Your Diet is Boring and Sad (and triggering)

When you talk about dieting, you may be triggering people you care about. If you don’t want to hurt people you like, please stop talking about dieting.

ETA, September 17th: Comments are off for this post for the foreseeable future.

Trigger warning for eating disorders, diet culture, child abuse, emetophobia, and fatphobia.

I don’t know how to start this post, aside from the trigger warning. I know it will need it; I’m talking about things that are hard for me to even think about, let alone speak about. But I don’t know where to begin.

Do I begin at the beginning (for me) — when I was 2 and encountered severe trauma related to food? When I was screamed at for getting dessert on Christmas, when I was so upset I threw up all my food?

That is where it started for me, my rocky relationship with food. Imagine, being told by your loving mother you can have a fancy eclair because you ate enough of your Christmas dinner and it is, after all, bloody Christmas, and then having the other parent in your life unleash a torrent of his abuse on you both until your little body can’t take the stress and you just lose it, everywhere.

That wasn’t the only time my biological sire made me vomit with his anger, either (or his reckless driving). To this day, strong negative emotions and, especially, angry men make me sick to my stomach.

I suppose it’s strange I never developed bulimia, not really. There was a period of time when I was vomiting after every meal, like clockwork, and sometimes it was induced, but it wasn’t bulimia. It was me feeling physically sick all the time, and needing some relief. As suddenly as it appeared in my life, it disappeared.

No, instead, I developed binge eating disorder and, much later, anorexia.

My father didn’t stop when I was two, you see. He continued to abuse me in many ways throughout my childhood and adolescence, including at the dinner table, in restaurants — really, anywhere food was involved, he made sure to give me a complex about eating.

His excuse? I was being spoiled rotten by my mom and Oma, he said. Or I was getting too fat, or eating too much sugar. Or any other reason he could come up with to abuse me for daring to want food.

Abusers always find it easy to justify their actions. It’s for your own good. Always for your own good. It was for my own good when he took me to get a treat at Dairy Queen, said I could order whatever I wanted, and then took that food away from me when I had it and ate it in front of me, saying I couldn’t have it because I was ‘getting fat.’ It was for my own good when he screamed at me at the dinner table because I was ‘too fat’, making me cry and feel too sick to my stomach to eat — which he then yelled at me some more about, because I was a wimp who was crying and why wasn’t I eating? He’d slaved over the stove to make that food so I better eat it or he’d give me something to cry about.

It was for my own good when he made me sit at the dinner table until I finished my food, even though I told him I didn’t like squash, not at all, not a little bit, I had to eat it because it was good for me. And when my step-siblings came in from their after-dinner swim at the pool and saw me sitting there — I was determined to sit there all night, and hoped I peed on the chair, hoped for that small revenge — they told me to take the food and just throw it in the compost, and lie about eating it! I said no — he’d know, he always knew, nothing was safe — but they took it and did it for my anyway, and then dad came back into the room and pulled out squash covered in coffee grinds and other organic waste and force fed it to me, holding my mouth shut until I swallowed it.

It was for my own good when he force-fed me salmon and called me a wimp and weakling for not liking it. To this day, the smell of salmon makes me want to vomit and cry.

He was convinced that every time he put another landmine in my brain with his actions, he was doing it for my own good. He swore up and down that someday, I’d thank him.

Well, he was wrong about most things, so add that to the list.

The for your own good narrative doesn’t stop with my father, though. It continues on every day I am forced to interact with people who have bought into the propaganda of our fat hating culture. Shaming me for my food choices is for my own good. Constantly talking about diets is for my own good. Maybe, if they make me feel enough shame, I will magically lose weight. That’s the belief, so it’s easy to justify with for your own good.

This is all true, and it’s probably important background for this tale. But is that where I start? Is this the best place to begin for this particular story?

Let’s start again, maybe.

Google+ has a function that shows you things from people you haven’t circled. Other people you have circled click the plus button on shares, and those things might show up in your feed. You can’t turn this off, to my knowledge, though I have posted asking people for help finding out if you can.

Continue reading “Your Diet is Boring and Sad (and triggering)”

We’re not public property

A quote from Rachele’s amazing rant about the scummy, scamming diet company “Venus Factor.”

Fat women shouldn’t have to be afraid to post their photos on the internet. We are not public property. We shouldn’t have to worry that a diet company is going to use our photo and fat shame to sell their “system” or that forums are going to post disparaging comments alongside our photos. We shouldn’t have to deal with rude trolls sent to our websites to bother us. It isn’t about legalities, copyrights and watermarking, it is the culture of fat hate that encourages and approves it.

-Rachele, Fat Babe Designs

Read the entire story of how her picture was stolen by a scummy, scammy diet company called Venus Factor here.

This type of thing is, sadly, common — women are considered public property on the internet, and especially fat women. We are used as “inspiration” pictures — heads cut off, of course, because heavens forfend we’re treated like actual people — for people wanting to lose weight. We are attacked in large number by misogynistic, fat-hating trolls, because we dared to put pictures of ourselves up without the requisite apologies for even existing. Our pictures are stolen for snake oil salesmen to use in their ads for fake diet companies.

It shouldn’t take mass activism or a social media campaign to get a company to take down stolen pics. One note from the owner of the pics should be enough. But, again — fat women are not considered people. Misogyny + fat hate means we need to go the extra mile just to be treated like human beings — we have to fight for people to give us some common human decency.

Rachele has my unconditional support as she traverses the roads of fighting these guys legally, and if I have any money to spare I will donate some to help pay her legal fees. She is fighting for all of us fatties — especially those of us with a smaller voice, fewer followers — and showing these gross companies that we’re not taking this shit lying down anymore.

I am tired of being treated as less-than human, as public property.

I am Katje. I’m fully human. I am not public property. My body is a dictatorship, and I am its ruler. You do not get to treat me as anything less than a fully sovereign human being.

Sliced Bread

To me, the internet is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Most of us have heard the saying, “That’s the best thing since sliced bread!” What do you think is actually the best thing since sliced bread?

365 Writing Prompts

The internet.

With the internet I can make friends all over the world. I can talk to people I don’t know, I can find like minds who live miles away. I often feel utterly alone in my local, meatspace communities. I suffer from social anxiety. I find it hard to leave the house quite often. Sometimes I just can’t stand the people I meet in real life.  Often I must make nice even though I dislike someone’s behaviour, or I’m “That bitch who makes waves”.

But on the internet?

I can block assholes from seeing me on Facebook or Google+ or Twitter. I can ban jerks from commenting on my blog. I don’t have to be nice for the sake of keeping up social pretences. Yes, there’s an increase in bullying and harassment because anonymity makes people brave, but there are also tools that make it a bit easier on me to deal with them — I hate confrontation in meatspace and walking away isn’t always an option. On the Internet, walking away is an option.

The internet is where I come together with people who have similar ideas as I do and we collaborate on how to make the world a better place. The internet is where I talk about things that are important to me, where I do consciousness-raising. The internet is where I work towards dismantling the oppressive kyriarchy in which we live.

Because of the internet, free apps are available to people, and I’m able to use programs like Evernote — something that literally has saved my butt as a writer. I don’t know how I got along before discovering Evernote.

(Evernote has a premium version, which I’m planning on buying when I have the money. But the internet allows me to try apps and software before paying for them as well as cutting down on packaging.)

On the internet, I have my own home — this blog. My website. These are my spaces. My online homes, as it were. I have a history of lacking a sense of home no matter where I live in meatspace, so having a sense of a place to call home online is important to me.

The internet also allows me to keep in easy contact with my meatspace friends in other parts of the world. I lived in Hawaii for 10 years, and I’ve travelled to many different countries, where I made friends from all over the world. Thanks to the internet, I can still keep in touch without racking up thousands of dollars in long-distance phone bills.

Speaking of phones — I actually hate talking on the phone. I have phone anxiety. Part of this is because I can’t see the person speaking, so I have trouble understanding what they’re saying. What I don’t have is Skype anxiety. I can Skype call my friends and chat with them without having a nervous breakdown.

The internet saved my relationship. I’ve been in a long-distance relationship for almost 4 years. For the first 2 years, I was a 2 hour boat ride away and only saw Ogre once a month, if that. We Skyped and Facebooked constantly, and it kept our relationship going strong.

Now that I live a 40 minute drive away, we still Skype several times a week or send each other Facebook messages.

Without the internet, today wouldn’t be the one year anniversary of our getting engaged. Our relationship would have crumbled a while ago.

I owe so many good things in my life to the internet. And yes, I owe some bad things too, but the good things so outweigh the bad that I am being completely honest when I say:

To me, the internet is the greatest thing since sliced bread. And sliced bread is pretty awesome. I mean, I can’t be the only person who cuts zirself when trying to slice whole loaves, right?

In which I bitch about Facebook’s changes (you knew this would happen sooner or later)

Facebook recently changed everything again, without asking its users (again) or seemingly thinking about how to make things better (again).

I’m reminded of the de-motivational poster that shows a comic of two pigs, talking about how their home is free and all the food is even paid for! The caption reads “Facebook: you’re not the consumer, you’re the product.”

One of the most disturbing changes is to how pages operate: starting the end of the month, you will not longer be able to send out mass messages to your followers via the PM system. You must interact with them via news feed.

Fantastic. How many people have “Liked” a page, only to turn off appearance in the news feed? That’s a good show of hands there, and I’m raising mine along with you. I like the news feed to have my friends‘ updates. If something is important, I assume the page I like will send me a message.

I can’t help but think this particular change is a way to stop organization and forming of revolutions via the social medium of Facebook. Can’t have the proletariat rioting, can we? Why aren’t they happy with being poor and hungry, marginalized and set aside, murdered and nothing done to bring the perpetrators to justice?*

So now, with Facebook’s changes, I am no longer able to alert fans of my author page to special things like book launch dates, book tour dates, giveaways, and other fun stuff that should be exclusive to following my page. Now I must post it all on the page — where anyone can read it, and it sort of takes away from the whole “Follow to get exclusive updates” angle I’ve been working.

It also prevents me from sending instructions to members of Katje’s Army, placed strategically throughout the Americas, to let them know when to revolt.

Another change that I find incredibly sinister is the automatic subscription to your friends’ every movement. There’s a ticker in the right hand corner where you can see all their comments on everyone’s profiles. Including profiles that were previously hidden to you, because the owners of said profiles are on there to connect with family members, not the rest of the known world.

Continue reading “In which I bitch about Facebook’s changes (you knew this would happen sooner or later)”

Writer Wednesday: it’s like the future sneaked up behind me and shouted “Boo!”

I’ve just spent the past few hours reading about Twitter hashtags for writers, finding new and varied blogs about writing and the writing business, finding prompts and challenges for blogging, and finding out that self-publishing may be losing its bad rap sooner rather than later. Which is awesome, because legacy publishing is kind of B.S.-tastic. Holly Lisle is apparently now going the self-publishing route, after being published for over 30 books in the legacy publishing industry. She has some interesting things to say about it.

 

Apparently there’s been this techno-revolution in the world of writing and it’s still going strong. I only vaguely knew about these things; I had no idea it was so big.

I recently decided my blog is going to be my business platform. That’s why I revamped the site and why you’re seeing daily, if not more, posts from me.

All the new information bodes well for my career, because I’m planning on having not only a paperback version of Bellica out by January, but an ebook version as well. All I have to do between now and then is build up my online presence to semi-famous, and the book will sell like a hotcake.

Fewer than six months. I think I can do that. I’ll be on Twitter a whole hell of a lot, of course, and constantly searching for new ways to connect with other writers.

However, I could definitely use some help. Have any suggestions? Your own stories of reaching internet fame? What’s my next step?