Fake Geek Girl Club – Lumberjanes Good V. Bad


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“Set Point Weight” Theory Never Made Me Happy


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Standing next to that particularly dapper fellow- is me. Well, it was me, about 50 lbs ago. Like many Americans, my weight  problems started early and only got worse in a culture that never taught me anything about health.

As someone who had been bigger all my life, I too believed that was simply my bodies natural “set point”. That any change in diet or exercise would ultimately be useless because this was the weight my body naturally balanced out to. A lot of people subscribe to this theory for a variety of reasons. But I can say honestly now that the reason I believed this was purely denial.

This is a very sensitive subject, I know. I spent years hating my body and feeling inadequate. When speaking to larger women now, I can see them comparing themselves endlessly. It’s heartbreaking because I know that pain well. But the reality I had to face, and the thing that ultimately lead to me transforming my body, was that I was doing it to myself.

I didn’t have a thyroid problem, I drank too much soda.

I’m not allergic to anything, I just eat mindlessly and sit at my computer too much.

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The unfortunate wash on my jeans makes it look like I’ve wet my pants. But I assure you, I’m just fat.

Walking up the stairs to my apartment is not exercise, I’m just being lazy.

Now, I want to be clear: I know many people have physical problems that keep them from maintaining a healthy weight. This isn’t an attempt to shame anyone to lose weight. I think fat shaming is a crappy and ineffective ways to talk to people about health. But I wasn’t happy with my weight and had already started experiencing health problems in my twenties due to my diet.

Your body type can change the number of how much you weight drastically. For instance, I was about 170lbs in the above photo. Now, that wouldn’t be a problem if I was broad shouldered and 5’11. But sadly I’m a petite 5’3. Everything from your genetics, your height and race can change what is a healthy weight for an individual. But. None of those factors can make you naturally overweight. You do not have 30, 50, or 100lbs of excess fat because that’s your body’s “natural set point”. It may be the result of your natural lifestyle but that’s different. It’s something within your control which is why it’s so hard to accept. I know, it was hard for me too.

I had no idea how lazy I was. I was raised into a sedentary lifestyle and didn’t know any other way to be. The first time I went to a gym, I was on an elliptical for eight minutes before stopping, thinking that would be enough. Eight minutes. I had no idea what it felt like to push myself, to sweat, to ache or “feel the burn”. I wasn’t just addicted to junk food, I was addicted to comfort.

As someone who desperately wanted to lose weight, without doing anything uncomfortable of course, I set out to try any quick fix I could find. And none of it worked, obviously, because it was only treating the symptoms. I wasn’t willing to except that the real problem was with all the things I didn’t want to change.
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Four years and one pregnancy later I’m feeling a lot better. I’m happier with the way my body looks and feels. But in the end the real turning point for me was the decision to stop making excuses for myself. Ideas like “set body weight” are tempting and may make us feel better, but it’s an emotional band aid.

No one should hate their body and an often overlooked idea in the body positivity movement is the any mention of health or fitness. Being positive about your body shouldn’t just be about ignoring shitty media messages (although, fuck you Victoria Secret, for real.) It should be treating your body well. That means paying attention to its needs, not mistreating the only body you’ve got.

 

Sylvia


When you are detached from your family, your friends become your family. Whether they like it or not. It’s just something that comes with the territory of being orphaned by abuse and drug addiction. It’s a coping mechanism, really. You project your needs for brothers and sisters onto people who are the closest fit. Sometimes this works, other times it doesn’t.

This is a story about the time it didn’t work.

Dear Sylvia,
If you ever come across this, I’m sorry. It’s not meant to hurt you, or to expose anything you said or did to the world. I just need to get it out, for myself. 

I met Sylvia when she started dating one of my closest friends, Earthan. He was a guy I had dated way back in the day. But it was ancient history and we had been solid friends ever since. I had known him for 10 years, he had seen some of the worst parts of my life. Some of the worst breakdowns when I was lost in a sea of confusion and anger. This was long before I was finally diagnosed with PTSD. Before that I felt like I was constantly teetering on the edge of losing my shit and never getting back, I blamed myself for being weak and wished I could be a stronger person like my friends. He had been there for me in dark times. I trusted him completely.

Sylvia and I became close quickly. She was funny and liked a lot of the same things I did, we both loved to draw. But what we really bonded over was having survived insane abuse. My friends have always been very kind and supportive of the emotional rollercoaster I’ve gone through in the last decade. But there’s a difference between feeling bad and knowing how it feels. Sylvia knew. She knew and she was suffering too. I immediately connected with her, I wanted to be there for her in the way others couldn’t be there for us. We had many deep, incredibly personal conversations punctuated with bouts of drawing rabbits farting rainbows. I loved her so much.

But it wasn’t always easy. I didn’t always understand her behavior or decisions. Sylvia told us she suffered from chronic pain, so much so that she walked with a cane in her early 20’s. She had been in a car accident as a teen and she thought her problems were due to getting improper triage. Despite this, she wouldn’t go to a doctor. Because “male doctors were perverted”. She later began saying she had Fibromyalgia, a condition that’s not widely understood by modern medicine. Her symptoms and level of pain seemed to go up and down and never seemed to have a clear source. Instead she drank Chinese herbal mixes that seemed to do little except make her loopy.  She also suffered from terrible nightmares and emotional instability. But she rejected any attempts to get mental health care. She said she didn’t believe in cognitive behavior therapy.

There were rules we had to follow while around her. A girlfriend recalled one instance where she was told she couldn’t talk about Lewis Carroll in her presence because she thought he had been a pedophile. It’s of course entirely possible that he was a pedophile, but the fact remains that he died in 1898. If you say his name three times in front of a mirror he’s not going to manifest in the glass and touch your butt. But we loved her. So we followed her instructions.

Sylvia had two sides to her: the sweet/bubbly girl that everyone loved to be around, and a frantic raving side that could strike at any moment. Because of this she held a tight control over our social circle. It was like walking on egg shells. Challenging Sylvia, in any way, meant you were an abuser. You were either with her or against her. And one day Sylvia decided I was against her.

My partner at the time was not very tactful. He didn’t consider himself part of the social group and thus gave 0 fucks about Sylvia’s rules. One day we were sitting in a cafe and well here’s the short version:

  • Mutual acquaintance had been a shit to me.
  • My partner says he’s a shit.
  • Sylvia defended his shitness because he had been abused as a child.
  • My Partner said that was a bullshit story he had sold them.
  • Sylvia loses. her. shit.

We had only been there for about 10 minutes, but the argument escalated quickly and before I could hold out my hand and say, “Hey, wait let’s all calm down and talk about this.” Sylvia jumped up, screamed hysterically about how he was abusive and ran out of my favorite cafe while we all sat stunned by her dramatic exit.

Earthan went after her, he always went after her. And probably still does to this day.

I was so upset, so completely blown away from the emotional 180 of it all. I couldn’t do anything except mull the argument over and over in my head. What? What did I say? But I was so kind, I was trying so hard to be understanding of her feelings. Why? FUCKING WHY?

It didn’t hit me until later what was happening. Not just one thing, but everything. The weird way she would “faint” except it was never how people really fall when they pass out. Her sweet baby voice that seemed to whisper to you silently, “Help me, I’m so little and weak and you need to protect me.” How she had 1,000 excuses for why she wouldn’t see a real doctor. It was all so obvious later I could have kicked myself.

But in the end Earthan cut me off. He cut a lot of people off…

I didn’t realize what was happening. I’m so sorry. I think even if I had said something, you would have never believed me. That’s how abusive relationships work, isn’t it? But I’m still sorry… please call your mom she misses you so much.

Losing one of my closest friends, especially as quickly as I did, was a shock to the system. I spent weeks trying to retrace my steps, trying to understand where the friendship had gotten off course. People began to take sides and as I started losing more friends I could feel my sense of family and belonging unraveling underneath my feet. At one point my ex boyfriend started telling people it was about him and that I was still madly in love with him.  It was a weird rumor that seemed to come from left field. I didn’t give two shits about my ex. It was Sylvia and my friends. I wanted them back and the harder I tried the further they seemed to drift away.  I was losing my family all over again and the pain of that was unbearable.

Years afterwards many of us wrote her off as a pathological liar. But I think it was always more than that. Sylvia was mentally ill, just not in the way she claimed. You don’t create a web of manipulation that complex without feeling you need to in order to sustain relationships. Sylvia lied to us. She manipulated us because she thought it was the only way she could keep people in her life. That in itself is a serious mental illness.

I’m not saying I forgive her. I’m certainly not saying I would ever be her friend again. I lost a lot of friends that year and that was the day in the cafe was what started it all. She punished me in a way that way extremely traumatic and to this day I have never fully recovered. But it also taught me a valuable lesson about people. They’re not always what they seem.

We are not the Specials: the Nerd’s Appeal to Pity


Bitter Nerd: A portion of the Nerd community. These people struggle to self analyze and a have strong need to protect themselves from any criticism. They resent that they’re lonely and often blame women for their lack of sex lives.

[NOTE: If you are a Nerd, but do not fit this category: good. You do not need to send me an essay long email about how you’re not bitter. Do not send me your memoir about how hard things were for you growing up. If you cannot control your urge to inform me about how you’re not a bitter nerd- you probably are a bitter nerd.]

I recently tweeted out the following series of messages on my Twitter.

This came from a place of frustration. I realized during a conversation that I genuinely feared the reactions of nerds to my content. I feared it in a way I never felt about any high school bully. The anxiety over backlash and internet tantrums had actually kept me from writing my feelings, posting content, and saying what I really felt on more than one occasion. All this from a demographic who rallies about free speech in violent games. And it pissed me off.

The subsequent reaction to it blew up my Twitter feed for a bit. The majority has so far been mostly positive or at the very least introspective. The negative reactions were… less than constructive, as they tend to be. In instances like this negative reactions tend to spiral down 1 of 2 different crap chutes. So here’s a handy guide that may help you pinpoint the particular issue you’re dealing with.

Appealing to pity

Arguments that fall under this category generally take the form of…

“I was bullied in the 80’s and girls didn’t like me.”

“Women only like neanderthals.”

“I was never given the opportunity to work on my social skills, that’s why I’m like this.”

The overwhelming message here is of course the word bitter nerds hate most: Entitlement. Along with privilege, they hate these words because they cast criticism on their behavior. And criticism of any kind can’t be tolerated because…

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Bitter Nerds are actually the most sensitive people on Earth.

For all these people complain about the over sensitivity of social justice advocates, I don’t seek them out and never have. Social justice advocates are not the one sending endless, whinging comments to my video about Game Grumps. They see any criticism they receive as the cruelest, most undeserved attack on their poor widdle selves. While seeing any criticism they give anyone else, no matter how toxic or abusive, to be totally justified. It’s just them exercising their free speech and- gosh darn it- they’re proud!

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But back to appealing to pity.

Although these people can be frustrating, they’re problem is really just having a deep-seated sense of persecution that they’ve carried into adulthood. Combined with  feeling entitled to women’s attention, and therefore not responsible for improving themselves- this breeds resentment.

It’s impossible to get through to someone like this until they first understand that they are responsible for themselves and what they say and do. They must be open to the idea that they’re flawed and capable of improvement. But they’re also hypersensitive to anything that might resemble snark, anger, or sarcasm. Replying in any of these ways will result in them doubling down on their feelings of persecution.

Bitter nerds love to consider themselves misunderstood anti-heroes and lone wolves. I’d like to point out that this is a pretty common coping mechanism. One I fell victim to in my own youth. It gives you a  sense of identity and shields you from the sting of criticism.

“I’m not a loser, I’m just misunderstood. They don’t get how special I am. And that’s fine as long as I am super duper special.”

The problem comes up when you’re confronted with the reality that so many other people suffered in the same way. People we thought “had it all” struggled just as much as we did, if not worse.

Case in point, my boyfriend.

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Stupid hot guy… I bet he traveled the world with the money he made being popular in High School.

If I had met him in high school I would have never spoken to him. I would have never even considered talking to him. He was cute and on the soccer team and had legs like Chun Li. Guys like that didn’t go out with chubby nerd girls who drew Sailor Moon fan art in their notebooks. He might as well have been a different species.

But the reality was he was taking so many AP classes at such a young age that he could barely connect with anyone in his school.

“The older kids didn’t like the younger kid showing off, and the kids my age didn’t relate to me because I wasn’t in any of their classes. I felt like I was completely alone. I had some friends, but I didn’t feel like I was part of a group like everyone else was.”

Learning this was kind of mind-blowing for me. I was so absorbed with how everyone dismissed me and how bad that made me feel that I was totally oblivious to the fact that high school sucks for everyone. If you’re fat and ugly, like me, you were an invisible loser. But if you were beautiful then fat, ugly girls like me would resent you forever. You can’t win. And the first step in escaping this persecution complex is realizing that we were not the only ones suffering. And no, our suffering wasn’t worse or somehow more important than others. We are not the specials. 

Appealing to pity only proves that you’re still operating the same way you were in adolescence. It’s a self-centered and extremely flawed perception that has no place in modern conversations about politics, social justice or gaming. I implore you, as a fellow nerd, we all seriously need to grow out of this. I know it’s hard to stop. After sitting in a specific chair for long enough that butt nook is pretty damn comfortable. It soothes us to think that we’re the real victims because it takes all the responsibility off of us to change our behavior. But that’s a coward’s approach to the world. It’s time to take up the sword, put on our big kid pants and start acting like the heroes we look up to in our games.

The Drain


Sometimes I get bored. Very bored. Sometimes I get so bored that I start sending my friends handwritten letters. One particular series of letters gradually descended into a crazed rant about a Lovecraftian monster that lived in my shower drain. The being eventually took over my body and started writing the letters entirely in Latin. The final letter was just a pile of torn and burned pieces of paper shoved into an envelope.

…I was very bored.

Last night I was in the kitchen eating out of the fridge straightening up and heard a noise. It was a scratching noise that sounded faintly like an animal. Convinced there was a mouse behind the fridge, and that the dark spots underneath were droppings, I started to investigate. Unfortunately the spots turned out to be coffee beans I had spilled a week earlier.

But then today… in the bathroom…

 

 

shock-o

 

The Great GoFundMe Fake Out


My last post was hard to write as it was about me swallowing my pride and admitting I need help.

This post is about how the organization I used to get that help has royally screwed me over in a way I didn’t think was possible.

So first of all, I was (and still am) truly touched by the numerous people who came out to donate to my college fund. I have a tendency to feel like I am alone in this world, so it’s extremely comforting to know how many people care. You are all amazing and the reason I want to work hard to make good content.

The campaign was growing slowly and then I woke up a few days before Christmas to find that a stranger had donated $1,500 to my fund. That’s more than two months rent for me. I can’t express in words how incredibly relieved I was. To know that regardless of how close I got to my goal, I was going to be okay for the next couple months. I had a spring in my step all day as if a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

The very next day I woke up to an email from WePay saying they had cancelled the payment because they couldn’t verify the payer.

I was completely crushed. My hopes had been lifted and then dashed within 24 hours.

Couldn’t “verify the payer”? What does that even mean? Their customer support was unhelpful, repeating exactly what their original email had said. No one would given me a straight answer.

The remaining money wasn’t as much, but still appreciated and needed. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get to any of it. I still can’t. Since I began my GoFundMe campaign, I haven’t received a penny of the money that has been donated.

This was understandably alarming, so I did some research into their money handling company, WePay. The results were not comforting. Especially the complaints to the Better Business Bureau  detailing the exact same problem.

So WePay is a scammy, fraudulent business. Great. Fucking great.

So what’s the plan?

{EDIT} After my very public outcry on Twitter, WePay suddenly dumped all funds into my account. After expressly telling me it wasn’t possible because my account number was incorrect. Let me be clear: They refused to send me the funds once because I had not verified my account. I, of course, couldn’t verify it because they never sent me the two micro-transactions to my bank account to verify it. AND YET the money still made it to my account without verification and an “incorrect account number”. They said they didn’t have the capability, and now they do. That is some Innsmouth level fishyness, y’all.

So thank you all so much for your donations! Love you guise!

 New Campaign?

My trust in these kinds of companies has been shaken. So I don’t think I’ll ever be using a service like this again. Right now I’m only going to use services I’m familiar with like Patreon and PayPal.

If you’re still interested in donating my college fund, I recommend sending it to Paypal via magdelen2501 [at] gmail [dot] com.

Thanks, everyone. I’m sorry this got so cocked up. I wish I had known how bad this company is and I hope this steers other people in need away from these vultures!

-M