For Neither Fame nor Money

Five years ago,* I started this blog to create a space for my self-education about fat acceptance, within the larger of context of my ongoing work to increase my capacity for self-acceptance and self-love.

Three months ago,** I came back here to continue that project, but with the more specific goal of using the structure of blogging to remain awake and in the study of my HCG experience as a detox journey, providing a quiet counter-narrative to the usual emphasis on HCG as a weight loss tool.

With the end of my HCG protocol, I’ve been a little bit wondering where to focus my blogging. The Isla Vista killings have provided a temporary focus in the 10 days since I completed my HCG experience, but I know I won’t be spending the rest of my writing life unpacking that one incident and its ramifications.***

So, once again, I’m grappling a bit with the question of “What am I doing here and what is it that I have/want to write about?”

I’m glad to say there’s been no pull towards stopping. I know to my bones that there something in the structure of writing here that has been beneficial for me. But a lot of the the conventional wisdom around blogging — find your niche, stay on target, use it to pitch yourself/your company/your products — just doesn’t mesh with where I’m at.

You see, I have no plans to be monetizing my blog in the foreseeable future. This is perhaps a self-evident statement considering my low reader count, my merely-half-hearted efforts at amplifying posts via social media, and my only-just-beginning level of effort to read all the other great writing out in the blogosphere and participate via follows and comments.

So, aside from the quirkiness that is me, I don’t entirely know what my niche is. And my interests are potentially wide-ranging enough to completely obliterate any hope of “niche” or “focus” or “staying on target.”

Challenge-AcceptedI’ve decided to take part in The Daily Post’s Writing 101 blogging challenge, in hopes that that structure might give a playground to help explore some of this territory. I’ve been looking over some of the archived prompts from recent Blogging 101 and Blogging 201 challenges, and I’m thinking some of those topics might also be fruitful tools for this exploration. (Even if I remain quite fuzzy around what it means to think about establishing a “brand” in this non-business non-monetizing headspace I’m in around my writing.)

I haven’t seen the first Writing 101 prompt, so I’m not sure how easily they’ll mesh with the other sorts of topics I want to be exploring. I do still have more ruminations sparked by Isla Vista, and then there’s events elsewhere in the world that also have me Thinking and Feeling things. If the prompts don’t interweave readily with the ongoing threads of my writing, I’m not quite sure how I’ll handle the time management required by “doubling up” on my posting.**** (And let’s not even get into the fact that I’ve also started re-establishing the daily ritual of morning pages/soul writing.)

I’ll figure all this writing out, one way or another. If nothing else, I can cut back on TV or embrace a little bit of sleep deprivation in my June….

* Give or take a month or so.

** Give or take a week or so.

*** Although there are legitimately a LOT of ramifications that could productively bear some examination.

**** Luckily, WordPress’s scheduling functionality allows me to stagger when things go online — like this very post, which was written in fits and starts over the weekend but has been scheduled to “go up” late Monday morning, East Coast time.

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Image credit: http://bunburyinthestacks.com/challenges/challenge-accepted/

Tempted by Convention

Mr. Mezzo and I spent the weekend up at the lake house with my Mom. One of the benefits of moving to Boston was the fact that we can have more regular weekend access to the place, so the promising weather forecast made it seem like a great time for the first visit of the season. Besides, what with yesterday being the fifth anniversary of my father’s way-sudden passing, it just felt best for Mom to have company rather than to be left alone with possibly-gloomy thoughts.

feelings-pieNot that we talked about any of that. Not the anniversary, not about my motivations for coming up this weekend, not about what she might be feeling/remembering, not about my own feelings and memories. None of that was discussed.

Though truth be told, I didn’t expect anything different on that score. There’s a reason for all those cliches about emotionally reticent, laconic New Englanders. And the superficiality of conversation among families in the corporate/country club set.

But I did tell Mr. Mezzo, as we were breezing through the Hampton Tolls Friday night, that I was wondering whether Mom would say anything about my weight loss. After all, if my body looks different enough for hairdressers and co-workers to notice, one would think that the change would be obvious enough for one’s own flesh and blood to be aware.

Mr. Mezzo predicted that she wouldn’t say anything. At least, he figured she wasn’t going to bring up the topic independently. As he explained it to me when I asked, he thought she might say something if the subject came up organically, but he knew he wasn’t gonna bring it up, and he knew for damn sure I wasn’t gonna bring it up. So, he concluded, silence was likely to rule.

I wasn’t so sure. Yes, she’s been nice and polite about not nagging me for becoming fat, but it felt like there might be a chance of her going to the super-enthusiastic place about how much better I look now, how great it is that I’ve finally gotten thinner — the kind of compliments I wrote about previously, and the kind which would inspire an internal wry smile and a silent monologue about “Oh, so there’s the judgement about my body type she’s been polite enough to keep hidden all this time.”

So I just wasn’t sure whether or not the topic would come up, and then I wasn’t entirely sure how explicitly I was going to talk about my detox journey if the topic arose. (Somehow, I don’t imagine my mother being all that open to the subject. I rather imagine her being in the whole narrow-minded Industrial Age “quackwatch” kind of place.)

But when all was said and done, I needn’t have wasted any time wondering or rehearsing what I might say. Because Mr. Mezzo’s prognostication won out and the topic of my body shrinkage remained as subterranean as any consideration of my father’s passing.

I am mostly deeply relieved at that turn of events.

But I am aware of a small part in me that is disappointed.

I get it. I know I still carry a small kernel of my younger self with me, that little girl who naturally wishes for her parents to show their affection and approval.* And even if there’s lots of reasons that I find compliments about weight loss to be deeply problematic, I know my mom’s not even remotely aware of FA/HAES, and she’s really not likely to be agreeing with that perspective. So, that part of me which yearns for acknowledgement would kinda sorta be okay with taking in a problematic compliment, because sometimes that feels better than no compliment at all.

[SIDEBAR] There’s also a whole other angle in contemplating how deep the cultural programming around body size goes. Kate Harding once wrote about the “cognitive dissonance” phase of the fat acceptance journey, “thinking it made perfect sense that the OBESITY CRISIS hype was way overblown, and even if it weren’t, dieting doesn’t work anyway — but still wanting to lose weight.” And Cat observes that for a fat person to want to lose weight “is the sane choice when you live in a world that finds you disgusting.” So, I also wonder if there’s a piece of me that would kinda sorta be okay with weight loss compliments on account of the residual weight of all that cultural baggage. [/SIDEBAR]

So whichever way you slice it, there’s lots of feels, some of it self-contradictory. ‘Twas ever thus.

* I’m guessing I’m not the only one, but I’m not going to assume I know about anyone’s soul but my own.

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