Being a fat nerd living in poverty means that there is a lot of pop culture fashion that I just cannot afford. You may have heard that Torrid released a Sailor Moon-inspired line on January 9th. Sailor Moon has been one of my favorites for years. I knew I would never be able to afford whatever clothing came out though because Torrid is expensive.
CN: emesis, classism, fatphobia from doctors, medical negligence, disordered eating
CN: SA, CSA, domestic violence, corporal punishment
As a child, I was beaten and put down constantly. Anything I did, wore, or liked could be subject to ridicule. Any sign, imagine or real, of disrespect was met with a the buckle of a belt, a shoe or the calloused and hardened hands of my grandma. The people who should have been my protectors were my first abusers. So I grew up with low self-esteem and at 15 attempted suicide. In my late teens, I met my first boyfriend. He’d become my daughter’s father and the reason I deal with PTSD now.
People would ask how I could end up with someone like him. After a lot of therapy and introspection I figured out why. As I child, the messages I received were that I didn’t matter. I wasn’t important and never would be. I deserved the beatings and verbal abuse I got. After years of hearing that and hearing the messages I got from society , I finally understood my worth was very little.
So, this guy comes along and doesn’t call me names. Tells me I matter, well, that was new and I wanted more of it. But the reason he chose me specifically was because I was so starved for love and affirmation. Once I was “his”, he could reveal his true colors. Ok, but why did I stay? Because I had been conditioned since childhood to accept this type of treatment. Who was I to ask why I was beaten? Didn’t I know it was done out of love? I deserved it because I made the abuser angry. I needed to be reminded of the rules and who set them. (Aside: isn’t curious how the reasons people give to justify spanking children are identical to the justifications of spousal abusers?)
I didn’t like it. In fact I fucking hated it. But instead of hating my abusers, I hated myself for being so horrible that people needed to beat me. It was the same message I got as a child. It was just a different person saying it now.
“Oh you can’t blame your childhood! You’re making yourself a victim.” That’s what I was met with when I explained why I stayed.
“He was abused as a child. The abused will abuse.” This was also said simultaneously and no one noticed the double standard.
I was aware of the abuse he endured. He told me in the beginning of the relationship, which I now know was his way of trying to bond with me, to make me easier to manipulate. See, he understood me, I thought.
So, why is it that I can’t say my childhood made me an easier target for abuse but he can justify his abuse of me with the abuse he endured as a child? Why is one OK and the other not?
Since news broke that Milo Yiannopoulos was uninvited from CPAC and the release of his book was cancelled over his comments regarding pedophilia, I have seen several people try to defend him. I’m not linking to anything by that guy. You can google him yourself. It’s bad enough he’s even being mentioned here but for the purposes of this post, he has to. One defense, I saw over and over was that Milo was a victim of CSA. The reasoning of “the abused will abuse” shows up again.
It’s very unfortunate that he lived through that. No one, I mean no one, no matter how much I hate them and their beliefs, deserves to be abused in that way. But having a fucked up childhood is not a justification for being an abusive adult. And yes, his transmisogyny, racism, sexism is all abuse.
Hearing that “the abused will abuse” made me think I would eventually become a monster. It would be inevitable that I would become like my abuser. While I know it isn’t true it’s still scares me.
The powerful or the privileged (or their supporters) can say , ‘I had a bad childhood” and all is forgiven. The marginalized and weak say, “I also had a bad childhood” and they’re met with derision. Ask yourself why that is.
Today’s post is written by Brad E. Man
I’m writing this today because Sunflower Punk can’t possibly comprehend this because she is a woman. I mean she tells me she’s “non binary”, but we all know that there are only two genders. Binaries are for computers and we all know women don’t know how they work.
Anyway, I’m here to talk to you about growing your own tomatoes.
It is not hard to grow your own food. Literally anything you say is a barrier is an excuse. Disabled? Nope. The only disability is your bad attitude.
Have kids? Should have kept your legs closed, slut.
Too busy at work? Do what I did. Don’t work and have your fiance pay for everything.
My Guide to Saving Money to grow tomatoes:
Step 1) have a fiance that pays for all your shit
Step 2) bully single moms on the internet
Step 3) profit (the profit is a tomato)
Really, that’s all there is to it. Step 1 was hard because some women have ridiculous standards like “don’t harass women online”. But I pressed on and after following PUA tactics, I negged someone enough to think I was the best they could do.
Which brings me to step 2. I was peacefully minding my business eating Doritos, drinking mountain dew and perusing return of kings. A woman I don’t know posted the above image. Obviously I had to point out how wrong she was.
She told me she’s homeless. Can you believe that? Homeless and on facebook! I bet she also has a phone. Ridiculous.
Another woman told me her budget and how it doesn’t cover enough to grow a home garden.
Excuses! My phone bill is $200/month, rent is $600 and our food budget is 181 dollars. All this is paid by my fiance while I stay home and tend to the garden. It is after all my pride and joy.
These women with their children and homelessness are haters and will continue to have bad luck because they wouldn’t listen to me.
Brad Every Man is a sometimes writer, all the time douche bag. He enjoys tomatoes, sexism and classism. He has a cat who hates him.
Since Donald Trump winning last night I’ve seen several posts by people urging those of us who are upset, hurt and terrified by this election to be understanding, open-minded and to love Trump and his supporters. To accept him as president-elect.
People have been sharing that one particular Martin Luther King Jr.,
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
And to that I just have one thing to say: fuck you. I don’t have to love Donald Trump, I don’t have to love the GOP, I don’t even have to fucking love the Democratic Party. The only people I have any obligation to are myself, my family, my friends and all of the people who are going to be hurt by the decision to elect Orange Hitler.
Don’t you dare tell me that the only way that oppression and hate will go away is if the oppressed love and are nice to our oppressors. I reject that notion.
I’ve already seen several posts from White liberals who are so surprised that America could elect Donald Trump. Marginalized people have been warning about this from the get-go. You love saying Donald Trump doesn’t represent America; doesn’t represent American values but if you knew anything of your history; of American History you fucking know that Donald Trump is a product of America. This is stolen land; it was founded on the oppression of people of color.
Conversion therapy to “cure the gay” is still a thing which Mike Pence, VP-elect supports and advocates for. Racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia transphobia, hatred of all religions save Christianity, all of these different types of oppression are completely American. Donald Trump is not an anomaly. Donald Trump exists because this country encourages, enables and fosters these types of attitudes.
I do not have to tolerate, accept, or love it. I’m beyond over liberals telling me and mine that all we have to do to make things better is to be nice. I am done being nice. Abusers and oppressors don’t deserve my kindness, let alone my love.
You know what? During the whole campaign I saw so many supposedly progressive people constantly throw mentally ill people under the bus by calling Trump supporters by ableist slurs; questioning their cognitive ability.
Accusing women of only voting Hillary becuase of some “gender bias”.
None of those things are very “nice”, but I guess when it’s white liberals doing it then it’s all OK. Let a marginalize person fight back and suddenly you white liberals get bent out of shape.
I will fight you every step of the way for myself, for my child, for my friends, for my family and all other marginalized and oppressed people. I am angry, I am sad, I am devastated but I’m not surprised. I’m in mourning and I’ll be mourning for a while but you’re not going to be able to get rid of me and mine. You’re going to get hatred, you’re going to get my anger, you’re going to remember me and you’re going to regret ever fucking with us.
By the way since you love all quoting MLK Jr. so fucking much, how about you read his Letter from a Birmingham Jail,
I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
It has been a year since my daughter and I left the shelter after five years of homelessness.
I cannot believe it’s only been one year. We got used to things pretty quickly which surprised me. After all, I was so used to being treated like an animal, being carted off to different shelters, nothing more than a number to the State, that I thought not having to deal with shelter life would be a major adjustment.
Since I already wrote about the differences between shelter and apartment living, I’d like to make this post a thank you letter to everyone who helped me get in here and continues to help my daughter and I. Some are named and others I’ve used initials for because they’ve asked/I don’t know how they’d feel about a public shout out.
First I’d like to thank Ania Bula for helping me with creating and sharing my fundraiser.
I was hesitant to make one at first because I was afraid no one would help. I was afraid poor shamers would question why I was asking for money. I’ve seen it so many times before. Angie and Ania helped convince me and they then helped share the hell out of that link.
I’d like to thank my online group of women and NB friends for always listening to me whine and complain and cry about everything in my life. Why you all haven’t gotten sick of me is a mystery.
Many thanks to Sally S. who drove down to the City when I left one of the many shelters (I was being transferred to another) and helped me move my things. If not for that, the shelter would have thrown away everything which would have meant that when I finally moved into this apartment my daughter and I would have had to start over.
Which brings me to thanking KH, ALS, JF, IDT, SG, YR and many others for the lovely housewarming gifts they sent us.
I’d like to thank all of these wonderful people and their friends (strangers to me) for sharing my fundraiser and story. If not for them, I wouldn’t have been able to raise the money to pay off the apartment fees. We were able to come up with the money in about a day!
I was honestly flabbergasted. I could not believe the outpouring of support we received and continue to receive. I feel so lucky to have such wonderful people in my life. People who love my daughter. Our first Christmas here, some friends sent us gifts and my daughter was over the moon.
My friends helped keep me sane while I was dealing with getting the apartment ready. They offered their support, ideas and advice.
I’d like to thank several of my artist friends for encouraging me to keep up with my own art. So, thank you to the Artful Scientist, Ania (once again!), AG, CW, APV for seeing the beauty in what I do and telling me. As you know, sometimes we’re our own biggest and harshest critics.
To my fellow single mom friends, thank you for reminding me I’m not alone. Thank you for staying up with me when I was worried I was somehow messing up my kid’s life.
Finally, I’d like to thank my mami for always helping any way she can. She’s the Sophia to my Dorothy and I’m proud to be her daughter. She’s a great mom. I love you, mami.
And special thanks to my daughter TJ. She has been such a trooper. She’s gone through so much in her short life but she always manages to stay bright and bubbly. I love that about her. She’s my favorite person and I’m lucky to have her call me “mom”.
All of these people (and so many others I didn’t mentioned becuase they’ve helped in so many different ways, it’ll be a way longer post) are always there to remind me to take it easy. To be gentle with myself, reminding me I’m doing the best I can as a person, mom and friend.
Thank you all so much again. I’ll never feel like I can thank you all enough.
Today I read this article and felt I needed to address a few things.
I do agree with the author that some folks do become pretentious about their activism. These “allies” seem to only be in it for brownie points.
But I disagree with their assessment of marginalized people they’ve worked with. The author claims:
one of the first things you learn is that they usually do not frame their worldviews in terms of academic theories you learned in gender studies classes in University. For the most part, they tend to not analyze their experiences in terms of systemic power and privilege, concepts such as “the patriarchy”, “white privilege”, or “heteronormativity”.
I’m aware that not all people are cognizant of how these forces affect their lives. However, I’ve been homeless, I’m a victim of abuse and I’m mentally ill. I absolutely think of my oppression in those terms. My social circle, which compromises of people dealing with several forms of oppression, also know their situations are due to patriarchy, power imbalances and such other concepts. We absolutely DO bother with policing our language. Marginalized people are capable of perpetuating bigotry. We absolutely do educate ourselves “on the intricacies of capitalism.” We do “sit around pondering the effects of “problematic behaviours” in radical communities.” We are concerned with checking our privilege. For one example, I have light skin privilege. While I do experience racism, my light skin is seen as non-threatening. I can easily find make up for my skin tone.
Yes, I am extremely busy trying to survive and get my family’s needs met. But I know the reason I have such a battle ahead of me with these things is because of systemic inequality.
Speaking of Fascism, there is also a disturbing trend on the left nowadays that involves rejecting free speech/freedom of expression as a core value, because that speech could possibly be hurtful to someone, somewhere.
Because we’d like oppressors not to have a platform to speak their bigotry is NOT an example of rejecting free speech. One recent example is Richard Dawkins being disinvited to speak at the Northeast Conference on Science & Skepticism. His right to have bigoted beliefs isn’t being taken away. The government isn’t taking away his Twitter account. So, his free speech isn’t being violated. He has a right to his opinions. I have a right not to listen to them.
Freedom of expression and the like does not mean we have to agree with what another person says…in fact, it means that when we do not, we certainly have the right to challenge it. But what myself and many others are seeing is the shutting off of dialogue entirely, for the purpose of “safety”. What could possibly be safe about censorship? What could possibly be safe about a group of people who claim to be freedom fighters dictating who can speak and what can be said, based on whether or not we agree with them? Study any kind of world history and you will find that censorship has never been on the right side of it.
I agree we don’t have to agree with what another person says. However, I do not want to engage with a bigot. And yes, that is entirely for the purpose of safety. My not wanting to speak to a bigot is not censorship. Again, see above for my explanation on free speech.
Now, the ending paragraphs of this article deal with trigger warnings and safe spaces. The author asks that we “stop with the trigger warnings and get serious about changing the world”. I am completely serious about changing the world, and one way to do that is to make it safe and accessible. Asking, for example, that a class syllabus have trigger warnings makes it possible for someone with PTSD to plan around their study time. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. If a college class is then made inaccessible to someone with a mental illness, how is that not violating that person’s right to an education?
We are fully aware the world isn’t always going to be “fun and pleasant”. I mean, we have PTSD so, yeah we are more than aware. I am always scared but I continue with my activism because, pardon the cliché, I need to be the change I want to see in the world.
Author, you seem to think marginalized folks aren’t activists. Your article comes off as ableist because you’re asking for people not to ask for and use an accessibility tool I.e, trigger warnings.
Your tone comes off as condescending because you’re assuming marginalized folks don’t think about their situations as part of systemic oppression. Which is also classist because you talk about “university educated activists” as if marginalized people don’t also attend university. Or that university is the only way to become enlightened of these issues.
Today is the sixth month anniversary of TJ and I leaving the shelter. Having my apartment made me realize just how many things most people take for granted.
I no longer have to sign in and out to leave the building.
I can have guests over.
I can stay out overnight. In the shelters, we had strict curfews and weren’t allowed visitors.
I don’t have to worry about unannounced inspections. It is such a great relief to be able to take a shower in peace and not worry that some case worker is going to barge into the room.
I can have all my possessions with me. The rooms at the shelter had limited space so most of our things were in storage.
I can cook proper meals. I have an oven. I was able to bake cookies for the first time in years. In the shelters we were in, we only had hot plates. Cooking a full meal on a hot plate takes time and a lot of patience.
I can decorate how I want. The shelters prefered you didn’t put anything on the walls.
I can bring in alcohol. Alcohol wasn’t allowed in the shelter.
My daughter can have sleepovers, she can go to sleepovers.
We can sleep in. The shelter preferred you spent the day elsewhere.
We decorated for the holidays.
My daughter has loads of space to play and dance. The previous shelters were so cramped and uncomfortable.
I can buy lots of groceries and fill my fridge. In the shelters all we had was a mini fridge which didn’t have much space.
I have proper furniture!
Privacy. So much privacy.
I’ve had less stress so I’ve been able to start drawing and reading again. Depression saps your creativity and energy and I hadn’t been able to enjoy my hobbies in years.
I have a view! It seems trivial, but in the shelters I had one window and my view was the building next door. In the apartment we have several windows and on a clear day the view is pretty great.
Six months may not seem like a long time but it seems like forever ago to me. Every day the fear I’ll be homeless once again, becomes a bit smaller. My daughter tells me she hopes we never go back to “those tiny, yucky rooms in the shelter”.
I’ll make sure we never do.
Growing up I had my whole life planned out. I saw how miserable the women in my family were as wives so I decided I would be a Career Woman and never marry. Then I decided I would marry and have children after getting a Ph.D. I’d live fabulously ever after in a mansion with two daughters and one son and some movie star husband. I had the children’s names picked out. I had my wedding planned down to the color of the table cloths. All this would happen by the time I was 30. All of this planning and I was only about seven.
Obviously most of that was a child’s fantasy. As I got older I realized I didn’t want children or marriage after all. But I still wanted to go to college. Growing up that’s how I heard adults measure their child’s success; with whether they had a degree or not. I felt neglected and lonely as a kid so I thought this would be the perfect way to finally get some validation.
I’ve dealt with, and in some cases I’m still dealing with, mental illness, extreme poverty, homelessness, single motherhood and domestic violence. All things which prevented me from going to school. I did complete two semesters but the system being what it is, I had to decide between school or work at the time since the shelter I was in preferred I was working. Currently, I’m not in the right place mentally for school.
As I get older, I’m realizing I don’t need a degree to matter. While I would like to go back to school, I’m not as upset with myself as I used to be. I do have days where I think I am huge failure but most days I think considering the circumstances I am alright.
So I don’t have a huge mansion, but I did finally leave the shelter and have my own apartment.
I don’t have a husband. Thank misandry for that!
I have one child and she is just about the greatest kid alive.
I’m not living a fabulous life but most days it isn’t half bad. I have a loving support network of friends. I have this blog, that while it may not be widely known, some people seem to like. I have my mom who’s extremely patient and understanding. We’ve had many ups and owns but I can count on her.
Through all the shit I’ve gone through, I’ve come out more compassionate, caring and stronger. Which isn’t to say that those things were blessings. If I had to choose character over having an easier life, I’d choose easier life every time. But I have to deal with what I got. Life and lemons and what not, right?
No, my life isn’t perfect and these last few sentences aren’t meant to erase the bullshit I deal with daily; a racist, sexist, classist, ableist system, mental illness, poverty. I wish I was financially stable, I wish I wasn’t disabled. I wish my bodily autonomy had been respected. I wish for a complete system overhaul.
In the meantime, all things considered, I am glad I’m the person I am.
When we lived in the homeless shelters we weren’t allowed to decorate very much, if at all. Space was also extremely limited. So we’d make a small poster with secular Christmas imagery. Our first Christmas in the shelter we spent it alone and I made spaghetti. Rather depressing for someone who was used to a bunch of food. But we didn’t have a proper kitchen and we weren’t allowed to spend the night out of the shelter.
The following Christmas, I made a tree of sorts out of my daughter’s baby blocks. I used her gingerbread cookie blanket as a tree skirt. The “tree” looked more like a pyramid but my daughter was happy.
(image is of a pyramid made of blocks surrounded by Christmas presents)
The next year I bought a small tinsel table tree, it cost about a dollar and some change. This tree was very small and it disappered when my daughter put some candy canes and a huge heart ornament on it. Once again, I used the blanket as a skirt.
(image is of Christmas presents surrounding a very small tree, above the tree is a green and red arrow pointing to it , there’s a red and white stocking hanging from the wall with some toys in it, also on the wall are some Christmas cards.)
Last Christmas we spent it with some family although we did have a strict curfew at the shelter so our time was limited.
This year however we’re in our own apartment. I bought a full size yet inexpensive tree. We bought a few ornaments at the 99 cent store. We made a lot of ornaments as well. We’re going to cook Puerto Rican Christmas food and spend today with family and friends.
Every Christmas since my daughter was two, I’ve hung the stocking she decorated in daycare. And once again the gingerbread cookie blanket is out as a skirt. Old habits die hard and I also wasn’t going to spend money on a tree skirt when the blanket proved to work just as well.