Feeling Good

.

I’m feeling good…

Good like the cool rain taking the heat out of a sultry day
Like the breeze causing my skirt to gently sway
In that zany, loopy fun kind of cray

Good like finding a long-lost favored ring
A walk in the park the first days of spring
On a hot day, a sip of some cool fruity thing

Good like cutting with the Little Joker in Spades
Knowing I still have the big one to be played
Hiding the gleam in my eyes behind some shades

Oh, I’m feeling good.

For I’ve  spent way too many days with my smile lying
Fake laughing to cover how my heart was crying
In a world not even close to caring how my soul was dying

And too long I let others tell me how I should be
But never was it ever what I knew I could be
So now I only work on what is it good to me

Now that’s not saying I’m not feeling for my brothers set adrift
Or lost my empathy for my sisters getting the short shrift
Or that I don’t care about our socio and economic rift

Because sometimes the world makes me wanna holla from that stress
And like Marvin I want to know what’s going on with this mess and…

Excuse me, I digress…

Where was I?

Yeah, but right now? I’m feeling good!

Good like looking the mirror and loving the sight
Whether in silks by day or leathers by night
When I know I’ve got it all together so tight

Good enough to wear a mini in a skinny crowd
Not hide my beauty in some mumu or shroud
Head high, gut forward, loud and proud

And yes, sometimes it comes to pass
That there are those who chose to lambast
For they have a problem with my fat ass

But I’m not the one that’s going to obsess
And with each bite of food reassess and…

Oh excuse me again, I digress…

I am feeling good!

Good like having a day that started with doubt
But then proving I do know what I’m about
And later catching someone fine checking me out

That kind of good that can only come from within
That sneaky good I feel when I’m about to sin
With the one that gives me more than just a grin

The good of being in the zone
When my voice takes on that tone
Like the sound of a pleasured moan

Good like when I get that feeling of that special caress
From the hand slipping slowly under my dress and…

Damn, did it again, huh? My bad… Excuse me… I digress…

But no, y’all just don’t understand! I’m feeling good!

The giddy with friends that’s fondly tolerated
The kind of good that’s always celebrated
Where those near can’t help be feel elevated!

Feeling like Joy has answered my speed dial!
Good like not a thing on this earth can cramp my style
Good like the strength of my strut, the gleam of my smile

Good for the first time in a long time I feel like I’m able
To handle the crap still left on my mental table
Feeling a  good, that’s so good, that I a poet can’t even label!

Umph –  that kind of good!

And yeah I know I can’t sing it as Nina would, but

Birds flying high, you know how I feel
Sun up in the sky, you know how I feel
Leaves drifting on by, you know how I feel
It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me and…

I’m feeling GOOD!

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Feeling good about dVerse ~ Poets Pub’s | OpenLinkNight : Week 104

The Weighing In Of Opera

Buzzfeed.com had an interesting post on “What Happened To Opera”.  True to Buzzfeed’s style the article, while somewhat tongue-in-cheek, makes a damn good point  and gets extra kudos for the Bugs Bunny reference.

While the opera productions have become bigger, grander, the singers themselves have not, at least not size wise.   Here in America, as well as in other Western social minds,  the fat body is considered unhealthy, abnormal, something to be ashamed of, not the socially accepted form of what is sexy.

Many opera companies, especially the smaller ones, struggle economically. And apparently think the solution is to behave like popular music labels and play up the sexuality of their leading stars.  Singer Deborah Voigt, a leading dramatic soprano, was famously fired years ago for being too fat to portray a role as the stage director at that time had envisioned it.  Voigt was eventually reinstated after she lost the weight through gastric band surgery. Yes, she states it was for her own health reasons, but no one can be blamed for the unspoken wink, wink, nudge, nudge  that goes with it.  Erstwhile mega operatic superstars such as Norman and Sills and Pavarotti would likely be hard pressed to keep their standing in this new aesthetic. This goes beyond mere fat-phobia into an analysis of appearance in music and theater that is depressing.

If the saying “It ain’t over ’till the fat lady sings” were to held to its truth, it would likely mean the death knell for opera.  As with everything else there are exceptions to the rule, those whose amazing voices transcend the benchmark.  Still,  even those exceptions are growing smaller and smaller and not just in size.

It’s sad, but unfortunately true. Opera used to be solely about the singing.  Now not only must the singers have the most amazing voices for the parts, they now must have the looks to go with them and therein lies the rub. There was ad campaign which queried  “What is sexy”.   And let’s face it, in this climate, the de rigueur definition of  sexy = skinny.

The beloved image fat, horned-helmet Valkyrie, belting out Wagner, pretty much synonymous with opera, will eventually be as obsolete as the Beta-max.  There are such amazing singers out there whose voices  may never be heard because of this downsizing and we will never know our loss.

Judge Not, Lest Ye…

Ulanda Williams, a social worker in New York City, fell into a hole when the sidewalk beneath her collapsed last week. Ms. Williams was waiting for a bus and sought shelter under an awning when it began to rain when the ground gave way seconds later. Not falling straight through to the cellar below, she wound up wedged in the hole instead, it took special FDNY equipment to pull her out. She was taken to a hospital and was released the next day.  Ms. Williams was extremely fortunate that her injuries were limited to a broken arm, cuts, scrapes and bruises.  Apparently EMS and FDNY concurred that a smaller person may have died from the drop. It is Ulanda’s size that likely saved her life.

And that (her size), as they say, is the rub.

Granted, in each article I’ve read, the news sources have taken care to mention that upon inspection it was determined by the NYC Department of Buildings that defective steel doors and a loose staircase were partially responsible for the four- by-six-foot slab of concrete’s collapse. However, that part of the story is almost seems a side-note to the main article. Why?

Because in each of the sources that I’ve read, the story was not that a woman nearly fell to her possible death due to a poorly maintained structure. The immediate focus for each of them was that the woman in question was nearly six and a half feet tall and weighed 400 pounds, according to the New York Post. Yes, Ms. Williams is in one word fat. Journalisms presumed penchant for being unbiased (yeah I know), went out the freaking window once her size was known. Don’t believe me?

Here is the lead-in line for the Huffington Post article? “Looks like she got her big break.”

The New York Post’s opening salvo? “Size does matter!

Oh, and my personal favorite, the first sentence from RoadRunner:  “Whoever says good things come in small packages hasn’t met Ulanda Williams. Williams, who is 32 years old and tips the scales at 400 pounds, claims she owes her life to her trailer-truck physique.

Oh, look they so funny! So why the hell am I not laughing?

Why is it when something happens to a person of size in the news it becomes all about the fat?

Even in their headlines, headers and web links, the view is already skewed to immediately blame the victim.

*Woman who fell through sidewalk says her ‘girth’ saved her

*http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/too_big_to_fall_Fz8VbWLT2tMkq9gvShHF0J

*Ulanda Williams, 400-lb Woman, Falls Through Sidewalk In New York City

I am not saying that her weight did not contribute to the incident.  My complaint is how the media specifically and the public at large focused mainly on her weight as the culprit. Fellow blogger and someone I’m lucky to call friend, TheNatural54 rightly notes that if this were two men of average size who had fallen, or even a tackle for the Jets or Giants football team (because we know tackles are rarely small guys), the focus would be more on the badly maintained property and not their weight.

I generally do not read the comments on such stories unless I just want to be pissed off and appalled at a bunch of strangers who are never worth the energy spent in the ensuing foul mood that will then color my day.  Unfortunately, because this story came to my attention from various fronts, I wound up reading quite a few comments and yes, I was pissed. From their view it seems the concrete collapsing would never have happened to someone of a smaller size and that just is not accurate. But for the sake of devil’s advocacy let’s just say it really was all about the poundage.  What is it about being over a very subjective number that a person is no longer considered worthy of basic decency and respect anyway?  The mocking bullshit tweeted by Rupert Murdock before issuing a not even half-assed retraction (because it damn sure was not an apology), notwithstanding – the general public is absolutely vicious and loves using the mask of the internet to spew its fat hating vitriol, especially fat women.

If it had been a smaller woman who fell there would be much sympathy for her and anger against the building owners/managers.  Ulanda Williams has cuts, scrapes, bruises and an arm broken in not just one, but two places from her ordeal, why does her weight not entitle her  to such?

Judge not, lest ye…

A Stark Raivenne Mad Fat Girl In A Victoria’s Secrets World

A few of my friends will recognize the following event as it actually happened quite some time ago. However, in the hustle and bustle of this holiday season as I found myself in a very similar situation yet again, I have to tell it here just for the amusement – enjoy!

I walked into a local Victoria’s Secret with my best friend. The music coming through the speakers, greets us with various sultry sounding women with descant reprising the equivalent if not necessarily equal musical verse and chapter of how her man has done her wrong, once more, yet again. Because yes, while I’m alone at home, crying my eyes out into yet another gallon of Rocky Road ice cream and popping chocolate truffles like crack, I will want to be wearing hundred-dollar lingerie – but that’s just me.

Actually, that is a moot point. My best friend is the one buying. I’m just tagging along, as the only thing I can truly wear in this establishment is their cologne. For this bastion of beauty designed to adorn the feminine figure with a tempest of frail looking, but delectable lingerie delights had long ago decided that said feminine figures end at a numerical amount somewhat below the number of the ample mold the dear Lord as blessed upon me.

I touch silver links joining together a triangular swatch of silk I first presumed to be an eye patch before I realized it’s actually a thong. I then make the mistake of catching the eye of one of the pretty little sales girls who then swoops upon me like a hawk upon a tit mouse in a national forest park. My best friend, having endured my “I just want to fuck with folks mood” whenever we enter an establishment such as this, had wisely walked away from me knowing nothing good was going to come of this start of a beautiful friendship.

The sales girl wants to know, of course, if she can help me. Her eyebrow locked in that know-it-all “…because you can’t possibly be here making a purchase for yourself!” arch. I barely bite down the first instinct guiding my tongue to say something sweet like “Gain a hundred pounds, live with it for -oh- twenty or so years and come to a place like this – then ask me that question again”. Instead, because I am already bored, I ask if they carry plus sizes. She perked right up informing me (quite enthusiastically I might add), that they carry sizes all the way up to 38F! I smile sweetly, pick-up the nearest 36F I saw and held it up against my ‘numbers’. It was something akin to measuring golf ball against a baseball – but it was enough to wipe the self-satisfied arch off her brow.

Still, the poor, poor child didn’t take the hint and continued to follow me through the store actually answering what ever inane question popped in to my head. I saw a small black thin band of what appeared to be spandex and stretched it a bit. I was actually surprised, as I held it up for the sales girl to the see just as I was about to place it over my hair.

“When did Vicki’s start carrying headbands?” The look of shock on the sales girls face made me stop in mid-air.
“It’s a bandeau bra not a headband.” You’d think the icy coolness dripping of her voice would have stopped me right? Wrong!
“Oh! You mean like a tube top? Cool! Does it come in plus size?” My voice was dripping with as much saccharine as hers dripped glaciers.

I could hear my best friend losing the battle to stifle a laugh from in front of the cashier as she was well aware that I already knew what it was when I picked the damned thing up. The sales girl however, looked like she wanted to club me. I picked up another eye patch that had star-shaped crystals along the band connecting the material at the waist. Can you say ouch?
“Does this blue eye patch scratch?”
My best friend mercifully, for the sales girl anyway, grabbed me by the arm and snatched me out of there. Hey, I did say I was bored, didn’t I?

You know, I just realized I never did get the answer to that scratch question…

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Slice of Life Weekly Story Challenge

 

 

 

 

Slice of Life Weekly Story Challenge

In The Eye of The Beholder and The Artist

"Wrong Century" by Tomas_KucerovskyWrong Century by Tomas Kucerovsky
(click for larger view)

This illustration, is making the social media rounds, especially within the plus-sized community. It depicts the way plus-sized beauty is seen by most in this century versus how such beauty was seen in previous centuries.

I saw this illustration for the first time at 2:30am just before I went to bed. I could not quite figure out why my gut reaction to it was “WTF?”. I understood the overall point made, but that gut reaction lingered. Considering the time and I had to rise in a couple of hours for work, I emailed it to myself so I can review the art when I was not half sleep deprived.

I have now seen the illustration with a lucid mind (hah since we’re speaking of MY mind), in the bright light of day and now I understand my gut reaction.

The artist has the woman in the illustration gazing a famous painting of what are no doubt big beautiful women, while others near her mock her corpulent beauty. I cannot decide if her expression is wistful of a time when women with her physical attributes were greatly desired and considered the height of beauty, or if she is woeful of the fact that beauty such as hers is not considered so now.

What triggered my gut reaction was Kucerovsky use of Rubens Rape of the daughters of Leucippus as the beauty counterpoint. Why this specific painting? Why could Kucerovsky have not used say…

Judgement of Paris by RubensJudgement of Paris The goddesses Hera, Aphrodite and Athena being judged on their beauty by Paris.
(click for larger view)

or better…

The Three Graces by Peter Paul RubensThe Three Graces – more naked goddesses to behold!

or best…

Venus in Front of her Mirror by Peter Paul RubensVenus In Front Of Her Mirror
(click for larger view)

Now when a painting of the Goddess of Love and Beauty has more rolls than a bakery, there is no mistaking what the standard of beauty was in Rubens’ time. There is a reason to this day that the classic euphemism for a big beautiful woman is Rubenesque.

Of all the marvelous works of Rubens’ available that depict beauty as it was seen then, he chooses a painting depicting abduction and rape of women as his example! So now we are not Goddess worthy even within a picture of a picture, but abduction and rape is a-okay? What exactly is being said to us big gals here?

As a plus-sized beauty in the 21st Century, should I be grateful now if I am lucky enough to be seen as an object of desire even by rapist? Is that the only way we big girls can “get some”? If the female in the illustration is looking wistfully at this painting, what does that say about the artist’s interpretation of what he thinks is the mindset of today’s fat woman? That we’re so desperate we’d willingly accept rape?

Were this a face-to-face conversation, this would be about the point where one of my friends would say to me, “You see too much into things!” and I generally retort with, “And you don’t see at all!”

The overall essence of Kucerovsky ‘s illustration is good, it really is, but it also leaves such a bitter aftertaste in my mouth, that I can barely appreciate the zest of the original flavor.

Of No Account

I saw an ad online which had this fabulous dress for plus sized women. The blurb offered special sales and bargain prices. Hey, I’m woman, I’m plus sized, I like a bargain and I am always on the lookout for some place new, so I click.

I get about five seconds of what could be promising items when a dark overly obscures the screen and prompts me to not just sign up for their free email specials, but to create an account. Uh, what? Why is it nearly every online merchant I want to simply browse through these days insists that I first sign up for their email list before I can see anything?  There should at least be one or two preview pages that offer a taste of what’s available first before forcing potential buyers to a commitment.

This new method is especially annoying when after haven taken the plunge by creating the account and browsing around for fifteen minutes realize I’ve been sold a bill of goods  even if it was for free. For instance, that dress in the ad which captured my attention in the first place? Oh they had it, just not plus sizes. The merchant had the dress in several colors and not one came in plus size. I played around with the available options just to see more. Let’s just say, no matter how I played with it, if there were fifty items available, perhaps five were in my size. What few items they did have in my size were not worth the commitment of having an account with them.

Another place advertising plus sized clothing turned out to cater to women who had young children. The adult clothing section was merely a subset to the clothing for tots and the plus sizes and even smaller subset to that.

And it’s not just clothing.

A furniture / home decor seller had a table that caught my eye. All I wanted know were the dimensions and the price. Again, before I could browse I had to create an account only to find out it was a designer place where even their “bargain” prices were out of my price range and the table in the ad could not be found.

So now for the third time this week, I had to figure out how to unsubscribe /opt out of these accounts because the merchant had nothing else of interest to me.   These places are forcing a commitment of receiving, at minimum, weekly emails from them when I don’t know if they are even worth the energy of a weekly delete yet. I have more than enough emails flooding my inbox from places where I do make the occasional purchase.  I do not need any more. I prefer it when a merchant does not offer the option to create an account until after I actually have a shopping cart and want to make a purchase. After all, if I make a purchase now I may want to come back again; then it makes sense. There are merchants that may have lost a potential sale from me because this practice of sign up now – look later, annoys me so. When I shop brick and mortar stores I do not have to give them any information just to look around, so what is with this nonsense online?

/mini vent

Happy 5th Anniversary Adipositivity!

Adipositivity 5th Anniversary - click for larger image

Congratulations to Substantia and my fellow Adiposers of The Adipositivity Project for five fantastic years of showing the world fierce fabulous fatness that can take it on, even if taking it off and keep on rolling with it, beautifully.

Here’s to even more years of corpulence captivation.

For A.J.

I did not think anything could bring me down from my “I’m Going To Paris!” high. The excitement for the trip has grown by leaps and bounds this past week and now it’s only two days away. Even the dreary rainy Monday morning that greeted me couldn’t get me down.

Then I read about A.J. …

A.J. Confessore, for those who would not know, had a larger-than-life costumed alter-ego known as C.C. Banana. This included several subsets such as Bananakin Skywalker when interviewing in the Star Wars circuit and Ace Peeley when in the KISS realm.

A.J. also had another well-known costumed alias, Maul Stanley. Maul Stanley was a wicked merging of two of his favorites Star Wars (Darth Maul) and KISS (KISS member Paul Stanley). However, most knew him best as C.C. Banana. C.C. was infamous, in the fringes of the heavy metal crowd for his irreverent and often snarky, interview style.

A.J.’s alter egos: Maul Stanley being interviewed by C.C. Banana as Bananakin Skywalker.

A tiny sense of his wicked humor – at a party where the theme was “Gone but Not Forgotten” he appeared as thus:

C.C. Banana as “Banana Nicole Smith”

There’s a party happening this Memorial weekend. It’s the type of function where he would have made such an appearance as C.C.  I know there will be a moment of silence for him, which is odd for the energetic A.J. was anything but. Granted, he wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but C.C. Banana had his appeal (appeal get it? C.C. would have loved that pun).

In other circles, A.J. as himself was also known for his outgoing personality and zany humor as well as for his support and Fat Activism in producing the CD Whole Lotta Love, An All Star Salute To Fat Chicks, a unique musical montage celebrating the Big Beautiful Woman.

A.J. at the CD release party for “Whole Lotta Love”

A.J. was always gracious and funny and gave his all as C.C./Maul and himself.

As I wrote on his Facebook an hour or so after I learned of his death this morning:

“Bananakin Skywalker + Ace Peeley + Maul Stanley + CC Banana = A.J. Confessore.

Logically my head processes what has happened, but my heart cannot reconcile the lively force that created such irreverent characters and gave a Whole Lotta Love to us all, lost that joy for himself. R.I.P. A.J. you will be missed.”

Knowing why he chose to end his life in my head and understanding why in my heart are very two different things. It’s so many hours later and I sit here still unable come to grips with the loss. The C.C. I know would pull some gallows humor from this and a part of me that usually can crack a snark at damn near anything feels as though I’m somehow failing his spirit in my inability to do so now.

I’ve returned to his Facebook page a couple of times today to read all the heartfelt comments of so many who have felt his love whether for just a few moments at a party as C.C., for few years as A.J. or for many years as Tony (as his nearest and dearest know him). It’s crying shame he could not feel all this love for him in return to help him through.

R.I.P  Anthony Joseph Confessore – you made us tear up in laughter, I wish that was why we cried now.

It’s Big Fat Flea Time!

It’s Big! It’s Fat! It’s Fabulous!

Okay, what on earth is Raivenne raving about you ask? Why I’m so glad you did!

On Sunday, May 13, 2012, The Big Fat Flea will be holding its rummage sale!

The Big Fat whatchootalkinbout Willis?

The Big Fat Flea (formerly The Fat Girl Flea Market), is an amazing all-gender inclusive fatshion rummage sale that just happens to also be an amazing fundraiser for NOLOSE.   This event is NOLOSE‘s biggest fundraiser, with all proceeds directly benefiting their work to end body oppression. Plus sizes of all genders get to shop fabulous items for a bargain and get to do a little philanthropy in the process.

It’s a win/win!

What kind of bargains you ask? Oh please, let me show you!


Yes, this is what I look like after molting (click for full size).

These two dresses were originally from Igigicom.  Igigi has fabulous clothes for us big gals, but they are not exactly on the cheap side. Each gown retailed for nearly $200 on the website. I purchased each maxi at the Flea for  – hold on to your girdles girlies – $10 each! Yes, ten dollars – each.  I also purchased really some cute tops/skirts and accessories at the Flea. And because I could I also bought the most God-awful, beaded monstrosity of a sweater for no other reason to have it for the next “ugly sweater” contest. Essentially, I easily bought close to $600 worth of clothing (retail), for barely $100. Now that, my dear people IS A BARGAIN!

I have participated with the Big Fat Flea in the past, simply as a shopper. Last year, I went a step further and volunteered to help organize/prepare for the event.  I had such a fabulous experience and met some amazing people in the process. I loved it so much that I wanted to cry when I thought I might miss the chance to do so this year, but I am happy to say the philanthropic (and shopping), deities have smiled upon me and I will donating my time, energy to help out again this year.

Unlike before when it was The Fat Girl Flea Market, available only to the ladies, this year it is opened to all genders. Thus the name change to Big Fat Flea because After all, no matter how we identify, we all want to look good and to be able do so at a bargain is just icing on the cake.

I’m guessing right about now some of you are at the point of – yeah well that’s all nice for you and all, but how do “I” get in on all this fatshion goodness?

Here’s the nitty-gritty :

  • Be in New York City next weekend.
  • Have cash – the Big Fat Flea does not take credit cards.
  • Show up Sunday, May 13th from 12pm-7:30pm at the NYC LGBT Community Center- 208 West 13th Street, NYC on the 3rd floor. There are elevators and the space is wheelchair accessible.
  • Pay a $10 entrance fee (remember, this is a fundraiser after all).
  • SHOP!

But wait there’s more!

Noticed the words rummage and flea (as in market), being bandied about here? There’s a reason. Yes, plus-sized clothing stores and private plus-size designers donate items to the Big Fat Flea, but the bulk of the clothing comes from us the fat folk shoppers who know just how hard it is to find good stuff in our sizes. You bought those fabulous pants and without trying them on first, ripped the tags off because you know they’ll fit. Two weeks later you’re ready to wear them and only then do you realize they don’t fit they way you thought. Not that I would ever have personal knowledge of such a scenario (cough).  Naturally, the store won’t take them back and they’ve sat in your closet ever since. They are perfectly fine pants,  I -er- you just can’t wear them – donate them and make someone else who has coveted but couldn’t get to the store in time to purchase them happy! Have that fabulous dress you wore once or twice, but know you’re never wearing again – donate! Hey, it’s spring – now’s a good time to go through that closet and donate your clean clothing sizes Large and up to the cause and get some replacements at bargain prices.

For more information on shopping and donating at the Big Fat Flea check out their Facebook and FAQs pages.

And last, but not least – I’ll be working there – now how’s that for incentive?

On Fire

Conflagration doused

In an
Exquisite cacophony of aches
I wake

Ethereal reminisces
Running abstract through my psyche
I smile

Sweet Luna
Had lain witness to the battle
Picking sides

Twin flames
Of our conjoined fires danced under
Indigo skies

Dragon shelved
You sleep the sleep of the just
Of angels

El Sol
In spangling coda, makes nimbus of
Your hair

But I
I know the beast is still inside and
You stir

Gently unfolding
The origami of our limbs
You wake

And blink
The ferment in my eyes your only warning
You smile

I inhale
And watch as sparks shimmy anew in your eyes
Then exhale

Flame on!

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Written for:

Poetry Jam | The Flame

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The Sunday Whirl – Anniversary Wordle

Write a poem using the following words:

aches, abstract, cacophony, coda,  dragon, ethereal,
exquisite, ferment,  origami, shelved, shimmy, spangling