Not to blame…

As this pandemic continues to wreak havoc there is an increasing need for a scapegoat. Predictably, fat people have become a convenient target. Navigating this strange new world is hard enough without all the finger pointing.

Magnified image of covid virus

If you’re feeling hounded, I get it. I’m fiercely fat positive & always prepared to fly the body liberation flag. Even I am finding the constant barrage of fat phobia exhausting. With our feckless PM giving credence to a BMI/Covid link and the tabloids eating it up it is understandable that we feel attacked. When the government makes weight stigma policy it absolutely feeds the trolls.

For the record, losing 5lbs will not make you less likely to contract covid nor will it effect the severity of the virus if you do. Like much of the Tories covid 19 response it is not rooted in science. In fact, it is too early for any studies to provide reliable data on the impact of covid on fat bodies. Especially when the intersections with poverty, disability, poor medical care etc are often not factored into research.

Fat phobic newspaper headlines

You are not irresponsible for living in a fat body. You are not a burden on the NHS. You are deserving of the same care & respect as anyone else. If you need help reinforcing these facts or dealing with others who refuse to accept them I highly recommend checking out the resources below. I have linked to their Instagram accounts from which you can find all their links/books.

Jess Campbell (haes_studentdoctor) is as her insta implies a student doctor with a Health at Every Size approach. She shares excellent information in a really straightforward manner.

Dr Natasha Larmie (fatdruk) is a GP in the UK who campaigns to end medical weight stigma. She shares her own experience along with insightful analysis. Definitely a must follow.

If you aren’t already aware of Dr Joshua Wolrich where have you been? He is an NHS surgical doctor who promotes HAES, debunks junk weight loss science & has a much anticipated book due very soon.

Lindo Bacon is a body liberation author, speaker & researcher. Their first book, Health at Every Size completely changed my understanding of how my body works & the effect of dieting. I cannot recommend their work enough.

Image of book,  health at every size lindo bacon

I only recently discovered HPWAS (Health Professionals Against Weight Stigma) and I am so glad. As a fat person it can be difficult to deal with the medical community. It is therefore very reassuring to know there are professionals trying to change things from within. They are currently collecting lived experiences of medical fat phobia. Please do consider sharing if you feel able.

Big fat love to everyone struggling.

Blue, I love you…

Dear Son,

Today has always been hard, but this year is worse. I always thought I’d give you siblings & they would help remembering you to be less painful. It never occurred to me that I would be reliving your loss over & over again. I hope they’re with you. I wish you were all with me. I’ll always love you.

Love

Mum

Sapling in moonlight

It’s coming on Christmas…

I’m feeling the need to immerse myself in the festive spirit this year. The tree is up, the presents are wrapped, but I want a more. Thus, I have concocted a not at all cunning plan, but I think it will be effective.

Step 1 – Up the daily merriment with lots of Christmas nail art. I always keep my nails adorned anyway, so I might as well up the glitter quotient & get my crimbo on. First up was this simple swishy tree. Rouge Noir is never not perfect.

ly h Kerr Xmas nail art

Step 2 – Spread the goodwill. As Cliff said, it’s a time for giving and there are hell of a lot of people in need. I have decided to commit to one bigish charitable act each week of December and as many small gestures as I can muster along the way. First up is the reverse advent calendar. Basically, you get a box and put a foodbank donation in it every day of advent. Individual foodbanks list what they most need at any given time, so check their websites. At this time of year I like to add some treats along with the basics. If a person can’t afford food they are unlikely to have money for Christmas present and extras. No one should have explain to their child that is Santa isn’t coming. I am by no means rolling in it, but with a little planning it’s possible to pick inexpensive items that will make a huge difference to a little one. Even chocolate Santas/coins can really help a family struggling at Xmas. We are living in difficult times, the continued roll out of Universal Credit in particular is leaving many people in financial hardship. Those of us with enough should & can give a little (or a lot) to the people our society is currently failing. Plus, it makes you feel really warm inside. It’s a win/win you feel like a lovely person, people in need feel a wee bit less bleak.

If you’re local to me here are some links to Glasgow Foodbanks & other food services. Otherwise you can search via postcode here. Sadly, Foodbanks are springing up everywhere, there will be one in your area.

Crookston Community Group & Foodbank

Storehouse Foodbank

Glasgow City Mission

Wayside Club Centre

People’s parties…

On Saturday I had two parties to attend. One big event is enough to stress me out, so a 1st & 40th on the same Saturday had me more than a little worked up. I did actually manage to have fun & I think (hope) I pulled off two cool looks too.

First up was my best friend’s baby’s 1st birthday. I’m in still in shock that my tiny Madison is one already. I honestly feel like I’m living in fast forward. Anyway, she was an adorable birthday girl. Her party was incredibly cute & all the little people in attendance were a delight. Since it was a children’s event I went for a slightly whimsical outfit. All the colours & petticoat as a skirt was my choice.

ly h Kerr

Petticoat – Lindy Bop

Top – Asos

Cardi – Primark

Sophie the giraffe birthday cake

Sister, bestie & their babies.
I know the best babies.

I didn’t have much time to get organised for the next event. So, the plan was to change outfit, amp up the eye make up and reapply my lipstick. I somehow managed to create my dream grey glitter eye including winged liner. Unfortunately as it was a bit of a fluke it’s possible I’ll never recreate it. Thus, I intend to enjoy these pictures incase it never happens again. Clothes wise I settled on a dress I’ve had for years, but only worn once. The Toyboy thinks it looks like a gladiator dress & I’m very ok with that. I’m afraid I didn’t get a full length picture, but you can get a good look here. Another of my siblings turning 40 necessitated the drinking of many shots, which scuppered outfit photos. I did of course document my sexy smokey eyes & fun was had by all. Not least my big bro, who even took the dance floor.

ly h Kerr, smokey eye

40th birthday cake & lights ly h Kerr, mum & sis

Dress – Asos Curve

Shrug – Monsoon

Happy Birthday Kevin & Madison. Now I need the rest of the month off before I’m ready for the anniversary of my own birth.

I don’t know where I stand…

About 7 months ago, after years many years of knee pain & a limp that had become almost permanent I had an X-ray that revealed arthritis. After even more pain & increasingly frequent falls my Dr recommend a walking stick. 

I had been experiencing pain in my right knee for years. When I first mentioned it to a Gp he put it down to a small accident I had whilst playing with my niece. I had plenty going on health wise & at the time it wasn’t a constant or severe pain, so I left it at that. The knee got progressively worse & I mentioned it a few times to various gp’s but no one was worried & it got sidelined by more immediately pressing health issues. By the time I really couldn’t ignore it anymore I had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The knee pain was attributed to fibro & that was pretty much that. The pain however continued to get worse. It hurt all the time, standing or sitting. It even  woke me in the night. Then came the swelling, then the limp shortly followed by the knee giving way & me falling on my arse more than once. Back to my Gp I went, but only to seek advice on what might help my knee; I believed it was fibro related. Finally, over four years later I was sent for an x-ray, which revealed significant erosion in my knee joint. I didn’t expect to have a condition like arthritis at 37 & I certainly never envisioned myself with a walking stick, but here I am.

Foot & walking stick

There are so many things I could say about the difficulties of getting a diagnosis or even investigations when you have chronic conditions. So often when medical professionals see things like fibro in your notes they will just link everything to that. When you have multiple chronic conditions  multiply the difficulty. Add to that mental health issues, being a woman, being fat, the drs who think everyone with chronic pain is drug seeking & honestly, I’m just exhausted. Yes, it could have been spotted sooner. Yes, I would probably have a better prognosis if it had, but at this stage I’m just too tired to even think about that. There isn’t anything that can done about it anyway. It is what it is. 

Unfortunately what it is is pretty shit. On a number of levels. I hate to admit it, but there’s been a real mental adjustment along with the physical. I find it really hard when people see me with the stick for the first time. I worry that they’re thinking, oh god, she has another thing wrong with her. I worry that they’re embarrassed. I worry that I’m just too much of an inconvenience. 

I hate it, but a walking stick is a blow to the self esteem. I don’t feel particularly sexy as I hobble along, so obviously I question if others will view me differently. Intellectually I know there is no weakness in disability, but emotionally I feel weaker. I feel less useful.

Less fun.

Less appealing. 

All the while I’m telling myself what nonsense that is. That I know better than to indulge in such ableist thinking. Then I think if I, a disabled person am having these thoughts, then others certainly are & that’s not a productive thought process. I’ve already experienced how ignorant the world can be. How many people will still push past me or not offer me a seat. I’ve learned that places who bill themselves as accessible, just aren’t (and my mobility is still so much better than a lot of people’s). The weird thing is, I think the kind folk are almost harder to take. Every time someone offers to let me skip them in a long queue or asks if I need help, I feel utterly exposed. I’m grateful for the seats & the consideration, but I still feel very vulnerable about needing them. I’ve put so much stock in the power of being independent & capable that another level of disability is a struggle to accept. Yet, writing those words feel very indulgent. How dare I ‘woe is me’ when things could be a millions times harder, as I know they are for millions more if people. I know some of this linked to my mental health issues. There are familiar themes here; shame, guilt & a big helping of get over it. I suspect though, that maybe these feelings are pretty common for those dealing with disability. Thoughts & feelings aside, life is just a bit harder. For me & I’m sure for those around me. I’m slower & more limited. I can’t go anywhere without checking a dozen things beforehand. I’m grumpier & less reliable. Spontaneity is out, relentless checking is in. I hurt more. I need more rest & assistance. I find everything exhausting. I sound like an absolute joy to be around, right?


Finally, there is the stress. All of the above is stressful. Everyday tasks, trying to do something fun, the future are stressful. Attempting to manage all the stress, is stressful! 

I realise this is all sounding very negative & I don’t want to be that person, but I do want to talk about it. I’d like there to more of a conversation about chronic illness & disability. I’m sure some of this will get easier. Some of it won’t & I’ll have to adjust. Spoonie life is nothing if not challenging. The opportunity to spill my guts definitely makes it a little bit easier. 

It’s coming on Christmas….

I’m beginning to feel quite festive. Being the superwoman that I am, I finished buying gifts weeks ago. So, now it’s time to turn my attention on myself. Beware, I’m about to get all wanty.

When buying presents this year I wanted to select really personal items & I think I’ve done well. I thought I’d use the same theory on my self & sought out some quirky trinkets. 

  
Klimt bangle – TimeMachineJewelry (Etsy)

Scarf – River Island

Gimme Brow – Benefit

  
Sampler – YesStitchYes (Etsy)

Jumper – Dorothy Perkins

Number 11 by Jonathon Coe

Intergalactic Bath Bomb – Lush
  
Pendant – HomeStudio (Etsy)

Clutch – Forever21

Notebook – JournalLandCompany (Etsy)

Flower Crown – Asos
  
Candle – The Skye Candle Company

They’re Real – Benefit

Trapper Hat – Forever21

Chocolates – Not on the high street.
I’ve gone for a number of things inspired by creatives who make my heart sing. Flung in some winter warmers with a little glamour. Added a pinch of operation pretty tools & garnished with something to make me chuckle. 

What will you be asking Santa for?

This week I have been mostly….

Feeling sentimental. Sop has been oozing from my very pores. Who can tell what’s brought this on, but it’s certainly influenced my aural choices. 

I’m going to kick off with a tune brought to my attention by a decidedly unsoppy man. This must be the place is such a warm contented song that it always makes me feel a tad melty. Talking Heads’ grown up, understated love song is precisely the style of happily ever after that appeals to me. 

  
I stumbled upon an old Del Amitri cd last week & have been rediscovering their meloncholy magic since. One song in particular has been bringing a lump to throat ; Tell her this  brings to mind that rare moment when you feel ready to let your guard down. I’m careful with my heart and rather slow to trust. So reaching the point where I’m ready to jump is special. I love the sensation when you know you’re both really in it & ‘Tell her this’  embodies that. 

Next up is a singer who has infiltrated my dreams. Damien rice writes the most stunning lyrics. I relate to so many of his beautiful works, but one in particular keeps finding me in my sleep. Accidental Babies is about knowing with absolute certainty who you should be with despite the fact that you’re not together. It’s raw emotion & naked yearning are a punch in the gut. Rice’s description of love, both passionate & ordinary is so real. It’s strange, yet beautiful to discover that a complete stranger has captured your own experience. 

 
Gregory & the Hawk are  my penultimate purveyors of love. Boats and Birds is an ode to adoration. The classic romantic imagery of stars & seas are enchanting. As is the notion of caring for someone else’s happiness before your own. I challenge you to listen to this & not think about the most important person in your life. 
I shall leave you with a masterpiece. No one speaks my heart better than Joni Mitchell & A case of you is my soul in three verses. From the northern star to a partner flowing in your blood, it’s a work of genius. Joni has summed up the power & sadness & mystery of love. I first heard this song when I was 11years old & instantly longed for that strength of feeling. Now as an adult I know both the joys & sorrows of drenching myself in an intoxicating man. My heart remains unaltered, I am still on my feet.