Monthly Archives: November 2014

Am I just too old?

If you’ve been with me for a while you know I love to dance.

I took formal lessons as a wee tiny preschool kid. I hated ballet and loved jazz and modern.

I am an avid bootyshaker. Put on music I like and my ass is moving.

I love bellydance. I’ve done a bit, I have instructional DVDs.

I just love all the dancing.

My relationship with my love of movement started when I was about 13 and my breasts grew to a size that was uncontrollable.  I did not have access to the most basic of bras and at one point was outgrowing them at a rate of two a month (yes going up at least one to two cup sizes a month) and everything hurt either physically (the weight of my actual breasts causing tissue damage etc) or emotionally (being bullied by everyone including teachers/adults) and I shut down any idea that I could move my body.

I remember watching the high school drill team practicing in the morning and yearning to do that as well.  I made myself give it up.

Along with my run away tits, I gained quite a bit of weight. I believed if I was fat my boobs would be less noticeable.

It was terrible.

I got a breast reduction at 14 and movement opened back up to me. I was a cheerleader (yeah for real tho), I tried playing volleyball, I was on the drill team. I tried a lot of things.

What I did not have back was that freedom and joy with dance. If you are a lover of dance you know the feeling I’m talking about. Soaring, flying, feeling like the most beautiful thing ever.

I was still deeply self conscious and battling budding eating disorders and trying to preserve the veneer of self esteem I had.

There was no joy.

I did a little exotic dancing (not really legal but that’s a whole other story) I went clubbing a lot in my early 20s. I loved it. Often out at clubs after hours I was there again, feeling that beat in my hips and floating in that joyful feelings.

So let’s fast forward.

I’m closing on 40.

I’m fat.

I have shitty knees.

Sometimes I find myself compulsively watching dance videos. I learn (ish) new steps. I twerk at home alone in my bathroom though not well.

I think about sexy dancing to music.

Sometimes I practice hip shimmies while I stand waiting for the bus.

And that asshole voice in my head starts in.

I’m too fat.

I’m too old.

The fuck am I doing.

Rinse repeat until my joy is pretty gone.

I vacillate between wanting to give it a shot and feeling like there are eleven million reasons why I shouldn’t. I hate that I have so much baggage with this.

If I start bellydancing at night at home, would I be okay?

What if adding dancing to my daily approximately 30-45 minutes of exercise would it change my body?

Could I handle that?

I get scared and then I sort of wilt.

I tuck the desire, no fuck desire it is beyond that.

I am YEARNING to dance again.

I want my legs to be big and hard as stone again. I miss almost kicking myself in the forehead, I miss feeling a slickness in the movement of my hips and having that communicating with the divine through the sway of my hips feeling.

I know it got a little woo at the end but I do feel something divine in moving my body.

And then there’s those fears.

I don’t know what to do really.

I don’t want to take “dance” classes that are basically a thin veneer for lose as much weight as possible.

I don’t want to spend money to be miserable.

I want to be a wee fat dancer.

I promised myself some time ago that I wouldn’t pass 40 without trying again. Letting go of the fears and doing the things I love to do.

I am going to try starting with a flexibility thing. Try to ease some of my joint problems with limbering up.

And then dance?


I hope so.

I want to try and there will probably be tears and angst.

I hope as I get more bendy there will be a release of some sort. An ascension.


Sorry. Got woo.

Here enjoy one of my favorite bootyshake songs. Bojangles by Pitbull ft Yin Yang twins.

Shake what you got how you can.

I’m gonna do the same.

Homo Out.


Fight Music.

First if you are a Prodigy fan or a Sepultura fan you HAVE TO HEAR THIS.

That is one of my favorite metal bands Sepultura covering the Prodigy.

Listening to this makes me want to destroy shit.

That is where I need to be in my head to finally crawl out of the last of this deep dark panic, anxiety and trauma feelings filled hole I’ve been rolling around in.

I have to get mad. I have to get so pissed off my knuckles are itching to be broken.

I have to get ragey and wanting to fight.

I don’t know why and no this isn’t the most healthy thing and sometimes shit goes way wrong but it is how I function and survive.

I have to get back to a place where I am seeing red and I want to protect myself at all costs. Historically I’ve had a problem protecting everyone but me.

While I have been busy trying to sort myself out, I let a lot of external shit pile on to my Shannon hate fest.

People who hate my writing, trolling, abusive trolls, shit from my past, the voices of doubt who I can hear telling me that maybe I should focus on working a “real” job etc.

I had to shut myself down and then let the angry flow.

I had to remind myself that regardless of how much anyone hates what I write, how much they hate my face, how much they hate me in general I do not deserve to be abused by anyone.

No matter what opinions I have or how loudly I express them, nobody gets to muzzle me.

I deserve to be fought for. I can fight for myself.

I am getting there.

My reponse to most what anyone has to say about me on a personal level is fuck you pay me. If someone really feels the need to make sure I’m hearing what they have to say about me, I feel like I should get paid for a humiliation scene.

This whole process is so internalized. The triggers then the spiral are all very inward. I’m working on not keeping it so internalized but I find it really difficult.

I don’t like feeling super vulnerable to people who might gleefully cause me harm. On the flipside of that I do have a desire to make sure I present myself like a whole real human.

I have the worst habit of trying to present a bullet proof strong front and it does not serve me well. It is not real and as I’ve been really trying to reinforce with myself is in fact harmful.

Unlearning these lessons is fucking brutal. I thought it would get easier as I get older but not really. I still fall down the hole. The difference is that I can get out and I can talk about it.

Shit is hard but I’m working on it.

Other stuff.

In terms of my writing life I have been doing a lot of things. I’m knocking shit off of my writing bucketlist.

For instance.

I am not totally comfortable writing purposeful satire. I sat on this piece for a while and then decided (while I was thinking of what my bestie would say about it) then I just published it. It is not super perfection (is anything I do perfect?) but it is exactly what I needed to say. It is on catcalling and you can read it here. TW for rape culture and racism and gross.  

I’ve also been doing some experimentation with genre work and I am excited about that.

Last thing, my publisher has started the process for signing up for our self care email list ahead of book prep.

Go here and sign up and await SURPRISES!!

Anything else? Not right now. Next week I will probably yammer about the seeming impossibility of accessible clothes I am interested in right now.

And some thinking about health that I’ve been doing lately.

That’s all for now.

Homo out.

Okay I See.

So hi y’all.

If you’ve been here for a while you know I like to keep stuff at least kind of transperent so let me tell you a few things that are going on.

In my time at XoJane  (the top one is the newest) a lot of people have come up in comments there, in my tumblr ask box etc to tell me how much they dislike what I’m doing there, my work, my face, how I wear my nails and pretty much every word I type.

That’s fine.

What is not fine is that every time I have something new published,  I wind up having to clear out dozens of these messages from my various inboxes.

So I’m probably going to shut down comments here and in other spots because frankly if you aren’t offering me money in a professional capacity I don’t have the time nor energy to deal with you.

Also let me tell the four or five folks (I’m assuming it’s more because a lot of shit incoming is anonymized) or whomever a few things.

I have said many times I use stats trackers and I know how to read them.

If you’re trying to bring me to your thread on that message board so I can see how much people there dislike my work, nah I’m good. I have no desire to interact with people who don’t like me if I’m not contractually obligated to do so.

Just like in meat space, people who say don’t like my hair of dark lipstick I’m not gonna sit around and keke with them. I honestly only give enough of a shit to be aware of what’s being said, consider some things and the rest is none of my business frankly.

While I am frequently open to critique, these things are not critique. How about a sampling of some of the shit I’ve had to clean out of my moderated comment queue tonight. First a sampling from what I posted on twitter earlier:


A few more gems of thoughtful critique of my work and self:

“I hope you get fired”

“You write the worst”

“You don’t deserve the attention you get”

“You are a hack and completely unprofessional. ”

Note not one of these people has actually spoken directly to me in a manner that indicates they have some critique and want a conversation.

Not one has left a name or valid email.

Some are coming in from that one forum thread (yes I’ve seen it before, yes I’m STILL that blogger y’all haven’t liked for years) I get it. I really do. A bunch of people don’t like me for a lot of reasons. As above, that’s fine.

What I don’t have to do is try to make friends or lick ass or change how I go about doing what I’ve been getting paid a little money to do.

I also need to reiterate a few other things.

I am a fat queer Black woman on the internet who has opinions about things. I have gotten death threats, rape threats, been doxxed, had people contact my various employers, try to contact my family blahblabhblah.

I have a fairly thick skin. I understand fully that my work is not for everyone and I am not to everybody’s taste.

What I don’t understand is why keep fucking with me about it? That’s what bothers me.

Why go through the trouble of searching, coming in from the forum whether you’re a member or not, finding my contact form or trying to comment with that shit in my private space?

If you hate me, hate my writing and feel passionately enough about that hate to seek out my personal spots where I talk about shit put your feelings to better use.

If you want to get me fired from XoJane there are ways to do that.

XoJane Pitch page. Pitch them a better series.

Send any and all feedback to

Here is an example mail for you,

To Whom it May concern,

Regarding the article on (pick a date) I find Shannon Barber’s writing atrocious and unprofessional. It is my opinion that she should not be writing for your magazine- you can continue from there.

That is how you go about dealing with media you don’t like.

What I am opposed to is coming into my inboxes to shit on my shoes and tell me to be a fucking professional.

Fuck you.

Now let me state again very clearly. This is not about me having hurt feelings. I do but that’s not the point. It’s not about how many people dislike my work, or how they talk about my work amongst themselves.

Knock yourselves out. Go for it.

It is about bringing that into my personal life. That is malicious and I won’t say trolling it is abusive.

Here’s the thing.

I won’t be abused into silence.

If your aim is silence, be an adult and take it to someone who can do something about your problem. It is not my problem.

I am who I am.

I like who I am. I am really enjoying doing my series at Xojane specifically. I really love having people tell me that they aren’t in the specific situation that I’m talking about but that they feel good. Regardless of how much anybody hates my style, I still love that I’ve given a few people a space to talk about stuff they don’t normally discuss.

Overall, it’s all to the good.

That said, I am going to make it more difficult to get a hold of me. I apologize to those who have legitimate projects or whatever but I just don’t have the spoons to deal with so much extra shit.

I have enough of my own.

Homo Out