Things I am a Hypocrite About: Part II

Principle: One of my biggest pet peeves is Hollywood naming movies after famous songs. It’s awful.
Hypocrisy: I’ve been able to quote every line of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun: The Movie” since I was 8 years old.

#LynnStone4President

 

Principle: I advocate for suicide awareness and prevention, having served on a committee of volunteers for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for three years now.
Hypocrisy: I strongly believe in the right to die and advocate for its legalization everywhere. I plan to exercise this right should my health reach a turning point when I am a senior citizen and, frankly, I much prefer that method than slow deterioration at the expense of my loved ones’ resources.

Principle: I tried to read both Twilight and  50 Shades and couldn’t stomach either despite my earnest attempts to understand the appeal. They’re cringeworthy garbage…
Hypocrisy:have read Steve-O’s book and watched every single “Jackass” thing that’s ever been released… multiple times. I like my garbage to be self-realized, I guess.

Principle: Women deserve just as much of a social platform as men and it’s wonderful that we’re finally getting representation in so many facets. Even if its often used as a PR maneuver from various media at the moment, after awhile it will be the norm and this makes me happy.
Hypocrisy: “The View” is embarrassing drivel. I’m embarrassed it’s still on the air. And WHAT HAPPENED, Whoopi?! None of this is helping. I’ll protect your right to produce it, but I’m gonna continue to be bothered every time I have to see it in some medical waiting room.

Principle: I’m very comfortable with nudity. I’ve been working on and off as a nude/artist’s model for the last 16 years and feel very comfortable posing without anything on.
Hypocrisy: I started believing that women my size/shape “shouldn’t” wear shorts around the time I was 18. Other than a few times at the gym and over a bathing suit, I haven’t worn a single pair in public since the summer of ’99. I gotta change that.

 

Things I’m a Hypocrite About: An Ongoing Exposé

Principle: I think chasing trends and fashion is the most wasteful, superficial manifestation of this consumer culture we’ve created.
Hypocrisy: I enthusiastically watch to see what Rihanna is going to stun us with next… And I follow about 50 drag queens on Insta just to admire their selfie creations. (@PhiPhiOhara is doing #365DaysofDrag, a look per day for a year, and it is quite literally amazing.)

Principle: Capital punishment is morally wrong, barbaric, outdated, and terrifyingly flawed. Enough is enough.
Hypocrisy: If someone is convicted of child abuse (especially sexual), that person should be hurled into a shark tank on a celebrity-hosted Pay-Per-View event and we should send all the proceeds directly to the public education system.

Principle: It is absolutely none of my business what anyone does in his or her bedroom and I’m sick of it being public discussion.
Hypocrisy: I am disgusted by this grey-walls-in-the-boudoir vogue and will quietly judge it all day long. Call it “classy” all you want; all I see is a resignation to boredom. I didn’t know vanilla came in grey.

Principle: The pendulum swing back to small businesses and DIY lifestyles is exactly what we need to get America back from this ubiquitous, sweeping corporate culture that creates indentured servants out of small-town workers!
Hypocrisy: …But Starbucks is the only place in town that can do a dairy-free/soy-free/low-sugar mocha… And I just want a part-time gig from a company that isn’t on the brink of collapse due to financial issues for a change.

Principle: “Oh, I haven’t seen that commercial; I don’t really watch TV.” is something I catch myself saying a bunch. And believing.
Hypocrisy:  I’ve religiously followed “It’s Always Sunny…”, “Broad City”, “Archer”, “Baskets”, “New Girl”, and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” every season since their respective inceptions via streaming services… oh, and “Snapped”, which terrifies my husband.

Principle: Kids are the worst. My anxiety skyrockets being around more than three of them at once. And why are we even still producing them? Humanity is having a serious overpopulation issue that could easily be curbed if we pumped the brakes on procreation.
Hypocrisy: Have you met my daughter?! SHE’S MADE OF MAGIC AND SUNSHINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here, let me give you ample opportunity to observe her general awesomeness via varied social media platforms. It won’t get old.

Principle: It’s important that we all express how we feel and stand up for our beliefs no matter what!
Hypocrisy: … Unless you honestly believe God doesn’t want you to share, interact, or coexist with anyone different than you. Then you should shut the fuck up and take a seat.

Principle: Namaste. I recognize that the Divine in you is the Divine in me, too. We are all one, and we are all manifestations of a Higher Power, interacting on a physical plane.
Hypocrisy: This is just something I want to believe but don’t yet. I can only see the Divine in the very few people who are extraordinarily kind, generous, selfless, forgiving, creative, or otherwise inspirational. For the most part, I just see secular, regular, messed up (sometimes REALLY awful) people. That doesn’t mean it’s reality; it’s just what I can observe. I should work on that.

Principle: I genuinely don’t believe in marriage; it’s an antiquated institution that isn’t based on practicality anymore aside from tax benefits. Monogamy isn’t natural and that’s not a terrible thing. Attempting to put rules and arbitrary expectations on human nature just causes way more heartache than anyone deserves. I’m not anti-marriage; I just don’t advocate it if asked (which I’m not, usually)… And I don’t at all get this obsession with weddings in our culture, but that’s another issue…
Hypocrisy: I’ve been married and monogamous for almost 8 years. And, despite a rocky start, the last couple years have been improbably, almost annoyingly ideal. I’ve even considered renewing our vows. ::shrug:: I dunno, guys.

Principle: The sugar-addicted American diet has made us so depressed, obese, and unhealthy that we have become fat little caricatures/laughingstocks to the rest of the world. Eat more vegetables!! Stop eating garbage and then piling on medications to treat the ailments that this Western diet causes! It’s costing us a fortune in insurance costs to tackle everyone’s issues that could easily be treated by consuming less sugar and empty calories. Take control of your health, people!!!!!!
Hypocrisy: I have spent $52 on the boxes of Girl Scout cookies I have singlehandedly consumed from my daughter’s inventory in the last 6 weeks. They’re $4 per box. I have also checked a dozen grocery stores in my area in anticipation of the arrival of Ben & Jerry’s Dairy Free collection. Also, summer is approaching, which I often refer to as “Cheerwine Season”.

Principle: Can we all quit telling each other what to wear and what not to wear already!?!
Hypocrisy: White people shouldn’t wear cornrows. Stop it.

And She is Off

I’m not usually one for the oversentimentalization of New Years, but it seems the lunar cycles have landed us in a good ending/beginning, so I’m going with that. Without any preplanning on my part, the last 12 months were the life/mind-shifting, transformative renaissance I’ve been praying for for decades. I mean, it hurt like a sonofabitch and there were moments that weren’t fun at all and during which everything was going to completely collapse (assuming I didn’t finally sink), but right now is a pretty fantastic new place to be mentally – “mentally” being my entirety when it comes right down to it.

I want to learn the landscape here and how I’m best here. It’s the first time since I can remember that I feel comfortable making long-term plans for myself; I’ve always been too afraid to do that before, and I never took any such aspirations seriously because I’ve carried around a long-held belief that the future somehow didn’t exist for me. (This is how I’ve managed to make it this far while feeling like my life has just happened around me without my immediate participation.)
I want need to change that.

One thing I’ve learned this year is that I have the capacity to change my entire reality, which I’d frankly just never believed was anything more than psychobabble before. But my unwieldy emotions doesn’t wreak havoc on my impulses anymore, thus destroying pretty much everything within arm’s length.

You’ve heard. In fact, most of what I’ve written here is the same sort of thing I’ve written about over and over for all the years I’ve been blogging here. I remember whining about hating the struggle more than a dozen times annually, and I definitely don’t want to do it anymore now that we’re past it. I wanna work in that “past it” space.

So I’ll be “out there” in the real world if you need me. Thanks for reading all this and staying tuned to what seemed like an endless saga of madness. I’m not delusional enough to think that it’s gone forever; I just know this feels different. This peace feels more obvious; I’m not stuck in the same webs of anger or shame I’ve been calling home for ever. I’m wise enough to know I need to make serious lifestyle changes if I’m going to maintain what I have going on immediately. My recovery needs me putting my energies elsewhere. The mental stuff has worked; I need to move it into a physical realm.

I’m also taking all the other entries on SuburbanBohemian down and saving them for my personal archives. They may resurface again; they aren’t unimportant to my story. But, for now they’re going into hiding.

It’s time.

Thanks for giving me the space I needed to work out loud here. It helped. It worked.

I’m Recovering, Dammit: Pt. 2

I was right; the book can’t be written because the story isn’t at a stopping point yet. And I am really excited about that.

Things got really, really bad in the last 6 months on a number of levels. I may’ve mentioned that here. And, after everything broke completely down, they’ve started being better and slowly brighter.

I’m stablizing, which is completely novel to me. I’m getting out and volunteering at the Bear’s school. I’m doing yoga every day and doing work trade at a local studio for free classes. I went to a job interview for a super-part-time position at a local business I frequent weekly. I’m getting basic housework done without panic attacks. I’m not actually having any panic attacks. I’m still sober/clean. I’m still getting to support group meetings. I’m taking time to do creative things for/by myself. I wrote an article for a major publication. I’m putting down and walking away from needless distractions. I’m celebrating little things. I’m surrendering to the things I clearly cannot handle and need help with.

And things have been just… better. Calmer. Content, even. My ongoing, crippling anger about outdated issues has vanished, and my frustration with life and general happenings has been taken back down to a healthy 1 or 2 on the dial. I’m not flailing around for attention or validity or ego-inflation. I’m just sort of being whatever I am at the moment and going with that. It’s new. It feels really, really fresh and happy. I don’t feel like I have to define anything or that I’m paralyzed by overwhelming emotion/racing thoughts, and oh man, is that a huge new relief.

So, at the moment, I’m just focusing on this and seeing where this goes. I haven’t felt this clean and weightless since… well, maybe ever. It’s full of hope and optimism, but at a steady, non-manic pace (also something new for me altogether.) And, in this, I’m perfectly okay walking away from everything else I thought I “had to do” before now. I’ll come back to the book if it’s supposed to happen, but, right now, getting and being peaceful and happy is more important.

Took me long enough to get here, but at least I am.

Too Much.

I do everything that makes me feel good to excess. I always have. I overspend, I overheat, I over exercise (when I’m on a tangent), I over drink, I overindulge in everything until I’m exhausted with it, and then, on the words of Jay-Z, it is on to the next one.

I used to think I was an alcoholic. I went to meetings. I learned and worked the steps. I had/have a sponsor. But the thing is, I can stop drinking with one or two when I’m not emotionally hurting. When my triggers aren’t near me and I am left to be happy and un disturbed, I have balance and consistency. When I was pregnant, I was off my anti-depressants entirely and the happiest I’ve been since my brain started fucking with me in the mid-90’s.

When I moved in with Greg and had The Bear and got married and started living with them, I finally stopped biting my nails. I’d done that since I was two.

But whenI get caught up in the self-loathing that always returns and the anxiety and terror that I will inevitably ruin everything, that’s when the addictions come back. I swap out one for another.

A couple months ago, when I decided to stop with all of them, my mind went into a crazed manic state and sent me free falling into states of delirium and euphoria to supplement for the suddenly-missing indulgences. That’s a scary place to be. Only when I started re-indulging and slowly started weaning myself off of them did the delusions and rampant mania subside.

So, that’s a problem. My therapist recognized the manic spell as my mind frantically overcompensating for the feel-happy chemicals that are released when I indulge in vices, so the fear of abandoning them cold-turkey has had me continuing to indulge, but slowly weaning off them by working down to smaller and smaller increments until they are gone. What a strange sort of therapy this has become.

My biggest focus now, however, is refusing to participate in any more toxic relationships that carry abusive language and unhealthy behaviors that trigger my need to self-medicate. I’m just not strong enough to be around them right now, much like someone in recovery has to step away from old friends who are still getting wasted constantly or shooting up, etc. it isn’t others’ fault that I have a problem with moderation, but it is up to me to be away from it until I’m ready to handle it without being susceptible to it myself.

It could take awhile. I’m okay with that. I deserve to be around people who won’t make me feel ashamed for trying to save myself and get better than I have been. I get that now.

And for now, I’m figuring out this whole “balance” thing. I get that the extremes are just symptoms of the problem and I’m finally just tackling the problem and learning to coexist with it and accept that I can’t change the circumstances other than removing myself from them. I’m getting there.

I’ve never looked less like myself than I do right now because the overindulgence shave been wreaking havoc on my physical body in the last year since I’ve been recognizing the things that have always caused me pain and finally letting myself feel the emotions of them without restraint. I’m practically bald because I destroyed my thick, gorgeous hair on bleach jobs and I wanted a clean start. My body is bigger than it has been since I was pregnant and I can’t fit into anything.

I am a physical manifestation of the progress I have yet to make, but I can’t beat myself up anymore for letting myself get this way if it’s going to get better. At least I’m not addicted to anything life-threatening. At least I didn’t ruin my family. At least I didn’t rack up millions in debt. I didn’t get as terrible as it could have been.

But I’ve been getting ready. I’ve tattooed a mantra to myself to keep myself from the self-mutilation I do involuntarily and, so far, it has been working. I have rallied my best allies around me. I have found a therapist who validates the work I’ve done and hears what I need to recover without pulling any punches. I have the strength to get away from the hurtful behaviors of people I thought I needed around me. I am ready and willing to get the hell out of this finally.

And that gives me strength.

Pure

One thing about a vast, wide, open void is that it is clean. It may be hollow, but there is space to stretch and bend and move. The wind may rush through it, but there is plenty of air to breathe. Being empty has potential. Being hollow means there’s a place for me to build something there myself. Whatever I want

Without the weight of Shame or Guilt or the Fear of either being in there to weigh me down, I woke up today still feeling the same emptiness, but I wasn’t afraid of it anymore.

I got the long parts of my hair cut off.
I changed my sheets.
I took a bath.
I shaved my legs.
I washed my clothes.
I’m clean.

Void

On a Plain – Unplugged in New York

I got rid of the  Guilt and the Shame that had anchored me for so long. It’s had me stagnating since I was 12 or 13, and I’ve just been pulling on it and coming back to it and stayed where I was because of it. I didn’t know it until now because it’s gone and, instead, there’s a hole there.

I know. It sounds insane. I sound insane.

I thought getting rid of the Guilt and the Shame would be like kicking off a ball and chain or shaking off shackles, but it turns out it was just an anchor I’d allowed myself to grow around. Now that it isn’t there anymore, there’s just nothing.

I don’t feel anything.

I don’t feel bad; there’s no depression. I don’t feel disgruntled; I’m not hiding behind snarky inner commentary or my usual need to editorialize. I just feel directionlesss and alone in a vast, wide space that is cold and windy and my chest is hollow and wind tears through it.

Does that even make sense?

I’ve been saying for a while that I don’t even look like myself and I know that’s been true as I’ve seen me just slipping away in the last six months (I do, actually, know what triggered all this, but it is too personal to share as it would involve others who don’t deserve public scrutiny.) Now when I look in the mirror, I don’t really see anyone. I see eyes and a body and all the components that make a person, but there’s nobody there. There’s nothing in it. We don’t know each other; we’ve just seen each other around.

I feel like I’m playing this character. This “Liz” person. I’m someone’s mother. I’m this chill guy’s wife. I drive a little car around. I don’t do much else.

My brain keeps wandering around trying to find something to latch onto, but there’s nothing there anymore. I have these creative ideas I want to get out, but no energy to get them done. I’m just going through the motions. My body is just here, but internally, there is nothing propelling me forward. There’s a sense of buoyancy, but I’m not actually at the surface of anything.

I spent so, so much time in mental illness feeling the deep, horrible dread of the bowels of the human psyche and agonizing in it, so I shouldn’t complain about feeling nothing… right?

How to Disappear Completely

The Calls Are Coming From Inside The House

The very worst enemy of mental illness and recovery in general is guilt, shame, and the stigmatization that causes both. It is what keeps us from reporting our symptoms, asking for help, feeling intense shame from asking when we do, and attempting to control our symptoms with self-medicating.

Look, we may be mentally and emotionally unstable, but we’re not idiots. We know how inconvenient it is to have an illness that disables us from having an otherwise normal life and we don’t need outside reminders that The Crazy creates a burden on the lives of everyone affected. Our brains are already working overtime to try to manipulate us to physically destroy ourselves; adding guilt and shame to that equation only gives it more ammunition against our will to fight it. In fact, the idea that I’d been a burden to everyone around me for so long was the sole reason I decided to take my own life in 2003. I failed, obviously, but I’ve spent all the years since feeling sorry for all of this and being ashamed of putting everyone I love through it.

But I forgot to spend any time forgiving myself or contemplating that it isn’t my fault. I’ve always done the best I knew how. I’m still going. I’m still trying. That counts for something and should be praised more than ridiculed. I’m finally okay admitting that out loud at this point. I deserve respect.

Nobody knows how much mental illness sucks more than someone afflicted with it, so if you can’t give legitimate help to someone without bringing up how tired you are of it or how inconvenient it is for you, then don’t help,and keep your superfluous negativity to yourself. You wouldn’t try to make someone with cancer feel guilty for asking for help or not being able to just “shake it off”. You wouldn’t remind someone who is terminally ill how much time and money this is costing.
And if you would do either of these things, then you’re a complete asshole. Congratulations; you have a bright future in politics.

You may notice that this entry seems rather pointed. To be honest, the majority of my time in active recovery has included this uphill battle at not loathing myself for having it in the first place. I’ve only just recently started accepting that I do have the power to pull myself out of it; I was the person who initiated and then continued to seek out help for myself when nobody else would. I’ve been surrounded by a few people who’ve wanted to make me feel ashamed for the inconveniences being mentally ill have caused in their lives, and I have. Non-stop, actually. I’ve spent a decade or so groveling and apologizing and feeling deeply guilty for the actions that were out of my control. However, after a while, I don’t deserve to be held hostage just because others refuse to accept my apologies or show unconditional comfort/positivity as I press on year after year to find answers and a healthy stopping place.

I’m proud that I’ve finally put my foot down and set up a boundary to prevent myself from having to listen to that anymore. It sucks when someone you hoped would give you support just can’t or won’t, but it’s empowering that I’ve finally found the courage and the strength to let go of what I can’t change.

I am so, so blessed that God intervened with a support unit I can trust to listen to me without judgment or holding my faults against me. There are those in my family who only required one apology from me in order to give me the forgiveness and love I needed to keep going. For them, I am humbled and grateful.

I effing hate Oprah, but she does make a good point by preaching that we each give others permission on how to treat us. I can try/have tried to ignore the negative, ignorant treatment I receive from others, but without holding them accountable for their actions by showing consequences, I’m only giving them permission to continue. Acting as though that sort of treatment from people I care about doesn’t hurt me is called “denial”; that’s the sort of thing that causes ulcers.

It’s time to stop all that if I’m really serious about getting my life back. And I am.

I have been for a long time. The only thing I owe anyone is forgiveness for myself and a happy, healthy mother for my kickass, magical, perfect little girl. Anybody else who’s ready to move forward with me can get on board, but I’m not saving seats for people who want to slow us down anymore.

Aftermath

NOTE: If you have experienced a psychotic episode, you may want to avoid reading this as it contains triggers. I may get criticized for airing dirty laundry publicly or seeking attention and that’s exactly what I intend to do. The first time I experienced a psychotic break, I was hospitalized and had no one to talk to because everyone was too scared to ask. I want to talk about this publicly, so it is informative to anyone who has loved ones going through the same thing. It has proven to help all of us. I’m okay being vulnerable to a public audience since it seems my greatest enemy has always been my subconscious; everyone else pales in comparison.

My therapist noted that going through mania must be exhausting as the mind has no respite, even while the body rests. It seems that is catching up with me at the moment as I’m feeling the dilapidation of fatigue – achy muscles, loss of balance, looking busted as hell, dizziness from simple head-swivels, trouble focusing Severe disassociation, absentmindedness. Yesterday after picking the Bear up from school, I left the car battery on and the keys in the ignition for hours until Greg came home and freaked out about it.

I’ve been having dreams for months in which I am unable to spank the Bear because something keeps my hand from striking her; I’m positive she has something protecting her from harm during all this.

This is only the second time a psychotic break has resulted in a state of mania, but I’m thankful it did. The mania is a much, much better experience than a depression, although both have the potential of putting myself at risk. This time, however, I was fueling myself with toxic foods and running on adrenaline and a magnified sense of self-esteem in conjunction with an embarrassing religious preoccupation that is wildly uncharacteristic. The mood swings associated with BPD also became wildly exaggerated, as did my impulses.

However, my BFF who is acting as my daily confidante and recovery partner observed that at least my delusions were just an idealized version of my Self and not an altogether reassignment of identity in which I believed myself to be an alter-ego or a variety of poultry (etc.) Another friend gently assured me that, while she was concerned, she recognized that a manic episode was a lot like having a shitty significant other-friends don’t want to upset you while you guys are together, but afterward they’re comfortable telling you how fucked up it was. I appreciated her observation and consideration in not enabling my craziest of whims nor discouraging them. Truthfully, my closest friends – who were privy to the scariest aspects of the spell – could not have handled their interactions better. For this, I am immensely grateful, likewise with their lack of judgement and need to shame me after the fact with recognition that I wasn’t in control of my illness.

I have removed those who are still unable to differentiate my illness from my real intentions and who continue to shame me for it and my resulting actions all throughout this decades-long shitstorm. Inevitably, this will lead to guilt trips and accusations of me being hurtful, but frankly I’m exhausted with being blamed for having an illness because of others’ ignorance and unwillingness to educate themselves on it after all these years in recovery. I also know my family doesn’t need me crumpling under the weight of self-loathing right now as I am working on recovering, and I’m surrounded by enough support that I don’t have any fear about protecting myself from judgement or malice. That feels really good. It took me for forever to get to that level. Thank God for years of patience and resources to help combat this.

I’m taking time to regroup a little before starting out again. My yoga teacher and dear friend has offered me unlimited yoga at the studio in turn for work trade and, for this, I couldn’t be more grateful. I’m going to need it, as well as the continued support of my husband and the Bear; we’ve got a bit of recovery ahead of us as there’s been a lot of Crazy trickling down for a while before I was diagnosed. I’m happy they’re still here.

The same goes for anyone who is still bothering to tune in and encourage this ongoing mess. It’s been a really, really long time that I’ve been dealing with this shit – more than 10 years in recovery now- but I’m happy to see evidence that each episode is better than the last. Who knows – maybe one day they won’t last more than a week. Mini-meltdowns seem like a dream compared to this shit. I’ll take what I can get.

I don’t want pity, to be straight with you. And I’m not doing all this soul-baring for personal attention, but more for awareness-raising. You know at least one of ten people in your life who have struggled with this. They don’t talk about it because we know the connotations and rejections associated with being mentally unstable. It costs us jobs, relationships, our physical health, our homes, our insurance, and a lot of times our lives. Things could be different if more people understood how scared and alone we feel too. You might look at that homeless man mumbling to himself differently if you see him as a person like me who was once terrified to be losing everything before he lost his mind. It won’t seem strange that his alcoholism and rage accompanies his psychosis; he has been abandoned by everyone else and knows how terrifying he is to everyone including himself.

A therapist I had once told me that sometimes she has a hard time dissuading patients losing their lives to schizophrenia to not kill themselves. Doctors and insurance companies run for the hills when patients are diagnosed with borderline personality disorder from the long-time belief that it is untreatable; if these professionals can’t empathize with the mentally illhow can we expect society to?

my brain is getting fuzzy, so I’ll get off my soapbox. Thank you for reading. I plan to continue this, so if you’re bored, don’t tell me; I’m pretty fucking over it myself.

Why I Gained Weight to do a Crazy Video About Body Image

In 9th grade, I had my first boyfriend, who dumped me after a month and wouldn’t tell me why. For the next year-and-change he kept having me around as a friend-with-heavy-flirtation, but wouldn’t make a move to go any further even though I just longed for it. And he totally knew. Right before my 16th birthday, he came right out and said, “You know, if you lost, like, 15 lbs, you’d be one of the hottest girls in school.”

And that was it. I lost those 15 lbs immediately. Friends got scared, but I assured them that I was a healthy size 6/7, which was okay for my 5’4″ stature. They didn’t relent.

But he still didn’t want me. And I was devastated.

And from that day on, I got set on That Number and the wholehearted, unwavering belief that if I could just get down to That Perfect Weight, I would be lovable and desirable.

This came on the heels of my jr. high years when I grew crazywomanly curves in my 7th grade year (36C boobs and size 9/10 jeans on my otherwise size 7/8 figure. Blickety-BAM!) to the terror of my male peers, who immediately began taunting me for being “fat”. So, this was pretty much the nail in the coffin as far as my body image went.

When I moved from my original high school to an arts-and-sciences-magnet school my junior year, I was immediately befriended by this group of Babes who weren’t just regular “pretty teenage girls”, but who were, in fact, the kind of gals that elicited gasps and dropped-jaws and boners, etc. from anyone they were in contact with (which they immediately soothed with our ridiculously crude, lighthearted, carefree and bizarre humor.) Most of them were naturally teeny tiny, taking after their mothers and grandmothers who were also naturally size 2-4s. One of my girlfriends could eat her weight in soul food but still never gained a pound on her tiny size 0-2 figure. They were all happy, healthy girls, but just tiny. And, while I loved them too much to hate them, I just felt like this behemoth around them at my natural 11/12 size. In fact, you can ask my good friend Sheina; I wouldn’t even look in the mirror around that time. (She gave me one and encouraged me to use it frequently. I still have it.) I honestly thought of myself as some amorphous being, floating around being jolly and entertaining for friends. While I was at “the Academy”, I kept wondering why the hell all these total Babes were hanging out with me; I would thank them for spending time with me or calling me (seriously, ask Sheina) and I kept trying to figure out why they were wasting time being my friend. I always assumed I was the weird, fat [fill in this space with derogatory slams] gal they kept around to make themselves look better. I would take care of them and treat them to copious gifts because I seriously thought that one day they would realize I didn’t belong and would shoo me out of the way. They never did, (of course) and only recently did I have the stunning realization that I actually belonged with them. When people saw us as a group, they saw me as a Babe, too.

But that didn’t happen until just this year, 14 years later. In the time since I was 16, I have loathed my body. Daily. I have lost the same 20-30 lbs no less than 10 times. I have make myself sick on the Atkins Diet; I have gone to the gym for 3 hours a day to do cardio on 600 calories a day; I have lived for days on nothing but cucumber water and fruit juice… All to try to get back to That Number.

And in the times that I wasn’t at That Number, I made myself invisible. I wore loose-fitting, black garments that covered everything. I did nothing with my hair. I drank a bunch whenever I went out in public. Once, when I was significantly heavier than normal, I talked myself out of going to meet Jared Leto when his band was playing in town because I didn’t want to be just another “sweaty, fat, fangirl.”

Going into my senior year of college, my body was a wreck. I’d just gotten out of my second stay at a mental hospital after a year of binge drinking and wreaking general chaos on myself and worrying about my weight was the last thing on my mind. I started coming out of my shell, finally happy at being single and trying things that I liked. I performed with a belly dance troupe. I won a kayak race. I won some awards for my writing and photography. I started writing and taking photos for my university’s student magazine.

It was there that my husband spotted me, and, like I’ve mentioned before, I RAN. He kept pursuing me, though, and made attempts to get us together three different times over the course of the semester before I finally took the plunge on my birthday in 2007.
I was 45 lbs heavier than The Number. He didn’t care.

And then I got pregnant and got to be 80 lbs. above The Number. He couldn’t keep his hands off me. He wanted to take intimate, artistic pictures of me and be close and adventurous with my body all the time.

When I had our child, I lost a bunch of weight and he was no more or less affectionate of me then, but was happy that I was feeling great.

As my lifestyle has had ebbs and flows in the 6 years since, I have just naturally gained and lost the same 25-ish lbs a couple times. I have been at my smallest since I was in middle school (no dieting, no starving. Just eating healthily and chasing a toddler) and I have gained a some while working in an office and struggling with depression/anxiety again. He doesn’t care. He wants me just as fervently and unconditionally, all the time.

In the last year, I have puffed up a good deal more than I normally would, and I am back at the 45 lbs above The Number that I was when he met. He’s expressed concern that I’m being unhealthy, but he sees that I’m doing yoga and cramming vegetables en masse, so he’s not terrified. And neither am I.

It’s weird. It is the first time I have been very much overweight and just been happy. And not given one single fuck about what anybody else has to say about it, including him from time to time.

RuPaul talks about “The Power of Fuck You” and how, when you learn how to apply this to everyone who wants to tear you down out of their own insecurities, your life will be free. Turns out, I was the one I needed to say “Fuck you” to the most of anyone… and then all those dudes who were probably still fantasizing about me at night anyway.

After I thought of this Phat Miley idea, I went ahead and put on another 10-15 lbs, just to safely be able to categorize myself as “plus size” and I wouldn’t be in that weird too-big-for-straight-sizes-but-too-small-for-plus-sizes category. If I’m going to preach about eating whatever you want and being happy with what you have, I thought having a body that was socially “acceptable” wouldn’t really emphasize my point.

And, in singing about loving your body and eating whatever the hell you want, I’m also targeting those people who are of the idea that shaming others on their food choices is somehow going to make them change. An acquaintance of mine barked on Facebook that every time she saw someone drinking a Coca-Cola, she wanted to smack it out of their hands and inform them of how many toxic evils they were putting into their bodies. That’s going to have the same effect as telling a prostitute she’s a slutbag who is going to Hell and then wondering why she doesn’t want anything to do with church. Same goes for everyone who is doing the going-back-to-eating-natural thing, actually – myself included. There’s this thing in our society that we have to deny that we enjoy eating crap from time to time. If I want a Sonic Blast with Reese’s Cups, I have to hide my head in shame and never ever admit to it around friends as we’re all sharing cigarettes and drinking hard liquor. WTF!? I’ll choose whatever damned poison I want to and, frankly, if I want a McDonald’s Premium Chicken Sandwich (real chicken! Vegetables! Real bread!) I shouldn’t have to apologize about it to anybody. I know that I’m having it once every 6 months, but I don’t need to issue a disclaimer to everyone I know, so they don’t have to worry about my health.

So here’s my body in my skimpy-as-crap “Phat Miley” costume from the video shoot last weekend. I am 195 lbs with size 16 thighs on my size 12 frame if you really must know and you know what? My shape is EXACTLY like all those figurines of Goddesses the ancients used to make to celebrate fertility and the beauty of women. I do yoga almost daily and can get into some pretty kickass poses. I work in my yard (I love to mow grass; it’s very zen) and I go to the community garden to work with my neighbors to harvest fresh, organic produce for ourselves and those who need to visit the local food pantry. I walk and bike to the grocery store when I can. I like smoothies for breakfast and chocolate ice cream or frozen Greek yogurt for lunch. I bleed Cheerwine in the summer and I cram my face full of fancy food and drink at every wedding or schwank party I go to. Every 3 months or so, I go to the Sonic in the next town over and get a gigantic Sprite with sugary cherry syrup in it. I drink it by myself in the sunshine. I guzzle coconut water in the summer months and Turkish coffee with agave nectar year-round. I eat peach and/or strawberry ice cream every week in the summer. I live for Gingerbread cookies in December.

I like to eat. My body is magnificent. And none of what I said in that last paragraph is any of anyone’s damned business.

And if you’re not down with that, then you’re excused. Like Noxie says in “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything…”: Your approval is neither desired nor required.
Or, in basic vernacular: Fuck you.

The first time I stepped out of my dressing room in full character.

The first time I stepped out of my dressing room in full character.

shoot6 PhatMileypool