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belenen

June 2017

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Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.

belenen: (oneness)
LJI topic 7, "where I'm from": I am from the Internet, from a little city called Livejournal.
icon: "oneness (the characters Keenan and Joan from "Playing By Heart," sitting very close together, both looking off to the side and laughing)"

My country is the internet; my state is the mid-90s to the mid-00s, and my city is Livejournal, though I have lived in other cities for short periods of time, and I visit other cities often.


My experience with the internet began with AOL on Windows 95. I used the internet to download midi files of music I liked, endlessly search for info on my favorite musical artists, and find people to chat eagerly with about music or about God (my two obsessions at the time). I made some pretty intense friendships, one with a white guy in Canada, and one with a black guy somewhere in the Midwest. I didn't seek out guys, I don't think, but there just weren't any girls my age that I could find (and at that point I didn't know that nonbinary people existed). My friendships with those two highly ethical and thoughtful people allowed me to create healthy expectations of male behavior, rather than accepting selfishness and disrespect as 'normal' which would have been the case if I did not have access to the internet.

During the early days of my interaction with the internet, my use was limited to chatting, searching for information, and exploring the Anotherworld MUD. Then at age 20 I took an intro computer course which was utter shit but one of the assignments changed my life: we had to make a simple webpage with the most basic coding. I found this really fun and started teaching myself HTML, building two websites from bare code. I probably spent more than 200 hours on them over the course of the next three years. No one I knew ever cared much about this project, but I loved it so much I didn't need external interest to keep it going. I did get interesting and meaningful responses in the guestbook of my site, particularly about my anti-racist stance. This is where I developed my ethic of content creation and self-education: I shared what I made, and when I wanted to do something I trained myself on how to do it. This was no small feat, because how-to resources were still scanty at the time.


At the same time, Allison (who is now my oldest friendship) introduced me to LiveJournal. I joined first as a way to stay in touch with Allison and it quickly took on an important role in my life. I met new people through add-me communities and through shared-interest communities. This is where I developed my norm for getting to know people: if I thought they were interesting I added them to my friends list and consumed their online content. If the interest was mutual and they added me back, I would respond to their posts and have turn-based conversations. I rarely had any direct interaction at first -- I only commented if they required it before adding them, and most of the time if they required that I just didn't add them.

That is how I would prefer to be able to get to know anyone; indirectly and not in real time but with intensely intimate levels of sharing. It's a strong enough norm for me that I can rarely have a lasting or nourishing connection with someone who doesn't share intimacies indirectly. It's usually too hard for me to sync up in real time, but I need that level of intense sharing to feel nourished and to maintain investment. But I've realized that in most places, getting to know someone indirectly first is considered 'weird' at best and people often refer to it as 'stalking' which I find utterly baffling. I accept that it's taboo and I don't talk about it to out-of-towners, but where I'm from, that's just how you do it! (obviously I don't look at anything that's not set to 'public' because that's creepy)

Also at this intense time of change, I started going to group therapy. Through the group therapy I started learning to be vulnerable with others, and within a few months I dedicated my journal to openness and honesty. It was a difficult project for a long time, because only a few months into my LJ life I started having flashbacks to childhood sexual abuse (sparked by having consensual penetrative sex for the first time). I began going to therapy weekly, and it got worse before it got better.

So for about two years I could not leave my house without someone by my side, and I had no local friends so I rarely went out. The internet saved me: I built real friendships to a depth I never had before. For the first time in my life, people sharing freely with me happened on a daily basis instead of once or twice a year. This was the first time in my life I truly felt like I belonged and like I understood how to interact in a way that would be appreciated. I rapidly dismantled my inner barriers to openness, and what I didn't dismantle was destroyed for me. It became important to me to share my own story in a public way, because I knew I was not the only one dealing with recovery from abuse. That built my immunity to trolling because when people mock you for being an abuse victim, there's not much lower they can go.


In late 2004 I also came across a community celebrating hourglass shapes and when the owner deleted it due to fighting over what counted, I decided to make a better version. I created a body-positive community with the idea of it being for medium people, like I was at the time (size 10) since there were fat positive communities but they had a minimum size requirement. But as people much smaller and larger than me joined, my idea rapidly changed, because the idea of excluding people for being 'too much' or 'not enough' was not okay to me. Within a few months, it was for anyone who self-identified as curvy, regardless of size or gender. This community was like a commune, a gathering of people who I mostly didn't know but who all were working together on the same beautiful project. It was home and work and family all at once; I took it from one person to more than 1,300, and it remained a thriving community for about four years.

That community was where I learned to love myself, and I got to watch lots of others do it too. It also brought me and Hannah together, which was a whole new experience because for the first time I met someone who was better at questioning and being open than I was. Hannah and I would regularly spend 9+ hours talking and sharing: we'd write on LJ and read each others' writing, we'd explore deviantart and share favorite works with each other, and just talk endlessly on gchat.



Deviantart was, for a time, almost as important as LJ to me. It's where I shared my artistic nudes and developed immunity about people expressing disgust toward my body. I also experienced so many people thanking me for sharing and telling me that it helped them to see their own beauty. DeviantArt is the town where I developed myself as a public artist, and I had some celebrity for a short time, but now my style has evolved so much that no one recognizes it as mine when I put up a new piece. It's a place I visit once in a blue moon to look at my old work on the walls, but all the artists I loved there moved away so even the nostalgia is dusty. I can't bring myself to stay long enough to get invested in the art circles there anymore.

Twitter was paramount for about a year in 2011; I kept up daily and interacted often. I was put off by the lack of reciprocity: I was following and interacting with people who never read my tweets and it felt cliquish. I learned a lot from the feminists there, esp the trans and WOC feminists, but it was more like a newspaper than like a social space. In a lot of ways it reminds me of my college experience: no matter how much effort I put in, no one wanted to connect at more than a surface level. Twitter is a city I drive through almost every day but never stop anymore; the roads where people live are confusing and parking is fucking torture, so I just go on through.



I got a facebook initially due to curiosity, kept it because of its value at organizing gathers, and slowly began spending more time there as my local activist network developed. Over the past two years it has become a more real space for me, as people have begun interacting with me more, but it still feels somewhat alien. Facebook feels like the building where I work: I go there often, but always in costume while leaving my more scandalous self at home. Without ever consciously deciding to, I had developed a habit of restricted my sharing on fb because fb culture is so pro-judgement. Once I realized this, I began working to bring more of myself into my facebook life because I don't actually want to make it more difficult to get to know me. Facebook will never be home, but I am making it into a workplace where I can be more of myself.


There were several shakeups here on LJ over the years and I lost friends to vox, wordpress, blogger, dreamwidth, and even facebook, but still I remain here. My LJ friends list is like a neighborhood where every single house is owned by a friend of mine. The idea of moving is absurd and always will be unless most of my friends move away. Even when it was mostly empty for a few years, I stayed in the hopes people would return, and eventually filled up those houses with new friends. Now, I have a small handful of friends who returned but most of my neighborhood is people I have met within the past three years (and I have been on LJ for more than 13 years).

I get so excited when I meet someone who is also from the internet, and even more so when I meet someone from livejournal. I imagine it is how other people feel when they live far from a hometown that they love, and then they meet someone from there. I might not get along with everyone from LJ, but if they have lived here a while, I immediately know we share similar values in a lot of ways. Especially if they love it here as much as I do.


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belenen: (bodylove -- me)
my aesthetic for my body: how I dress & self-decorate
icon: "bodylove -- me (me sitting at the foot of a tree wearing a plunge-neck mottled blue shirt and black skirt, arms relaxed with hands together in my lap. I have violet hair and am wearing a large amethyst ring)"

prompt from [livejournal.com profile] lusimeles: do you have an 'aesthetic'? if so, how would you describe it?

Yes, I have an aesthetic for my body and one for my space. Due to length I will split this into two posts.

My aesthetic for my body is comfortable, colorful, and cool (temperature-wise). I like my clothes to be solid colors, abstract mottled patterns like tie dye, or geometric patterns, but will occasionally allow a floral pattern. Dots and stripes are NEVER acceptable, unless they are so small or indistinct that they blend together from a few feet away. Tiered skirts are permitted to have multiple patterns, but otherwise I will wear one patterned item and the rest as solid colors.

tops: shirts and overshirts )

skirts and dresses )

Aesthetically, I prefer my hair to be long in a wide strip down the center, shaved extremely short on the sides. I prefer the long bit to be a few inches below my chin in the front and gradually shorten into a point in the back before being shaved at the neck. I prefer it to be bleached and dyed with Special Effects Wildflower (a vivid violet dye). Second best is my natural color, cut to be short in back and long in front. That's pretty much what I have right now while I look for a job.

accessories: scarves & jewelry )

makeup )

shoes & socks )

underwear & bras )

winterizing )


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belenen: (bodylove -- me (belly goddess))
first audio recording: love letter to my soft, sweet, fat, cuddly belly
icon: "bodylove -- me (belly goddess) (a photo of my breasts and belly, covered in colorful marker drawings and glitter)"



I recorded me reading my love letter to my soft, sweet, fat, cuddly belly. This is my first time doing this so please let me know if there are any issues playing it, or any issues with the sound. It's also available on clyp.
connecting: ,


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belenen: (spiritual)
APW: volunteer idea, decidin to be more active w fat-positivity / date w Arizona / ritual w Serenity
icon: "spiritual (a photo of a snow leopard with (edited) violet eyes staring straight into the camera)"

So, I went to Atlanta Poly Weekend (APW) yesterday and today, and had intended to go to all of it but I've discovered that even though the anxiety meds help enough to keep me from spiraling into negativity from not being able to interact, they don't actually reduce the amount of effort it takes. So I get super worn out from the constant brush of people. I've realized that I actually can't do conferences without staying in the hotel; I can do a one-day visit but that's it. The con takes all my energy and I don't have the extra for driving back and forth, especially when I never get a chance to be alone all day. Hopefully I will be able to afford a room next time.

I also realized two ways that I want to be more involved in local community; through anti-looksist work in general and by being volunteering to help with planning accessibility for APW. I don't think that I'm especially qualified, but I have learned a lot by example from the disability coordinator for TBC (and they're a friend of mine so I could probably ask advice) so I think I could be helpful, and I don't think APW can afford to hire someone. I sent a message offering, and if they don't follow up I'll seek them out more directly. Things I would definitely do include setting aside a quiet non-interaction space for anxious folk to take a break because fuck did I miss that.

I realized I want to be more involved in anti-looksist work because I went to a session about dating while fat and polyamorous and I realized again how radical a force for change it is to be anti-looksist, and how many skills I have in this area. I need to skill-share because it's so vital for all bodies to be treated as acceptable. Fat-hating connects to so many other oppressions, so destroying fat-hating reduces the power of other oppressions. I tend to think of self-work as 'fluffy' or less important but it isn't. People need self-love to survive oppression, and we need oppressed people to survive or we cannot destroy the system.

I also got to have a little date with Arizona yesterday! Their partners let us have the hotel room to ourselves for a few hours and we cuddled and talked and then we played with thumpy toys! I brought the floggers I made recently and hadn't had a chance to use, and Arizona brought toys too. We started with Arizona thumping my back with what is called a 'billy club' -- a long rubber rod about 1.5 inches in diameter with little rubber spikes on the end (like on a meat tenderizer). Arizona used one at first, then added another and played my back like a drum! I got really into the rhythm, which changed the way it felt because I felt like I was experiencing it in both physical and auditory ways at once. Then Arizona used a steel cane (a thin metal rod about 1 cm in diameter) on my back and bum and legs. Then we took a break and had cuddles, and then Arizona used my mini floggers, my rainbow flogger, and my black suede leather floggers. (I'll try to get some photos to show soon.) The rainbow flogger was actually my favorite -- it's heavy because there are many loops of cord, but it's diffuse at the same time, so it doesn't feel 'too much' in any particular way. Lastly Arizona used my paddle (a thick hairbrush-shaped wooden one) on my bum and legs. It's really interesting how different the sensations are, even after I'm somewhat desensitized due to build-up.

Arizona and I kissed a little bit and they swayed and smiled and said they loved kissing me, which pleased me very much. I wanted to have more time to kiss today but there were a lot of people around the whole time and it was too distracting. But! They're coming back up in two weeks and they said they definitely want one-on-one time with me then. I miss them a lot and it saddens me that I can only see them so rarely.

Tonight when I got home Serenity (my housemate) had been doing a ritual for the new moon and invited me to join. Together we lit candles (including the rainbow drip candles I had been saving for ritual) and incense, smoked hookah, and they danced to music while I drummed along and then after I put the drum aside and seat-danced for a little bit they playfully pulled at me with dance movements and I got up and danced with them. I didn't feel self-conscious while dancing and only felt self-conscious while drumming for a little bit. Drumming along with the music was lovely because I was more patient with myself than usual and didn't get angry when I missed a beat. I shifted this way and that with rhythms and felt in harmony with my drum in a way I haven't since before I moved into this house, three years ago. Kanika (my cat) and Lily (Serenity's service dog) kept us company and enjoyed the energy. I feel like tonight was meant to be -- I had a lot of maybe-plans that fell through for this to happen as it did.


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belenen: (bodylove -- me (belly goddess))
love letter to my soft, sweet, fat, cuddly belly
icon: "bodylove -- me (belly goddess) (a photo of my breasts and belly, covered in colorful marker drawings and glitter)"

Dear my belly,

I know it's been a long time coming, but I want to say I love you. You are soft and sensual like my breasts, but not so sensitive - perfect for casual petting. Having nuzzled other bellies, I know that nuzzling you must be so amazingly soft and sweet. I love your deep belly button and the way you make a fat teardrop shape when I sit. I love how I can squeeze you with my hands or wrap my arms around and hold you; it feels very comforting. Having you on my middle is like having a comfort pillow with me at all times. I love how you balance out my boobs enough that I can lay on my front (sorta) without pain. I love how you trick people into thinking I am not strong. Most of all I love how you feel to touch. If you were on someone else I love, I would want to pet, kiss, and nuzzle you constantly because you're so damn cuddly! I need to remember to treat my own parts with such love and attention.

I'm still learning to love some of your aspects. Like how you can't stand waistbands and are forever shoving them up right under my boobs or shoving them down to poke out above them. Probably if I wasn't concerned that other people would hate you I'd let you do what you want, but I feel I have to protect you with clothes and you make that a constant struggle. I also can't quite love how much you move. I love how it feels to touch you now that you're not dense, but feeling you move around when I run or jump makes me extra fretful that you're going to throw off my clothes. I also get a little worried that you are taking up too much space when I hug someone. I like to flow, to melt together, and sometimes you're not very melty.

I'm working on accepting and loving those things. Ultimately, I wouldn't trade you for a flat belly no matter what. You're my own soft cuddly poky belly and I am glad you exist. I'm going to try to be more expressive of my love for you and get you more rubs and pets. Thanks for being part of me.

Love,
-Belenen-


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belenen: (bodylove -- heart my belly)
an open letter to anyone who uses the words 'attractive' or 'ugly' like they have objective meaning
icon: "bodylove -- heart my belly (my bare, stretch-marked belly with my hands making a heart shape in front of it. There is an overlay of blue and violet radiating out from my navel)"

(This is modified from something I wrote to someone who says negative things about their looks -- but it applies even if you only do the 'positive' side of calling some people attractive.)

When you say you are ugly, I hear that you believe in a such thing as ugliness, and I know that I am not safe to be beautiful in your eyes. I know that if you call me beautiful, you might be using that as a way to harm your own self with comparison. How can I appreciate admiration if I know it might not be about me at all, but just the underside of you condemning yourself? I can't bear to be looked at through a lens of relative ugliness. If you hate your belly for not being flat, my poky belly is not safe in your gaze. If you take issue with the shape of your jawline, my 'double chin' is not safe in your gaze. You might not see it as ugly, but since you believe in ugly I can never be sure.

It is not fucking true that you are 'ugly'! If you are not willing to accept that it is a lie shoved into your head by cruel evil people, you can't get rid of the idea. It's a lie it's a lie it's a lie it's a LIE. Reject it. Even if you can't help that it repeats in your head, please decide it is a lie repeating instead of truth repeating. Please. You holding this lie close to your chest keeps people from being able to communicate with you about how they feel about you. It's like a giant shield that blocks out affection and admiration. You probably can't just throw it out. It probably feels like a kind of protection. But you can turn it sideways (decide it's a lie) so that people can get past it. You can accept that the people who love you are more honest than the people who want to abuse and control you. You can decide that all ratings are LIES. EVIL, CRUEL lies.

There is NO SUCH THING as ugly. There is no such thing as a body 'flaw.' YOU ARE PERFECT. Variety is beauty. You could not be more beautiful if you were different. People who think that there is a such thing as more attractive and less attractive have fucked up wrong perceptions that they need to change. No one gets to fucking rank people's attractiveness! NO ONE EVER. Not even you.

Also, that celebrity or model or whoever is NOT more attractive than you. This is as wrong to say as it is to say that they're uglier than you. It's creepy to compare like that. Nobody is more beautiful than you. There is no such thing as objective beauty. "You are beautiful" always and ONLY means "looking at you is enjoyable for me." Rotten people might get more enjoyment out of looking at people who resemble the societal ideal of the moment, but doesn't make it objective. Rotten people's opinions are irrelevant to actual life and love.

Do you compare you and me? do I gain attractiveness if I lose weight? If my belly is smaller? if my neck is thinner? if I wear makeup? If you judge everyone as more attractive than you or not, I have a really hard time believing that you don't judge me. I have a really hard time believing that you can do this comparison thing so often and yet have it not apply to me. Even if you did though, I would still be really bothered by the comparison for others. And because you believe in 'ugly' every time you use an attraction word (pretty beautiful cute gorgeous) as if it is objective, it feels AWFUL to me. I feel hurt for myself, for you, and for whoever you are judging as 'more attractive.' If attractiveness can be ranked, then I can only be beautiful at the expense of others. That is never something I want.

Related:
As with telling me you love me, only tell me I’m beautiful if you mean it. And challenge yourself to mean it. Recognize the way it stretches you to call a fat person beautiful, not as an exception, but as a shifting, growing rule. Feel all the things you are rejecting by saying such a simple, common word. - "What happens when you call your fat friend beautiful" by thefatshadow on Medium


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belenen: (overwhelmed)
herpes outbreak #2, five years later...
icon: "overwhelmed (the character Keenan from "Playing By Heart," with hands over their face covering their eyes and head tilted back)"

Last Sunday I started to feel a bit off, and by Monday night I was sure -- I was having my second-ever genital herpes outbreak. I went to the clinic on Tuesday and got meds, and honestly while it was somewhat uncomfortable it wasn't terrible and as long as I was sitting/lying still, I didn't feel it at all. But the emotional impact was intense, because I had been unsure which type of herpes I had. See, I contracted it from someone with a cold sore going down on me, meaning it was type 1 which prefers to live in the mouth: so it could be that I would never have a genital outbreak but might have oral outbreaks. For 5 years I had no outbreaks, and I kinda got my hopes up. I communicated clearly with lovers about it and took precautions as if it were genital herpes, but I think I kinda expected it to not be. Turns out I'm not THAT lucky, though 5 years between the first two outbreaks is pretty good.

I started feeling really shitty about myself and my lack of desirability. I was texting with Allison and told them what was happening and that the actual physical part was no big deal, but the stigma was making me feel pretty intensely sad. Like I said to Allison, this outbreak is no worse than a bad acne outbreak (when you first get a bump it feels like one of those achy pimples). Most people who have herpes -- 80% -- don't even know because they don't have symptoms. People who do get outbreaks usually only get a few in their lifetime, and they decrease in frequency and intensity. It doesn't damage your system. Unless you or someone you have sex with is immuno-compromised, there is no logical reason to fear herpes, except of course for the stigma.

Interestingly, the next day my timehop showed me an article I had linked a few years before -- "The Perks of Herpes." I realized I have to come out all over again because most of the people who know me didn't know me then. I've always been out about it because unlike the author of that article, I want people to know WAY before genital contact happens. I don't think it is good consent to wait until sex is about to happen, because then there is pressure to decide on the spot and most people are not well-educated enough to do that. Most people would need to do some research in order to have a decision they are confident in. And I also just don't want to deal with the heartbreak of falling for someone and then having them be like "if your genitals might be untouchable sometimes that's gross and I don't want to be romantic with you." I guess if I fell for someone asexual I might not tell them because it really wouldn't matter.

I'm still feeling really shitty about it. I don't want people to love me in spite of a fact of my body. I don't want all potential lovers to be considering a thing that I feel is largely irrelevant. I don't have a choice though, because only informed consent is consent.

So, yeah. This came on the heels of a realization that I am older than most of the people I know and age is a factor in most people's attraction. And of course I have a significant amount of fat and that is also a factor. So I really feel intensely undesirable. I know these things will eventually blend into the background of my life again and not make me feel like a repulsive monster, but right now it's pretty terrible.
connecting: , , ,


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belenen: (fish)
dreams (fish in champagne flutes w water beads / seeking out my ex-spouse -who is warm? / mockery)
icon: "fish (my fractal "Strange Babies": an abstract glassy sphere missing pieces. At its center are three pink elongated ovals ending in flared yellow)"

20th: I dreamed about fish out of water again. This time they were bettas in about 30 champagne flutes that were filled with water-beads, so they could barely survive and couldn't move almost at all. They belonged to my mother. I took them out one by one and put them in a giant (6' by 3' by 3') but completely devoid of decoration water tank. For some reason I thought they would try to eat the water beads if they were in the big tank, so I had to get them out very carefully. Some of the glasses had two fish in them! I often have dreams about fish in need of rescue but I haven't figured out the pattern yet.

21st: I dreamed that I wanted to reconnect with my ex-spouse, in a limited way. I had a list of things but I can't remember what they are. I felt self-conscious of being fat and wanted to ask if they had had sex with a fat person before (because I am significantly larger than I was when we were together). It was very strange. I felt somehow comforted by their presence, and they felt very warm and cozy (which is not actually how I feel around them). Later that dream I was really warm and friendly to someone (random 'person I knew in high school': a conglomerate of faces) and afterward realized they were mocking me.


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belenen: (brewing)
4 elements needed for me to feel sexual attraction: consent, bodily respect, awareness, generosity
icon: "brewing (a photo of a ceramic mug with sticks of cinnamon poking out and steam rising up)"

As a demisexual, I need to feel some kind of emotional connection with the person for there to even be a chance of sexual attraction. Often this is a connection on the spirit, soul, or heart level, but sometimes it's purely a mental connection in that we have shared a lot of intimacy in our conversations. Once I have this, the following four elements together may create sexual desire (in order of importance, not chronology).

The number one thing that determines my sexual desire is consent, both ways. To desire someone I need them to tell me that they want sex with me. No, I don't mean say flirty things or act attracted, I mean actually flat-out say "I want to have sex with you" or say an unequivocal "yes" if I ask if they want to. I'm pretty sure I won't ever feel sexual desire for anyone who doesn't feel it for me. I might have in high school (before I ever had sex), but not since I became sexually active. I also need them to be fully invested in my consent, not just asking but also showing awareness of my reactions and adjusting accordingly.

Next in importance is bodily respect: them not having terrible ideas about bodies, sex, or gender. No assigning stereotyped personality traits to body parts including genitals. No assigning body types/parts as attractive or unattractive (this is gross no matter what shape you decide is best). No ideas about more or less legitimate kinds of bodies. No believing in rules for genders. Never imposing gender on me. Not interpreting my fat as a cause or effect of my personality. Basically, not being sexist, cissexist, or looksist.

Next is awareness; self-awareness, awareness of me, ability and desire to maintain this awareness and express it throughout. To feel sexual desire for someone I need to be able to sense them letting my touch reach them emotionally. (otherwise I will feel unappreciated and/or worried that they don't really want it) I need a balance of reactive and attentive. I do not want someone who always turns into pure reaction (sometimes I might want to provide that space but not often, as it's exhausting!), but I also don't want someone who isn't reactive. I want a person who can stay mentally, spiritually, and emotionally present while feeling intensely. Someone who will still notice if I seem 'done' even if they are in the throes of sexual ecstasy. Someone who can make eye contact with me or grip my hand during sex and I can feel the 'click' of that connection.

Last is generosity (desire to give). If you could be happy only receiving every time we have sex (while knowing that I love being touched) or if you never offer anything and only give when asked, I'm not interested. I know some people are scared of not being perfect and that's why they don't want to give, and I can empathize with that, but it is not a turn-on. People who have no desire to give sexually would not be people I'd be sexually compatible with. People also need to not be so full of need that they subconsciously pull at me. That one I can't really explain, it's just a thing I feel. I don't think I can feel desire for anyone who is looking for salvation outside themselves.

If these are all met, I can have satisfying sex with a person. But each of these four elements is fucking rare. Especially awareness. So many people check out when they have sex and go to a purely physical place or have sex as a mental escape. I just don't find that remotely appealing.

Usually for it to go from "I can feel sexual desire" to "I actually want this enough to deal with the hassle of the STD/trigger/expectations conversation and the potential concerns of my current partner(s), therefore I will flip my internal switch and become sexually attracted to them" I have to be in love with the person. I don't find sex more nourishing than cuddles or conversation, so it's not worth the bother unless I am in love and therefore want to experience all possible connecting activities and want to bring them joy in any way available to me.

In a world without oppression where people valued awareness and giving, there would be many opportunities for me to want sex with people. as it is I am unlikely to want new sex partners very often )


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belenen: (bodylove -- me (belly goddess))
on changing the amount of fat on your body: cortisol, blood sugar, stress, food as fat/carb/protein
icon: "curvygirl -- me (belly) (a photo from 2007 of my breasts, belly, and arms, covered in spirals and drawings made with washable markers and glitter)"


--

-- content warning: possibly triggering for those with disordered eating / eating disorders. talk of restriction, dieting, fat - ENTIRE POST-

First let me say, I do not take my own advice because I don't mind being fat and I don't like eating enough to eat more often (I tend towards one small snack and one big meal a day which can be bad for you, as you'll see if you read on). Secondly, this is more about what NOT to do than what to do. and lastly, take this as a starting point; I am not an expert.

Kay, so there is a shitton of misinformation out there about how to take care of your body and how to change the fat amount on your body. Do not believe anyone who tells you you can restrict your calories in order to lose fat permanently. That much is proven to be bullshit despite the fact that many people insist it's true. Restricting can take some fat off but if that is your sole method, it will come back not too far down the road. Read any good study on dieting and you will learn that it does not work. Why?

Because your body is a machine that is designed to protect you from starvation. There is a hormone called cortisol which will tell your body to retain as many energy stores as possible: it says, "store fat and don't burn it!" This hormone is activated by two things (among others I'd imagine): stress and low blood sugar. When you restrict, you activate this hormone and make your body more likely to store than to burn. It is incredibly counterproductive to restrict: even if you lose some fat at first, as this hormone builds up it will make you retain fat again.

Cortisol is also the reason that it is not only looksist to be anti-fat, it is sexist, racist, ableist, etc. Being oppressed is a constant stress that you cannot escape. Oppressed peoples often don't have access to healthier food and don't have spare energy or time to spend on working out, AND are under much more stress than people without those oppressions. People's bodies often change a great deal in how much they retain fat due to how much stress they are enduring. You can actually be eating a starvation-level diet and gain weight (so I have heard from people who have been through anorexia) because your body is so damn good at holding on when it thinks you are in danger.

Also, according to my nutrition prof, only fat gets stored. Proteins get used or shat out if you eat more than you need. Carbs only increase your body fat if you are also consuming fat, because the carbs are burned first and then if you don't have enough activity to need them, the fats are just stored. Eating fewer carbs just means that the fat you eat is more likely to get used. Carbs are your body's favorite, and complex carbohydrates are the best for healthy, lasting energy. (I have also been told that carbs can be stored as fat, so my nutrition prof may have been off - but that is a case of excess)

So my logical takeaway from this is that if I wanted to lose fat, I would need to practice as many anti-stress things as I know to do, as well as maintaining my blood sugar throughout the day and consuming less fat. Every 3 hours I would eat a small meal of mostly raw fruits and vegetables, and I would try to avoid ever getting actually hungry. I would try to be more active by doing anything that got my heart rate up. I would meditate daily and make sure to get outside for at least 30 minutes a day. I would drink damiana tea w cinnamon every day because that decreases my stress both in the ritual and in the substance. I would avoid any sugars except for fruit sugar and honey. Probably other things too, but you get the point.

I checked with a health professional friend of mine just to be sure I wasn't way off and they told me the advice they give for people who want to lose fat (tailored to the person and situation since not everyone can walk, for instance):

"breathe. ... recommend a few YouTube relaxation videos to them. Drink water. Drink tea - green tea is great for your metabolism. Eat a balance of foods but make the majority of your plate fruit/veg. Lean proteins. Decrease carbs and sugar. Walk 30 minutes per day minimum. Laugh. And never ever ever beat yourself up if you splurge on a burger and a milkshake. Because it's about balance - life is about balance."


If you think that fat = unhealthy, read this entire article and all the links before you say anything to me about fat: These are the Fat FAQs. And just one quick note: BMI is bullshit, based on literally zero science as was never intended to measure health. It also changed significantly due to social reasons with again no science, no excuse. Weight cannot tell you about health. Correlation =/= causation. There are a million possible lurking variables, not the least of which is stress.


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belenen: (self-love)
smelling like a human is forbidden truth, non-verbal communication
icon: "self-love (me, sitting in the crook of the trunk of a large tree, hugging myself and leaning my head back in a relaxed way)"

I learned shame about my scent from my biofamily and my first lover (who I was with for 8 years). They complained about my smell, or told me about it in lowered embarrassed voices, and so I washed it off, chemically murdered it, covered it. I learned I had to choose between the happiness of smelling like myself or the respect/admiration of others. Smelling "bad" (which for people read as female means not smelling like flowers) is associated with all manner of things that people judge for, like uncleanness, laziness, irresponsibility, lack of self-awareness, lack of 'intelligence.'

This is disappointing because frankly when I am alone I love the smell of my sweat and vulva. I can read my emotions in my smell and when my body is happy it is 'louder' and it sometimes smells like spices and sometimes smells like fresh donuts. I will draw it in deeply and feel the delight some people feel at smelling a flower. If everyone around me didn't care or liked my smell I would just wash my sweat off once a day so it was fresh and not wear anything to tone down my scent (which, if I do nothing after washing, emerges after about 3 hours). What I do now is wear deodorant that is 'natural' and doesn't mask my scent or add smell, but it tones it down a lot and keeps the spicy smell from happening. As for my vulva, I get embarrassed whenever someone might smell it unless I am in the process of having sex with them (and even then, most of the time I want to keep their face as far from my crotch as possible). The only person with whom this was not true was Kylei, because they were quite vocal in liking how I smell. Other people have commented positively on my smell, but that is just the toned-down version as I've only been willing to be "smelly" around Kylei.

I love the smell of other people's fresh happy sweat and will sometimes sniff the armpits of people I love, if they don't get weirded out by such things. I wish people weren't so violent in their rejection of this part of humanity. I think its a kind of 'privacy' in that body scent gives as much information as posture or tone of voice. People don't want to know or be known because the first brings too much responsibility (when you smell fear, loneliness, what then? you likely feel a responsibility to react) and the second takes too much risk (what if they don't like the real you?). If someone rejects their own human scent I feel sure that they will reject mine as well, or silently wish I would go erase it, so I just remove it before it has a chance to offend their sensibilities.
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belenen: (overwhelmed)
dealing with body worry & internalized fatphobia / attraction and beauty

I've been dealing with epic insecurity over the past couple days. The two people closest to me right now are getting to know each other better, and for some reason that sets off all this body worry. They're both of average-to-slim build, and have lots of the same positive qualities that I do, so my brain is like, "why would they want you, when they could have something just as good that DOESN'T come in a fat body?" And I worry about this because apparently I expect others to think that (even platonic) closeness with a slim person is more desirable than with a fat person.

I am the largest I have ever been, and I worry that I have gone past society's measure of "pleasantly plump" into "gross." I've been called gross many times over the years but my features didn't fall into the categories that I considered taboo, and now they do. Even though I no longer have those categories, I really expect other people to. I feel uncomfortable because it's considered appropriate and ethical to form an opinion of the ideal body shape (or a set of ideals), and it's a benevolence to be attracted to someone who does not meet one's ideal. No, an ideal of 'healthy' or 'average' or 'curvy' is NOT NOT NOT better than the ideal in magazines. Considering fat people the 'most' attractive is just as repulsive to me.

Being considered attractive 'in spite of' my fat means that if I ever fuck up as a person, my aesthetic and sexual worth is gone. That's a fuckton of pressure. If you can't regard my body as aesthetically beautiful regardless of who is in it, don't talk to me about beauty. And don't tell me you don't care about beauty if you have EVER enthused about the looks/shape of someone you did not know. I'm sure some people genuinely do not care about beauty, and I'm also sure that I have met at maximum 10 of those people in my lifetime. (Not talking about sexual attraction but only aesthetic)


I don't want people to ignore my body, I want people to be able to value the aesthetic qualities of it like I can. Most people just don't think like that. They measure attractiveness in closeness to an ideal, not by observing someone with careful appreciation. I can find thin lips on one person every bit as gorgeous as thick lips on another, freckles and scars and moles as lovely as unmarked skin. Every quality a person's body can have is something I can find beautiful. And I do, if I spend time with them and care about them. I don't think most people consider this a worthwhile effort. They might do it if they happen to fall for someone who doesn't resemble their ideal at all, but they don't do it as a general rule. They don't do it with their friends.

I feel proud of how I am handling this. Working through it by looking at each thought as it comes up, deconstructing it, and sending it away. I have no good reason to think that I am going to be rejected because of my body; this may be a societal danger but it's not a real danger in my relationships. The people I care about are just not that shallow. Even if they find me unattractive they aren't going to throw away my friendship because of it, because they're not shitheads.

It's taking such a lot of effort to tell myself this over and over. But I can feel the shift as it goes.
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belenen: (curvygirl -- me)
PSA: teenager bodies are not adult bodies so stop trying to look like a teen if you're an adult
If you ate healthily (as in, 'did not have an eating disorder,' not as in 'ate only salads') and were active when you were 25-26, that's the minimum size of your adult body. Trying to get smaller than that is going to cause your body to suffer. And if you're not yet 26, your body is going to keep on changing because you are not grown up yet. Most humans change shape between adolescence and adulthood (which doesn't start until your mid-twenties!). Please, please stop trying to look like a teenager. That is not seeking health, it is seeking a look at the cost of health. Very few people are naturally the same size from 19 to death. (and those people are not 'lucky' they are just unusual. don't fetishize their bodies)
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belenen: photo of me with violet hair looking down, with a water-reflection overlay (ethereal)
glamour, movement, magic, fat, perception double mirrored
Now that I am fat (by most assessments) I feel that people don't see my glamour, my unearthly ethereal magic, anymore. I realized this when watching The L Word again and seeing so many of my movements in Jenny -- the way ze puts hands on hips, or gestures, or tilts zir head, or moves zir eyes, or touches others, or responds to touch. I feel a strong resonance with that character for a lot of reasons, but I hadn't thought about the fact that a big part of that feeling is in the glamour that Jenny carries (at least in the second season). And I realized that most people see fat as the opposite of magic, and in the same way that some of my relatives can't see my grandmother's features reproduced SO CLEARLY in my cousin's face because of a different eye shape and skin color, fat is just such a dominating feature to the average person that they couldn't see similarities between me and Jenny even if we were exactly alike except for fat and hairstyle.

This hurts because my glamour (and I'm using this word in the fae sense not the fashion sense) is a vital part of me. I know that it has not decreased; if anything it is more than it used to be, yet people don't react to it. I used to feel people notice it, interact with me as though I wore it like a cloak. I could sense them enjoying it, or being mystified by it, or feeling drawn to it, or being scared of it. But then again, these were always fleeting feelings. Most of the time I did not feel that people sensed it at all. I think there was really just one short bit of time where I felt my magic was treated as a vital and omnipresent part of me on a regular basis, and that was the summer and early fall when I lived at Serendipity. I think it was because deliberately interacting with magic was important to everyone who was close to me at that time.

I don't really know. Even when I dress to my fullest self, in a way that I feel makes my magic very obvious, people notice my fat first and feel embarrassed for me, like I "don't know better" than to wear things that neither smush nor hide me. If I wore the same style of things as a thin person, people would understand that my choices are deliberate and they might think I am very weird but they wouldn't see me as clownish or failing to be something else. People see my body and either make me invisible or project their shame onto me.

Obviously all of this could be entirely wrong, as it is my perception of other people's perception of me. But the point is that I feel that my fat obscures my magic and grace for many people, and that makes it hard for me to connect with it.


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belenen: (curvygirl -- me (swirl))
photopost: body-positive shoot, photos by Kylei and me (NWS, nudity)
( You're about to view content that the journal owner has marked as possibly inappropriate for anyone under the age of 18. )
sounds: Banks - Brain | Powered by Last.fm
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belenen: (disassociative)
school stressss terrible day / recent discussions w topaz about exercise shame and sex worries
Today was incredibly horribly stressful. First I couldn't fall asleep because I was anxious about the day ahead so I only got 4 hours sleep, then I had to wear a feminine-professional costume for the poster presentation which I felt woefully underprepared for because I just had no idea what to expect, then a final exam immediately afterwards, then stressing out because I felt an urgent need to finish off my take-home final exam and send it off so it would stop hanging over my head- - but I couldn't get the program to work on topaz' computer so I had to go back to school and of course the computer lab I usually use was closed so I had to go to the library where the first computer just didn't work and the second one froze my hands off (it's right under the air vent). I finally got that done and wanted to reward/calm myself so I went to an indie coffeehouse near my school and got a latte which turned out to be SO CRAP I couldn't drink it (and I will drink mediocre lattes because I hate to waste). Then, massive headache partly from not having eaten before 8:30pm after being awake since 7am and partly from no caffeine since I couldn't drink the crap latte! ARGH!  Also that coffeehouse is on my shit list for only hiring young white guys.

But I got to play and cuddle with topaz, making ridiculously silly crude jokes and laughing a lot. We feel back in sync.  We had an intense conversation the other night about exercise shame and some recurring insecurities about sex.

Shame is a very rare emotion for me: if you walked in on me masturbating or pooping I'd just ask you to leave and I wouldn't even think about it later. I've had sex in front of lots of strangers without a blush and I'm naked on the internet. There's really only one thing that makes me feel shame and it's exercise. I never used to feel this way, because even though I have never been thin I used to be very fit. I'm not fit right now and showing that to another person makes me feel the most intense shame. It's like I felt confident and fuck-you about my fatness when I was also fit, but now my confidence is fragile and I have no armour to protect me from judgement. I didn't even realize my fitness gave me that armour until it was gone. Now I really want to build my core strength and get my stamina back, but I'm so limited because it's boring to do alone and I feel incapable of doing it with someone else due to the shame. I talked about this with Topaz and told zir that I want zir to encourage me, invite me to join zir, and reassure me that ze doesn't find me gross when I exercise.  Ze was happy to offer those things.

The worries about sex came from my intro to sex as "my job to give pleasure" and worrying that if I wasn't doing Topaz' favorite thing in sex every time then I wasn't going to make zir happy. Ze assured me that ze doesn't want the same thing every time and that the variety in our sex is what ze wants.  We haven't had much sex in the past few months because of the intense shit in zir life sapping all zir energy, and even though I know logically and intuitively that it's not true, there's still some old damage that says "this must be because you aren't doing the right things /don't want the same things."


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belenen: (curvygirl -- me (nude))
on fat-phobic assumptions and fat-hate: what fat does not mean.
There are all these assumptions people put on you when you have a fat body. Fat is culturally assigned meanings such as lazy, gluttonous, unproductive, unhealthy, unclean, smelly, monomaniacal, obsessed with food, undesired, second-rate, clumsy, ashamed or stupid, unworthy of life. I know well that I am none of those things yet I feel the presence of those assumptions, because I hear people state them flat out. Upon seeing someone running a 10k while fat, someone told me "look at that fat slob!" and said that the person ought to face facts and walk instead (WTF?!???). So many times I hear people criticize fat people for wearing clothes that do not hide their fatness, because while being fat is a social crime, being unashamedly fat is so much worse.

I am not lazy. I don't exercise, but I'm active -- I use the stairs and I park at the far end to get a walk in when I go to school. I like swimming and dancing and carrying my lover around on my back. I'm strong and flexible. If I were on the thin side of average, this would be considered enough. But I am fat, and my socially-required penance for this is to work out every day or at least be ashamed of my lack of workouts. I'm certainly not unproductive. I create continuously, I gift my labor, I work for my employer, I work for school; I produce art and growth and service and thought.

I am not gluttonous. I do not overeat and rarely eat things that are bad for me. I don't eat (or drink) high fructose corn syrup, white flour, white sugar, hydrogenated oils, or meat. I drink at least 64oz of water a day. I usually have three meals a day -- an apple and a food bar in the morning (I choose my food bars based on them having at least 8 grams of protein and an equal or lesser amount of sugar), and a full meal later with fresh vegetables and/or fruits, and near the end of the day I have a small meal that is more of a snack. I almost never eat things like cake or cookies, and if I have candy it is usually one 2oz bar of dark chocolate for the day. I also never refuse myself food that I want, and food does not hold any glamour for me.

I am not unhealthy. I have average blood pressure for my age and quite good cholesterol levels and I can accomplish everything I want to do without getting winded or feeling pain. I am not unclean. I wash myself with gentle eco-friendly soap (Dr. Bronners') and use mineral salts instead of deodorant -- I don't hide my scent in any way and I don't smell bad (people compliment me on how I smell).

I know that I am not undesired. I have lovers who have caressed this body and expressed their desire for me in it. I know that I am not ashamed and that I don't lack shame because I lack the intelligence to realize that I should be ashamed. Yet if I am doing something that society tells me is a "stupid" level of not-hiding (like showing my fat belly), I feel worried half of the time (the other half of the time I feel like a fucking bad-ass). I know that I am not clumsy or oafish, but I feel absolutely full of dread at the idea of ever stumbling around someone who is fatphobic because I know they will attribute it to my fat and not to a single moment of gracelessness. This keeps me from dancing -- or even moving very much -- around many people because dancing increases the likelihood that I will have a moment of gracelessness and become "that poor clumsy fat person." Instead I dance when I get drunk enough to not give a shit about haters, or when I am around only trustworthy people, or when I am alone.

So many people have told me that I am not worthy of life because I am fat. They have plainly and literally told me to get thinner or kill myself. This part is easier for me to reject because I can see outright hate as being all about the hater, but that is an unusual stroke of luck for me. I know that most people told this do not have the shield against it that I do, and I know that people have literally obeyed those orders.

What being fat actually means for me is pretty much exclusively that society will judge me and mistreat me. It means nothing for my life apart from that opprobrium.
sounds: Clark - Open | Powered by Last.fm
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belenen: (revolutionary)
6 principles to body-love: my experiences and methods
The specifics under each category are not intended as a how-to for everyone, just as examples or jumping-off points. Feel free to use them if you can and want to, but please do not take this as advice that applies to everyone, because these things worked in the context of my privilege* and may not work without it. (it doesn't address sex/gender dysphoria or physical disability as my experience in the first is unusual and I haven't experienced the second) I do hope that everyone can find at least one useful bit.

replace comparison with celebration of variety:

This is about "different than" versus "better than." I used to have a habit of looking at other people's bodies to rate myself. If I thought that some aspect of my body was "more attractive" than theirs, I felt vindicated for all of the work I did to maintain a particular look in my body. Instead of seeing them for themselves, as human beings, I saw them as a sample that I could take to see if I was "achieving" "prettiness." And if I thought that some aspect of my body was "less attractive" than theirs, then I felt panic and despair at not being able to "achieve" that aspect. Most people inspired BOTH reactions.

I overcame this by practicing celebration of variety. If I caught myself comparing, I consciously mentally corrected myself; told myself that there was no "achievement" nor "failure" when it comes to bodies, that beauty is uniqueness and everyone is unique. I practiced this with every body part, from nose to knees to belly to bum, etc. I taught myself to look at other people to appreciate them, and crowded out comparison with appreciation. This leads to the second principle:

replace false images with real ones:

The media are FLOODED with false images; if we were to take our cue from the media, one perceived as "woman/girl" should always be wearing makeup, be white or light-skinned, (usually) be blonde and blue eyed, have a small nose and large eyes and full lips, have body hair shaven, have straight or sleekly coiled hair, have flat bellies, long slim legs, and adolescent-shaped yet heavily large breasts (mainstream media doesn't like to show many women of color, but there are further restrictive demands if it does show them). That is a VERY specific and VERY unlikely collection of traits. The 'ideal' for one perceived as "man/boy" is also restrictive, and there are few to no images of anyone other than "woman/girl/man/boy." (that lack of images is in itself a false image of invisible/non-existent, also harmful) You can reduce your consumption of these images by not watching TV (especially ads) and not reading magazines; but you will still be forced to see them on billboards and the covers of novels, etc.

To get rid of the idea that that 'ideal' is what beauty is, I reduced my consumption, and I think even more importantly, I surrounded myself with photos that I found beautiful of people of a variety of shapes and sizes and colors (one place to find them is [livejournal.com profile] curvygirls). I made those images my computer desktop and my screensaver and I hung them on my walls and I looked for more on an at-least-weekly basis. I also surrounded myself with mirrors. Once I realized that there is a very real "oh that's weird" reaction when I see anything I'm not used to, I determined to change what I was used to.

replace negative body talk with positive:

I used to punish myself all day long with negative body talk. I don't care to repeat specifics but I would insult every part of my body; most particularly my belly. I have always had a poky-outy belly -- even when I was underweight and doing crunches daily. It's my natural shape. But it was what my bioparent M mocked, and my bioparent P commiserated with, so I believed absolutely that it was wrong and ugly, and that I could and should change it.

Two things helped me to overcome this habit. 1) I started with the "women's belly book" (which really could be used by anyone, but is genderified :-[) -- since my belly was the hardest part for me to love, it was the most emergency in need of love, and that book helped. There are rituals, exercises, and explanations of what is "natural" for a woman's belly, which were things I needed to read. (It also helped with cramps.) 2) Every time I would mentally say something negative about my body, I would correct myself, and replace with several compliments. Example: "Ugh, I'm so [negative adjective] -- No, I'm not. I am beautiful, and I love my body, my [body part] is wonderful and beautiful and I love it." If I was alone, I would look at the body part and caress it lovingly. When I first started saying these things, I didn't believe them. I felt ridiculous saying what seemed to me to be obvious lies. But if a person is willing to be persuaded, whatever they hear the most will be what they will believe. It does take a long time to catch up with years of self-loathing, so just a few weeks won't get most people to the point of belief. It took me months to get to the not-feeling-ridiculous point, and way longer to get to the actually-happy-and-believing point, and even longer to get to the point where I just didn't think negative body-talk.

replace hiding with highlighting:

I used to wear gigantic baggy shirts to hide myself -- and underneath that, wear belly-binding clothing just in case the wind blew my shirt against me. I hid my face with makeup (I never wore it very heavy, but it felt like a mask when I wore it to hide). This was a reflection of how ashamed I was of my body, but it also reinforced that shame. A day after hiding, it was far more difficult to simply feel comfortable being me.

The most helpful thing for me with this was nude modeling. Seeing myself without ANY hiding, in pretty lighting with good compositions, helped me to see my body as an artistic tool. That's difficult to do alone, so I know it's not an option for everyone -- but if you live near me and you want me to take photos I'd love to, btdubs. Also helpful was practicing acting as if the parts I had the most trouble loving were my favorites. For a long time the purple under my eyes was something I disliked: I covered it with makeup or photoshopped it out. When I asked myself how I'd act if I loved it, I decorated it with shimmer and suddenly discovered that I did love it -- that it added so much dimension and expression to my face. My belly was a similar experience -- I used to try and smush it flat. Now I wear clothes that gently hug it, and it pokes out all it wants, and I think it's cute. This is a scarier process than the ones I've already listed, but I think it was the most revolutionary for me.

replace body-shaping with body-care:

I used to have an idea in my mind of what my body "should" look like. possible ED triggers ) When I talked about this behavior I used the socially correct terms: I described myself as trying to get "fit" or "healthy" but that was not my intent -- I wanted to shape my body. I don't think shaping one's body is inherently bad; but I think that most of the urge to do this comes from a society that tells you you are not good enough, and it's nearly impossible to sort out the self-expression from the self-"fixing." For me, I needed to quit entirely and learn to love myself without trying to "fix" myself. Maybe I could do body-shaping now and not relapse into self-loathing but I'm not willing to risk it.

Now I have no specific idea of what my body "should" look like. I feed myself good things, in portions that satisfy me. I am active for a purpose, and not to change my body. I want to be stronger and have more endurance so I do things like park on campus at the furthest point from my classes, and take the stairs. (I refuse to do anything just for the exercise, but if I have to walk anyway, I'll use it) I get enough sleep. These are ways I caretake my body; there are many more ways than mine. I've found that if I do not caretake my body with good food, good sleep, exercise, then I feel at odds with my body and my body-love is hard to feel.

replace understanding of compliments/insults -- no longer as assessment-of-your-attractiveness, but rather as expressions-of-emotion:

I used to reject compliments because I was afraid that if I accepted them people would think I was conceited, and because I thought people were lying to me out of pity. I think it's still possible that some people would have those reactions/motivations, but I no longer care. What is important is not the compliment itself, but how I understand it. When someone says, "you're so pretty" I do not hear an objective judgement (as I did before practicing non-comparison); I hear, "it makes me happy to look at you -- your features appeal to me." And I expect this statement to be 100% genuine, and I take it as I expect it to be intended; as an expression of affection. If the person does not know me, I expect that I remind them of someone they love, and they're feeling reminded of that love by the similarity in my features or attitude (etc). I do not hear compliments as a reflection on ME, but as a reflection on the person speaking them. This is also true of insults. I get loads of attempted insults from being fat and naked on the internet, but they don't affect me because they're not about me: I can see straight through to the emotion, and it's the same panic and competition I used to feel.

* as a white, sighted, ambulatory, cis-passing person with access to the internet and a significant amount of free time.


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belenen: (curvygirl -- me (nude))
fetishizing nudity: only I can give meaning to MY body
I recently overheard a conversation about how being "scantily clad" is a declaration that one wants sex, and it reminded me of being told that my clothing was "provocative" and more recently told that if I go naked in a public place, I am sexually harassing anyone who sees me, by drawing them sans-consent into my sex scene. In response to these ideas: "HELL THE FUCK NO."

The way a person chooses to cover or not cover their body is 1) not a declaration of any kind of desire 2) not inherently centered on the viewer and 3) not sexual in and of itself. People make these faulty and damaging assumptions because in our culture nudity is fetishized: that is, it is assigned sexuality. Thus "showing skin" is erotic: a sexual invitation or "provocation." It's not simply or inherently human to consider nudity erotic: if it were, the nudity fetish wouldn't vary according to culture. This is purely an individual fetish: one taught by culture but owned by each person. It being a common fetish doesn't mean that it is appropriate to assign other people's motives by, or to act on these assumed motives. If a group of people fetishizes tie-wearing, and they hang out with other people who say that tie-wearing is an invitation to choke people, that does not make it appropriate to assume that any person wearing a tie wants to be choked with it. Because people are never all the same; behavior and dress can never tell you anything unless the person who acts/wears explains those actions/clothing. Even if in all the world, there was only one person who ever wore a tie just for the look of it and everyone else wore it as an erotic choking device, you would still need to check with every person because choking a non-consenting person is a horrific act.

If my clothing or lack thereof provokes you, that's your fetish, not my behavior. When I go naked, I am not getting an erotic thrill out of it and I am not signaling a request for sex. I don't care what you think; you may call yourself aroused but you may NOT call me arousing (unless we have decided to have sex and are currently having it). You have the right to look away and the right to ask me to not be around you when I'm naked but you don't have the right to force me to cover my body. I wear clothes because the law will punish me if I don't (and occasionally for practical reasons), but I deeply resent this imposition on my bodily autonomy. Don't you dare assign my clothing (or lack thereof) any intention or meaning; only I get to declare my intentions.

Strange Children
Strange Children
(please click to see full size)


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belenen: (gender abolitionist)
struggling with romantic rejection / thrilled about intimacy practice! / N/A* and intersectionality
Lately I've been seriously struggling with rejection -- the last five or so people I expressed romantic interest in did not feel the same way. I find it difficult in general to initiate romance with people and I feel like I've experienced this as a setback -- even though individually it all makes sense and I certainly don't resent anyone for not returning my feelings, I irrationally feel like it's a pattern and it somehow means that I am undesirable to people, especially female or femme folk. I fret that I am too femme-looking or too bold, and people are either attracted to one or the other of those but not both -- and I feel like the queer community values female butchness and male femmeness over other expressions. (while I don't dress to appear feminine, the self-decorations I choose are stereotyped as femme, so...) I fret that I'm just not physically attractive -- even though I like how I look, I want to be appealing to people that I am attracted to, and when they express that they appreciate my mental/emotional self but aren't interested in romance with me, I feel like that means that there must be something wrong with my physical self. I had a resurgence of discomfort with my fatness this year, after years of being totally happy with it. And it's persisting, though decreasing now. I think that has to do with lack of body-positive community nowadays; I can't resist internalizing without conscious dissent. (I realized this when I felt happier just reading about a fat-activist group called "Pretty, Porky, and Pissed Off") I need to be doing more modeling -- that's such a good way for me to connect with my body and appreciate it as perfect within itself.

So now I feel scared of expressing any interest, because I'm just getting over the string of disappointments, and more disappointment feels like it would be really harmful for me right now. But I want to explore new interests, and I don't want to be letting fear tell me what to do, and I want to practice seeking out my own interests instead of passively responding. So I'm torn.

A new development that I am verrrry excited about is this twice-monthly gather that I've started hosting. I call it intimacy practice night. Here's the description: )

I'm super excited about intimacy practice because after just ONE TIME I can already feel the shift in myself and in my relationships with the people who attended the first one. I went into the first one thinking it would help me get to know people, but probably wouldn't stretch me, and I was surprised by how much it DID stretch me. After two hours we took a pause and during that time I realized that I felt incredibly vibrant and nourished, then when we did the last hour I experienced a decided step outside my comfort zone. I shared something in spite of the fact that I was worried it would make people feel judged or unappreciated, and it was received with kindness and understanding. I felt incredibly relieved and it really helped me to move forward emotionally in that area. I feel like this is a really good way of building my connections with people and everyone else seemed to appreciate it and be excited about continuing. I feel rather stunned at how gloriously lucky I am to have so many people not just willing but eager to practice intimacy and openness with me and with each other.

Also KSU now has a queer group on campus -- Non-Normative Anti-Assimilationists -- which I've helped create! I'm a board member for the group, which is brand new -- we just had our second member meeting yesterday. I'm also incredibly excited about this, for three reasons -- 1) queer community yay! 2) real change! I never would have thought to form a student organization with the intent of changing the school (working within) but Angie and Gaius and Laura did, and now I'm aware of all kinds of opportunities to make KSU more inclusive. 3) intersectionality. I really can't express my delight with that enough. I'm so sick of listening to people who are anti-prejudice in some way be willfully ignorant about all other forms of oppression -- that is not the case here. Calling people out on unrealized privilege is in the agreement one has to make to be part of the group; I'm planning on taking some of that agreement that we made and incorporating it into house rules, with the input of my housemates of course. the safe space agreements for N/A* )

Speaking of intersectionality, this is a must-read: MY FEMINISM WILL BE INTERSECTIONAL OR IT WILL BE BULLSHIT! Yes, the caps are appropriate. Re-reading this this afternoon was balm to my soul after hearing some anti-racists be smugly sexist today. It also helps after queers are ableist or feminists are racist. ALL aspects of oppression need to be dealt with and if you say it is okay to overlook any of them, I call bullshit.


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belenen: (garrulous)
random -- yay LJing! / school and money stress / body changes / Kanika is staying at Serendipity
blatherings about happiness over LJing again ) I'd forgotten just how RICH it is to write here, and how wonderful I feel when I look at my journal and see my thoughts painted out and framed. It's been bugging me for a long time that I haven't been writing but I just haven't had the pull because most of my LJ inspirations have also been posting less (or moved to dreamwidth, which I could just never get into because I couldn't take my custom style with me and I'm so attached to it). Now I've been talking to Hannah, which sort of puts me in the right mindspace for writing, and I've gotten back in contact with Aurilion, who is writing (♥ ♥ ♥!!!) in the style I do, which makes me feel all kinds of fingersmacky.

talk about stress )

talk about body changes )

Also Serendipity has adopted Kanika, or perhaps the other way around. I went to visit this weekend and 'Nika had pretty clearly decided that Arizona is zir new person (though ze was excited to see me and went back and forth, so I've not been forgotten), and as they were willing to keep zir, it seemed right. I'll miss zir a lot but I know ze will be happier in one place and I'll probably keep being a tumbleweed so it would just stress us both out.
sounds: Beats Antique - Spiderbite | Powered by Last.fm
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belenen: (garrulous)
random -- yay LJing! / school and money stress / body changes / Kanika is staying at Serendipity
blatherings about happiness over LJing again ) I'd forgotten just how RICH it is to write here, and how wonderful I feel when I look at my journal and see my thoughts painted out and framed. It's been bugging me for a long time that I haven't been writing but I just haven't had the pull because most of my LJ inspirations have also been posting less (or moved to dreamwidth, which I could just never get into because I couldn't take my custom style with me and I'm so attached to it). Now I've been talking to Hannah, which sort of puts me in the right mindspace for writing, and I've gotten back in contact with Aurilion, who is writing (♥ ♥ ♥!!!) in the style I do, which makes me feel all kinds of fingersmacky.

talk about stress )

talk about body changes )

Also Serendipity has adopted Kanika, or perhaps the other way around. I went to visit this weekend and 'Nika had pretty clearly decided that Arizona is zir new person (though ze was excited to see me and went back and forth, so I've not been forgotten), and as they were willing to keep zir, it seemed right. I'll miss zir a lot but I know ze will be happier in one place and I'll probably keep being a tumbleweed so it would just stress us both out.
sounds: Beats Antique - Spiderbite | Powered by Last.fm
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belenen: (dreamy)
dream (old friend turns lookist &violent, steals my mobility / ex-partner is affectionate/attentive)
dream! )

What is really bizarre about this is that both dream-characters are so different from the faces they took on. Allison was probably my most body-positive friend in high school, as well as one of the most non-judgmental people I've known and not at all violent. B is probably the least cuddly person I know and (at least in the past) one of the least 'let's work it out' people I know.

But then, my dreams about speaking up about lookism tend to result in people being violently angry with me. Does my psyche use it as a symbol for all prejudice? that makes sense as it contributes massively to all other prejudices. Maybe I'm really afraid of being attacked if I speak up boldly. In the dreams, something happens that is intensely dreadful enough to shock me out of fear. In real life it's almost always more subtle and when I respond I always try to do so gently (unless I have great trust that the person will listen to my argument regardless of 'tone').
sounds: Massive Attack - Safe From Harm | Powered by Last.fm
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belenen: (dreamy)
dream (old friend turns lookist &violent, steals my mobility / ex-partner is affectionate/attentive)
dream! )

What is really bizarre about this is that both dream-characters are so different from the faces they took on. Allison was probably my most body-positive friend in high school, as well as one of the most non-judgmental people I've known and not at all violent. B is probably the least cuddly person I know and (at least in the past) one of the least 'let's work it out' people I know.

But then, my dreams about speaking up about lookism tend to result in people being violently angry with me. Does my psyche use it as a symbol for all prejudice? that makes sense as it contributes massively to all other prejudices. Maybe I'm really afraid of being attacked if I speak up boldly. In the dreams, something happens that is intensely dreadful enough to shock me out of fear. In real life it's almost always more subtle and when I respond I always try to do so gently (unless I have great trust that the person will listen to my argument regardless of 'tone').
sounds: Massive Attack - Safe From Harm | Powered by Last.fm
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belenen: (rainbowarrior)
secondary LJ (belbabble) / bodylove & queerpride w strangers / experiencing healing through my hands
So I made a second journal -- [livejournal.com profile] belbabble -- mainly to house my tweets (under lj-cuts) because I've made some very interesting (to me) little snippets before and they're gone now so I wanna start saving them but I don't want them cluttering up my REAL journal. (feel free to add that LJ if you want, but I don't promise anything interesting) I might also use that LJ to post bits of conversation or links or thought-seeds which aren't developed enough for here. I'm not sure yet on that, but I have been SO blathery lately that it may actually happen. It's weird, I thought that being busier would lead to me not posting but it seems to have the opposite effect. I wish I was better at responding to comments though; I gotta figure out how to change that without sending myself into a spiral of guilty avoidance. I absolutely do read and value everything y'all say, and feel so honored to be able to read the amazing thoughts you share in your own journals.

And I have two cool stories to share, with my hairdresser and with a random customer :D )

God/dess I love people! Being a barista at an independent coffeehouse (in a racially/culturally diverse area) really is my dream job, almost as much as counseling. Or maybe bartending, that would be freaking AWESOME. I want to talk to strangers all day long and bring them even just a little bit of joy or inspiration.

Ohh, and last week Sakka mentioned a story of healing and it reminded me of an experience I had at age 13. I went over to a couple's house to do some sort of cleaning/organizing work but just a little bit after I arrived the woman (who was pregnant) started experiencing a lot of pain, and got very worried. I asked if it would be okay if I laid hands on zir belly and prayed for zir, and ze said yes. When I did, the pain subsided. They still called my parents to get me and went to the hospital to get checked out, but they credited my prayers with healing power (I forget what ended up being the problem) and I remember that was such an intense experience for me. I was so calm and full of faith -- I had NO DOUBT. I don't know if my prayers actually changed something physical or if the panic was causing the pain and my prayers gave zir enough faith to be calm, but whichever, I do consider it a miracle. I miss being that sure that I could call on Deity and always get instant help. I've been rebuilding my faith for a long time now but it's not yet as strong as it was when I was a child.
sounds: Elsiane - Final Escape | Powered by Last.fm
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belenen: (rainbowarrior)
secondary LJ (belbabble) / bodylove & queerpride w strangers / experiencing healing through my hands
So I made a second journal -- [livejournal.com profile] belbabble -- mainly to house my tweets (under lj-cuts) because I've made some very interesting (to me) little snippets before and they're gone now so I wanna start saving them but I don't want them cluttering up my REAL journal. (feel free to add that LJ if you want, but I don't promise anything interesting) I might also use that LJ to post bits of conversation or links or thought-seeds which aren't developed enough for here. I'm not sure yet on that, but I have been SO blathery lately that it may actually happen. It's weird, I thought that being busier would lead to me not posting but it seems to have the opposite effect. I wish I was better at responding to comments though; I gotta figure out how to change that without sending myself into a spiral of guilty avoidance. I absolutely do read and value everything y'all say, and feel so honored to be able to read the amazing thoughts you share in your own journals.

And I have two cool stories to share, with my hairdresser and with a random customer :D )

God/dess I love people! Being a barista at an independent coffeehouse (in a racially/culturally diverse area) really is my dream job, almost as much as counseling. Or maybe bartending, that would be freaking AWESOME. I want to talk to strangers all day long and bring them even just a little bit of joy or inspiration.

Ohh, and last week Sakka mentioned a story of healing and it reminded me of an experience I had at age 13. I went over to a couple's house to do some sort of cleaning/organizing work but just a little bit after I arrived the woman (who was pregnant) started experiencing a lot of pain, and got very worried. I asked if it would be okay if I laid hands on zir belly and prayed for zir, and ze said yes. When I did, the pain subsided. They still called my parents to get me and went to the hospital to get checked out, but they credited my prayers with healing power (I forget what ended up being the problem) and I remember that was such an intense experience for me. I was so calm and full of faith -- I had NO DOUBT. I don't know if my prayers actually changed something physical or if the panic was causing the pain and my prayers gave zir enough faith to be calm, but whichever, I do consider it a miracle. I miss being that sure that I could call on Deity and always get instant help. I've been rebuilding my faith for a long time now but it's not yet as strong as it was when I was a child.
sounds: Elsiane - Final Escape | Powered by Last.fm
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belenen: (curvygirl -- me)
ramblings about my body changing shape
My body's been changing shape lately. I find this really fascinating, especially when I remember how I used to react. When I first started loving my body, I did so by attaching my identity to the way I looked right then, so any change would set off a panic -- it made me feel out of control, like my identity was slipping away from me. I think I used to feel that a body shouldn't change shape or size -- that everyone had one particular look they were supposed to have their entire adult life (which is, of course, bullshit, as most people change a lot). But now? when my body changes, I watch it with curiosity and anticipation, like I'd watch an artist paint. I love that my body constantly shifts.

body shifts! I may be the only person who spends at LEAST ten minutes a day admiring myself naked in the mirror )

Feeling the increase in energy and stamina as I've been more active has reminded me that I want to regain my strength. I want to get some weights and build up my arms and back enough to do handstands and cartwheels again (even if that means I'll have to get a mega-squish sports bra and pants). I want to regain my flexibility too, because it affects my movements so distinctly -- when flexible I play with movement a lot more.

Also Greta randomly told me I have pretty hands, which surprised me because my hands are the one thing that I don't at all find attractive about myself. I don't hate them anymore, but they're probably my least-favorite feature (though I think my fingernails are pretty). So that made me happy, and brought me a little closer to liking them. ;-)

blah-de-blah about eating habits )

and I need a new curvygirl icon because this one is over a year old! who wants to take photos of me and let me direct? :D
sounds: Laura Veirs - Fire Snakes | Powered by Last.fm
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belenen: (curvygirl -- me)
ramblings about my body changing shape
My body's been changing shape lately. I find this really fascinating, especially when I remember how I used to react. When I first started loving my body, I did so by attaching my identity to the way I looked right then, so any change would set off a panic -- it made me feel out of control, like my identity was slipping away from me. I think I used to feel that a body shouldn't change shape or size -- that everyone had one particular look they were supposed to have their entire adult life (which is, of course, bullshit, as most people change a lot). But now? when my body changes, I watch it with curiosity and anticipation, like I'd watch an artist paint. I love that my body constantly shifts.

body shifts! I may be the only person who spends at LEAST ten minutes a day admiring myself naked in the mirror )

Feeling the increase in energy and stamina as I've been more active has reminded me that I want to regain my strength. I want to get some weights and build up my arms and back enough to do handstands and cartwheels again (even if that means I'll have to get a mega-squish sports bra and pants). I want to regain my flexibility too, because it affects my movements so distinctly -- when flexible I play with movement a lot more.

Also Greta randomly told me I have pretty hands, which surprised me because my hands are the one thing that I don't at all find attractive about myself. I don't hate them anymore, but they're probably my least-favorite feature (though I think my fingernails are pretty). So that made me happy, and brought me a little closer to liking them. ;-)

blah-de-blah about eating habits )

and I need a new curvygirl icon because this one is over a year old! who wants to take photos of me and let me direct? :D
sounds: Laura Veirs - Fire Snakes | Powered by Last.fm
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belenen: (genderfree)
transgender and transsexual identities as I relate to them (am I trans?)
I've been thinking a lot about gender and how it relates to me (I know, what else is new) -- specifically, whether or not I identify as transgender and/or transsexual. ((trans friends, please forgive and gently correct me if I say something erroneous/ignorant about trans issues, I've just begun educating myself))

The dictionary defines transgender and transsexual as the same thing -- someone who has transitioned or deeply desires to transition physically to the 'opposite' sex. The American Psychological Association and wikipedia define transgender as an umbrella term used to describe people whose gender identity/expression differs from that usually associated with their birth sex. That makes more sense to me, so in my LJ: transsexual = wanting/making physical changes to sex, and transgender = not identifying with the 'gender' of one's birth sex and identifying as trans.

Until recently I knew next to nothing about trans identities (still don't know much, but am learning!). I had always thought that transsexual people believed in gender as something immutable and inborn, since the reason I always heard for people transitioning was, "I feel [female/male] inside." Then I met someone who does not have that reason (I don't want to paraphrase zir reasons because I would surely do a clumsy job), and realized hey, people can want to change their bodies for other reasons, and there are trans people who actually feel the same way I do about gender (that it is just a set of stereotypes). I'd always thought that trans people would hate me because many cisgender people (those who identify with the gender associated with their birth sex) get angry enough at me for questioning/disdaining gender, and trans people go through so much more to create their gender, so I thought they'd be that much angrier at me. That idea was recently dismantled for me through a conversation with another transgender person I favorited on okcupid, who didn't get upset with me at all but just asked thought-provoking questions (ze had thought that ze embodied an idea I was against). my response to that )

So I've realized that I technically fall under the umbrella of transgender, and even though I know there are those who would consider me anti-trans, I'm feeling more and more of a sense of community with transgender people. I am not yet comfortable referring to myself as transgender because I don't know what the broader trans community would think of me, and I don't want to put myself where I'm not wanted. But realizing that some trans people might welcome me makes me kinda excited. I've never felt that I fit in any queer community because I'm not gay or lesbian and bisexuals just don't have a community. But I share a common goal with trans people (changing the current system of gender), and it's thrilling to feel so strongly about something and discover a group who ALSO feels strongly about it, and is making tangible progress.

Whether or not I consider myself transsexual is even more confusing. I don't think I'd ever refer to myself as such because it would simply not communicate what I meant -- people'd assume I want to change my body to male, which is not the case. I am perfectly happy with my female body. I like everything about it. BUT. If a body genie appeared to me and told me I could design my own body, I would choose intersex -- vulva, vagina, penis, breasts, and facial hair only on my chin (more than my 13 hairs, heh). I don't think I would want to use surgery to create that body because 1) they can't do it the way I'd want it, 2) I'm only willing to undergo surgery for a life-threatening condition, 3) I would feel like I was rejecting my current body (which would hurt my feelings), and 4) it's expensive. But if I had that shape I'd love my body even more because I'd be sure to never have sexist lovers, haha! And I'd fuck with everybody's mindsets just by being myself. And I'd get to experience the feeling of being inside someone else in that way.

Identifying as trans also becomes more complex/questionable when I look cisgender )


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belenen: (Default)
transgender and transsexual identities as I relate to them (am I trans?)
I've been thinking a lot about gender and how it relates to me (I know, what else is new) -- specifically, whether or not I identify as transgender and/or transsexual. ((trans friends, please forgive and gently correct me if I say something erroneous/ignorant about trans issues, I've just begun educating myself))

The dictionary defines transgender and transsexual as the same thing -- someone who has transitioned or deeply desires to transition physically to the 'opposite' sex. The American Psychological Association and wikipedia define transgender as an umbrella term used to describe people whose gender identity/expression differs from that usually associated with their birth sex. That makes more sense to me, so in my LJ: transsexual = wanting/making physical changes to sex, and transgender = not identifying with the 'gender' of one's birth sex and identifying as trans.

Until recently I knew next to nothing about trans identities (still don't know much, but am learning!). I had always thought that transsexual people believed in gender as something immutable and inborn, since the reason I always heard for people transitioning was, "I feel [female/male] inside." Then I met someone who does not have that reason (I don't want to paraphrase zir reasons because I would surely do a clumsy job), and realized hey, people can want to change their bodies for other reasons, and there are trans people who actually feel the same way I do about gender (that it is just a set of stereotypes). I'd always thought that trans people would hate me because many cisgender people (those who identify with the gender associated with their birth sex) get angry enough at me for questioning/disdaining gender, and trans people go through so much more to create their gender, so I thought they'd be that much angrier at me. That idea was recently dismantled for me through a conversation with another transgender person I favorited on okcupid, who didn't get upset with me at all but just asked thought-provoking questions (ze had thought that ze embodied an idea I was against). my response to that )

So I've realized that I technically fall under the umbrella of transgender, and even though I know there are those who would consider me anti-trans, I'm feeling more and more of a sense of community with transgender people. I am not yet comfortable referring to myself as transgender because I don't know what the broader trans community would think of me, and I don't want to put myself where I'm not wanted. But realizing that some trans people might welcome me makes me kinda excited. I've never felt that I fit in any queer community because I'm not gay or lesbian and bisexuals just don't have a community. But I share a common goal with trans people (changing the current system of gender), and it's thrilling to feel so strongly about something and discover a group who ALSO feels strongly about it, and is making tangible progress.

Whether or not I consider myself transsexual is even more confusing. I don't think I'd ever refer to myself as such because it would simply not communicate what I meant -- people'd assume I want to change my body to male, which is not the case. I am perfectly happy with my female body. I like everything about it. BUT. If a body genie appeared to me and told me I could design my own body, I would choose intersex -- vulva, vagina, penis, breasts, and facial hair only on my chin (more than my 13 hairs, heh). I don't think I would want to use surgery to create that body because 1) they can't do it the way I'd want it, 2) I'm only willing to undergo surgery for a life-threatening condition, 3) I would feel like I was rejecting my current body (which would hurt my feelings), and 4) it's expensive. But if I had that shape I'd love my body even more because I'd be sure to never have sexist lovers, haha! And I'd fuck with everybody's mindsets just by being myself. And I'd get to experience the feeling of being inside someone else in that way.

Identifying as trans also becomes more complex/questionable when I look cisgender )


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belenen: (dreamy)
dream (screaming in frustration about lookism) / when to speak up about prejudice with acquaintances
screaming about lookism )

This is the second time in as many weeks that I've had a dream where I screamed about lookism. (a Bel-definition of the word: lookism is the attitude that it is appropriate to rate the attractiveness of people (others and/or oneself) by external qualities. Lookism is prejudice based on one's own ideal for attractiveness, which may or may not match the societal ideal, and may or may not include more than one style of look. ANYTHING that says "x is more attractive than y" is lookist -- thus, saying that curvy women are prettier than slender women is just as lookist as the opposite). I think my dreams are using lookism as a stand-in for all prejudice.

I've been spending more time with people who haven't been hand-picked for their willingness to unlearn prejudice (like my LJ friends) and so I've been hearing a lot more lookism and sexism (which intersect really well as lookism is closely tied to gender -- ideals are often measured by how 'feminine' or 'masculine' they are). And I really don't know how to react. Because honestly if I spoke up every time someone said something prejudiced I'd be doing it every five minutes! it's how people relate! So I can't do it every time but I don't know how to pick the best times so I end up saying nothing. Apparently my spirit is getting so fed up with my silence that it is screaming when it gets the chance -- in my dreams.

How do you know when you know someone well enough to possibly embarrass them by pointing out that their mindset is prejudiced? I mean, I'm fine doing that with my deep relationships because I don't want deep relationships with prejudiced people, but with casual relationships? If it's one issue, it's so simple, but when it's an issue tied with five more issues, all of which together form the person's worldview, where do you even begin? I don't want to change anyone, necessarily, I just don't want to come away feeling like I've been silent in the face of prejudice when I should have taken the opportunity to speak up. And I don't want to be TOO bold and have someone close off to change when they might have otherwise realized their error. I just want to be true to my beliefs in a way that is not so harsh it gets shut out and not so gentle it isn't noticed. I really am not sure how to develop this balance. ((I'm not really looking for advice right now, because I feel like this is something I need to figure out on my own, but if you want to share your own experiences of confronting prejudice, they'd be very welcome.))


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belenen: (dreamy)
dream (screaming in frustration about lookism) / when to speak up about prejudice with acquaintances
screaming about lookism )

This is the second time in as many weeks that I've had a dream where I screamed about lookism. (a Bel-definition of the word: lookism is the attitude that it is appropriate to rate the attractiveness of people (others and/or oneself) by external qualities. Lookism is prejudice based on one's own ideal for attractiveness, which may or may not match the societal ideal, and may or may not include more than one style of look. ANYTHING that says "x is more attractive than y" is lookist -- thus, saying that curvy women are prettier than slender women is just as lookist as the opposite). I think my dreams are using lookism as a stand-in for all prejudice.

I've been spending more time with people who haven't been hand-picked for their willingness to unlearn prejudice (like my LJ friends) and so I've been hearing a lot more lookism and sexism (which intersect really well as lookism is closely tied to gender -- ideals are often measured by how 'feminine' or 'masculine' they are). And I really don't know how to react. Because honestly if I spoke up every time someone said something prejudiced I'd be doing it every five minutes! it's how people relate! So I can't do it every time but I don't know how to pick the best times so I end up saying nothing. Apparently my spirit is getting so fed up with my silence that it is screaming when it gets the chance -- in my dreams.

How do you know when you know someone well enough to possibly embarrass them by pointing out that their mindset is prejudiced? I mean, I'm fine doing that with my deep relationships because I don't want deep relationships with prejudiced people, but with casual relationships? If it's one issue, it's so simple, but when it's an issue tied with five more issues, all of which together form the person's worldview, where do you even begin? I don't want to change anyone, necessarily, I just don't want to come away feeling like I've been silent in the face of prejudice when I should have taken the opportunity to speak up. And I don't want to be TOO bold and have someone close off to change when they might have otherwise realized their error. I just want to be true to my beliefs in a way that is not so harsh it gets shut out and not so gentle it isn't noticed. I really am not sure how to develop this balance. ((I'm not really looking for advice right now, because I feel like this is something I need to figure out on my own, but if you want to share your own experiences of confronting prejudice, they'd be very welcome.))


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belenen: (dreamy)
dream (screaming in frustration about lookism) / when to speak up about prejudice with acquaintances
screaming about lookism )

This is the second time in as many weeks that I've had a dream where I screamed about lookism. (a Bel-definition of the word: lookism is the attitude that it is appropriate to rate the attractiveness of people (others and/or oneself) by external qualities. Lookism is prejudice based on one's own ideal for attractiveness, which may or may not match the societal ideal, and may or may not include more than one style of look. ANYTHING that says "x is more attractive than y" is lookist -- thus, saying that curvy women are prettier than slender women is just as lookist as the opposite). I think my dreams are using lookism as a stand-in for all prejudice.

I've been spending more time with people who haven't been hand-picked for their willingness to unlearn prejudice (like my LJ friends) and so I've been hearing a lot more lookism and sexism (which intersect really well as lookism is closely tied to gender -- ideals are often measured by how 'feminine' or 'masculine' they are). And I really don't know how to react. Because honestly if I spoke up every time someone said something prejudiced I'd be doing it every five minutes! it's how people relate! So I can't do it every time but I don't know how to pick the best times so I end up saying nothing. Apparently my spirit is getting so fed up with my silence that it is screaming when it gets the chance -- in my dreams.

How do you know when you know someone well enough to possibly embarrass them by pointing out that their mindset is prejudiced? I mean, I'm fine doing that with my deep relationships because I don't want deep relationships with prejudiced people, but with casual relationships? If it's one issue, it's so simple, but when it's an issue tied with five more issues, all of which together form the person's worldview, where do you even begin? I don't want to change anyone, necessarily, I just don't want to come away feeling like I've been silent in the face of prejudice when I should have taken the opportunity to speak up. And I don't want to be TOO bold and have someone close off to change when they might have otherwise realized their error. I just want to be true to my beliefs in a way that is not so harsh it gets shut out and not so gentle it isn't noticed. I really am not sure how to develop this balance. ((I'm not really looking for advice right now, because I feel like this is something I need to figure out on my own, but if you want to share your own experiences of confronting prejudice, they'd be very welcome.))


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belenen: (curvygirl -- me (nude))
dream (screaming and crying over the horror of plastic surgery) / I forget the horror of self-hatred
I was at a house (that I don't recognize) spending time with some [dream-only] friends, when four women walked in. They were very excited about the fact that they had all just been sliced open, had lipids suctioned out, and been sewed shut again. I was horrified but didn't say anything until they added that now their butts needed to be carved to match the front. Then I just EXPLODED, started yelling and crying and telling them how awful it is that they feel the need to chop open their bodies rather than change their minds about them, how they were perfect the way they were. They exploded right back, telling me that I was awful to try and make them feel bad about their choices. Which of course, wasn't my intent, I wasn't even thinking about them at that moment because I was so overwhelmed with the horror of it all. Then I felt bad that I didn't think about their feelings and apologized effusively, wracked with sobs, begging for forgiveness, actually on my knees, and they continued to say nasty things to me. I woke up in a mix of regret and anger that they wouldn't show forgiveness to someone who was genuinely sorry. I suppose if they had to acknowledge the fact that I didn't mean to hurt them, they'd have to consider that I had a motive other than spite for my ranting, and they'd have to wonder what that motive might be. Could it actually be overwhelming terror and sorrow? Would THAT mean that altering one's appearance through surgery (and its cheaper cousins, dieting and restrictive clothing) is a tragedy and travesty rather than a path to self/societal acceptance?

---

I want to update this project with a newer photo set. in case you don't have a devArt account ) Because I no longer suffer at ALL from being very-different-from-society's-ideal (aka "fat and ugly"), I forget just how much of a problem it is. I forget how I used to spend every second in public wondering what each person thought of how I looked. I forget how I used to think that every smile sent my way was a snicker at my expense, and every whisper I couldn't hear was a negative comment on my appearance. I forget how I used to wear clothes that smashed my belly flat and poked my breasts high and squeezed my bum tight. I forget how I used to be unable to eat in public for fear of being seen as a glutton. I forget how I used to be unable to eat much at all for fear of getting 'fatter.' I forget how I put random chemicals into my body to burn my fat while I slept. I forget how one parent mocked me and told me to forgo dessert and the other helped me buy weight-loss drugs and praised me when I looked slimmer -- even though I was a size 6 and 16 years old at the time. I forget how I felt guilty and ugly if I went to bed without having worked out that day. I forget how I wore baggy shirts most of the time because I didn't want to 'have to' hold in my belly (and under them wore those squeezy circulation-killing jeans just in case). I forget how I couldn't live with any freedom because I thought I was fat. And for all those reasons and more, I want to remember to speak up for all the people who suffer like I did, to tell them, "guess what? you can have fat and still love yourself! and still be loved! and desired! and still be fit! and most of all, be FREE FROM WORRY about judgment!"
connecting: ,


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belenen: (curvygirl -- me (nude))
dream (screaming and crying over the horror of plastic surgery) / I forget the horror of self-hatred
I was at a house (that I don't recognize) spending time with some [dream-only] friends, when four women walked in. They were very excited about the fact that they had all just been sliced open, had lipids suctioned out, and been sewed shut again. I was horrified but didn't say anything until they added that now their butts needed to be carved to match the front. Then I just EXPLODED, started yelling and crying and telling them how awful it is that they feel the need to chop open their bodies rather than change their minds about them, how they were perfect the way they were. They exploded right back, telling me that I was awful to try and make them feel bad about their choices. Which of course, wasn't my intent, I wasn't even thinking about them at that moment because I was so overwhelmed with the horror of it all. Then I felt bad that I didn't think about their feelings and apologized effusively, wracked with sobs, begging for forgiveness, actually on my knees, and they continued to say nasty things to me. I woke up in a mix of regret and anger that they wouldn't show forgiveness to someone who was genuinely sorry. I suppose if they had to acknowledge the fact that I didn't mean to hurt them, they'd have to consider that I had a motive other than spite for my ranting, and they'd have to wonder what that motive might be. Could it actually be overwhelming terror and sorrow? Would THAT mean that altering one's appearance through surgery (and its cheaper cousins, dieting and restrictive clothing) is a tragedy and travesty rather than a path to self/societal acceptance?

---

I want to update this project with a newer photo set. in case you don't have a devArt account ) Because I no longer suffer at ALL from being very-different-from-society's-ideal (aka "fat and ugly"), I forget just how much of a problem it is. I forget how I used to spend every second in public wondering what each person thought of how I looked. I forget how I used to think that every smile sent my way was a snicker at my expense, and every whisper I couldn't hear was a negative comment on my appearance. I forget how I used to wear clothes that smashed my belly flat and poked my breasts high and squeezed my bum tight. I forget how I used to be unable to eat in public for fear of being seen as a glutton. I forget how I used to be unable to eat much at all for fear of getting 'fatter.' I forget how I put random chemicals into my body to burn my fat while I slept. I forget how one parent mocked me and told me to forgo dessert and the other helped me buy weight-loss drugs and praised me when I looked slimmer -- even though I was a size 6 and 16 years old at the time. I forget how I felt guilty and ugly if I went to bed without having worked out that day. I forget how I wore baggy shirts most of the time because I didn't want to 'have to' hold in my belly (and under them wore those squeezy circulation-killing jeans just in case). I forget how I couldn't live with any freedom because I thought I was fat. And for all those reasons and more, I want to remember to speak up for all the people who suffer like I did, to tell them, "guess what? you can have fat and still love yourself! and still be loved! and desired! and still be fit! and most of all, be FREE FROM WORRY about judgment!"
connecting: ,


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belenen: (curvygirl -- me (nude))
dream (screaming and crying over the horror of plastic surgery) / I forget the horror of self-hatred
I was at a house (that I don't recognize) spending time with some [dream-only] friends, when four women walked in. They were very excited about the fact that they had all just been sliced open, had lipids suctioned out, and been sewed shut again. I was horrified but didn't say anything until they added that now their butts needed to be carved to match the front. Then I just EXPLODED, started yelling and crying and telling them how awful it is that they feel the need to chop open their bodies rather than change their minds about them, how they were perfect the way they were. They exploded right back, telling me that I was awful to try and make them feel bad about their choices. Which of course, wasn't my intent, I wasn't even thinking about them at that moment because I was so overwhelmed with the horror of it all. Then I felt bad that I didn't think about their feelings and apologized effusively, wracked with sobs, begging for forgiveness, actually on my knees, and they continued to say nasty things to me. I woke up in a mix of regret and anger that they wouldn't show forgiveness to someone who was genuinely sorry. I suppose if they had to acknowledge the fact that I didn't mean to hurt them, they'd have to consider that I had a motive other than spite for my ranting, and they'd have to wonder what that motive might be. Could it actually be overwhelming terror and sorrow? Would THAT mean that altering one's appearance through surgery (and its cheaper cousins, dieting and restrictive clothing) is a tragedy and travesty rather than a path to self/societal acceptance?

---

I want to update this project with a newer photo set. in case you don't have a devArt account ) Because I no longer suffer at ALL from being very-different-from-society's-ideal (aka "fat and ugly"), I forget just how much of a problem it is. I forget how I used to spend every second in public wondering what each person thought of how I looked. I forget how I used to think that every smile sent my way was a snicker at my expense, and every whisper I couldn't hear was a negative comment on my appearance. I forget how I used to wear clothes that smashed my belly flat and poked my breasts high and squeezed my bum tight. I forget how I used to be unable to eat in public for fear of being seen as a glutton. I forget how I used to be unable to eat much at all for fear of getting 'fatter.' I forget how I put random chemicals into my body to burn my fat while I slept. I forget how one parent mocked me and told me to forgo dessert and the other helped me buy weight-loss drugs and praised me when I looked slimmer -- even though I was a size 6 and 16 years old at the time. I forget how I felt guilty and ugly if I went to bed without having worked out that day. I forget how I wore baggy shirts most of the time because I didn't want to 'have to' hold in my belly (and under them wore those squeezy circulation-killing jeans just in case). I forget how I couldn't live with any freedom because I thought I was fat. And for all those reasons and more, I want to remember to speak up for all the people who suffer like I did, to tell them, "guess what? you can have fat and still love yourself! and still be loved! and desired! and still be fit! and most of all, be FREE FROM WORRY about judgment!"
connecting: ,


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belenen: (artless)
random things about my teen years
When I was 13, I started getting breasts and was very embarrassed because they were so 'poky' -- I thought it looked like I was wearing funnels in my bra. I stayed embarrassed until three years later when I read an art book and discovered that conical breasts were fashionable.

When I was 14, I was so starved for approval that when my crush told me "If you got contacts and braces, you could be really pretty" I was so flattered that I wrote it in my journal as one of my favorite things anyone ever said to me.

When I was 15, I became best friends with Rebecca and made a pact with zir -- if I ever hurt/upset zir in any way, ze had to tell me immediately, and vice versa, so that resentment would never come between us. The wisdom of this still blows my mind.

When I was about 16, I was talking to [my partner]'s mom, expressing how hurt and upset I was that my then-friend wouldn't open up to me. Ze said, "You're never going to get what you want," which made me furious. I still feel triumphant when I think about how I totally proved zir wrong. *evil giggle/blush*

17, 18, 19 )

Tell me something random about each of your teen years!


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belenen: (artless)
random things about my teen years
When I was 13, I started getting breasts and was very embarrassed because they were so 'poky' -- I thought it looked like I was wearing funnels in my bra. I stayed embarrassed until three years later when I read an art book and discovered that conical breasts were fashionable.

When I was 14, I was so starved for approval that when my crush told me "If you got contacts and braces, you could be really pretty" I was so flattered that I wrote it in my journal as one of my favorite things anyone ever said to me.

When I was 15, I became best friends with Rebecca and made a pact with zir -- if I ever hurt/upset zir in any way, ze had to tell me immediately, and vice versa, so that resentment would never come between us. The wisdom of this still blows my mind.

When I was about 16, I was talking to [my partner]'s mom, expressing how hurt and upset I was that my then-friend wouldn't open up to me. Ze said, "You're never going to get what you want," which made me furious. I still feel triumphant when I think about how I totally proved zir wrong. *evil giggle/blush*

17, 18, 19 )

Tell me something random about each of your teen years!


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belenen: (curvygirl -- me (swirl))
inspired by how I inspired someone else! (article translated from Spanish)
in googling myself, I discovered an anti-beauty-myth article using one of my photos as illustration. I am SO INSPIRED right now. It's in Spanish so I used babelfish to translate, and I love the way certain lines were translated:

Where it is left the diversity? As it is the place of intelligence, the tenderness, picardia, the force of the powerful character of the Venezuelan woman? To be "pretty", according to the criterion of our country, implies to extirpate the individuality, the weight I specify of our defects and virtues, that ineffable personal brightness that us makes only? I do not create it, I do not admit it, I resist to that idea.

the google-translated article (borderline worksafe photo of me included) )

Unique, beautiful, unrepeatable. This is femininity in my country, and no one, even those sad aesthetic theorists who try to corner the curves and beautiful imperfections to create a single mold, it will never achieve change that thinking. -- Deirge



What is even more amazing? This particular photo has been stolen and desecrated TWICE by people attempting to show off their 'photoshop skills' at skinnifying me (I reported them for copyright theft and had the images removed from dA). There is some serious power in it, to provoke such reactions. I'm... gloriously stunned at the power of simple belief in the beauty of variety.


back to top

belenen: (curvygirl -- me (swirl))
inspired by how I inspired someone else! (article translated from Spanish)
in googling myself, I discovered an anti-beauty-myth article using one of my photos as illustration. I am SO INSPIRED right now. It's in Spanish so I used babelfish to translate, and I love the way certain lines were translated:

Where it is left the diversity? As it is the place of intelligence, the tenderness, picardia, the force of the powerful character of the Venezuelan woman? To be "pretty", according to the criterion of our country, implies to extirpate the individuality, the weight I specify of our defects and virtues, that ineffable personal brightness that us makes only? I do not create it, I do not admit it, I resist to that idea.

the google-translated article (borderline worksafe photo of me included) )

Unique, beautiful, unrepeatable. This is femininity in my country, and no one, even those sad aesthetic theorists who try to corner the curves and beautiful imperfections to create a single mold, it will never achieve change that thinking. -- Deirge



What is even more amazing? This particular photo has been stolen and desecrated TWICE by people attempting to show off their 'photoshop skills' at skinnifying me (I reported them for copyright theft and had the images removed from dA). There is some serious power in it, to provoke such reactions. I'm... gloriously stunned at the power of simple belief in the beauty of variety.


back to top

belenen: (curvygirl -- me (swirl))
inspired by how I inspired someone else! (article translated from Spanish)
in googling myself, I discovered an anti-beauty-myth article using one of my photos as illustration. I am SO INSPIRED right now. It's in Spanish so I used babelfish to translate, and I love the way certain lines were translated:

Where it is left the diversity? As it is the place of intelligence, the tenderness, picardia, the force of the powerful character of the Venezuelan woman? To be "pretty", according to the criterion of our country, implies to extirpate the individuality, the weight I specify of our defects and virtues, that ineffable personal brightness that us makes only? I do not create it, I do not admit it, I resist to that idea.

the google-translated article (borderline worksafe photo of me included) )

Unique, beautiful, unrepeatable. This is femininity in my country, and no one, even those sad aesthetic theorists who try to corner the curves and beautiful imperfections to create a single mold, it will never achieve change that thinking. -- Deirge



What is even more amazing? This particular photo has been stolen and desecrated TWICE by people attempting to show off their 'photoshop skills' at skinnifying me (I reported them for copyright theft and had the images removed from dA). There is some serious power in it, to provoke such reactions. I'm... gloriously stunned at the power of simple belief in the beauty of variety.


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belenen: (iconoclast)
health cannot be measured by BMI, nor by weight.
This is a topic that many people are deeply invested in. It tears down a ranking system, and that always causes uproar -- even from those whom it oppresses. Those whom it oppresses may not be the highest in the ranking system, but at least they aren't as 'bad' as those below them, and for those who have low self esteem, that comparison is very important. Also, there is simply a fear of the unknown -- in this case, life without a certain type of comparison.

Health cannot be accurately measured by weight. (neither can beauty, but that is another subject) Our society has a ranking system called BMI -- a number calculated by your height and weight -- that supposedly tells us how healthy we are. The more healthy, the better, as we praise supposedly 'fit' people. However, this ranking system is inherently flawed. First of all, it was created as a tool for statistical analysis -- to be able to create groups based on rough body size, for studies. It was never intended to be a measurement of health, and has not been tested for accuracy. For instance, no one has ever proven that a 5'5" woman is any more healthy at 140 pounds than she is at 120 or 160. You'd think with a chart used to diagnose people as being healthy, extensive testing would have been done at every level -- but since BMI was not intended for that purpose, it has not been.

BMI does not take into account muscle (which weighs more than fat) or frame size, and more importantly it does not take into account how active a person is or how healthily they eat. Many studies have shown that activity level has far more to do with fitness than weight does. Weight is a symptom of ill health -- it only becomes a cause of ill health in extreme cases. Increasing one's fitness will do much more for one's health than decreasing one's weight. We think we can look at a person and determine how fit they are by how thick they are -- but the fat and active are healthier than the thin and inactive.

quotes and links )

LJ idol topic 13: "Current Events" ((if you liked/got something from this, please vote for me))


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belenen: (iconoclast)
health cannot be measured by BMI, nor by weight.
This is a topic that many people are deeply invested in. It tears down a ranking system, and that always causes uproar -- even from those whom it oppresses. Those whom it oppresses may not be the highest in the ranking system, but at least they aren't as 'bad' as those below them, and for those who have low self esteem, that comparison is very important. Also, there is simply a fear of the unknown -- in this case, life without a certain type of comparison.

Health cannot be accurately measured by weight. (neither can beauty, but that is another subject) Our society has a ranking system called BMI -- a number calculated by your height and weight -- that supposedly tells us how healthy we are. The more healthy, the better, as we praise supposedly 'fit' people. However, this ranking system is inherently flawed. First of all, it was created as a tool for statistical analysis -- to be able to create groups based on rough body size, for studies. It was never intended to be a measurement of health, and has not been tested for accuracy. For instance, no one has ever proven that a 5'5" woman is any more healthy at 140 pounds than she is at 120 or 160. You'd think with a chart used to diagnose people as being healthy, extensive testing would have been done at every level -- but since BMI was not intended for that purpose, it has not been.

BMI does not take into account muscle (which weighs more than fat) or frame size, and more importantly it does not take into account how active a person is or how healthily they eat. Many studies have shown that activity level has far more to do with fitness than weight does. Weight is a symptom of ill health -- it only becomes a cause of ill health in extreme cases. Increasing one's fitness will do much more for one's health than decreasing one's weight. We think we can look at a person and determine how fit they are by how thick they are -- but the fat and active are healthier than the thin and inactive.

quotes and links )

LJ idol topic 13: "Current Events" ((if you liked/got something from this, please vote for me))


back to top

belenen: (iconoclast)
health cannot be measured by BMI, nor by weight.
This is a topic that many people are deeply invested in. It tears down a ranking system, and that always causes uproar -- even from those whom it oppresses. Those whom it oppresses may not be the highest in the ranking system, but at least they aren't as 'bad' as those below them, and for those who have low self esteem, that comparison is very important. Also, there is simply a fear of the unknown -- in this case, life without a certain type of comparison.

Health cannot be accurately measured by weight. (neither can beauty, but that is another subject) Our society has a ranking system called BMI -- a number calculated by your height and weight -- that supposedly tells us how healthy we are. The more healthy, the better, as we praise supposedly 'fit' people. However, this ranking system is inherently flawed. First of all, it was created as a tool for statistical analysis -- to be able to create groups based on rough body size, for studies. It was never intended to be a measurement of health, and has not been tested for accuracy. For instance, no one has ever proven that a 5'5" woman is any more healthy at 140 pounds than she is at 120 or 160. You'd think with a chart used to diagnose people as being healthy, extensive testing would have been done at every level -- but since BMI was not intended for that purpose, it has not been.

BMI does not take into account muscle (which weighs more than fat) or frame size, and more importantly it does not take into account how active a person is or how healthily they eat. Many studies have shown that activity level has far more to do with fitness than weight does. Weight is a symptom of ill health -- it only becomes a cause of ill health in extreme cases. Increasing one's fitness will do much more for one's health than decreasing one's weight. We think we can look at a person and determine how fit they are by how thick they are -- but the fat and active are healthier than the thin and inactive.

quotes and links )

LJ idol topic 13: "Current Events" ((if you liked/got something from this, please vote for me))


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