Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Fatkini

Last summer, after I got back to my normal weight, I was left in a predicament. Namely, that much of my wardrobe didn't fit. I mean, I was fine with day to day clothes: jeans, shirts, skirts, dresses, etc, but, as a family reunion in Florida loomed, I found myself without a rather essential wardrobe piece--a bathing suit. Finding clothes I liked, both online and in stores had proved a somewhat pleasing, although often times daunting, task so I assumed bathing suit shopping would be the same.

It was not.

First of all, my breasts are big. Like REAL big. As a side note they are also awesome. They also have no real... lift,  you might say, on their own, so whatever bathing suit I was going to buy would need to have either a built-in bra, or really, really resilient straps.

Also, it couldn't be a halter, because I have neck problems and having the entire weight of my pendulous breasts resting on my neck would be a recipe for sublaxation and pain.

Also, I didn't want a one piece.

Also, I didn't want it to be ugly OR look like it was designed for someone over the age of 70.

Also, I didn't want it to squeeze my chubby belly like a stuffed sausage.

I suppose I must also mention that never in my life, since this little two piece that my mom bought me when I was 4, had I ever owned a swimsuit I really liked until the summer of 2009. It was teal and stripey and glorious AND had a built in bra. And I had been spoiled. I had seen the light. I had owned a swimsuit I loved, and I was NEVER GOING BACK.

About $600 and probably 15 swimsuits later, I stopped trying to order a bathing suit online and decided to brave some stores. This was a bad idea. At one point, while in a Sears dressing room trying on as many swimsuits as possible before the store closed in 15 minutes and on the verge of tears, I said to my Hetero, "I look better naked." Which I did. And do. I would deign to say that MOST people look better naked than covered in that weird, shiny, stretchy material they use to make bathing suits.

After pretty much giving up, I stumbled on a swimsuit at Target which I didn't hate (nor love) and which was reasonably priced. I purchased it then and there, wore it in Florida, and got a wicked sunburn. Wins all around. Then, as though a gift from heaven in the middle of winter, I found a $20 (originally $120!) swimsuit I legitimately loved while purchasing a puffer vest on I returned the Puffer Vest (cause it looked so dumb on me) but kept the swimsuit, a tankini composed of a light blue and white top and a sunshine yellow bottom. It looks a LITTLE BIT like my butt is jaundiced, but the fact that I finally owned a swimsuit which fit me, was pretty, didn't squeeze my belly, AND wasn't black felt like a miracle. And I was perfectly happy with my winter purchase until I discovered the Fatkini.

This is Chastity Garner, my VERY FAVORITEST style blogger (except Zoe).

Chastity is the queen of alterations so actually make this fatkini from a Monif C one-piece bathing suit.

She is sporting what the fat-o-sphere calls a fatkini. It is what you call a bikini when a fat person is wearing it, and I WANT ONE.

But since this decade is the decade where I really take hold of my finances I will not be buying one until it seems fiscally responsible (maybe one of them will eventually be on sale for $20 in the middle of the winter). That does not stop me from sharing my favorites with you here.

I love Domino Dollhouse. The styles I love are like punk rock meets Mad Men. Also they sell petticoats in EVERY COLOR OF THE RAINBOW.

Now there is no possible way my breasts would be held up by that tiny string, but this bathing suit is HAWT. I love the ruffles on the legs, the little tie, and the color. I wish they sold it in more extended sizes though. I bet even the bigger big ladies want to get their Retro Doll on!

SimplyBe's Beach to Beach Bikini Top and Bottom:
I have yet to order anything from SimplyBe, but I think this bathing suit it AMAZING. I am including a photo of Gabi from Gabifresh because I think she looks about 50 times more awesome in that fatkini than the model from the website. SimplyBe also has some more traditional bikinis if that's your jam.

I am not normally a fan of Leopard Print but holy mother I would wear that in a hot ten seconds.

Monif C also has a TEAL one-piece bathing suit covered in FRINGE. Not super practical, but awesome all the same.

Think you are too fat to wear a bikini? Gabi (pictured above in her awesome stripey fatkini) started a Fatkini photo project on xojane! I've now scrolled through every photo twice and all I have to say is TAKE THAT HATERS!!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Keep Calm and Wear a Tutu: Zoe Enabled Alterations

There are so many things to love about my friend, Zoe. She is funny, charmingly irreverent, warm, silly, creative, unapologetically herself, and, it must be said, INCREDIBLY well-dressed at all times. The dress she wore to my birthday party was a paragon of crinolined awesome.

Zoe is my suburban adventure buddy and knows all the best thrift stores. She is a co-lover of all things Lesley Kinzel and went with me to her book signing where we got into a heated discussion about whether or not people who are not actually fat can participate in fat acceptance, and she SCHOOLED me. She is always up for dessert, whether it be ice cream or milkshakes or waffles, and she is a flexitarian after my own heart. She is one of my favorite people in the world, and I am so glad she is my friend.

Now, to heap on top of ALL THAT AWESOME, she bought me pretty much the coolest and most generous birthday gift ever: a brand new sewing machine. I believe I carried the box around the birthday party for a hot 10 minutes with tears in my eyes so that everyone could see its beauty.

Please note, the sewing machine box matches my pink crinoline.
In addition, Zoe gave me a trash bag full (literally) of clothes that she had picked up for me at various thrift stores AND the pink crinoline featured in most of the party pictures, which she had purchased for her Halloween costume last October.

Zoe and our friend Maribel bought me those socks too. They have HAMBURGERS on them.
Not all the thrifted pieces worked so I had to rethrift a few, but my favorite by far was this silver number with the black flower brocade at the bottom. There was only one problem. It was inordinately long on me, and, for all it's cuteness, looked pretty dowdy.

Please ignore my super messy room. Please don't ignore my awesome bedhead.
As my mom and I were reviewing how to use the sewing machine the Monday after my birthday, I was shocked at how much I remembered, since, according to my shoddy memory, the last time I had really sewed anything was in my clothing class my sophomore year of high school. Then I remembered that my old voice teacher at the University of Redlands had enlisted my and a friend's help in sewing many of the costumes for our department's production of Oklahoma!. While sewing with Dr. Tosh I learned how to make button holes, install a zipper, install an elastic waist, and make ruffles.

Then there is how effortless all this crafty stuff seems to me. Heathersies says I am the idiot savant of crocheting, but I think this might be true for all things crafty. I don't feel confident about many of my skills, but for some reason this sewing and crocheting thing has just come so easy and is so fun and so rewarding.

So I decided to shorten this skirt. I didn't want to hem it as I didn't want to lose the brocade pattern, so I took apart the waist line/elastic, cut off 7 inches of fabric, reinstalled the waist line/elastic and voila!

The Perfect Length for my short self!
I feel so proud this turned out, and now feel EVEN MORE excited for making my own clothes from scratch so soon.

Skirt: Thrifted and Gifted by Zoe, and altered by ME!
Sweater: Good Will
Cami: Lane Bryant
Shoes: Torrid 
(circa 2002--these are the first pair of high heels I ever bought)
Fascinator: Gift from my dear roomie, Steph

Fascinator Close-Up
 I can't wait to share more crafty projects with you guys!!

Also, I am going to, for the first time, end this blog with a question. 

What's your crafting dream? Sewing, Crocheting, Knitting or Macrame, what piece do you dream of making for yourself? Let me know in the comments section!

Happy Crafting!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

What I Got

Last Friday I spent the last two hours of work google stalking the man I loved for 3 years, as I had, rather out of the blue, become obsessed with finding out if he had gotten back together with his ex-girlfriend. Luckily his internet presence is minimal, and I found nothing, except a current photo proving that he is just as handsome as ever. Barf. But I was left wondering why I was spurred to even look him up in the first place.

He and I first became friends in 2007 back when I was a self-hating Fattie. From our first real conversation I was completely smitten. Even though we worked in the same building, our friendship was pretty slow moving. Then he started sending me gifts of burned CDs delivered to my desk by his work study students and coming to visit me at least once a day, and I thought, "Oh, man. He likes me." I couldn't believe it. I was so into this dude that I lost all appetite and could hardly sleep. I became suddenly tranquil about my own singleness because I was so convinced it would end. But nothing happened. Months later, he ended up fooling around with a friend of mine, which was, I suppose, his way of telling me he wasn't interested. Or something. I heaped all the hatred and anger I could onto my body, telling myself he didn't want to date me because I was fat.

Then in 2008 I joined Weight Watchers. I like to think I lost weight for, what I perceived was, my health, but a part of me was also convinced if I could lose enough weight he would love me. That my body was the only obstacle to us being together. Not his emotional unavailability, not his inability to see my worth as a partner or a woman, not his investment in how things look versus how things feel, no, my body was clearly the primary deterrent.

And I lost a crap ton of weight. I had sex for the first time with some random dude and felt sexually appealing and amorous in its aftermath. Then, one night in the summer of 2009 I stayed at his house in his bed. Nothing happened, but we slept really close. I thought, this is it. But, of course, it wasn't. He didn't talk to me for a month after that. An appropriate amount of time to let me know that sleeping in the same bed meant so little to him that he wasn't even thinking of me, let alone wanting to call me. And this is how it went for the next year. Physical closeness followed by weeks or months of silence. I told myself my body just wasn't thin enough yet. That I had to keep working. The problem was still my body. Not his loneliness and willingness to use me for physical affection, not my idealization of him as a partner and person, not my inability to confront him and say, "WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON WITH US?!" No. The problem was still that I wasn't thin enough and that my body was shameful and unattractive to men.

He moved south for a job in the summer of 2010. Our contact was sporadic after his departure. I was in the process of gaining weight back by this time, in the midst of feeling more betrayed by my body than I ever had before. In 2011 he and I had a falling out, and I felt the need to insist he never contact me again, a decision I still stand by.

It's been almost a year since we interacted. And yet, for some reason I google stalked him, and in the process reawakened all those old, shitty feelings that my body is never, and will never be good enough for love. But there was a new feeling too: the feeling that the price I pay for loving my body as it is is the love of a man. That to exist in my current body is to be unlovable. It's a common thought in any woman's mind I'm sure, so common and commonly accepted that it often feels like a sad, sad truth.

As a 30-year-old (I'm 30!), single, woman who identifies as fat, I feel as though I am often put in a precarious emotional situation. I am constantly thrust into social situations where people say things like, "You look good! Have you lost weight?" Our culture's idea of fat-as-unattractive permeates even the most mundane of social interactions. And then I have to go home and talk to myself about this idea's untruth, talk to myself about the system of attractiveness that keeps women slaves to their appearance, keeps them snarking on their own bodies and the bodies of others. I envy the fat women who have husbands and boyfriends if only because they have simply to get into bed, allow their lovers to touch them, to be affirmed in their body's base attractiveness, while those of us who are single have to content ourselves with masturbation and positive self-talk. "I am a sexual being. My body does not intrinsically exclude me from sexuality."

I suppose I could end this blog with the actual truth. I could spout off about the complexity of attraction or the effect one's confidence has on sexual desirability. But really what I want to do is punch that dude until he falls over, and, as I stand triumphantly over him, say, "You missed out on something pretty awesome, mother fucker." And then crouch down and whisper in his ear, "Cause what I got? Oh, honey. It is so. fucking. good."

Or something like that.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Deb Loves to Crochet: Mom's B-day Scarf

This past April 25 my mom celebrated her 60th birthday. I had been planning to make her a gift with my new crocheting skills since I learned how to crochet earlier in the year, so while at Michael's in February purchased A LOT of Carron Simply Soft yarn (on sale - $3 per skein!). I actually bought the periwinkle specifically to make something for my mom and the sea foam to make leg warmers for myself. But when looking into my crochet box in early April I saw the two colors lying next to each other and thought they looked so lovely, thus the stripes were born. I used some leftover red yarn from Baby Lydia's blanket to stitch a heart onto the corner, just as a reminder to my mom that I made this with lots of love. Happy 60th birthday, Momsies!! I'm so glad you were born and are my mom.

Pattern: Double Crochet, 7 Rows in each color
Hook: 5 M (H)
Yarn: Carron Simply Soft - Worsted Weight
Colors: Berry Blue, Blue Mint
Amount: About one and a half 6 oz skeins of each color

My beautiful mom in her scarf!

As a side note, while crocheting this scarf, I finally figured out how to properly start a piece, as well as realized that doing 3 chains at the end of the row before turning while utilizing double crochet creates a lovely scallop-like edge. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What I've Learned Over the Past Decade

Over the past month, whenever anyone asks me how I am, my answer is always, "I'm turning 30," as though that is a feeling in and of itself. Of course, most people understand. It seems everyone has a story about how terrible life felt as he or she approached 30. And everyone says its better on the other side, that your 30s are fantastic, and I don't doubt it.

But I am still on this side. And it is still hard. Not to disparage the remarks of friends who offer their counsel so lovingly, but the reality is turning 30 is hard for me. I never thought I would be this person. I've wanted to be 30 since I was 23, aching for a time when I would "have it all figured out." When I would be "good at life." It isn’t hard because my life doesn't look a certain way, because I don't have a husband or children or a house or a dog. It is hard because it is all still so much of a struggle. Because I don't have shit figured out. Because I still have to work to brush my teeth twice a day and go to bed on time; to relax and breathe; to use my free time wisely; to invest in relationships that are deeply loving and hence deeply conflicted; to count my many blessings. At 23 I honestly believed that things would get easier as I got older.

But they haven't.

I know what some of you will say. That things WILL eventually get easier, and maybe that's true too. But I think the problem here is that I'm still clinging to the idea of ease. That being "good at life" means life is easy, and that isn't true.

I feel like a broken record when I say we live in a world where we are inundated with the idea that if we can just imagine things they will be. All we have to do is put an idea out into the universe, and it will come back to us. A woman wishes very hard for a husband, and then she finds one. She congratulates herself on never giving up hope. An unhappily employed man wishes for a new job, he gets one. He did that for himself. He envisioned that job. So many of us confuse luck and personal power.

It's a nice idea, but I don't buy it. If I learned one thing in my 20s it's that all you have to do is open your eyes to the world to see the deep, abiding struggle in it. To see individuals in bondage to a system that does not care for or about them, to see loved ones fighting for basic human rights, to see hurt, pain, greed, intolerance and hate.

This sounds dire even to me. Except that the struggle to see can be joyous. My 20 year-old self associates joy with ease. If things were easier I'd be happier. If I had more money, if I was thinner and hence more beautiful according to cultural standards I'd be happier, if I had a husband, if I didn't have an eating disorder, if I liked salad more, if if if if I would be happier. I've spent the past 10 years trying the same thing over and over again. I thought I could wish life easy. I thought I could fight against the world in myself, ignoring oppression, racism, abuses, pain because if those things exist life cannot be easy.

And they do exist. And so... And so...

I turn 30 on Saturday. I will still wear bright colors and crinolines, I will still push inappropriate jokes to the point where Jan cries, "DEBORAH!" I will continue to feel angry about injustice. I will continue to obsess over Peter Dinklage in a teenage girl sort of way, and love popular music. My opinions will still be aggressive and angry. I will still throw my head back when I laugh. I will still be a Debbie Downer at parties. I will still squeal over poofy dogs and fat cats, and I will most certainly still wear my teal, lensless glasses. To be honest I feel like the one thing I want to stop is saying, "When I grow up, I want to..."

Cause here it is. Hell or high water, this is adulthood.

I look back on my 20 year old self and feel sad for her. At 20, I dreamed of having a husband and children and a finally thin body. My scope was so small. I thought all happiness was in those 3 things. And here I am a husbandless, childless 30-year-old fat woman, and there is so much joy in me. I didn't know how good things could be, or how much goodness could look and feel like grief.