Crazy People

To the man who wanted to argue with me tonight:

You didn’t get your wish.  I’m not sorry that I refused to give into your attempts to bait me into an argument while I was working. I’m not sorry that I grit my teeth and swallowed back my words and didn’t jump across the counter and kebab your eyeballs with my thumbs.  I’m not sorry because that means I still have a job.  Not because I didn’t want to kebab your eyeballs. 

Because I really, really did.

Here’s the thing: I don’t give a shit that you think I’m crazy for believing that all transgender people should just be treated like people.  No modifier needed.  I don’t care that you have nine children that you’re raising to be just as bigoted and narrow-minded as you. 

Nope, sorry, don’t believe you that there’s a “dark layer of sexual perversion” within the trans community.  Because, guess what? No, there isn’t.  Trans-women are not lying in wait to rape me in the bathroom.  That’s happened literally zero times to me and to every single person I’ve ever met in my life.  And guess what?  It’s happened zero times to anyone you know or care about too. 

Here’s why I’m still thinking about you and your narrow mind and utterly insane attempt to bait me into an argument today.  It’s not because of the things you said about bathrooms and the “direction this country is headed in” or about how you scoffed when I said that the transgender people I know are not the kinds of people I’ve ever even thought about being afraid of when I go to the bathroom. 

It’s none of that.

No, it’s when you got really angry toward the end of your impotent, one-sided argument and you stuck your finger in my face and raised your voice and said, “You’re crazy if you think they’re not out there.  You don’t understand now, but when you have children…THEN you’ll know and you’ll see how many things you really do need to be afraid of.”

And that stuck with me.

Now, first of all, I was raised to understand that you don’t stick your finger in the faces of crazy people.  And buddy, that’s exactly what I am.

Because when I do have children, the first thing I’m going to teach them is the idea that everyone is a little bit crazy and that everyone has the capacity to be unpredictable and that you should never really count on anyone following the script.

I’m going to teach them that men and women are equals in every sense of the word. 

I’m going to teach them that everyone is important in some way—not in a Participation Trophy kind of way, but in a ‘unique in the universe’/Dr. Who kind of way—and that even narrow-minded, bigoted idiots like you, sir, are worth listening to, if only for a minute.  Because I’m going to teach them that surrounding yourself with people who agree with you might make life easier, but it’s no way to learn anything about the world or about yourself.

I’m going to teach them that this world is big and vast and amazing and terrible and that it will break their little hearts ten ways to Sunday and not ever once apologize.

But I’m going to teach them how to be grateful for that heartbreak and how to turn it into something useful. And show them that rage and heartache and anger and pain have been turned into some of the most beautiful art in the world.  I want to show them that the world hurts you, but if you take your pain and make use of it, you can show the world that it didn’t win when it tried to break you.

I’m going to tell them that they need to see the world before they decide what they want to be when they grow up.  I want them to work alongside people who don’t speak English, who talk about them and giggle at their attempts to communicate.  I want them to understand how hard it is to learn another language and live somewhere new and unfamiliar and far from home so that they can sympathize with immigrants and refugees.  I want them to see and experience true poverty and true decadence and understand how lucky they are to have what they have.

But more than all that, I’m going to teach them that going through life with a small heart and a small mind is no way to live.  That no matter what anyone else says, in our house?  We accept each other.  When we’re afraid of something, we go and learn about it.  We don’t bury our heads in the sand and pretend that everything is fine when it isn’t.

I want to raise my children to be fearless warriors in the fight for a better world.  I want to raise people who love each other.  People who will greet this world and her many challenges and curiosities with an open hand, not a closed fist.

So no, sir.  I’m not going to cover the eyes and ears of my future children and tell them all the things they need to be afraid of.  They’ll have plenty of people who will do that for them.  People like you, I guess. 

And maybe I am crazy for clinging to a shred of hope for the next generation.  Maybe I’m crazy to think that people are just people and there’s no help for the human condition but love and acceptance. Maybe I’m nuts to believe that at our core, we’re all exactly the same anyway and these ideas of race and gender and nationality and religion are just things we made up, barriers we invented and they don’t mean anything.

But I guess what I’m really hoping is that someday, when someone points their finger in the face of my child and calls him crazy for standing up for what he believes in, I hope he turns the other cheek and smiles just to piss them off.

I hope he remembers that crazy isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  And if anyone ever asks where he got all his crazy ideas?  I hope that for at least a few of them he can be proud to say he got them from his mama. 

Does pride come in this size?

So yes, this post is basically going to be a list of all the things that have been filling me with bubbly, shiny pride lately. It might be a little sappy and some of you probably won't really care about what makes me shiny and proud...but that's what happens when I don't blog for over a month. Right. Here we go...

1.) Tonight, I walked 3 miles in just under 35 minutes. That's a new best for me, and twice as surprising since I did it with glutes that were quite sore from my vigorous "Buns of Envy" workout yesterday.

2.) Yeah, I said "Buns of Envy" in a list of things I'm proud of. I'm not actually proud that I own a collection of workout DVDs entitled "Girls of Envy Workouts", but let's not dwell. Let me give you a little warning of the Girls of Envy. First of all, these girls, while looking amazing doing these workouts, are NOT fitness instructors. I repeat: THE GIRLS OF ENVY ARE NOT FITNESS INSTRUCTORS. This may seem like common knowledge, given the name and the fact that all of the "instructors" have appeared in Playboy at least once, but I'm all about fairness. I don't like to presume that just because someone is gorgeous and in amazing shape and has posed nude for big buckets of cash that they aren't capable of leading informative workouts.

But in this case, my presumption was correct. These girls are idiots. And hard to listen to...this is mainly because they speak exactly as you'd think they would. "Make sure you're squeezing your stomach really hard for this one." "Lean back and stretch your back. It's a yoga thing. It's called Child's Pose." "This one is really gonna kick your butt." It's difficult to take them seriously. It really is.

That being said, these are truly fantastic workouts. They are challenging and targeted and (according to the compliments I've been getting and the way my clothes are fitting) actually seem to work. But here is the secret: Trainer Commentary. I discovered it while looking for a "Music Only" workout option. The workouts are the same, just voiced over by the man who designed them. It's amazing what a difference this makes! This simple discovery completely renewed my faith in the GOE! I would recommend these workouts to anyone who can find them--I discovered mine in the bargain bin at a book store at the outlets. Truth.

Anyway, the thing that I'm proud about: despite their hilarious outfits and totally ridiculous way they lay down on the mats for crunches, I have spent at least four days a week working out with the Girls of Envy for the last six weeks! I am so proud of myself! And the best part is that I haven't even really been aware that I've been doing it! It's just become a part of my routine!

3.) That I even have time this week to sit down and write a blog about things I'm proud of. This weekend I have not one, but TWO Relay For Life events to staff and should, in fact, be going crazy right now. Miraculously, not only am I not going crazy, but these are two events that are on track to reach their goals. Yay! Events making goal AND getting a night off at the end of college Relay season? Oh yeah, Emry's learning time management. That's right.

4.) I've started writing chapter four of my "new" historical fiction. I say "new" like that because it's not new. It's almost a year old but I only write a teeny tiny bit at a time because I get busy and distracted and full of self-loathing. The first little bit of it lives here. It's called "Mack&Moira" and even though they are babies in the world of fiction, I am really developing an attachment to the characters.

5.) ^^That. What I just did there? I'm proud of that. It's been suggested by some fiances of mine that shall remain nameless that I don't share my creative writing enough. So now I have...I hope you'll read it and tell me what you think. I hope you'll like it too and be intrigued and tell me about what you hope will happen. But even if you don't like it and you see some places where I can improve, I hope you'll tell me about that too. (I'm looking at you, experienced writer friends!)

6.) That I blogged tonight. I forget how much I enjoy it. I hope you guys enjoy it too and you'll leave comments to tell me what you're proud of in your lives this week. Patting myself on the back and allowing myself a little peacock strut here and there is not always the easiest thing...probably because my years of Sunday school come rushing back and I'm filled with Catholic guilt thinking about humility and the dangers of vanity and blah blah blah.

But I'm learning that congratulating yourself on a job well done, rewarding yourself for a positive behavioral change, or even just saying "Hey, pretty girl!" when you look in the mirror isn't vanity. It's survival. It's a harsh, cruel world out there and sometimes, being your own biggest fan is the only thing that keeps you sane and pleasant.

Here in the Full Figured world, I love hearing how awesome you are and want to celebrate with you!

Until the next curve,

Emily

Hugging my Inner Fat Girl

Running Revolution is about to start. This is the 12 week, women-only running program in Warren that is designed to turn non-runners into runners and help women who are already runners improve their times, speeds, and all-around running style. I signed up for this not having the slightest idea of what I’m getting myself into. Last Monday, I attended the Pre-Rev class and got my first lesson in running. I learned that I have the wrong kind of shoes, my arms are too stiff when I’m running, and that my stride does something called “overpronation” which means that when I am buying new shoes, I have to find some shoes that remedy this. Who knew? The class also included some horrendously difficult ab work, stretches and rolling around with a large cylinder of foam, and some goal setting with our fearless leader. This week, after turning in a 12 week fitness plan that I constructed, I believe we are going to do Pilates. Yay!

Something else I learned? I have a lot of repressed gym class memories. No, really, this isn’t me making a joke. We were sitting in the wrestling room of the middle school (not even the middle school that I attended, mind you, or I probably would have had an outbreak of hives) and all I could think about was former gym teachers and classmates and that overwhelming feeling of “Can’t do this...too fat...too out of shape...too short...not good enough...not fast enough...not strong enough” like I remember having the whole time I was in school. Not the kind of positive self talk that is needed when beginning a fitness regime such as this.

This made me realize two things:

1.) Smell is definitely the strongest sense connected with memory (as it was the smell of a school gym that triggered these thoughts and feelings) 2.) That despite my best efforts over the last ten years, that chubby, insecure teenager is still a part of me, still living inside my head.

I had almost forgotten about her over the past week, having my head full of stressful work stuff and wedding plans, while still trying to find the time to put my fledgling fitness plan into action. But this morning, after hearing about some serious negativity directed at me, she shuffled away from the corner I normally keep her in and stood in my place once again.

This is what she does. She comes out when I need her the least, when I should be able to toss my hair and say, “Who cares what those assholes think?” and really mean it. She comes out of hiding and she takes my place so that instead, I think, “It makes sense that they’d say or think those things. We probably deserve it.” It’s that part of me that is always waiting for the good things in my life to go bad, for my boss to decide someone else would be better for my job, for my friends to come clean and tell me they’ve just been stringing me along because they felt sorry for me, for my fiancé to tell me this was all just a joke that went too far. She’s the reason I always feel just the faintest hint of surprise when someone tells me they like me, they love me, they want me around.

In a perfect world, she doesn’t exist at all. In a perfect world, I overcame my teenage-insecurity on all fronts and am a totally well adjusted young woman with a lot of really positive things happening in her life.

Yeah well. I don’t live in a perfect world. Not outside my head and certainly not inside. I wish there was a way to get rid of her for good...to send her and her Backstreet Boys t-shirt packing somewhere where she can’t mess up my good vibes anymore. But I’ve tried that. I’ve tried not listening to her, I’ve tried banishing her, I’ve even tried directing her at other people and nothing’s changed. What I really wish I could do, though, really and truly, is hug her. I wish I could go back in time and visit her when she had that first thought of “Not good enough...not fast enough...not strong enough” and I wish that I could put my arms around her and hug that thought right out of her. I would tell her, “Don’t think like that. You are a beautiful, wonderful, loveable person. Those people who are making you feel anything less than that are so insignificant it’s unbelievable.” I’d show her how great her life is going to be after awhile and all the good things that are coming to her.

But since I can’t really do that—can’t go back in time and visit a younger version of myself—I guess I’ll have to settle for telling her all those things when I feel her lingering inside my head.

In the midst of all of this self-love, self-discovery, self-rejuvenation...whatever it is, I have come to realize that becoming comfortable in my own skin has more to do than just accepting my plus-sized curves. It’s not going to be enough to say “I like the way I look” if I can’t think “I like the way I am” at the same time. I want to accept and feel that I deserve the love people give me and all the good things in my life. I want to be happy just the way I am and know that if I make any changes, they will be changes for the better and only make them because it’s what I want, for me. Not because I want fit into someone else’s measurement or ideas.

So I’m going back to the Pre-Rev tonight, and I’m going to learn how to run before summertime. Because it’s what I want and because I want to show that chubby, insecure little girl just how fabulous we can be when we put our mind to it.

The Most Dangerous Game

What do you think this post is going to be about? Hunting human beings for sport? The Zodiac Killer? A review of the actual short story,The Most Dangerous Game? Nope. Wrong on all accounts. I’m talking about wedding planning. Let’s be real, we all kind of felt this one coming. Life-long hater of weddings, sappy romance, and all things bridal gets engaged and decides not to elope…you know there’s got to be a blog in there somewhere. Or at least a joke or two. This isn’t really a “full-figured” topic, but it’s definitely something I felt the need to share with all of you. And besides, it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged about anything. Okay, so, the next time one of my friends gets engaged and everyone is bombarding them with helpful suggestions, I’m just going to direct them to this blog.

Ready? Here we go! Things I have learned so far:

A.) If you want your Facebook to blow up, post the words “wedding planning” as a status. If you actually want to shut Facebook down for a few hours, post the phrase “I need help with my wedding planning.” If you’re in the mood to have 20+ responses to a status and a few dozen inbox messages from people who have been to a wedding once, then you should do that. Otherwise, avoid saying the “W” word on facebook.

B.) Plus sized women do not get more than two options for shorter dresses. Apparently, the world of Bridal Fashion does not feel that a plus sized woman should be showing off her calves and ankles on her wedding day. Big, poufy dresses that look like cupcakes? Sure, they've got those by the boatload! But something short and simple and flattering? Sorry Charlie. Of course, they have short, simple dresses that are flattering on Skinny Minnies, and yes, they DO come in plus sizes. But, as everyone knows, the cardinal rule of plus size fashion remains the same: Just because it comes in your size, doesn't mean that it's going to look good on you.

C.) Don't be surprised if a bridal show vendor yells at you. Yes, yells at you. There are likely a few reasons that this might happen, but my personal mistake came when I asked a cake designer if she would be able to make something that wasn't in her book of something she'd done before. Y'know, something original. She didn't take kindly to that. But you can't really blame her for not practicing good customer service to someone requesting something off the beaten path when there were people throwing money at her from all sides for white almond cake with white fondant flowers on top. Whatever.

D.) Cake-toppers are a complete and total sham. No, really! It must be nice to be a blonde woman in a cupcake dress marrying a sandy-brown haired man in a tuxedo...but unfortunately, that's not the case for everyone. What's that? You want both people to have dark hair? Well, I'm sorry but you'll have to go with an "ethnic" couple. Also, don't you think it's funny to have the groom chained to the cake, looking miserable? Or to make it look like the groom is running away but the bride has him lassoed or hooked with a fishing lure? No? You don't think that's funny? Well what's wrong with you? Everyone knows that no man wants to get married...that's what makes it funny. Obviously you have no sense of humor.

OH! And same-sex couples? They definitely have something for you! Granted, the brides or grooms will both look exactly the same, they won't be interacting at all, and they'll most likely be reaching their hands in the same direction...but you can get a same-sex couple on the top of that cake! My personal favorite was the "mature bride" topper that I found. I assume she is also what they would send you if you requested two brides for your topper. This bride is wearing a tasteful white pantsuit and has short, blonde hair. Very Ellen.

***

Here endeth the lesson, for now. There are many, many more things I'm sure I'll learn along the way, and I might even look back on this mildly hellish experience with a smile when it's all over. But for now I'm just along for the ride. If only wedding planning was as simple as dealing with the moral ramifications of hunting human beings for sport...

That New Year's Resolution Post

We all saw this coming. New year, new resolutions; time to sit back and reflect on 2010 and make plans and projections for 2011. In the full-figured spirit of resolutions, I figured I'd take a few moments and jot down a few of my own. First, a look back on 2010. Twelve months ago, I had just barely started my job in the nonprofit world, the boyf and I had just moved into together and my financial situation was, well, to say it was "in shambles" wouldn't exactly be putting it lightly.

My 2010 New Years Resolutions were: -To pay off my credit card debt/to no longer receive collection calls and -To fill our apartment with real furniture (not Grandma hand-me-downs from 1975) and turn it into an actual home

I didn't realize it, but by August, I had not only kept my New Years resolutions but completed them in a checklist-like fashion. WAY TO GO ME! In 15 years of making resolutions, that had never happened to me. (I say 15 years because, although I am 23, I don't really recall the need for such things before the age of 8.) Which got me thinking...why did I do that? How did I do that? I did them without focusing on them much past their initial declaration and I found a way to work their completion into my life without realizing it. Of course I'd hang things on the walls eventually and replace the couch from Grandma with a real one and of course, paying off the credit cards was just a natural step on the way to financial solvency. I even managed to buy a new car. Didn't exactly erase my debt, but it's nice to be paying on a brand new car as opposed to paying for groceries I bought six months ago via Wal-Mart card. Ya know?

So my point is that if I can figure out a way to do this again, to make this year's resolutions as ingrained and second-nature as last years, maybe I'll surprise myself with another successful year. Just maybe. It's worth a shot, right? So, without further ado... Curvy Girl's 2011 New Year's Resolutions:

1.) To feel healthier and more in shape 2.) To learn to bake a perfect cheesecake 3.) To save enough money for an October wedding (mine!) 4.) To get married (I threw this in there for a gimme) and 5.) To take a few more steps closer toward my goal of loving my body

What are your 2011 goals and resolutions? Let me know below. All the best in the new year!

PS: Before I go, I do want to share with you this totally sexy plus-sized photo that I found today while searching for something else all together (as is usually the case.)

Had to share with you, curvy fans, because not only is this photo completely gorgeous and comes with a great message, it's inspired me to add something to my Bucket List that I really never would have considered before. But sorry, friends, mums the word on that one.

 Cheers.

Thanksgiving Aftermath

Here we are, Cyber Monday. Four days after Thanksgiving when all the guilt from a weekend of gluttony starts setting in. First, we gorged ourselves on Thursday on delicious food (twice on Thursday, if you're as lucky as I am to have two places to spend the holidays) and then (again, if you're like me) we all spent waaaaaay too much money over the long weekend on deals that were just omgtoogoodtobetrue.

Yes, a Monday morning with a pair of tight jeans and a dwindling bank account should be enough to make anyone feel less than buoyant. Unless, apparently, you're me.

What? What was that? Did I really just write that? "Unless you're me" ? Really?

Uh...yeah, yeah I guess I wrote that. I guess I wrote that because, well, I guess I kind of mean that.

Yes, I ate more than my fair share (okay, more than mine AND my alter ego Maria Lopez' fair share) of sweet potatoes and stuffing. Emphasis on the sweet potatoes. And I can't be ignorant to the calories I consumed the rest of the weekend or the money that I spent, but for whatever reason I'm not experiencing the usual self-loathing that accompanies this time of year.

I don't want to read into it. It's like over-analyzing a string of good luck: almost guarantees that it will make it run out. So, whatever the reason, (my heart or my shoes...tee hee, sorry. Couldn't resist a Grinch reference!) without thinking about all that I consumed, I woke up this morning and went back to my fledgling routine.

This morning began with Jillian Michaels screaming at my to surrender my soul to the workout and leave behind everything I regret. Have I mentioned that she scares me? I prefer Yoga Meltdown because at least there she's trying to be zen and calming...she still slips into her old, crazy mode every now and then, but it's nothing like the 30 Day Shred. *shudder* I still have nightmares about the Shred.

SparkPeople update: last week I was down a pound. One down, forty-nine more to go, right? Okay, that sounds more than daunting. Way more than daunting, actually. Putting it that way makes it seem damn near impossible. I think I'll take this as I've done in the past...ten pounds at a time.

So, in that case, one down, nine to go. Wish me luck!

Oh, and before I go, allow me to further celebrate the holiday that just passed by offering some heartfelt gratitude. Those of you who left comments on my last blog and facebook or sent messages or e-mails...you have no idea what that meant to me. Really, almost every one of the comments that you've left have caused me to tear up at least a little.

You're fantastically beautiful people. Really, really beautiful. Thank you.

One last thing: something else I'm thankful for...

YAMS!!

This is not a diet.

THIS IS NOT A DIET. I REPEAT: THIS IS NOT A DIET. You know why? Because diets don't work. They don't. What's that, you say? Your cousin lost 36lbs in a month by eating nothing but steak and peanut oil? That's nice. Ask her what happens when she gives in and eats a crouton and gains 45lbs overnight.

That being said, I've joined sparkpeople.com. If you're not familiar with the site, I recommend you go over and check it out--it's full of nifty tools and like-minded people and (best of all!) it's free. Yep, you heard me. 100% free to the public.

No, it's not a diet (weren't you listening?!) It's a way for me to easily keep track of what I eat and how much activity I get without hauling around a notebook and losing track of keeping journal entries. The nutrition tracker is super easy to use; after you enter in all of your specifics (height, weight, goals, etc.) it gives you a target number of calories, fat, protein, and carbs to stay within for the day. You log the foods you eat and it tells you how "on target" you are for the day. Pretty sweet, huh?

So, if I'm blogging about learning to love myself as I am, why did I join this site and set weight loss goals for myself? I will tell you why. Because, despite this lovely blog and its lovely followers, I am not happy with myself. Mostly because I don't really feel as healthy as I once did (probably an indication that I am, in fact, not as healthy as I once was) and want to get back to a point where, if I don't feel like I look good, at least I can say that I feel okay.

So Leslie Sansone and I walk/jogged this morning for a half an hour, I signed up for SparkPeople, and I watched what I ate all day. Not rocket science. Gotta tell you, though, when it comes to wake-up work-out personalities, I'm not Leslie's biggest fan. Yeah, Jillian Michaels gets annoying because she's so intense (and also because her workouts cause my life to flash before my eyes) and yells at the screen with things like "This is you last circuit! DON'T PHONE IT IN! NO REGRETS! LEAVE EVERYTHING IN THIS WORKOUT! LEAVE IT ALL!!!!!" And well...that's a little scary.

But Leslie Sansone is just so damn cheerful! She's giggling her way through her movements and telling me, "Doesn't it feel soooo good to get up and walk this morning?! I'm so glad you joined me and said 'I'm walkin' today!' I just love to hear you say that!"

Leslie, if I were in charge of such things, I would still be in bed, weighing 140lbs and never feeling the urge to pop in your DVD. Sorry, bub, that's just the way it works in my head. I also didn't say "I'm walkin' today" for your benefit. That decision was made on how much time was available for a workout this morning and how much I didn't want to hear Jillian yelling at me. Chill your life and tone down the enthusiasm.

But anyway, my goals aren't astronomical. I want to be a size 14 again--that's all. We've had a long-standing love/hate relationship, me and size 14. When I was a size 14, all I could think about was how close I was to a 12 and how I would be happiest if I could just dip down to a 12 or (gasp) maybe even someday a 10! Size 14 was just an inconvenient, seemingly ENORMOUS roadblock between me and true fashion bliss. *sigh* Oh the innocence of youth. But like with most things, absence makes the heart grow fonder. The longer we've spent apart the more I've come to realize that it's the size at which I'm the most comfortable, and the size I was when I came the closest to really enjoying the way I looked.

Rereading what I just wrote, it looks like I'm missing the point of my own blog, doesn't it? I don't think that's the case (though please feel free, gentle readers, to call me out on this one.) There is a vague hope that if I can get back to size 14 and still impress myself by reaching a personal goal or two, it may do wonders for my self-loathing body image issues.

Call it a baby step toward loving all of me all the time.

And then there's this...

Yeah, this. I don't know how I feel about this. Mostly, I think that this woman is a crazy person who should be stopped. Where are her doctors? Who are these people who are telling her she's healthy? Why does she think she's healthy when she can only walk 20 feet before having to sit down? Why isn't her husband attempting to stop her so she doesn't leave their daughter motherless?

And most importantly, what is her daughter learning from all of this?

My mother struggled with her weight for most of her life--definitely all of the twenty years that I knew her. I can't lie and say that her perception of the way she looked didn't somehow color the way that I learned to look at myself. She was constantly buying exercise equipment and diet plans and fitness books and dvds and I remember as a child not being able to figure out why. To me, she was what most little girls' mothers are: the most beautiful woman they know. But she never saw that in herself and she was always trying to change the way she looked, to be thinner, to be more fit, she was always chasing some illusive "better" that was always just out of her grasp. I remember hoping, with each new plan she tried, that this would be what it took to make her happy, to make her see herself the way I saw her...but it never was. There was always something standing in the way of the way she was and the way she wanted to be.

I don't want that for my daughter--or son, for that matter--whenever he or she comes along. That's part of the point of all of this reflection, to get to the bottom of it and attempt to make a positive change so that I can be the right kind of role model for my children, and teach them how to love and accept and celebrate every part of themselves.

In that vein, let's get back to the inspiration behind this post. Do I feel a little hypocritical because this blog is about learning to love and accept myself, wobbly-bits and all and--although taking it too far--this woman is doing just that? Yes, yes I do. I'll be honest, I do find myself a little bit jealous that she can look in the mirror and not find anything she wants to change.

But there's another side to that. Another side to all of this that someone brought up a few posts ago. And that's that being obese--and that's what this woman is: morbidly obese--is a health problem. It can kill you. Being that overweight can...and in Donna Simpson's case, almost undoubtedly will kill her. For whatever reason, she keeps telling people that she's healthy and her husband thinks she'll be sexier the bigger she is. At some point, shouldn't someone be intervening and saying that she's just killing herself?

Granted, everyone is free to make their own choices and choose their own destinies and all of that, and she's obviously making a conscious choice in her ambition to weigh 1000lbs...but what happens when she dies as a result of this choice? Should we blame the men who are paying to watch her consume 12,000 calories a day via webcam? Or her doctors for not begging to her stop? (Although, who is to say they aren't already) Or just say "Well, there's another lunatic whose own crazy finally did them in."

Like I said earlier, I'm truly at loose ends with this one. There is something I envy about her positive self-image, that she's happy with the way she looks (aside from the fact that she wants to be bigger) and that she has people around her that love her just the way she is. How can she do that at over 600lbs and wearing a XXXXXXL while I can't seem to stomach wearing a size 16?

I guess it's a process. But while I'm anxious to get to a point where I love my curves and conquer my self-conscious ways, if I ever profess a desire to weigh 1000lbs, I'd like someone to come forward and kill me.

Now, as it is All Hallows Eve weekend, I can't leave you with something totally unscary. So, dear friends, I will ask you not to scream...

Photos

We took photos today, the boyf and I. He set up the lights and the backdrop and we had our own little Olan Mills photoshoot in the living room. We even wore matching blues...too cute for words, I know. I tried to be good. I really did. I tried really hard to look at all of the photos he'd taken and not hate something about myself. But if I'm honest with myself (which is the point of all of this) it didn't happen most of the time. In most of the photos he showed me, I thought "God, my hips are enormous," or "I wish my face wasn't so chubby," and I got angry with myself. That's why I'm posting.

Why can I look at a picture of Ashley Graham and say "She is so sexy!" and look at the reflection of a girl with her same measurements and think "She's disgusting." I know that the ads with Ashley and the other LB girls are Photoshopped and airbrushed all over the place, but that's not the point. The point isn't what I see in them, it's what I don't see in myself.

So badly I want to look at myself and say "Hi, pretty girl--lookin' good today!" But even when I try it, the words sound hollow and fake and vain. Feeling vain is probably the worst because it's not even real vanity!

But I did try something new today while I was looking at those photos. I tried to look at things other than the parts of myself I wished I could change. I looked at my eyes and my hair and once I even thought, "Look at how happy we look," before I started crticizing my appearance.

It didn't really feel like progress, but it didn't feel quite like self-loathing either. So that's...good, right?

But, so as not to leave you so pensive on a Sunday night, I will leave you with this gem I stumbled upon while Googling "cute couple poses" (again, I ask that you do not judge me for what I end up finding online.)

Anyone have a suitable caption? I'm coming up blank. BUT, since I wish to leave you neither pensive, nor emotionally scarred (as this woman's child will undoubtably be when they find this photo later in life) here is one of the photos the boyf and I took today. Actually, this is my favorite.

Cheers, everyone! Happy Sunday!

Something to Think About

So one of my best friends is getting married in May and--being the out-of-towner-bridesmaid--I was facebooked the link to the dress I'm going to have to wear yesterday. Fine, bright blue bridesmaid dress, whatever, la la la la. But, y'know how those damn wedding websites are. (If you don't know, the word you're looking for is seductive.) It's only so easy to waste a few solid hours of what would be a productive day off by clicking through page after page of dresses and shoes and color samples, saying to yourself, "Now, what would I choose?"

It's sick, really, the way they draw you in. Sick.

Anyway, I digress. The point is, no matter how or why I got there, I found myself on a page dedicated to the plus sized wedding dress selection. (No, I'm not engaged. Don't judge me.) I found a few that caught my fancy and, like any good online shopper, I checked out the reviews of each. All three of the dresses I was comparing had around 20 reviews--all of them positive. (Because really, who is going to give a negative review of a wedding dress. If you don't like it, you don't buy it.) One thing I noticed though, was that in about 80% of these reviews, the bride-to-be mentions not looking forward to wedding dress shopping.

Huh?

I read them all just to be sure I wasn't exaggerating...I wasn't. Most of the women who reviewed these dresses said that they had been apprehensive about even going into the store to try a dress on because of how difficult shopping is for them. They didn't want to be "the fat girl" surrounded by a room of size 2 dresses and being told that everything in their size would have to be special-ordered and probably end up costing more.

EIGHTY PERCENT!

Now, granted, David's Bridal is apparently a pretty slammin' place when it comes to carrying plus sized dresses in stock so these bridies were able to go home happy, which is wonderful. HOWEVER, the point I'm trying to make is before they went to DB, each woman who reviewed was apprehensive, disinterested, or--the worst--dreading going shopping. For her wedding dress. Her WEDDING DRESS! The one piece of clothing you're supposed to be excited to shop for, to have that moment where you step out of the dressing room and your mom and best friend get teary at how gorgeous you are.

This got me thinking about clothing and plus sizes and all of the drama that shopping entails. It's something I've been wondering about for years now and have never truly been given a straight answer. Why aren't plus sized clothes sold everywhere? Why are stores like Lane Bryant and Torrid necessary when we live in a country where the average woman is a size 14? Is this some kind of punishment? Are the fashion gods (ie: designers) so digusted with us and our expanding girth (which is a national health problem, I know. I'm not condoning it) that they're refusing to make clothes that fit us? Do they think that if the average store stops at size 12 then, in return, we will shrink down to fit?

It seems a rather not well thought-out plan of attack to me. And clearly not one that's seen any level of success as the rate of obesity in the US has continued to climb steadily for the past thirty years. Actually, we all started getting fatter right when the "supermodels" started getting stick thin.

Look at this photo of Cindy Crawford from early in her career: She's got boobs! And a bum! And she's all sexy! Not chubby or "full-figured" by any stretch of the imagination, but there are some definite curves happening there. Now, let's compare to a photo from more recent runway waifs:

Notice anything different? Actually, if she turned sideways, I wouldn't notice anything at all. I think she'd disappear.

So you see my point...or you don't. Whatever. The point I'm trying to make is that if we're all getting bigger, why are our those held up for display getting smaller? Shouldn't they be at least slightly proportional to each other? Do we hate ourselves that much to idolize and plaster our magazines and billboards and advertisements and television and films with people who represent 5% of the population? Women who look nothing like us? That just doesn't seem fair.

I don't know. It's just something that I've been thinking about for a long time. Maybe it's something you'll think about now. Maybe it's not. Either way, thanks for listening.

steps off soapbox, carries it off stage left