Archive for the ‘Work Life’ Category

I have worked as a barista in a cafe setting for two years now.  We sell all kinds of delicious and high-fat pastries.

I am fat and well into plus-sizes.  Because of this I was timid, at first, to say anything of a body acceptance nature as a fat woman.  I feared judgement that I was just trying to make thin women like me** or that I was just trying to justify my fatness*** or something along those lines.   It has been a good long time (over a year at the very least) since I made the decision to speak out when I felt like it and I am happy to say that it has all gone very well.


My worry surfaced again when I hired onto a cafe in a more thin-obsessed atmosphere, but again it has worked out okay.  In fact, women face with the smothering atmosphere of thin-focused fatness (my cafe is in a famous department store) they seem very much ready to have their body-hate challenge.  Sometimes they even seem to give me large tips for it.****  I sure didn’t expect that given the height of fat-hating panic in this country.  I suspect that most women already think some of the ideas that the fatosphere promotes in the back of their minds, but are afraid to let it surface in the face of all the fat-hate and body-hate in our worlds.  But, hearing someone say it, even if it is fat me, seems to help them let go a bit.


I wish more people could speak-up so that more people might let go…  But, thank you to those of you who do fearlessly speak-up.  You are awesome.





*For those of you who aren’t familiar with the “advice animals” meme (ie: the picture heading this post), this is Courage Wolf.  He wants you to love yourself.

**I don’t think I can make thin people fat anymore than I think I can make fat people thin.  Weight has high genetic correlation.

***I just like to spread the body-love message.

****The women who do get into conversation with me after I have challenge some body-hating or diet statement tend to give me the nicest tips.







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I’ve decided it is time for another random post.  Surprisingly, people were actually still commenting on my poor neglected blog (your comments have now been approved).  Thank you to all who still lurk. 

I am still practicing and growing with HAES.  I am no paragon, but I am growing stronger every day and my latest challenge inspired me to come back to AGR to post. 

I have a new job.  The place where I used to tend cafe and make lattes has gone out of business and I was lucky enough to find a very similar job before the final day of my old job.  So, here I am again, a barista in a small corner of a retail store. 

Had I known what I was getting into I probably wouldn’t have taken the job.  In terms of body acceptance, I am now working in a very toxic environment.  There are a myriad of other problems most of them cartoonish in their ridiculousness, but I will stick to the body hate for the purposes of this post. 

My supervisor is a happy member of the food police and the store where I work is generally full of women on diets and who want to talk about their diets all the time.  At first (I started end of April) I was very intimidated and angry.  I feared that I would be dragged back into diet hell… or even worse: eating disorder hell.  I was very angry and very defensive.

But, I have overcome and I was stronger than I realized. 

I have seen women get upset that their favorite food item had 10 calories more than a food item they didn’t really like, but buy the less favored item anyway for the sake of 10 freakin’ calories.  I have seen my supervisor who admits that an extremely important goal right now is to build sales at our cafe barely restrain herself from chastising teenagers who dared to buy both a sugary drink with a chocolate chip cookie (“DON’T YOU KNOW HOW UNHEALTHY THAT IS???!!!”)  I have several coworkers (and I generally see more than one of them every day I work) who are dieting right now and are deep in the obsession of weight loss, food rules and self-hate… and, boy, do they like to talk about it too.  One of these dieting people makes sure never to work on Wednesday nights so she can watch (and obsess over) “The Biggest Loser” (a ridiculous body-hating monstrosity of a show). 

But, I am doing okay. 

I am able to more calmly challenge (when I choose to) my food policing supervisor.  I have learned that I am able to just mentally roll my eyes and move on with life when I hear more diet tripe.  I’m not fighting every possible battle.  It is too exhausting and isn’t going to win any wars for me anyway, but I am not keeping quiet either.  I am learning balance in my resistance. 

Maybe this situation has made me stronger, but I think that mostly it has just revealed to me that I was already a lot stronger than I knew.  It feels really good.  I’m starting to more intuitively understand the connection between challenges and personal growth and am starting to appreciate challenges a lot more (I always understood this rationally, but could never quite convince myself of the logic regardless…).  Life just feels better and I feel more secure in my body-acceptance in this world full of body-hate and diet-talk.  It feels pretty darn good. 

It will be interesting to see how these work relationships turn out with all my agitating for body-acceptance.  Perhaps they will be the inspiration of more blog posts, but I’m sure those posts will be spaced out in time kind of randomly.  😉

And yeah, I know the mermaid picture* doesn’t really jive with the topic of my post.  I just love the picture… and so there she is.  Enjoy!


*Link to awesome mermaid picture:  http://browse.deviantart.com/?qh=§ion=&q=fat+acceptance#/dt8hpu

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Gunshot.jpg Gunshot image by GoldMageAce

I experienced tragedy in the middle of May.  My life will never be the same again. 

A couple of my friends were murdered in a senseless and horrible way.  I was in shock for a couple of weeks and I still keep thinking I’ll see one of the two friends at any minute…like they are not gone.  My heart aches and will for a very long time.

I’ve coped as I always have…I’ve eaten.  I’ve been trying very hard to make sure I’m really hungry before I eat but I’ve also been keenly aware of when I’m eating to cope.  It really doesn’t matter at this point.

About a week prior to the murders, I finally found a therapist in my very long search for one.  My appointment is scheduled for tomorrow and it couldn’t have come at a better time.  On top of the stress from the tragedy, my workload has doubled and I’m not coping with that very well.  I had a meltdown at work yesterday and voiced my very harsh opinions to a supervisor – of course as always, nothing helps.

I took off work today because I felt like I needed a me day.  I slept until 2:30 this afternoon and I sat out on my back patio.  I did nothing and it really didn’t help because it just left me time to think about all that’s going on.

I’m afraid I’m going to lose it at the therapists office tomorrow and she’ll think I’m totally crazy.  I’m not crazy but I know I’m feeling helpless, hopeless and exhausted.  I’m also feeling desperate – desperate to be heard, desperate for a new job or help with my current one, desperate for one night’s sleep that’s uninterrupted with horrible thoughts of the tragedy or funny memories from when they were alive.

I could type forever but I’m going to close for now.  Think about me tomorrow as I go for my first therapy session.  If she doesn’t admit me to the nearest psych ward, maybe I’ll be able to give you an update tomorrow night.

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abi eating

Sometimes posting is hard…  I’ve been taking on extra shifts here and there, I had a super-crabby time o’ the month, I’ve been feeling like I’ve been coming down with something for a week now (but it’s never come to fruition… weird…) and somehow life still hasn’t felt like a struggle enough to inspire some kinda post.  😉  It’s the hard times that really get me writing the good stuff.  So, I’m going to throw a few small things together that have been floating around in my mind…

Like the pic?  Abilene has discovered that she can find the freshest kibble by just waddling right into the bag of kibble and eating there.  Who likes stale kibble anyway?!  Ha!  She has also discovered the stick-shift when I take her for drives.  She likes to rub her face on it while I shift gears.  She’s ridiculously adorable. 

My neighborhood TJ Maxx moved the women’s plus size clothes over to the men’s part of the store.  In the past, this would’ve caused a two week long triggered episode followed by a starvation diet.  I’m happy to say that I’m merely annoyed.  I really wish folks would consider the perspective of fat women (and fat folks in general, except that fat men at this store can find all kinds of neat clothes and their clothes aren’t exiled to a “plus” section or some other part of the store…).  I spent so many years of my life having to buy my clothes from the men’s section, because the women’s plus-size stuff was so not flattering and I couldn’t find anything that fit decently in the other women’s sections.  It hurt that the best clothes I could find were in the men’s section.  I know the teenage me would’ve felt really hurt at finding the women’s plus-size moved in between men’s suits and men’s undies.  Plus size women’s clothes in this store got bumped for a few section with shampoos and lotions.  Not cool.  To ice the cake, this store is chock full of clothes options for even the very fat man and those men aren’t even exiled to a plus sized section (let alone a plus sized section near women’s undies).  They can find their 3X’s right there with the men’s mediums.  The implication being that very fat men are normal (which they are) and that fat women (not to mention very fat women) aren’t normal (and all flavors of fat women ARE NORMAL, darn it!).  I still love TJ Maxx and will still go there.  I’m also very happy with the sweet jeans I found there.  I love them and I’m pretty sure my hubby is really going to like them.  😉  But still… not cool, TJ Maxx.  You can do better!

I have accidentally created the perfect pair of shoes.  Danskos + trainers in-soles placed right on top of Danskos in-soles = heaven.  Even after spending $130 on special super-comfy shoes for my standing all the time job, I’ve still had a lot of foot pain.  Danskos helped me have less pain than ever before, but the shoes were really loose.  They were long enough for my long feet, but my toes and heel are actually really flat, so my feet were swimming in those shoes.  Add some Asics in-soles and woah!  Pain free!  Whooo hoooooo!  Thanks again to commentor Aud for recommending Danskos!

Part of the reason that I haven’t been posting is that I’ve been working a lot on learning new ways to manage my own struggles and life in general.  You know when I’m having a lot of success, because I will go very quiet to focus on learning more and seeing what else I can accomplish with new methods.  For example, I’ve figured out that affirmations work a lot better if I visualize my affirmation as opposed to just focusing on the words.  Apparently, some part of my brain really needs to see pictures of what I want to accomplish before it can get into gear to help me out to get there.  For another example, I have a lot of fear of people… which makes working with the public difficult.  I’ve discovered that visualizing myself being wayyyyyyyyyy bigger (like 10 feet tall… LOL) makes me feel safe, able to cope and able to manage the interactions with confidence.  Given that I’ve been looking for finance jobs to get back into and my burn-out from my last finance experience, I’ve found it very helpful and important to learn to cope and manage… life, work… everything… anything… in the hopes that I will be able to thrive in my chosen trade this time around.  Well… we shall see.  Wish me luck. 

The kitties are trying to beat down their bedroom door, so they can escape and eat some breakfast.  I suppose it’s time to let them out, before they try to turn Abilene into a battering ram.  😛


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I’m going to ramble a bit about all the stuff I’ve been up to and hope that it will circle back to acceptance and/or related topics.  😉  Wish me luck…

As some of you may have already read in a comment that I posted, I got that bookstore job.  Monday through Friday was exhausting with all the training.  Had the training not included giant manuals of corporate procedure and hours of standing around with two other trainees reading outloud, it prolly wouldn’t have been as tiring or as frustrating.  It took every ounce of my will to not scream in frustration at the 20 minute hand-washing training.  No freakin’ joke.  Ya see, we’re all starting out in the in-store gourmet coffee joint.  Management wants new-hires cross-trained and trained in cafe first.  After we master this, we can start branching out.  But, yeah, the 20 minute hand-washing thing struck me as such an insult to intelligence.  I am sure that this is mandatory for legal reasons, but… just yuck.  It did not feel good to be so condescended to.  Grrrr. 

After the first few days of depressing training in stuff I already know and that I’d hope the average chimpanzee would know, things improved greatly.  It’s actually been fun.  After my last job, this one is a piece of cake.  I could do this in my sleep.  It is also pretty darn nice to have a physical job.  I am burned out on sitting at a desk for hours on end.  I’m burned out from being physically tired from physical inactivity.  Agh, the irony!  That problem is solved anyway.  Check.  The employee discount is ridiculously sweet.  We’ll be saving a mint with the book discount, which makes up for the pay. 

I’ve also learned an important lesson about shoes.  Good shoes are REALLY, REALLY, REALLY important.  After all these years in desk jobs, I forgot the important of good shoes.  Sheesh.  My first few days, my left leg actually went numb from the inadequacy of my newly purchased, expensive Grasshopper shoes.  So, I pulled out my gym shoes.  My old gym shoes actually made the pain tolerable.  Yesterday, I got a new pair of really awesome Asics with all sorts of gel and padding and stability and whatnot.  I cannot wait to try them out and see how they feel! 

Now I actually will circle back to acceptance.  Oh, silly me…. let me tell you what I’ve been doing to myself for years… sigh.  I have been blaming myself for shoes that weren’t any kind of good fit for me.  I didn’t realize I was doing this, but I know it quite clearly now.  I have a few nasty little pairs of shoes in mind when I say this.  I just assumed that my lack of exercise was making my feet hurt and that’s why it sucked to walk or jog or whatever.  My idiotic biological father (who I have no contact with anymore, because he is an abusive stalker jerk – but that’s another story) convinced me of this years ago, when I still spoke to the MO-ron.  I had some foot pain, which he chalked up to me being overweight and fairly inactive.  He was wrong.  It was bad shoes.  Sadly, it has taken me several years to realize this.  Sigh…   My feet are just fine with the right shoes, thank you very much.  So, geeeee… maybe those Merrell sandals that hurt my feet from day one (though I didn’t feel this in the store… I only felt it after I could walk in them for more than five minutes) simply weren’t right for me.  I wasn’t too fat or inactive for the sandals.  Grrrrr… grumble… grumble…. grrrrrrrrrrrrr…..  With a new pair of sandals that suit me much better, all that pain that I never had before those Merrell sandals is completely gone. 

It always surprises me when that old “everything is fat’s fault” thinking comes back.  The culture is simply so saturated with it that I am convinced that I’ll be combatting this thinking until the day I die… or otherwise leave this stronghold of thin worship and fat hate. 

I had a similar experience when I went digging through my closet for a certain pair of shorts.  I couldn’t find them.  All I could find was all these shorts that are a size too small, but I keep them around cuz my weight is always fluxuating.  I’d rather not have to re-buy the smaller sizes if I lose weight.  With the anti-depressants and such that I’m on, I never know how my weight will be effected.  So, like Sas described in her last post, I got all the horrible self-hating thoughts that come with not having clothes that fit.  I caught myself thinking about dieting even.  Meh.  The really interesting bit is that when I finally found the shorts in my current size that I was looking for (and some other clothes that I was looking for that fit my body as it is now), I suddenly felt fine about my body.  I no longer felt ashamed or not good enough for clothes or whatever.  Yet again I realize how hugely important it is to have comfortable and well-fitting clothes available to us EVERY DAY.  It’s just not worth going through all the emotional anguish of not having clothes that feel right and fit well.  Clothes are important!!  Or so… I am realizing.  😉

In other news, hubby and I are trying to lure Mr. Orange (the stray cat that we feed) into a large cage with tuna in it.  Apparently, he’s bonkers for tuna.  If we can trap him in time, he has a vet appointment tomorrow morning to get his shots updated and to get some virus tests.  If all goes well, he could be in a no-kill shelter tomorrow afternoon.  We shall see…  It is storming today and Mr. Orange doesn’t like to visit us when it’s thundering.  Then there’s the noisy air and water show that we can hear all the way in my burb that isn’t helping things.  It may take us a few more days than planned to trap our little stray friend, but I am confident that we will succeed and soon! 


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How many times in my life have I said that?  Too many to count!

My boss is on Weight Watchers with his wife and to date, he’s lost a little over 30 pounds.

So I’m headed out the door to get some chinese take out for lunch and I ask him if he’s going to lunch.  He replies, “I can’t eat today, I’m weighing in tonight.”  For the briefest of brief nanoseconds I felt guilty for going to get chinese.

For 2 or 3 days now I have felt pretty much off kilter as far as my eating was concerned.  I figured out this morning why that was.  I wasn’t feeding my body what it wanted.  I have been seriously craving chinese food since about Monday and I just kept putting it off thinking I didn’t “need” it or I didn’t really know what I wanted.  At about 11:00 this morning I made the decision to trust my body and I put my faith in the fact that it knows what it wants.  It wanted chinese food!

I gotta tell ya, it was delish!  It hit the spot and I feel so good for having listened to my own body.  No guilt, just a satisfying feeling of trusting my body and feeding it what it wanted.  I do wish I had listened earlier but I’m still learning to trust a body whose mind has been severely brainwashed into believing in dieting and restriction.

Back to my bosses comment:  I can remember the last time I was on Weight Watchers…our meetings were on Wednesday nights.  I was so gung ho that “this time I was going to do it!”  (“it” being “I was going to be “good and succeed”, pish posh!)  On Wednesdays, I would do exactly as my boss is doing now and would starve myself or eat the minimum to get me through to 6:00 (the dreaded weigh in time).  I would let the number on that scale determine:  a.) my worth, b.) how I spent that evening treating myself, c.) if I was going to be in a good mood or if I was going to sull up and not speak to anyone, etc….  However, regardless of how I did on the scale, right after the meeting I would head to the nearest Burger King, order a king sized whopper meal WITH CHEESE, go home and scarf it all down in a matter of minutes.  No enjoyment!  Starvation!  Punishment!  Celebration!  It could fit any occassion I wanted it to – weight loss or weight gain.

The point is, my restriction led to my bingeing.  Bottom line.  Dieting is restricting.   Your body can only live so long without having what it really wants.  It will rebel.  It will make you miserable (if not physically, emotionally).  If you want a cookie, eat a cookie.  If you want a cookie and eat pizza instead, you’re not listening to your body.  If your body wants a cookie and asks you for it and you deny it, you will end up eating everything in sight thinking your doing the right thing but you won’t feel satisfied until you get that craving taken care of.  (or in sassy terms:  EAT THE DAMN COOKIE!)

What do you want to bet that after my boss weighs in tonight and loses whatever he does (or gains), he goes and pigs out afterward?  His body is starving I’m sure because he not only said he couldn’t eat today but he said yesterday he couldn’t eat any lunch he is extra hungry.  I foresee some major rebellion coming from his body once he stops dieting!


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Check it out!  Teeny maple leaves!  LOL…

Back to the point of this post.  😉  I used to think that I would only be really free if I had no needs or opinions.  Needs and opinions would limit me.  This especially came to mind in terms of getting or keeping a job.  I have been very shy to have any needs or preferences at all… as if I am supposed to be some slave to whoever employs me.  *headdesk*  I’m rethinking all these things now that I’m applying for jobs and reframing my needs as being something that FREES is touching my life in so many little ways that have nothing to do with the job hunt… it’s just lovely!

I’ve felt like I shouldn’t have any preference as to working full-time or part-time.  The thing is that my fiance has a job that pays very well.  We don’t NEED me to work full-time.  Working part-time would be very advantageous, because the extra free-time could be used to make sure dishes actually get washed and bills get paid on time… things that didn’t happen so well when both of us were working full-time (and a lot of over-time as well…).  However, I dunno… I had something stuck in my head about it being my “duty” to make as much money as possible – screw whatever I want or whatever he wants or whatever might make for a better work/life balance.  I’ve been ignoring what I really felt was right for me..  While I gave lip-service to the part-time idea, I didn’t really take it seriously… and I have a feeling that may have been because it was exactly what I did prefer.  Cuz, ya know… if I prefer it, it must be the “easy” way.  It must be the “lazy” way.  There’s some healthy self-respect for ya, eh?  *headdesk* 

Today I realized that part-time is something that I’d really like to try out.  It would give us that little extra infusion of cash so that we can afford some small treats in life and I would still have enough time outside of work to make sure we have clean-undies and stuff.  It’s not that the boyfriend will not do house-work.  He will.  However, he really loves his job and his job takes really good care of us, so I feel like my being able to focus on these things to some extent could work very well. 

The neat bit is that acknowledging and honoring my preferences and needs here feels FREEING.  It doesn’t feel limitting… it doesn’t feel confining – like I always feared it would.  What do you know?!?! 

I’ve been noticing this theme in my life so much lately… this thing about honoring needs being freeing rather than limitting.  Eating before I’m starved is freeing – not some annoying inconvenience… for example. 

I have a feeling this feeling that having needs is somehow imprisoning is something that many of our readers can relate to… Have you been there?  Where are you at with getting over it?  If you have overcome this issue, how did you do so?


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