6 out of 71

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6 out of 71.

That’s how many cookbooks by black authors I have. One more anxiously awaited.

71 books on one book shelf, so that’s not including the many others shelved, and shoehorned and dotted in other places around the house. Probably another hundred or so, so 6 out of say 200.

Now. This is not bad per se, it’s certainly not conscious bias. It’s made up of books bought for me by other people, presents and oh Lisa will like that book and my usual love of anything Mediterranean and Middle Eastern but I wonder…does it occur to my wonderful friends that buy me amazing things, that I like all kinds of cooking, and if it doesn’t, why not? It doesn’t make me a bad person, or my taste in books wrong, but it does make me question the vibes and messages I give out.

Questioning why that occurs is good. This is no breast beating moment, no “ohh I am so awful!” cry because that presents as both fake, horribly naive and moves the focus onto me. It’s not about me. It is about learning, however awkward it may make me feel.

Broadening my cooking repertoire is always good, it’s something I try to do. Widening my knowledge of techniques, of ingredients is exciting so searching my shelves and being surprised and then cross at how much was missing from them was a good thing, because I can buy more – and I have – but…those authors, those books, that history of cooking that stretches back centuries to the plains, valleys, mountains of Africa, through them on to the Caribbean, and on to the USA and across the cold pond to our tiny Britain that needs to be promoted far, far better than the largely Caucasian world of publishing has done so far. I want to see those authors raised up, their cuisines explored as much as possible, the origins of foods we eat now investigated and rejoiced in by the mainstream food world. Not just the familiar, the smiling yellow patty, and the soothing rice and peas, the spike and heat and zing of jerk, but way more, and more in depth. The unfamiliar needs to come right to the fore so it can become the familiar.

Read:

Mrs Malinda Russell: https://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015091768104

Edna Lewis – The Taste of Country Cooking

Pearl Bailey: https://www.abebooks.co.uk/PEARLS-KITCHEN-EXTRAORDINARY-COOKBOOK-Pearl-Bailey/4889816332/bd

Sheila Ferguson: Soul Food https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/603329.Soul_Food

Marcus Samuelsson: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Marcus-Samuelsson/e/B001IGUO5Q/

Explore:

https://www.instagram.com/nyeshajoyce/

https://www.instagram.com/yewande_komolafe/

https://www.instagram.com/mashamabailey/

https://www.instagram.com/rayanthonybarrett/

https://www.instagram.com/korshawilson/

https://marcussamuelsson.com/

https://www.instagram.com/kardeabrown/

https://www.instagram.com/zoeadjonyoh/

https://www.instagram.com/andioliver/

https://www.instagram.com/thecookinggene/

https://www.instagram.com/foodculturist/

https://www.instagram.com/sunnyanderson/

Samin Nosrat also has many more listed – https://www.instagram.com/ciaosamin/

Dignity

What does dignity mean to you?


I had a discussion with a nurse this morning who was feeling embarrassed on my behalf when she had to wash my nether regions.
I can understand where she felt that way because it’s a difficult thing to do that for somebody else when you are desperate not to embarrass them.

I get it I really do so I tried to explain something to her in the best way I could.
Dignity is not in the way that I feel, dignity comes from how she treats me.

There is an old school of health professional that treats patients just like cargo, pieces of meat to be poked and prodded, shouted at, told what to do because we’re like children all the while forgetting that there is a human being in here too with a life of experience behind us. Unless we have the misfortune to be confused, we know our meds, we know our bodies, we are the ones with the medical condition and we are the ones inside the body that is coping with pain.

How my nurse treated me this morning gave me dignity. She was as gentle with me as she would have been with her own child and I explained to her that this is what gave me dignity. She gave it to me in buckets and washcloths full from how she brushed my hair down to how she dried my feet. Remember the lady wiping Jesus’ feet with her hair? She paid him respect and thereby gave him dignity

After a lifetime of being poked and prodded by gynaecologists, neurologists, nurses, doctors etc I have very little embarrassment left in me, probably none truth be told and very few of those health professionals have ever impinged on my dignity. They have treated me as an adult, and as a human being with feelings.
One ridiculously puffed up man treated me as just a lump of fat to be given pills to reduce my size when in fact the problem I was there for was an endocrine system problem. I refused to pay his bill and, oddly, he never chased payment.

Nurse Ade treated me with care, and dignity, therefore I felt dignified.

She laid her hand on my face as she left saying “You just ask for me. Where is my Ade? And I will come.”

It doesn’t take much. But it means mountains.

A night at the hospital

Well to be fair it’s actually many nights. I’ve been here since Tuesday last week, first an ambulance then a good 12 hours in A&E and then another ambulance to a rather lovely hospital for rehabilitation.


When one is careless enough to break both shoulders one must expect to put up with these things.

This rehabilitation ward seems quite special. It’s made up of lots of little private rooms and you get 24/7 care. The nurses here will look after every single aspect of your stay including those bits that nobody wants to talk about.

This was not my plan for an Easter weekend but it has been my Easter weekend and all the nurses here have been fabulous.

First room I was in was on the assessment ward. You have to stay there until you have had three negative covid tests and then you can move on to the main hospital ward. Thankfully it is still made up of small rooms each with their own occupant in varying degrees of decrepitude. I count myself among those obviously.
Last night it was complete silence, barely any noise at all from anybody because the chronic whistling man had been moved to another room. I think most of us were quite grateful.

This larger space has far more people and thus far more noise but I have headphones and a door that can close. I spent my afternoon reading alternated with gazing out of the window in amazement at the spring snow. Yes. Snow.

So long as I didn’t move I could imagine it was just a normal day, sitting quietly reading and not thinking about anything else.
But as it gradually got darker and the painkillers wore off I started remembering why I was here.

A broken or fractured shoulder is is a weird thing. Yes you have pain from break but most of the pain comes from the soft tissue damage that has occurred from your fall. The tops of both my arms are currently black and purple from bruising and it’s that bruising which causes spikes in pain.
You think everything is fine and then suddenly there is a sharp ripple as pain works its way across your back. Suddenly nothing is comfortable again and you have to wait for the painkillers to kick in why are the muscles in the top of your arm feel like they are on fire.

The noises across the ward are many and varied. One old lady singing to herself quietly in her room, a nurse humming a church song and a man who alternates between calling for Jesus, and shouting for his mother. He is EXTREMELY loud and I think most of us I hoping he gets a good night sleep so that we do do.
But whatever happens these night-time staff are here for us, working long hours and doing some of the most unpleasant tasks.
They smile and they bring us tea. They wave a packet of biscuits at you with a grin and gently administer both painkillers and laughter.

I am determined to do something for them when I finally get out of here. Or perhaps even before I do.

This is being written using speech to text. Please forgive any mistakes.

Every Day

I am lucky. Or, rather, I have been lucky so far. I’m a big lass, always have been, and apparently when I’m wandering around I usually have the Don’t Mess with Me face on. I had no idea about this until someone confessed to me at college that they were scared of me. (Thank you Janet Scantlebury, class of 1989, for making me realise how my face looked.)

I’m lucky in that men don’t really catcall me, unless it’s to call me fat, which is highly unoriginal and when answered with “Yes, and?” seems to have no follow up smart remark, as they mumble and drive off fast.

I’m well past the age of wolf whistling builders, and I think I got all the Bad Men Experiences out of the way before I turned 20.

I’m tall, hefty, and loud if needed. I’ve done the door at clubs, I’ve managed to back men out of the club door simply by using the power of corseted cleavage.

I’ve faced down myriad childhood demons, and conquered them to the best of my knowledge. I have faced an abuser, and made peace with that.

I’ve flown thousands of miles on my own, and not felt scared shut in a metal tube in the sky.

And yet…and yet…

I don’t walk in the darker places if I don’t have to, just in case.
I have walked with keys poking out through my fingers, just in case.
I have had my phone gripped in my hand, ready to call, but hidden, just in case.
I wear my bag slung across my body, held close to me, just in case.
I will move away, change carriage, get off a bus and get the next one, just in case.
I will always tell people where I am going, and text when I get there, just in case.

I have thought of how best to deal with Certain Situations should they happen.
I have casually assessed the merits of fight/flight/go limp/befriend/praise/stay silent.
I stay ready to jump in if another woman looks like they need a ‘friend’.
I refuse to move out of the way of men who seem determined to walk right into me, and I put THEM off balance.
I stay alert in a train crush, assessing how to deal with the Wandering Hand when it happens.
I wear heavy boots when commuting, because they feel safe, and toes that get too close will not survive under their heels.
I jam earbuds in, and refuse to engage.
I cross the road to avoid groups of men.
I’m Memorable.
I’m Easy to Spot.
I stay in after dark.
I never get in cabs that I haven’t booked.
I carry a battery pack so that my phone is never out of charge.
I work out routes, I plan the ‘safest’ options.

This is my everyday brain. Every day.

Power. Real power.

In Poland, at this moment, millions of women are on strike. They won’t drive, they won’t cook at home, they won’t go to work. They have refused to do anything they normally do for a week already, in order to protest against the far right government’s ban on abortion. I am assuming it is, yet again, men deciding what women are allowed to do with their own bodies.

The laws were already some of the most strict in Europe. Hospitals are already turning women away.

I am pro choice, so if you are not, I am not the person for you to follow.

When we think about power, what do we think of? Money? Weapons? High up jobs? All of those? But how about if we think of power as something different. Something far more difficult to measure than a salary, or the amount of missiles or bombs or planes that you own.

The majority* of women cook, clean, feed children, raise children. Drive those children to and from school, to clubs, and sports, and choir practice, and Saturday clubs.
They feed husbands, operate machinery, coordinate office work and home life, juggle families and work families.
They create code, design buildings, sweep floors, cut hair, pull pints, make pizzas, cook spaghetti just the way you like it, paint beautiful art and write amazing books. They know where the keys are, who had the remote last, how to work the oven, how on earth the washing machine runs, where that thingummybob was and how long to cook a ready meal for. How to load the dishwasher, how to unstack it, and then where everything goes again.

They know where the money goes and how much to divvy up to what bill. They know which child hates tomatoes but loves eggs, which one can’t eat mushrooms or peanuts or kale or drink milk. They know how to make a dinner from very little, and can conjure up a birthday present when everybody else has forgotten. Odds on they will know which person at work has an allergy, or a severe phobia or loves daisies or hates pink.

They know the passwords to those everyday websites everyone uses, or the log ins to laptops and iPads. What food the cat needs, where to buy it from, what supermarket delivers and on what day and for how much. What day the bins go out, when the library is open, if the vet is open on a weekend after the dog eats yet another shoe.

Mum! MUM! Where’s my [anything and everything from food to shoes to knickers to keys to pills to acne cream]
Love, did you see where I put my [keys/remote/best trousers/tie/money/wallet/mobile/shower gel/passport/tickets/glasses]

They know where ‘the side’ is, and especially what particular ‘side’ the thing you lost is on.

They do so much that nobody sees. That nobody measures. Oftentimes they do this whilst also having a full time career, and supporting others within that role.

They innovate, they create, they design, engineer, and build. They educate, pass on a lifetime of wisdom, offer an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on.

Imagine if all of that just…stopped. All of it. Absolutely every single thing that was done by them, for others. No dinners, no clean rooms, no tidied kitchens, no washed dishes. No phones answered, no errands run.
Imagine if the 783,343k women in the UK NHS stopped working, all at once. All cleaners, all the mums, all the carers, secretaries, PAs, executive assistants, directors, CEOs, COOs, waitresses, dancers, strippers, sex workers. Engineers, designers, checkout girls, air stewardesses. Police officers, pilots, captains, bus drivers and train drivers.

If we stopped, all of us, every single one of us, all at the same time, for a week or more?
That is power.
We have it.
We need to know and acknowledge that we have it.
We need to feel it, and be proud.

Protests in Poland this week

* I know, men cook/clean/chauffeur kids too. Mostly though, the balance still tips he other way, even in 2020.

So, how’s furlough been for you?

I’m not looking forward to this question, I admit. It’s been pretty good actually, all things considered, but being on furlough has lead to all kinds of feelings surfacing that I wasn’t used to.

So. A Letter to Colleagues.

Hello everyone,

It’s good to see you all again, even if it is virtually. Zooming and Teams are the new black and all that. Being at home has been both wonderful, and exhausting. Wonderful because I am an utter home body, always have been. Exhausting because from April until very recently, I became an In House Caterer. Cooking and planning food for 3, mostly day in day out, is not as easy as it sounds. I wasn’t used to it on a daily basis, and trying to think up new things was hard. I felt very guilty for being the only one not working, so lounging about reading or watching TV had to become an allowable treat, if that makes any sense at all.

I know technically I didn’t have to cook Fun Things for all, as nobody is very demanding, but when those others are working flat out, I want their food to be as good as it can be. Something nice for them – and me – to enjoy at the end of a day.

There’s also an odd sense of waiting, as when you are on furlough you can be recalled with 24 hours’ notice, so every day you’re thinking “Is it today?” and you never quite relax. Well, I don’t, anyway.

My brain has been in fight or flight mode since Lockdown started, and it hasn’t let up yet. I think it was actually easier when everyone was in total lockdown, as there was a routine of sorts, but now…nobody knows what on earth is going on, or quite what to do! I haven’t been able to concentrate properly on anything

Getting back to a routine will be good for me. I hope. Take care everybody, and in the meantime, this:

JFGI

I’ve realised that recently something has been irritating me far more than it used to, but then I also realised that it is happening far more than it used to, so that’s probably why it’s bugging me more.

It’s the simple action of someone else wanting you – very probably subconsciously – to do the work for them. I see it all over, questions to celebrities: where did you get that jumper? Where’s that plate from? Where do you buy your clothes? What eyeliner is that?
These questions seem to get asked within seconds of a post going up.

Have we lost the art of Looking It Up? Do we no longer realise that we have the internet at our fingertips, literally, and so you can do a Google search in the time it’s taken you to type out a question, thereby wanting the original poster to do it for you.

It’s not just celebs, who are probably used to this slightly impolite nonsense (there’s rarely a please) but I’ve got it, and friends of mine too.

“RECIPE!” is a demand, not a polite request, by the way. People need to rephrase things. When you post a photo of your dinner, and say “Ohh, I just made this dinner up, and it’s fab.” and some wag says “Can I have the recipe?”
Oh, sure, when I’ve eaten it, sat down for a while, done the dishes, figured out what I actually did, and then typed it all up for you…

Most of the time I am actually able to help, but not always, and I will admit that sometimes I fail to see why I should when on many occasions the answer is actually out there in GoogleLand. On other occasions I’ve simply not had the mental spoons to go all the way back through my myriad kitchen purchases to figure out where I got a certain thing from. We are both on the internet, off you pop pookie.

Does anyone else have this kind of thing? Does it annoy you?



Always the auntie but…

I am a non maternal person. I have never, ever had even the slightest inclination to become a mother, to bear a child. It’s never been a part of the life I envisioned for myself.

I wasn’t a child who dreamed of getting married, saw A Big Day somewhere in the future, or even thought any which way about it. I saw other kids at school with dolls – those Tiny Tears things – and they puzzled me beyond belief. Why would you want a thing that cried all over you and needed pretend feeding? A friend had lots of Barbie dolls, but I had no idea what you were supposed to do with them.

Do they move?
Well, only a bit.
Are they cuddly?
No…
What do they DO?
Um…

It’s safe to say that children do not feature in my life. Friends of mine have chosen to have them, and I think they are the bravest people on the planet. Or foolhardy. Or both. I have just always known that it was not ever going to be for me.

So even I, Mrs Zero Maternal Anything please-don’t-show-me-your-toddler-as-I-have-no-real-interest can understand the enormous outpouring of grief that Chrissy Teigen is going through right now.

Even I can see why she did what she did, pouring her grief out on her social media because that grief is huge. It is huge, and all-encompassing. It is raw, and driven, and it’s too big for just you. It’s too much darkness to be held in check, those black wings need to unfold and stream unbidden out into the world because your entire beating world has just changed around you in an instant and dammit everyone needs to know because how do you hold all of that inside yourself and stay sane? How can you cope without support from all those others who have been there, and can talk to you, hold you in the small and shadowed Twitter hours that you will face. Those keyboard voices will reach for you, won’t they? They’ll tell you it will be ok in the end, because they have been through this, you hope.

The criticism thrown at a grieving mother was unfounded, fully rooted in the patriarchal women should be silent and not make a fuss. It’s almost Scientological in wanting to silence women in pain. Womens’ Things should stay Private, they said. Well why? Too long we’ve been told to hide things away. “Sshh dear, don’t make a fuss. We don’t want to be a nuisance do we?”

Well, make a damned fuss. Scream and cry and let it out. Be heard, let your pain flow out like you’d let an abscess drain the bad away.

You aren’t crazy, you aren’t wrong for feeling, you aren’t being annoying you are grieving a life that you’d already planned. You are grieving a future you’d thought of. You aren’t just feeling loss of now, you are feeling the future losses too.

Let it out. Cope the way YOU need to cope, and screw the ones who don’t get it.

You are allowed.
You are ALLOWED.


To err is human, to forgive, divine.

I am not a perfect Human, I never have been. I try very hard not to be judgemental, and if I am, I try and catch it to have a word with myself. I also try hard not to think bad things about people, to apply that “we do not know what’s going on in their lives” mantra, but we all know that’s not always easy. Still, I try. Which is why I get frustrated with myself when I find myself feeling vaguely sad/disappointed when a fat celebrity loses weight, so I thought I’d try and figure out why I feel the way I do. I’ve always been someone who tries to be very self aware, so I figured it was worth a try.

NOTE: The REASON they’ve lost weight is nothing to do with me, and not part of this. Their choices are their own, the reasons are private and should stay that way. This is about how I feel, and they are just the focus.

Dawn French, oh my goodness. When I first saw her I think my heart exploded with love.
Someone represented me.

When Sophie Dahl emerged onto the modelling scene, it was so refreshing. She was a size 16. 16! That was unheard of, and she looked amazing.
Someone represented me.

When Adele shot to fame, she was curvy and big and that voice! Wow.
Someone represented me.

Gabourey Sidibe was a star for her amazing acting, and her sass. Not only was she plus sized, but she was a black plus sized star who didn’t fit the ‘right kind of fat’ template. Goodness me but she was a breath of fresh air.
Someone represented me.

Rebel Wilson and her no nonsense attitude was like a cool drink on a hot day.
Someone represented me.

One by one, I’ve lost a representative of me in the media. When PoC say ‘nobody looked like me on TV, we barely existed.’ I hear them, because the only fat people on TV were always The Clown, The Dunce, The Lazy Fat Slob so each time one of them goes to The Slim Side, I lose a media representative. It’s that which disappoints. I have an internal ‘Oh.’ and a small, resigned sigh.

I’d quite like us to be just there, with no schtick attached. I’d quite like fat characters in books to stay that way in film adaptations. (YES I’m looking right at you, Mr Simon Allen, you made Lady Sybil thin, and I hate you for it. You’re also a prick who failed to thank SIR TERRY PRATCHETT for his gift of words. )

Maigret was played by a slim actor. Yes, a brilliant actor, but Maigret’s size was a feature in all of the stories, and it was his bulk that played a part in quite a few of the captures. It was like when Tom Cruise was chosen to play a 6ft 5″ 250lb character. That character’s size frequently won fights for him, his height and bulk was an advantage. Tom, I love ya, but Jack Reacher you are not.

When Pie in the Sky was made, nothing was made of the star’s weight. It didn’t really feature, nobody in the script poked fun, he was just an amazing chef and a brilliant detective. I was astounded. It was brilliant. It was totally unexpected.

More representatives please. More everyday people. Lizzo? Stay beautiful, stay you.

Oh and by the way Fashion? Size 14 isn’t plus size. It really isn’t.

Are YOU the Right Kind of Fat?

The ever wonderful Lizzo has gone straight to the heart of things again, in this article on the BBC. She’s essentially said what I’ve been having an inner gripe about for a while.

Disclaimer: all you women out there – men too but we know it’s mostly the gals – you all are amazing, you deserve to feel amazing, to feel amazing about yourselves, and to be happy in your skin.

Fact: If you are slim, and better still if you have a thigh gap, you have exactly the right kind of body in the eyes of society/the media. You fit. Clothes are made for you. Shops are geared around you. Aeroplane seats, bus seats, train seats etc., are fitted to you. If you are white, on top of all this, you pretty much won the lottery right there. This is not your fault, because being born white and genetically slim is not something you had control over, but you need to know how this works. And how it doesn’t. And when it doesn’t.

Body positivity started as a great thing. Being positive about your body – despite the onslaught of ‘perfect’ images that the media inflicts upon us like water torture all day every day – is difficult. You may not even notice it, it’s been there for so long. Even if you have the lottery winning body, that doesn’t mean that you can’t feel bad.

If you have The Lottery Win Body, you are allowed to:

  • feel bad.
  • feel you want to hide away
  • dislike your body
  • want to change bits/pieces
  • battle with self confidence
  • feel the things that every other woman feels, even if only fleetingly

This is not me saying YOU HAVE A PERFECT LIFE BECAUSE YOU WON THE BODY LOTTERY. None of us have that unattainable perfection. NOBODY. I’m fairly sure it doesn’t exist, except in the pages of some out of touch with real people magazine somewhere, or on the Apple Pie and Blue Eyes squares of an Influencer’s feed. Behind those squares, behind those gleaming white kitchens, those roses on the table and fires in the grate living rooms, there is still pain, or hardship, or angst, or tiredness, or shame, or depression, or hatred. It’s all there, every red, angry, scarred feeling our past lives gave us, so it’s no wonder Body Positivity gained such a huge following. That’s a GOOD thing. It is not easy to be positive about your body, but it’s a whole lot harder still when that body doesn’t fit. When if you do something different, you’ll get jeers and criticism that ‘you should hide that away’ or ‘nobody wants to see that’.

Maybe they don’t want to see that, because it’s alien to them. It repulses them because it’s not the norm. Fat people being sexy isn’t a concept. We are supposed to hide, to be quiet, to not take up our space in this world. Hide it, flatten it, squash it down, hide it away. Wear the tops that ‘flatter’* your curves, wear the dresses that ‘skim’*, choose those leggings with the ‘control’* panel.

If that body, that living, breathing, keeping us the hell alive body is the ‘wrong’ shape? The wrong size? The wrong colour? How about if it’s the wrong level of health? If you are a size 18+ – you don’t fit. If you are in a wheelchair, you don’t feature. If you have a life changing illness that’s hidden, you never get to be anywhere.

The body positivity movement has, as many before it, been overrun by the bodies and the women and men who fit. Those people are the archetype in the media – through no fault of their own – but they have become the norm in the body positivity world, even though they are already the norm in a social and media world. I’m seeing model photos, six packs, legs up to armpits and beauty unsurpassed, all hash tagged with it and yes, it’s ok but damn, I want to see photos of fat women hash tagged #bodypositivity. Women with bellies that hang, waists that aren’t tucked in tiny, arms with bingo wings spread wide with an I ROCK vest on. Stretch marks you could get lost in, cellulite you can get your teeth into.

Hips that bulge and not in that hourglass fashion, the women with flat arses and big bellies, or small up top and biiig and wide below.

The women whose legs and feet will not ever fit into boots or shoes unless they pay huge amounts, or regular plus size jeans, women whose breasts overflow front and side, and will not be contained. Back fat, show yourself! Belly and torso rolls, get out here. People who need stomas bags accommodated, clothes with proper, functional pockets that will hold keys/medication/inhalers so if you have a stick you don’t have to have a bag too.

Fitness clothing over and above a size 24 please. How can we be ‘good fatties*’ if there are no gym clothes for us? I want gyms to call out people who pick on fat people who want to work out, make it part of the Rules. Don’t hide behind the ‘banter’ heading.

Now I know there are people for whom showing even a micro tummy roll is a triumph, and I am glad they found the power to do it, but they can still go into an average shop and find something to wear. This is a search for dresses on a website that says it goes up to a size 32. Well, they do, but it’s limited. Plus that site is owned by a company that runs multiple sites under different names, but the selection is the same across them all.

18(489) – 20(509) – 22(512) – 24(517) – 26(485) – 28(353)

30(333) – 32(286) – 3XL(16) – 4XL(6)

It is better than it used to be. In the UK we had one shop we could go to, and it was all blocky, quite poorly tailored, and nothing was special or classy or glamorous, except in some strangely outdated way. Things are better, but they could be so much more.

Lizzo is right when she says she wants not just positivity, but body normativity.

Fat people ARE normal, we exist. We’ve always existed. Just because we’ve been erased from the media doesn’t mean we aren’t here. This may also be part of the problem – this ‘obesity epidemic’ has suddenly launched photos of fat people into the news, when they simply weren’t there before, albeit we’re always shown in a negative light now.

Programmes that are made to ogle people who need serious medical and emotional help – like my 600lb life or whatever they are called – do not help. 90% of the time, there are severe medical issues in each case. “Oh but they lost weight after stomach surgery!” Yes, they did, they HAD to, in order for the other surgery to happen. Their stomachs are reduced to the size of an egg, so losing weight is inevitable. Yet it’s all focussed on the weight loss, not the cause. Blame is always rested on the person, the assumption is always that they simply ate too much. Because of this blame and shame culture, which pervades society and medicine, people with problems are scared to go to the doctor until it’s too late. In many cases, when they have found the courage to go, they are catcalled, and shamed by their own GP.

Evidence based medicine is deserved by all, not ‘we’re calling you on what we see in front of us’ medicine. I’ve seen surgery on a 600lb woman where 50lb of that was fluid. One ONE SIDE of her. Many operations later, they had removed half her body weight. None of it was fat. It was lymphatic fluid. It only took one doctor to listen, and to heal her. If being overweight was normalised, she’d have gone sooner, and been helped sooner. I don’t just mean severely obese, there are people out there who are barely even chubby, but who still won’t go to the doctor because of how they know they will be treated. Their appearance is used as a diagnosis, and that’s not the way it should be.

Normalise, don’t shame. Normalise fat bodies, because they exist. They will always exist. They always have. Normalise them, and perhaps the good health that trolls on the internet and the media calls for will follow.

But I say this. Good health and the obtainment of such is a privileged thing, no matter what shape or size you are.

Fat people do not owe anybody anything, in the same way that people who do extreme sports don’t owe anyone anything. We are vilified for ‘endangering’ our lives by apparently existing, so why are people who hang off mountains, or white water raft not vilified and shamed in the same way? The people who eat nothing but junk food and take outs all the time but happen to be thin? They will receive different medical treatment.

But headsup – thin people die too.

*hide

To Bake or Not to Bake

An odd title, coming from someone who bakes a lot, but I have discovered A Dilemma, and it’s bothering me.

We’ve had new people move in to our cul de sac. Essentially we’re a big square of houses around a green, bisected by the road, so each side is like a mini square, every house has a view of the green. It could be a bit of a community if people were more outgoing but many aren’t, and only really speak to one or two other people, but that’s a musing for another day.

I thought it might be nice to bake some biscuits to take to the new people, to say hello, and welcome, so I started thinking about what to make, and as I reached each mental recipe, my head filled up with What Ifs.

My Brain: “What if they’re gluten free? Ok, I can make almond cookies. Oh, but what if they’ve a nut allergy? Hm. Of course they could be lactose intolerant, or vegan…” and so on and so forth. It just kept going around and around, with my brain working out subs as it went. Baking a welcome present shouldn’t be so difficult!

In the end, I think I decided not to, and then got cross at myself for giving in to basic indecision, and a desire not to offend.

So I shall bake a welcome present, and include a list of ingredients, then they can choose to eat, or just give them away. I am not going to know what they decide after all, and I need to stop worrying so much.