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Recently, an image has been floating around the parts of Tumblr where I hang out. It's Maslow's hierarchy of needs, and at the very bottom (ie, where the most important, life-giving thing is supposed to be) someone has drawn an extra piece of the triangle and added "WI-FI". Every time I see it, someone is saying they relate to that, and that they're embarrassed to relate to it, or ashamed, or feel stupid.

So I reblogged it with some commentary, because that's a lot of bullshit right there. Here's the text of my Tumblr post, and the original Tumblr post I made (that's my fandom Tumblr, so clicking around it will likely be NSFW, fyi).

hierarchy of needs altered to include WIFI

I have seen this a lot. And I want to say something: Stop.

For a lot of people, a connection to the internet is how they find food and shelter and warmth. A connection to the internet is how they find security, stability, and a freedom from fear — a place to live, people who will help protect them. Psychological and emotional support.

The internet connection is how we find belonging and love — for many of us, this is where our chosen family lives. It’s where we find self-esteem because it’s where we learn, where we share our mastery, where we get the recognition and respect that meatspace society doesn’t offer us. This is where we pursue our inner talents, find fulfillment.

I’m in the privileged position of never having needed (so far, knock wood) to post a request for help from strangers because I can’t pay my rent, because I need a safe place to stay where people won’t hurt my body — we’ve all seen the posts from people who need our help. Who helps them in meatspace? No one. Who helps them on the internet? WE DO. WE HELP EACH OTHER HERE.

Note: Yes, having the internet and devices to use it makes you privileged in some ways. But that doesn't make you less privileged in others. Intersectionality, baby.
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Content notes for this entry: discussion of an eating disorder (restrictive), doctors, weight, fatness, confronting oppression.

Assumption: You are body positive and have read most of the materials linked here. Do not comment on this post to tell me that fat people are disgusting and going to die of heart disease or whatever. Keep your bullshit to yourself.


Let me tell you about a trick I know.

It is only in the last couple of years that I've had health insurance and started going to doctors and taking stuff pretty seriously. (I basically hit my wall of feeling crappy, to be honest.)

I read a lot of material about going to the doctor as a fat person, with a lot of advice. The advice always boils down to giving the reader two choices if the doctor is a jerk about fat people:

1. Leave
2. Confront & educate

I've done the first one more than once. I'm also the caretaker of a person who sees a lot of doctors, and I have walked that person out on more than one occasion as well.

I think #2 is pretty important -- doctors need to be educated about their bullshit if indeed they have some bullshit happening. I mean, I once went to a doctor who told me to "keep it up" when I told her I was only eating 230 calories every day. Then she added thoughtfully, "Try to eat less fat." That's bullshit.

But sometimes "confront and educate" isn't something you can do, for whatever reason -- and don't even get me started on the idea that someone should educate their oppressor!

With that particular doctor is actually where my advice comes from, because I left her office -- in complete fucking crisis, having left work early the day before because I was hallucinating from not eating enough calories to keep my body going -- and cried in my car, then got a smoothie, then asked for help from people I trusted. In this case, I ended up going to Michelle Allison, the "Fat Nutritionist" and signing up for sessions with her.

That's where I learned this trick.

Tell whichever doctor giving you a hard time, "Oh, I'm dealing with this, thanks, my nutritionist and I are working on it."


I have never had a doctor ask for my nutritionist's name or contact info. I've never had a doctor accuse me of lying about having a nutritionist (although I have totally had them accuse me of lying about exercise and calorie counts!). I've never had a doctor continue the conversation about size after that statement.

Without fail, the doctor always says, "Oh, in that case..." and goes on to give me what I am sure is pretty much the same treatment they'd give a thin person.

It's been about 18 months since my last session with Michelle, and I still tell doctors (like, you know, my eye doctor, who has no business commenting on my size in the first place) that I appreciate their concern, but my nutritionist and I are handling it.

It is okay to not always be the perfect fat person with the perfect educational response. It's okay to deflect instead of confront. It's okay to let the doctor keep thinking their bullshit thoughts. Especially when you have a problem that needs treatment and the doctor is focusing on your size instead of your problem.
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Blah blah blah life. I still haven't seen Pacific Rim (but I want to), and at some point I'm going to write down my thoughts about the use of sexual assault to make a female character seem stronger and/or more desirable (short version: OH MY GOD STOP IT).

For now, I just wanted to say hi, I'm still alive, still taking on clients and working with some amazing writers. I just got some new tattoos, too, so I want to give a shoutout to ihearttattoo studios in Columbus, Ohio. (I was there for Empires shows, of course.) The owner/tattooist Chris is really fantastic, does amazing line work, and was a really good dude to both me and the friend who came with me to also get tattooed. If you're in that area and looking for a clean, safe, respectful, talented tattoo artist, I can't recommend Chris at ihearttattoo enough.

(If you're in the NYC area, I've been getting my tattoos at Solid Gold in Elmont. They do great work, are affordable, and are super respectful of people's bodies. Their website is kind of schmuckola-y, but when you go in, they're good dudes. No women tattoo artists, though, unfortunately.)

(I will never again get a tattoo from someone who is disrespectful of my body. Seriously. Life is too short.)

My tattoos are stars between my fingers (that's the left hand; they are also on the right). I'm getting a lot of "Oh my god, you'll never work in an office again!" reactions -- but let's be real. An office that wouldn't hire me because of tattoos between my fingers definitely wouldn't be hiring me anyway.


PS, Elementary is still, like, the best television show I've ever seen in my life. Wow. Also up there is Paul Hollywood's Bread. Mmm bread.


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anna genoese

November 2015

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