by Nicole on August 15, 2016
Jenni & Adam invited us over for breakfast (featuring homemade cinnamon rolls!). We spent the morning playing and talking. Then Jenni taught me how to usual the manual settings on my camera, and Rowan and Leora became our adorable test subjects.
by Nicole on August 11, 2016
I’ve been reading Lindy West’s new book, Shrill, and it reminded me of a recent experience. Lindy wrote about eating a personal pan pepperoni pizza by herself in public, and mentioned that feeling of wrongness you experience doing that as a fat woman. Boy, did I relate.
On the way back from Toronto, which was a lovely, but also very stressful, trip, I really just wanted some junk food to distract me on our last flight. I bought a Dr. Pepper and a bag of Peanut M&M’s, and took them on the plane. Darius and I weren’t seated together, and I was smack in the middle of two skinny/average men.
After takeoff, I started in on the movie I’d downloaded, and wanted to pull out my soda and candy. But I immediately had the thought, “I can’t do that! The people I’m seated by will think I’m a disgusting human being who doesn’t know how to take care of herself!” I mulled it over a little, and eventually realized that those two people mattered exactly ZERO to me, and so I pulled out my M&M’s and Dr. Pepper and enjoyed the hell out of them.
Truth be told, I did get a serious stomachache from all the sugar, which serves as a great reminder of why I don’t eat that way on the reg. But it was very interesting/disturbing to me that I had that initial reaction of, “I’m a fat woman, and therefore cannot be seen openly consuming soda and candy, or else I’m validating all the stereotypes so many hold about fat women.”
I mean, how fucked up is that?!? I consider myself very body-positive. I share pictures online of my plus-size body in lingerie and swimsuits, and I’m proud of how I look. I am grateful for what my body can do, and I don’t beat it up just because it may not fit into societal beauty standards. Yet I somehow feel that I don’t have the privilege of eating junk food in public. Having M&M’s and Dr. Pepper on that plane seemed like an open invitation for others to judge me.
“Of course she’s fat, she obviously doesn’t understand nutrition.”
“Of course she’s fat, she probably never drinks water or eats vegetables.”
“Of course she’s fat, she can’t even take a two-hour flight without eating something.”
Lindy’s essay also talked about “decoy purchases”, like buying candy and a frozen pizza because it’s what you you want to eat for dinner, but adding a lemon and a bag of baby carrots to make it look like you’re “good”, you’re “balanced”, of course you’re not just gonna eat junk for dinner.
I don’t know where the pressure comes from (is it just ourselves? is it society?), but there’s this feeling of needing to at least justify your fatness. It seems as if the only “acceptable” way to be fat in this society (and even this is questionable), is if you’re at least doing all the “right” things. You exercise consistently. You cook your own healthy meals. You carry a water bottle, and never drink soda. You don’t eat dessert every night, but instead save it for special occasions. People give you a pass, because it’s like, “Woah, I guess some people are still big even though they do the right things??” Those people get respect. It’s why so many of us wear that suit of armor called, “Yes, I exercise five days a week, and yes, I eat vegetables more often than cookies.”
The more I explore this, the more I realize the smugness I carry because I wear that armor. I’m a “good” fat person, I deserve respect.
Well, fuck that. Why do we assume that a fat person eating M&M’s and drinking Dr. Pepper is anything more than just a person who chose, at that moment, to eat some M&M’s and drink some Dr. Pepper??? Why do we assume that’s probably what they eat all the time? Why do we assume they aren’t educated about nutrition? Why do we think they lack willpower? Why do we become instantly “concerned” about their health? Why can’t a person eat a Big Mac, fries, and a milkshake in public, without everyone freaking the fuck out and thinking they know everything about how that person must live?
I’m not necessarily saying that this is unique to fat people. I think nutrition has become so heated that it’s on the same level as politics and religion, in a lot of ways. I think anyone who eats “bad foods” is judged to some extent, because there’s this societal undertone of, “Well if you’d eat that garbage, you must not know what you’re doing.” Eating junk carries the perception that you aren’t educated, or that you’re lazy, or that you don’t care about your body.
But I do think it’s probably worse if you’re fat. If you’re skinny, and you’re eating a cupcake, it seems the perception is more along the lines of, “Lucky! Wish I had that metabolism!” But it seems if you’re fat, and you’re eating a cupcake, the perception is that that’s just who you are–a fatty that eats cupcakes. It kinda reminds me of how all the beer commercials nowadays seem to depict twenty-something Crossfitters knocking back a few after a workout. They earned it; fat people didn’t (sarcasm, obvi).
I don’t know…As usual, my thoughts on this aren’t really fully-formed, but I think it’s an area I need to explore more. I don’t like feeling like I need to justify my fatness by pointing out that I work out and exercise, or the feeling of smug “protection” I get from those facts. I don’t want to judge others, fat or skinny, because they eat fast food and drink soda and eat dessert every night. Those things shouldn’t be judges of character. And yet I realize I’ve bought into a lot of the societal conditioning that they are, or I wouldn’t hold myself to that same standard.
by Nicole on August 7, 2016
Life moves in cycles, and right now we’re back in a cycle where we’re cooking a lot. I’m also trying to take more photographs with something other than a cell phone, so I’m hoping to share more photos here from time to time.
This was tonight’s dinner, and comes from the cookbook Date Night In. I was late in picking up the cookbook, but it’s quickly become one of our favorites. We’ve made three of the full meals so far, and each one has been surprising, fun to make, very seasonal, and utterly delicious. We find ourselves going back and forth from dish to dish–“I think this one’s my favorite. Actually no, this one. Or maybe this one?” The cookbook is also part memoir, filled with writings on love and marriage. I honestly don’t know if I like the essays or the food more, because they’re both incredible.
Tonight’s meal was “Too Hot to Cook”, just barely adapted. We had antipasti: lemony white beans with pecorino, olives marinated in chile and orange, prosciutto-wrapped mango, ricotta with finishing salt, and roasted red peppers with caper and sardine. The main event was tomato & peach panzanella (bread salad). To drink, we had sparkling thyme lemonade. Dessert was gingered peaches, whipped cream, and Biscoff crumbs sauteed in brown butter, served with hot mint tea.