All About That Bass

Way overdue post (sorry) but I have to share my new found love in musical artist Meghan Trainor — ya know, that one chick’s hit “All About That Bass.”  She came out with a new hit this fall I adore as well and I discovered more of her music while at work using the free music Spotify player. If you want to enjoy some of her music:  click here.

MEGHAN TRAINOR at 93.3 FLZ jingle Ball

When her music hits got on the radio last year, I noticed the tunes were catchy but had no idea who she was or anything about her career. But last week I spent time listening to every song publicly published and googled the crap out of her songs and career.

On her website, I caught Meghan’s quote – “Love your body no matter what.” Dang right girl, get it!

Back to that bass baby, be proud of what you got.  I will leave you with my favorite part of the song “All About That Bass” here:

Yeah, it’s pretty clear, I ain’t no size two
But I can shake it, shake it, like I’m supposed to do
‘Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase
And all the right junk in all the right places

I see the magazine workin’ that Photoshop
We know that sh*t ain’t real, come on now, make it stop
If you got beauty, beauty, just raise ’em up
‘Cause every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top

Yeah, my mama she told me “don’t worry about your size”
(Shoo wop wop, sha-ooh wop wop)
She says, “Boys like a little more booty to hold at night”
(That booty, uh, that booty booty)
You know I won’t be no stick figure silicone Barbie doll
So if that what you’re into, then go ‘head and move along

Plus Size on Your Wedding Day?

Can I ask a favor from my beautiful plus size bloggers — can you post your wedding photos?

Saw this post: Beautiful Curvy Brides #LoveComesInAllSizes

and it made me all emotional today.  Here’s mine:

Did you feel beautiful on your wedding day? Why? What was your favorite part of your special day (besides marrying your partner)?

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.

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.

Having a Fat Girl Moment – Wait, Did She Just Say That?

Was scrolling through my Facebook feed last night and I came across this gem by someone I thought was a bit above this type of thing.  I saved the post on my phone and decided not to post a comment there but just vent my shock on here. I know this person professionally and also know she had gastric bypass surgery to lose a lot of weight a number of years ago. Logic would follow that if you struggled through it, you shouldn’t be making fun of it in a negative way, right?

Maybe I haven’t thickened my skin enough, but does this bother anyone else? Did she really have to caption giving into her candy corn craving as a “fat girl moment”?

IMG_1545

So the second someone binge-eats candy corn, it is all of the sudden a fat girl moment? So the only moments fat girls can have are eating sugary, fatty foods? What about the OTHER moments we have 99.99999% of the time: playing with our kids, enjoying a movie, doing the laundry, spending time with our spouse, or cuddling up with a good book? We are so much more than shoving candy corn down our throats. Come on.

I don’t even like candy corn.

Rant over.

A Miserable Person

If I listened to society and others, I would be a miserable person. When people marvel at how well I dress, I have to laugh because in this day and age, with all of social media, you still think a fat women cannot dress well. – http://www.ivoryjinelle.com

Powerful words right there people. I bring this amazing blogger’s statement up because a girlfriend’s photo showed up in my Facebook feed that made me want to roll my eyes. This friend of mine used to be a larger girl and decided for herself to have a weight-loss procedure. Post-surgery was rough with taking care of her two-daughters but now 1.5 years later she is a size 8 and I really do think she’s happy with herself because she now posts full-length body shots of herself trying on different outfits. Pre-surgery she rarely posted photos of herself, mainly of her adorable girls. If there was a photo of her it was simply shoulders-up selfies and the like. Her confidence obviously came with the weight loss and she admitted online she feels prettier and happier with her body now.

If I had to pin point her behavior pre-surgery, I’d call it shame.  Shame is the result of listening to society telling you what you aren’t, that you failed and you aren’t worth it. And bam, I am right there — that’s me! I don’t like photos being taken of me, I rarely am ever happy with my image — I don’t consider myself photogenic AT ALL and I generally don’t like people seeing me when I know I look terrible, and fat. Fat. Ugh.

And then it hit me, I am already that miserable person. I want to have that confidence to not care what others think. To not care about wearing horizontal stripes because at the age of 12 my mom told me to never wear stripes because they’d just make me look wider, a.k.a. fatter. I know I could dress better, be like Ms. Jinelle and throw caution to the wind.

I think my journey starts at the source of my shame: not liking myself because society doesn’t like me.

My hubby tells me all that matters is he likes me and my kids like me, so why should I give a care what other people think? And it’s so hard, as women it’s ingrained in our brain to care, we have to please and be pleasing. Ugh again. I want the freedom to express who I am, easy to do inwardly, but to show it on the outside  — what others see, it’s a tall order for me.

Can I get past the shame, can I celebrate the way my body is RIGHT NOW? The way that it is today? No diets, no surgery? Can I be happy with who I am at this moment, instead of wishing 100 pounds would magically melt off my body?

I surely can’t be the only one who has thought these inner thoughts.

The next time I take a selfie, how long will I move my head around to get the most flattering angle? Will I only show chest up in the frame? Will I be brave to show all of me?

What I saw in that friend of mine and wanting to judge her after my initial reaction to her photo of her too-happy poses in the Forever 21 dressing room stall, was really an internal battle of my own. Recognizing I have a bigger problem with my size than I thought I had. They say the first step to recovery is realizing you have a problem in the first place.

Shame is the first dragon I have to slay. I guess this blog has shifted to a new purpose. It has become the means of starting a new chapter, a new journey. Setting up little goals and achieving them one by one.

Step one: Lose the shame.

Skinny Shaming & Fat Shaming

I’m using some material from the response I had to FaturdayNightLive’s post for this blog post… I think it’s important to start with a disclaimer that I had an empowering weekend with my hubby and we sent all three of our kids to hang out with my parents for a full 24 hours. We have an awesome time, just the two of us and I got a makeover complete with false eyelashes and I felt like a movie star. It was a good feeling that at least lasted until midnight when I had to take the eyelashes off to sleep.

Ok, back to the topic of skinny shaming and how it relates to fat shaming. I think that we all think that we think too much.

On a more serious note, I have a feeling that the majority of us plus-size ladies have battled with our weight and self-image for so long it becomes hard for us to emphasize with women who, to us, seem like they shouldn’t have a worry in the world. They after all have a cute figure, aren’t feeling shame every time they walk into a store only to walk out with nothing because nothing came in their size.  I don’t think I’ve specifically skinny-shamed anyone, at least not out loud, outside my head. I know I have voiced my frustrations in my personal journal and will be using my blog as an outlet as well.

What happens is that skinny women think their body image is just as hard to accept as a plus size woman would accept their own body image. And that’s where the beef is because the majority of our society already accepts skinny, thin, what-have-you, bodies as that is what is considered already beautiful in our culture. A busty size 20 is not. There are a few (my hubby among them) that find women with more curves more attractive. That’s the battle we have, having to live/accept what society tells and how we feel about our own bodies at the same time, whether we are skinny or fat.

I don’t like bringing up race much, actually hardly ever, but the expectation to be thin and white is pervasive in our culture; beauty on the magazine covers are only proof that this stereotype is carried on generation after generation. I think another race that has it worse than Caucasian women are those of Asian descent, where it is expected of you to be petite, thin, young and often, submissive. My sister-in-laws are half Korean and we were talking about this not too long ago — this overwhelming expectation that they have to be tiny to be attractive. Their mother herself is 4’11” and barely 90 pounds and has the same figure now as when she met my hubby’s father.

Culture has such a huge impact on women, what it asks women to be in order to be attractive, pleasing to the eye and often, worthy of fashion. Of course, I think fashion has come a long way in just the past decade but we still have a long way to go when there are some of us that don’t wear the same size as the mannequin on display, we have real bodies that are all sorts of shapes and sizes. It’s still not mainstream yet for plus-size clothing to be normal; that all sizes would be available instead of 0-10. Sometimes if you’re lucky, a store will have size 16 tops that are loose enough that a size 18 or 20 can still wear.

The plus size section is still minimal selection in many stores, whereas smaller sizes can find fashion easily in just about any store and have hardly any issues finding something in their size. Try going wedding dress shopping as a plus-size woman, and you’ll immediately see the huge disparity in fashion availability, even for the brides with a healthy dress budget. I was almost brought to tears when I was trying on dresses for my wedding and the gowns wouldn’t zip up for me to see the true fit.

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.

After 33 years on this planet, I’m trying to find the balance of when do I accept myself, or will I just cave in to what society wants, what will make me feel more attractive — get that lipo, go for the lap-band surgery or staple the stomach, get a tummy tuck? Paint it over with some fancy make-up and put on pair of heels and classy outfit, and now the world will embrace you? If I do lose a bunch of weight, how will that change me as a person — will I be just as happy then as I am now? Is the grass truly greener on the other side?

So in the end, is the shaming just really our way of justifying that we either fit or don’t fit in? Do we hurl words at the other side, hoping that it will make us feel better about ourselves, when in the end we are just being adult bullies? Skinny or fat, we are just people. Imperfect people trying to fit this idea of what is perfect to society. It is unattainable, ever out of our grasp, yet we are desperate enough to berate other people to maybe for a moment, feel beautiful ourselves, to be above others.

Shaming others really accomplishes nothing but creating more shame in ourselves.

H&M Replies – Not Good Enough

Literally going to copy and paste the response I got from my email complaint (see previous blog) to H&M for having one of the most pathetic plus-size sections in a large chain store I’ve seen in a L-O-N-G time:

Hello,

Thanks for reaching out to us.

I’m sorry that our new store in Anchorage, Alaska didn’t have what you’re looking for. We’re always accepting feedback to try to help make your shopping experience more enjoyable. The products and categories in-store can always change based on the demand, but it can take time.

Please see our H&M+ section online. Perhaps you can use the selection in-store to find out what sizes fit you best for different styles. This way you can browse our online plus size items and better select your fit. 

We will continue to grow and expand H&M+ online and in-stores! Please let us know if you have any further questions or concerns.

Best Wishes, 

Susie

H&M Customer Service

Well, thanks for nothing — the point is I want to see the clothes IN THE STORE, not on your frickin’ website. I came in person to your store to physically touch and try on clothes. But nope, if I only saw one shirt that might fit and maybe two bottoms I could possibly try on, what is the point?

H&M is so proud they offer plus size clothing but they get a big F from me for failing to provide the products in-store. Why does H&M provide almost an entire floor of their store to sizes 0-12, but only a tiny corner with 4 racks and a partial wall dedicated to sizes 14-24?

Ugh.

Maybe I’m just being a 33-year-old brat. Or am I fighting an uphill battle?