Friday, 15 January 2016

New Year Same Shit- thoughts from the fatosphere

My new years resolution this year was to unfollow people who post about their diets on social media. It is going so well. I feel lighter, happier and less anxious. I don't feel guilty.

'Look how much weight I've lo-' *UNFOLLOWS*
'Been at the gym since 6am #eatcle-' *UNFOLLOWS*
'Look at this Jamie Oliver article about how poor people are fat and stupi-' *UNFOLLOWS*

Why am I doing this?
-It took me years to unlearn the idea that it's okay to judge other people's bodies. (FYI- you should never criticise people's bodies in the street, especially not around children)
-It took me years to learn that I do not deserve to be judged, ridiculed or bullied for my body. (Because of the normalised aforementioned public shaming I'd witnessed)
-It's an daily fight to treat my fat disabled body with compassion & love rather than hatred and fear.
-Some of us don't have have a middle ground to rest on. Diets lead us to crying over orange segments because we don't know exactly how many calories are in one. They damage our health even whilst making us look thinner.

Unfollowing people who aren't there yet isn't me not liking other people's desire to look or feel a certain way, it's me not being up for reading about how they strain their bodies to get there. Lets be honest, lots of people (even fat people) get feelings of superiority when restricting their food. Judgement becomes second nature and rather than making subjective reasonable decisions about what they feel like eating- they eat a meal that they don't enjoy in order to deprive their body into losing fat. Now sat, unhappy, at a table amongst the people they love, they are preoccupied with their second salad of the day. And of course, when other people begin to tuck into carbohydrates they get annoyed and resentful and judge the choices and bodies of those around them.

I know, I've been there. And I'm not a terrible person so I know it's not just me who falls into that kind of behaviour.

In real life situations this becomes more difficult. The other day I was in a local shop buying food for a night in front of the TV with my partner (don't tell Jamie Oliver guys, we know how much he dislikes working class people having TV's and junk food). The sales assistant separated my items into two piles pushed the first towards me and said
'This is not healthy' then pushed the second towards me and said
'This is healthy'.
I know. Fuck him, right? Anyway so I'm stood there looking at this man and I see my options as
a. Challenge him by trying to convince him I am not an evil fat but a good fat.
b. Challenge him by telling him that he is wrong to lecture fat people he doesn't know about their food.
c. Do nothing.

To my shame, I picked c. He took this as an invitation to explain to me that chocolate is bad for you and whilst I frowned at him, stood in silence and stonewalled him as he patted his flat stomach and said
'Look at me, nice and thin because I don't eat so much chocolate' it struck me.
The reason the social media resolution is so beautiful and simple isn't because I'm in denial. I know who I am, what I look like & what people think. I get told (sometimes literally told) everyday all day in situations where I can't simply walk away or ignore the person telling me.
So accessing a fat shame free social media space is the least I can do to take care of myself.

This isn't selfishness.
It's self preservation.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

A queer review of 'More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory'

I've been actively polyamorous for about five years, before which I was not having relationships for a couple of years, and before that I was having standard monogamous relationships with men and not so standard…interactions (shall we say) with women. I have had unhealthy monogamous relationships. I have had unhealthy polyamorous relationships.
    If I had to say up front why this book is the one I would recommend to people (literally all people, from queer relationship anarchists living in hippy communes in the Arizona desert with seven partners and three date mates to Ian and Sharon from South Ribble who have been monogamously married for seventeen years) it would be- its barefaced honesty.
   I have educated myself on polyamory a lot. I read articles. I read academic papers. I read books, blogs, listen to podcasts, attend events and obviously have my own relationships. I observe the polyamorous relationships around me. I talk about polyamory to my friends. I discuss polyamory with my partners. From the theoretical to the practical. From the amazing to the awkward. I’m part of several large international groups online where people dicuss polyamory. I’m out at work. I’m out to my family. I launch into social interactions like a pro
   ‘One of my partners works there’ I say smiling and nodding at the embarrassed party guest in front of me. Or maybe I say
   ‘Wow, my boyfriend’s girlfriend bought him this exact model’ and act calm and cheerful all the way through the weird questions, giving them my spiel.

   What I need you to understand, my beloved reader, is that I am not a quitter, fair weather lover, cop out, or polyamory sceptic. I have chosen this ‘lifestyle’ (as my grandma calls it) as the best, most loving option for me and all my ‘friends’ (as my co-worker call them). But that doesn’t mean I am always good at it.
   Yeah, I’ve pushed relationships into primary/secondary hierarchies (ew, I know), I’ve been the trusting service secondary, I’ve been the person who allows crappy people to treat me in a crappy way and yeah, I’ve been the crappy person. We all have. That’s the point. Often polyamory resources are written on the premise that we’re all perfect all the time.
   The reason this resource is good because it doesn’t fall into the trap most other polyamory resources do. It doesn’t pretend that polyamory itself is a way escape the shit you have to own to have successful relationships. It doesn’t presume that all of us are ‘naturally’ polyamorous (whatever that means). It doesn’t divide polyamorous people up into ‘poly gods’ and ‘failures’. It doesn’t make it a competition of who can act the least emotionally invested in the most people.
   Here are some of the things it does do
·        Provide you with a toolkit for communication between yourself and partners
·        Provide you with a good moral and ethical framework for your polyamory
·        Address the (incorrect) idea that polyamory is never coercive or manipulative
·        Advise the reader on how to navigate relationships without coercion or manipulation
·        Guide you through all elements of polyamory with care and sense
·        Discourage the harmful and isolating measures we’re taught to put in place to protect our relationships.
   This book is Polyamory 101 and 201 and it's the text book you come back to in your first week in the job, and after a few years, and then again a few years later. This book is a helping hand on those days when you want to run away to Berlin & get a mullet. If you’re polyamorous you need to read this book (despite how long you’ve been polyamorous). If you’re monogamous you need to read this book. You need to read this book if you’re single. You need to read this book if you are mono-poly. You need to read this book if you are struggling. You need to read this book if everything is going perfectly. You need to read this book if you will never have a romantic or sexual relationship EVER.
   One of the mistakes we make in polyamory is thinking ‘Oh, well my relationships are radical and mutually respectful’. The truth of the matter is- we all have shit we need to address. Yes, you too. My advice is- read this book with your partners, discuss each chapter, ask questions, use the questions in the book. You deserve to have the best relationships possible your partners deserve the best relationships possible because as the book says ‘The people in the relationship are more important than the relationship’. 

 You can find out what others think and decide where to buy it here (including audio-book and kindle options).
You can find the website here
Follow the authors here @everickert and here @franklinveaux 

Good luck. x