ITEM THE FIRST: There is this really great article from National Geographic about Health at Every Size. It also includes a pretty great primer on the concepts of intuitive eating and exercising for fun and feeling good and not for culturally mandated self-worth. If only unlearning all of the self-hatred and doubting of food from decades of dieting were so easy to put into a primer…
ITEM THE SECOND: I contributed to Autostraddle’s article The Jeans Issue: Queer Fashion Guide For Various Shapes, Sizes, Styles and Gender Expressions using the help of my trusty friend Leslie Medlik from TLC’s Big Sexy. We talk about how to shop for plus size jeans and what to look for in trends, fit and style. We also recommend our favorite brands and some self-esteem guarding pieces of wisdom to bring into the fitting room with you.
My friend Natalie moved away from Brooklyn to Central Pennsylvania and shortly thereafter her new apartment flooded, she had an emergency evacuation and suddenly lost just about everything. Her thoughts within a week of the flood were very inspirational to me and I thought they might be to you, as well. Learning how to lean on folks in times of crisis is really difficult and it helps to be reminded that it happens and our communities can reach out in very surprising ways.
There are a lot of things you can do to work on getting in touch with your body. Learning what it means for me to have self-care and physical pampering has been really helpful. So has getting into having bodywork done.
As someone who grew up both fat and poor, I had a lot of hurdles to get through to feel like I was worthy of someone touching my body to pamper it as well as pay for that to happen. I was 26 and working full-time at a well-paying job until I actually got a massage for the first time.
Bodywork is an umbrella term that means a lot of different types of therapeutic activities using the body–both through touch and not. Massage is probably the most well-known type of bodywork but there are a lot of bodywork things you can get done including reiki and other energy healing, acupuncture, chiropractic services. I think it’s just amazing to learn how to be touched and how to be pampered.
In late April I had a bodywork session that was a new form of being in touch with my body that was quite wonderful, brought to me by my friend Cam of Camrose Artes Infinitae.
So, how to solve the issue of chub rub? First of all, I want to say this is not just a problem for fat people. This is a problem for lots of folks of all sizes who wear pants and who wear dresses. Chub rub is a pervasive fashion issue. Luckily, fat femmes have each others’ backs and we’ve been swapping these solutions for years. Here are some methods I know about, starting with the two I prefer.
When one has friends scattered throughout the world and Facebook links us together, we get to have intense fear of missing out (FOMO) when we see all of the amazing photos and events going on without us. KFW lives in Oakland* and I live in Brooklyn and I have never experienced such intense “I WISH I COULD HAVE BEEN THERE” as when I heard about the Unicorn Party she threw.
I am super into yoga. I’ve been doing it at least weekly for a year and a half, but at this point I incorporate yoga into my day at least once, and ideally three times a week do a full hour/90 minutes. I mentioned in my post, The Queer Fat Femme Guide to Beginning a Yoga Practice, that I was never fond of dvd yoga routines as they felt very Jane Fonda-y. Meera, the host and proprietor of Big Yoga, offered me two dvds to review and promised that they wouldn’t be Jane Fonda-y.
The UofT was a pretty fancy school [ivy, wealth] and so there were a fair amount of people who appeared to be leisurely rich white folks in expensive workout clothing lifting 5-lb-weights repeatedly who gunked up my groove. Amidst their comfort I started to think: if they can enjoy having a body, why can’t I? If they can aim for strength and muscle-mass, why can’t I? One of the pools was in a building that had a stained-glass roof and I would do the backstroke for a quarter-mile, unable to stop smiling. I got ballsy, rode my bicycle everywhere on the well-marked lanes of Toronto’s downtown core, I stood on my bike and kicked out my legs in joy, rode in the snow and rode in the rain; I rode in heels and rode when my heart was in my throat, breaking.
Something that unifies skirt and dress-loving people this time of year is how to stay warm as well as stylish. As a native Californian who moved to the East Coast ten years ago I have developed some coping mechanisms to maintain my stylish exterior as much as possible while still being a total cry baby about how cold it is outside.
One of the most amazing things about being an artist is that people tell me all the time how art I’ve created or produced has been really important to them in times of trouble and strife. Many times I hear “I have been going through a really terrible break-up and Episode 2 of your podcast really helped me out.” I’ve also heard more than a few times about how Zoe’s Break-Up Survival Guide has been passed around like a water cooler article to friends in need.
I’m so glad these resources exist, especially in light of the huge break-up they came out of for me.
Having (yet another) friend need this list this weekend prompted me to add a few updates. I share them with you below.