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Category Archives: Eating

What I Meant to Write In My Whiny Post:

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1. Damn, I am really really busy, and it’s giving me a sleepy.

2. It’s not enough to be a political feminist; you have to be a personal feminist too. You have to look at the way you treat your friends and family; you have to examine your individual biases, your contradictions. Feminism is not just theoretical. It doesn’t just apply to Other People. It should spill over into all your interactions.

3. Probably don’t tell your kid that nobody will ever love them, since, if nothing else, you should love your kid, and yes, while I get the point you’re making (“you’re a heinous bitch who no man will ever want”), 1) a huge fuck you on behalf of single ladies everywhere, and 2) wow, really?

4. Basically what I said. “Yes, he’s kind of a misogynist, but I still like him” = unacceptable. People who are sexist, racist, and/or classist are bad people. It really is that simple! Someone with biases who is working to become more understanding and aware = great! Someone who is a dick and doesn’t care = not great. Not great at all. These things are dealbreakers in much the way that puppy-kicking is a dealbreaker.

5. This part of South Dakota has some pretty scenery, but politically it is a backwards shithole, and the town is cliquey, and we suffer from a dearth of maple trees. I can haz Vermont?

6. Rape Threat Tyler is a terrible person, and I’m not sorry he got head-injured.

7. Munchausen’s Mike is also a terrible person, and I hope his life is lousy.

8. I haven’t had a normal meal since I was 12, which blows.

9. Vodka is a hell of a substance.

Also, here is a puppy with a puppy:

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Hi, I Haz a White Whine.

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  1. I cannot keep working two jobs while taking eighteen credit hours.
  2. I cannot listen to family members, who claim to be feminist, going on about how I’m a huge heinous bitch for setting boundaries and cutting toxic people out of my life.
  3. I cannot listen to “you’re going to die alone, with no one who loves you, and a huge house of cats.” Not from anyone, but especially not from family.
  4. I cannot pretend to like people who are misogynist, racist, or classist for any reason, but especially not for the sake of people who want me to perform femininity according to their exact specifications.
  5. I cannot keep living in South Dakota.
  6. I cannot deal with a former co-worker, who once pushed me against a wall, held a paper towel over my mouth, and asked me if it smelled like chloroform—who used to follow me around making jokes about murdering women—who made numerous rape threats—I cannot deal with this person harassing me on the dance floor, following me around, and forcing me to stare at his stupid weasel face while he thrusts his bony pelvis out. All I can think about is being shoved against the wall with all the hanging knives pressing into my back while he presses the paper towel against my mouth and tells me he’s going to follow me home after work. I cannot deal with this person; I hope he dies.
  7. I cannot shake all the terrible things I heard from terrible Mike, all the semi-consensual physical encounters, all the hurtful bullshit he said.
  8. I cannot eat like a normal person, and I want to. So fucking much.
  9. I should not blog while drunk.

On Making Good Choices

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Hey. Poor people. You need to listen the fuck up.

Ok now:

Y’all need to make better choices.

I mean really, what were you thinking, getting sick? And on a work day, too. If you really need to get sick, do it on your day off—after all, what else are you going to do? It’s not like you have a life outside work, and if you do, you shouldn’t. Poor people are supposed to work, and work, and then sleep maybe three hours a night, and do it all over again the next day. That’s poverty. In fact, if you have days off, you don’t count as poor, which means you just shouldn’t get sick at all. And no, constant work and sleep deprivation are not hard on your immune system; you just need some Emergen-C.

So, ok, don’t get sick. Getting sick fucks things up, because then, if you have to call into work, they sometimes require you to bring a doctor’s note, and if you don’t have health insurance you have to shell out extra money for a doctor’s visit, and you miss a day of work, so you end up paying out the ass to sit around feeling miserable, and why would anyone do that? God, what a stupid choice you just made.

You also need to manage your money better. You make minimum wage, right? That’s 7.25 an hour, and you work 35 hours a week (because if it’s under 40 your employer doesn’t have to offer benefits), so before taxes you make, what? 253.75 a week, which comes to 1015 a month. Now let’s knock off some money for taxes, ok? It varies by state, so we’ll pick something that sounds reasonable—let’s say you actually make 950 a month.

This is totally enough money to live comfortably.

Let’s say you’re a single person living cheap. Your apartment is 400 a month, and your utilities come to about 60, and your phone is about 100 (you with your fancy smartphone that you totally don’t need to communicate), and your internet is 60 (why do you have that, anyway? Yeah, you’re a college student, but since when do students need internet access?), and you have several bills you’re paying off with excruciating slowness—they total about 80 a month—so all that comes to…700. Ok, well, you still need food, right? Let’s budget about 35 a week, which makes 140 a month, which leaves you 60 a month to spend on everything else.

Good thing you don’t have a car, right? Gas, repairs, all that shit—not having a car is a wise choice, one of the few wise choices you’ve made. Of course, you should also be able to travel everywhere people with cars travel, at the same speed, and no, you don’t get to bitch about how hard it is on your stupid poor-person body, because you chose to be car-less. Maybe you should’ve made better choices, right? Seriously, do I have to explain everything to you people?

So you have sixty dollars. That’s enough, provided you don’t get sick, or have to buy books for classes (if you’re a student), or need to buy a bottle of wine to bring to a dinner party, or have any unexpected expenses, or basically live at all.

Oh wait. 950 a month comes to 11400 a year, which is above the poverty line. You’re not even technically a poor person, and you still can’t figure out how to manage your damn money. God, you suck.

What’s that? Uh, no, the government does not have a fucked-up idea of what counts as poverty, you’re just a really very dumb not-poor person.

And what is up with you needing things? You don’t need things. Rich people need things. Middle-class people also need things (sometimes), but you? You need a better work ethic and the ability to balance a checkbook.

Uh. You don’t…have a bank account? I cannot conceive of a single reason why a person with no money would not have a bank account. What a stupid choice.

Also—and I know this is kinda rude, or at least it would be, if you were a real person and not just a waste of my tax dolalrs—but why are you so fat? As Sean Hannity once said, (The United States of) America is the only country where all the poor people are fat. And it doesn’t make a damn bit of sense, because as everyone knows, healthy food is cheap, filling, and delicious. Why spend five dollars on a meal at MacDonald’s when you could spend that money on a single container of unprepared wheat pasta from your local health food store?

No, you don’t need calorie-rich food, I don’t care if you’re working a double today. One slice of bread with peanut butter will totally get you through, and if it doesn’t, you’re clearly not cut out to be poor.

If you can’t hack it, go forth and be rich. This isn’t rocket surgery, guys.

Swooping Back In to Drop a Rant on Alla Y’all

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So I read this stupid article the other day. It was called “8 Reasons Young Americans Don’t Fight Back: How the US Crushed Youth Resistance,” and while it had some semi-decent points, it was mostly very “man, the establishment and stuff.” Education, college included, is making us all conform to…something; television allows us to live in a fantastical dream world in which actions come consequence-free (dude. watch some crime shows, ok?); and most predictably, we’re all being medicated into compliance!!!

Which, no. No, no, no, no, no.

Setting aside how steeped in privilege this entire article is (how cute that the author has apparently never had to imagine the social and economic ramifications of not finishing high school), it’s also dumb in that very special fauxgressive, elitist, cis-het-male-able-bodied-middle-class-Caucasian kind of way. And it gave me an annoyed.

(Oh, and this is kinda off-topic, but just as a side note—what is it with the hand-wringing, pearl-clutching older generations who apparently cannot fathom the possibility that people who grew up with television and other technology would, in fact, be able to differentiate between TV, video games, and Real Life™? Violence, racism, misogyny, ablism, homophobia, transphobia—their presence in the media is a problem because it’s indicative of actual attitudes held by actual people, because their popularity suggests that bigotry is rampant, and because their prevalence reassures bigots that it’s all cool, don’t bother rethinking your bullshit. But the media is not dragging people into a Big Crazy Dream Land. People create entertainment, and then the media reinforces their bigotry. It works cyclically. The No-Good Terrible Very-Bad Media is not some kind of mysterious entity swooping down to corrupt us all.

Plz to not anthropomorphize the media kthanxbai.)

Anyway, here’s what I don’t get about the Meds Are Making Us Conform bullshit: well, everything, but my biggest problem with it is that, if you really want people to be malleable and ineffectual, you keep them sick. Right? I mean, before we had meds, we had…what? Institutions, and before that, nothing. Sick people just stayed sick, or got sicker, and eventually died.

If you deny treatment to someone with a physical ailment, whether they ignore the sickness or go into debt trying to buy treatment themselves, you have weakened them and taken some of their power. Is it really such a stretch to apply this to mental illness?

Oh wait. Yes it is. Because people get weird about mental illness.

If I had any doubt about the general public’s apparent inability to treat mental illness as a real thing that actually happens and is the fault of brain chemistry, not the person suffering from the illness, those doubts were put to rest the day Amy Winehouse’s death was first reported. Because here’s someone who stated publicly that she suffered from bipolar disorder, who became addicted to multiple substances, who wrote music about her addictions—and yet, after she died, I heard tons of people essentially saying “oh well, dead junkie is dead.”

Because yeah, that’s fair. Because this is totally the first time someone with bipolar disorder has ever developed a compensatory substance abuse problem, and clearly, it was entirely her fault.

I mean really. Obviously, I didn’t know Amy Winehouse, and I don’t know what her life was like, and I’m not going to pretend I had some deep personal investment in her well-being. That would be kind of creepy. And I don’t have bipolar disorder, so I can’t personally testify to how it feels. I do know plenty of people with BPD, one of whom is an immediate family member, so I’m fairly close to it, but no, I haven’t really been there.

And yet, I know better than to blame people for not winning the neuro-lottery. Crazy, right? (That’s not to say I won the neuro-lottery myself; I haven’t really. But I didn’t fare too badly, and I have plenty of other privilege that helps compensate for the problems caused by the issues I do have.)

People love to trot out Personal Responsibility as an excuse to ignore mental illness—because like, duh, you gottta take responsibility for your problems and stuff! It’s not even that I disagree; I think that sympathy, taken too far, can become coddling, which is enabling (and one of the reasons I prefer empathy to sympathy, but that’s a whole other post). I think it’s easy to slip into the role of an enabler, and I dislike arguments which assume that the mentally ill can never have any power or agency.

But.

First, there are people whose illnesses really are so severe that they literally cannot be held accountable for their actions. They don’t comprise the majority of the mentally ill, but they are there. The degree of their illness might be temporary, or it could be permanent, but they shouldn’t be ignored.

And second, I’m not going to jump on the Personal Responsibility bandwagon until our cultural attitudes toward mental illnesses change. I’m not going to criticize people for not seeking help when the likelihood that they will be shamed for it is so strong. Actually, I probably wouldn’t criticize them anyway, but you know.

Not to be one of those obnoxious self-referential bloggers who makes everything relate back to Me and My Issues, but I’ve dealing with this problem right now—because while I am finally, after years of being really fucking miserable, coming to recognize the depths of my issues with food, I cannot pick up the phone and schedule an appointment with a counselor. Part of the problem is that I’m tired, and used to feeling shitty, and terrified of gaining weight. But another part of it is the fear that I’m not sick enough, that I’m exaggerating, that I just need to go eat a waffle and go biking in the sunshine and listen to the birds chirp. (Or whatever.) Part of it is the fear that I’m just privileged and self-obsessed, and that the counselor is going to shrug and say, meh. You’re fine. You don’t look like someone with an ED. And part of it is simply not wanting to put up with the bullshit that comes when people discover you have a problem.

Which, whatever, I’ll be fine. But this just reinforces my anger when it comes to popular attitudes in re: mental illness, because really, what the fuck? I mean, I understand that there’s magical thinking at work here: the stubborn belief that people with diagnosed mental disorders are weak, that the contemptuous magical asshat in question isn’t weak, and therefore, that zie is immune from mental illness. Ok, fine, I get it. But it’s stupid and damaging.

And it enrages me (enrages, I say) when people who ostensibly support universal health care either make exclusions for mental illness, or pretend it’s a non-issue. No, it’s not. It’s really not. And sorry, but you don’t have the right to determine what kind of illnesses deserve treatment. You also don’t get to decide who deserves treatment, or for how long, or to what degree. You just don’t.

I wish I could write more on that subject, but now I’m pissy.

All I’m really asking, I guess, is that mental illness be treated as something real, as something harmful, and not as a sign of non-comformity and exciting independence. I also want this to be a genderless issue, but of course it isn’t. I remember when Amy Winehouse and Pete Doherty were both gaining notoriety in the States, and the ways they were discussed were, ah, radically different. Amy Winehouse?—worthless junkie, terrible person, and people kept making fun of her beehive and beat-up ballet flats. But Pete Doherty? He was a misunderstood genius with a boyish face, which could be totally cute if he just got off the heroin and started bathing again.

Basically, I want a world that encourages anyone suffering from mental illness to seek help, regardless of who they are, how affable they seem, how sympathetic their suffering is. I want treatment to be free, for as long as it’s needed. I want everyone to realize that no, medication isn’t Destroying Young Minds; when used appropriately, it empowers people who suffer from problems they never asked for.

I also want this post to be more coherent, but I have too many thoughts and not enough focus. Heh.

How You Know Your Restaurant Is Failing: A Series of One-Acts

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#1: Insurance? What’s That?

A four-top prepares to leave. The matriarch, a wizened old lady with two Manhattans in her system, rises slowly, leaning on her metal cane, then promptly topples over. Paprika, Parika’s bossy co-worker, and the matriarch’s daughters help her up; the woman appears unharmed, and is escorted out to her car by her daughters. They drive away, and Paprika and bossy co-worker walk into the kitchen. Paprika rolls silverware while bossy co-worker dries pint glasses.

Bossy Co-worker: Shit. I hope she’s okay.

Paprika: She seemed alright.

Bossy Co-worker: Yeah. It’s just, we don’t have insurance up front.

Paprika: Say what now?

Bossy Co-worker: We have it in the back, but not in the front.

Paprika: How the fuck does that work?

Bossy Co-worker: Illegally.

#2: Fuck OSHA

Paprika, having just washed the blender, attempts to dry it with a cloth. Somehow, she slices her finger open on one of the blades, and blood gushes forth. It’s really gross.

Paprika: What the hell? I already sliced my hand trying to cut brownies this morning. I suck.

Paprika goes into the bathroom and wraps her bleeding finger in a paper towel, then walks into the office, seeking band-aids. She is saddened but unsurprised to see that the first-aid kit is completely empty, so she improvises by tightening the paper towel around her finger and securing it in place with a hair tie. She goes into the kitchen, locates the restaurant’s one remaining dry erase marker, and kneels in front of the whiteboard. The kitchen manager walks up and stands behind her, arms crossed.

Kitchen manager: What’re you doing?

Paprika: Putting band-aids on the “need to order” list.

Kitchen manager: Good fuckin’ luck.

Paprika: I know.

Kitchen manager: Cyndi’s been trying to get me to buy them for you.

Paprika: What? I know she told you to bring your own once–

Kitchen manager: Yeah, now she wants me to buy them for the waitstaff too.

Paprika: But you’re the kitchen manager.

Kitchen manager: And she wants me to buy all the dry-erase markers.

Paprika: How about no.

Kitchen manager: How about fuck no.

#3: Nothing to Claim

Pepper and Paprika pull up in front of the “stove store,” a shifty business perpetually under construction, from which Paprika obtains her bi-weekly paychecks. Paprika exits the car, walks through the mess of construction, and finds Marlys, the dispenser of the paychecks.  Marlys hands Paprika her check, then gives her a Very Severe Look.

Marlys: You know, you need to be careful about how you claim your tips.

Paprika: Do I.

Marlys: Yes, you’re not claiming nearly enough.

Paprika: We’re not very busy. Sometimes there’s nothing to claim.

Marlys: And sometimes what you claim is less than ten percent of your sales.

Paprika (annoyed): Yeah, ok.

Marlys: It isn’t fair for you to be claiming so little–then the other employees have to make up for it.

Paprika: Right, well, have a good day.

Paprika walks out, swings Pepper’s car door open with great force, plops down in the passenger’s seat, and angrily relates the tale.

Pepper: Uh, what? Half the time when you work you don’t even make minimum, and they don’t compensate you for that.

Paprika: Oh, I know.

Pepper: And they pay you three dollars an hour, so…

Paprika: Uh-huh.

Pepper: And aren’t your credit card and check tips automatically reported?

Paprika: They sure are.

Pepper: And how the fuck are the other employees “making it up”?

Paprika: If they are it’s illegal. I don’t fucking know. Let’s go get ice cream.

#4: We Be Fancy

Paprika stands behind the bar, hunting for a bottle of the house cabernet. Bubbly co-worker starts making a daiquiri, then looks over at the perplexed Paprika.

Bubby co-worker: Are you looking for the house cab?

Paprika: Yeah.

Bubbly co-worker: We’re out. John’s having us use that Lucky Duck wine.

Paprika: Isn’t that, like, three dollars at Wal-Mart?

Bubbly co-worker: Two ninety-seven.

Paprika: So what are we charging for this?

Bubbly co-worker: Well, we’re supposed to be charging six-fifty a glass.

Paprika: What are we actually charging?

Bubbly co-worker: I haven’t decided yet.

Paprika: How about free? Can we do free?

#5: Seriously?

Paprika walks in to work, ties her apron around her waist, and immediately checks the 86ed list.  They’re out of: avocado, portabella, bleu cheese, two kinds of Riesling, spinach, feta, chocolate syrup, and bread.

Bread.

They’re out of bread.

How the fuck do you run out of bread?

Paprika: Man, I really hate being overworked and underpaid.

The Economy: Whatevs. I think it’s great!

/close curtains

You Will Never Take Up Too Much Space

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[TW for fat-shaming, disordered eating, narcissism]

My cousin has three children. Two of them are fat, and the other one is a boy.

I mean, let’s forget that they’re all about the same build, all athletic, all bursting with energy. Let’s forget that they all eat the same food, in approximately the same amounts, with the same enthusiasm. It doesn’t matter. Because the oldest one is “all boy!” and the girls are “pretty chubby amirite?!”

Apparently, pot bellies just aren’t normal on little girls, ok? And the youngest one, well, she likes butter just a little too much. /shakes head sadly

This is what I’ve learned from telephone conversations with relatives, anyway: that my cousin has fat daughters who need to go on a diet, and her son has a baseball game tomorrow, too bad I live so far away! (Trust me, it’s no pity. Southern Ohio is a shithole.)

I don’t know why people keep bringing this up around me, considering how pissy I get.

First, people have been telling these girls that they’re “chubby.” “Chunky monkeys” is apparently a name that gets used by people who are, you know, playfully teasing them. People pat the girls’ adorable potbellies and laugh, and then they diet-police. The girls eat such rich food (seriously guys, you’re a bunch of Germans—you all eat rich food); they’re “stocky”; their legs are “solid.” Not solid in a good way—not “able to act as functioning parts of the body” solid—but bad solid, “taking up too much space” solid.

My cousin’s nine- and seven-year-old daughters are taking up too much space.

Did I mention the nine-year-old had leukemia as a toddler? Yes, let’s body-police a little girl whose body betrayed her early on. Let’s make sure she never gets to just appreciate and enjoy her body, that once it’s able to perform its job adequately, she turns around and abuses it with unnecessary dieting.

I live far away from these people, and visit twice a year at the most. But I know exactly what they’re doing to these girls, because they did it to me. It’s not my cousin’s fault—actually, she’s being shamed right along with the girls, because how dare she not lose all her pregnancy weight? (And as for the possibility that some of her weight gain was caused by depression, uh, whatever.) But as for the rest of my relatives—very few of whom have attained the level of thinness they prize in others—well, I know them, and I know how they delight in fat-shaming.

I’m not “fat”; I never have been. But that made it worse in some ways, because I had a body that needed “preserving.” My gramma subjected me to weigh-ins, and other people felt comfortable saying things like “oh, you shouldn’t eat all that candy, it’ll make you chunky.” Well, no, you see, I eat candy all the time, and I stay this weight—so either you’re suggesting that I already am chunky, or you’re just full of shit.

When I was in my late teens and barely ate, it wasn’t uncommon to hear “you know, for as little as you eat, it’s amazing you weigh as much as you do.” Granted, I was fairly underweight at this point, with jutting ribs, a visible spine, and what I can only describe as “chicken chest,” but, you know, apparently I wasn’t thin enough.

But I didn’t understand how monumentally full of shit they were then, so I believed it, and I lived on somewhere between 20-40% of the daily recommended calories, and every once in awhile I would fast, and it hurt to sleep on my stomach, because, ribcage. I would pass out occasionally, and when I came to I would crawl to my fridge, sit on the floor and eat unwashed grapes out of the bag. My head hurt, I was dizzy, when I got up in the morning I had trouble walking across my tiny studio apartment. I was broke, so dieting saved me money, and I used that as my justification for hurting my body. I was fine, and this was just my normal weight, and clearly anyone who made comments about my skinniness was just “jealous.” I was a victim of “thin-shaming.” (Now I think that most of the people who made those comments were pretty well-intentioned, although they weren’t helpful. I twisted their comments into compliments. I enjoyed being Too Skinny. I thought it was great.)

I also had a horrible…not a boyfriend. I don’t know. A dude who infiltrated my life. And he was an active member of team You Should Lose Weight, even when I was significantly thinner than I am now. So he would say terrible things, and I would believe them, and magic! I would starve and be miserable.

And then I passed out once a day for five days in a row, and I got all dizzy and fell in the shower twice, and eventually I found myself sitting on the kitchen tile eating spoonfuls of sugar straight out of the bag—at which point I said, fuck this, I’m done. And I ordered a pizza.

I’m lucky, you know, in that I never developed a full-blown ED; for that I can probably thank my parents, who are great. But I still have fucked-up attitudes about food, and massive amounts of food-related guilt, and when some stupid dudebro points at my bag of Cheez-its and observes that “those aren’t healthy, hur hur hur” my responses range from hurt feelings to raging anxiety. Not counting calories is a conscious decision, clothes shopping is a miserable experience, I refuse to look at my body unclothed and/or from certain angles, the only shirts I’ll wear with jeans come below my hips (or I’ll wear a longer tank top under a normal-sized t-shirt), and I never prepare full meals because, guilt. I snack on the sly or eat meals prepared by others, because it requires less preparation, which means I have less time to guilt trip myself.

So, my cousin’s daughters? They don’t need this shit, but they’re getting it anyway. And I don’t know what to say to them, except that they will never take up too much space, that as far as I’m concerned, they will never take up enough—that they’re healthy, that they’re beautiful, and that even if they weren’t, they would still be fantastic and important. And that their fat-shaming relatives are full of shit, a quality exponentially worse than being full of food.