Tag Archives: body image

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.

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

Never Fear…It Is STILL My Year

21 Jan

I am such a good planner that I went ahead and got the health issues and hospital stay out-of-the-way first thing in 2014.  Sometimes I amaze myself…with my own stupidity.

The congenital heart defect that led to heart surgery about 4 years ago that makes me tick (literally and figuratively I suppose) requires that I take blood thinners. Forever. Forever and ever. The amount of blood thinner in my blood must be monitored weekly by in my case a clinic that must be the busiest clinic in the south because every trip there from beginning to end, travel time included, is about 3 hours.   If my levels are relatively stable, the clinic visits go down to once a month. I never managed to be very stable and it felt like I was spending a lot of time at the clinic. I have learned through a series of bad decisions on my part that spending a lot of time at the clinic beats spending 2 nights and 3 days in the hospital, or any time at all in the hospital.

I don’t know if I am so terrified of committing to anything that I felt the need to break up with my medicine or if I really do think I’m invincible, but after hearing lots of stories from friends and loved ones about people who knew people who had a stroke after being off of their blood thinners for two days and stories of people who died, and 1 very curt doctor who had me in tears, and my sister who really could make lecturing her life’s work, I realized that no matter how busy I am, or the fact that I moved, or that it was the holidays, I can’t mess around with my health like that. While there is no doubt that I am fabulous, I am not immortal, and my kids deserve to have me around  to torture them with my long drawn out speeches about injustice in the world. They need me around to make more vision boards and badly sew pillowcases for them. I’m their mom, and there is only one of me. I want to be around for them and I want to be here to see them bring home their first girlfriend, or boyfriend, because whoever they are is who they are and of course I love and accept them, for whoever they are (at this point they would be screaming at me to give it a rest.)

In the spirit of near-death collisions, I have put up another profile on OKCupid.  The latest iteration of my profile has been up for about 36 hours, and I have received some interesting messages,  including one from a man who says he has a Master’s Degree, yet his profile is riddled with spelling errors. I mean, where did he type his profile that NO spell checks noticed that one of his favorite books, presumably Water for Elephants, is not Water for Ella Phants, unless Water for Ella Phants is a book about a woman named Ella Phants who lives in a desert and is on a quest for someone to bring her water, and in that case, color me red.

 

I have received two messages within 12 hours from the same man, who I guess thinks surely there was a computer glitch and I didn’t receive his first message because why would I NOT immediately write someone who took so much effort to not fill out anything on his profile and who sent a message telling me how much better my hair looks straight rather than curly. Thank you for your unwanted and absolutely unnecessary opinion, man whom I will never message.

My absolute favorite so far is the man who simply sent me a message saying “u don’t look fat”.  I presume I brought this on myself because in my profile I have the audacity to state that while I am not a tiny little person, I am “comfortable in my skin”. This translated to him that I was fishing for compliments I guess, and in his mind, the worst thing a woman can think of herself is that she is “fat”.  What I really want to put on my profile is “don’t worry, I will never ask you if my butt looks big in anything. I have SEEN my butt, it is fantastic, and looks big in everything.”

Ah online dating. Honestly, at least I get a lot of really hilarious and hilariously bad stories out of it.  Keeping an open mind. HEY, maybe I’ll meet someone at the clinic.

peace love joy

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

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.

 

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

 

Cross Your Fingers Because I am Not Above Breaking out the Bedazzler

24 Jun

I am a plus-sized woman. Before I was a plus-sized woman, I was a plus-sized girl, and before that, I was a plus-sized baby.  I did a tweet once that said “I wear the same size clothes now as before I had my children. Probably the best thing about having always been fat”. As I’ve written before, I’m fine with the word fat. I claimed that sucker AGES ago. It is not hurtful to me. I occasionally still hear “you are not fat, you are beautiful” to which I answer, “BITCH, I’m both”, more or less depending on who it is. I know it’s not meant as an insult, it’s just sometimes very difficult for some people to see the two as not mutually exclusive, and that’s fine. I’m not out to change the world, I am who I am, someone who is comfortable in her own skin (and perhaps someone with an over-inflated sense of self…but that’s for another blog).

This is not about my delusional self-image or the fact that sometimes I call people “bitch” when they are just trying to be complimentary. This is far more important than that. This is about clothes, and how now that I am a larger woman of a “certain age” that there are hardly ANY that appeal to me.

I truly think that no matter your body style, age, or stature in life, that you should wear whatever the hell you want to wear that makes you feel good and/or is comfortable. As a plus-size 43-year-old woman who is currently shopping for a cocktail dress to wear to her niece’s wedding in August, I am finding my options are –

  1. sack
  2. sack with bolero jacket
  3. sequin sack
  4. sequin sack with bolero jacket
  5. lace sack

There are a few other choices, but since I have been in this body for a long time, I know what I feel comfortable in and what I like and I would simply not feel pretty or be comfortable in something without sleeves, or straps, or in something with cap sleeves. I have a waist and would like something with waist definition. I realize I also might have some odd ideas about what I look good in, so I have looked to some style contemporaries for guidance.

Adele

adele…what the ever-loving hell is THIS? Plus-sized gals are told that black is slimming. This does NOT mean, however, to put on every item of black clothing you own and call it a day.

melissamccarthyHow about dressy looks for Melissa McCarthy? I love her. She’s so funny and…dammit Melissa no. Granted, this has a waist, and sleeves, but everything else about it is terrible and that color washes her completely out. I hope she felt good in this but it is not doing anything for me.

Just like other disasters in my lifetime,  I remember exactly where I was when I saw her in this dress at the Oscars in 2012. I gasped, and not in a good way. Earlier this year, I saw the Bravo show, Dukes of Melrose that featured stylist and vintage clothes guru Cameron Silver and his quest to find something for her to wear to the ceremony. Granted, he didn’t have much time at all, which made it worse, but the options were this and a hefty bag with a spangly belt.

This dress, that Melissa wore to the Critics Choice Movie Awards in 2012, is much more my style and I love it. I think it may be a little much for a wedding, though.  Even in Las Vegas.

17th Annual Critics Choice Movie Awards - Arrivals

 

 

 

 

 

While searching, I am seeing a lot of peplums, both in designs for plus-sizes and misses sizes. I can’t think peplum without thinking I would look like this

fantasia

 

 

 

 

BUT, another of my favorite actresses who rocks her figure is Octavia Spencer and I found a picture of her wearing a dress with a peplum and she looks NOTHING like the hippo from Fantasia pictured above.

 

peplum

Adorable. She is wearing Tadashi Shoji, a designer she wears often SO…light bulb moment, buy something from his collection! I am so brilliant, right? Okay, here we go, gorgeous, not too crazy expensive, wait, not in my size. Okay, moving on to another. Not in my size. Moving on…NOT IN MY SIZE. Okay, here is one in my size, it’s very matronly and is about $400 out of my price range and has no sleeves. Most of these do not have sleeves, and in fact, a version of the dress Octavia is wearing above does not have sleeves, so fine, I guess when you’re an Oscar-winning actress you can tell the designer to modify dresses for you. Must be NICE (seriously, that must be really nice).

After much searching and aggravation, I stumbled upon a couple of dresses that I really think I love and that will look good on me. Of course, they are at a store that is not in my town BUT, I will travel to my sister’s house in the town where the store is located, go to the store, try them on, THEN, order the one I like the best on eBay, because although I am a fashionista, I am a broke one, and I have found them BOTH on eBay.

These are the two main contenders that I was SO excited to find. I was not so excited to read that lace dresses were just everywhere and would be totally OUT soon, to which I say “I DON’T CARE THESE ARE MY ONLY OPTIONS AND I LOVE THEM”.

 

dress2dress1

When I was a little plus-sized girl, I had a pair of overalls that were blinged out with crystals and rainbow patches. They were every bit as amazing as you may think and I wore them all the time. If these dresses don’t work out, I am sure my niece would be okay with me bedazzling some overalls. I felt good in them and I loved them  and I JUST may be at the point in my life where my family can just say “oh in the overalls? That’s Amy” and that explains everything.

shirley

Suck It, Icky Abercrombie & Fitch CEO

8 May

Let me start by saying I have never stepped foot in an Abercrombie & Fitch. I can imagine  it is just like this –

Dumb relatively attractive vain  scantily clad self-absorbed employees selling clothes that I can only assume appeal to some faction of the population that does not include me. It’s cool.  I have never had the desire to shop there, in fact. Why IS that I wonder?

I have heard a lot of chatter on the interwebs today about Abercrombie & Fitch sizes not extending beyond size 10.

So that’s it.

But I just read this quote from Mike Jeffries, CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch that refers to the kind of people he wants wearing his brand-

“We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”

Well,what does that have to do with size 10 and under? That is not exclusionary to me. I am an American.  I’ve got a great attitude and a lot of friends. Granted, I am probably 30 years outside of Abercrombie & Fitch’s target market but goodness knows I’m sure the good people at Forever 21 don’t have a 43 year old overweight divorced mother of two in mind for their stores, but that doesn’t mean I don’t shop there anyway.  Granted, their clothes do fit me. Okay, they make them in sizes that fit me. Some of them. Fine, mostly I go there for accessories. Necklaces and earrings are equal opportunity fashion pieces.

Maybe this quote, from Robin Lewis, a retail industry analyst and co-author of The New Rules of Retail, will explain it. Lewis says Jeffries  “doesn’t  want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people” and wants “people who wear his clothing (to) feel like they’re one of the ‘cool kids”.

OH, I get it. Jeffries’ head might explode (actually, after seeing his picture, it may already have) but  I have to inform him that I WAS and shall always be a “cool kid” and I have jeffriesalways been overweight.  The two are not mutually exclusive.

The fact that he cannot even IMAGINE that a “cool kid” would equal someone who is not larger than a size 10 is rather sad.

I can only hope that younger overweight people who have read these quotes realize that they don’t need some douchey CEO to dictate to them the definition of “cool”.  OWN IT my sisters and brothers. BE fabulous.

I honestly don’t give a shit that he has chosen to cater to one tiny (HA! A pun)  bit of the population. That’s fine. Like I said, this is America. There are stores that sell only sizes 16 and up. Being a jerk sucks but clearly, working out the scars that were left by his no doubt tragic childhood from being excluded by those size 10 and under “cool kids” is important, so there, there. Those mean old skinny kids can’t hurt you anymore, Mikey. You’ll show them who’s cool.  They’ll all want to wear your clothes now.  Let it all out. And maybe lay off the botox.

 

Picture courtesy of ABC News

J. A. Allen

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