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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
Odin's Day is my Friday This Week 
25th-May-2011 08:03 am
19 days!

Happy birthday to norilana and laurelian!

Happy birthday to skogkatt, amazon_lil, skyra, and beloved omnisti, who advance a year over the weekend!

State of the Song
Very. Very. Tired. Long nap-free weekend, plus a triple-long day on Monday where I didn't get to sleep til after midnight (and had massive stress), doctor and therefore no nap (and a huge phlebotomy bruise because they did not use the vein I helpfully pointed out to them) yesterday, and I have an eight-hour workday today. I will need to pack and get to bed early tonight.

You don't know my story.
During check-in at the doctor's office yesterday:

PA: "How much do you weigh?"
Me: "I don't actually know right now."
PA: "...would you like to get weighed?"
Me: "Sure, why not."
PA, weighing me: "118! In jeans! You're so lucky."
Me, blinking: "Well. I've had a lot of weight fluctuations."
PA: "Oh, me too." And she chatters about diets and stuff, and I'm thinking no, mine were like me almost starving to death because my body couldn't absorb nutrients, or putting on 60 pounds and getting sciatica and bursitis from the extra weight, and that happened because of a drug that also made me brainfoggy and oh yeah suicidal. It's been a while, given the crowds I hang out in, since I got the thin-is-best thing this blatantly. PA, you don't know my story. For me, the thinner I am, the more my immune system is eating my intestines, the closer I am to gastric cancer, the closer I am to weekly weigh-ins and a feeding tube.

This is one thing my activism in particular has taught me, is that you don't know anyone's story. You can't assume that any particular thing that society values is good for that particular person. Listen.

And I thought, "in jeans, she said," and I imagine the PA taking off her jeans so she'll weigh what, half a pound less? and I worry. Because the messages we get about our bodies, especially those of us with female-type bodies, are so narrow and vicious. I don't know how much I weigh - well, I do now - because numbers don't mean anything, and numbers are one of the weapons of the patriarchal beauty standard. I refuse to be upset because I'm 118 and not 105. My clothes fit, I look good, and I can dance. The tiny difference between jeans and no-jeans is not going to change how I feel about my body.

Link Soup
* Bitcoins! Cool.
* A fantastic analysis of why Boston's winter felt so brutal this year.
* Muppet nail polish. Dear everyone, this is what I want for Chanukah.

Link Soup: Daily Science Edition
* NASA concludes attempts to contact Mars Rover Spirit. Aw. :(
* Evidence mounts for liquid water on Enceladus. They will have to engineer gills onto the space ponies.

Today's a staff planning day at BARCC - full eight hours, offsite (so no 'net). Oof. Love co-workers, but am nap-deprived! Also need to pack. I always get tense about packing for long trips out of town, especially considering that I have things it'd be disastrous to forget, that I can't get where I'm going. The benefit of Madison is that there are drugstores, health food stores, and lots of other necessity-type stores within walking distance - I don't have to pack five days' worth of food, and there's a GF bakery not in walking distance that grntserendipity and I will haul over to Friday morning, so I won't have to pack a loaf of bread.

Look, the TSA guys look at you funny when you have a loaf of bread in your carry-on. I am just saying. And I'm already opting out of the pornoscanner/bonus-autoimmune-disorder-trigger-machine and getting extra TSA attention. So.

I fly out tomorrow at 11. I may be online tomorrow morning (and tonight), but probably not a lot, if at all, due to the Importance of Packing and Lack of Time. Having a double shift today is kicking my ass packingwise; I really needed this afternoon!

And speaking of my double shift, I must go get ready. Hopefully I can pop back on tonight!
25th-May-2011 11:58 am (UTC)

Wait, what? What is that second part?
25th-May-2011 12:09 pm (UTC)
I was a very bad Weight Watchers dieter one spring. I couldn't understand my undeserved lost pounds, until I realized I was progressively moving to lighter weight shoes and clothes. Size 18 jeans way more than half a pound. And there is significant difference from Dansko clogs to sneakers to Tevas.

No one says anything to me about my weight. But that's probably because I've been holding steady at 227 for almost a year now.
25th-May-2011 12:35 pm (UTC)
Very interesting about Boston weather, and yes, whether you get thaw days or not is a big deal. Still, I'm left wondering about two other factors which would affect the misery level-- wind and humidity.
25th-May-2011 12:43 pm (UTC)
"This is one thing my activism in particular has taught me, is that you don't know anyone's story."

This. I used to be super skinny, way skinnier than what was healthy for my height - because of stress in the home growing up, because of an abusive ex who wanted someone small and controllable...

When I started gaining weight to a "normal" and more healthy weight, it was a double-edged sword. It triggered violence in the ex (which resulted in a speedy departure by me, my cats and my dog and assorted household goods), derision from my family (because my sister and I were held to my Mother's standards of 100# at 5'1", even though we were 5'7" and 5'8") because I was getting "fat" - and it made my body produce more estrogen, which triggered fibroids. Which created an estrogen hoarding scenario, which grew the fibroids and endometriosis, which made me gain weight...which led to surgery because of the fibroids, which caused my autoimmune thyroid stuff to surface....

...all the while trying my damnedest to eat right (counting calories), exercise when I had the energy. Even treating my thyroid condition hasn't "fixed" the weight issue. I know my family thinks I'm HUUUGE...my stepmom watches me like a hawk when we visit them in Florida. I swear she's an air plant that indulges in gin and tonics.

I posted this on my FB yesterday...hopefully some folks will think before they speak:


Frustrating. Sorry for the venting/spewing...just pushed a hot button for me.

Safe travels to you miss!

25th-May-2011 01:25 pm (UTC)
I feel obligated to explain to anyone who "congratulates" me on my 40-pound weight loss last year that while I'm glad I lost it, I needed to lose it, it wasn't through any effort or good work on my own that I should be praised for. 1) I started on a psych med that obliterates appetite (topamax) at the SAME TIME that I got my teeth pulled and got dentures. So eating=pain + hunger!no = weight loss. Rapid weight loss. I lost those 40 pounds in TWO MONTHS. No, I don't deserve praise for that, and it embarrasses me when I get it.

2) For maintaining, I do have a good metabolism from the Cherokee part of my ancestry, which means that if I do a minimum of effort to exercise, even lightly, on a semi-regular basis (I mean *ever*), then I don't gain. Again, I'm LUCKY to have that metabolism. Out of my four sisters, from oldest to youngest, we each get slightly taller and slightly thinner. I'm the only one of them who doesn't have diabetes...yet...which is the only reason I care about my weight at all.

And at all that, I weigh around 155 on any given day, at 5'6" tall, which still gives me a BMI of "overweight". Yeah, not so much. I have a small tummy pooch and some looseness on my upper arms, and that's the extent of my "fat". When I weighed 200, now I considered that overweight, but BMI called me "obese". Umm...I was wearing size 14 and 16. That's not OBESE. 40 pounds lighter and I'm still wearing 12s. Which is totally okay for me, since I've started wearing 10s as early as puberty. ^_^ I can wear a 10 on the top, but many, many babies have spread my hips wide enough that I will never get back into a size 10 pants again. That ain't fat, baby, that's baby-spreading BONES! ^_^ (Okay, the big butt factors in, too, but I've had that since *before* puberty, back when I was stick thin and people worried about my LOW weight! :)
25th-May-2011 01:29 pm (UTC)
A year later I still munch less than I used to, 100% due to dentures. Chocolate doesn't taste as good without the taste buds on the roof of your mouth. Seriously...I prefer to eat chocolate with my dentures *out* because soooo much yummier...but that means I can't have chocolate-with-STUFF which is my favourite flavour anything, ice cream, candy bars, etc. I had a hershey's bar with almonds yesterday and regretted it all evening, because the little almond slivers got up under my dentures and they're WAY sharper and harder than peanut pieces you get with, say, a snickers. And a snickers, the peanuts are all in the sticky gooey stuff, so they don't tend to wander up under the dentures as much anyway. The almonds chips floated *everywhere* as soon as the chooclate melted. OUCH. Still have a couple of sore spots the next day.

So chocolate - better with my dentures out, so I tend not to munch on it without deliberation. Other snack foods? I've always preferred salty crunchies - sunflower seeds, chips...things that are annoying to eat with new dentures. So most of my fat inducing snacking is removed from my lifestyle just because of that. ^_^
25th-May-2011 02:11 pm (UTC)
I stopped worry about my big butt several years ago, when I realized many guys (including my current boyfriend) find a bedonkadonk rather attractive.
25th-May-2011 04:33 pm (UTC)
25th-May-2011 01:25 pm (UTC)
"This is one thing my activism in particular has taught me, is that you don't know anyone's story."

Lots and lots of this. As I watch my body defy my efforts to make it do certain things, I understand more and more that the general assumptions a major portion of society harbors about bodies doesn't do many of us diddly-squat good. There are chronic illnesses and drugs and side-effects and injuries and huge differences in what our bodies are driving us to do, to be. fangirl715 turned me on to blogs in the FA world and it was like taking the red pill in The Matrix.
25th-May-2011 01:45 pm (UTC) - *hugs*
Be as gentle as you can with yourself and have a good trip.

Love you, Hon.
25th-May-2011 02:12 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the birthday wishes!

And, though I know I don't comment often, thank you for all the work you do. ALL of it.

Though it may not be the most important thing you speak out about, thank you most especially for all the work you do regarding body image. It's something that I struggle with off and on and, right now, it's something I struggle with everyday. It gives me hope that there are women out there specifically speaking out against the culture of 'thinner is better'.
25th-May-2011 02:46 pm (UTC)
The tiny difference between jeans and no-jeans is not going to change how I feel about my body.

I dunno, I think a lot of people would notice the difference between wearing jeans and not wearing jeans. Especially in public :P

Have a fun trip, I hope you keep gluten-free!
25th-May-2011 03:15 pm (UTC)
Hmmm... lots of "ugh, what" in that story... BUT... at least she did ASK you if you wanted to hop on the scale. (Often it seems they just insist upon it, regardless of a--your feelings and b--if it has anything to do with the visit, even if it's only two days after your LAST visit.)
(Deleted comment)
26th-May-2011 05:21 am (UTC)
If you haven't already, try asking them not to tell you so that they don't trigger you. I've been doing this throughout my pregnancy and it's just much better that way.
25th-May-2011 07:49 pm (UTC)

I did decline to be weighed at the doctor's yesterday, because so often the medicos focus on the scary number instead of what I'm actually there for. If the fact that my weight hasn't changed is relevant, they can ask me to confirm it hasn't changed.
25th-May-2011 04:06 pm (UTC)

During the first few months of rehab I used to consider getting a button that said "I lost thirty pounds in three weeks: ask me how!" (the answer being "I had a major stroke and was lying in a hospital bed for most of that time") out of sheer frustration with this notion that losing weight = health.

I'm also reminded of an exchange with my outpatient OT (who was rail-thin), when she started talking about "having to do more exercise so she can go to the beach in a bikini." I somewhat drily observed that actually, they allow people with a wide variety of body shapes use public beaches these days, it's actually rather progressive that way, and she said "Well, yeah, but it doesn't look good."

I hope your trip goes well.
25th-May-2011 04:07 pm (UTC)
I will have the one dress done for you this evening (I just got in this morning and will finish it this evening after I get home from work). However. I don't have my car. So we need to arrange to get it to you :)
25th-May-2011 08:46 pm (UTC)
I would love to see you without your jeans.

Ummm--see how much you weigh without your jeans, I mean. Yes, that's what I meant.
25th-May-2011 08:50 pm (UTC)
Honey. Anytime. :)
26th-May-2011 12:03 am (UTC)
Yeah, I never really understood the weight requirements for beauty and the resultant need to thin oneself down to visible rib cages.

Seeing your ribs does not attract me, other than to suggest getting a snack somewheres.
26th-May-2011 02:49 am (UTC)
You might appreciate the most recent XKCD blag.
26th-May-2011 04:16 am (UTC)
~leaves a lit candle~

I hope your trip goes well. Good luck with the TSA and all
26th-May-2011 03:33 pm (UTC)
"This is one thing my activism in particular has taught me, is that you don't know anyone's story. You can't assume that any particular thing that society values is good for that particular person. Listen."

Spot-on. While I'm glad that I have lost 40 lbs, because I've battled with my weight for a long time, it seems like this is the only thing anyone focuses on. Not that I lost it because we were rationing food and I was a huge ball of stress for months. Not that I was faint from hunger almost daily. Not that my hair started falling out from loss of nutrients. Not that I don't have money to buy new clothing that actually fits. Some people focus on my weight loss in terms of my willpower, like gaining weight is some sort of moral failing. Sure, I wanted to weigh less, but my health is more important than my image. And right now, I would like to lose maybe 10lbs more, but I like being curvy and would rather feel healthy.
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