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Embrace yourself, now

17 Aug

I’ve performed stand up comedy in my underwear twice,thanks to Joe Pettis and his underwear comedy party well,  once in boxers and a tank top, once in underwear, more like lingerie with a long sweater over it to cover the back, my ass was totally exposed (I LOVE my ass, but that was a bridge too far even for me). Both times were very fun and plan on doing it again next time it makes its way back around. What’s interesting to me is how many times I was told I was “brave” to do this show. Both before and after my sets. I found that word fascinating. Unfortunately I only taped my first set, not the most recent one from last year. I addressed this in the opening of both of my sets, in the link above I briefly talk about how this was just my body, my body has served me well, I’ve had two kids, and countless pizzas inside this body and this is it, it’s just my body, In my second set, I referenced being told I was “brave” again and said, I’m not rescuing kittens from a burning building, I’m just brazen enough to be okay with my body  as it is. I will admit there is a certain amount of chutzpah involved with being a woman of a certain size standing on stage trying to make people laugh, while wearing clothing that is underwear-like. But in all honesty, anyone standing on stage in general trying to make people laugh is pretty damn ballsy. My first underwear set was done about a month before my stroke, my second one, about a year after my stroke.  I was pleased with both sets. Do I think anything I did in my underwear has been brave, the second set more than the first,if I had to choose because post-stroke, I had a lot more issues to deal with (memory mainly) , and the road back to the stage was fraught with heartache and hardship. I don’t remember one person commenting how brave I was regarding my stroke after that set, but I did get the other comments  about my body. Does this mean Gainesville comedy fans are insensitive jerks? Maybe,  but probably not. I think it’s more that we’ve been socialized as a society to think to dare to live as a fat woman and be relatively okay with that is “brave”.

 

Several of my friends shared this Embrace official trailer on Facebook, and when I saw it, I shared it too. I got goosebumps when I first saw it, and read the heartfelt description about why it’s important for it to be seen in its entirety by as many people as possible, girls, women, men, boys, all different ages, nationalities, sizes, etc, society in general. I think what I took away from it besides the obvious junk we throw at people in this country regarding “ideal bodies”, is the importance of living in your body right now, emphasis on live. We have one life, this is it. I remember having a conversation with some past coworkers who were talking about not liking themselves in bathing suits, these women were moms. I told them “get over your weird feelings about your bodies, put on a bathing suit and go to the beach with your kids”. They weren’t very pleased with me.I lost 36 lbs. after my stroke, I worked really hard,  was hungry all the time, but I did it. My blood pressure didn’t drop one point, I didn’t magically feel better, I felt hungry. I gained what I lost and more back in a few months. I know, lifestyle change not diet is the key. I think if you followed me around you would be surprised that my diet is not bad or excessive. I don’t eat a lot. I don’t usually have chips, sodas or sweets in the house….I’m justifying my diet on my body positive blog…it doesn’t matter what or how I choose to eat, this is my body. I’m going to  embrace it and live my life now, inside this body. After I gained the weight back, I realized I was even more comfortable with my body than I had been before the stroke. I think maybe because I had fought back from stroke to get myself back to work and and back to my passion for comedy, and the fact that I fight my mental illness demons daily and will for my whole life, that it instilled a huge dose of IDGAF (I don’t give a fuck) in my psyche.

amy stage

This picture is from a comedy set I did last night(I promise the audience had more fun than it appears in this picture), pre-stroke, I NEVER would have worn a dress showing my arms like this . Last night I wore it because I felt like I looked pretty in it, it came in my size, it was cool (It’s 10,000 degrees here), so I said fuck it, and I spent the $11.00 to buy it, I stumbled across it when I went to get dog food quickly after work. I don’t care what I SHOULD wear according to whoever dictates those things. I also routinely wear leggings as pants because I’m a grown-ass woman who can do as she pleases. I can put them on my head and call them a hat if I want. Those snarky little memes showing (always a fat woman) wearing something deemed “socially unacceptable” with the oh so clever “advice” Just because something comes in your size doesn’t mean you should wear it. To that I say, if I want to wear it, it shall be worn.

I think getting attitudes to change about how fat people are perceived and sometimes shamed for being fat, won’t be an easy one. I think some misguided people think fat = unhealthy , but studies  have shown that to not necessarily be the case. My stroke was caused by a congenital heart defect and me being a dumbass and not taking my blood thinner regularly. We all have a comfort zone for how we feel most comfortable with how we look, if how you think I should look isn’t how I look, I don’t care,  get out of my bubble. You worry about you. Furthermore, I don’t know one person, fat or otherwise who would be appreciative of some stranger,under the guise of “being concerned about  their health” either fat or thin shaming  someone by telling them they need to lose or gain  weight. You cannot look at someone and magically assess their health based on outward appearance.   I think acceptance is very important, I want children to grow up with the realization that they are beautiful, special beings,inside and out. I want that for everyone beyond what their bodies look like, or what color their skin is, or how they identify themselves, or who they love, etc. I just want kindness. I don’t think that’s a tall order for humanity.

I will continue to be a bad ass/fat ass and stand on a stage wearing what I want, while getting people to both laugh and think about talking openly about mental illness and if simply doing that is perceived as “bravery” I can’t imagine that’s a bad thing.

The Curse of Introspection, My Bipolar World

12 May

I’ve used the term “comfortable in my skin” so often, it’s become a running joke with me (and probably only me)  and I’m thinking of expounding on it a little and adding it to my set as part of my online dating bit, because I put it in every online dating profile I’ve ever had, to me it’s another way of saying “I’m fatter in person and I don’t give a fuck, I’m okay with it”. I struggle with accepting myself but that does not equate to me hating my outward appearance, even though, as a “great big fat person”

 

 I feel like society tells me I SHOULD. 98% of the time I think I’m adorable on the outside, mom jeans and all. I started this post with  Prince in mind, because I am legitimately sad that he is no longer with us. He seemed to me (his public persona anyway) to be someone who was infinitely “comfortable in his skin” because he seemed to just be himself, no matter what that looked like, from paisley suits to Afros, the man morphed from one fabulous creature to the next and though Madonna has done the same thing Prince always seemed like this was just who he was, Madonna always seems like she is wearing a costume, whereas Prince seemed to be totally himself through and through. Like I said maybe this wasn’t really the case, maybe he threw himself into a panic over who he should be at any given moment. Also, I had a pink and green paisley suit (pants and jacket) that my mom gave me for Christmas when I was 16 or 17 and I wore the HELL out of that thing and looked magnificent.

As I am prone to do, this post became less about Prince and more about trying to embrace the parts of myself that I don’t like and if not loving them then at least accepting them.As I mentioned just a few sentences up, I’m pretty okay with my exterior. I have a hard time making peace with my interior, I’m not sure how people with bipolar disorder LOVE living in a world that includes simultaneously feeling all of the feelings and hating myself for feeling all of the feelings, becoming drawn into the minutiae of almost every issue in my life, figuring out what my”triggers” (events that may possibly contribute to, in my case, a quick descent into major depression) are and realizing I needed to remove both the Facebook and Twitter apps from my phone for my own emotional well-being, even though I enjoyed both of those things, it’s too easy to pop onto either one and poke around and  remind myself how horrible I am because everybody else in the world seemingly has this life thing on lock and I can’t do anything without either becoming mildly depressed, on a good day, or suicidal, on a bad one (and there are bad ones still, though not as many as there were before starting medication). Becoming obsessed with people who want anything but for me to be obsessed with them, knowing I become overwhelmed very easily and needing to get 8 hours of sleep or I will become especially overwhelmed and possibly not be able to even function.

The above is my bipolar life, I understand it’s different for everybody. I’m not disclosing all of this because I want to make myself out to be a victim. I just do not know how to begin to wrap my head and arms around all of this and love it. The curse of being painfully introspective is that I know,  sure, I’m hard to deal with sometimes, but the payoff is nothing special, so there’s that.

ridiculous

I am fortunate that I have a huge support system, though I feel guilty about that, guilt, the gift that I wish would die in a fire, I seem to carry a piece of it with me everywhere for a myriad of reasons. Just know that if you become my friend, at some point you will have to talk me down off a metaphorical, if not literal ledge. I’m afraid that people will get sick of that pretty quickly, but on the other hand, I couldn’t blame them if they did. I annoy the hell out of myself.

MAN, I can brighten up a blog quickly. I’m reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown and so far, I’m really liking it. I always thought that I was fine with being imperfect, but I think I just meant my exterior. My interior imperfections are on a whole other level and that level is the 200th floor where snakes and clowns are sold(my version of hell).

imperfection

I hope soon to write about my return to comedy and accepting myself for the messed up but desperately trying to be less messed up person that I am. ALSO, I really wish I still had that paisley suit.

A for Effort, but Louis C.K. Does NOT Speak for This Fat Woman

13 May

All over my Facebook feed today, I saw  posts referencing last nights episode of the FX show that I have just discovered, Louie.  I know, I am late in discovering the show, but in my defense, Louis C.K. really reminded me of someone who I disliked and I have been unfairly punishing him for having the face that he does, and while I respected him as a comedian and found him funny, I just couldn’t bring myself to watch the show.  I have forgiven Louis for being genetically cursed, and we’re cool now.

I DVR the show and hadn’t watched the episode and had planned to tonight. Today, thanks to Facebook and every site being connected to every other site, (really, I can’t tell who the original poster is, but if Huffington Post has something, then Gawker does, then Slate, then Jezebel might if it’s related to women, then Huff Post Women does…and it goes on and on) I saw that on last night’s episode, C.K’s titular character (every time I use the word TITULAR I giggle, then I make sure I am using it correctly, then I giggle again…because tit) is asked on a date by Vanessa, a woman who works in the comedy club where Louie works as a comedian.Vanessa is *GASP* a fat girl. A fat woman. She’s fat. Louie turns her down and they end up going for coffee and wandering around the city and getting to know each other where, depending on which site you read, Vanessa launches into a speech that is either “magnificent” and she gets all sassy and speaks for all fat women everywhere by calling Louie out on his shallow reasoning for not wanting to go out with her (which presumably is simply because she is fat) OR she gives a speech that is male apologist bullshit that was written by Louis C.K. himself (as the whole show is of course) that does nothing but make excuses for men like Louie who are taught by society to not want to date fat women.  Excuses and apologies.  If you don’t watch the show and you are confused regarding the name, Louis C.K. is the comedian/writer whom the character Louie…um…C.K. I think… is based, on the show called Louie.

louis ck

As a fat woman myself, and one who has tried to preach body acceptance and being comfortable in one’s skin, fully realizing that picture looks different to everyone, I was excited to watch the show so that I could form my own opinion on this groundbreaking episode. I assumed it would solve so many problems that exist in the world today regarding body image and fat shaming. I hope your tongue is firmly planted in your cheek when you read the above. I don’t think Louis C.K. has the ability to bring about that kind of change, but if he DID, I would welcome it (and he’s right about common core testing too).

I liked the episode, as I do most episodes of Louie.  However,  Vanessa did not speak for me.  I don’t “blame” the men like Louie who have turned me down, as Vanessa does, and of course there have been men who have turned me down. I don’t now, and don’t as far as I can remember, look at my weight as anything other than what it is. This is my body style, this is my body.  Right now,  I am on the heavier side than I am the most comfortable, but not by much. The thing is, for whatever crazy reason, I don’t land on my weight as a reason to be rejected. I just feel like there are SO MANY other reasons why someone would turn me down (and yes, that’s funny…but it is true). I assume if I’m flirting with someone and they are not reciprocating that they don’t like brunettes, or that I snorted when I laughed, or that I was just too sarcastic for them, or that I looked disturbingly like their mom or ex or someone they despise, or more often than not, that they are gay. Me being plus-sized is really towards the bottom of the list of things that I feel badly about, even though everywhere I turn it seems that people are telling me I SHOULD feel badly about it.

I have mixed feelings about the character of Vanessa and the speech overall. I feel like her character does tend to reinforce the stereotype that fat girls are desperate, and should basically bribe someone to be interested in them. In the episode, Vanessa gives Louie a couple of hockey tickets that are said to be worth over $1000.  She does this because she is leaving her job at the comedy club and she wants to do something nice for Louie. When she gives him the tickets, he asks her out for coffee, even though when she asked him out before he turned her down. Vanessa and Louie laugh and have a good time until Louie tells Vanessa she’s “not fat” which sparks the speech linked above.

vanessa

I want Vanessa to be a bad ass and realize that browbeating some guy to hold her hand who doesn’t want to is beneath her, but she’s only 30-something, it took me at least another decade to get that.  I also want Louie to see her for the seemingly funny and feisty woman that she is, and not just her body type. On the other hand, perhaps Louie wasn’t turned off by Vanessa’s weight at all. She comes off EXTREMELY desperate, and maybe that’s what did it. Whatever the reason Louie wasn’t into Vanessa, I want Vanessa to realize that just because he isn’t, there will be others who will be.   I have a physical type that I am drawn towards, but all bets are off if that person can’t make me laugh. Who knows what Louie’s type is and what his triggers are. Human beings are complicated. He is ALLOWED to not be into her though, and she is ALLOWED to be pissed off about it, of course.

I like seeing people who look different from what we are used to seeing on TV, absolutely. I WANT us to get past this obsession with body types. I don’t know if people will think differently about women who are fat because of one episode of Louie, but I do think it’s probably a good thing that so many people are talking about this episode. Fat shaming is a real thing that actually exists, and that is ridiculous. I’m still waiting on the fat woman character who is incidentally fat, it is not a plot point, not anything she is bitter about, it just is who she is. She can be a giant mess in other ways. Maybe she’s divorced, and has two sons. Maybe she’s trying stand-up comedy. Fine, that’s me, but I would be a fantastic character. Think of all the people I would annoy because I refused to be concerned with my weight. It would be so much fun.

 

An Open Letter to the “Hot Facebook Mom” Maria Kang

19 Mar

Dear Maria,

First of all, let me say that I dig that you have a message and a vision for your life. I read through your blog and I could relate to some of it (I was unmarried and not financially prepared when I got pregnant the first time too! The second time I was married but not financially prepared and now I’m neither married nor pregnant and not financially prepared for life in general).  I didn’t really find much else that spoke to me, but that’s okay. I respect your story and your journey thus far.

maria

I saw once again that you wanted to know what my, and other moms who don’t make fitness a priority,  excuse is.  Maria, while I appreciate your concern, I find what you’re doing to be just more mom-shaming, wrapped in what you think is an inspirational message.   I’m not even going to touch on the fact that I find it to be fat-shaming as well,  which I do, but for the purpose of this letter, I am just going to address the mom-shaming aspect. However, I will answer your question at the end of this letter.

Let me just say that I am a huge proponent of moms not shaming other moms for their choices.  I find parenting hard enough without having to concern myself with Polly Perfect who is constantly on Facebook proclaiming to the world how perfect her kids are, accompanied by pictures of little Sally and Billy  munching away happily on homemade organically grown apple sauce. I assume this is not the impression you want to leave, but I may be wrong about that. It seems that looks are extremely important to you, so I can imagine your need to control every aspect of what is even thought about who you are is extremely important too. I’m not judging, just pointing out that I find you to be a bit of one of those moms that I avoid at baseball practice.  Or on Facebook. Or in life. Ever.

maria

According to the picture you posted above, as well as what I’ve read about you in your blog, I know that you have three sons, born in 2009, 2010, and 2011, and that you are tired. I can only imagine! I know you don’t have a nanny or a chef and that you are not an athlete or a fitness model and you work over 8 hours a day. One of those arrows up there supposedly points to your stretch marks, but I’ll be damned if I can see them, but that’s not the point.

The above picture, which I  know is small, also says that you “practice consistency, persistence, discipline, intensity, patience, desire, focus, and faith”.   Good on ya girl! I do too, though I find patience to not come naturally to me,  I do try to practice it.  I’ve got the desire part down pat though, know what I’m saying? Yeah you do.

Maria, you are absolutely gorgeous, that is for sure. It is obvious that you have made fitness and “being hot” a priority in your life, and you have since the age of 16 when you started competing in beauty pageants.

I have NO PROBLEM with beauty pageants. My sister was in the past an actual beauty queen, and she still is beautiful, though I’ve had it with her wearing her crown for every family function. I understand  prioritizing what is important to you, that’s what life is all about, right?  I DO have a problem with your holier than thou attitude directed at those of us who do NOT make those things a priority. I KNOW being fit and being healthy are important, though just to be clear, and I’m sure you know this, skinny does not automatically mean healthy and overweight does not automatically mean unhealthy.

Maria, you may or may not be mortified to learn that we are actually not all that different.

This is from your blog,

I’m a wife, mother, business owner and nonprofit founder.

I dream.

I set goals.

I plan.

I take action.

I reflect.

And I repeat.

Well, me too bitch! I mean bitch as in girlfriend, no disrespect meant, because while you do irk me a little, we are similar. That’s right, Maria, you have a lot in common with a mom who has two boys, and is overweight, and exercises very lazily 3-4 times a week, and is right this moment drinking a Coca damn Cola, because I also dream! I set goals! I plan! I take action! I reflect! And I repeat! I couldn’t help but notice that you have a vision board next to your treadmill. GIRL, mine is in my bedroom.

I know there will always be people who insist that their way is the only and right way. The debates between those who have chosen to bottle feed their children rather than breast feed, those who choose cloth diapers over disposable, those who co-sleep rather than not, those choices are all valid and good choices.  Figuring out what works for ones own family and filtering through everything that is out there about what you SHOULD be doing is one of the toughest things about being a parent in my opinion.

I understand that you have chosen to prioritize fitness in your life, and that is a good and valid choice. Maria, I will now answer your question. My excuse I guess,  is that I just haven’t made fitness a priority in my life, but it’s not an EXCUSE, it’s a choice. It’s a choice you may not agree with, and that’s fine, but it doesn’t mean that because you have made it a priority in your life that I am any less the person or mom that you are.  The words that are on your picture as far as things you “practice” are not exclusive to you and your commitment to fitness.  This year I have chosen to conquer fear to do something I have always wanted to do, stand-up comedy. I write daily, even if it’s just something like this, I am someone who constantly tries to learn from my past and is striving to make myself the person I want to be, not only for myself, but for my children. I want them to see a mom who is not afraid and who kicks ass. I think those are things you want your children to see in you as well, we just see the end product as something different. And it’s okay! We’re both right!

So Maria,  let’s agree that maybe you knew you were stirring up some controversy when you posted your “what’s your excuse” picture, because I think you did. You’ve been blogging for a long time, since 2005, but nobody gave  you much thought before that picture took off and went viral. I don’t think you’re a MEAN person, and I know you think you are impacting the world in a positive way. If I could wish anything for you it is that you would come from a place of support rather than shame, because we are not all that different and maybe we could learn something from each other, but it is hard to listen to someone when you feel they are attacking you.

Also, your boys are adorable and I wish you nothing but luck in your endeavors.

Love and donuts (I’m sorry, now I’m just being a brat)

Amy

The F Word. No, Not That One

29 Jan
fat
adjective
adjective: fat; comparative adjective: fatter; superlative adjective: fattest
1.(of a person or animal) having a large amount of excess flesh.
“the driver was a fat, wheezing man”

Jennifer Lawrence wants to outlaw calling someone “fat”.  I like Jennifer Lawrence. I like that she is outspoken and that she seems to have a handle on the whole shallow Hollywood machine (as do I, living in a small town in Florida and having no experience with it whatsoever, but I digress).  I find her to be refreshing and while she may be off the mark sometimes with her comments about body image, at least she is commenting and she is trying to bring about positive change.

The clip above is from an interview when she was chosen as one of Barbara Walters’ Most Fascinating People of 2013.  If you have an aversion to clicking on a link and watching a video clip, her actual quote is below –

“The word fat, I just think it should be illegal to call somebody fat on TV. If we’re regulating cigarettes, and sex, and cuss words, because of the effect it has on our younger generations, why aren’t we regulating things like calling people fat?”

I absolutely understand what she is trying to say. On the other hand, it’s just an adjective. I feel like making it illegal to call someone fat is giving the word a ridiculous amount of power and it makes it seem like it is something SHAMEFUL to BE fat.  We’re talking about an adjective, not he who shall not be named (VOLDEMORT).  It’s just an adjective, a descriptive word, that honestly is not scary at all, unlike Voldemort.

I find it extremely offensive that often when someone tries to “cut me down” they resort to calling me “fat”. It’s not offensive because I’m so hurt that someone would call me fat, but it shows a huge lack of imagination on their part.  I have claimed that word, it does nothing but describe my body. Or,  maybe not. It is an adjective, but like a lot of adjectives, it is subjective. What is FAT to one person may not be to another.

When my sister and I were younger, we did what my boys do now, we would pick on each other, usually focusing on our physical traits. My sister said I was the Heat Miser, because I was round and had red hair, and I called her the Snow Miser, because she was thin and had a longer nose than I did (and she had a penchant for wearing straw hats).  Is it stupid? Absolutely. Did it hurt my feelings? Maybe a little bit but soon I realized that I WAS rounder than she was, and I DID have red hair (until I stopped dyeing it but not because of anything my sister said or did). We did it because we were kids. The fact that adults still feel the need to “pick on” other adults for their physical attributes is really silly to me.

snow

Fat is just an adjective.  Just a descriptive term. Being fat is not some horrible fate. I would like to see people get away from making FAT be something that is tantamount to traits that I find much more heinous like being mean, or hateful, or judgmental, or racist, or unkind.

A while ago I was involved with someone who wrote a story with me as the main character. I was depicted as sensual (because DUH, I’m all kinds of hot and spicy) and described as having “legs that were shapely, and strong, but not fat”. I asked him if he felt the need to add that part because he was concerned about how I would perceive it or if he was afraid that this woman who was portrayed as sexy would not seem realistic if he didn’t add that she was “not fat”.  If he had an answer for me, I don’t remember it, but I blocked a lot of that relationship out for my own sanity.

Instead of making an adjective be illegal, I would like to see more real life people of all shapes and sizes be featured in roles that celebrate them for the multi-faceted individuals they are.  How about we have a movie that features Melissa McCarthy as a woman who is involved with a man, or a woman, and their relationship has ups and downs, and not ONE of them has anything to do with the fact that she is the size she is.  She doesn’t break any chairs (Shallow Hal, I know you have good intentions, but no), there would be no friends who talked about how the male lead character could “do better”, there would be none of that.  Before you say “well, that sounds dull as dishwater” I’m not saying there wouldn’t be any conflict, just don’t make it centered around her weight.  There are a lot of mushy relationship movies that manage to do this. Granted, I stay away from them but that’s because I’m not a fan of Rom/Com movies. I enjoy trying on every outfit in my closet in a musical montage as much as the next person, but on the whole, romantic comedies are not usually my movie genre of choice.

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t feel the need to try to hurl words at one another in an attempt to belittle each other. That whole “blowing out someone’s candle doesn’t make yours shine brighter” thing,  BUT, I know that is asking for too much. I don’t feel it necessary to make the word “fat” illegal, but how about we stop focusing on it and making it seem like there is no higher insult than calling someone “fat” and we accept the word for what it is, just an adjective.

fat quote

Finding the Inner Woot

17 Dec

Thank you so much, guy picking up trash on the side of the road, for taking the time to say “WOOT” at me as I drove by. It’s almost like you KNEW that I was coming from an appointment with my therapist where we talked about needing to find my self-esteem within, rather than letting somebody’s opinion of what they think of me color my self-image.

Granted, you probably only saw big hair and sunglasses, and while I admit, I’m having a good hair day, your opinion of my hair, whether you agree or not (and let’s be honest, that “WOOT” might as well have been a “HEY LADY YOUR HAIR LOOKS FABULOUS”) doesn’t change that I feel like my hair looks fantastic today, and even if it DOESN’T look fantastic, I am still “woot” worthy.

Self esteem is such a strange thing. I recently found some old pictures of myself from when I was in high school. MAN, I was pretty. I was so pretty, and yet I never FELT pretty then, because I didn’t have a date to the junior prom, or the senior prom, or honestly EVER, but it’s a shame that because I didn’t have that kind of validation,  I just didn’t feel pretty. I knew I was funny, I knew I was nice enough, but nope, don’t put me in that box marked “pretty”. That was not for me.  My dad told  me I was pretty. My mom did, my sister did, my brother even might have, but I just didn’t feel it.

My BODY image, as far as being comfortable in my body, was good, and still is. However, self-esteem goes far beyond that. My self-worth, overall, was in the toilet, and it had nothing to do with not being a size 6. I felt like something was just OFF with me, because all of my other friends were fighting the boys off. In high school I had boobs, I had gotten my braces off, yet I never had one actual date.  WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME?

As I got older, my self-esteem got better because I worked on it, but it’s incredible how a lot of those old demons rear their ugly heads as soon as they sense a chink in my self-esteem armor, meaning,  I let the opinion of others affect my own opinion of myself. It’s like those old feelings are just waiting to remind me how I’m not really any good at anything. I’m certainly not pretty. I’m a terrible mom. I’m a bad person. Oh and that guy in elementary school that you had a crush on? He never liked you. Or the one in middle school. Or the one now. Those demons are jerks.

I am fully aware that I let things consume me. I am passionate. A friend commented to me after reading the series of posts I did a bit ago after it felt like my heart had been put in a Cuisinart that I “go big or go home”. I do, and that’s not going to change. That is part of who I am, and that’s okay. It is not okay for me to beat myself up for every bad decision I have ever made or assume that because one person doesn’t feel about me the way I feel about him that must mean that there is something fundamentally wrong with me.

So, while I really appreciate the “woot”, I am working on building my self-esteem up from the inside. I don’t want to become addicted to your “woot”s and feel the need to go litter in hopes that you will be called out to pick up more trash tomorrow because I need that “woot” to feel good about myself. With or without your “woot”,  I need to be my own “woot”er.

And, for the sake of this post, I’m going to assume that you were “woot”ing for me, and not for the University of Alabama tag on the front of my car. If you were, that’s cool too. With or without your “woot” I am pretty “woot”able.

self-esteem

Look to Miss Piggy for REAL Guidance

13 Dec

As I try to crawl out of Amyland and pick up the pieces of my heart and start to move the hell on, I want to recognize that I am thankful for a few things  –

1) This is not a bad thing. Having a broken heart means that I was open and vulnerable and I tried. If you had asked me years ago if I was ever going to have deep enough feelings for someone so that they could break my heart  I would have said hell no. Not going down that path again. But, I did. And I will again.

2) When trying to make a list of things that you don’t like about someone, and the only thing on the list is “wants to date other people”,  that is really all you need to remember, unless you’re okay with that then fine. If you’re me,  it’s not fine. And here we are.

3) My friends, including my ex-husband and his girlfriend, and my sister, are amazingly supportive.

One of my friends named Cara, and I’m fortunate to have two friends named Cara, one long distance and one right here in town, reminded me of someone I have looked to for advice and guidance more than once in my life.

miss-piggy

Miss Piggy

I have been a big fan of Miss Piggy and her sense of humor, her sense of self, and her sense of style for as long as I can remember.  In elementary school a girl told me that I reminded her of Miss Piggy. I was so flattered until I realized she meant it as an insult. This girl continued to tell me that the boy I had a crush on was Kermit. She was trying to say that he was skinny and little and I was big and fat. Turns out this girl was kind of a bitch.

I would be totally flattered to be told that I remind one of Miss Piggy. I used to watch her on the Muppet Show when I was a kid, and I marveled at her confidence. I played with Barbie dolls. I played with them until I was a teenager in fact. I also had a Miss Piggy doll. My dolls all played together. They all swam in my ghetto version of a Barbie pool, a giant Tupperware bowl, together.  In my mind, Miss Piggy talked to Barbie about waking up to the fact that Ken was more into the Donny Osmond doll than her, and they shared makeup tips, mainly eye shadow application techniques.

I credit Miss Piggy, because of her ever-present lavender ones, for introducing me to the world of opera length gloves, which I memorably wore to the opening event of the Dick Tracy movie at MGM Studios in Orlando. I wore black opera length gloves with a white lace shorts suit, that is shorts and a jacket, with a black bustier underneath. STOP LAUGHING, IT WAS THE 80’s.  My date was my Brett, who I made wear a tuxedo. We were both very overdressed, and he was mad at me until we got there and discovered the free booze and food.  I learned a valuable lesson that night about not mixing whiskey sours and escargot. Actually, the lesson was more learned the next day, when I went out to my car and saw where  I had thrown up on the way home and it didn’t make it further than outside the passenger side of the car, and there, swimming in a pool of vomit and whiskey, were perfectly formed snails.

Miss Piggy knows who she is. She revels in who she is.  She doesn’t let other people tell her who she should be, or how she should behave.  When having a hard time, ask yourself, WWMPD? What would Miss Piggy do…and go from there. Here are just a few pearls of wisdom from the blonde bombshell.

You have to be going to a pretty awful place if getting there is half the fun.

There is no one on the planet to compare with moi.

Express your feelings all the time unless you’re trying to hide something.

There is the satisfaction of providing your public with a vision of true beautology, true sytlisity, – how can I put it? – true glamorositude.

Only time can heal a broken heart, just as only time can heal his broken arms and legs.

piggy

I’m all Enlightened and Stuff

31 Aug

yoga

 

I have practiced yoga off and on for many years, and though I know the correct term is indeed practiced, it has perhaps never been more apropos in this instance because though I have been DOING yoga for years, I still have not mastered the art of yoga.  I love doing it and I love the way it makes me feel but I feel like I’m not any good at it. I mess up my breathing by inhaling when I should be exhaling, I tend to want to hold my breath, which is totally not what I should be doing, and perhaps worst of all, I am not good at being IN the moment, something that is stressed during yoga.  I tend to let my mind wander rather than concentrating on breathing out through my chakras. When the instructor is telling us to concentrate on our breathing and leaving everything outside the yoga studio, this is what is going on in my head –

Was that my stomach? I am hungry. What is there to eat at home? Do I have any gas in my car? Do I have money to put gas in my car? What time does the Alabama game start? Who are we even playing? I am the worst fan but I really do like college football. I should go back to college. I have so much laundry to do. I cannot wait to move.

And soft breaths

I really need more yoga clothes. Wonder if they have any at Goodwill. Oh Goodwill is bad. I should try the consignment stores. Where did that place move that was right down the road? And there’s my stomach again. Oh I’ve got those baby carrots and yogurt dill dip. Who the hell am I? Seriously, this is what I want to eat?  This yoga shit is really enlightening me to what goes into my body. Baby carrots with yogurt dip and I still have Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Done and done. Lunch and dinner figured out right there. Boom.

And really concentrate on leaving everything outside the studio. Think of this moment.

In this moment I need food that is currently outside the studio. Why don’t I eat before I come, this happens every time. Great. I’m the stereotypical overweight lady who is constantly hungry. Don’t judge me thinlings, I’m thinking about baby carrots.  I need to buy a yoga mat. It’s dumb that I come here and borrow theirs. They’re like what, $6 at Target. I need to do that.

And child’s pose 

Oh I LOVE child’s pose. Yeah, stretch it out. I am so damn flexible now. I am feeling my spine stretch through my fingertips.  Speaking of spines, I have GOT to look up the final moves for Mortal Kombat on YouTube. I don’t remember which character pulls the spine out of their opponents body, but that is a badass move. The boys would love that. Is that too violent? I grew up playing video games and I’m not a serial killer, yet anyway, though if I don’t eat soon, it’s a possibility.

And on to proud warrior

Damn right I’m a proud warrior. I’ve got this shit IN THE BAG. I’m gonna be sore tomorrow. This is INTRO to yoga? So glad I didn’t decide to try power yoga. I think that would kill me. I am so hungry, what time is it? Oh I have apples at home too.

And tree pose. Really make your feet like roots 

My foot is a root. Look at me. I should wear my glasses in here so I can see myself better because I look freaking awesome right now. I AM a mother fucking tree. I should relax into this and breathe like we’re supposed to and BE in the moment. Oh so hungry. This place is so pretty, I love that mural. Wonder if that means something or if it’s just decorative. I should ask.

And now we lie down on our backs and mentally scan our bodies to relax fully

THIS is what I’m talking about. This pose, this flat on my back hands to the side palms up totally doing nothing but breathing pose I have DOWN at this point in my life.

And breathe

AND BREATHE

Namaste

Nailed it.

 

Airplanes, Anxiety, and Amy

20 Aug

While I am far from what anyone would call a “serious” person, I am fairly stoic when it comes to certain things. For instance, I am ridiculously cautious when crossing the street. I wait for that signal and I do not move away from the sidewalk towards the street until I get the green light and/or walk signal. If my children are with me, I clasp their hands tightly until we are safely across the road. Don’t give me this “you’d never make it in NY” shit. I’ve been there. They have cross signals and it was just as easy to abide by them there as anywhere. This issue irks me to no end living in a college town. Kids today are too busy listening to their i Pods and updating their Instagram accounts to pay attention to silliness like crossing signals. Pull up your pants, get out of the middle of the road, and stop whining about everything. I’m 43 and my life stinks sometimes too. This is not an age-specific thing, it’s a life thing. Ask my 71-year-old mom.

Another time I find it necessary to pay heed to signs and signals is when flying. I enjoy flying. I like traveling. I am usually always excited to be heading somewhere. My trip to Las Vegas a few weeks ago was no exception. My niece was an absolutely beautiful bride and I am thrilled to welcome Dean officially into the family, though he’s been there for 11 years already. I got to spend time with my sister and her man and my mom and pseudo step-dad  which is always good and also with my hilarious aunt and cousin, and their kids. My children were incredibly handsome and well-behaved and we all had a great time.  Once again, I marveled at my exceptionally attractive and funny family.

What I do NOT find exceptionally attractive and/or funny, however, is when people do not do what they are told to do when flying. EVEN if it’s total bullshit that the instruments could interfere with the instruments on the plane, is your phone call to your office to tell them you’re on the plane all that important? No. No it’s not. I am sure I APPEAR calm when flying, but inside I am acting out the scene from Terms of Endearment when Shirley MacLaine goes all (justifiably) crazy because the nurses were late giving Debra Winger her pain shot, but my rant would be more “JUST TURN OFF YOUR FUCKING PHONES. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS TURN IT OFF FOR A FEW HOURS” and less “JUST GIVE HER THE SHOTTTT”.  When we’re flying, I want you buckled when you’re supposed to be buckled, I want your damn electronic devices off, and if you’re sitting in an exit row, I want you to pay attention to what you’re supposed to do to get me out of that plane alive should there be a need, because I am NOT going to put on that oxygen mask if it drops simply so I can breathe in any fumes that may be permeating the cabin so I can knock myself out and not have to deal with the crash in any way. Is that too much to ask of my fellow travelers?

adorable

Me and my sister are supermodels.

Another thing that causes me a bit of controlled anxiety is looking at pictures of myself taken by anybody else in the world besides me. I read a Tweet once, I can’t remember who said it, but I wish I had because I can totally relate, “my camera and my mirror seem to have totally different ideas of what I look like”. Truer words were never spoken. In my mirror, and in pictures I take of myself (also known as a ‘selfie’) I am freaking adorable. Offensively adorable. In pictures anybody else in the world takes of me, I am…not so much.  I am super comfortable in my skin until I see a picture of myself and think “now might be the time to quietly start looking into Botox” because according to every expression I have, I am either a dim-witted cartoon character or an old-time vaudeville comedian, which explains why I have spent some time this past week quietly un-tagging myself from pictures on Facebook.

This week my boys started school which caused both me and my eldest son some anxiety. We didn’t buy the boys school supplies until the weekend before the first day and that was too close for comfort for my 12-year-old. He stressed about not having a backpack (he decided to use his brothers from last year anyway), or school clothes (yes he did), or paper or pencils (had that too), and was convinced that he was going to show up on Monday naked with nothing. I have recently realized that my eldest is an anxious kid, and that some of his behavior issues might be anxiety-driven. He has TOLD me that he finds it difficult to NOT think about everything all the time. Besides the little bit of anxiety that I described, and a few other things, I don’t think of myself as an anxious person, so I have had to really take a step back and breathe before barking at him for many things. This is something that I will surely write more about, but as of today, the first day of school went well for both boys. My youngest is very happy-go-lucky about everything. My eldest seems much more comfortable this year than last year and decided to spring on me that last year when he was dropped off, he didn’t know where to go before class, so he followed another kid to the cafeteria and sat there alone until the bell rang and he went to class. This of course made me burst into tears and ask him why he didn’t tell me this last year, to which he deftly responded “you’re crying about it a year later. You would have had a heart attack if I had told you last year”, which is probably somewhat true SO, part of what I will be working on this year is not being anxious about things my children tell me about things that make them anxious. Yeah, it’s like Inception, but with anxiety.  Again, still haven’t seen that movie, but I refuse to stop using it as a reference when I think it fits.  Spouting off about things I know little about is part of what makes me a great American.

This got very long but in summation, I’m an anxious freak when crossing the street, flying, looking at pictures of myself taken by anybody besides myself, and when dealing with my children in any way whatsoever.  I’ll just leave it at that.

Your Long Wait is Over, My Friends

31 Jul

I can only imagine the sleepless nights so many of you have spent wondering if I ever did find a dress to wear to my niece’s wedding in Las Vegas next week, or if I am going to be wearing a pair of bedazzled overalls. For those of you who maybe don’t read my blog regularly, or who suffer from short-term memory loss, here is a link to the post I am referring to.

Well, my friends, tonight you can sleep. I ordered a dress  and it arrived today, just in time for the wedding next Thursday, because I am nothing if not a totally irresponsible procrastinator. LUCKILY, it is fabulous and I am so glad I made the choice I did. Here is a picture

wrap dress

It’s the “Whimsy Wrap Dress” by Kiyonna and it is LOVELY. I love the shoes pictured also, but the ones I will be wearing are purple. It might seem a bit odd to wear purple and black to a wedding, but my niece’s signature colors (shout out to Steel Magnolias) are lilac and violet, or lavender and amethyst. She likes purple, so we are all either wearing purple or accenting with purple. The black is because it is an evening wedding and it’s VEGAS, BABY.

I did find a purple dress that I liked, but when I mentioned to my mom that I didn’t think I would wear it again, she told me that maybe my other niece would be getting married in a few years. I then had the vision of being known as “that crazy aunt who always wears that one purple dress to family weddings” and I just couldn’t do it.  I am sure I’m already known as the “crazy aunt who left a turkey in the trunk of her car for weeks” or the “crazy aunt who threw a pancake at her dad”, I just didn’t want to push it with the purple dress.

Something I found interesting about my last post about looking for a dress is the reaction it received. That post was re-blogged twice and got quite a few likes and comments, all of which I appreciate greatly. I was actually so surprised that it got the attention that it did that I went back and read it again to see what all the fuss was about. From what I can gather, it’s odd for a woman to write about finding a dress in her size, a size that is actually pretty prevalent in the United States, rather than writing about lamenting the fact that she is looking for a dress in that size.

I freely admit that I am comfortable in my skin. Hell, that phrase is in my online dating profile.  In all reality, I probably shouldn’t be. I grew up playing with Barbie dolls, for far FAR longer than I should have. I just never remember looking at her and thinking that I was “less than” because I was “more than” (I’m hilarious). I can imagine my mom is a big reason why I grew up feeling pretty secure. My whole family, actually.

Of course, I do remember things that were not so good at building my confidence. In elementary school I remember a kid who called me a whale at the bus stop. I hit that kid over the head with my trapper keeper and knocked him on his ass. I also remember being called “the queen of whales” when I was in my early 20’s by some douchey frat boy. Sadly, I did not have my trapper keeper with me in the bar, so I just walked away from him. One of my biggest regrets is that I did not throw a drink on him.  I just now realized writing this out that they both called me a whale.  Points for creativity, mean boys.

Once, years ago, I remember being at a pool party for one of my nieces’ graduation (sorry, cannot remember which one) and seeing a woman wearing a yellow bikini. Not so odd, in itself, but the woman was pretty large. Her body would not have been deemed “bikini ready” by whoever is on staff at People magazine who makes such proclamations, yet, there she was, rocking the hell out of that bikini. People were looking at her and whispering, pretty loudly, about her, but she did not seem to notice. I have no idea what made that woman say to hell with the people who would talk about her, and stare at her, but I remember thinking that I knew women half her size who were not that comfortable with their bodies. I wanted to hug her, but I ended up just creepily smiling at her all day.

I know body acceptance is all over the place right now. I see a lot of things like “real women have curves” and yes, we do. Real women ALSO don’t have curves, or are medium-sized, or are short or tall, and everything in between. There is no perfect body type that we must each fit in to be considered “real women”. I get the logic behind the saying, it just harkens back to the thought that in order to make ourselves feel good, we need to drag others down, and no, we don’t.

I would like to say that I didn’t hold on to the bad things, but here I am recalling them some many years later. The thing is, I have learned that other people do not define me or get to tell me what I should think of myself. I get to do that, and I define myself as pretty awesome. You all should too.

 

super great

 

J. A. Allen

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