Thursday, February 24, 2011

Stanhope Fail

My seeing Doug Stanhope? What a fucking disaster.

I have, as I've mentioned repeatedly, generalized and social anxiety disorders. So this was going to be difficult for me. A place I've never been before, a crowd, and going alone. Three components for a complete fucking meltdown.

I investigated online and found pictures of the inside of the venue as a way to calm myself down. Loose chairs, lots of seating. It's two+ hours away so I was careful with my spending to make sure I'd have gas money to get there and back. I saved up anti-anxiety pills and took a few extra. I even looked kinda cute that night!

I get there early enough to find really close parking. Go inside, find a seat, and wait patiently. It turns out that there's an upstairs and that's where he's performing. Drama with my will-call ticket but it was figured out. I managed to climb the flight of steps with minimal difficulty. The doors are locked so I sit around waiting for them to be opened. I end up talking to an awesome girl.

Eventually they open the doors and we all climb up another flight of stairs and go inside. So, I'm finally in the club. There's no seating. None.

I go to the back of the room – where I can't hear anything – and lean on the bar. That only works for so long. My back and legs are shaking. I haven't been receiving massages so my pain is back at Threat Level Orange. I swallow my pride and say to the bartender, “Excuse me! Hi, I'm sorry to be a bother but I'm disabled and have severe back problems. Standing for any length of time leaves me in serious agony. Is there any possible way I can get a seat?” As the entire outside patio was empty and filled with chairs.

He says, “of course”, and goes off to get me one. On his way back, the manager stops him and tells him to put it back. He doesn't care that I can't stand...I can't have a chair. Because if he let's one person have a chair, other people will want them too. “So you're saying that, because my back injury leaves me unable to stand for very long, I can never return to this venue ?” No exceptions. Whoa.

I stay leaning on the bar. After two openers, Doug Stanhope comes on but the club is full and noisy, the sound system is terrible, and I'm so far in the back of the room that I can't even hear what's being said.

He's only been on a few minutes when I reach the point where my legs are about to give out and the pain radiating up and down my back is excruciating. I limp outside and almost fall going down the stairs because my knees keep giving out. I make it to a chair and sit for awhile. When I finally stood again, I was absolutely unable to climb up the stairs back to the club.

So I had to leave early. It took me ages to make it to my car where I collapsed and shook forever.

Not being able to see something I've wanted to see for years, a friend gifting me this kick-ass opportunity and have it fall apart, more than four hours of driving, $40 in gas, and still unable to walk without holding onto something two days later. Zydeco: prepare to feel my wrath.

I automatically felt ashamed. That it was my fault anyway and have no right to complain or be upset. Obviously it's just because I'm a fatty and blah blah self loathing blah. But, seriously, that's bullshit. On several levels. A) I was between 300 and 400 pounds back when I went to clubs on a weekly basis and danced for hours. When I went to concerts and stood in the pit for hours. When I was able to climb three flights of stairs every day. When I was able to function. But the pain I'm dealing with doesn't allow for those things anymore. And B) Dude, whose fucking business is it as to why I need to sit down? I physically needed to sit down because I was in excruciating pain. The End. There was a guy there with wrapped ankle who had to stand on his good foot, leaning against the wall, all night.

I mean, what the fuck? Bullshit. Such complete and utter ableist bullshit.

I found the name of the owner online but also came across several reviews talking about what an absolute dick he is so I don't expect the letter I write him to really have any impact. But I'll write one anyway. Something along the lines of:

Dear Owner of Zydeco (cough located at 2001 15th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35205 cough):

Suck my balls.


Positive Things
* I went to a new place, with a lot of people, all by myself. And the world didn't end!

* I discovered that, whenever I'm scared to do something, telling myself, “Heidi, seriously, come on. You got rid of everything you owned, drove cross-country to live with someone you'd never met in a state you'd never been to before. (Activity) is a fucking cakewalk.” makes it seem a hell of a lot less scary.

* And I think I even looked a little cute!


  1. I am so proud of you Heidi!!! Also... I think they might be violating some kind of Disability act... you might want to check into that. You shouldn't have had to go through that


  2. You looked super cute!! I'm sorry that guy was such an asshole and your night a disaster.. but I'm in love with your attitude and really proud of you-- for whatever that's worth. :)
    You are fantastic Heidi!

  3. It would be very, very interesting to explore whether his failure to provide any seating was a violation of the American's with Disabilities Act.

  4. You do look cute!
    Club owners in general tend to be assholes, alas.
    I always wonder at people who see, for example, a really fat person in an electric scooter, and say "Oh if only they'd lose weight they wouldn't be disabled." How do you lose weight? Diet and exercise, by conventional wisdom. Why does it never ever occur to anybody that exercising when you're disabled is kind of hard? Like seriously never occurs to them. Even if it were true that you could just find The Right Diet/Exercise Combo that would suddenly change your whole body type... when you can't stand up, how are you supposed to do it? It's just this whole ball of total contradictions that nobody ever ever thinks of, and we all internalize.

    Don't internalize it! But I don't have to tell you that. You're not. God you're so inspiring! Because you do incredibly hard things, and sometimes it just seems like your whole life is a mess and then you just keep going anyway and do something else amazing.
    I gotta say, when I was in my early 20s some of my older friends/colleagues assured me that it was your 30s when everything rocks, and now that I'm here I'm realizing that's true. Once you've just gone out and done shit, when people are assholes to you it's a whole lot easier to point to the objective proof of what you've done and draw the conclusion that they're assholes, not that you're flawed.
    Rock on, woman.

  5. You looked mega-cute! And fuck that asshole who wouldn't let you have a damned chair. Gurl, I wish I was with you, I would have fought that bastard on the spot! I'm so sorry it ended badly and there was confusion from the get-go...but you did everything you could and that is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about at all! I have a lot of anxiety in those situations, too. I'll suffer through ridiculous things because I don't wanna bother anyone or even speak up for myself. I'm working on it and learning as I go. There are almost always second and third chances for these types of things though. We never know what life will throw at have kind and loving friends and I know they will continue to look out for you! Rock on!

  6. You did look cute! And good for you for what you did manage to do, even asking the bartender for help! I'm surprised that there wasn't some type of disability factor involved in the venue (what if you had been in a wheelchair?) I suggest you not only write to the jerk with real facts but also sent a copy of it to Doug Stanhope and to the venue location. Maybe you should even send a copy to the local newspaper to let people know what they can expect from that venue.
    I'm sorry it didn't all work out but happy that you managed to do so much out of your comfort zone....

  7. I'm sorry that it didn't go better. It sounds like it was rather awful and disappointing. I'm glad that you were able to see some good in the experience though. And he totally deserves a nasty letter.

  8. I agree you looked good, but you might want to be honest about your weight. Plus, it's easier to dance all night in your 20's--it's a bit harder in your 30's.

  9. I don't know if the club was violating any sort of law but I know I am so sorry this is how this evening turned out. I know how much you had been looking forward to it. Just keep on keeping on because despite those assholes, people are inherently wonderful and there will be so many other fun events on the horizon where you will not have to sacrifice your dignity or comfort in order to enjoy yourself.

    Also, I gotta think that if Doug Stanhope knew how shabbily one of his fans had been treated, he could rain down far more shit on Zydeco than the government coulf. ADA violations can be hard to prove and could take forever, but two or three Tweets from a famous comic about how shitty a club and its manager are can mobilize a whole lot of immediate impetus for change, if you know what I mean.

  10. SUPER FUCKING CUTE as a matter of fact. You were born to wear flowers in your hair.

    I don't even have words for what happened at the club.

  11. add to your list that you asked for what you needed, a seat. that it was denied wasn't your fault, nor was the failure of the event. that was the fault of the manager.

    i wonder if the aclu could be contacted as i think the venue might be in conflict with some of the disabilities law (can't remember the name of it). it might be worth investigating.

  12. Seriously, you look intensely cute in this picture. I'll say it again: I can barely recognize you, you look so healthy. Your eyes are sturdier and clearer, and you hold your shoulders in a marginally different way that somehow makes you look calm, happy and beautiful.

    And you have the best hair ever.


    This club owner is violating a federal law protecting those with disabilities. FUCK HIM IN THE ASS, HEIDI!!!

  14. Hey girlie! You look very cute! I love the fascinator in your hair. Fuck that club. I am writing a letter to that bastard, thanks for leaving the address. Congrats for doing all that by yourself, truly an impressive accomplishment with social anxiety et al.
    For future outings they make collapsible walkers that have a seat, plus you could have bashed that prick upside his head with it if you had to. (They also come in cute colors)

  15. You look absolutely beautiful. And that kind of shit CANNOT fly -- the ADA doesn't exist for nothing. I would get all up in that club's grill about this forEVER. Completely unacceptable, for you and for every other disabled person out there. Obligatory stairs AND no seating? FAIL TO THE NTH.

  16. honestly, i can't even pretend that i'd give a shit that an obese person "needed a seat" because of "excrutiating back pain" either. youre right. you did this to yourself. i've been following your blog for two years now and it looks like you've lost MAYBE 90 lbs? people started becoming interested in you because you seemed determined to be a success story, and basically every entry is full of complaints. i am 108 lbs, have arthritis, scoliosis, and fibro and i'd never in my life go on SSI and take money from the state. i work, i stand for 8 hrs a day, and i don't berate people for not catering to a pain they've never experienced before. it's ignorant, maybe, yes. they may not understand because i am young, etc. but that doesn't make my immense pain any less real. however, i did NOT do this to myself. the fact that you think you have the audacity to complain because you are "overweight" (to put it mildly.. have you checked your BMI lately?) is kind of disgusting. you shouldn't be proud of yourself for not being 400 lbs. you should be ashamed that you think there was an excuse to get to that point to begin with. this whole post made me totally furious.

    your anxiety is most likely due to you being made fun of for so long for BEING that weight. your back problems (aside from your "accident" or whatever you got into) would be there regardless because of the straight fat puts on a body. i am doing biology, genetics, and nutrition; i work in a lab, and at this rate i don't know how long you expect to live, but complaining all the way to the grave is not going to get you anywhere.

    focus on your health. not some douchebag who doesn't want to cater to the obese.

    and just so this isn't anonymous, feel free to spam the fuck out of me here:

    take care.
    i hope you take this as advice and not hate-mail.

  17. You do look cute. Also, I might suggest writing a letter to the editor of the local paper where the club is explaining what happened and copying the club. I would also e-mail it to perhaps Stanhope's booking agent (or other handler type person).

  18. @beoflove If you are going to take someone to task for complaining, tell them its all their own fault and then say you will never go on SSI in your life, you may not want to link to a Livejournal where you complain your balls off about everything thats wrong with you and say your best option is probably to go on SSI. It makes you look like an idiot. Or at least like you lack credibility.

    Im just sayin...

  19. Beoflove (and a hearty AHAHAHAHAHA at your user name), it is hate mail to tell a person who has lost around 200 pounds that she has not lost enough weight to be treated decently. It's hate mail to tell anyone, no matter how fat, thin, stupid, intelligent, mean, kind, or any other qualifier, that asking for accommodation for a disability is an act of audacity.

    It is hate mail to tell a person that she is not deserving of decent treatment now because she got fat, even though she has taken great strides in improving her physical being. Evidently there is no redemption in your neck of the woods, not that anyone needs your fucking approval, but how thin does Heidi need to be before she could ask for a chair because she is disabled? Or would she never be able to ask because, as you say, she brought this on herself by being a fatty-fat-fat?

    Given that you evidently wear a hair shirt as you stand all day, I wonder if anyone would qualify in your mind for governmental help when disabled. Who, in your world of endured pain, is disabled enough? Who passes the Beoflove test? People in comas? People who don't have legs? People with spinal injuries? And if so, does it change your mind if they ended up in a coma, lost their legs, lost the ability to move because they were at fault in a car accident? I mean, you could say they brought it on themselves and therefore they would be audacious to expect any accommodation in life, according to your logic.

    No one gives a shit about your martyr complex, Beoflove. Stand all day and all night in excruciating pain if it gives you some Limbaugh/Beck-esque sense of personal responsibility because you, unlike all the bad, bad people who brought their disabilities on themselves, are pure in your suffering because there was no side road as your ailments were bestowed upon you and because you never, ever drain the social system like all those other cheating disabled folk.

    How does it feel to be so good, Beoflove? How does it feel to be so much better than the people who prefer not to live their lives in pain as a form of punishment for not living up to the arbitrary standards you assign to life, for not being as good at the delicious absorption of pain, who are so disgusting in your eyes because we don't enjoy suffering? Please don't answer. Please don't. This is a rhetorical question. I really don't fucking care what a concern troll, victim-blaming, martyr-complex idiot thinks on any issue. Your "learnings" are not as impressive as you think they may be.

    Let me spell this out for you, Beoflove: Heidi needed that chair because she has terrible pain and is disabled, not because she is obese. You don't get to decide which disability is worthy based on BMI and your own strange sense that being thin and in pain somehow make you a better person than Heidi.

    And just so you know, Beoflove, that was one of the nastiest pieces of hate mail I have read in a while, and I run a website devoted to weird books. I get e-mails from people who think I support Satan/The New World Order/Religious Cults/Alien Invaders because of the books I read and none of them, as batshit as some of them are, came close to being as cruel and horrible as you. Be proud. You are officially nastier in your expression than people who think the government is reading their minds, the Masons are plotting against them, or aliens are probing their asses.

    So check yourself and fuck off. Please? Because no one wants you to tire yourself out writing any more tough love messages. You need to concentrate on standing all day in excruciating pain, your studies in nutrition, and being the best, most socially acceptable, thin disabled person you can be.

  20. can i point out that it's hilarious that someone whose handle is "be of love" says he/she "doesn't give a shit" that someone else is "in excruciating pain?"

    be of love! unless someone's a fatty... in which case, be of dismissal and hatred

  21. p.s. "you suck" is not now, nor has it ever been, advice.

  22. you should be ashamed that you think there was an excuse to get to that point to begin with.

    That's a horrific thing to say, and your comment disgusted me.

  23. To BeofLove,

    I was shocked when I read your comment to Heidi - shocked and dismayed. That's a lot of anger coming out in your post. But then I went and looked at your livejournal and I went from anger to feeling bad. You've got a lot of pressure going on - some self-inflicted, some inflicted on you - and I think that would be enough to make anyone lash out. There's a saying - "Hurt people hurt people" and I can see how hurt you must be and how frustrated and in pain you are. Because, really, what Heidi does and how she chooses to do it has nothing to do with you. If Heidi has lost 200 pounds, gone on SSI, calls herself a success, a failure, whatever - it's not about you. What IS about you is how you choose to conduct yourself. By hurting Heidi, that doesn't change your scoliosis, your job situation, your pain levels - it just serves to get out some feelings so that someone else feels as bad as you do.

    You can go on SSI, you can leave the job, you can do anything - but most importantly, give yourself a break. Even Superwoman needs a nap now and then.

  24. this is a response to a comment that i got here:

    hope it explains some things :)

    First and foremost, I mentioned S.S.I. as an option which was suggested to me by my mother, not a solution, and made it clear, that, unlike Heidi, I would be more than happy to continue working (something she has never done "outside of her home"… I wonder why she's so depressed all the time.. hmm..). It no longer is one, though I am going to apply anyway because Darwin freaking forbid the DOH comes and I lose this job - at least I will be covered and have back pay and health insurance. I am one who likes to keep my ass covered. Not beg people for money via the internet every other entry and constantly complain.

    Secondly, there has been only ONE conclusive genetic obesity link in the WORLD, and the "disease" (if you want to be generous), is only a "first world country" epidemic. Please prove to me that if it was 100% genetic that it wouldn't only be found in wealthy nations. I'd love to hear your argument.

    People Heidi's weight were side-show freaks in the early 1900s. To tell me that is genetic or normal in any way is downright ignorant. Please educate yourself.
    She has admitted dozens of times that she does over eat, and has never mentioned exercise. I'm sure if she did so she could climb up and down 4 flights of stairs. I have severe asthma and my ribs push against one of my lungs, and I find myself doing it daily with minimum difficulty. But y'know, that's just my opinion.

    For your information, I am studying Genetics, and know enough about nutrition to bother leaving a comment like that. Calling someone's photography "insipid" when Heidi's is her doublechin (excuse my frankness) eating a cupcake and being proud of herself about making BRUSSEL SPROUTS (… brussel sprouts. literally a food that is ON THE FOOD PYRAMID), and then her blogging about going to nutrition programs is downright pathetic. and by the way, you've chosen quite a cheap, unhurtful comment.

    Third, I work 47 hour weeks. I don't sit on a couch eating donuts and leaving comments anonymously (like some people). I work, I go to school, I strive, I sing, I paint, I record, I build and rebuild my relationships, I travel. My future is in MY hands, but my PRESENT involves saving public schools and buildings from asbestos contamination as a NOB and PCM analyst (look it up since you have nothing better to do than troll.) And I believe that I am ten years younger than Heidi.

    Thanks so much for the response. If you're not Heidi, I am sure you are another obese follower who blames McDonalds for her problems and commiserates with her "woe is me" vs "yes i am now only 8,000 lbs instead of 8,000.5 lbs!"

    I am not TRYING to be hurtful. She has gone through a lot and so have I, which is why I keep reading. But honestly, that specific post and a lot of what she says infuriates me. I expect this girl to get her shit together and it barely ever happens. I want to be proud of her because it's been a long journey for her but sometimes it just gets tiring.

    Oh. P.s. My Boss got over it. He said I am the best analyst he's had in over ten years and can name over 1,000 reasons why I should keep the job. He was just having an anxiety ridden week. Some much for that, sister.



    p.s.s. if you'd like to troll, i'm not gonna check back here cause it's not my blog. so LJ is your best bet. :)

  25. anita, your comment was fantastic. no irony there. very well written.

  26. Okay, it's clear from Beoflove/Tara's last comment that she is aching for response. She wants us to comment in her journal. I sense her reply above is filled with deliberate errors (like Heidi never worked outside her home) in the hopes we will be so incensed we will come over and start a war in her journal.

    Let's not. Let's set our phasers on ignore. Let's not give her the fight she clearly wants.

    I urge anyone reading to ignore this strange young woman. And make no excuses for her either - having read her journal and seeing how she acts over here, I cannot determine her agenda but personal pain cannot account for the bile she is spewing or half of us would be out there 4channing our ways though life. Apply the personal responsibility to her that she is applying to Heidi and hold her responsible for the nasty things she typed and then ignore her as if your life depended on it.

    Heidi, my sweet friend, I really urge you to make your journal a "no-troll" zone. Don't let comments that demean you through the queue. Delete them, make those who hate take their nonsense elsewhere and keep this journal a place where the only words that remain on record come from those of us who have known you for years, know your story, and love you and want the best for you. Let the Taras and Zippys go crap up somewhere else in cyberspace. Because this is your house and people need to wipe their feet before they come in and they need to treat the hostess with respect.

  27. beoflove, all I'm seeing in your comments is "I, I, I".

    "I'm doing this, I'm doing that, I did this, I did that, I'm this, I am...I go...I believe...I, I, I"

    This isn't about you. This isn't about your situation. Good for you for being so awesome, but the fact that you feel the need to keep pointing out your own successes on somebody else's blog just shows a deeper insecurity to me. How about showing some respect for the fact that everyone's circumstances are unique and individual? Just because YOU have managed to do things a particular way, doesn't mean that everyone can - or wants to.

  28. p.s. i also kind of enjoy misreading "beoflove"'s handle as beeflove (or boeflove, half en fran├žais)

  29. beoflove...

    It's really stupid to say that this woman did all of this to herself. I doubt you could become 400 lbs if you even TRIED. Some find it a lot easier to gain weight than others. That said, this woman CAN do something about it and she is, she's lost hundreds of lbs as far as I know. She's lost as much as you weigh, but you think it means nothing just because you think she hasn't achieved any success until she looks like a skinny thing like you.

    I don't know why you want to be some kind of martyr, but going on disability is a GOOD IDEA for people who have DISABILITIES. It's completely ignorant to stand up for 8 hours a day all because of ego and pride. Do you realise that doing that DOESN'T actually make you a better person, or deserving of more respect than anyone else? It just means you're up yourself and full of ignorant pride. How long do YOU expect to live for and to have an able body for? I'm doing health sciences as well.

    Everyone has flaws and issues in their life, so I seriously have no idea why you feel SO passionately that you want to send long hateful comments to someone you don't even know. If her weight loss isn't slow enough for you and you dislike her life, her weight, her attitude, her personality, what the hell ever you think it is that you've mastered that she hasn't... then don't read her damn blog!

  30. Heidi, I wrote you a huge long response, and blogger ate it. I'm so sorry. I'm too tired to rewrite it, but I will write to you soon. Tons of love to my adorable friend. xoxox

  31. Anita, you are awesome. That is all. :) Heidi, keep on keeping on.

  32. My gosh, it is rare to come across such a self-righteous hateful bigoted martyr. Can you imagine being inside that brain, that must be hell. I'm so very sorry that you happened to get in the way of her spewing the ugliness that resides within her. Of course you know it's really not about you, but I know how that kind of thing hurts all the same -- in fact, it's exactly why I don't have comments on my blog. I'm glad that you do though, so I can tell you that I understand and agree with you. (And that yes, you were TOTALLY cute.)