Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Operation: Nurture

Two months into motherhood and my brain is a little less fuzzy, but I have discovered it can only really focus on one topic - my son.  I am interested in all sorts of things still: I continue to (somewhat) follow world events, political happenings, the books I occasionally get time to read, and the lives of friends with not entirely feigned curiosity... even formulating (somewhat) intelligent opinions on such things.  But for anything outside of my personal and present experience of motherhood, I have only fleeting concentration.

And I have decided to stop fighting it.  Afterall, I did sign up for this parenting gig, it's probably a good thing that I am feeling rather involved in my new job.  Especially as it is by nature a thoroughly involving undertaking.

The only dilemma is the friendships I could lose as a result of throwing myself 100% into baby-brain, and the sort of friendships I could be left with.  Personally, prior to motherhood I had very little interest in pre-adult humans; even now the only baby I have much time for is my own.  So outside of my current circumstances, I have rather more affinity with the sort of people who aren't that into babies - ie exactly the sort of people I would bore the pants off just now; and the folk who love babies might be interested in my current circumstances, but their attitude concerns me - don't they know that babies are really BORING?

In any case, I don't have much choice.  The baby is here, and my baby-brain is here with him.  I have this important and VERY full-time job to do, and I'm trying to do it well... and if that means some entertaining people slip out of my life, and some strange baby-lovers in, then so be it.

So in this state, I was thinking about our job as parents the other night.  One thing that has struck me a few times is that he doesn't quite feel like "mine", even though he is clearly not anyone else's; and I realised it's because he doesn't belong to me - he belongs to himself.  At only 10 weeks new, we are amazed by how much of a 'person' he is; how much of an independent will and character he has, and how little control we have over it.  Yet it is surely our job to help shape him.

And I decided that baby is like a tree, and we are like the soil.  The basic components of 'who he is' are contained within the seed from which he grows, but how well he gets the opportunity to be the best version of himself is up to us.  We need to work out what specific 'nutrients' he needs to thrive - what best fits with this particular little life - changing the mix as his needs change.  We need to prop him up, and protect him from the harsh elements while he's growing, but allow him time in the sun, and remove the scaffolding before it becomes suffocating.  We need to bend with his seasons, learning from him when they are changing.  And if we get the balance right, then perhaps he can be as lush and magnificent a whatever-he-is as it is possible to be.

I got very excited by my analogy, but of course it doesn't actually tell us anything about the all-important 'who he is' bit that we need to figure out how best to nurture.  And as it seems to change every day it is rather tricky to get a hold of.  But we are throwing some emotional-fertiliser at the situation, and hoping for the best.  The smiles we get so far suggest we're not too far off.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Have Baby, Will Blog

Before giving birth I expressed curiosity over whether a baby would inspire me to write.  Well, here I am, writing... so I suppose we have an answer.  But do I have any words worth writing, that is the real question.

Firstly I must acknowledge how incredible it is that I am here at all.  All the parents and people-who-know-parents around us have been in awe of my relaxed and organised state.  It is thanks to a combination of having the most involved, loving, generous and just plain available partner in the known universe, and of being mother to the most relaxed baby I have ever heard of.  Reactions to the latter condition have ranged from highest praise, suggesting that our relaxed attitudes and superior parenting are the cause of our child's calm demeanour (hardly likely), to bitter jealousy.  Never fear jealous parents of difficult babies - he's only 5 1/2 weeks old, there's plenty of time and means yet for him to break mummy's heart.

So, here I am - has the little one given me anything to say?  Well... yes... and no.  About motherhood itself there is both too much and too little to say.  Motherhood is: exhausting, overwhelming, WONDEROUS... and boring as hell.  You don't want to know every detail of his development and my hours, and sometimes, neither do I.  But things are being written, so I must feel there is something to record.

Mostly what I find is that I am interested... a general feeling of interest in things, in understanding this job, and equally in the world outside of it... but my thoughts are scattered.  I'm pleased that things are being written - this blog, my diary, 'correspondence' (as I now refer to emails... it lends them a pleasing poetic weight don't you feel?), and even an attempt at a novel - but it is very difficult to complete a coherent idea, to string the links of thoughts together for analysis or even clarity.  My diary, for example, like my conversation, has some substance, but little structure.  Ideas are repeated, missed and poorly articulated.  A study of my pre and post-baby diary would reveal a sense of the time distortion and interrupted nature of parenthood by its format alone.  Once there was a narrative, and barely an edit to my words; now they come in bursts and dribbles and back-tracking, meandering muses, with sentences crossed-out, re-included then crossed-out again as I attempt to gather the threads of meaning together.

I am reminded of those cruel but fascinating experiments recording the resultant webs of spiders given drugs.  If words are my web, then my brain is on some serious narcotics.

On that thought, I'll end this piece and submit it for public scrutiny, noting that those on drugs are often fascinating to themselves, but tedious to any sane audience.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

On being a writer

I've been trying to write a piece about the weird state of being a writer, but readers will forgive me I think being a bit less than coherent 5 weeks into the new job of being a mother.  Fortunately, a facebook friend posted a gorgeous piece by someone else which beautifully explains much of what I wanted to say.  So, rather than attempting to complete an entire article in the moments between feeding / poop-cleaning / preparing equipment for feeding & poop-cleaning duties, for now I will simply share this lovely item with you all for your enjoyment and education.

The point is, I am in the very strange state-of-being that many a writer is in - of being an introvert (as explained most perfectly in said shared item below), and yet also being incapable of holding myself back from sharing my thoughts and even quite personal feelings publicly.  I can't say what it is that causes us to do this - mere narcissism, the need for validation, or a commendable calling to share our wisdom?  Perhaps fellow writers have a clue.  All I know is that I have to write - putting thoughts into words in non-verbal format is a simple compulsion - but why the need to share the results?  Whatever the cause, it does leave one in a slightly difficult situation.  I've shared myself, and then people (understandably enough) assume I'm open to interaction with them.

I respectfully share the following for your consideration. :)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Looking forward to meeting you, fellow mammal

Some time ago in my pregnancy, husband and I had a query - when baby is born, do they clean them up first, or do they hand them to you immediately, all covered in birth-goo?  And it turns out that yep, you get handed a goo-baby.  To non-parents this will no doubt seem utterly disgusting, but to me it has become a symbol of how gloriously real this whole baby business is.  I don't want an ethereally mystical, fantasy baby, nor an improbably cooing, smiling movie-baby - I want a real baby.  I want a goo-baby.

And today this fact has helped me face the reality that birth may not be everything I hoped for.  It may well yet go according to plan, but I have to accept that it might not.  I thought I was ready to take on medical intervention as necessary, but it turns out I wasn't quite.  While in theory, I have always believed that birth is merely the means of getting the baby from the inside of me to the outside, that the only measure of a 'good birth' is an end result of live and healthy mother and baby; in practice I had not accepted that my ideal birth might not happen.  I have been blithely expecting the birth of my desire: a 'natural' birth, in which my body takes over as if it has always known how and I allow it to just do what's needed.

I am still hopeful that this will happen, but it has transpired that while baby is ready to go, my body is not.  After assuming baby would be as much of a slow-poke as husband, it turns out it's my body that's being stubborn.  We'll work on 'ripening my cervix' and hope for the best, but the news forced me to face the reality of what accepting a change of plans would mean.  It forced me to deal with the emotions of not getting what I hope for, and I was temporarily quite upset.

A little art therapy

But then I realised that however this baby is born it will still be a goo-baby.  Whatever happens, baby will be introduced to this world as a fleshy, bloody thing taken from a womb, just as we all have (cue 'circle of life' medley).  I realise that one of the reasons I already love this baby, is simply that they are a fellow mammal.  When baby moves around and my belly terraforms in front of my eyes, it feels like there is a little alien inside of me.  But it isn't an alien, it is a member of my own species; not really a person yet, but 100% human.  And that is the most wonderful thing of all.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Full term

I am waiting... and I don't know for how long.  The first thing I notice in my new twilight world of not yet a mother, but no longer a paid employee, is that time has a different meaning.  My first real sense that my life was changing came when I turned off my alarm - not just for a break, but long-term.  My new life will not be run by the clock, but by the natural rhythms and demands of my baby.  And I realise that this is the first time since my own early childhood that I have been in this situation.  Since we first enter kindergarten (or whatever equivalent we first experience as formal socialisation and schooling) most of us live a life structured by measurements of time - by the hours of the day, the days of the week, and the weeks of the year.  Babies and their full-time carers are one of the few exceptions to this.

And my first experience of unstructured time is in not knowing how long I am to be in this twilight world for.  I could have several weeks... or only days.  So how am I to organise my time?  Do I rush to get the 'to do' list complete, and hope that I can then relax full-time for a while, risking ending up with no relaxation; or do I potter and linger, enjoy the moments as they come and work on what I want to, risking being disorganised and uprepared for baby?  Well, nature provided the answer.  After three days of rushing and feeling continued stress that I would never get it all done in time, my body stopped me.  Last Thursday, I was overcome by what Kaz Cooke describes as an 'ineluctable torpor'.  In a sudden on-set of the 'baby brain' which I have heard so much about, I was struck with an overwhelming feeling of anti-motivation, along with a complete and utter inability to make a decision - of any kind - let alone undertake any productive action.  For at least an hour, I believe rather longer (I was somewhat aware of the time as husband's job is still run by the clock and I wanted to talk to him) I wandered aimlessly around my house, with barely a thought in my head.  I don't believe I have ever felt so stupid in my life!  I tried to make a decision about what to do next and was simply unable to do so.  And that was it - from then on I have given in to the fact that this baby will choose when they are going to be born, and in the meantime my number one job is to relax... let my body prepare for birth, and know that the 'to do' list will never really be complete anyway.  An enforced lesson, I suppose, in mindfulness.

And a lesson, I realise this morning, in the true nature of 'intuition'.  As the "pragmatic part-hippy", to quote my own definition of myself, I am an atheist who practices magic.  Part of my magical practice includes an irrational belief in my own intuitive powers - a sense that I am in tune with forces and knowledge outside of my own experience.  It has been something I have felt as supernatural, even though I am entirely convinced that no supernatural world exists*.  Well from today I am including it within my atheist world-view - intuition is real, and it needs no woo to explain it.  The phenomenon which I have called intuition, is simply emotionally-aware applied knowledge.  And I learnt this the moment I tried to call on my intuition on a subject for which I had inadequate knowledge.

I was finding it strange that I had no inkling of how long it would be before birth, especially as throughout the rest of pregnancy I have felt very wise and 'intuitive'.  Where was my usual innate 'knowledge' of what would happen next?  Why had my ability to predict my own future deserted me now, at such an important time?  Well the answer was very simple.  There was no point listening to my body and the baby's, paying attention to my emotions, reading all the signs - when I had no way of interpreting them.  I have never given birth before.  And somehow, in this one area, I had failed to gain much knowledge from the experiences of others.  So I got informed.  I read, I gained facts - from woman who have given birth, and from medical professionals in the field.  And, as if by magic, my sense of intuition began to be restored.  I still don't know when baby will be born, but I am getting much more of an understanding of how impending birth is (for now the answer is 'not just yet').

I want to note that this understanding, as with all things atheistic, in no way detracts from either the profundity or the beauty of intuition.  It is still a wonderful and worthwhile thing to work on.  A logical person my gain all the facts that they desire, but if they do not apply them in an intuitive way, then they will be losing the best use of those facts.  Intuition is a subtle art which requires emotional intelligence.  It is much like creativity - it requires being observant, taking in and being aware of many subtle things at once, then finding the right emotional state to allow the mind to make the important connections between them.  For creative and intuitive types, these processes don't feel like doing anything at all, because they come so naturally.  But I'm sure that anyone could learn it.

In any case, I am re-learning intuition.  And mindfulness.  And patience.  And I'm not even a mother yet.  Goodness knows what lessons that little adventure is going to have in store for me!  One on which I am most curious is whether I will be inspired to write, or if I will lose the ability altogether.  I suppose my few readers will soon find out. :)

*this is partly true simply by definition - if something exists, it is, therefore, natural.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The mini-tour before the main trek

So we have at last decided to make our news public, and I can now write about the one thing that truly matters - that I am pregnant.  Nothing in my life has ever been anywhere near as important as this.  There is a small and dependent human growing inside me, and soon I will give birth to this human and then be (with Davey) 100% responsible for their continuing life.

There are arguably more important jobs in the world.  By dedicating myself to raising one human, I am giving up time which could be spent helping many.  By giving in to our genetic urge to create our own offspring, we have chosen to add an unnecessary extra human to the world instead of taking in a needy one who already exists.  But having taken this path, I cannot help but take it profoundly seriously.

Perhaps technically it is selfish to make a new human for ourselves; but by being an intimate witness to the miracle of life itself, I feel deeply connected with the specific life which I have already helped to nurture for 7 1/2 months.  Perhaps technically it is indulgent to spend our time giving an overly-nurtured life to a single human, rather than helping the masses; but I can't help but feel that doing so is still one of the most necessary jobs.  I argue this: imagine a world in which every individual human were raised with maximum love, support and care - wouldn't that be a wonderful world?

I have always believed in doing our best for the world in which we are priviledged to live - to help others, to nurture the planet, to act with both knowledge and goodness.  But just as passionately I have always believed that we must do so within our individual capacities and strengths.  I am, for example, very passionate in my political beliefs; but I am not the person to fire-up a mass of people towards my viewpoint, or even engage in any level of genuine debate - these are simply not the ways in which I can personally help the cause.  I can, however, be a good example in my personal actions, a willing foot-soldier in any worthwhile crusade, and a sweetly-smiling advocate for the beliefs I hold.  I can support my husband in his career in which he does change minds.  And I can raise a child (or a few) with my own style of leading-by-example and gentle advocacy for leading a positive life.

So here I am, about to undertake the job for which I have pined for much of my life.  Ranty feminist values notwithstanding, I have always hoped to be a mother someday; I'm just one of those people who has always wanted children of my own.  Yet I have also felt that whether or not I were ever to be in a position to have them was beyond my control.  So one of the many overwhelming emotions which I have been experiencing is awe at my luck - luck that I have been granted the opportunity to be a mother, and luck that I have been granted this opportunity in the circumstances of my choosing.  This awe manifests in extremes between almost unbearable joy that my dearest wish is coming true; and bouts of terror that I will not be as good at this job as I hope.

But mostly I find that pregnancy has brought with it a sense of optimism and self-assurance.  I feel that I know myself better than ever; that I am the pragmatic part-hippy, ready to be both technically effective and warmly nurturing as a parent, ready to learn yet ready to be fearless in the face of opposition to my parenting ideals, ready to balance scientific knowledge and continual reading with intuition and flexibility.

Most importantly I realise that all of the emotions and revelations which I have experienced over the past months have been before I have even given birth.  I am bracing myself for a lifetime of learning on a new plane of existence.  Pregnancy has been a journey in itself; soon we are to take on the grand, unpredictable and ever-changing adventure of parenting.  To answer the constant question "are you excited?", I present this post.  Excited is far too small a word.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Growing Pains

This blog is founded on an idea of 'self-sufficiency'.  Generally, I have focussed on emotional self-sufficiency (and the illusions I have of this being something attainable), but I also meant it quite literally - as in, growing-ones-own-food.  For environmental, lifestyle, and something akin to 'spiritual' reasons, hubby and I have always planned that someday we will be semi self-sufficient.

I come here today to announce to you all - this will not be taking place.  As you will learn, the dream is over and reality is being accepted.  To follow is a full history of how this has occurred.

It all began, I suppose, with The Good Life.

Husband and I grew up with re-runs of the quaint 1970s fantasy, then returned to it together whilst in the initial throws of 'in-love'.  It subsequently became part of what I term 'the mythology' of our romance.  I believe a relationship has two dimensions - the reality, and the mythology.  The reality includes the day-to-day living and loving; the life we make together, the things we say and do that build up to form the nature of our lived love-affair over the years.  The mythology is like the founding myth of any religion - it is the great story of why, the crucial circumstances surrounding how it all came about.  Ours includes the sleepless nights of obsessive conversation, the alliterative text messages, the poem I wrote on our 'Autumnal Romance' (so much deeper and more perfect than the common-place Spring setting), the books and jokes we shared (with the one person who finally TRULY understood them)... and, The Good Life.

Yes, we like to believe we ARE the Goods.  After all, we, like them, are a damn-cute couple, who love and tease each other in the most gorgeous ways possible.  Most importantly, we, like them, are hyper-idealistic, ranty, political semi-hippies.  What could be more perfect than to embrace our love for one another - and our love for the planet - by living the ultimate down-to-earth lifestyle?  I, like Tom Good, have never been a great fan of the 'day job'.  And who could not agree that it is a ridiculous system to spend most of my waking hours working to pay for life's necessities, when all I really want to do is potter around at home - where I could be directly creating those life necessities for myself.

We were realistic.  Unlike the Goods, we do not yet own a house; and, unlike the Goods, we will have children to keep.  We are also both of us blessed-and-cursed with the incurable 'travel bug', and must be able to afford the occasional flight to somewhere entirely foreign.  Oh, and, yes, we also like to entertain, and have been in the habit of merrily whipping out the credit card in the name of good times with friends.  But aside from these minor details (the cracks are already showing, aren't they?) we were ready to forgo some luxuries and make a plan that worked for us.  Husband would continue in his career - which, unlike Tom Good, he is actually passionate about - and once we could afford it, I would justify and pay for my indefinite absence from paid employment by growing the majority of our food.

Dear reader, we are just about in that required affordability position.  There is really no reason we can't pay for a house, and future-children's needs (and perhaps even those flights and parties) on husband's salary.  Therefore, there is no further reason we can't take up the plan... well... NOW.

No reason except, of course, the fatal flaw in the plan - that I have absolutely no talent for growing things!

Despite all my fond fantasies of myself as a natural, nurturing earth-mother, instinctively in-tune with the web-of-life of which we are all a part, I am in reality a black-thumb.  Despite my shelves of beautiful books and magazines on all things gardening and all my attempts at research and a scientific understanding, I have not learnt anything of use.  I am simply not meant to grow things.

On my facebook page are arty photographs of my few successes.  But what are not included are the failures - and they hugely outnumber the wins.  I show the few green, sprouting seedlings, not the numerous sowings that never make it that far; I show the pretty new buds, not the dying flowers that never bear fruit; I show the vibrant new trees we have proudly selected, not the dry, sad twigs they become.

And now at last I have come to accept the truth for myself - were we to put our plan into action, we would starve to death.

Self-sufficiency of the type I imagined is not in my future.  While I will still attempt to keep a garden of some description, it will be purely decorative and never truly functional.  And I am having to take on board the inevitable side-effect - my life of continued wage-slavery.  Frighteningly, I am now able to write this piece and accept these truths because I am actually beginning to be okay with this.  Grubby notions of 'ambition', 'fulfillment at work' and 'career' are becoming less poisonous and indeed increasingly attractive to me.  I am even starting to enjoy it.

Am I entirely lost, or is this transformation simply realistic?  Perhaps the one thing I am adept at growing is my own mental development.

Friday, June 7, 2013

A confession, and a memory

So... where the hell had I been?!

It is hard to believe that I had not posted for so very long - more than a year!  Yet it is true.  So what happened?

For one thing, I notice that my last post had been just before I began my current job.  Hardly a coincidence; daily under-appreciation is not exactly inspirational.

But the main reason that anything I wrote felt false and inadequate, or simply too personal to share, is that I have committed what I consider to be one of the worst sins of all - I had out-sourced my self-esteem.

I could not be sassy or witty or clever, because I did not feel sassy or witty or clever.  I could not write about self-sufficiency, because emotionally, I was no longer self-sufficient.  I could not write about self-image, because I had lost my image of myself.  For an astonishingly long time, I no longer knew who I was.

But time has passed and somewhere along the way I found myself again.  After many tears, many hours of boring my friends, even more hours of pouring my heart out in my diary, and far too many words sent to the person in question, I have come out the other side.

And who am I?  I am who I always was, but with a loss, and a gain.  Lost to me is the notion of myself from a decade ago, the image of the "utterly irresistible" little sex-goddess that I had held close - even when it threatened my marriage, and even though really, it detracted from the grown-up woman I was now living the life of.  That little temptress no longer exists, and I have been forced to acknowledge it.  Lost to me too is the ability to look up to this person as a father-figure-lover (always intermingled, and always perfectly natural); to sit in awe of his wisdom, and to be petted and adored in return.  But gained is the chance to be a real woman - to at last truly take charge of myself and my sexuality - this time from within myself.

I once believed that he had taught me to believe in myself, but all I had learned was to believe in his opinion of me.  From now on, I will believe in myself for my own sake and for my own purpose.

And, I will write on my blog!  I will post the pieces that have lain in wait for too long.  Next time... my not-so-green thumb.  I advertise this now as a promise... to myself.

But before I go, indulge me please in a moment of nostalgia.  And nostalgia it is, now that I understand that I can never go back, and now that I accept that going back is not what nostalgia is for anyway.

Eleven years ago, life gave me a romance.  It felt like a dream, even at the time.  It took place in Scotland, amongst the rolling countryside surrounding Balmoral Castle, during a cool, misty summer.  For two perfect days around two perfect nights, I was given a fairytale.  A soft-spoken, sensual, older man flew me to his side to indulge us both in a time of pure pleasure.  We talked, we dined, we listened to Frank Sinatra, we bathed together, and we made love.  He escorted me from beautiful scene to beautiful scene: drinking sloe gin to a private view of unspoilt hills; kissing by a rambling stream; smoking and drinking and eventually making it to bed in our lodge by the loch.  For these days, and the further scattered days and nights I was granted back in London, I was always at his command, and it was always my pleasure to follow his charming lead.  I discovered that I could, if I chose, be a perfect fairytale princess to a perfect fairytale prince.

This I have had, and nothing can take that away from me.  And now this memory can take nothing from the life I have today.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Loving myself... TODAY!

I have many more ranty things to post, but I thought I'd start here again with something positive.  It does unfortunately again deal with the issue of FAT.  I hope that someday - someday very soon in fact - I will stop even thinking about my size and just LIVE MY LIFE.  But, for the moment, I still have a few issues to deal with and a few things to tell this superficial society of ours before I can drop the subject.

So... positive.  Over the last couple of years I have been getting healthy.  At present, my vital signs are all in the 'normal' range, my doctors describe me as healthy, and I feel GREAT.  I have plenty of energy, I eat well, sleep well, and get plenty of exercise.  I have learnt to limit my indulgence of the tasty things my body doesn't need to rare times and small quantities.  I am still improving this, but I'm pretty damn pleased with my current equilibrium.  I achieved this state very slowly and naturally.  I never went on a 'diet', I never paid a cent to a weight-loss company.  I did this on my own and I did it in a way that allowed me to just continue my life and relationships along the entire journey.  It is not the only way to get healthy, but it's the way I did it and I'm proud of what I've achieved.

My BMI has reduced from where it was, but it is still high.  But that doesn't matter.  I am now a firm advocate of the 'Health at Every Size' approach and intend to follow this life-affirming path into the future (or 'going forward' as we say now - grrr.)  Embracing good-health has not only given me the direct benefits of a healthier body, but it has also offered me a wonderful antedote to the fat-haters.  Because if anyone tries to tell me I should lose weight for my health, I know they are wrong.  They can no longer claim that as their excuse for 'worrying about me'.  All they have left is the truth - that they want me to lose weight for their own aesthetic tastes.  And to that attitude I have always been immune.  You want to tell me how to live my life for your own superficial reasons?  Well, you know exactly where you can shove that idea. :)

But, well, I'm not quite, not 100%, happy with my new situation.  I had sort of hoped that by getting healthy I would also achieve my ideal figure.  And that has not really occurred.  So this is the final hurdle I must overcome - my disappointment with my healthy body's appearance.  (The final personal hurdle that is, there are still many things society needs to fix, never fear!)  For a completely together and mentally-healthy future, I must accept that this is the body I am to live with.  This, NOW, is my healthy weight, my healthy body, and so I must learn to love it.

So, to 'put it out there' as they say, I offer these affirmations of my reality.

I will never be slim because:

- I am already healthy.
- I am content with my current balance of indulgence to nutrition, and activity to laziness.  My lifestyle works for me emotionally and socially as well as physically.
- Cream and butter make things taste better, they are therefore necessary occasional indulgences.
- A pork roast with crackling and all the trimmings is one of the most spectacular inventions of all time.  I refuse to live a life that entirely rejects spectacular inventions.
- Running is unpleasant.  It is bad for your joints, sweat-inducing and therefore inconvenient, and mostly unnecessary.  Also, it is unpleasant.
- Counting calories is one of the most boring activities on the planet.
- Reading and researching and writing and talking are all best enjoyed sitting on a comfortable sofa.  And they are all best enjoyed often.
- Wine is delicious and induces important conversations.
- My husband loves my body just the way it is, and my husband is by far the best person on the planet, and the one I most often want to be naked with.
- People who don't like fat people are superficial morons.  I don't like superficial morons.

And being fat forever is just fine, because:

- Healthy fat people may live longer than healthy slim people.
- Fat-hating is disgusting and needs to be stamped out.  This can only be achieved by fabulous fat-people being fat and fabulous.
- I personally find too many curves far sexier than too few, including on my own body.
- People who spend all day thinking and talking about their bodies are dull and unpleasant. People who enjoy life are fun. I want to be around fun people, and be a fun person myself.

- Fat fashion is fun.  Being part of the sassy, self-loving, fat-gang is fun.
- Self-loving fat people can step off the constantly-worrying-about-body-size treadmill, and just BE.
- Fat people are the best people to cuddle.