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We’ve Come a Long Way Baby

Published November 28, 2012 by sleepydumpling

Looking out my window this evening there is no mistake that summer is here.  There is a storm brewing, it’s hot and it’s sticky.  I’m sitting here in a camisole top and a sarong, the fan blowing on me and my balcony door open to get the evening sea breezes until the storm hits and I have to run around and shut everything to keep the rain out.

It has now been about 5 years since I first started hearing about this thing called “fat acceptance” (my first foray into fat activism of any kind), and started entertaining the notion that I wasn’t worthless because there was more of me than there is of many other people.  In those years, my life has radically changed.  I’m a different person than I was 5 years ago.  I no longer put my life on hold, waiting to do things “when I lose weight”.  I no longer apologise for being the size I am.  I no longer allow people to treat me as sub-human because of my fat.  And I no longer hide myself away behind baggy, shapeless, dark clothing because others suggest it is “flattering”.

I realised the other morning as I was getting dressed for work, the me of 2012 really resents having to wear sleeves and cover my body in this hot weather.  That astonished me.  Was it really only a couple of years ago that I would never have dreamed of being seen without my arms covered?  There was once a time, that even in the hottest of summers, I would not leave the house without my arms covered past the elbow, my legs covered past the knees and a full face of makeup.  Now I often roll out of bed, shower, throw on a sun-dress and sandals and I’m out the door.  If I’m working and I have to have my arm tattoo covered, I find tops with the barest minimum length to cover the bits I need to, and then leave the rest free.  On the weekends I will chuck on a cami or tank top, a pair of shorts (sometimes plain shorts, sometimes bike-pants) and go for a walk along the waterfront with the sea air blowing on my skin.

As the weather heats up, I’m currently looking for a new swim suit, preferably a tankini or halter neck top with boy-leg shorts (so they don’t creep up my bum!) to go swimming at my local pool in.  No more wearing a huge t-shirt over the top to cover my body, no more dropping the sarong off my bottom half at the side of the pool and slipping quickly into the water.  Where my arms and legs were once pale white and untouched by sun, never seen by anyone, they are now gently ripening to brown and are adorned with magnificent ink.

I only wear makeup now when I want to dress up a bit, or have fun with some colour.  I no longer feel that I have to have a “face” on to be acceptable to be seen.  I once wore glasses that were plain and unobtrusive, now they are bold and make a statement.  Where I once wore my hair long, thick and heavy because I was told it was flattering to my round face, slowly cooking my own head under it’s weight, I now crop it uber-short with clippers, cool and light, and dye it bright hues as it grows back to a short back & sides.

Once I would hunt the sparse racks of plus-size clothes looking for black, navy, burgundy and forest green, now I am drawn to red, turquoise, magenta, mint, peach and cobalt.  From plain dark colours of my past wardrobe to the now busy prints, bold patterns and clashing colours.  I embellish them with big, fabulous accessories, shiny, colourful and jangly.  I like accessories that move and make noise, they stimulate my senses.  I look for shapes that skim my body, not blouse over it like I’m trying to hide it.  Where my legs once were always covered in plain pants, they now are bare under skirts and dresses.  When I did wear skirts before they were always with heavy black tights to hide my legs.  Now they are bare, or if it’s cold enough to need cover, have bright tights and leggings that draw attention to the shape of my legs.

In the past I walked with my head bowed, looking at my own feet, avoiding eye contact with anyone, trying to disappear.  Now I walk with my head held high, my shoulders back, surveying the world around me, smiling at the things that make me happy, meeting the eye of anyone who dares stare at me.  I would never, ever eat in public, always uncomfortable in restaurants or cafes, preferring to drink vast quantities of alcohol instead of being seen eating.  Now I don’t touch alcohol at all (I figure I drank all my share at once) and I love to dine out, to socialise with friends over brunch, lunch, dinner, coffee and cake.  I enjoy the food that I eat, and eat what I want, stopping when I’ve had enough, even if there is still food on my plate.  I know the foods that make me feel good, and those that make me feel cruddy.  I refuse to allow anyone to shame me for my food choices.

When I am home alone, I am comfortable with my naked body.  My new flat has a large mirror level with the plain glass shower stall.  The past me would never have been able to shower in this bathroom without covering the mirror, lest I catch a glimpse of my large, round, naked body.  Now I see it and value it, for being strong and capable, and for carrying me through my life.  I admire the roundness, the curves and bumps, the thickness and the marks of my life – stretchmarks, scars, moles and freckles, adorned with the ink that documents my life.  I am not bothered by the hairy bits or the saggy bits.  They are part of the road map of my life, signs of my maturing body.  Nor am I bothered by my natural hair, greying at the temples.  I feel no need to cover it as I grow it back ready to colour it something bright and fun.

This is the first phase of fat liberation for me.  I am free, I have been liberated from the prison I lived in for the first 35 years of my life.  A prison that I was both forced into, yet for many years was too afraid to leave.  My choices are mine.  My body is mine.  My life is mine.  I may never see fat bodies truly valued and celebrated by society in my lifetime, but my body is valued and celebrated by me.

I wish that for each and every one of you.

Tattoos and Candy Coloured Hair: Sending a Message to Young People

Published December 22, 2011 by sleepydumpling

Some few weeks ago you might have seen some furore around the traps about a tattooed Barbie Doll with pink hair being sold.  This Barbie doll (pictured below) is a collectable collaboration between fashion/accessory label Tokidoki and Mattel, makers of Barbie.  There was a lot of furore about this doll corrupting children somehow despite being a very expensive collectable few children (if any) will ever own.  Tokidoki Barbie (originally $50US) sold out very quickly and I have since seen them showing up on eBay for around $500.

Now of course, I have some issues with Barbie in general, mostly around her unattainable standard of beauty and body shape, and the lack of diversity of race available in Barbie, a doll that is marketed all over the world – that all needs a post of it’s own.  But what I noticed was the repeated message that went with this collectable tattooed, pink haired Barbie is that tattoos and candy coloured hair are trashy, low class, unintelligent and even mark a woman as promiscuous.

As a tattooed woman who usually has pink hair myself, I take some exception to this message.  Just reading around a few articles on this doll, I found the following quotes:

“I think it is horrible and sends the wrong message to young people”

“In no way should a tattoo be honored.”

“Encouraging children that tattoos are cool is wrong, wrong, wrong. Mattel why not put a cigarette and a beer bottle in her hand while you’re at it!”
and my favourite:
“Forget being a doctor, this Barbie sports a pale pink bob and is covered with tattoos on her neck and shoulders.”
So someone with tattoos and coloured hair can’t be a doctor hmm?

Well, being a tattooed, pink haired librarian myself, I put the word out on Twitter and Tumblr and asked for candy-haired, tattooed women to come forward and share their stories, just to see what kind of women have brightly coloured hair and tattoos.

Bri of Fat Lot of Good (above) is a counsellor, social worker and social justice activist, as well as being a Mum to two kids.  She got her first tattoo when her son was about 6 months old, and now has 7 tattoos.  She has also had pink, purple or red streaks in her naturally black hair.  Bri has never had anyone say anything negative to her face about her tattoos, though she has sensed disapproval but chooses to ignore it.  She feels that she gets more disapproval for her fatness than she does her tattoos.  She finds that generally her family and friends are very accepting of her tattoos, though her Dad has made it clear that he hates tattoos and has voiced “at least they can be covered up”.  She has also found that in her work life, people are interested in hearing the stories behind her tattoos, and in some cases have been helpful in engaging with her clients.  She does admit that  her tattoos are mostly covered though, and are fairly discreet designs.

Rachel of Very Busy and Important (above) is the Director of Location Services for a television network based in Chicago, IL.  She is a liaison  between station viewers and partners and it’s various departments at headquarters, developing both operational and marketing-based support programs for each.   She got her first tattoo at 22 and first ventured into candy coloured hair at 27.   She says she was surprisingly conservative as a teenager, and says she rebelled against her Mom, who owned a body piercing studio and hair salon by being aggressively square.  Rachel says that surprisingly, she has never experienced her hair or tattoos being the focus of negative attention in her job, but has got more flack on the streets than at work.  Her boss loves her hair and her CEO has asked for tattoo artist recommendations for his teenage son.  However she does find it intrusive and bothersome to explain the meaning of (or lack thereof) her tattoos repeatedly.  She also says:

As I’ve gotten older, not that 27 is particularly “older,” I’ve realized that the only way for me to maintain mental health is to stop compartmentalizing my personality between work and home. I am the same silly, opinionated, compassionate, and intelligent woman with my friends that I am with my colleagues. Not only do my colleagues deserve to interact with an actual person, instead of a robotic facade, I deserve to be free to be myself. Why spend all of that energy maintaining the illusion that I am a, you know, mild mannered person without opinions who isn’t covered in various swirls of (semi)permanent colors when I could be putting that energy into actually doing my job?

Kara (no photo supplied) from Vicious Sioux works in retail and is an activist who supports her family.  She has been colouring her hair since she was 16 and her first tattoo at 18.  She finds both her family and her workplace are ok with her hair and tattoos, though her conservative grandmother really objected to them, though she’s sure her current employers would not appreciate her returning her hair to hot pink, yet her colleagues and peers love it.

Amanda of FatWaitress.com (above) runs Love Your Body Detroit, a non-profit activism organisation that fights fat phobia and weight bias, and is a full time college student who works both on campus and as a nanny on weekends.  She got her first tattoo at 22, and started colouring her hair at 16, to have every colour under the sun, including her favourite, bright red with purple tips.  She has had to cover her tattoos when working in hospitality, but says people rarely react negatively to them.  She has only had one particularly bad response, in which she says “I was waiting on her a few years ago and she refused to look at me or even talk to me. Every time I would drop things off at the table she would stare at my tattoo.  She has found that her family is mostly ok with her tattoos, but some aunts have mentioned that they wish she would hide her forearm tattoo, which is a Gandhi quote.  Her father got his first tattoo at 65, just before she got her first.  She finds that most employers want her to cover her tattoos, but don’t mind her coloured hair, so long as it looks good.  At her current workplace her appearance is not an issue so long as she can perform her job, and says “At this point in my life if a place has an issue with what I look like, then they have an issue with me as a person. I’m more happy to not work there then have to hide my body.”

Lori St.Leone of The Story of Lori ran a successful piercing studio (and was a piercer herself for 16 years), is currently studying midwifery and has two children.  She started colouring her hair candy colours at 15 (she is now 36) and got her first tattoo just before her 18th birthday.  These days she dyes her naturally blonde hair more natural hues, at the moment it is coppery red.  Lori has had complete strangers comment on what a bad mother she must be for having tattoos, piercings and coloured hair.  She doesn’t feel that she should educate them or be polite to them, when they police her body and appearance.  She hasn’t had many problems at work but has used retainers for her piercings and covered her tattoos.  However she has faced some judgement at her oldest child’s pre-school, mostly from the staff!  Lori’s mom thinks her tattoos are beautiful and proudly shows off photographs of her and her family.  Lori’s partner did not have any body modifications when they first started dating (except for an earlobe piercing) and had not dated anyone with serious body modifications before.  Lori has not had much negative response in the workplace to her tattoos and piercings, but she is interested to see how future pregnant clients will react to a tattooed, pierced midwife.  However she says from her own experience, most women in labour don’t have time or attention to care what their midwife looks like, so long as that midwife is caring and supportive and doing their job well!

Alicia Maud, aka @rightingteacher is a high school English Teacher and co-director for Capital District Writing Project.  She is also a dancer and writer for a local magazine on health issues.  Alicia Maud has coloured her hair since the 7th grade, everything from Sun-In to reds, pinks and mahogany, and then on to candy apple red.  She was a junior in college when she got her first tattoo – she and her mom went together for her mom’s birthday!  She hasn’t had any negative reaction towards her tattoos and hair, but has received plenty of attention.  Her parents are big supporters and her mom sees hair as an opportunity for play and loves her tattoos.  Alicia Maud has also received positive attention in the workplace with regards to her hair and tattoos, but feels her supervisor is OK with Alicia Maud having candy hair and tattoos, but would never do it herself.  She hasn’t had any concerns brought to her by the parents of the kids she teaches either.

Abi of Adipose Rex is a stay at home mom of three boys and part time student, who has been experimenting with coloured highlights in her hair for years, but six months ago went the whole kit and caboodle and dyed her hair a candy colour all over.  While she moves in fairly conservative circles, she does get some sideways looks, but mostly people have treated her normally, much to her surprise.  Abi’s parents aren’t entirely thrilled about her hair colour, but she says that’s nothing new!  Her kids love it, and her husband, while he prefers her hair to be a bit less vivid, has the good sense to know that it is HER hair and is happy that she is happy with it.

Bek of Colourful Curves is a stay at home mum, a Christian and a single parent.  She has two boys, aged 4 and 6, cares for other children in her home and has a degree in Early Childhood teaching.  She started colouring her hair when she was 18 on her first trip away on her own.  Her parents weren’t keen on the idea of her dyeing her hair, but without them there, she dyed her hair dark red and has been colouring her hair ever since – she associates it with freedom, friendship and independence.  Bek says she hasn’t really had any negative attention from her hair, but working within the home gives her an advantage over those in other environments.  She finds her church circle are accepting of it as well.  Bek’s children love when “Mummy gets her hair painted” and want their own hair painted too.  Her mum has grown accepting of her hair colours.  Bek relates a story when a small girl of about 10 stopped her and said “I love your hair!  My aunty would love to dye her hair that colour, but she’s too scared to.”  Bek was very encouraging of the girl’s aunt’s wish!  She mentions that even her family GP has a purple streak in her hair (see, Barbie could have pink hair AND be a doctor!)

Ealasaid (no photo available) is a technical writer, bookbinder and movie reviewer who was first tattooed in January 2009, adding two more to the collection since then.  She has waist length hair and doesn’t feel confident in colouring it, so leaves it natural.  Ealasaid’s parents don’t comment on her tattoos, but she knows her mom doesn’t approve, but hasn’t given her too much of a hard time about it.  She covers her tattoos for work, but her colleagues that have seen them have had positive reactions – but she thinks it might help that she works in the San Francisco Bay area!

Kate aka Craftastrophies is an editor and project manager – she describes it as “a regular office job”.  She has been colouring her hair bright red for about 5 years, after a run-in with an inattentive hairdresser and some bleach.  She went bright reddish purple that time, but it wasn’t until Easter 2010 that she went for the blue.  Kate says she has only ever had positive feedback about her hair, or people simply ignore it.  She says “I have gotten a few glares on the street, but mostly people have better things to think about.”  She says that her hair is a big hit with kids too.  She says “About three months ago we were at a family dinner and an uncle, who has seen me at least six times since I dyed it, stared for a few minutes and then said ‘your… hair is… green!’ He was swiftly corrected by my grandmother. ‘It’s BLUE.’ Obviously.”  Kate finds that most people she works with seem to think it’s none of their business, and has only had one positive comment on it.  She dyed it blue between leaving one job and taking another, and asked at the interview if they minded, which they did not.

So as you can see by these amazing women above, women with candy coloured hair and tattoos are diverse,  professional, caring, intelligent, witty, giving and overall awesome.  How is this not something for girls and young women to aspire to?  What I see above are 10 inspirational women who rock their body art in their rich, full lives.

Why shouldn’t candy haired, tattooed women be honoured in doll form?  It’s an honour for me to share them with you here.

The Colour Purple

Published April 17, 2011 by sleepydumpling

It’s been a big few weeks hasn’t it? Intense. I think I need to break up the intensity a bit. I do actually have a life outside of this blog and the work I do with fat activism, believe it or not. I have a great job that I love (well, most of the time!) and I surround myself with great friends. So when this intense stuff happens, it can kind of impact on my regular life – particularly if the topics are triggering or upsetting in any way.

It’s those times I need to sit back and focus on some self care. Self care for me usually means spending time doing things that enrich my soul, rather than the things I have to put bits of my soul into. One of those is playing around with my hair colour, just for some fun. Particularly now that my hair is short, and I can chop and change it every few weeks.

I dyed my hair purple this morning. I’m not actually all that happy with it, it’s kind of bland. I was aiming for a bright magenta colour, but it all washed out to a kind of mid-purple. If anyone has any suggestions on how to get that bright magenta, please let me know.

So how did I do it? Well, I started by bleaching the crap out of my hair last night. My hair is naturally a very dark brown (with quite a few greys now), so it takes bleaching to be able to get bright crayon colours in my hair. I’m lucky though, my hair bleaches quickly and right back to yellow, so I don’t do too much damage to it.

Then I took these:

And then you need these:

Then you put a little of this in here:

Squirt in a little of this:

Now mix it together like this:

Once you have them all mixed up evenly, slap it all over your hair.  Get it in all evenly, spread over all of your hair.  Then stick a $1 bathing cap on your head (make sure you clean it off any bits of skin it schmeared to) and go do something else for an hour.  I chose to play Animal Crossing on my Wii.

An hour later, go have a shower.  Rinse all that purpley colour out of your hair, run it all off until the water runs clear.  Then dry off with a good fluffy towel, and VOILA!  You have:

Oh God it’s so fluffy!!  I usually use some texturising product in it, this is pretty much fresh after drying.  See the colour isn’t quite as bold as I would have liked it.

I think I might just use the rest of the blue dye and turn it all blue.

So… it’s DONE!

Published January 26, 2011 by sleepydumpling

Yes, I am a Baldy McBaldersons.  Have been for a few hours now and do you know what?  I like it!!  It feels amazing, particularly now that the numbness is subsiding (I was warned about initial numbness), it’s starting to get really sensitive.  And I’m told I rock the look pretty well.

I know, I know, you all want me to shut up and get to the photos.  Well… here goes!


So this is what I had to lose!


Chopped off the ponytail first. It took some hacking – it’s an inch thick at the pony band.


We did three runs with the clippers, because my hair is so thick. Started out with the 3 blade.


After the second pass over with the clippers. It felt like really expensive velvet.


Getting ready to hit it with the razor blades. This was the most weird feeling ever!


Notice my earrings? They say “LOL”. I thought they were apt for the day.


I bought a hat. I figured sun protection is going to be very, very important!

So… are you ready for the final result?

Are you sure?

Alright, here goes then…

There you have it.  Me, completely and totally bald!

It has been an AMAZING day, I felt so supported by the group of friends who came along to the little event I had, and strangely enough, I’m really happy with how it looks.  I was sure I was going to hate it, I even had some nightmares last night.  But now that it’s done and dusted, I love it.

I haven’t tallied up the donations yet but I think I might be rapidly approaching the $3000 mark.  I will spend some time tomorrow sorting that out, as I’m REALLY tired (it’s been a big day for this little fat heffalump) and ready to wind down for the night.

I want to thank all of you who have donated, cheered me on, shared positives about being bald, posted links, reblogged, retweeted and facebooked to help spread the word.  And I want to thank Kirk and Lyndy for being our hosts today, Kerri and Kylie for being my Pit Crew (and not butchering my head with sharp implements) and everyone else who turned up today to support me.

I will be leaving the channels for donations for the Cancer Council of Australia and Queensland Flood Appeal open for a week, as I still have people popping up donations.  And if you have yet to donate, don’t you think that bald head above deserves a donation?  Pretty please?

24 Hours Away – Operation Baldy

Published January 25, 2011 by sleepydumpling

As I write this, I am 24 hours away from shaving my head for Operation Baldy.  I have my kit all organised, shaving gel and razors, scissors, sunscreen for my freshly exposed head, camera all charged up with an empty SD card.  A friend is bringing clippers to take the bulk of it off, though I think I might chop the ponytail off first for dramatic effect.  I have had a day of pampering with a friend to make my nails all femme and my eyebrows all tidy – they’ll be kind of noticeable when I’m bald.  I’ve bought a cute hat to protect my head from the sun when out and about.

I’m having an event with local friends, a day by the bay of a picnic lunch and laughs and fun as I say goodbye to my hair.  People I trust are going to do the deed and I’m sure look after me for a bit afterwards when the enormity of what I’ve done hits home.

I am very, very nervous.  I have spent some time over the past few days finding photographs of lots of beautiful bald women all over the internet (bless you Google Image search).  I have reminded myself that I am doing this for a very good cause, two very good causes in fact.  I have reminded myself that it grows back.  I have reminded myself that my long hair is not a measure of my femininity.  I have looked at the approximately $2200 worth of donations received so far, with a good few hundred pledged and reminded myself that if so many people can reach into their pockets to help, I can shave my head.

But I’m still very, very nervous.

This is what I am giving up:

Pink hair bun

See how pretty it is?  It’s like fairy floss (cotton candy to those of you in the US).  I do love it very much.

OK I need some of the pros:

  • It will be much cooler without all that thick, hot hair heating me up.
  • I will save on shampoo and conditioner.  Not to mention bleach and pink dye.
  • Getting ready for the day will be a snap.
  • I’ll be able to gently give my scalp a tan.
  • No more hair to be constantly swept/vaccuumed up from my flat.
  • Hats will fit (my hair is BIG, hats normally just slide right off)
  • I could get a tattoo up there if I wanted to!
  • I will be able to put away all the hair doodads and pins and hairbands and stuff and not have them cluttering up my flat.
  • Once it starts to grow back, I’ll be able to try new colours without having to use up a whole bleach kit/two tubes of colour on all that long hair.
  • I won’t get hairdaches from tight ponytails.
  • No more fluffy bits that blow in my eyes.

Anyone got any more pros for being bald and saying goodbye to my long pink hair?

Again, the generosity of those who have already donated is staggering.  Thank you all, I can’t tell you how much it means to me to see your donations pop up in my inbox.  You are all doing a good thing, whether you donate big or small, it all adds up to help.

If you haven’t already donated, would you please consider doing so?  I have Paypal set up:

Donate here $US Paypal
Donate here $AU Paypal
Donate here £GBP Paypal

or Email Me to arrange other payment method.

I promise I will blog tomorrow night with photographs of my shiny bald head (and some of the laughs along the way) to prove I’ve done the deed.

Now hit me up with some pros in the comments lovelies – I need to keep reminding myself!!

Operation Baldy – Update

Published November 25, 2010 by sleepydumpling

So for those of you who missed my earlier post a couple of weeks ago about Operation Baldy, I have decided to shave off my long hot pink hair, right down to the skin, on Australia Day (January 26th) to raise money for the Australian Cancer Council.  Here’s what my hair looks like now:

Photobucket

Big and pink.  And fluffy.

So, I’ve never actually shaved my head right down to the skin before.  I’ve clippered it mega short, but not completely bald.  Even after having a couple of weeks to think about the idea, it still scares me shitless, but I believe wholeheartedly that while there are people with cancer losing their hair unwillingly, and losing their independence, their incomes, their relationships, their social lives, their sense of taste and smell, various parts of their bodies and some ultimately their lives, I can do something that scares and challenges me to help raise money to fight cancer.

I have set a goal of $1000 (Australian Dollars) to raise by the 26th of January.  As you can see by my wee ticker over there on the right, I’ve already passed the quarter mark, and I still have two months left.  But do you know what?  How awesome, how fucking amazing would it be, if we could SMASH that goal of $1000 and hit double that.  Or more.  How awesome would it be for me to blog here in two months with a photo of my shiny, naked head with a great big dollar amount to report as the amount to donate to the Australian Cancer Council?  And to be able to point to all of you, and say: YOU DID THIS!

That would be so awesome, it would be more awesome than Hugh Jackman riding a sparkly unicorn under a double rainbow beside Neil Patrick Harris on a glitter Pegasus, while the Mythbusters obliterate an ocean liner with high explosives in the background.

Ok, maybe it wouldn’t be that awesome, but it would be pretty damn awesome.

How can you contribute?  Well, here we have a few links for you:

Donate by Paypal (US$)

Donate by Paypal (GBP£)

Donate by Paypal (AU$)

For Aussies: Email me for a bank deposit or to send a cheque or money order.  For those of you who are locals to me here in BrisVegas, I’m happy to take cash and deposit it myself!

That should cover most of you.  If there is some other format of donation that suits you, email me and we’ll see what we can do.

Thank you so much, from the very bottom of my heart, to those of you who have donated already.  You are all awesome, in a quite Hugh Jackman/sparkly unicorn/double rainbow/NPH/glitter Pegasus/Mythbusters explosion kind of way.

Let me just finish this post with a quote that was on my “Wild Words from Wild Women” desk calendar yesterday:

Once you’ve had chemotherapy, there’s no such thing as a bad-hair day.
Elizabeth Tilberis

A Letter to My Body

Published November 14, 2010 by sleepydumpling

Dear Body,

I owe you an apology.  I’ve not been very kind or accepting to you in our relationship.  In fact, I’ve downright hated you for most of our life.  I realise now that the hatred I had for you was very unfair, and that you were undeserving of it.  You deserve more respect than that.

I am sorry that I did so many things to hurt you over the years.  I’m sorry that I starved you, exercised you into the ground until you simply failed to function in several ways, and that I punished you for just being yourself.  I’m sorry that I cut you, filled you full of pills and other substances that affected you in so many damaging ways.  I’m sorry that I didn’t give you what you needed, that I forced you to ingest things that you hated, or that made you feel bad, simply because I hated you so much.  I’m sorry that I picked you, tore your hair out, chewed your fingertips, and didn’t listen to what you were trying to tell me.

You’ve given so much to me through all the hard times.  You kept me going when depression really, really tried to stop us in our tracks.

You didn’t deserve to be hated so much.  You’ve looked after me for over 38 years now, mostly uncomplaining in the scheme of things, and how have I repaid you?  By hating you and trying to force you to change, by picking you apart as if you’re not a whole being, by desperately trying to reduce you and starve you away, and at times, I tried to kill you.

But you kept on going.  You kept on doing your job, and doing it very well, for all these years.  Even when I wore you down to exhaustion and pain, you still kept going.  You patched yourself together as best you could, even though you tried to tell me you were exhausted and in pain, I wouldn’t listen, so you just did the best you could.

You’ve done so much for me.  You’ve allowed me to do every single thing in my life that I’ve ever done.  You’ve allowed me to experience love, and joy, and happiness, and laughter, and fun.  I’m sorry that I never acknowledged you for giving that to me.

I tried to make you do things you simply couldn’t.  Like be completely different to what you actually are.  I measured you by other people’s standards, tried to change you to be something you’re not, and tried to force you to perform in a way that you’re not designed to, just because other people’s bodies behave differently.  I realise now that I have been completely unreasonable in my demands on you.

I want you to know that I am deeply sorry, from the bottom of my heart.  I ask you to forgive me for hating and punishing you for so long, and know that I will work very hard to never do that again.

I want you to know that you are beautiful in your own way.  You are strong, powerful and healthy.  I don’t hate your big belly, or your fat arms, or your thick legs any more.  Your rolls and bumps and lumps are not objects of loathing to me any more.  They are now things of beauty.  They always have been, I just recognise it now, where I didn’t before.  You are a feminine body.  I never used to see you in that way, but now I do.  You’re all woman baby!

I don’t hate that you are hairier than other bodies.  I don’t hate that you pump out more hormones of all kinds than the average body.  I don’t hate that you sometimes have trouble keeping your skin smooth and clear.  I want you to know that I am not ashamed of you any more.  That I will stand up for your right to be as you are, and if anyone tries to change you when you don’t choose to change of your own volition, then I will fight them from doing so.

You and I, we’re going to work together.  Because we are together.  We’re one and the same.  You are me, and I am you.  We’re going to take care of each other, and make each other happy.

I love you.  You are beautiful.  Please forgive me.

Kath

P.S.  I’m going to shave your head in January, but it’s for a good cause.  You might feel a bit naked for awhile, but let’s just show your pretty scalp off and rock it huh?  We might have some fun.

Operation Baldy!

Published November 13, 2010 by sleepydumpling
*note, I will be cross posting this across all of my blogs.

I just made a decision this morning.  It’s a pretty big decision, I think it might be a pretty radical decision.  And I’m going to need your support, friends, fatties and other readers.

Many of you know how vocal I am about my dislike for a lot of the marketing that goes with cancer campaigns, and a lot of the silly memes that pop up on Facebook and Twitter and the like.  I find it offensive that breast cancer is objectified with all of those “Save the Ta Tas” and “Feel Your Boobies” kind of campaigns, the bucket loads of ridiculous pink schlock you can buy to supposedly raise money.  I loathe that breast cancer is glamourised over any other kind of cancer, just because it’s to do with tits, which are deemed public property by our culture.

Cancer is not sexy, ever.  Nor is it a game or a meme, or some pretty merchandise.

It’s devastating, frightening and rage inspiring.  I have lost dear friends to cancer.  I would give all the pink crap in the world back to have them here with us.  I have other friends who have battled cancer and survived.  I wish that they never had to bear the burdens that they have had to bear.

I want to do something that really does help, and the only thing I can see to do that will really make a difference is to pump as much money into cancer research as possible.  For ALL cancer types, not just the ones that are seen as glamorous and sexy.

So… I want to put my money where my  mouth is.  Only I don’t have much money.  So I’m going to put my hair where my mouth is, and ask you folk to help me with the money.

I have decided that on January 26th (Australia Day) I am going to shave my head.  I’m going to do something that really frightens me, and challenges me and I’m asking all of you, to help me reach a fund raising goal of AU$1000 for the Australian Cancer Council in doing so.  It would be great if we could raise more than a grand, but let’s start there.

I have chosen the Australian Cancer Council for two reasons.  One, they cover all forms of cancer, not just one or two.  And secondly because my home country of Australia has some of the leading cancer research in the world.  In fact, we have some of the leading medical research in the world.  The vaccine for HPV, which is what causes most cervical cancer, was developed right here in my home city of Brisbane.

When I say shave my head, I mean all the way.  No hair, bald as an egg, right down to the skin with a razor.  Surely that’s worth a thousand bucks right?

I’ll be honest, it scares the shit out of me.  I have been thinking about shaving my head as a bit of an act of defiance against the notion that my femininity is tied up in my long hair, but when I really thought about it, that wasn’t enough.  I want to do something to challenge myself into really pushing my boundaries to raise awareness and money for cancer research, because just playing some silly meme on Facebook is not enough.

For women, long hair is a symbol of femininity.  I’ve clung to that symbol because being a fat woman robs me of my femininity (add to that the fact that I also have PCOS, which also robs women of their femininity).  My hair has been long (about down to my bra-strap, give or take a couple of inches) now for about 6 or 7 years, and as many of you know, I dye it hot pink these days.  Pink is no accident – it’s another symbol of femininity .  Of course, long hair and pink are both completely arbitrary symbols of femininity, they’re no more feminine than short hair or the colour blue, but you all know how hard it is to resist cultural norms right?

Cancer robs men and women of so many things.  Their independence, their health, their social lives, their savings/income, their friendships, their enjoyment of things in life, and ultimately for some, it robs them of their lives.

The least I can do is give up my hair for awhile.

I’ve chosen Australia Day so that a) it will be a public holiday and locals can come along to a head shaving party to encourage me (*cough* push me *cough*) into following through with it.  The weather should be warm on my bare head, and it’s the beginning of my vacation, so I have time to organise an event and follow up with the fund raising afterwards.  I have already asked my friends Nadia and Kylie to be the hairdressers on the day, and I’d like to organise a picnic lunch or something for people to come along to.

But for now, I’m asking all of you to help.  Help me get to $1000, shave my head and let’s make a difference.  I’ve made a donate button and posted it below, and on the right of the page, but it’s not showing up yet. I’ll keep working on getting it visible!

I’ve set up a project account there in my name (Codename: Operation Baldy!) to stash any funds raised until the end of the project and I can donate it to the Australian Cancer Council.

Anything you can donate is welcome.  A dollar.  Five dollars.  A hundred dollars!  Anything is welcome, as it all adds up.  We have just over two months to get to this goal of $1000, and I am SURE we can do it.  Hey, you’re not even the ones losing your hair!!

Update: let’s try this link:

Donate here!

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