on community, social media, and friends who wear my size

Last weekend I had the inestimable pleasure of having dinner with a bunch of awesome fatties from the intarwebs. There was wine, delicious food (thinks Kate & Chris!), lots of laughing, screaming, hugs, cleavage, and talking about cleavage.  It was an entirely fabulous night, and it got me thinking about quite a few things.

First of all, while I was a little nervousness about meeting new people – even people I knew online – I didn’t have that sense of steeling myself for it, the dread of not fitting in because I’m fat.  I know social stuff can be tricky for a lot of folks, but there’s something about the immediate visual difference of being deathfat that seems to add an extra layer of challenge for me.  The (real or imagined) pressure I usually feel to immediately overcome (real or imagined) assumptions about my intelligence, interests, tastes, self-esteem, sex life, or general awesomeness just wasn’t there.  And I liked it!

The other amazing thing about hanging out with fatties was the free clothes! Kate very generously offered a bunch of clothes to new homes and I picked up a couple of dresses and a top which I adore.  I think it’s actually the first time in my life I’ve been the beneficiary of someone else’s generosity in this way.  I’m usually too big for other people’s clothes; it’s always been me handing things on.  This was amazing and exciting and I felt more grateful and more guilty than I probably needed to.  The best of my new acquisitions is a form-fitting black frock with a fishtail bottom that makes me thing of Divine if she were a Melbourne hipster who wore all black all the time and not a fabulous and colourful queen.  I’ve actually been holding off posting this entry until I could get a photo to illustrate, but for now Divine herself will be more than enough.  (I will try to get a photo up in the next few days, though.)

The other thing I’ve been thinking about a lot is how I use social media.  There’s a lot in this I want to think through more, but when we talked about weather people were like their online personas, it made me hope that I’m not.  I realised that my twitter feed is kind of angry – I tend to use it as a quick outlet for frustrations (mostly at Metro Trains).  I do tweet delicious and beautiful things as well, and use it to connect with a lot of fatties, so it’s not all angry, but it’s certainly not how I (think I) am in real life.  My livejournal account is mostly dormant – I use it mainly for commenting, for checking out the fatshionista community, and occasionally for extreme emo.  My facebook status is primarily made up of song lyrics, which can be awkward when people misinterpret them as being about my actual life (I’ve started using “/” to indicate line breaks in the hope of stopping that).  As for this blog, it’s more serious and confessional than I really am in person, while my other blog is pure joy.  It’s a slightly uncomfortable feeling, to think about the gaps between my self-image and my self-representation.  And none of this even touches on reading practices, which for me are very different from my writing practices.  But that’s a whole ‘nother post.

11 Replies to “on community, social media, and friends who wear my size”

  1. Rad! Yes, there is an eye opening moment when you feel the ease of your own boundaries give way to complete and total pleasure when you’re amongst the fats! I seriously need to meet more fatties! Thanks for reminding me. Can’t wait to see the pic of you in the new dress! I, too am a death fattie and rarely get gifted or swapped in the clothing dept. But I am looking forward to a big fat girl flea coming soon here in the bay area. Last year’s was fantastic!
    Here’s hoping we can all put our true selves forth for the world to see! =0)

  2. Aww, you’re welcome honey – it makes me truly happy when my clothes go to a good home, and the Divine look was never going to work for me! We’ve had a horrible, horrible week of deciding we have to move house and dealing with estate agents, so it was lovely to come home and find nice things about our hosting skills written on teh internets. Once we’re settled in a new place I am determined to host a Melbourne clothes swap and advertise it on LJ fatshionista. (I think Chris enjoyed being surrounded with cleavage, but he was disappointed nobody asked him to play the organ.)

  3. Wasn’t it fabulous?!
    I had exactly the same thing going on when I was getting ready for our dinner – I realised that beyond any normal social anxiety about meeting people, there wasn’t that other stuff going on. I often worry that people will be shocked by my fatness, or will make assumptions about me, or will think I’m ugly or any of the other things often ascribed to fat. So it was lovely to have those particular fears just not be there.
    As for what is projected into online spaces: I’m struggling with that a bit at the moment. Am I too open? Should I be more selective about what I present so publicly? Or should I, like you, create some different spaces for different purposes and perhaps feel less exposed that way? Not sure really.

    1. The social media thing is funny – I didn’t deliberately set out to make them different spaces, I just realised that’s what I was doing. How I’ve used most of them has changed a lot over time, too – I originally got a livejournal account because this girl I had a crush on told me that she’d mentioned me in a friends-locked post and I’d need to be on her friends list to read it…so of course, I signed up immediately. From there I found the fatshionista community (which in my mind is the start of the fatosphere, everything seems to have grown out from there – although I think that’s probably just because it was my gateway). The way I use twitter is changing too, although the change kind of snuck up and surprised me.

  4. The whole ‘different personas in different fora’ thing is kind of odd, isn’t it? I have a few different blog spaces, as you know, and they’re differentiated mostly by subject or the need to keep some things more private (so DW/LJ is conversely more private and more public than the things I’d post on my trans blog, etc). But I do think that as there are different ways I approach each space, I’m inclined to write differently. Actually, I’ve been thinking recently about how many of my friends juggle multiple blogs, and how I actually don’t have the time or energy to keep up with them all. While I really understand the desire and convenience of having ‘single issue’ blogs (i.e. this is my identity politics blog, this is my fandom blog, this is my personal blog, this is my food blog), I’m also kind of disappointed with the way people’s lives end up fracturing, and I worry sometimes what effect this has on writers and readers (e.g. sometimes I have an experience and wonder what blog I should talk about it on) . . . surely we are more than the sum of our blog titles?! It’s just something I’ve been thinking over the last week or so, and your post reminded me.

    I can’t wait to see you in your new dress! Awesome!!!

    1. I think about the multiple blogs thing a bit, too. It’s funny – I read lj every day to keep up with my friend’s lives (although that’s less and less the case as everyone is migrating to dreamwidth – I need to set-up a feed or something). Sometimes I’m glad that people have separate blogs, because it means I can just track the ones I’m interested in, but I agree that the division is quite arbitrary. I’ve been thinking about that a lot in relation to my food and fat blogs – they are quite distinct, but also bound together in ideology, and in my body. I’ve been thinking a lot about eating, about anxiety over food, about the need to eat, about how intimately corporeal eating is – it’s taking in the world in making it a part of my body. There’s a post in the works and, like you, I’m not sure which blog it properly belongs to – perhaps both?

  5. And this time it was the skinny(er) chic who felt the odd one out (but got to oogle at some great boobs!).

    But I love that you have lined me to the word fattie!


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