeah, Jim’s ok, too.)

So if you would like to drop a little money their way, which goes to a wonderful organization that’s the most deserving, it would be so appreciated. Even a little would be great. Also, you could do worse than to read Jim’s blog, or follow him on Facebook. Jim’s kind of the bomb and makes me laugh so hard on a daily basis. (Don’t let that go to your head, Jim! Crap, you already did, didn’t you. I am SCREWED. Now you’re going to go around all, “Amy thinks I’m the BOMB!” and I won’t even be able to refute it. Sigh. The things I do for the people I love.)

I know the internet’s all about hitting you up for money on a regular basis, and I’m just as good as anyone as saying “Nope, sorry, can’t donate to everything all the time” but this is real people and this is a very good cause and this is my friend Jim, who has always been one of the most supportive internet people I know. Look at that kiddo up there and tell me you don’t want to donate a little money. You can’t do it! SHE IS JUST TOO DAMN ADORABLE!

Talking with FACES

So, one of the side effects of meeting my wonderful Andreas in person is that now I miss him. And, in a nice piece of coincidence, he misses me, too. Isn’t that nice how that works out? So what we like to do every couple of weeks is talk with our faces on the internets. First we used Skype, but Skype hates me and froze up constantly. So then we decided to try Google Hangout, and guess what? IT WINS! It only kicks me off every once and a while. So this weekend, I totally got to talk to Andreas’ face. It was the most wonderful. If you can talk to someone for two hours without even getting bored and only have to get off because it’s 1:30am and you’re the most exhausted because you’ve been up since 7am and worked all day, you know that person’s a keeper. (Andreas is totally a keeper. I’m not giving you back, Andreas!)

Also, Andreas makes me laugh the hardest, and sends me links so I can see what his town looks like so I’ll be PREPARED for FINLAND (which is totally only fifteen months away, really, so it’s RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER! Ok, even I can’t sell that one, sorry) and I get to see his kiddos, which makes my whole day. (The past two times, I got to see his son, who is teeny and wee but getting bigger all the time! And has the biggest blue eyes and gives me all the smiles! And THIS TIME, I got to see his DAUGHTER! I was so excited I totally bopped all around in my chair and clapped and smiled and smiled!) Although I’m pretty sure his daughter had to be wondering who the crazy lady who spoke no Swedish on the computer was. (In news of win, although at first she was the most shy, by the time we were done, I had coaxed a smile out of her by shamelessly playing peek-a-boo, which translates into ANY language. This is something to remember: if you are confronted by a child who does not speak your language, funny faces and peek-a-boo are universal.)

*Not Andreas' daughter. This kid's cute, but his daughter has my whole heart. She's wonderful.

*Not Andreas’ daughter. This kid’s cute, but his daughter has my whole heart. She’s wonderful.

Guess what I’m getting this month? My passport. Yep. I did the research to figure out what I needed to get it, and it’s seemingly easier than I thought it would be. So soon I shall be the proud owner of a passport with my beaming face in it. I might (MIGHT, because you know I hate counting chickens) be taking a wee out-of-country trip this year, so I’ll need it sooner than later. Then I’ll store it somewhere safe, because I will most definitely be needing it next year. Finland demands it, you see. (Also, I told Andreas that I would bring much joy to his islands, and the people there would NOT want me to leave. He agreed wholeheartedly. That made me smile.)

MERKA! PASSPORT! MERKA!!!!!!

MERKA! PASSPORT! MERKA!!!!!!

OK, there you have part one. Tomorrow, we will continue with cats and Dad-stories and sports. Happy Tuesday, internettians! May your days be full of starfruit and smiles as big as Lily’s up there. I can’t think of a better thing.


You’re gonna carry that weight; carry that weight a long time

I was a skinny kid. Photos of me from back then are all pigtails and smeary glasses and I’m usually covered in mud. And I’m sometimes brandishing things like frogs or buckets of mucky water, for whatever reason. I probably had a plan for those buckets. Maybe I was going to put the frog in them. I don’t know.

Then puberty hit. You can’t fight science, people. I come from hearty peasant stock on both sides of my family. Dad’s side are all, in his words, “built like tops – big on the top, skinny on the bottom.” (I attempted to explain to him that’s not exactly how tops work, and also we don’t spin very well, but he was all “WE ARE LIKE TOPS!” so who am I to argue with him?) and my mom’s side are all built like the Goddess of Willendorf. Curvy doesn’t even begin to explain it. Genetics decided I needed a little of both, apparently.

Now, Dad had been heavy growing up, and teased about it mercilessly. He lost quite a bit of weight when he married my mother (who was, and remains, thin; she’s the only one in her family that is.) Dad saw that I was starting to gain weight and immediately feared that I was going to be teased about it at school.

His solution? Constantly watch everything I put in my mouth, tell me how disgusting being fat was, tell me I needed to be working out and/or being active every single minute of every single day, tell me I was never going to find anyone to love me if I was fat, and call me things like “elephant.” If I got upset about this, he was genuinely confused. “I just want you to be happy,” he’d say. “I just want you to be pretty and thin.”

Now, I don’t know what size you’re imagining me in high school, but if I remember correctly, I was about a size twelve. A twelve. I was probably around…oh, I don’t know. 140 pounds, maybe? 150? Just about the thinnest I’ve ever been in my adulthood, anyway. I certainly wasn’t fat. And I’m fairly tall. 5’8.

I WAS COMPLETELY NORMAL.

However, years and years of being told, by the person you love and admire most in the whole world, that you are ugly, fat and worthless, take their toll. My self-esteem, never overly good to begin with, wasn’t getting much better.

Senior year, I was tired of being so ugly and fat (although I was neither – I look at photos of myself from that time and think “GOOD GRIEF, WHY DIDN”T YOU REALIZE HOW GORGEOUS YOU WERE?!?!”) and went on a crash diet. This diet was basically a bowl of cereal at breakfast and a can of Chinese vegetables at dinner. Sometimes some chicken. No lunch. This was what I ate every day for about 8 months. I worked out for hours at a time daily. I lost about fifty pounds. I could see my hipbones and my ribs and my cheekbones. My collarbones were so prominent I would sometimes accidentally bump them and leave bruises.

It was the first time my father ever told me I was beautiful. He followed it with “See? All you had to do was lose weight. I knew you were beautiful underneath that.”

I was starving. I had headaches constantly. I was tired all the time. But I was THIN. Boys were paying attention to me. One of my teachers told me, “Don’t you dare ever gain weight again. Don’t you DARE” which at the time I was all “Aw, nice!” and now, looking back, I’m all, “Um. CREEPSTER!”

I think you can see where this is going. Can anyone maintain that kind of diet and exercise regimen in the long-term? And not get scurvy? And not go CRAZY? I mean, I couldn’t eat ANYTHING. I was counting the calories in CORNSTARCH. I’m not even kidding you about this. This is not a way to live a life.

I gained the weight back over about a year. I felt terrible shame. I’d let everyone down. I was disgusting. I was ugly and fat again. I had no self-esteem; I didn’t like to go out in public, I didn’t like to go out with my friends, I didn’t date because who would have me? I drank a lot, though. Liquid courage, right? Mmm-hmm. Works every time, except when you start needing it for everything, ever. Like getting out of bed in the morning, or to get to sleep at night. Or for everything in between.

I’ve fluctuated in weight ever since. Sometimes I’m heavier; sometimes I’m lighter. And here’s the thing; as I age, it matters less to me. I still don’t love what I see in the mirror every day; I still see photos of myself and think, “Good grief, that’s an unflattering photo.” I still have residual shame. I still think “If only I was thinner, life would be easier, in a million different ways.” But it’s not a daily thing. It’s not even all that often anymore.

And before you start to hate him, Dad understands, and has repeatedly apologized, for what he did when I was younger. I often think most of parenting is a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants affair. He really, truly thought he was doing the right thing. He thought he was stopping me from the ridicule he’d experienced as a teen. He didn’t realize – and did anyone, back then? – the long-standing effect that kind of treatment would have on my psyche. I’ve forgiven him. He doesn’t say a word now. And he’s said, without prompting, many times since, that I’m beautiful – no matter what size I am. He loves his daughter.

We live in a culture where it is not allowed (well, it still happens, but it’s not appropriate) to make racial jokes, or jokes about someone’s sexuality, or mental illness. But we’re still allowed to make fat jokes. Because fat jokes are funny. Fat PEOPLE are funny, right? Because, well, we CHOSE this. We chose this because we eat ALL the Twinkies and chips and cake and pie and sit around all day doing nothing. We chose this, and because we are fat, we are lazy and we also smell. Of course we do! And sometimes we fall. Ha ha! How funny!

So the best thing to do is make fun of us. To shame us. Because, as this VERY scientific study proves, it’s the only way to make us get off our lazy asses and get thin. Thin and therefore healthy. Oh, because, I don’t know if you’re aware – if you’re fat, you’re immediately unhealthy. There’s no such thing as a healthy fat person. We’re all one HoHo away from our first (or second, or third, or last) coronary. So the thing to do is shame us. According to this “prominent bioethicist” (I don’t see “ethics” coming into this at all) what you should say to any fat people you know, I mean, if you care about them at all, is “If you are overweight or obese, are you pleased with the way that you look?” Because of COURSE they’re not! And they just didn’t realize it until you shamed them! Oh, what a favor you are doing for them. They will thank you on the finish line of their first triathalon! They will shout your name from the top of Kilimanjaro!

Or they might tell you to shut your nosy piehole. Because I’m going to tell you something right now, and if you take anything away from this, I want it to be this.

My body, his body, her body, their bodies – anyone’s body but your own – ARE NONE OF YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS.

I don’t care if you’re fat-shaming them, thin-shaming them (yes, it exists, please read sj’s amazing post about it, and the comments, and I know from personal experience, as I have a dear loved one who has constantly been picked on about being too thin, which she can help JUST about as much as I can help my body shape, so it’s real) or ANYTHING shaming-them, or if you say you’re doing it because you’re worried about their health, or what, exactly, your impetus for putting your nose in someone else’s business is. You have no right. None. You have no right to tell them they should lose weight (unless you are their doctor, and even then, sometimes, it gets worrisome, because there are some doctors who prescribe weightloss as an easy out for everything from asthma to a sprained toe because they don’t treat the patient, they just see a fat person and think, “I KNOW WHAT’S WRONG IT IS FATNESS!”); you have no right to say things about their lifestyle choices, their clothing choices, who they’re dating, what they’re eating, how loud they’re talking, or anything whatsoever. Keep your eyes on your own test, buckaroo. I’m sure you have something you’re not proud of. Would you like someone walking up to you and saying, “Man, that’s a huge nose you have there. You should get that surgically reduced. You know, for health reasons.” Or, “I noticed you have a very small penis, Man I’m About to Have Sex With. Have you thought about getting that surgically enhanced? You know, for health reasons?” IT WOULD BE THE SAME THING.

Here’s some Fun With Fat-Shaming. Don’t even think I didn’t research the hell out of this.

First, we have Kate Upton. Who is, I think we can all agree, STUNNINGLY GORGEOUS.

She also really likes bikini shots, so it was hard to find a photo of her clothed. Hell, good for her. She is smoking hot.

She also really likes bikini shots, so it was hard to find a photo of her clothed. Hell, good for her. She is smoking hot.

Well! Were you also aware she is “well-marbled,” “thick,” “vulgar,” and – this one’s my favorite – a “little piggie?” Or – well, how about a whole paragraph of hate? Sure!

Huge thighs, NO waist, big fat floppy boobs, terrible body definition – she looks like a squishy brick. Is this what American women are “striving” for now? The lazy, lardy look? Have we really gotten so fat in this country that Kate is the best we can aim for? Sorry, but: eww!

YES! She has been called out as too fat to model by a VERY reputable blog site called Skinny Gossip. Two things I loathe! People who judge others’ bodies and gossip! (Also, she tagged the post with “fatties” and “thunder thighs,” because, well, why not?)

Guess why she’s not model-material? BECAUSE SHE’S NORMAL-HUMAN SIZED. Well, no. She’s actually quite a bit less than normal human sized, as normal humans are, what, a size 12 now? 14? Something like that? I don’t think she’s that size. But she’s not waif-thin, and apparently, Skinny Gossip thinks that’s what size you have to be to model clothing.

Psst, Skinny Gossip, MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS. She’s stunning. And it can’t possibly make you feel any better about yourself to call people pigs, can it? Really? Do you sleep well at night knowing you put something like that out there in the world? That kind of hate?

Next: employees at CVS will now be forced to take a BMI test and a blood-glucose screen to remain on their healthcare plan, or risk a fine. Why?

The company’s rationale? Coercing employees to submit to health testing will provide incentive for workers to get—and stay—in shape.

Huh. “Coercing.” Forcing, really, because the fine is $600 and they don’t pay much above minimum to work at CVS. And what happens once you take the test? Do you have to see a counselor about your totally fat fatness? Are you told if you don’t lose weight, you’ll be let go? Are your test results posted in the breakroom next to a photo of a bag of Cheetos with a red circle and a line through it? WHO KNOWS.

Or, how about, let’s fat-shame our children with this new ad campaign? Because there’s nothing that kids need more than to be shamed. I mean, it’s worked out so well for me, right?

Please read the article that accompanies this photo. It’s kickass. It has excellent examples of fat-shaming. HEARTBREAKING examples. And, sadly, TRUE examples. People think it is ok to walk up to perfect strangers in the grocery store and QUESTION THEIR FOOD CHOICES.

(True story: I had a woman come up to me in the grocery store and tell me she worked for Herbalife and they had an excellent line of diet pills I might like to try. First thought: shame. Second thought: WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE. Second thought won out over first thought; I told her I was not at all interested in a pyramid scheme for products that don’t work in the first place, and I was sorry she felt the need to walk up to strangers and judge their body type, and walked away. She was offering them to the next woman that walked past as I checked out. So apparently my words meant nothing.)

So, anyway. Yes, that’s an ad campaign for (well, against, I guess) childhood obesity, targeting overweight children. Because they probably aren’t aware they’re fat. So let’s do a whole ad campaign for it. That’s a good way to help kids with positive self-esteem. Way to go, guys.

Of course, there’s also good old Southwest Airlines, who expect their fat passengers to spring for two seats. And even their not-so-fat passengers. Whoever THEY deem as a little too fat. They SAY it’s if the passenger can’t put the armrests down, but as Kevin Smith found out a few years ago, that’s not it at all – it’s racial profiling, only with your weight. It’s fat-profiling. He was able to put his armrests down; the passengers on either side of him told the flight attendant they had plenty of room. They still kicked him off the plane. And when he got back on a later flight that they hurriedly put him on once they realized who he was and that he was tweeting millions of people about this practice, they fat-profiled another person, then put her in his row, so she’d tell him about it, and he’d know it wasn’t just him, and feel better.

DEFINITELY taking up way too much room. He should have purchased the WHOLE DAMN PLANE. *eyeroll*

DEFINITELY taking up way too much room. He should have purchased the WHOLE DAMN PLANE. *eyeroll*

Yes! Because nothing makes us feel better than to be shamed in front of a crowd of people than to do it to someone else. NOTHING. (I read his book Tough Shit recently which went in detail into the incident, and my heart just broke for him. Because no matter what you think of Kevin Smith – you all know I think he’s fantastic, but you can hate him if you want, just don’t tell me about it, ok? – when that happened, he was just an average guy, being fat-shamed in front of a full airplane of people. Worse, he was a FAMOUS guy being fat-shamed in front of a crowd of people, and if it was an average guy, it might be a laugh or two, but with a famous person, it’s news, you know? He took control of the news and labeled it “too fat to fly” himself – he’s very good at self-deprecating – but it hurt. Of course it did. Because no matter who you are, where you are in the world, being shamed for your body size is not something you can laugh off. It just isn’t. The shame should be on Southwest Airlines, not the people they’re profiling.)

Then there’s this. I can’t embed a Facebook thread, so sadly, you will have to click. Here’s a screenshot, though, because pretty pictures, right?

Now, you have to click to see the comments. The comments are really what makes this. Because this STARTS OUT as normal, then this person shows up who hates fat people. HATES THEM. Only, no no! She doesn’t HATE them. She has MANY FAT FRIENDS! (Does this sound at all like someone who makes a lot of racist comments, then says, “What? I’m not a racist! I have MANY MANY BLACK FRIENDS!” Yeah, to me, too.) So she starts writing things like “no, it’s a known fact that all fat people are unhealthy and many doctors refuse to operate on them because, well, they’ll just die on the table. Because, well, fat, you know?”

Don’t worry. There are some kickass commenters on there. They give her the smackdown. She doesn’t ever shut up, but they win intelligence. She doesn’t win anything but idiocy and mouth-flappery.

This is, by the way, called “concern-trolling.” It’s like being a troll, only you’re pretending it’s because you CARE. Isn’t that nice? A whole new way to be a douchecanoe!

Sara, from Laments and Lullabies, wrote an amazing post recently about fat-shaming, which you all should read. Her post, and the terrible comments on that Facebook post up there, were what finally made me realize I needed to write my own post. Here’s her post. You should all a., read, and b., comment. Oh, and c., follow her blog.

There are more. There are so many more. But this is edging into way too many words for a Saturday territory, and also I’d like to get to bed at some point.

I will leave you with some bullet points. Because, who doesn’t like bullet points, am I right?

  • Other people’s bodies are none of your business. Keep your words off them. Unless you’re telling them they’re beautiful. Everyone likes that shit. Even if they pretend they don’t.
  • Pretending you’re “worried about someone’s health” is not an excuse for commenting on someone’s weight, whether they’re heavy or thin. Again, see the first bullet point. Even if they’re naked with you, their size is none of your business. Whose business is it then, Amy? THEIRS. No one’s but theirs.
  • Making fat jokes is a., not funny, and b., lazy. There are actual funny things in the world to point out. Like misspellings. Who doesn’t like a good misplaced apostrophe or missing comma? The answer to that is NO ONE.
  • To reiterate what we learned in the first bullet point: before making a comment about someone’s weight, please think the following quietly to yourself: “What is my least-favorite attribute. Now, would I like someone to loudly mention it and say it is ugly and/or unhealthy for me to have, and publicly shame me about it?” The answer to that question is always no. ALWAYS.
  • Also: if you think you are too fat, and everyone’s judging you, and you’re ugly, and OMG I CANNOT LEAVE THE HOUSE, guess what. No, seriously, guess. Hardly anyone even notices. The only people that do are assholes. And who cares what assholes think? I hope you don’t.
  • Finally: I’m going to tell you something I’ve learned in my old age. Ready? Shh, don’t share this one around, it’s kind of radical. WE ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL. I know! Every single last one of us. Fat. Thin. Tall. Short. We’re a lovely bunch of coconuts. Except – there is one thing that makes you ugly. Guess what that is? Hatefulness. Being hateful. You can’t be beautiful with hate in your mind, soul, or mouth. So get rid of that, and guess what? You’re gorgeous again. And everyone will see it. I can see it right now! Whoa, babe, dial that back, you’re blinding me with it.

We’ve become a culture of shaming. We’re rape-shaming and we’re slut-shaming and we’re thin-shaming and we’re fat-shaming. It’s repulsive and this shit’s gotta stop. Like, immediately.

Stop shaming anyone. Including yourself. You are beautiful. The people around you are beautiful. No one should be shamed for how they look. The next time you look at yourself in the mirror, be amazed at how gorgeous you are. And tell the people around you how beautiful they are. Don’t allow them to blow it off and say things like, “Oh, I look like a cow in this top” or whatever, either. Nope. Not today, buckaroos. Tell them they’re beautiful AGAIN. Until they actually believe it.

Then, all of that stuff? Do quadruple that for your kids. Make sure your kids enter the world with the strongest self-esteem possible. They’re going to need it, and you can help them with that.

We might be surrounded by shame, but we can combat that with love. Is that the opposite of shame? Don’t care. For our purposes it is.

Love you guys. You’re gorgeous. Every last one of you.


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