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)”

Two Crowdfunding Projects I think you should support (if you’re able)

By supporting these projects you’re helping make the world a safer place for people like me.

Today is a signal boost for two very deserving projects on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. They’ve both made their goals, but with more help they can make their stretch goals and make an ever bigger difference in the world.

The first is Fattitude, a documentary by Lindsey Averill, exposing fat hatred and offering an alternative means of thinking.

WHY WE ARE MAKING THIS FILM?

We feel that most people are ill informed when it comes to fatness. We want to offer a counter argument to the current popular notions that condemn fatness in all forms, an argument that overturns notions of fat hatred in favor of body acceptance.

The media and other cultural sources say that people need to lose weight – that obesity is a deadly epidemic, but there is scientific research that shows that weight loss and health are not linked like we think they are. For example, according to ASDAH, “Weight and BMI are poor predictors of disease and longevity. The bulk of epidemiological evidence suggests that five pounds “underweight” is more dangerous than 75 pounds “overweight.”

Lindsey has been attacked by fat-hating trolls and had herself, her husband, and her supporters dox’d just for daring to campaign for people to treat fat people like human beings. (Doxxing is when someone’s home address and phone number are posted publicly, online, with the express purpose of sending harassment that person’s way.) Having trolls attack en masse like that is terrifying, but Lindsey has stayed strong and now her campaign has been funded.

I still think it deserves more backers, so if you’re inclined, you can fund it here. (You have the option to put yourself as anonymous when you back it so you can’t be dox’d.)

The second is Make Me a Radical Dietitian by Michelle Allison, aka The Fat Nutritionist. Reading Michelle’s blog, in the early days of my coming to Fat Acceptance, helped me on the road to recovery with my eating disorders. She — more than anyone — let me know that it was safe to eat, that I was not a bad person for eating or not eating, that food was not a moral choice. Her blog told me I could make my own decisions about my food and I would not be wrong, because it’s my body and I know it best. I learned about intuitive eating from her and attempting to put it into practice is what has helped me start to recover from my disorders.

I say attempting because I’m not perfect, and recovery is a journey, not a destination. I mess up, have slip ups, fall backwards. But I pick myself up and continue onwards. I am committed to my recovery.

If Michelle does this dietitian internship, she can help even more people like me. She will be given a bigger platform to do the good she does in the world. I think that’s worth supporting.

You can fund her here.

I myself plan on supporting both campaigns, assuming I get some money in the door in the next few days (and assuming I can decide on what perk I want; there are so many cool ones). If you feel the urge and you can, you should too. Signal boosting is also an awesome thing to do.

Campaigns like this, when successful, will help to make the world a safer place for people like me. This is why it’s so important to me that these campaigns reach their stretch goals. I want to someday live in a world where I am not on guard all the time, where I am not constantly fighting against fathatred, food shaming, people triggering my eating disorders. I want the world to be safe for me and for the next Katje who’s growing up, hating herself for eating, hating herself for not eating, and not receiving any support from the world around her.

-Katje

PS: Fat-hating comments will not be approved and the IPs will be blocked. Concern trolling comments will not be approved and the IPs will be blocked. Comments of “But but but SCIENCE!” or “You’re LYING about having eating disorders!” will not be approved and the IPs will be blocked. This is not a public forum; it’s my blog. I am not required to give fat hating trolls a voice here. If you really need to show the world how much you hate fat people there are plenty of places on the net where you can do so without consequence. Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on your way out.

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.

A little foreknowledge can save you a lot of heartache…

I’d rather know as early as possible someone’s political or religious beliefs — because they could negatively affect my life.

This prompt comes from the ebook of 365 prompts put out by the Daily Post blog.

“It’s never a good idea to discuss religion or politics with people you don’t really know.” Agree or disagree?

Disagree, very much.

In my experience, it’s better to discuss religion or politics with people you don’t know very well. By the time you’re already friends with someone, if they’re a good friend (or if they’re family), if you have severe disagreements with them on the subjects of religion or politics what good comes from discussing them? Unless you really are the rare pair who can discuss it without wanting to murder each other.

Most of my politics are tied up in my life or death. That’s how it is when you’re a member of an oppressed class in an oppressive society. Abortion rights aren’t a quaint mental exercise for me; they’re a matter of whether I live or die. Fat acceptance isn’t me whining because I don’t want to lose weight; fatphobia has very real consequences for the health of fat people, and I deserve to be treated with respect no matter my size. Equal rights and protections for trans* folks aren’t just some abstract thing I can talk about with buddies over a beer; they affect my friends, they affect me — they affect our lives and safety. If I decide to present as male and I get into a situation where the cops need to see my ID, guess what? My life is at risk, because if they see “F” under sex and I don’t match what they expect in their brains, there is no telling what they’ll do.  If I go to a doctor who decides that all my problems are because I’m fat and they misdiagnose me, that could have real, life-or-death consequences for me — and I’m not even getting into the mental health issues that come from living in a society that’s geared towards hating fat people.

For these things that are life or death for me, there’s no room for disagreement. Because disagreeing that I deserve the right to terminate a pregnancy without legal interference is saying that I don’t deserve to have agency over my own body. Disagreeing that I have the right to present as male without fear is saying I’m not a person to you. Disagreeing that I have the right to respect no matter what my size because you’re “so concerned for my health” is saying that what really matters is not my health, but your comfort — because if you knew anything about my health, you wouldn’t say a damn thing about my needing to lose weight.

As for religion, it’s not a life or death situation for me, at least not here in Canada — but it does have a lot to do with my mental health, my happiness, my life going smoothly. If I’m making friends with someone, I’d rather know early on if they’re going to try to convert me to something else every chance they get, or if they’re going to call CPS to protect my (future) kids from my “devil worship”. That’s an actual worry for someone who IDs as a witch, by the way. Don’t kid yourself that it’s not.

I want to know if someone is the type of person who believes, truly believes, that they cannot be moral without religion to guide them. Because I don’t want to know those people. If religion is the only thing stopping them from hurting other people, then I don’t want to be around if they have a crisis of faith.

I’d rather discuss politics and religion early on in a relationship. That way, if they’re a transphobic misogynist who doesn’t really believe I’m a person with rights and freedoms, I know to not let them any further into my life. That way, if they’re not bigoted, but just very uneducated, I know exactly what I’m getting into and can decide if I want to spend the spoons on educating this person. That way, if they’re the proselytizing type, they know early on there’s no point to try with me — I’m not open to conversion tactics — I know early on that I may need to be prepared to kick them out of my life, if they don’t stop trying. That way, if they believe that religion is the only way to have a moral compass, I can say goodbye early on. I prefer my friends to be able to steer their ships with their own moral compass regardless whatever god or gods may be in their lives.

I try to keep the peace with people I still want to be friends with, even if they disagree with me on politics or religion. (There are not many people like this in my life, for the record, and those that are disagree with me on portions of politics that aren’t life or death for me.) Discussing these things only comes up if I think we might actually make progress, instead of talking past each other and getting angry.

And as for talking religion or politics with random people on the internet…. Well, what do you think my blogs are for?

Amoeba Kat Style

I’m at a bit of a loss as to what to write about today, so I thought I’d take a stab at the Daily Prompt.

Describe your personal style, however you’d like to interpret that — your clothing style, your communication style, your hair style, your eating style, anything.

The Daily Post

I’m at a bit of a loss as to what to write about today, so I thought I’d take a stab at the Daily Prompt. Of course, now I’m sitting here thinking “Uhhhhhhhhh. What on earth IS my style?”

If I were to describe my fashion style it would be “has-been goth who can’t afford new clothing, avoids laundry, and doesn’t GAF if you think zir pyjamas and slippers are inappropriate for class”. I really just DGAF, or at least put out the front of not caring. Which is kind of funny, because I have a lot of depression and anxiety surrounding my dysphoria, how I present, and whether people will read how I’m presenting accurately.

I think my brain deals with this anxiety by making me not GAF/pretend that I don’t most of the time. But then there are days where I spend 2 hours changing clothing because nothing is right. Before I realized I was genderqueer I called those days my “fat days”, because I thought I was just hating myself for being fat. I eventually realized those are the days when I feel ugly and wrong because my body doesn’t fit the gender I am and want to present as, and I can’t seem to make my clothing work with it.

Those days it’s very difficult for me to leave the house, because I feel wrong and don’t want anyone to see me.

On days when I feel less dysphoria, however, I wear whatever. I mean, people are going to make comments — either behind my back to directly to my face — no matter what I wear, because I’m fat. People think they have the right to tell me just how wrong I am for existing unapologetically. Unless I wear what’s “acceptable” for fat people to wear, ie what works to hide all my adipose tissue, I am Doing It Wrong and deserve to be chastised. (If I’m wearing “acceptable” clothing, preferably in leopard print or covered in hideous sequins and embroidery with massive shoulder-pads because apparently there are no fat people with broad shoulders, I deserve to be “rewarded” with a “Wow, you look great, have you lost weight?” Pro-tip, folks: asking someone if they’ve lost weight is rude, not polite. My life is more than a number on a scale. You could ask me how my latest book is doing, instead, and show that you actually care about me as a person and not as the horrible bundle of fat cells you are being forced to share the planet with.)

So I suppose my bottom line fashion style is “I’m fat and genderqueer, I will wear whatever I want, it will probably be in need of mending, and you can fuck right off if you have an issue with how I dress.”

The other styles are a bit easier to describe. My hair style is “wash, condition, towel-dry, comb, tie back with scrunchy for entire day”. I very rarely do more than that. If going out, I might spend an hour curling some parts of my hair — but to do the entire thing takes far too long. I have very thick hair.

My communication style is “bad”. I mean, when speaking; I’m a lot better when writing. When speaking I always put my foot in my mouth or inadvertently insult people or say the wrong thing.

My eating style is…well, often would be the simplest way of putting it, but it’s super complicated because of my eating disorders. I’ve gone into those before; don’t need to go into them again. Besides the emotional and physical minefield that eating is for me, however, I love food, and I like to eat.

My interior decorating style is hippy/bohemian/hoarder pack-rat/fire hazard. I’m trying to pare down quite a bit to reduce a lot of the last two things, but I’ll always be pretty hippy/boho, which drives Ogre nuts.

Basically, if we were to boil down my overall style into a few words description, it would be “free spirit”. That’s the only term that’s ever come close to encompassing my weird, wacky self.

I am Amoeba Cat; wuh’eva, wuh’eva, I do what I want.

How not to be a dick to your friend/loved one/relative with eating disorders

Content warning: disordered eating, fatphobia, misogynistic language, description of child abuse

Note: this is written based on my own personal experience with relatives, friends, loved ones, and my eating disorders. Other people may have different eating disorders and different experiences, and my post is in now way trying to speak for them. It’s just me venting about stuff that I go through every day.

My eating disorders are, for clarity, binge/emotional eating and anorexia. Eating is a complete MINEFIELD for me before we even factor in other people’s comments, reactions, etc, because I am constantly fighting a battle with myself about what food I “should” or “shouldn’t” eat. If I binge eat because I’m upset, I then spend several days starving myself because I’m full of self-loathing. But as I know stopping myself from eating is bad, I then force myself to eat, and feel horrible about it.

So here are the things that are said/done, quite often, either to or around me that DON’T HELP AT ALL.

Continue reading “How not to be a dick to your friend/loved one/relative with eating disorders”

I didn’t use to think I was pretty; or, In defense of the selfie

If you spend any time on the internet you know that the word selfie often takes on connotations that are disparaging. Only self-centred hipsters do that, people might say, or Selfies are for women/girls who are attention-whores. (And yes, women are always “attention-whores”; they are never simply self-centred. Hooray sexist gendered language!)

And perhaps the selfie has become a bit gratuitous, just like not everyone needs to see every picture of every meal you eat. (I am a fan of taking pictures of particularly appetizing looking meals, but trust me, you are not seeing my full diet if you look at my Flickr account.) Even if it has become somewhat gratuitous, I fail to see it as a wholly bad thing.

In fact, I see it as a good thing.

When I was in high school I did not spend a lot of time looking in the mirror in order to take account of my many good features. I spent a lot of time in front of the mirror popping zits or telling myself about my many imperfections: my eyebrows were too thick, my eyes had dark shadows under them, my skin was oily enough to end America’s dependence on the Middle East (too soon?), my hair was gross (and I dyed it constantly, in defiance of its old carpet-like natural colour), my pupils were different sizes and that was WEIRD, I had a double chin which was undoubtedly gross…the list goes on.

I did not like myself. This should be expected; I was being raised in a world that didn’t like me, that spent a lot of time and effort in telling me all the ways I was imperfect. The media is tailored to give young girls and women (and boys and men, to a lesser extent) such insecurities about themselves, because it is a byproduct of our society — the same society who raised our mothers to believe the same thing, and to say the same things about themselves.

My mom is pretty much perfect in my eyes, so don’t think this is going to be a mother-blaming post; it’s not. But she doesn’t love herself the way she should — the way I think she should, which is how I love her. Unconditionally, wholly, with the view that she is a goddess. She is, to me. I think she’s beautiful and I love her and she’s my mom.

But she was raised in this same patriarchal society that I was, and she was given the same messages: her worth is only inherent in her fuckability, and her fuckability is determined by her attractiveness. My mom was always called a handsome woman, which is a “kind” euphemism for “not feminine enough”. And we all know if you’re not feminine enough as a woman, you’re not beautiful.

To which I say: fuck that, my mom is beautiful. And screw traditional ways of looking at femininity or masculinity anyway. She identifies as a woman and considers herself feminine; that’s enough for her it should be enough for everyone else.

Basically, if you think my mother isn’t feminine enough, or beautiful enough, or anything enough, I have a very short pier off which I’d like you to take a long walk. With these barbells tied to your feet, please. There’s a good lad.

Because of all this patriarchal bullshit that tells women, or people being raised as women, or people who are socially classed as women, that our worth is directly connected to our beauty, and our beauty is judged in very narrow terms, my mom and I have spent most of our lives not liking ourselves very much. Physically, I mean; I think we’re both doing rather better on the liking ourselves mentally or even emotionally or spiritually, but it’s still a huge struggle for us to like our bodies, or our faces.

But I have been working to change this about myself, and the selfie has been helping me.

I started taking selfies in my late teens, on the cusp of adulthood. Most of them I hated, as I hated myself, but every once in a while I’d get a good shot, with good light, or the just right angle, or the perfect expression. Often these were “Myspace angles”, ie, angles where I was looking up at the camera, to minimize the fat rolls under my chin and to make my breasts look more impressive; obviously I was still very much in the woods of self-loathing for a great many years.

But these selfies served their purpose.

With every good shot, I chipped away a little bit at the thick shell of gods I’m so ugly that surrounded me. Every time I did this, I came closer and closer to realizing that…hey, I wasn’t bad looking. Hey, maybe I was kind of attractive. Hey, wow, I’m fucking gorgeous.

Until finally, this week, it culminates in this: my being able to take a selfie of myself without make-up, without a bra on, without a Myspace-angle — just me in the clothes I threw on after my shower to sit around my hose — and to look at it and say, “Yeah, I’m pretty hot. I can see why the Ogre would want to bang me. And hell, probably other folks too; he’s just the only one of which I’m aware.”

20130904_231841_Anne_Vignette_Intertwined

And some people may find this a direct contradiction of my feminist ideals; after all, I think it’s pretty gross that our entire society values women in terms of their fuckability. It is.

However. While our society is patriarchal/kyriarchal in nature, and while these messages are mostly directed at girls and women, I do believe the lack of self-esteem that comes from one’s own perceived lack of fuckability transcends gender. I have known people of various genders who feel shitty because they feel ugly, and they believe that ugliness leads to them being unfuckable. Yes, many, many women, but many men too, and many non-binary folk (like myself).

I don’t think that our inherent worth is tied up in our fuckability/beauty, but I do think that our perceived self-worth matters a hell of a lot. This is one of those areas where self-care intersects, somewhat awkwardly, with feminist activism, for me — I can’t be an effective activist if I’m mired in self-loathing to the point of not being able to leave my bed. So if that means taking selfies until I feel that I’m worthy as a human being, even if my worth isn’t actually tied to my physical attractiveness and I’m basing this entire process on what is essentially a lie told to me by society, well, that means taking selfies until I feel I’m worthy as a human being.

I’m all for dismantling the patriarchy, for dismantling the fucked up, toxic society we live in. Yes, it needs to change; we need to stop equating physical attractiveness (which is subjective anyway) with human worth. We really do.

But it’s really hard to get down to the work of actually dismantling this oppressive, toxic wasteland, if depression and anxiety and self-loathing have conspired to keep you curled up in bed, unable to even get up to turn on the lights. If someone needs to feel they are attractive in order to have the strength to carry on, then they need that and it would be downright cruel (and possibly, an act of silencing and denying their agency) to try to take that away from them.

Furthermore, as a fat woman/person socially-classed-as-woman, taking selfies that proclaim to the world your attractiveness is a downright subversive act. And I don’t think I need to explain why.

So leave folks who take selfies alone. Chances are, they’re searching for this same sort of self-care. Maybe it’s not the self-care route you would take, but that doesn’t invalidate it. Maybe you think there are too many out there, but hell, there are too many blogs out there and I’m sure that’s how many people find ways of caring for themselves.

And if it bugs you to see selfies from people you perceive as ugly, then that’s just proof that selfies need to continue for a while yet. Yes, I will normalize my appearance to the world and myself, because I’m not ugly, so fuck you.

A toast to the selfie! May it continue, until we don’t need it anymore, and then may it be a fun choice that anyone can make, or not make, as they will.

-Kat

[quote of the day] September 5th, 2013

If you gave a good goddamn about the health of fat people, you’d shut up about our fatness. You are destroying our mental health — and that can kill a person just as surely as anything else.

Marianne Kirby, “This Fat News Anchor is Mad — And Not Going to Take Being Bullied Anymore”, xojane

Amoeba Cat and the Ogre go on a road trip (and see some kittens; also — Reading Rainbow)

[content warning: mention of disordered eating and fatphobia]

This past weekend was the BC Day long weekend (I believe the first Monday in August is the long weekend across Canada, with Province-specific holidays; I know it was Alberta Heritage Day as well as BC Day, f’ex), so I got to spend four days at the Ogre’s house instead of just 3. (We’re currently searching for a place to move in to together, but in the meantime it’s week-at-my-house, weekend-at-his.)

His mom had to head down to Washington this weekend to visit a friend. She asked us to come with because she’d not been feeling well all weekend and felt safer having an escort. Also, she said, one of the things she was picking up was my birthday gift — so there was some incentive for me!

First thing we did as soon as we got across the border was find a Jack in the Box. Jack in the Box is by far our favourite fast food place and we will always make time to visit one when we head into the Western States. (It doesn’t exist out east. I don’t even think it exists too far east of the West Coast.) And by “we” I mean “Amoeba Cat and Ogre”. OgreMom has a lot of food sensitivities, so eating at fast food while on a road trip is sort of a really terrible idea (especially when she’d not been feeling well for a few days before).

Damn straight I will.
Oh yeah, you know it.

My normal meal at Jack in the Box is the Ultimate Cheeseburger, which is basically just meat and cheese and bread, but this time they had a new one — with bacon. So it was meat and cheese and bread and meat. I was in heaven. Even if we went at the wrong time of year and couldn’t get specialty shakes. (You know what this means? We need to go on more road trips to Washington, preferably around specialty-shake times.)

Something else new about JitB: they now have calories listed on their menus.

So, yeah. Calories on the menu. This bothers me.
Breakfast menu; they also have calories listed on the main menu.

I guess this is something that helps folks, and I suppose some people like knowing their caloric intake upfront. I’m also guessing it’s common across US fast food places (it’s not in Canada), to help combat the “obesity epidemic”. (Because obese people are the enemy, folks. We’re the new communists, donchaknow.)

Personally, I found it incredibly upsetting, and were I in a worse state of mind that evening I probably would have been triggered. When I noticed the calories on the menu, I felt like I was being publicly shamed for choosing a meal that was so high in caloric intake. I felt like everyone was watching me, looking at the thing I was choosing and how BIG that number was beside it and judging me for it. And, as I feel every time I look at the calories on a piece of food, I started to feel the slippery slide into my eating disorders.

I had to force myself to look away and not think about it, though I managed to snap a picture as we were leaving. I repeated a mantra over and over in my head that Ogre loves me and doesn’t judge me for the food I eat. He never tells me to eat less; he doesn’t try to control my food input. Which is quite magical, considering, well, every other guy I’ve dated and lots of other people in my life that I’ve not been romantically involved with. Oh, yeah, and society at large. (Har, a pun.)

Anyway. I’m digressing. I may spend time later to go into this in greater depth on another post, to give it the time and attention it deserves. For now I’m just going to talk some more about my road trip.

Something that made me about as excited as JitB? This:

IT'S REAL
“Bob’s Burgers”. IT’S REAL

If you don’t get the reference, I feel sad for you — because you are not watching Bob’s Burgers, and you are missing out on laughing so hard you cry and pee yourself. Get thee to a Netflix and watch. You will not regret it. (If you do regret it…well, it’s safe to say you probably don’t share my sense of humor. Which is sad. I am sad now.)

True story: it’s my heart’s dream that someday the Ogre and I are Bob and Linda and our kids are Louise, Gene, and Tina. Also, I may or may not be obsessed with the show because I basically am a combination of the three kids.

After JitB we pretty much headed straight to the person we were visiting, with a few stops for gas and bathrooms on the way. (Man, gas is cheap in Washington. No, the exchange rate doesn’t make it a “no real difference” sort of deal; Washington is paying around 3.50 a gallon and Vancouver is paying around 5.20 a gallon. 5.20 Canadian is about 4.90 US, not 3.50.)

The visit purpose was two-fold: visit the kittens, and pick up OgreMom’s stuff. Including my birthday present. Which is awesome. You will see this in a minute. First, however: KITTENS.

Dancer cat!
He wants to be a dancer. Not really. Well, maybe.

This was the kitty we were going to look at, so OgreMom could take pictures of him to send to a friend who’s a vet to get a bit of a consult. The kitty has some sort of hip problem, so his legs just sort of spread-eagle no matter what. He wasn’t in much, if any, pain, and he was cool with being held and cuddled. His legs just splay like crazy, but it really doesn’t stop him from crawling all over the place and dragging them behind him. Because of this I think he should be named Troy, but no one appreciates my constant references to Community. (And yes, I realize y’all can’t exactly tell by the picture, but the kitten is fine with being held like that and it was only long enough for me to snap a picture, anyway. Don’t worry, Ogre may look big and scary but he actually knows how to handle cats. His mom only fostered a million kittens while he was growing up.)

So, anyway, here are some more pictures of kittens:

Ogre and kitten.
Say it with me. “D’AAAWWWWWWWWW”
Me holding a kitty.
Let me tell you, they may be young but their claws are fully developed. The dangers of wearing a lower-cut shirt.
As he falls off. Because balance, what is it.
However, they are also drunk, and possess no balance. This one almost fell off my considerably-sized leg several times.
Stop trying to escape!
And a complete lack of survival instinct. This one kept trying to leap from Ogre’s hands.
Kinda looks like a chest burster.
…before becoming a chest-burster.
Cookie was skittish.
Here’s Cookie, the mom, finally coming to join us. She was a bit skittish.

After kitten-cuddle-time we took a look at OgreMom’s packages, including…(drumroll please)…my birthday present!

You see, a few months ago I shared a t-shirt on Facebook that I desperately wanted and couldn’t buy, along with my size and a note to my friends that if they wanted to get it for me I would love them for a very long time. I didn’t actually think anyone would get it for me, as the sale was short-lived and times are tough, but…

a better pic of the shirt
SET PHASERS TO LOVE ME
Birthday pressie! I'm happy.
You can see how fucking happy I am. I CAN GO TWICE AS HIGH.

Now, if you don’t get the reference, I actually kind of wonder where you’ve been for the past three decades. Reading Rainbow ran for 23 years on PBS. It encouraged children to read and exercise their imaginations, and — this is the best part — it was produced and hosted by LeVar Burton.

As far as TV shows go, I was raised on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Reading Rainbow. At first, I wondered why Geordi was without his visor, but then the concept of actors vs. characters was explained to me, and I adjusted.

The show helped foster a love of literature in me. Despite my eventual voraciousness regarding books and my high levels of reading comprehension, for a while mom was afraid I wouldn’t actually learn to read, period. It never came easy to me, and even now I am an extremely slow reader. I have to be awake and alert if I want to read books and comprehend them, and it takes me a while.

For someone with those difficulties, fostering a love of the literary world could be difficult. But on the TV, I had Geordi — Geordi, my friend from Star Trek, one of my favourite characters from that show, the guy who seemed safe to me. And here he was, showing me that reading could take me anywhere, and help me be anything. I could go twice as high.

So you can see why I’m overjoyed with this shirt. It proclaims my love for Reading Rainbow without being billboardesque, and its appeal to the imagination harkens back to the theme of the show. Definitely up there among some of the best birthday gifts ever.

After our visit, we headed home — and to a Wal-Mart. Whenever Ogre is in the States he picks up underwear from Wal-Mart (or wherever else has the same-priced underwear, but often it’s Wal-Mart because of the odd hours he keeps — they’ve usually got a 24hr-open store). Canada doesn’t have the underwear he likes in his size, so we must go to the States and buy underwear made in the face of the looming problem of fatties within the nation’s borders. Oh no! Hide the children!

I mean, I find it sort of fucking ridiculous that he can’t find underwear that fits him up here. You would think that regardless the moral panic surrounding the very existence of fatties in whatever country they would at least supply us some fucking underwear. I mean, seeing as it’s such a problem when we show the slightest amount of skin.

I, too, have trouble finding underwear that a) fits, b) is the style I like, c) is comfortable, d) well-made, and e) in my budget. By “I have trouble,” I mean “I usually wear underwear until it just disintegrates so I don’t have to go through the horror of shopping for more for as long as possible.”

I digress again. Apparently the Amoeba Cat is grumpy today.

So, we went in search of some underwear, as all his current pairs are approaching sainthood. (‘Cause they’re holey…get it?) While we were there we decided to see if there was any junk food that we couldn’t easily get in Canada. Also, I took a picture of some booze I saw that I wanted to remember at a later time — as it was 2:30 am when we were shopping and my brain was unlikely to remember the details without some help.

*cough*
Definitely sounds like something I need to try. My mom may also be interested.

Kinky Liqueur isn’t something I’ve seen up here in Canada, though that doesn’t mean it’s not around. I don’t actually go booze shopping very often. At any rate, whenever I get a chance I’m going to pick some up and see if I like it.

Wannnnt. But too small to fit my fat ass.
Men’s XL = too small for my fat ass. Would have fit my legs just fine, though.

I really wanted these pants, but alas. So instead we found junk food to help me keep said amazing ass. (This was Ogre’s comment. I laughed.)

There wasn’t much in the junk food section that we couldn’t get at home (where it would be better, too; sorry, USians, but your Oreos taste like crap), but we did find two really cool things: pop made in Mexico, meaning it was made with actual freaking sugar and not HFCS, and one of those Nutella snack things they sell in Europe, sans the chocolate milk portion.

Awesome snack
I ate the fuck out of it.

The Mexican-made pop (no pictures, sorry) came in a 24-bottle case. In glass bottles, no less. 12 Cokes, 6 Sprite, 6 Orange Fanta. Out of the three of them the Fanta has the worst ingredients, but still — no HFCS.

And they all taste so much better than Canadian- or US-made pop.

Overall, a really fun and productive trip (I got an hour of work done, if you can believe it). We stumbled back into our home at 3:30am; Ogre and I didn’t fall asleep till 7:30 or so.

Next time we road trip to the States we will hopefully have more notice before leaving and the trip itself will be a bit longer. I’d really like to make trips to Washington a more regular part of my life again, even if it’s considerably harder to do so now; my trips to Seattle with Mom are some of my fondest childhood memories.

And on that note, I’m signing off. I’ve been up for far too long because my sleep schedule is all screwy again, so I’m in need of some slumber.

-Kat