During the excitement of the Fat Activism Conference my little blog reached a few milestones that I’m just getting around to writing about. I wrote my 1,000th post, got my 10,500th follower, and reached 4,000,000 views. I know for a lot of sites that’s not much but me those numbers are just completely overwhelming and humbling and I am profoundly grateful to everyone who reads, interacts with, and supports this blog and me I am also incredibly grateful that I get to do size diversity activism work full time.
In fact, almost exactly two years ago I transitioned my last business consulting client and started doing this work full time. It definitely hasn’t been easy but it’s been totally worth it. Sometimes people ask what it’s like – essentially what I do all day – so today I thought I’d talk about that, if you’re not into it then feel free to skip this post and I’ll be back tomorrow with more standard fare!
Most of the work that I do is unpaid and a lot of it has to do with e-mails. When I answer e-mails I sort them into one of three categories – general request, teacher/professor requests, and student requests. So far this year I’ve answered 45,464 general requests (these range from people looking for help with a personal situation – sometimes heartbreaking- to people looking for resources), 13,644 teacher/professor requests (these are usually about resources or curriculum development), and 19,630 student requests (these typically ask for help with a fatphobic teacher, an interview for a project, or help with research). So that’s 78,738 e-mails so far this year (for those playing the home game, that’s a little over 320 e-mails a day).
I get somewhere around a couple hundred hate emails a day, but those are just a quick skim and delete unless they are entertaining enough to make the hatemail page. I also get a few (like 20-50) requests from people to blog about things each day – those definitely come in handy when I’m trying to think of something to post about late at night!
Then there’s Facebook: I moderate the Rolls Not Trolls group on Facebook as well as my own FB page and I get between 300-500 Facebook messages a day to my personal page.
I post a blog almost every day, depending on how much research it takes these can take anywhere from just a couple of hours to many hours over a period of days.
I run More Cabaret which is a three hour rehearsal each Sunday, during the week there’s creating the choreography, working to book gigs, plus producing a few shows a year.
I moderate this blog, and Facebook pages for More Cabaret, Rolls Not Trolls, and my personal page to create safe spaces and spaces that encourage and support activism.
Jeanette DePatie and I run the Fit Fatties Forum which includes moderating the forum, moderating the Facebook page, and doing the work for various contests that we run (some of which actually generate a little money which helps pay the bills!)
Speaking of paying the bills, when I went full time doing this work, what that meant to me was that I was going to find a way to make a living by providing people with resources that help them live the life they want despite a fatphobic world, while simultaneously fighting fat phobia. Here’s how I do that:
I get paid for some of my speaking engagements, and like almost everything I do I utilize a sliding scale so that if people want to bring me as a speaker money doesn’t get in the way. I also get paid for some of the writing I do. I make money selling books and dance classes. I also teach workshops (like how to deal at the doctor’s office), I’m planning to do more of that in the reasonably near future!
I have members (and big, giant, massive thanks to all of you!) whose memberships provide stable, predictable income which is super important because the speaking gigs are, of course, not guaranteed, and they are seasonal since I’m predominantly booked by Universities during the regular US school year.
In my free time I’m training for my next marathon and I hang out with my awesome partner and two very adorable dogs!
So that’s my life in a nutshell. I am able to get by doing work that I love, I’m grateful to be able to do that and I know that it’s due to a combination of luck, privilege, hard work and support from my family, friends, and the community and I really can’t even say how grateful I am!
If you want to support my work. there are lots of ways to do that:
You can become a member! For ten bucks a month you can support my work, and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you. (Seriously, THANK YOU to my members, I couldn’t do this without you and I really can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support!) Click here for details
You can book me! I give talks all across the country about self-esteem, body image, health and wellness for people of size and more, and I’d love to speak to your organization. (I’ll be in Central Pennsylvania, Cleveland, Austin and Las Vegas in the next few months if you are in those areas and would like to add an event to those trips.) You can get more information on topics, previous engagements and reviews here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!
You can buy my book: Fat: The Owner’s Manual The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here for details
You can buy dance classes DVSs or downloads: ! Click here for details
No money? No problem! You can share the blog posts that you like to your social media, you can leave a comment or send me an e-mail telling me you like the blog or if it helped you in some way, you can subscribe to the blog (the box in the top right hand corner – the number of subscribers helps when I look for sponsors for events or literary agents or whatever) you can think nice thoughts about me!
One other thing that I get to do sometimes is fun interviews. Recently I was a guest of the fabulous Gina Pond on the podcast This Week in Heresy to talk about religion and Fat Shaming. You can check it out here!
So thanks for the first 4,000,000 views, here’s to the next 4,000,000!