body liberation exercise Living While Fat My Story

Yoga and (Dis)Ability

Recently I took up yoga again. I have always enjoyed yoga, when I have been able to find welcoming, supportive contexts in which to practice. I have never gotten a regular practice going because, first, honestly it hasn’t been a major priority and, second, it is hard to find a studio and an instructor that work with all of my limitations.

My beloved nutritionist, to whom I have referred on this blog many times, is also a yoga teacher, trained by Anna Guest-Jelley of Curvy Yoga Studio. I have been lifting weights very consistently for the past few months and was feeling fit/brave enough to try yoga again, so I signed up for her weekly class. This class is a body liberation, trauma-sensitive yoga class currently taught via Zoom.

It has been an interesting experience. I really can’t do that many poses. My legs aren’t bendy and I have trouble staying on my feet for long, particularly in balance poses. I have to modify just about everything, using straps, blocks, chairs, bolsters, you name it. Last week I had to do several of the hands-and-knee poses upside-down like a capsized turtle. Sometimes I feel like a complete cripple trying it, especially when I end up sitting and looking at the screen for a whole sequence.

The instructor really tries to provide as many modifications as possible and will specifically stop to help me figure out a way to do a similar stretch when I can’t do a pose. She really cares about my experience and no judgment whatsoever comes from either her or my classmates. All the judgment comes from me. After a long, tiring day, flummoxed by a warrior pose, I feel like a gimp. In fact, maybe I am a gimp. I have trouble walking and get out of breath easily. I’m not flexible, can’t put my weight on my knees…

I asked my psychologist about whether I should consider myself handicapped and stop fooling myself. I asked her if I should just start advocating for accommodations and give up pretending. She said I was asking the wrong question. She said I should be asking why it matters to me whether I bear the label “handicapped.” She said I was creating a false dichotomy, that I should advocate for what I need AND keep fighting to be active in my body. She is right of course, but it still hurts.

On a normal day, I live in a comfortable cocoon (especially these days) that is mostly constructed to de-emphasize my limitations and help me function. I even exercise in ways that don’t stress me too much–weightlifting and swimming. Yoga pushes these boundaries. It makes me face the reality of my (dis)abilities.

I suspect this is healthy. In any case, I plan to keep trying. First, I think I can get better. Second, I don’t think I can afford to give up. Even if I continue to steadily lose ground, I’ll lose more if I don’t fight. But third and most important, after most yoga sessions, no matter how awful I feel during the class, I feel better. Yoga stretches me out, calms me, and helps me to reside fully in my body. Some days, that body is not a happy place to be, but it is my home and I owe it the dignity and respect of fully experiencing it.


Update on Blog, Make-Up Etc.

I’ve decided to separate the makeup and clothes posts from my blog entirely so that people just following my blog don’t have to get update notifications for them. So from now on, please see updates on these pages for daily fashion stuff:

Looks, and



Dia Unboxing; 5-14-20

Today I did my first unboxing video, for my bimonthly Dia box which arrived recently.*

Here’s what I found inside:

Quick impressions–love the dress, which will be great with the drawstring cardigan over it for air-conditioned indoor wear. Like the top a lot and will try it with the skort. Dubious about the skort but willing to try. Capri leggings are not really my thing because I like to cover my ankles if I am going to cover my legs. But they may be good for working out.

I’ll try these things on and let you know how they look and what I keep!

*Dia & Co is a plus-sized women’s clothing subscription service. They send five pieces per box. There is a $20 fee which is credited to your purchase if you keep anything and you get 25% off if you keep everything. They use individual “stylists” who have access to your past reviews and comments. The only downside is that in the past I have kept something just to cover the styling credit or to get the 25% off that I didn’t really want, which is wasteful. But in general the cost is reasonable (If I keep all five pieces in my box this month it will be $145), the surprise is fun, and they have access to brands I don’t see elsewhere. They have now added an actual store front where you can manually add things to your box and/or buy them off-cycle as individual items, but I have not tried either of those options yet.


MakeUp; 5-14-20

Today’s makeup is rather light and I look quite daffy in this photo:

Also, I’m wearing another new pair of Zenni glasses. Here are the frames; these rang up at $37, also with the blue-blocking lenses!


Look; 5-14-20

Today we have the Universal Standard Misa jersey dress in eggplant, and plain grey leggings from Woman Within.*

*I honestly don’t know for sure which leggings these are either. I’ve had them a while.


Look; 5-12-20

Today I am making an attempt to look a bit grown up as I have a work Zoom this afternoon that will be a bit more “real” than the average. So, sober makeup and clothes. Here we have an eShakti dress in navy with a turtleneck collar and sleeveless*, leggings from Woman Within**, and a lovely purple fleece jacket/coat from Torrid.

*They do not seem to sell this exact dress anymore.

**I honestly don’t know for sure which leggings they are. I’ve had them a while.


MakeUp; 5-12-20

Today’s makeup is:

  • Tinted moisturizer is Radiant Defense (beige) by Rodan and Fields.
  • I also have on Clinique Beyond Perfecting powder in color 0.5 Breeze. And can I just say how funny it is to me that I am so pale I don’t even reach a whole integer worth of color?
  • Eyeshadow is the AutoBalm PicPerf palette from TheBalm Cosmetics. I really like the neutral primer on this palette and I use it frequently under various eyeshadows, but I also like the dark smoky colors here for my lower eyelid. Today, unusually, my whole eye look is from this palette. Although I must say I am troubled by the word “neutral” as it is certainly a white-centric primer.
  • Mascara is Brooklyn & Bailey Lash Next Door in Blackout, which I believe came in an Ipsy bag. I don’t actually like this mascara very much as it is quite clumpy but I for some reason have very few mascaras so I persist in using it anyway.
  • Brow color and brush–Skone Brow Wand in Chocolate–I believe again from Ipsy.
  • Bronzer is Tarte Park Ave Princess, also from Ipsy.
  • Lips are Illamasqua Antimatter Lipstick in Bang, with The Gloss by Jeffree Star Cosmetics in Crystal Climax on top.

Also, I’m again wearing my latest pair of Zenni glasses. Here are the frames I bought, and I have the new blue-blocking lenses since I spend so much time on Zoom now. Total price $34!

A note about Ipsy: Ipsy is a monthly makeup subscription. I have the lowest tier, which is $12/month for five deluxe samples and a small makeup pouch. I like it because I don’t wear enough makeup to use full-sizes of things before they go bad, and this gives me lots of variety at a reasonable cost. I am also a crafter, so the little pouches come in handy as storage for all sorts of this and that. There’s still a good bit of waste as I don’t love everything they send and no one needs quite this many little pouches. But overall, I’m a fan.

Activity Living While Fat My Story

Cleaning House

Ordinarily, I have a houeskeeper. I have had a cleaning service since I was in graduate school, even though we were poor(ish) and couldn’t afford it. It was a priority among luxuries for me, because I like a clean home and I hate to clean. Not just hate it, but am bad at it. Even when I was young, fit, and energetic, my attempts to scrub a bathtub were pathetic. And this was at a time when I was lifting weights three times a week.

For the past few years, we have had a wonderful housekeeper who has taken over our lives–she cleans, does laundry, puts things away wherever she damned well pleases, sometimes brings her husband to change lightbulbs and do other “guy stuff” around our house. She is so deeply integrated into our lives that it is hard to live without her. We called her once in the middle of the night because the dog vomited in the bed and we couldn’t find clean sheets.

Living without her is exactly what we have been attempting to do for the past 7 or 8 weeks, with the quarantine. Let me tell you, I hate cleaning as much as I ever have. And worse, I am now not fit enough to manage it even if I can get up the will to try. This 43-year-old superfat body just doesn’t buy the idea that kneeling on a tile floor and leaning into a tub is viable. She barely wants to stand and push around a vacuum and she certainly doesn’t want to dust blinds.

Trying to clean makes me feel disabled in a way that very little else does. I have limited physical function and fitness, can’t walk very far without a break, can’t run or jump, and have trouble getting to and from the floor, but I don’t usually feel disabled, just limited. To me, disabled has always had a strong implication of unable, not less able.* And I rarely feel unable. But when I try to clean, I feel unable. I actually can’t clean a house, or even a room, in one go.

My husband has been expressing frustration with me for not participating fully in his attempts to keep the house in order without professional help. It’s clear that he thinks that I am shirking, or lazy. I am shirking. And I am unable to do more. I might be able to do a bit, and probably would, if I wasn’t under his watchful, judgmental eye as I tried to lift and pull and push and all. It’s an observer effect–with no one watching, I can try and have a 5% success be a success, but with him watching somehow it is definitely a 95% failure.

What I’ve learned over the past two months is I really, really need help with my house. This is a place of privilege, and I know it. I oscillate between guilt, shame, and resolution. I mean, should I really get to have this gorgeous old micro-mansion (it’s just a good size house, but it looks like a mansion on a small scale) if I can’t take care of it? On the other hand, if I can afford it, use the money to support people who need jobs, and use my time to do other useful things, is it really so bad? I wish I knew.

*I have begun to read a tiny bit about disability studies and I realize this is an ignorant, useless definition of disability but it’s what is in my head at this moment.


Look; 5-11-20

Simple look today, just a dress from Woman Within which I don’t think they sell anymore. Makeup is described in this post.


MakeUp; 5-11-20

Today’s makeup is:

Also, I’m wearing my latest pair of Zenni glasses. Here are the frames I bought, and I have the new blue-blocking lenses since I spend so much time on Zoom now. Total price $34!