body positivity · fat acceptance · feelings · feminism · mississippi · motherhood · Uncategorized

Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Bit of Self-Acceptance

I recently took my daughter to the water park, which is not so unusual, it’s something we do a lot, but this time was different, because this time, I wore a bikini for the first time in 20 years.  Here’s the proof.

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Has anyone died? Are you guys ok? Can the world handle this? There’s a reason you’re looking at this picture, and that reason is hard for me to admit. Although I am a proud, body positive, radical feminist, it took a small push for me to have some tough conversations with myself, and though I am hesitant to admit it, the push came because I told my boyfriend a story the other night and he was like, “Wait, what?”  Don’t get me wrong though, I’m grateful he did.

The last time I wore a bikini I was 14, and I thought the sky blue halter top and boy short bottoms, with their tiny white and yellow sunflowers on them (thank you 90’s!) were camera-ready af.  I brought a little disposable 35mm with me to the beach, ready to look like a model from the Delia’s catalog, oblivious to the reality that was soon to come.

When I went to the store to pick up the prints of my photos a few days later (this story happened in the past, children), I was horrified to learn that I, although mentally a young Julia Stiles, was physically a little more Darla from Finding Nemo.  I had unknowingly developed the unwelcome gift of a belly. Thank you puberty!  The little pooch popped out maybe an inch over the top of those innocent bikini bottoms.  Harsh sunlight created a grim shadow over my braces, and seemed to expose every single red pimple and blackhead on my face, as well as every dimple of fresh cellulite on my body. Also, what was I thinking with that bob haircut?

I felt embarrassed.  As a little girl growing up in the south, I grew up wearing bikinis. I was cute, tan, thin, & blonde and was thus brought up to believe and fully expect that as I became a woman, tits and all, that I would grow up to look like a playboy bunny.  There were a lot of times over the years that I’d be made aware of my failure to achieve this lofty goal, but it didn’t take much more than the shame of those pictures to never risk wearing a bikini again.  

Also, I was a naturally self-conscious teenager in the 90’s.  My role models were self-hating women who smoked cigarettes to stay thin.  There was no mainstream fat acceptance movement.  I mean, I’m not telling the women of my generation any big secrets here.  Being a woman on this planet means you’re taught that fat is bad, that it’s pretty much the worst thing you can be, and that if you’re fat, you’re getting life wrong.  Should you be one of the millions of women who have acquired fat, you should cover it up, and there is no worse fat than belly fat.  There is only one kind of belly you can have, and that’s a flat one, like Julia Stiles.

As I grew up, my braces came off, my acne got better, my bob grew out, but my belly just got bigger.  Then I committed the cardinal belly sin of having a baby and getting stretch marks.  Bikinis were a bridge I was not ready to cross.

Back in the year 2017 though, my brand new boyfriend pleaded with me, “Babe, your curves were MADE for a bikini…”

“Haha,” I shyly whimpered, “but you know, what about my belly, honey?” (translation:  Don’t you know I’m a monster?)

I don’t quite know how to convey the depth and precision of my boyfriend’s eye roll.  He is the master of making me fall out over a raised eyebrow. I could gush for pages about how this guy loves me, but it all boils down to this.  He’s made it abundantly clear how he feels about my body, and spoiler alert, he’s into it.  He’s kind, affectionate, flirtatious, and loves me inside and out. If I have body insecurity, it’s coming from me, not him.

He’s also a smart, practical dude who sees things pretty clearly and has great instincts.  Oh, and did I mention?  He’s in extremely good shape.  He works out on his lunches, goes on 30 mile bike rides, runs forest trails in the July heat, and wins all his company volleyball tournaments.  You get the idea.  He’s an athlete.  He’s like, much better than me at this body sculpting thing, and I could be wrong, but I don’t think he really relates to my irrational fear of being kicked out of a water park for public indecency.

Nope, he just wants to see me in a bikini, and also go shopping for one with me and be in the dressing room.  How much feminist credibility do I lose by admitting how much I love that about him?

Listen, I know what I sound like.  I sound like a woman, who is trying to please her man. I sound like a woman who has been hiding for a couple of decades desperately seeking some male validation, wanting to bask in the warm objectifying glow of the male gaze.  I sound like a bad feminist, like a Bruno Mars song, like a grim porno plotline. “But babe, I love your body that you hate, so you should love it,” and then magically, a big male boner cured my self-hatred.  All I needed was a nice alpha man in my life right?

I promise you, I know what it looks like.

First things first though, it’s not like I never thought about wearing a bikini for 20 years. It’s not unthinkable.  I would say the whole bikini thing, is really just the final frontier in my quest for a healthy self-concept.  I’ve been chipping away at it for a while now.  I like bikinis.  I fully support and have tried on a few of the “fatkinis” they’ve been putting out when I go swimsuit shopping, but they don’t really do me any favors.  They tend to make body parts I’m already on the fence about look weirder (to me).  

I celebrate any woman who dares to bare in whatever way they feel comfortable, bikini or not, and I will high five you and take 45 insta-ready photos for you, but in my journey, I want to wear a bikini that is uncompromising.  I want to wear one that the straight size models are wearing.  I know that may be a detail that’s not worth fixating on.  None of this is, but that’s exactly why the time is now.  I don’t want to waste any more time caring one more second what anyone thinks about me in a bikini.  I have so many bigger fish to fry in life.  That’s why this is frankly, overdue, because it really shouldn’t matter that much.

I just want to live in my real body, not a future or past body, just the one that I’m in, in any way that I damn well please.  I am not one of those girls who thinks they’re ugly but actually looks like Gigi Hadid.  I’m a 34 year old single mother, who thinks she’s beautiful, inside and out, who is fighting for body positivity, for size inclusiveness, against fat-shaming, against misogyny, and who knows what she’s putting out into the world.

If I wear a bikini, I am wearing it with stretch marks, with rolls, with a pooch, and pale white skin that hasn’t seen a sunbeam since I was 14.  I’m doing something that a lot of people still think I’m not supposed to.  I don’t want to be one of them anymore.

I’m not ashamed to say I needed that push though. I’m sure that subconsciously, that’s why I brought this whole thing up with my boyfriend in the first place. I wanted him, somebody, anybody, it might as well be the man who loves me, to hear me and tell me to go for it.  I have resisted having this conversation with myself because of all the years of pain and insecurity I’ve inflicted on myself in the name of pleasing others, of self-preservation, of having one last place to hide.  These things have controlled me, but the truth is, I am interested in my belly seeing the sun’s rays many more times before I perish from this earth.

I am presented daily with a simple choice.  Do I love myself, unconditionally, or not?  Do I hate my body or not?  Do I accept my body or not? For a few years now, I have chosen to accept and love myself, except when it comes to this.

I have made so much progress in other ways. I refuse to ever hurt myself over my weight again.  I exercise when I want to in ways that feel healthy and good to my body. I have worn all kinds of clothes that have previously caused me anxiety from shorts to evening gowns to lingerie.  I created a style blog.  I found love.  I gave birth to a baby girl who I want to teach to value herself.  I don’t want her to be afraid to wear whatever the heck she wants to.  If mommy can wear a bikini with her mommy belly, and her cellulite and all that, hopefully she won’t hesitate to do it either, if that’s what she wants. I at least want to role model for her, what I think is ok for me, and for everyone.  I have zero issue with other women wearing a bikini if they want to, so why should I exclude myself from that?

My only excuse is that I see my fear reinforced a lot.  Every time I’m in a setting where women are wearing swimsuits, the majority of the women wearing bikinis, seem to be thin only. Every time I hear women talk about swimwear at all, I know I’m not alone in my fear. Most of the women I know just dread swimsuit shopping.  When I go to the beach, I see more women doing what I’m doing, hiding their bellies, than not.  Then of course, there’s the media, the advertising, the magazines, etc…

So what did I do about it?

Well, I decided to try and live bigger than that and I let my boyfriend go swimsuit shopping with me.  Now listen, for those of you who believe in like, abundance and the timing of the universe, and all that, you’ll love this next bit.  I unknowingly took him to the biggest department store in town, on the very first day of their 65% off swimwear clearance sale, which means, they still had a HUGE selection of designer swimsuits in my size, at a huge discount.  

Not only that, but there was a SUPER nice lady working the swimwear department that day, who let me bring my boyfriend, my toddler, my stroller, and as many suits as I wanted to try on into the biggest nicest dressing room with a huge smile on her face.  Not one bit of this good fortune escaped me.

The very first one I tried on, a beautiful green floral print by one of my favorite clothing brands, Gianni Bini, looked amazing on me.  I kind of couldn’t believe what I was seeing in the mirror.  I was standing there looking at myself, and he was looking at me with so much admiration, and I felt so damn beautiful and I loved that suit so much and you guys, I want you to really take this next bit in.  It was on sale for $25.  Of course I bought it.

I had found the one, but I still had about 8 more to try on, so I did, because I was like, if I’m doing this, I’m gonna be thorough.  None of the other bikinis quite lived up to the first one, except for the last one, a beautiful blue Kenneth Cole.  We took that one home too, boyfriend’s treat.

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We finished up our day at the mall by sharing some french fries with my kiddo, and it was then that he pointed something out to me that hadn’t occurred to me until that moment.  It had been 20 years since I’d bought a bikini, and it wasn’t until today that I remembered another detail.  I bought the last one, the blue one with the sunflowers, the one from the fateful 20 year old photos of shame, in the exact same store. Excuse me, is that destiny calling?

Now all I had to do was actually wear one.

I decided I needed to do it as soon as possible so I wouldn’t chicken out.  The last thing I wanted to do was ruin the beauty and good fortune of that day by letting my new bikinis hide in a closet and fester with fear and potential humiliation.  I needed maximum exposure as fast as possible, so I took my daughter to the water park the next afternoon.

Is there a better place to risk looking like total trash than a water park in South Mississippi?  The land of unsupervised children and the easiest place to find a lower back tattoo in America?  Is there a better fit for impractically skimpy swimwear either?  It is a place made unapologetically for leisure.  Nobody except for a half a dozen obnoxious 10 year olds is in any kind of hurry here.  America asked for a cross between a pool a river and a bed, and it’s rednecks answered.  If you build it, we will float around on it until we get sunburnt af.

I won’t pretend it wasn’t scary.  It was.  I definitely had a minor anxiety attack getting ready and continued to spiral out for the first ten minutes of our drive over there, but I kept telling myself, this isn’t going to be worth it AT ALL, if you don’t enjoy yourself.  You need to find a way to calm down and let go.  You need to release this fear.

Then the simplest silliest thing occurred to me and I actually said it out loud, “This is the last 10 minutes you are ever going to be afraid to wear a bikini again.”  That was the turning point.  I finally started to feel excited.  I was at the top of a water slide instead of the top of a cliff.

The first thing I did inside was take off my cover up.  I didn’t want to give myself any time to chicken out, and I needed sunscreen.  You can’t just expose lily white stretch marked belly skin to the afternoon sun after 20 years without a little protection, ok?  

I rubbed more sunscreen on my kid and we waded out into the shallow kiddie area.  At our water park the kiddie pool is surrounded by lounge chairs and let me tell you what, I have never paid closer attention to what other people were wearing in my life.  I was desperate for solidarity.  I was looking at every belly in sight (and also closely supervising my child, mommy shamers! She’s fine. She had a great time!).

I was definitely in the extreme minority of people with my belly size letting it all hang out, but there were a couple folks. There was a girl in a larger body than me rocking a beautiful high waisted bikini.  There was a pregnant mom showing off her bump. (BTW let’s talk about how pregnancy is the only acceptable time for a woman to show off her big belly!)  The strong majority of other women there had gotten the same message as me for the last 20 years though.  Plenty of women in smaller bodies, thinner, with flatter tummies were still hiding it.

You know who wasn’t hiding their bellies though?  There was one group of people, from the super thin to the very fat who weren’t hiding their bellies at all, no exceptions… The Men.

Oh yeah guys.  I am frankly EMBARRASSED that I have never noticed this hypocrisy before.  You’re telling me only women are supposed to hide and cover up our bellies?  This double standard is SO deeply entrenched that I, the radical feminist, the women’s marcher, the liberal, educated SJW, has been going to the beach, the pool, etc… for literally my entire life and I have never, not once, batted an eye at how perfectly fine it is for dudes with bellies 3x the size of mine, who have never once given birth in their lives, to feel free to walk around shirtless all summer, bellies out, with total confidence.

Well, let me tell you, that was the final nail in this coffin.  Here lies 20 years of self-consciousness, may my self-hate rot in hell.

Guess how many people cared that I was wearing a bikini?  Zero.

Guess how many people were even paying attention to me?  Zero.

Guess how many people said something rude to me about my bikini?  Zero.

I didn’t even get kicked out of the water park.

Listen, I know it’s not always like that.  I know people can be cruel.  I know that the fact that I found an affordable bikini, that I have enough disposable income to buy a season pass to the water park, that I am a size that can fit in a brand like Gianni Bini is all pretty damn privileged.

That was probably my final takeaway and the idea that took me most by surprise.  It’s a privilege to wear a bikini.  I know I live a privileged life.  I know I’m a white girl in America, with a car and a roof over my head.  I am deeply loved, and well taken care of.  I am grateful for it all, and if I have some privilege, I’m not going to waste it.  I can finally say, I’m not going to waste one more second of my life worrying about something as harmless, as unimportant, or as frivolous, as wearing a bikini.

I did it, and I did it without going on a diet, doing thousands of sit ups, or getting any kind of plastic surgery.  I did it full out, uncompromising, stretch marks and all, and I had a great time.

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body positivity · feelings · feminism · motherhood · politics

Goal Setting Video!

So this Friday I was supposed to only talk for a few minutes but FAIR WARNING I talk for like 20 minutes.  If you don’t have time to sit and watch the whole thing I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND. Here’s the basics, sometimes New Years Resolutions aren’t the right thing to do.  If you fail at them, give yourself forgiveness and a second chance, or third chance. Set goals that are important to you, that you want, that you desire.  THANK YOU in advance for watching this video!  If you like it, like, subscribe, comment, share, all that!

xoxo

Leslie

body positivity · fat acceptance · feelings · feminism · weight loss

The Last Diet I Ever Went On

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A photo from my former “style blog,” where I stand posed like a flamingo and hold an ice cream bar.

Back in the early 2000’s there was a very popular diet book called The Skinny Bitch diet.  It was a New York Times bestseller, and a secret manifesto for an extreme form of veganism. You were of course, not to know this from the cover.  The word “vegan” isn’t mentioned at all in the marketing. Your first clue that it’s bullshit is that they have to lie to you to get you to buy it. Then when you actually read it, they sell you a vegan diet with compelling, manipulative and graphic depictions of animal slaughter.

The book goes much further than just mere veganism though.  It’s a highly restrictive way of eating.  No animal products of any kind (not even honey, because it comes from bees) and no sugar, no refined carbs, no processed food (unless it was vegan… hypocritical much?), strongly encouraged organic food only, and no caffeine.

For a lot of women who were sick of being fat (so all of us back then, and yes obviously, you could be sick of being fat without even needing to be fat, that’s how pervasive fat hatred is), this was a very appealing book on the surface.  It was like a sassy, edgy, cool diet book. It was marketed like chick lit, and for those of us tired of feeling sad and being on the sad Atkins diet or whatever, it seemed like this might be a diet book that would make us feel angry instead, which is much more satisfying.

The authors used really mean bullying language and lots of profanity; lovely little quips like “don’t be a fat pig anymore,” and “you need to exercise you lazy shit.”  I LOVED it. Let me tell you, for somebody who deeply hated herself, this book was like a breath of fresh toxic air.  The book hated me too!  Finally, I had semi-scientific proof that I was horrible.

This mean ass book had me MORALLY CONVINCED that following its every command was the right thing to do.  It was also a very convenient excuse for me to become the most annoying of all my friends and to have VERY STRONG OPINIONS about why this current version of restrictive eating was TOTALLY ABOUT LIKE THE PLANET AND STUFF and not because I hated my body and wanted to erase it somehow.  One of the ways the diet industry loves to convince you to buy their books and products and restrict what you eat is by convincing you that you have a moral obligation to do so.  Buy this or you’re bad- erase yourself or you’re bad- alienate all your meat-loving family and friends or you’re bad, and so on…

(P.S. I am not anti-vegan.  I know there are reasonable vegans out there who have great reasons to be so.  I also know that veganism is not a miracle cure for weight loss though, and that anybody selling you veganism as a weight loss method is not to be trusted.  A vegan diet does not equal a place in Taylor Swift’s Supermodel Squad.)

Naturally, the authors had totally bullshit credentials, so they wrote a diet book of course, which was cool because they were also already thin. We all know that naturally thin people are like, total experts on losing weight.  It’s kind of like if I had decided to become a mommy blogger before having my kid, even though I’d never given birth, because, I like totally have a mom. I was born!  Listen to me!

So needless to say, this eating disorder masquerading as a diet worked it’s magic.  I bought it all hook, line, and sinker.  I followed the diet in this book for months, to the letter.  I was very committed and yet remarkably, I never lost any weight.  There are lots of reasons why scientists now believe diets don’t work, yet we keep trying them, and I was no exception. I spent tons of money on this diet too, because it was so restrictive and it was like, only the most expensive foods possible were on it.  I was also starving all the time because everything was so low calorie I had to eat a ton of it not to feel hungry, then of course it would pass right through me and I’d be hungry again in what felt like minutes.

I remember the book telling me that skinny bitches only ate one piece of fruit for breakfast, that’s it, and only if we were starving could we have another piece of fruit. There is not a nutritionist in the world who would tell you one piece of fruit is enough calories or balance of nutrients to get you through an entire morning after you’ve not eaten since maybe 6 pm the night before, and that meal was carrots.

I talked about and defended this diet constantly in order to justify how annoying I had become, placing myself in an ever-spiraling cycle of being the most annoying person around.  I was super socially detached, because I couldn’t eat nearly anything I didn’t prepare myself.  I tried to save face a lot by just not eating in front of other people at all.

After months of this, eventually, I couldn’t take it anymore, but I was too embarrassed to admit to anyone that this totally unsustainable way of life was making me so miserable.  I never “got used to it” as all diets promise. So I developed this habit of most nights, after starving myself all day or just not having enough money to buy organic avocados and raw almonds for 3 meals a day, going to Wendy’s after work and eating their latest monstrosity, an incredibly delicious sandwich called the Baconator, that feels like eating a heart attack in physical form, with large fries and a coke.  I would shovel this into my mouth in secret in the parking lot of the Wendy’s, so nobody could see my shame, all the while mentally torturing myself for being such a failure.

Then in front of everyone else I would eat slices of orange bell pepper and talk about how much energy I had, even though I was constantly exhausted.

Then, one day while I was living my double life, I came across an article in O Magazine written by a fat girl about my size who had been dieting on and off for years and had stopped and embraced something called “fat acceptance.”  From what I remember about this article (which is very little) she talked a lot about her relationship with her mom and how she thought diets were actually making her gain weight, I think?  She said she had found peace when she started reading fat acceptance blogs.  This was the most shocking thing in the article.  These were literally like BRAND NEW words to me. Okay? FAT. ACCEPTANCE.  What in the hell was that?  I was instantly suspicious.

I was so fucking skeptical my eyes nearly rolled right out of my head, out the door and went off to live a life of their own somewhere without me and my confused ass brain, but the concept that there was something out there that might free me from this misery I was in was so fascinating I had to know more.

I googled “fat acceptance blogs,” with the same curiosity I would, “is Bigfoot real?”

The internet was a little different back then.  If you google this today, you get directed to feminist websites that have entire catalogs of articles written about this.  There’s a Wikipedia page for it.  There are dozens of actual books written about it.  There’s a whole glossary of new terms with which to discuss it.  Back then, it was a relatively small community of bloggers who wrote on their own individual blogs and shared information. It was insulated.  It was subversive.

I don’t know if I can properly convey how it felt to read these blogs.  Literally for the first time in my fat life (all of it post puberty) I felt like I mattered, but more than that, I felt like myself.  Truth bomb after truth bomb just flooded my consciousness.  Everything was just a resounding brilliant exuberant form of “YES!”  Fat people are people!  It’s not nice to make fun of people, even if they’re fat!  Fat people can be healthy!  Skinny people are sometimes unhealthy! Diets don’t work! You deserve love! You are a person! Your body is not bad because it’s fat!  Boom. Boom. Boom.

The fountain of all this fat acceptance wisdom seemed to emanate mainly from one place though, and that was Kate Harding‘s blog, Shapely Prose, where Kate and other bloggers dissected fat hatred, and proposed the radical feminist concept that fat people are people. She certainly wasn’t the only influential blogger, but she was definitely at the top.  She was whip-smart and was published and featured in bigger more reputable places than just her blog.  She also wrote about feminism and other things not related to fat acceptance. She had a ton of credibility and she is an even more respected and widely read author today.

Kate had inspired thousands of women to consider the possibility that they weren’t worthless horrible human beings simply because they didn’t look like Victoria’s secret models.  She had also written, really, the quintessential manifesto for fat acceptance which was and still is, the Shapely Prose FAQ page, in which she answered with sass, research, science, data, logic, and incredibly well-reasoned arguments why being fat is not a crime, it’s actually okay, fine, and not a moral failure.  I will forever be grateful to her and that community for speaking out and giving me this life line.

The thing was, not in a bullying way, but in a frank, in-your-face, truth-telling bad ass kind of way, Kate’s writing gave me similar feelings to what the Skinny Bitch diet had, but instead of angry shame it was more like angry feminist inner power, and this time I could tell, for whatever reason, that without a doubt, she was right.

Even at my most committed on the Skinny Bitch diet, I was dubious that it was trustworthy.  For one thing, I never became the svelte sophisticated glamorous thin woman I had been promised on the Skinny Bitch diet, and I had followed it to the letter for months, yes, even exercising.  I had just gotten sadder.

Nothing in my life improved from dieting, and I think it was this sort of rock bottom that allowed me to see the light.  I was depressed, unfulfilled, overworked, underpaid and not pursuing any of my passions.  I wanted to write but I wasn’t writing.  I wanted to do theater but I never auditioned.  I wanted a boyfriend but I detested my own body and appearance so much that men could smell my misery from a mile away.  I was a walking red flag.

I wasn’t in control of my life at all, and I was placing all my dreams and effort to make those dreams happen in the hands of a diet book written by self-proclaimed bitches.  It’s not like this was the first diet I’d gone on.  I had been on many before it, but this was the last one (and in my opinion the most evil).  I no longer wanted to be thin above all else.  I wanted to be a nice smart person and a good human being, and I started by being that to myself.

I forever gave up on the idea that “once I was thin,” everything would get better, and you know what happened?  Pretty much everything got better.  I moved to New York, where I got my first published writing work.  I put up my own original plays.  I started my own blog, a body positive style blog that I wrote as a silly character/alter ego named Coco Beautiful, and it started raining men.  I was pulling HOT dudes that I never would have even had the confidence to look at when I was in my dieting craze (otherwise known as my entire teenage to adult life to that point).

Also, this new “fat acceptance phase” did something no diet ever managed.  It stuck. Despite the fact that fat hatred is still resiliently lurking around every corner, I am still fighting it, over 8 years later, and my life is better than ever.  My mental health is the best it’s ever been.  I have a beautiful healthy child who fills my life with joy and purpose.  I’m dating a great guy right now.  I’m getting paid for my writing work.  I have incredible friends and family.  I feel beautiful.  I love my style and taste and feel wonderful and sexy in my own skin.  I eat. whatever. I. want. to.

It wasn’t easy and it still isn’t.  If you haven’t noticed, there are a lot more people trying to convince you to be thin than not, but it’s a lot better, and one thing I know for sure, is that I’m pleased as punch not to be anybody’s bitch, skinny or otherwise.

babies · body positivity · fat acceptance · feelings · feminism · motherhood · weight loss

I’m Not Thinner, I’m Just Gorgeous.

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(This image of me was taken in a photo booth at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York, when I was reporting on a fashion show for Allie is Wired.  I was easily one of the fattest women anywhere in the tents that day, and I think I looked AMAZING.  I really love my outfit, which was completely non-designer cheap ass H&M stuff except for the Coach bag, which was a gift. I have no money.)

Whenever anyone asks me if I’ve lost weight,  a lot of times I say no, or “I don’t think so,” or in the past I’ve said, “Thank You.”

The truth is, I really don’t know, but I suspect not- I rarely weigh myself- and I don’t even trust scales anyway.  The same clothes have fit me for years, with a brief interlude where I was pregnant.  I was chubby before I got pregnant.  I only gained 30 pounds when I was pregnant and lost most of it in a few weeks after pregnancy, probably because my daughter breastfed constantly day and night.  It certainly wasn’t exercise or a juice cleanse.

Other than that I’ve worn a size 14 jean for years and usually an XL in dresses and tops. I’ve stayed a 38DD bra size, a size 8 bikini underwear, a size 7 shoe, except for sneakers which are 7.5.

I don’t sweat my weight.  I feel beautiful and hot.  I never diet (it’s a huge scam) and I eat what I want and I dress how I want and I exercise when and how I want. I am 100% in charge of my body.  I have no real health issues (seasonal allergies?).

I don’t give a damn what anyone else thinks about my weight, and I am proud and happy to call myself fat, not in a self-deprecating way, but just because I am and that’s ok.  Of course, I didn’t always feel that way.  (I’m a woman on Earth).  I used to really hate myself, a lot, and my number one target of my self-hatred was my body.  I would beat myself up over it.  I starved myself trying to fix it.  I let myself wallow in misery and depression and compared myself to thinner girls and really let every mean thing I’d ever heard about how women need to be thin in order to be beautiful or loved or human into my brain and poison it.

As soon as I stopped doing that, I actually lost weight.  This is true.  The last time I lost weight, was several years ago when I gave up on dieting.  I went from a 16/18 to a size 14.  Or maybe I didn’t, because I stopped weighing myself, so how the hell do I know?  I think I did, but maybe I just let myself wear size 14 clothes because I wanted to wear tight clothes and stop being invisible.  Maybe I was never a size 16/18 but that’s just how I saw myself.  I honestly don’t know, but that’s what happened.

The decision that being fat was by far, the least of my worries as a woman, changed me forever. Kindness, respect, dignity, intelligence, and confidence became my only goals, WAY above outer beauty.  Being thin is not a moral obligation and it is not an achievement and it does not bring peace into your life, so I quit trying to attain it.

Coincidentally, my only spiral back into a place of shame and food issues and all that glorious bullshit associated with the pressure to be thin, was when I was pregnant, and for a while after I had my daughter, which is a whole other chapter in my story, and I have been clawing my way out of that pit for some time now to tell it, and I will soon, now that I am finally feeling the light and the joy again of not giving a crap about my weight.

There is a lot more that I have to say about this, but let me get back to my original point.  After this big decision to give myself permission just to breathe and live and not worry about my weight, I got asked this question a lot, and I still get asked this question ALL. THE. TIME.

Whenever I am looking really good (maybe I am wearing clothes I didn’t used to dare wear or people think I “shouldn’t” wear because of my size and pulling them off or maybe I am just feeling good, feeling happy and feeling confident) people ask me if I have lost weight. They mean it as a compliment, sort of.  They mean “You look beautiful.  The only way to be beautiful is to be thin.  Therefore, you must have lost weight.”

Maybe they’re being sincere.  Maybe they think that’s what I want to hear.  Maybe they don’t mean it at all, but they just want to say something nice and they think implying that I have lost weight is nice, because I’m not thin, so that must be my greatest desire and success.  I don’t know, but it is probably the most common “compliment” I get.  What a passive aggresive af compliment that is, right?  I can just hear Lucille Bluth saying it with a painfully phony grin plastered on her face.

My answer going forward has to be that, absolutely, I have lost the weight of fear, shame and depression.  I have lost my obsession with striving to be thin.  I have certainly lost a lot of my pain.  That’s what happens when you reject what you know in your heart to be a lie.  You become free.

So you can stop asking me that.  You can just tell me how beautiful I look or even, don’t worry about how I look at all, or how any women look.  You can let that one go, and if you’d like to know any of my secrets to achieving joy and purpose and happiness, I’m happy to share.