Mother of all day

Today is Mother’s day.

For some; it can be a challenging day. Not all mothers were created equals.

Some did not have a positive mother/ or a mother figure in their lives.

Some had a toxic/abusive mother.

Some had a negligent mother.

Some grieve the mother they needed; instead of the one they had.

Some lost their mothers; literally or figuratively.

While most people will shrug it off or call it a commercial holiday; deep down it can stir some very difficult emotions.

I already addressed the challenges of family gatherings and self-care here; Mother’s day can be especially emotional as we all have a mother; whether we have contacts with her or not. No matter how hard we try to ignore or deny our feelings and these voices inside. She is still a part of us.

For me; Mother’s day always came second to my grandmother’s birthday; a collateral. To this day; even though my grandmother passed a long time ago; Mother’s day still carries this meaning first.

I don’t feel I need a day to tell my mom I love her or I am grateful for her. Maybe because we are close and talk often. Maybe because I do it every time we see each other in my own way. Maybe because I feel my actions speak louder than words or gifts.

She may disagree with me. She may feel we don’t see each other enough. She may feel she would have liked me to spend the day with her this year. It’s okay. Her feelings are as legitimate as mine and they may be different.

I realized this week that it is easier to forgive the dead than the living for their faults. Dying erases the slate after a while. Your mind chooses to remember the good moments; the positive feelings. Maybe it is why it was much easier to forgive my grandmother.

I also realized that the way forward for me is forgiveness. I have worked hard for the past years in therapy and this led my to this place today. Mother’s day is a day of celebration; of mothers; the strength of women; the summer to come; the rebirth of nature.

It is often a hopeful time after a cold and long winter. Some people dealing with mental illnesses may feel a sense of renewed hope; optimism toward the future; the good weather to come.

This first half of the year has been incredibly challenging but I do feel this sense of hope I feel every May; as the flowers bloom; the trees burgeon; that fresh May sun.

Tomorrow I will not spend the day with my mother because it is not possible this year. But she will be in my thoughts; in my heart; as she always is. I will call her to tell her I love her; because I can. This year; I will also forgive her. For all the times she was not what the mother I wanted; for the times she was not the mother I needed. For the times I was upset at her. Because I need to love her for who she is; a mother who tries her best. A beautiful human that successfully raised another.

I need to forgive myself for the times I was not a good daughter. That I wasn’t a good enough daughter. For the times I was not the daughter she needed, she wanted. For the times I judged her. For the times I didn’t love myself enough. For the time I let my mental illnesses build a wall around me. Shutting out guilt is hard; but forgiving is harder.

I need to forgive because one day I might be a mother. One who will try her best; with all her flaws and limitations. And I hope my children will forgive me as well. I hope they will love their grandmother as much as I loved mine. My second mother.

Tomorrow will be bittersweet for me and there lies the beauty of life. In its complexity; in the light shining through the darkness. In the moments; in the people that shaped who we are; who we will become.

So whether you are celebrating mother’s day or not tomorrow; think about forgiveness. It can be a long journey. Forgiving is not about forgetting, but it’s freeing ourselves from the chains of the past.

If the day is especially difficult for you; spend the day with loved ones. Treat yourself to something nice. Distract yourself. Enjoy the beautiful day. Do what feed your soul.

Have a wonderful day. Thank the mother figures in your life if you can. They are doing their best. Being a human being is hard enough; raising others is hell of a job.

But above all; take care of yourself.

Catherine 💐

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There and back again…

I feel like I have been like an endless journey since the beggining of the year.

January was an incredibly challenging month filled with self doubts; ending being crashed by a car.

The following month were dedicated to heal my leg and my mental health. However; the temporary move due to the water damage impaired this process and threw furthermore my already fragile mental health downhill. Losing my markers; moving to a part of the city that feels unsafe; in a walk up building; were additional challenges.

The last month was marked by high stress and anxiety triggered by the move and the absence of my partner (for work purposes). A bug invasion; due to the warmer weather; triggered an intense OCD response for two weeks.

Last friday; I moved back home. The one I feel safe in. Comfortable. Tiny and cozy. Except now it’s nicer and newer.

Since moving back; I’ve felt this peace wash over me. A tension lifted from my shoulders. It doesn’t erase all of the anxiety and doubts from the past months; but I feel like a chapter just closed.

A chapter of decay; hopelessness and uncertainty. I don’t have all the answers today but some aspects feel stronger. Some resolutions were made. Some regressions too. I forgot how to take care of myself; how to question my thoughts; how to shut down the mind chaos. I let obsessive thoughts fill my head without any way out.

Since coming back; exhaustion washed over me. My body is sore; my head hurts. Getting my furbaby today will definitely do me some good. My mood goes up and down; but at least I know I won’t be moving around for a while now. I have a space to collect my pieces, my thoughts and tie myself back together.

So as May started; summer is definitely coming along with the rebirth of nature, I feel at the end of a journey; but also at the beggining of a new one.

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Like Tolkien wrote so well; « There and back again »

I hope this month; you take time to reflect on the first half of the year; make yourself accountable and see where the rest of the year takes you.

I hope the future holds nice surprises and adventures for us.

Until next time; take care.

Catherine aka the Cynical Mermaid

 

Fat is not a feeling

Yesterday; I saw someone say they “felt bloated and fat.”

I’ve seen it fairly often across the years and it never fails to grind my gears. Fat is not a feeling. It’s an adjective. A fact. It’s a descriptor. 

Likewise; you cannot feel thin; you are or aren’t thin. 

Feelings; or emotions; associated with fatness does not come from the weight itself but the stigmas we attached to it. Simultaneously; these stigmas perpetuates the negative stereotypes and bias associated with size. 

So when someone says they feel fat; they most likely mean they are feeling “uncomfortable; lazy; ill fitting in their clothes; unable to move comfortably; self conscious of their appearance; gluttonous or over ate; ugliness; lack of desirability” and so on. 

In society, fatness is often associated with a letting go of oneself; aging and laziness. The stereotype of the “wife letting herself get fat after marriage” is self-explanatory. 

These are societal tactics to maintain fatphobia by extending fear and hate toward groups of a certain size. By perpetuating negative stereotypes; it discourages people to “be fat” for fear of social exclusion and marginalization as it is often seen by the medical community. . 

Now; we know better than that. We know that weight is no more controllable than the colour of your eyes or skin colour to a certain extent. We know that the negative stereotypes and implications related to fat people are causing distress; self-hatred; self-harm; and negative image of self in people of all weight. Basically; it affects all of us.   

To say that you’re feeling fat produce a negative self image of yourself; but also reminds everyone else that being fat is a bad thing since you are expressing a negative emotion.

All languages are rich; full of adjectives and emotions. Surely your emotions and needs would come across much better by using the appropriate word for verbalising your mind. 

So next time you feel fat; ask yourself what you really feel instead?

Do you feel uncomfortable because you are bloated; aching?

Perhaps you could say you feel uncomfortable in your body.

What would help you to feel better?

Do you feel fat because you overate? 

Instead you could simply say you feel uncomfortable because you overate. Or maybe you feel guilty for indulging? (But that’s another topic for another day)

Do you feel fat because your clothes aren’t fitting anymore or because the clothes you ordered are ill fitted?

Clothing sizes are outside of your control and the idea that you need to stick to a certain size is part of the negative weight bias. It can also be very detrimental to one’s own mental health.

Instead; you could feel sad or frustrated because the clothes you like are tight or because the retailer changed their size guide. 

You shouldn’t bring this sadness or anger toward yourself by starving; overexercising or harming yourself in any way. The way clothes fit and the way your body stores fat is outside of your control. Clothes need to be fitted to your body, you don’t have to fit your body for clothing. 

Do you feel fat because you feel ugly or unattractive?

Fatness and Ugliness are not synonym and completely unrelated. Stereotypes and negatives bias attached them together as a social way to enforce ideal beauty standard but that doesn’t mean you have too. 

These are a few examples of the power of wording our feelings instead of “feeling fat”. 

Each time you ‘feel fat’, ask yourself what are you really feeling? It may not come immediately to you if you are not used to this kind of exercise. 

What can you do to feel better? 

Be kind to yourself. Don’t judge your feelings. 

Are you in need of attention; affection; self care? 

When you ask for it clearly you are more likely to obtain it. 

I have included an emotion chart to the article so you can have some referent to help you identify your feelings better. They are helpful; not only when you feel fat; but every time you have a hard time identifying your feelings; which can be complex.

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Here you can also consult my article on self care tips for when you’re feeling low. 

A last reminder that being fat is in itself not a bad thing. There is no morality to be thin or fat. Your body is like what it needs to be. It will change throughout your life. The more you fight it through diets and self-harm; the more it will retreat to protect itself; leading to weight gain and metabolic or mental health problems to restore the initial homeostasis. 

You are loved; worthy and beautiful regardless of your size. Don’t let others convince you otherwise.

Self acceptance and love is a long journey. It has back and forth but in the end; it’s always worth it. 

Take Care;

Catherine the cynical mermaid.

My sources can be consulted at www.haescommunity.com

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If you like my work; please consider becoming a Patreon for more exclusive content. 

Tired of fighting

Somedays; I am tired of fighting. Of raising my voice. Of telling others that

“it is okay to be fat” – Ali Thompson.

That fat people matter. That your weight doesn’t define you. That you are so much more than a body. That bodies changes and whatever shape it takes is normal. That you are worthy of love and respect; no matter what.

I am tired of hearing fake health concern. Tired of hearing that fat people are unhealthy. The never-ending equation of weight and health. The “obesity epidemic” which is not even a thing. The over-medicalization of fat bodies. That because your weight is outside of the “norm”’; you are doomed to an early death; diabetes; cardiovascular disease; high blood pressure; Alleluia.

I am tired of seeing friends be approached by strangers with their “concerns” for their health. Food has no morality. There is no bad or good food. You shouldn’t feel guilty for eating a piece of cake. This is your body; you have the freedom to do whatever you want with it and no one has the right to tell you otherwise.

I am tired of being so self-conscious. Of hearing diet talks whenever I go; whatever I watch. Diet ads get to me. They make it seem so easy. 16 pounds in 4 weeks. 7 inches in 14 days. Lose X amount forever. “Be your thin happy self easily” claims proudly the ads; full of overly radiant “fulfilled” women, having shed all those “unwanted” extra pounds. This weight distancing them from their true happy self.

I want to be happy too. I want to find clothes that fit. I want to feel socially accepted. I want to feel pretty. I want to feel good about myself.

And I know these things come from inside. Critically; I know how diet culture is pervasive in its discourse. Trying hard to convince us that being thinner will open all the doors. Chase sadness and solitude. Make all our dreams come true.

I know the diet industry is a multi-dollar billion market. It works for profit. If their products were efficient; they would be out of business soon enough. They sell a dream. They sell an image. They try to convince us that they sell something that can not be bought.

Self-love.

Acceptance.

Intuitive eating.

Reconnecting with your body and soul.

Forgiveness.

Patience.

Fat people, in particular, are conditioned to act violently toward themselves. It is so pervasive that it goes unnoticed; or can be even celebrated by folks of smaller size;

Starving/ Extreme diets;

Excessive exercising;

Weight loss surgery;

Self-denigrating;

Lack of representation;

Lack of accommodation in public spaces;

Targets of stares; insults; harassment; comments; judgements.

Excessive attention and social rewards related to weight loss (unwanted or not)

Even our own family and friends can partake in that culture; aimed to make us want to reduce ourselves; fit into the social mold. It may not be conscious, but the effects on the fat person can be devastating; harmful and lead to even more self-destructive behaviours.

The Health At Every Size Movement claims that “diets are harmful; leading to inflammation of the body; loss of bodily cues and disordered eating”. It has also been established that 95% of people who diets will gain back the weight they lost and sometimes even more. It is also considered that of that 5%; at least 2-3% are dealing with eating disorders or disordered eating.

Furthermore; yo-yo dieting will increase the risk of early death; diseases and metabolic problems.

Knowing all these facts can be quite convincing to drop these diet culture shenanigans. However; the road to self-acceptance and self-love is not always rooted in the rational but in childhood wounds and scars. It is not a linear journey. I am not bulletproof to the social discourse.

Not to fall into old habits can be even harder. Life is hard enough; easy solutions are more than tempting and I am only human. Flawed and all.

I would like to be like everyone else sometimes. Change myself to fit the mold. Be someone else. Look differently. Look like everyone else. A few months of liquid nutrition; sounds very appealing and easy if it would bring me unlimited happiness; love and acceptance. But these are lies.

Deep down; I know better now. I did those things before and it left me in shattered pieces. Feelings of guilt, self-hatred, anxiety, depression, anger, hunger, sense of failure.

So even now, when I am tired; I know I will pick myself up eventually and continue to fight. For a better future. One where people are not discriminated against based on their size; weight; appearance.

For a future where little children don’t feel the need to starve themselves to be accepted. That they are not bullied for something outside of their control such as weight and appearance. That people don’t feel the need to butchered themselves to get a more “acceptable weight”.

We can all strive to eat better and adopt healthier habits. There is a balance and one day; this is where you’ll find me. Happy and loved.

Until Then, Take Care of Yourselves dear readers;

Catherine the cynical mermaid.

 

 

Resources:

Www.haescommunity.com

Body Respect – Linda Bacon

Body positive power – Megan Crabbe

Www.fatlip.com (podcast – infinity fat and fat rights)

Www.christyharrison.com (RD – Intuitive eating – podcast and community)

Www.comfyfat.com

Www.dixoctobre.com (in French)

People to follow

– Virgie Tovar

– Militant Baker

– Ali Thompson

– Christy Harrison

– Gabrielle Lisa Collard

Walking in the chaos.

Unpopular opinion: I hate summer. The heat; the humidity; the sun burns but above all else; BUGS.

I am triggered by all of them; no discrimination. Even ladybugs and butterflies.

Seeing more than one in my home usually trigger fears and ocd-like behaviours.

Today was the first warm day in Montreal; above 20celsius; with the sun and all. I decided to open the two windows with mesh screen in my living room. I would never opened an unmeshed screen. Never. I’d rather cook in my own blood.

This day already started hard; I woke up late and groggy from nightmares; life and undecisions felt heavy on my shoulders. I was already fragile from the past day; so it wouldn’t have taken much to trigger me to be honest. I had already killed a spider on the ceiling earlier today.

I was mentally prepping myself to go do a little grocery shopping between two loads and forcing myself to walk the dog in this warm weather when I noticed 2 bigs ants in my living room. And two mores and two mores. I had killed at least seven after closing the windows. Quick survey of the room; all is fine. Or so I thought.

Less than 2 minutes after I sat back into the couch with an odd feeling; Another big ass ant walks on my armrest. After a scream and a killing; a couple more invaded the room. This wasn’t good. I felt very anxious by then; my ocd behaviours were triggered; panic attacks overwhelmed me. Moving furnitures around; I found a couple more; drowning them in cleaning sprays. After a thorough evaluation; it seemed to have calm down but I had a problem now and wasn’t sure what to do.

I did what I always do in those times; call the husband. After trying to calm me down; he advised to spray raid in the room; if it’s unpacked.

It’s helpful to mention at this point that I am still not into my apartment and this temporary place has done nothing but increase my anxiety; fears and triggers.

Back in the cupboard, I frenetically searched and found those little ant traps that I scattered around the room. A new ant had been spotted and drowned. Headache start to kick in.

I finally found the Raid; cleared the room of important stuff and started spraying. I know it might not be good for the environment but it’s mighty good for my mental health. Close that door. Will reevaluate and spray again tomorrow. I curse myself for opening those damn windows.

In the room next to it; the kitchen; I start noticing tiny ants. Shit. That’s when the panic really sets for the rest of the night.

Catastrophizing. Nausea. Headaches. Itching. Obsessive uncontrollable thoughts. Lead like stomach pit. Shallow breathing. It’s not a good night. Obsessive ideation of having ants on me. Headaches. Clenched jaw.

So I kill whatever I find on the floor. Vacuumed and washed the floors of the whole apartment; which I never do; to disinfect; showered, changed my clothes three times, clean every surfaces in the kitchen, all the dishes and did a couple loads.

I am exhausted now. I know I will not have a good night. My body is itching all over for what I suspect to be psychosomatic sensations.

Every spots, marks, dirts is subject to thorough evaluation. In case it’s an ant. I even considered a few being on my dog; as a carrier; which is unlikely. I examined my pillow carefully.

The obsessive mind never rests. It turns its hamster wheel endlessly. No preoccupation given to its owner.

I know tomorrow after I wake up; I’ll proceed to another thorough examination of the floors, the living room and spray the room again before cleaning it a few hours later. This wasn’t how I planned my day; my week.

Someone else might be unbothered; put some traps, kill the visible ones and move on with their day.

I am trapped in the mind chaos.

I know most of these thoughts aren’t rational and possible extremists; but « what if? » is the anxious favorite song.

And tonight; I’ll be singing it until dawn,

Catherine aka the anxious mermaid

Out of coping strategies

It’s the third time I am trying to write this post.

The words just won’t come out. I can’t hear my thoughts over the screams of my soul. I can’t think over the fatigue, the nightmares. I can’t focus over the anxiety and the panic attacks. I locked my door at night, overcame by paranoia. Sounds and smells gritting my senses.

Every word I write is wrong, misplaced. I think too much, yet nothing flows out. My body aches, my soul is sore, my eyelids are heavy. Nothing appeals.

Every time I start feeling better, I think I am finally out of the fog. This dense forest that wraps my mind, from which I can’t see the future clearly. Only storms going infinite into the horizons.

I try to fake it. To appear functional. Try to be more helpful, do some chores, go to my appointments. But I can’t write. I am bored. I am sad. I am lonely. I fail.

I have been lonelier than usual. It should be a time of increased productivity. Yet between appointments and regular activities, I watch an ungodly amount of TVs and sleep.

When I go through this phase, I question my choices, my life, my goals. I try to numb my mind. Go through a bunch of unhealthy coping skills, but there is so much you can eat. There is so much you can spend. I have overspent a lot in the past week. I do not feel better.

I find myself stimming and turning. Impatient. Needy. Irritable. I want to go off the grid. Do nothing. No pressure. No expectations. But it’s always there, it comes from within.

My mind is blank, yet it’s full. I hate myself and this mind I can’t control. This mind always so sad and insecure. This mind that always looks for the worst outcome.

I want everything and I want nothing. I am out of coping strategies. I stand still and I wait. For the feelings to go away. For a magical answer that possible will never come. I loathe myself and this ugly face. This body that does not conform to society. That I can’t love, even on my best day. This image of myself that is not aligned with who I appear, who I am. This impossible self. This ethereal glamour.

This is today. Tomorrow may be different.

I may love myself a little more.

I may be a little more positive. Or not.

It seems unlikely. This sadness inhabits my mind and soul. This darkness I have yet to embrace to find the light.

Those words that line up and have yet to make some sense. Maybe they only make sense for me, but for now, it’ll have to do.

I am out of coping skills. I can’t eat anymore. I can’t spend anymore. I can’t sleep anymore.

It shall pass too. Meanwhile, I wait. And I waste time watching tv.

Until next time,

Cynical Mermaid.

Not just a pretty face

On the blog, I work hard to promote health at every size; body positivity and advocate for mental health amongst other things.

This week I encountered this post on facebook and I think it’s a nice chart of exemples of ways to compliment people outside of the physical realm. We are so much more than just physical enveloppes.

We have been conditioned to be kind to others by complimenting their apparence. Especially when it comes to women and little girls. The downside of focusing on that is that people will put a disproportionate importance on their external appearance. With time; this focus on physical beauty may lead to body dysphoria; eating disorder; psychological distress; self hatred; automutilation; for those who those who believe their bodies does not correspond to social standard of beauty. It’s time to change this.

Feed your soul. Feed other people’s soul. As Judge Judy brilliantly said “Beauty fades; dumb is forever”. We are so much more. Celebrate achievements; acts of kindness; internal beauty.

Here is a list of exemples. I am sure you can come up with your own ♥️

Try it; I am sure it will be a positive experience for both of you. Lead by example. Encourage content; not packaging. It’s so much more rewarding 💕

Until next time,

Cynical Mermaid

Fat Folks Matter

Some of you knows I have been pretty involved in the fat positive / body positive movements in the last years.

I had been thinking about it for a while and today I took the jump and decided to design a first set of shirts as a visibility campaign.

Daily; fat people go through discrimination; violence and intimidation because of their size. Whether it is from media erasure; medical violence; diet culture; any way seems legit for society to force us to conform to the social mold. To reduce our body at any cost.

It’s time to let our voices heard. Time to show your support. Time to speak up against fear, violence and the way fat bodies are treated.

We exist. We matter. We deserve love and good care. We shouldn’t fear going to the doctors or seeking help. We shouldn’t be declined health services because of flawed research and mentalities. Clothing should be available in every size.

We are not second class citizens. Let your voice be heard.

Catherine aka Cynical Mermaid

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