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I believe the ‘May you live in interesting times’ debate is well and truly settled. These times are no blessing. Life has become that dog in the burning house meme. We’re all expected to carry on, but hey, I don’t think any of us are fine.
In recent years we’ve had the rise of the right. Politicians who have zero interest in the common good, civic responsibility or even telling the fucking truth. Police are still murdering POC without consequence, whilst they simultaneously neglect to intervene when a maniac massacres small children. The poor get poorer, the rich get richer. Footballers have to intervene to feed hungry children because our leaders have absolutely no interest in people who aren’t just like them. A global pandemic is killing millions and spawned a new kind of selfish. The same people who won’t wear a piece of cloth on their face to protect other will happily force a ten year old child to give birth to a rapist’s child. A new, extra virulent type of anti vaxxer has infected our society. Marginalised groups are more at threat than ever; hate crimes soar. The American right to a gun cannot be challenged, but abortion, gay marriage, trans rights, basic medical care and voting rights are always on the table. The tories lie, cheat and steal right under our noses. They rape and harass to no one’s surprise and the party doesn’t even have the decency to be embarrassed. Parliamentary goal posts are moved at will, Mp’s get a raise and workers whose wages don’t even keep up with inflation are shamed for striking. Covid, corruption, inequality and of course inflation rage. The PM has gold wallpaper and blow jobs in Westminster. The rest of us dread the electric bill and can’t afford butter. While he’s paying his various flings with public money disabled people can’t even co habit without losing meagre government assistance. The earth we stand on is crumbling beneath our feet and I haven’t even scratched the surface. There’s a whole world of cruelty out there, it never ends.
Did you think that paragraph never end? Where you begging for full stop followed by nothing? Join the club. This isn’t burnout. I don’t need a bit self care and neither do you. We need a revolution. Watching the scummiest humans on the planet make everything worse day after day, year after will destroy any decent person.
If you feel like you’re losing it, I think that’s perfectly reasonable. If you’re angry and sad and feel utterly helpless, I’m right there with you. I am sorry that you’re expected to carry on regardless. I’m sorry that you must live in these intolerable times without any grace. I don’t know what will make any of this any easier, but if you do, please give that to yourself. Don’t apologise for what you need or your reaction to our atrocious world. Nothing is ok, we don’t have to waste energy pretending it is.
* Obviously let’s all organise, protest, donate, vote and support each other as much as we are able. Change won’t happen if we don’t force it, but please also take care of yourself.
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Given the leak from the Supreme Court regarding overturning Roe Vs Wade turned out to be accurate, choosing a cause to support this month was easy. I am horrified at the implications this decision will have.
Telling half the population they have no right over their own body is barbaric. This is a death sentence for so many people. As with most of these hard right agendas, it will disproportionately impact poor people. Those with money will always find ways to access abortion services. It isn’t possible to ban abortion, removing legal access only makes the procedure unsafe. Make no mistake, this will kill people. Be clear also, that the right will not stop with abortion. This is the start of an erosion of the rights of women & those with ovaries.
If you are in the states I urge you to contact your representatives and let them know how ardently you oppose this move. Where ever you are in the world, if you have means please consider donating to organisations who help people access abortion care.
If you are at all interested in dismantling diet culture you will be aware that new government legislation regarding calories on menus has now come into force. The legislation is part of the government’s plan to tackle ‘obesity’. Whilst I have a lot to say on that larger topic, I’ll stick to the calorie information for now. It will come as no surprise that I am not in favour of this development.
As a fat woman who spent years of my life embroiled in yo-yo dieting I know how dangerous constant calorie counting can be. In the depths of my disordered eating I was obsessed with calories. They were my enemy and required constant monitoring. I had calorie based rules for everything. Limits for every meal and limits for the entire day. If I was going to drink alcohol I wasn’t allowed any food. I counted the calories burned during exercise in an attempt to cancel out what I had consumed. I knew & counted the calorie content of everything; a smint, a grape, a sip of wine. Calories were omnipresent. It was an exhausting battle against my body’s basic needs and I was miserable. My quest to be thin damaged me, physically & mentally.
I’m not the only one nor am I the most severely impacted. We live in a world that is constantly reinforcing the message that smaller is better. Putting the calorie content of every item in every menu only compounds that. It won’t encourage ‘healthy eating’, everyone already knows what foods are full of saturated fat. What it will encourage is distorted view of what a healthy lifestyle is. It will support the diet culture narrative; fewer calories are better. Looking at the numbers every time we go out to eat will reinforce an unhealthy relationship with food. People will feel guilty for ordering the dish they want. It’ll trigger obsessive thoughts and behaviours in those who are dealing with or have experienced disordered eating. It will cement the connection in the collective mind between health and calorie control.
I posted about this legislation on my Instagram stories today and have already received multiple messages from people who have been distressed by seeing these menu additions. These are people trying to claw back control of their eating. People who have worked hard at ignoring that voice in their head telling them what they can and cannot have. They’re scared. Genuinely frightened of how they feel when they see signs telling them how many calories an adult shout eat in a day. Worried about the thoughts the calorie count on their coffee provokes. This isn’t a surge towards a healthier society, it’s a huge step backwards.
The problem with this move is the thinking from which it stems. Our government is telling us that being fat is a problem. That fat people are a burden we must shift. That isn’t true. There is no proven way to permanently make a fat person thin. Diets do not work; within 5 years 95% of those who intentionally lose weight will regain all they have lost and more. Calorie restriction is not sustainable. More over, it is not good for you. It ignores the intersections between weight and poverty & disabilities. Not to mention the impact of medical weight stigma on the health of fat patients. There are many lifestyle changes a person can explore if they want to improve their health. Focusing entirely on calories and weight loss is not one them. Health and weight are not intrinsically linked. Adding the calorie content to menus is dangerous. It sidesteps the issue of public health and props up stale old diet culture tropes.
I am not a doctor or an expert. I am merely an informed former victim of the diet industry. I am a fat activist and as such I can see that many people may dismiss me as having an agenda. With that in mind I point you towards the following resources.
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If you are a regular reader you may be aware that my bedroom houses a sexy/self love wall. I’m always on the look out look for cool independent art to add to my collection. A few weeks ago I got lucky.
Abbie Illustrates announced she was opening commissions for digital portraits and I snapped her hand off. I am utterly in love with this incredible piece. My curves look so soft and delicious. I cannot wait to get me framed and up on the wall.
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Let’s talk about breasts. Boobs, titties, knickers, baps. Whatever you want to call them. Just a human body part. So, what is all the fuss?
For a long time I thought I hated my breasts. I resented the attention they brought, the assumptions & limitations they imposed. I even looked into a surgical reduction to be rid of their weight. It’s only in recent years that I have realised that there is actually lots I enjoy about breasts. I didn’t hate them, they had just been weaponised against me.
Boobs are great. They feel nice. Breasts can be comforting. Nipples can have incredible sensation. They add lovely curves to the body. Mine look great in lots of things. They can sustain new life. Sure I wish my own didn’t give me back ache but they’re part of me and I like me.
Why all the hate, then? Well, we live in a world that projects so much onto these mounds of tissue. It starts so young. If you are a late bloomer, you are free game for mocking. Develop fast or bountifully and you will be Objectified. I managed to combine both. I was flat as a pancake and then between 14-15 years old my breasts went into overdrive. There’s years of being sexualised. Your peers will do it and you’re told ‘boys will be boys’. Then it somehow becomes a teenage girl’s fault that adult teachers are uncomfortable that they can see bra lines through a white school shirt or that her breasts bounce in P.E. Strange adults on the street will shout gross comments at a child in a school uniform. The bus driver will come onto you every day on the way home from school. Friend’s Mums will view you suspiciously because your body means you are not a ‘nice girl’. All along assumptions are made about who you are and how you can be treated purely by the fact that the tissue on your chest grew bigger than other girls your age.
As you grew older it just becomes more overt. Men in bars will comment on your body and if you complain you’re told it’s your own fault for showing cleavage. Any night out will include at least one random groping from a person you didn’t even say hello to. Getting angry garners insults. You are a slut or you’re ugly because you object to being sexually assaulted. Friends of friends will refer to you as ‘that girl with the huge boobs’. Jokes are made, envy expressed, inappropriate bra size enquiries are never ending. All the while there is an underlying implication that this is your fault. You are judged because of a body that you didn’t choose or have any control over.
It extends way beyond individual experiences. Everyone in possession of a pair is bombarded with messages about our own form. We have all had lists of things we can & cannot do. Don’t show bra straps, but you need a bra to control or enhance your shape. Clothes that aren’t ok for your body. Clothes that are sending a message. Activities we give up because we’re so tired of the attention we attract. We’re shamed if someone can see the outline of a nipple. Censored everywhere because a female presenting chest is sexual; even when it is feeding an infant. We still live in a world where using a breast for its intended purpose can be controversial. It’s all patriarchal bullshit.
Our bodies are not inherently sexual. Seeing a nipple isn’t provocative. Breasts are just fat and tissue and skin. No more or less obscene than a nose or an armpit. The size and shape of our constituent parts bears no indication of who we are. Neither does how we choose to adorn them.
I feel sad that I ever considered surgically changing my body purely to avoid misogyny in its many forms. I am exhausted that at 41 I still have to explain the same point I was making at 16. None of this new. Yet, there are still umpteen men in my DMs every week talking only about my tits. I still get cat called and disapproving looks. A few years back a GP pointed out that she could see my bra poking out of a vest top and asked what message I thought that sent. This educated, professional woman could not understand my anger or the reason I complained about her comments.
I don’t how or when we bring this to an end. I do know it starts with me (& you) taking back my body. I am not for public consumption. I will continue to wear whatever pleases me. I’ll delete gross comments and if you dare to sexually harass me the very least you can expect is a loud fuck off. My breasts are large, my cleavage exquisite, but most of all they are mine.
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January has been a slog. It always is, right? It’s cold, we’re skint and coming down from the festive season. It always drags, but we’ve made it through. In the spirit of silver linings I thought I would share the things I enjoyed about Jan ‘22.
I spent a lot of time having a good old carry on with my little ones. My 3yr old nephew thrashed me at arcade games. My 4yr old niece decided she only wanted to be in photos if they involved crazy filters. I taught my 2,3 & 5 year old nephews how to play ‘pile on’; their parents were delighted. The twins are now in the move & finding their voices (noisily). Last, but certainly not least my oldest girl has been texting me in French & Russian. What’s not to love about this amazing bunch?
Stumbled upon this by accident and I’m so glad I did. It’s a bit ridiculous, but also so good. Strong (kinda crazy) female leads, which is totally my jam. Oh & it’s half set in the 90’s. It’s American 90’s which is not quite as good as home style, but still awesome.
I am a picker. If I have a blemish or a scab or blister I am entirely unable to leave it alone. Thus I have long been in search of product that will reduce blackhead etc and shrink my pores. I think I may finally have found a winner. The Ordinary salicylic acid 2% solution has been having good results. Hopefully it will stop me spending hours in front of my magnifying mirror. The Ordinary are vegan & affordable, so I’m a fan.
Another accidental discovery that I am very happy about. Emmy Meli apparently posted the hook on Tik Tok and the went out for some drinks with friends. The next day it gone wild, spurning thousands of videos of women acting out her lyrics. She of course decided to finish the song and it is a massive hit. I first heard it on tik tok and then searched it out online because it was instant love. I am so into how fresh & empowering she is. I love the sound of her voice and how upbeat this song is. I really like how spontaneously this song into life. Emmy at full volume has been helping me get things done all month.
I’ve always been partial to a clog, but the whole Croc thing put me off. Well, the clogs are back. I found these animal print beauties that are also exceptionally comfortable. I will be buying them in every variety. They’re from Vegan Flats.
Forever in love with this brand. The second I knew there was a new was a new fuck u print I had to have it. These are the bat knickers on the planet. I always feel better knowing I’m wearing my frustrations on my arse!
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It occurred to me recently that had I ever followed through with my invention I may be rolling in it by now. I know I don’t seem like high powered entrepreneur, but I’ve actually had a few amazing ideas that turned into real money spinners. Join me as trawl through the ideas I should have got a patent for!
Yes. Really. Way back in 1999 I came up with that idea. I welcomed a boyfriend back from a trip at Xmas time with a glittery festive shape instead of a landing strip. It was a hit. A mere decade later those damn Essex girls stole my idea and made a mint.
You know those clever little ballet flats that fold into a tiny pouch? My best friend and I had that idea in the 90’s too. Sick of walking around barefoot holding our heels after a night out we drunkenly came up with fold away shoes. As with most 4am ideas we did no follow through. A few years later some other more committed bugger actually made them. Another money making opportunity missed.
Oh I know, this seems unlikely. It’s still true. I’ve been painting designs on my finger nails since my early teens. Granted, I wasn’t always good at it, but I was absolutely doing it before it was a thing. My little sister even got in on the act way before any professional salons started offering it. We were trailblazers. These days we both pull off amazing nails, but other folks are raking in the cash.
In the early 2010’s Mary Portas Lauched her Armery collab with Charnos (many brands have had similar designs since). She claimed it was her revolutionary idea, sleeves that could be worn under anything for women who didn’t want bare arms. Well, once again, I beg to differ. Portas was not the first to think this up. Myself & many other self harmers had been taking scissors to tights to fashion an identical product forever. Necessity is the mother of invention. Hiding the tell tale signs of our terrible secret had us innovating long before Mary. It’s pity some of us didn’t get together and launch the idea.
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I’ve had another sleepless night and I used the extra hours to clean up outstanding admin. One of the tasks I enjoy the least is dealing with the angry dms/emails etc I get from random followers who hate fat, single woman being happy & online. Recently there has been a sharp upturn in the number of messages telling me I should be ashamed, i’m a bad influence, should have more self respect… To those I say, SUCK IT,
You’re not a slut (unless you like that term) if you enjoy lots of sex. Nudity is not inherently sexual and even when it is, it is not dirty. No one has to justify their sexual agency. I’m a grown ass woman with a healthy sex drive & I give zero fucks about what anyone thinks of that.
I have a sex life. Fat women are desired. I’ve had various partners. Some were great ideas others not so much. I’ve shed some tears, discovered things about myself, been frustrated & had a fucking ball. I’m am sick & tired of the contempt for female sexuality. I’ve regretted some of my sexcapades, but I’ve never been ashamed. In fact, I’m delighted to offer some high(& low)lights in service of the sex positive feminist agenda.
There was the Brazilian bus driver turned surgeon who was fun and precipitated an embarrassing incident.
The night club bouncer I fell arse over elbow for only to have him wreck my life.
The university professor who was kind, smart, committed & gorgeous, but just not the one.
The stunning aspiring stage actor who had the sexiest curves I’ve ever seen. She soothed my broken heart, boosted my self esteem and invited me to her wedding years later.
The film critic who gave great date and turned out to be full shit.
The part time novelist who was a talented writer (& lover), but wanted me much more once he couldn’t have me.
The librarian union rep who presented as the ultimate lefty. Unless it related to feminism, then he was the laziest of ‘not all men’ misogynists.
The post man who was just a terrible rebound mistake and had to get up way too early.
The student who’s very catholic Mum popped in when were having sex on the sofa. The 3 minutes it took me to find anything to hide behind were probably the most awkward of my life.
The bar manager who got clingy two dates in despite telling me she didn’t want anything serious.
The biologist who was fine really, but always thought he knew best. Good time in bed. Frustrating conversations.
The IT analyst who wanted to move way too fast. Very romantic, but scared the shit out of me with detailed future plans.
The tax man who started out a lot of fun. Settled into something comfortable. Ended up a huge cowardly disappointment.
The electrician who was a whirlwind. Crazy night outs. Cuddly weekends watching old movies. Fizzled out fast.
The newly divorced Mum who was actually pretty incredible, but really wanted to live the party girl life. I was just too old & tired for clubbing on a Wednesday.
The rugby player who was an entirely different person in front is his friends. I met a cool, sensitive guy. Every time we went to the pub I was with a rugby boy cliche. Big nope.
The lottery fund allocator who could have been perfect if i wasn’t so ridiculously bad at recognising the nice guys.
The mental health worker who was all erudite and kind. Big social conscious. Fostered rescue cats. Was also way too interested in my scars in bedroom. Creepy & ugh.
The photographer who was exciting & hilarious, but only because he took copious amount of cocaine. Pro tip ladies coke is no friend to the old erection.
I have a favourite who blew my mind. There were crazy hot folk, guys that others thought weren’t attractive at all, relationship, flings & the odd one nighter. It’s all fine. Every (consensual) sexual encounter was ok for me. Sex is fun. It’s natural. It can be as big or as little a deal as you feel it is.
Safe sex between consenting adults is A OK. Have as much or as little as you want. Talk about it or don’t. Your body is yours to do with as you please. Enjoy.
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I’m one of those people who gets started on the Xmas pressies. Thus I’m pretty much done already & ready to share some independent/small business gifts. If you’re not ready for Christmas chat yet, I’m sorry! Everyone else, let’s get to it.
If like me, you (or someone you love)find yourself exceptionally attached to pieces of music this one is for you. These beautiful visual representations of sound waves feel like a special present to me. I found MuckaStudio on Etsy, they created exactly what I wanted for a really reasonable price.
Robyn Boyle is a beautiful artist & person. I first found her art on Instagram, then got to know her & now consider her a friend. I have bought commissions as gifts & have her art hanging in my home. Why wouldn’t you want to buy a stunning piece of art from a wonderfully kind person.
Bonnie Bling is an old favourite. They are an independent Scottish brand who create quirky acrylic jewellery & accessories. I’ve been buying their Scottish centric wares for years. They use all recycled plastics, so they tick the ethical & desirable boxes. Buy some pretties.
Another artist that I discovered on Instagram is Edoniworks. They do gorgeous architectural drawings and take commissions. Their communication is great, quick turn around & reasonable pricing; 5 stars from me. I think a drawing of your forever home/wedding venue/favourite bar makes a really lovely gift. Someone in my life is getting one this year.
I’m never going to write a small business guide without including Wilde Mode*. They make the cutest, comfiest underwear I’ve worn and they are all round good eggs (their ethics are tip top). They have so many excellent xmassy products this year. Definitely the kind of thing I will be giving.
If feminist, inclusive & sometimes ridiculous are up your street you need to check out Crudely Drawn. Unique prints, mugs, tees & more can be found here. I can think of a few people who would love a Louis Theroux with boobs mugs and I really want some tidy hating bits for myself. I love quirky, cool gifts like this.
* I am a Wilde Mode brand ambassador, but I was not paid for this post.