It must have been the mistletoe…

I’m usually a stickler for leaving Christmas until December. I get started on the shopping, but the tree et all must wait. This year has been an aberration in so many ways and I needed a little cheer. The tree has been up for a week.

Now it is time for my manicure to get in on the act. Since I won’t be having any actual parties any time soon, I’ve thrown a festive nail party. This is my first attempt at a disco ball & I’m loving it.

Xmas nail art.   Glitter ball and mistletoe on green background

Present wrapping is my next Xmas distraction. I have an idea that I hope will be as pretty in reality as it is in my head.

Shop Small this Xmas…

I always enjoying supporting small business, but this year more than ever they need our custom. If you’re after for some beautifully different presents for your loved ones, look no further.

Illustrated by Charlie can cover two Xmas needs, gift & cards. Their fun prints would make a fab present and humorous take on festive cards are sure to make everyone smile.

Candles can be a passé as a gift, but not if you find some that are really special. ESH do exactly that. All 100% soy wax, handmade beautiful designs. I have my eye on those pillar stars.

Jessica Jumpers creates beautiful prints, portraits and totes. Her work often features two of my favourite things, ‘kitties & titties’. She also takes commission for portraits. Her unique style ensures any purchase would be a delightful gift.

Tote bag  with ‘titties & kitties’ slogan Sms drawing of naked woman bending over to stroke  a cat.

If African prints warm you heart, My Ankara Love is the place for you. These fabrics are divine. They stock everything from interiors to jewellery. I would die if I found any of their pieces under my tree.

Lamp, bangles, dress &  cushion is African wax print fabrics

Hatch is a retail space in Glasgow that curates independent makers from throughout the UK. They have so many beautiful things that would make amazing gifts. If you’re local I definitely recommend you check them out.

Dried flower wreaths octopus plate, good posnt holder with ivy, stained glass robin window decorations

Curated by Girls have the most amazing feminist tees. All of which are already on my Xmas list. If you know a woman who takes no shit one of these would make the perfect present.

Women wearing t shirts with feminist slogans.

Not your pin up girl…

I recently received delightfully BoPo gifts that instantly inspired an idea. Since the presents in question are a hat & socks, they seemed perfect for a cute top to tail photo.

As I put my vision into action I became frustrated. My attempts to capture a simple, joyful picture of my fat body were complicated by the reaction I knew it would receive. No matter how carefully one covers provocative areas or unseductive the pose female presenting bodies are sexualised. Marginalised bodies receive even more pressure to up the sexy in order to be perceived as worthy of viewing.

Nudity isn’t inherently sexual on green and purple swirly background

As a fat woman I know from experience that any picture I put in the public domain will be insulted & ogled. No matter the context or reason for my showing the world the image I can predict a portion of the responses. Some creepy men will always make creepy remarks and fat phobic comments will appear. It can feel like I am being asked to either apologise for or eroticise my form to make it acceptable.

I’ll never apologise. I won’t forever play the sexy fatty either. My body is just as worthy as any other. I am attractive, I can be alluring. I’m also just a person. I like myself in jammies & unwashed bun. I like myself with hairy legs and tired eyes. I’m worthy when I’m limping along with my walking stick. I can find pleasure in my body just as it is.

Plus sizesd naked women sitting on floor one arm across her breasts and one leg crossed to cover pubic area.Wearing a hat & socks
Riots not Diets Beanie – The Spark Company
Socks – Crudely Drawn
Glasses – Where.light

Naked doesn’t equal sexual. All bodies are glorious and remarkable. I Iove the idea of embracing the normal. I want to celebrate all the different incarnations of me. I want others to see that they are enough.

Pretty things…

I’ll never live in one of those perfect show homes. I hate the idea of constantly redecorating, I’m messy and I like too many random bits. When it comes to interiors I tend to sod the rules & just do my own thing.

I call it homey. I’m sure others may have other adjectives. As usual, I couldn’t care less. It all feels like me and that’s a thing I wanted to carry that onto my walls. Amongst the many photographs I want to hang art that means something to me. The best way to accomplish that is buying from independent artists. Not only do I get a special piece, but I can support talented & amazing people too.

Home is a feeling in a background of multi coloured bubbles

My latest is from the gorgeous Robyn Boyle. A beautiful artist & person, Robyn was offering a limited number of reduced price portraits to raise funds for art activism. I snapped one up and was amazed when she produced this stitched drawing. The frame I ordered has been delayed, but I couldn’t wait any longer to share this.

Portrait of man wearing glasses.  Black thread on white paper

Finally the tables are starting to turn…

Trump lost. Between unsubstantiated cries of fraud and threats of violence his supporters have already launched a new form absurdity. Backed by centrist liberals with the very least to lose, they are calling for the left treat to them with respect & kindness.

Yes, you read that right. Trumpets are forcefully requesting that we be mindful of how hurt they are right now. The ‘fuck your feelings’ brigade have had a change of heart now that their feelings are they ones in peril. ‘Don’t gloat’, they say, ‘You’ll never win us over if you aren’t nice’. This may well be a good strategy to teach small children embarking on team sports. It is not however, a rational approach to facists.

Hearing this woe is me nonsense from the right is infuriating. Though, Since hypocrisy & self interest are their watch words it is entirely predictable. The thing that’s really making me angry is the mildly left leaning white folk repeating it. Trump is trying to stage a coup and liberals are calling for reconciliation. Pleas to reach out to trump voters & forgive are frankly, repugnant. Nothing shouts my privilege protects me more than declaring amnesty on white supremacist, misogynistic, ableist, homophobic, transphobic, rapist, child abusers. Those who have been in the firing line of this administration need more from us.

They deserve our roaring support. Minority groups should be able to trust that we, the left, have their backs. They need to know that those of us with more privilege will not desert them as soon as we no longer feel personally endangered. They warrant more protection because they are valuable human beings. Also, because they more than anyone have worked to procure this victory. Democrats owe this presidency to black women & activist groups tirelessly toiling to get the vote out. It’s a punch in the face to forgive the people who object to their existence.

Your political beliefs are who you are. Conservatives have shown us what they believe. They have shown a willingness to exceptional harm. They have enjoyed the crass cruelty of the last four years. Trump voters were not duped. They are not all unintelligent. They chose him because he spoke their language. They want more. This is not the time to forgive and forget.

Healing doesn’t happen by asking victims to absolve their abusers. We’re not talking about people have seen the light & sincerely wish to make amends. Their views have not changed. They are still ok with children in cages, police brutality & turning women into breeding stock. Or at the very least are happy to be complicit if it benefits their life.

It is reasonable to remove such people from your life. It’s crucial that those who enabled Trump’s reign be held accountable. We should fight to remove these people from power and make their lives uncomfortable. Don’t patronise their businesses. Don’t tolerate their vile rhetoric in your schools, homes or work places. If you see a member of his administration in a restaurant you should feel free to tell them they are scum. Far right ideals didn’t begin with Trump & they won’t disappear when his term ends.

It is essential that we come together and make it clear that actions have consequences. You cannot be in favour of exterminating groups of people and be happily welcomed into decent society. I’ll consider absolution if I ever see any repentance.

In case you are wondering, I do not point this wrath solely at the Americans. We need to hold true to this doctrine in the UK. The Tories aren’t any less of a threat. They are engaged in the same jingoism. Austerity, Brexit, the hostile immigration environment are all part of the same right wing hellscape. Now is the time to dig in for real change.

The revolution awaits…

It’s been one of hell of a week. On top of quite the year. I’m sure I’m not the only one still processing the gigantic mess. Sometimes I find it easier to let off steam about the little things. I invite you to join me in a big sigh of relief that Trump will soon be gone & an equally big moan about some non life & death grievances.

Trivial annoyance no 1; the shacket. You’ll no doubt have seen an influencer raving about this shirt/jacket hybrid by now. I’m afraid I must strongly protest. For starters that name gives me boak. Moreover, do not look good. Admittedly they do bring up bad memories of a really ugly quilted denim shirt I had in 1994, but they’re also useless. They’re not a great inbetweener. You end up sweating inside & shivering out. Just put your coat on and take it off when you head indoors. The shacket must go.

I know loads of folk are going to disagree with this one, I care not a jot. The pink Xmas trend can get in the sea. I’m not traditional about much, but when it comes to festive decorations I am old school. Pink does not belong on the tree. It’s not Christmassy. I don’t care if Elle decor has declared it this year’s prettiest trend. I want Christmas looks that warm my heart. Think Forrest green & twinkly gold. Candy floss is a Yuletide treat. Please stop it.

Pink flower on Xmas tree, pink artificial Xmas tree, pink Xmas tree bauble

I’m heading back to the resurgence of the fashion of my youth now. Specifically, cycle shorts. I can’t quite work out how a thing I wore to P.E. when I as 11 has become ‘a look’. Moreover I’m baffled that it’s still hanging around mid November. It’s fucking cold there.

Finally, I have a complaint for our friends across the Atlantic. God, knows they’ve given us plenty to bitch about. In the spirit of keeping it light I have picked this hill to die on. Plaid is not the same thing as Tartan. As we head into prime tartan season I need the conflation of the two to cease. My poor Scottish heart can’t take the way my blood pressure soars when I see either wrongly labelled.

Text-  if it’s not Scottish, it’s crap on red tartan background

That felt pretty good. I highly recommend you take a minute to whine about something pointless. First thing tomorrow it’s back to the Revolution!

Baby love…

This month I’m supporting (& urging you to follow suit) Birth, Baby & Beyond. They are an incredible charity who have lost funding and are even more in need of donations than ever.

Birth, Baby & Beyond provide starter packs for families living in poverty. They ensure that families have the essentials that children require. B, B & B are one that few places that parents can source baby formula as food banks are not allowed to stock it. They really are a vital service. They also operate a second hand children’s goods and clothing shop; reducing waste whilst helping families. Unfortunately their latest finding application has been rejected by Glasgow City Council. Without alternative funding they will be forced to close their shop.

Birth baby and beyond logo  drawing of woman cradling a baby in blue back ground

If you can manage even small donation it would have a huge impact on the charity and the people they support. Please give if possible.

Rainy days & Sundays…

Always get me down. Today is both. Although if I’m honest it doesn’t have to be either. There are days when I just wake up sad.

There’s no reason outside all the reasons that existed when I went to bed. No trigger, no resolution. Everything just feels pointless. If I burn a piece of toast I am utterly useless. If someone doesn’t call it’s because they hate me. Then I know I’m over reacting and I hate myself.

My thoughts get stuck in a loop of painful circumstances. All the things I cannot erase or redo. I inhale all the blame and forget to exhale the guilt. So, it lives somewhere inside me. Dormant, but never extinct.

Maybe tomorrow I will be ok. I’ll return to regular levels of coping and carry on. Or this woe will continue to spew. It could be weeks or months of life coated in depressive ash. I never know.

There is no cure; other than keep going. Hoping this eruption isn’t the big one. Putting faith in my ability to outrun the thought of diving right into the burning mess.

Next Sunday could bright. Or the one after that. There will be days to breeze through again. I just can’t feel it right now.

Dead roses in a vase and their shadow

Dancing in the dark…

GlasGlow is back. We have taken the boy every year of his life, so this has become our own little Halloween tradition. This year was even better than last.

Blue neon lights blurring in rain
Large moon and coloured lights.

The boy was proper excited and dancing around; utterly adorable. It wasn’t too crowded and people paid attention to social distancing. The rain even almost went stopped for us. It was lovely.

Toddler running under neon rainbow
plus size woman in tartan coat with toddler in red duffle stunting infront of twinkly light wall

It was a bit of struggle for me to get around the park. Post covid I’m even less mobile. I found some places to sit and took periodic rests whilst the little man enjoyed the lights.

Pumpkins and giant glowing crystal in dark park
Two adult smiling women and toddler surrounded by lights

Much fun was had. Now I’m in recovery mode and jammies all weekend.

When you take you gotta give…

I’m going to begin this post with a disclaimer; my brain fog is currently set to victorian horror film. The covid has made my thoughts oh so murky. Please try to factor than in if I don’t reach my usual standards.

As a fat positive activist I am naturally drawn to lots of bopo & fat spaces. Unfortunately I have increasingly noticed a slide away from the radical in some of. I’ve been mulling this topic over for a while and I really want to talk about it.

We all know that the body positive movement has been corrupted by brands & individuals trying to cash in. The centring of slim, white bodies has neutered the original message. Body image issues are not the same as the same as the systemic discrimination of fat bodies face. It is infuriating to see people in socially acceptable bodies play at being fat by contorting themselves to make rolls. However, at least that problem is acknowledged & challenged.

I find the move away from the origins of body positivity much more upsetting when it occurs in supposedly fat friendly places. Body Positivity was created by fat (mostly black) women. It’s purpose was to fight the stigma & discrimination that fat people experience in all aspects of life. Self love & positive body image have been an offshoot of that. Personally, I am very much in favour of those ‘spin offs’. I think learning to accept & eventually love your body can be revolutionary. I champion breaking down the toxic things society has taught us about our bodies, but I still recognise that body liberation is not solely about loving our bellies.

Fat activism should put the most marginalised front & centre. We must make room for those who are least often seen or heard. We should focus on making sure that those individuals feel comfortable discussing the issues they face, sharing pictures & asking for help. Sadly, this is not always what happens. Many groups in the fat world are so intent on being all inclusive that they do not realise who they are excluding.

A drawing of a medicine bottle labelled cure with the text ‘self love can’t cure fat phobia’

I see too much time spent on body confidence. Straight sized people taking up space in fat groups because they feel bad about their bodies. Brands whose sizes stop at a 20 are praised & promoted. Descriptors commonly used in fat activism ( super fat, small fat) are labelled insensitive. Bigger people are sidelined. When they try to discuss how they are being pushed out they met with hurt feelings and all the reasons less marginalised people have it hard too. It’s beyond disappointing.

It seems the fight for fat equality has been forgotten. Body liberation is not about making everyone feel great about themselves. It’s about ensuring access to medical treatment, housing, employment for fat people. Challenging inaccurate measurements of health, sizism in public spaces and fat politics should be prime discussion points. We should be listening when people tell us they feel pushed out of a place that is supposed to be for them.

I believe that too many in the fat community are taking their eye off prize. We have become consumed with being welcoming & positive. Both great traits, but we have to prioritise. If straight sized and smaller fats want to be part of the movement we have to accept our privilege. Our voices should not be the loudest. We can be welcoming to allies. Those who are respectful and want to learn can included. We all have blind spots. It is ok to make a mistake or not to know something. It isn’t ok to not want to learn. If your response to uncomfortable truths is to play the victim, there isn’t any room for you in fat activism.

Graffitied wall with poster saying ‘acknowledge your privilege ‘

There are so many amazing resources available for anyone who wand to educate themselves. Instagram accounts with bite size information. Books, podcasts & blogs for every stage of learning. It isn’t fair to rely on the emotional labour of fat people who may not always have the energy to teach. It is especially unjust to plead ignorance and then object to the manner in which you are provided information. Discomfort is part of the process.

Plus sized woman faces a sandstone wall wearing top with multi coloured fringe. Text says  ‘growing is supposed to feel uncomfortable’

I know I have lots to learn. I step on toes without intending to. I hope I listen when I’m told I’ve caused pain. I am trying to be better. I am happy to acknowledge the privilege I hold and I aim to fight alongside those with less. I want a better world. The middle of the road is not the way to get there.