Desire for More, Happy With What You Have

Leaf

Tuesday was honestly one of the fullest, most exhausting days I had in a while. A 13-hour day at work and I was depleted by the time I got home and had nothing left to give. Yesterday I did a 5.5-hour day at work and so took advantage of a small window that I could spend on myself. I luckily got a hair appointment at salon (ugh now battling the beginnings of covering gray) and had lunch on my own. No kids. No hubby. Just me, and it was nice. I even stopped by a boutique and although it was tempting to spend money in the very posh place, I made it back to my car empty-handed.

It was okay for me to desire the luxuries of $100 face cream, $26 one-use bath fizzies, or a $20 pair of lingerie undies (on 50% sale), but in the end I realized I didn’t need that stuff. I’m pretty happy with what I have when it comes to my life: a family, a home, transportation, a job, food on the table, clothes, etc. The basics are covered, I shouldn’t desire more when I’m already happy with what I already have. I say I’m happy, but am I really?

But I do desire more — more time with my family, vacations, and even though I am trying to embrace the current body I have, I often desire a different body shape, a lighter, thinner one. It’s a conflict of interest. At the same time I’m trying to learn to be a body love warrior, I slip into a train of thought that says I’d be better thinner. I’d look better and get cuter outfits if I just dropped 75 pounds. I want to be more like my sister: taller, thinner, more motivated to work out and watch what I eat.

I know deep down that I am who I am. Why would you want to be someone else because then you wouldn’t be you? I saw a post today by Fat Mom Writing that just hit me as the most relevant thing I could read about today — that being thin(ner) isn’t always about being healthy and happier. As my hubby always chimes from time to time, “The grass is not always greener on the other side.” What we think will make us happier isn’t always true. What if I could get myself to a place where I loved myself despite my dress size? Could I be strong enough to accept myself, embrace my curves, and not care what others think of me?

Can I smile in the camera like Toni did with her guitar, no shame of her own body? She was loving herself and her life, instead of damaging her body to fit the picture of what society expected her to be — and expects the rest of us women to be: thin (but not too thin), curvy (but not too curvy), great hair and make-up and “let’s be healthy not fat” attitude 24/7. That desire to fit our square selves into the round hole of what our culture says is beautiful is making our lives exhausting, and for some people like Toni with medical issues, it is also a dangerous way to live.

I love reading the journeys of so many plus size women struggling with the same body image complex as I am. There is encouragement, inspiration, and real choices shared every day. Revelation and appreciation are wonderfully common and I really enjoy each and every story. We all have a story, we all have something to say.

Advertisements

Loving Your Body, As-Is

Would you stand in the middle of crowd in a bikini, blindfold yourself, and ask others to critique you using markers?

What would you hope people would write on you? Follow the link to watch a mom bear it all in a brave experiment:

Self-Acceptance in a Bikini: Brave Plus Size Mom

What do you think? What did you learn? Would you try it? What would hold you back from doing this experiment?

The video posted a few weeks ago has gone viral and it’s because it hits to the heart of human-kind: INSECURITY. The experiment by Amy-Pence Brown explores the very depth of who we are, who we think we are to others and what value ourselves, our bodies have to society. Is a skinny body worth more than a plump one?

It’s a big enough story that USA Today, Huffington Post, People Magazine, BuzzFeed and television stations in the last week have shared this woman’s story of courage to bear her body in public. Brown shared:

“The hush in the crowd around me was instantaneous and I barely had time to tie on my blindfold, prop up my sign and grab my markers before the first woman rushed up to me, touched my hand with her shaky one, told me I was brave and powerful and asked if she could give me a hug and started to cry. And then I cried, too.”

I’m working on being brave. Soon I will have the courage too, to love myself unconditionally.

Fat Shamed So Many Times, I’ve Lost Count

I’ve been fat shamed so many times in my life, I’ve lost count. Whether it’s your own mother trying to get you to lose weight at 7 years old or that drunk boy during college spring break tell you at 19 there’s no way in hell he’d sleep with you because you’re fat, it hurts. Wishing every day that it would get easier somehow to not give in to cravings for whatever sounds good and then people telling you that it’s simple as will-power and exercising all day. The worse is when your own mother couldn’t tell you looked beautiful on your wedding day. Instead, she reminds you to keep your veil around your shoulders so that your fat arms are more covered.

And that’s just in my own life. There are literally groups of people and individuals devoted to fat shaming. There’s even one on Twitter with the name Fat Shamer declaring a war on bigger people, as if it is a great contribution to society. Here’s a gem he/she/it posted recently:

And celebrities are often the target of fat shaming, even when they’re pregnant!

And if that wasn’t enough, there are people dedicated to encourage larger people into self-hating, as to somehow drive people to lose weight and not be fat anymore. (Really?)

A Case for Shaming Obese People, Tastefully

So when the waves of negativity come, what options do you have? Do you succumb to society’s messages that you aren’t worthy of time, kindness, attention, etc. like a normal or skinny person? Do you embrace who you are but take it to the next level on an extreme spectrum to push an agenda that few will support? I think there’s a good balance, to fight the good fight and be respectful while standing your ground. It’s not okay for people to rip others apart.

I love this article by XOJANE on how she deals with fat-shaming comments and “haters” on her blog. Here are a few snippets I want to share:

Fighting body shame can be intimidating and exhausting…While I know it’s not my job to explain my perspective to every troll, I think it’s a mistake to allow cruel people to invade any space that’s meant for positivity and support and to then spread poop and vitriol wherever they please. I think it’s important to be loud, to push back, and to show solidarity with other body love warriors, even though trolls can be vicious.

When it comes to speaking up online, I am very picky about my battles, but I continue to engage because I refuse to be silenced. I do it because of all the times I thought I was worthless and disgusting. I do it because of the emails I get from people thanking me for raising my voice and helping them find a new perspective.

Amen, amen, amen! I also really really like her use of the phrase “body love warriors” because women of all sizes are so subjectively negative about their own body image, it’s a downfall of being female, we are our own worst critics. That inner voice that reminds us that we can wear this or that, because we don’t have the “right figure” is an epidemic in our society.

There is hope for us, in people like XOJane, to show us that fat shaming is not helpful, not wanted and not productive for our society. To tell people to hate themselves and to strive to be someone else, to have a different body, does nothing but show those struggling with body image that bullies are alive and well, and winning. But to have strong, confident women stand up and encourage their peers is a big start. To tell each other we were never meant to be airbrush perfect and just as the world is full of different colors and textures, so are people. Variety is the spice of life; if we were all the same, how boring would that be?

So the words for myself today: be bold, be brave, be kind and fight the shame.

Fall Fashion Covers Leave Larger Ladies Out

No Plus Size on Glossy Covers This Fall

Thanks fashion world, again, for failing to recognize that there are women of all sizes and the larger ones are being disproportionately represented in fashion and print media. So frustrating to be excluded, like being the last one on the playground to be picked on a team sport.

And at some point, it’s getting a little ridiculous that in 2015, with more than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese (see CDC on Adulthood Overweight/Obesity). In my age group of 20-39, it’s at 30.3%. In my state, according to this map by the CDC, 25%-30% in my state have extra chub on their frame. So if about a third of us are plus size, why does the fashion industry ignore us? Are they putting us on the back burner, hoping that we’ll accept the fact that we shouldn’t — or gasp — couldn’t care about fashion? Really?

Don’t even get me started on what the fashion industry thinks of us larger ladies wanting leggings.

But I really, on a more honest note, I applaud all the women bloggers I have met here so far. Those who are showing glamour in each their own way, forging a unique path to enjoy and explore their love for fashion despite the lack of effort from the overall fashion industry. I can only hope that some company, some designer will notice the innovation and the passion so many of you women have, no matter what your size, to be bold, be creative and have fun with whatever you wear, head to toe.

May they realize there are dollar signs for those that see the bigger picture, with plus size ladies in the frame, thank you very much.