“Fat Positive” is Heading for “Health Negative”

Can we talk for a minute, woman to world? I spotted a list of “fat positive” tattoos on Facebook that made me gag. Yes, my feelings were that strong and I’ll tell you why in a moment. The idea of fat positive is now in our vocabulary and personal responsibility has been ousted. “Live fat, die yum”? Seriously?

Growing up I was obese. I hit my top weight at thirteen. I was 209lbs on something like a 5′ frame. I was every fat stereotype: self loathing, hiding food, praying I could wake up thin and happy, physically and emotionally hurting. I was a fat girl in a skinny-hungry world and I did it to myself. Today I’m not skinny, but I’m healthier than ever.

My road to recovery has been tumultuous to say the least. I took small steps as a kid, cutting out candy and soda. As an adult, my brother helped me discover Primal health. Did you know there are faces to the Paleo/Primal movement who aren’t just slim size 4, but also strong size who-cares? It’s beautiful! To touch on all levels of health, I have also never loved myself as much as I do today. I’m happier in every respect.

Now with radical feminist interjection in our modern world and a hyped up sense of both entitlement and egalitarianism–both completely absurd–loving yourself has taken a turn for the worse. Body positive has become “fat positive”. Let’s understand what this “positive” idea is.

It's like Where's Waldo, but trying to find yourself. I'm not good at this game.
It’s like Where’s Waldo, but trying to find yourself.

Being positive towards something is accepting it, maybe even embracing it. It is an encouraging nature towards something. Body positive is wonderful. It only started coming to light for me when I saw burlesque ladies’ posts popping up on Facebook. Beautiful men and women of every size, height, race, and creed scrolled across my computer. I discovered Ms. Tess Holliday, a plus sized model and founder of #effyourbeautystandards. I stopped thinking of their supposed flaws and started pointing out attractive features. Well styled hair, bright eyes, laughing smiles, sexy poses, flattering clothes, charisma for days.

With that idea of positive in mind, fat positive is harmful. Let’s use the word fat according to advocates: it’s a word, a harmless adjective. Being fat is not something to hate, but it is also not to be embraced whereas being healthy or health oriented is despite your current size. Everyone knows the health risks of being overweight. Perhaps the risks are so recognized that concern over the health of fat people has now been demonized, and so someone like me won’t be taken seriously. It’s now discriminatory to mention health to them. They would probably even say I fat shame myself for living health consciously!

Feelings must be defended at all costs.
Feelings must be defended at all costs.

I understand. I am ignored by people who have found a scapegoat to let them pretend to love themselves and not necessarily strive for change. Personal responsibility is out the window, but it will haunt you. Yes, you can strut now, but at what cost to your later years? (I also understand that this unhealthy mindset applies to svelte people too, but something the fat positive advocates got right, based on the body positive idea, is that there is indeed a particular stigma against fat.)

Fat positive advocates expect the world to change for them instead of changing themselves. Public transport is discriminatory because standard seating is too small? *No, unfortunately your girth is too wide despite your sexy style. The insurance industry is discriminatory for charging more to those with obvious health risks? **No, your weight is an obvious risk. The workplace is discriminatory for considering your weight when hiring? No, if you struggle with tasks because of your weight, then your weight may be a liability. (By the way, if I’m defending public ANYTHING, you’re doing something wrong.)

Maggie and the Bedazzled Sleep Apnea Mask. She loves herself.
Maggie and the Bedazzled Sleep Apnea Mask. She loves herself.

Role models like Ms. Tess Holliday are fat and beautiful, at least in my eyes. According to her Instagram account, she incorporates physical fitness into her life, and that is awesome! The problem is asking to face the consequences of being fat (topped with entitlement). I worry that people look at such role models and think, “I don’t need to push myself towards health because women like Tess show me fat is beautiful.” Then they wind up with cupcake tattoos saying “Fat girl/boy”. I also worry people really believe the world needs to change for them instead of the other way around or paving their own path. Okay, let’s raise taxes to spend more money on material to widen all airplane seats. Uh huh. We’ll see how that flies…see what I did there?

This isn’t an attack on Ms. Tess Holliday or anyone really. This is a warning to the people who are paving the road to hell with their best intentions. The world owes you nothing just for being alive. Living, not stressing, with health and happiness in mind is what makes men and women beautiful. If anything is deserving of a “____ positive” following, it isn’t the fact that you’re fat, but rather your strength to be well.

*This is why everything should be privatized. Then the incentive may be there to accommodate fat passengers.

**Again, private insurance companies not impeded by federal law would have incentive to get you as a customer.

Games Have Titles for a Reason – Cards Against Humanity Review

A recent review of Cards Against Humanity made me give so much side eye, the computer screen nearly bent. I will thank them for getting my fingers back to the keyboard! Players and creators agree the game is going to offend people. I won’t go into the reviewers’ cringe-worthy use of the word “privilege” or needing a “trigger warning”. I am going to review the game fairly as a lover of games. If my ethics breach the words, it’s no more than what those reviewers did. There’s your warning. 🙂

Cards Against Humanity is a controversial card game with a specific audience understanding absurd humor. It is not family-friendly. I generally play with a group of friends who are accepting of those who don’t know a new friend’s life story. Seems obvious. The game play is very simple. You try to piece together the best joke you can with the cards you drew. Often I find the game to be tricky because your hand may not lend itself to much humor usually for being too random to fit the prompting card. There are cards that people will find goofy. There are cards that people will find “offensive”. Offense is simply one’s interpretation of another’s words or actions. It can’t be avoided short of mind control. (This should NOT be confused with aggression. i.e. rape or assault is not just offensive, but aggressive and criminal. However, joking about it will just hurt some feelings. Simply remove yourself from that company if you’re offended.)

Tasteful. It's tasteful sideboob. Totally different.
Tasteful. It’s tasteful sideboob. Totally different.

In Cards Against Humanity, like the well known Apples to Apples, you are playing the judge rather than the game. Is your judge a grandparent? A bro? A bro-ny? A timid girl meeting your friends for the first time a few weeks into a new romantic relationship with you? …that’s not describing anyone in particular. Your judge is how you determine what card is best. I accidentally upset someone in a game of Apples to Apples because I played “Car crash” and the judge whom I didn’t know had recently been in a terrible car accident. Just goes to show you can’t please everyone. Games designed like this can be a challenge, but they provide an interesting variable to the otherwise obvious structure of players vs. each other or players vs. game. Like Pandemic. Freaking Pandemic.

Rules: There are black cards (I’m sorry, oppressed African American cards?) with prompts, and white cards (oops, privileged cis racist cards–okay okay, I’m done) with responses. The judge draws and plays a prompt card. The players play their response cards face down or hand them to the judge. The judge decides which card wins and that concludes the round. So simple it’s almost necessary to be drunk!

There's your trigger warning.
There’s your trigger warning.

Pros: The first time you play the game, playing with one pack–there are six expansions at this point–will give you plenty of laughs. Just keep adding expansions for more laughs. The game was designed to be controlled by its fanbase; people are encouraged to print their own versions. I lol’d in real life to spot a libertarian version of Cards Against Humanity.

The game accommodates a lot of players and doesn’t require too much thought, making it a great party game. It’s a very simple fill in the blank style game.

A new group of people brings a new challenge with each game. Every judge will like something a little different unless you only play with groups of college frat boys. Pixelated bukake is the trump card to college frat boys.

Cons: This is a very social and unrelenting game. It’s not for people uncomfortable with bawdy humor and extroverts. If you don’t know your company’s humor well, winning is a shot in the dark. Again, definitely not describing anyone in particular.

The prompts can feel limiting based on the phrasing and based on the luck of your draw. It can get especially difficult with the multiple option prompts. Despite 10 cards in your hand, mixing and matching for a winning combination is tricky. Sometimes it’s just luck. That’s what you get with such a simplistic design.

The game is a bit like being a drug addict. The more you play, even with expansions, the more the jokes become predictable and you crave variety. If you can no longer turn to more expansions for your fix, you’re probably just going to turn to more alcohol.

Conclusion: I’m not a huge fan of crude humor and I’m not the “funny guy” of my friends so Cards Against Humanity isn’t one of my favorites. I don’t play well. It’s still a good time when the stars align just right. You end up with treasures like “How Does Obama Unwind After A Long Day?” “Swimming in a pool of children’s tears.” Those precision drone strikes…

Happy gaming!

New Journey; New Blog Efforts

I have some big news! After two years of exploring a foreign land, meeting the locals, and discovering my passions (yes, this worked out kind of like a book), I will be ending my stay in Georgia and returning to New Jersey! I’m coming back loaded with experience and drive. Unfortunately, it took being 800+ miles from home to gain this experience. I’m a woman who needs to learn the hard way. Throwing myself into bachelorette life seemed to be the only way to figure out how to be independent and sort out what makes me happy: reading, writing, cosplay, gaming, primal eating, libertarianism, and being near my friends and family in NJ. Please make note that I didn’t say what makes me financially secure. That’s a whole different can of worms. Also note that I am happy in Georgia. I’m just homesick. My co-workers and new friends are making the decision to leave particularly difficult. Stupid co-workers and friends being all fun and nice and junk. Pfft!

With this move in mind, I need to make the most of my time left. I have sunk myself into cosplay thanks to a friend of mine down here (one of those co-workers making this all hard and whatnot!), and I’ve read a handful of new books to inspire my writing. I’ve decided I’d like to be a libertarian YA fiction author. I mean, freedom IS magical so why not play off of that? My hobbies are pretty introverted and that suits me just fine. It doesn’t mean I can’t or won’t go out with people, but that has its own snag. Because I’ll be leaving one job and not necessary settling swiftly into another, I also need to save money this last month of Georgia adventuring.

Here is my May money saving strategy.
1. Absolutely NO ordering out. Any food I eat is what I buy specifically from the grocery budget or is given to me (gift, free table at work, etc.) Also, this food will at least be gluten free. I’m demanding that of myself to gear up for getting back on primal track.
2. Only necessary electricity is used. If I’m not in that room, the lights are out and electronics are unplugged. If I’m not paying attention to the TV, it’s off. Microwave is ALWAYS unplugged except when in use. If the sun is out, the lights are off.
3. No extraneous travel. If it’s not pre-planned, I can’t spend the gas money on it. Prices are leaping back up just in time for me to need them low! It doesn’t help that my renter’s insurance folks just snatched a big chunk of change from me that was unexpected.
4. If I spend it, or must spend it (bills), write it down! Don’t lose track of what you’ve spent. Especially if you’re a cosplayer, the money can and will get away from you.
5. STICK. TO. YOUR. BUDGET.

With this strategy in place, I’ll hopefully have money for the home stretch to MomoCon and not be in the red while apartment hunting! So much to do, only 29 days in which to do it! It’s my first convention without the family to steer me, and it’s my first time cosplaying in an expected cosplay zone. Personally, between MomoCon and then Edge of the Empire game night as my last night in Georgia, I think I’m going out with a bang!

Thank you for all you’ve let me do, Georgia! See you June 3, New Jersey!

The Ingenue and the Chicken Wings

IMG_20141015_180849(1)Once upon a time I used to dream of being the ingenue in a play.  I even thought I could pull it off. Then I realized I wasn’t white or skinny or anything to fit this society’s non-negotiable standard of ingenue beauty. Except maybe my big pretty eyes. Then I stopped eating nearly as badly as I was and I lost weight. Then I started liking myself more than I did. Then I went Primal/Paleo/Clean. Then I became a cosplayer and burlesque performer. Now I can be the ingenue whenever I want!

IMG_20141015_204411I’m waiting to start marketing myself under a specific cosplay name until I have a longer CV to safely incorporate the adult and the family friendly projects. Before I invite all my friends, I’d rather they be able to see more than me in pasties. I started working on a site for my entertainer persona. Next I’ll work on my sewing skills. Maybe I’ll ask for a dress form stand for Christmas. I’ve got my eyes on a Sophitia cosplay from Soul Edge/Soul Calibur, but I think it needs to be built. But I’ve got a cosplayer friend who can probably help me while I learn.

And that’s my story. The end.IMG_20141113_174732

I like happy endings. Speaking of happy endings, I finally got back to the Farmer’s Market after a three week binge. I cut down my food budget this month to accommodate the money I dropped on sugary stuff  at the start of the month and the costume stuff I decided was still a high priority. Corsets and gloves and rhinestones! Oh my! But to get my LGN status back up to par so I feel comfortable in my costumes, I need to eat better and work on maintaining positivity so I won’t crash and burn. My part time job has a nasty habit of breaking me. I’ve officially deemed it toxic. My coworkers are lovely, but the environment itself is steeped in stress triggers. The pay is not worth the cost of my health so I’ve limited my time there.

I’m starting this new long term health attempt on a strong foot! Guess what I made for the first time!

Featured recipe: Buffalo Chicken Wings by Lexi’s Clean Kitchen and BBQ Chicken Wings by Macnifique

Grok it like it's hot!
Grok it like it’s hot!

How have I never made these before?? I recall chicken wings being pricier for the amount of meat you get. But I’ve learned my lesson. This is so worth it!

I didn’t always like spicy food. I still won’t necessarily go out of my way for it, but for some reason, that is the flavor du jour. Even the bbq sauce had 12 drops of Frank’s Red Hot. Both of these recipes were easy peasy to make. The buffalo wings were coated and then baked and then drowned in the sauce, then baked. The BBQ wings were rubbed, then baked, then smothered, then baked. All they need are ranch dressing and they’re ready for game day!

I get excited about recipes like this that seem so “normal”. Wings are a common SAD food typically doused in soy this and breaded that. I swear you won’t know the difference eating these! That BBQ sauce is THE BOMB DOT COM! So basically you’re going to invite me to your next cookout. See you there!

You're gonna want me at your BBQ. You will.
You’re gonna want me at your BBQ. You will.

 

Passions should make you passionate: Coconut Shrimp Soup

Well this has been an eventful few weeks. I wish it were more positive, but a slip is a slip and I tend to go nuts and lose track of things. Three solid weeks I was on a roll. Go me! But I’m remembering just how difficult it is to get back on track for me. But anyway–!

I went apple picking in Elijay! We were able to eat apples right off the trees! Yum! Picnic didn’t work out like we’d hoped, but everyone could still enjoy the chocolate chip pumpkin brownies I made. We’ll ignore my evening at my part-time job that same day. I’ve had just about all I can take in that respect. And later on I made an unsuccessful apple pie with my half peck of apples, but I ate it anyway. Not wasting those apples for anything!

Panda Wrimos united!
Panda Wrimos united!

We’re also coming up on NaNoWriMo!! I met up with people in my area and we’re going to be meeting every week at this adorable coffee house. I might swing by on a night they have their jazz band come in. Although I think it’s a Saturday which means that’s not happening in the month of November. Bring on 50K!! I’ve never written with people before so maybe that’s what’ll get my writing off the ground.

Almost couldn't get me out of the dress for sheer excitement!
Almost couldn’t get me out of the dress for sheer excitement!

I think I’m getting kinda semi-serious about cosplay. My friend inspires me. I don’t think she thinks highly enough of the work she can do, but she’s quite talented and she’s going to help me with my Aurora dress. She’s also busy with school and life so I sympathize with her stress levels. Then I got the idea to perhaps get back into burlesque via nerdlesque because it combines two things I enjoy. And I don’t have to build two completely separate costumes necessarily if I’m doing a cosplay. I like to streamline things. Haha! But I don’t know if Atlanta has a nerd troupe like that. I mean I can still do NOT nerd related burlesque, but I think that’s my next goal as my brain frantically follows all of my interests simultaneously. I’m watching performances on youtube for further inspiration. What an incredible machine, the brain.

Featured recipe: Coconut Shrimp Soup by The Meanest Momma

Happy soup season!
Happy soup season!

It’s soup season! I could’ve started the season with a hot bowl of thick squash-type soup, but that wasn’t what my brain told me to do. My brain said, “Brenna, it’s a shrimp week. Don’t worry about needing 3 1/2 pounds of shrimp between the two recipes you found. Just get it at Kroger!” That was a mistake. The cheapest suitable shrimp was still $8 a bag and I had to devein it. Wow. Lesson learned. But shrimp was the theme of the week so I made both garlic butter shrimp over roasted broccoli and this lovely soup with a hint of heat. I’m not a pepper kinda girl and I don’t do spicy food. This was an adventure into both and I’m quite pleased with the result! The recipe is super simple and once you start cooking, it takes no time at all.

It feels so good to have a full fridge again. Maybe that’ll jump start my next clean streak. I swore that by my next convention I’d be the healthiest I’ve ever been in all my life. I’d like to hold myself to that.

 

Confucius say: Deep thoughts go well with Crockpot Cashew Chicken

That scare two weeks ago has me in full blown health and happiness mode. I’m game! I can even plan treats and slowly accumulate ingredients without as much fear of eating or drinking what I bought before I’m ready to make the recipe. That’s right. Who has two thumbs and didn’t take shots of maple syrup while making clean caramel for the first time? THIS GIRL! Also, I’m happy to say I am the newest member of the writing crew for the site Libertarian Gaming! I’m working on a piece comparing the world of The Walking and The Last of Us to a real life apocalypse. Y’know, when the dollar crashes simultaneously with Ebola regenerating its victims’ bodies. Also, HOCKEY IS BACK MOFOS!!!

So here’s my self high five.

::selfhighfive::

Good thing I’ve been on such a roll lately. A number of stressers are squirming into my life right now. We’re starting the next performance at work which is extremely popular with schools and families. Bring on the crying children being waved in our faces. It’s no Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, I’ve been told, but just the fact that you have to bring THAT show in to make the distinction worries me.

Also, Facebook is bumming me out lately. Due to algorithms and a general lack of popularity, about 90% of my 317 “friends” don’t see my posts. Another 7% don’t care. Just not sure why I bother there. It sounds like I’m fishing, and I don’t like feeling that way. I guess what irks me is that I already know I have just a little handful of wonderful friends. The number fluctuates as people come and go, even people I didn’t think would go. I take the word “friend” very seriously. I don’t need Facebook to remind me that I’m not a social butterfly and that high school and college were just extended social torture.

It shouldn’t be such a big deal. While definitions are important, so is not stressing out over labels for the people in your life about whom you care. I have convention/cosplay buddies and libertarian buddies and writing buddies and theatre budies. I care about them a lot! That’s all I have the mental energy to think about.

Now let’s talk noms!

Featured recipe: Crockpot Cashew Chicken

You ordah cashoo chikin! You ordah now!
You ordah cashoo chikin! You ordah now!

I have a confession to make. I’ve never ordered cashew chicken from a Chinese restaurant. I have no idea what it tastes like, but I can sort of imagine that thick, dark sauce and the soaked cashews over likely breaded and fried chicken breast chunks. This is not that, but it is something special. If you’re looking for that salty, MSG taste without the saltiness and MSG, you found it. I did substitute liquid aminos for coconut aminos, which could make a significant difference. Again, I just don’t know  for sure, but I like the end result, especially the bits that got charred in the crockpot. Topped with scallions. . .Yum!

I served it over riced cauliflower. . .uh. . .not my favorite idea. I had leftovers for brunch with broccoli. Much better. I might splurge on some rice on a special occasion or maybe use veggie noodles to mimic lo mein. Cauliflower rice to mimic steamed rice just doesn’t do it for me. That, or I’m completely over cauliflower tasting like cauliflower right now. It happens. Just like I’m so over chicken tasting like chicken. Unfortunately chicken is super cheap. As in a pound of boneless, skinless chicken thighs is less expensive that one organic head of cauliflower. Such is life. I give the recipe a thumb and a half up.

Holiday Prep – Pumpkin Pie

Sometimes it’s good to run on a whim. Sometimes it leads to binges. Sometimes it’s worth it.

I’ve been struggling a little mentally since I’ve returned from NJ. Basically my vacation brain hasn’t shut off quite yet. The lever is stuck in this weird limbo notch where my dreams aren’t of vacation, but of the future and how I should be reaching those goals. Having a steady full time job is certainly not hurting, but I decided to be much more active in pursuing my interests. Currently those interests are writing and cosplay. I’m not looking to be a professional cosplayer, but I do have a couple of short story drafts written since my return three weeks ago.

Booyah!

Of course one of my other passions is baking. On a whim I decided I was going to bake a pumpkin pie. Ask my co-workers! I said it right there at work, “I want to bake a pie.” I found a Paleo recipe and went straight to the Farmers market after work for ingredients. Not shabby for a first time! Then a few days later I realized I had the ingredients necessary for Paleo sugar cookies. More holiday practice!! Those, too, were not shabby at all! Next time I want to add whipped cream for the pie and frost the sugar cookies. I was going to make them look like Pac-Man. Next time.

Featured Recipe: Paleo Pumpkin Pie by The Paleo Mom

20140913_081525 I’ve never baked pie before. I followed the recipe to the T and I’m extremely satisfied with the results. Here’s my helpful advice: even if the recipe doesn’t specifically say to grease your baking dish, go ahead and grease it. My co-workers and I had to jackhammer into the crust. It wasn’t a tough crust, it was just baked to the dish. My food processor is a little small for a big ol’ pie so the filling didn’t mix as well as I’d like. I think it looks rustic and I appreciate that. Also, I have a 9.5″ pie pan and the recipe calls for a 9″ or deep 8″ dish. That actually made a difference!

All in all, this was a successful attempt and I hope I will be making it again before Thanksgiving. Need to practice!