Ageing

I posted this on Instagram late Saturday night in a moment of candidness and it got quite a heartwarming response. So I thought, why not share it here? It’s one of the things I think of the most at the moment, the relentless passing of time and how it affects my self-esteem.

I know it’s not something I can stop and I know we all feel this way from time to time, or will feel that way, it’s just a subject close to my heart. So sue me.

IMG_20180217_221136_012You know something? It’s hard getting older. It’s nice getting older but it’s also incredibly hard to come to terms with the fact that you’re not the young sprite you used to be. I’m insecure about being over ten years older than a lot of the people in my life but I like the variety and I feel more energetic and lucky to be able to learn from them too, I would never change it.

I mention my age a lot like a proper grandma but I wouldn’t change it. I’m mostly comfortable in my own skin and it’s so important to embrace who you are. I got to this place via a hundred funny stories, some loss, hardship and good old-fashioned love. Not to mention with (a lot) of help from my friends. Life is amazing and beautiful and it’s mainly down to the people you surround yourself with.

I wouldn’t change a thing, for all the tea in China. And I really love tea. ❤

What are your thoughts?

Girl, Bye.

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You know what true power is?

Cutting things out of your life that hurt or anger you. No argument, no “Fuck you”, just a “Girl, bye” under your breath and you’re off. I’m currently angry and bewildered by a particular incident that happened on that wonderful barometer of how shit people can be: the internet. Specifically, Facebook.

Someone I know recently posted a status update about ‘promoting plus-size’ (and how wrong it is), and even though I should never be surprised by the general lack of sympathy toward fat people, I did expect better from this individual.

Sadly (not really), she’s no longer going to be part of my life, on any platform or in the flesh (in my case, substantially more flesh). I don’t conform to who she wants me to be nor deserve any sort of respect based on what she’s saying apparently, so I’m stepping out.

I know, I know that us fats are all just asking for trouble being the way we are. We’re all going to die horribly because we wear bigger dress sizes. We certainly don’t live active lives, how can we? We all eat shit, swerve veggies and more or less just mainline Digestives on the sofa in front of the TV day in day out. You got me.

We don’t deserve to dress nicely or enjoy fashion or beauty, life or love. We don’t deserve basic respect either while we’re here. A sweeping statement on Facebook with a Daily Mail supporting link is definitely the way to go to reach people if that’s really what you want to do. And if people are alienated, feel personally let down by your attitude, all the better right? They deserve it, the pigs.

People do not respond well to being bullied. Being hateful (even in the form of faux-health concern) will not help. If anything it will make people far less likely to make the best choices for themselves. It will make them feel like shit. It will stop them living their best lives.

How dare this person promote a love yourself mentality and then screw over all the overweight people on her friends list? Oh wait, maybe she doesn’t have any overweight friends? (She doesn’t now). She is blonde, slim and beautiful after all, and it seems not tolerant of anyone who doesn’t fit a similar ideal?

I haven’t spoken to her about this and I won’t. I’m not interested in a debate. I don’t care what she thinks or says. Chances are that she thinks she’s being helpful and that her arrogant ‘motivation’ comes from a good place. I really don’t care.

Girl, bye.

You can bet I’m exercising this mentality in all areas of my life. Brexit was a good way to measure people’s true selves and unfortunately, a handful of people fell short of what I want in my life.

There are doubtless things I say and do that alienate me from people that I don’t even register and that’s their right too. Life’s too short for bullshit and I’m done.

Click, click – over it.

Love Yourself

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I saw a piece of graffiti the other day that really annoyed me.

It doesn’t happen often but this one had a judgmental tone I didn’t care for. I wish I’d taken a snap now but it fucked me off so much I stomped away before doing so, then thought about writing this post afterwards. D’oh!

The piece was small, amateurish and said something along the lines of: “Love and respect yourself before someone else can love and respect you.”

Um. Okay.

Look, I get the sentiment of it. I’m all for the self-love rhetoric and believe wholeheartedly in the art of being kind to yourself, loving your own body, mind and soul. I’ve more than once posted inspirational memes to this effect.

However, I’m starting to realise how problematic this way of thinking is. I mean, was I the perfect specimen when I met my husband? You’ve got to be shitting me. I was coming out of a very dark, destructive relationship in which I considered suicide and very much did not love myself.

Loving who I am has come ever since that relationship and is an ongoing project. It will never be finished and so what? I’m more than happy to dedicate the rest of my life to loving myself as much as I can and maintaining that.

To suggest that someone is not deserving of love until they’re at peace with themselves is pretty shitty when you think about it. Love and acceptance can go hand in hand and I’m not saying you have to be validated by another human to be happy in yourself, nor do you have to be with anybody at all. You don’t have to be fixed or happy all the time, loving yourself is a great idea and I support it but it’s not for everybody all the time. Think about it, is it not just another impossible ideal we’re being pushed toward?

You have to love yourself! You have to respect yourself! You have to be confident! You have to be sassy!

What if I’m two of those things today, none of them tomorrow and all of them but the last one on Sunday? If I don’t hit my self-love quota will my love license be revoked? Will I go straight to the bottom of the pile in terms of love and respect from others?

What is self-respect anyway? One woman’s sleazy is another woman’s empowerment so fuck off, alright?

Love yourself by all means but don’t beat yourself up when you don’t. Be as kind to yourself as you can but don’t feel you can’t have down days, can’t just be. You are worthy of love all the time and not just magically when you’ve passed the self-love bar and received your self-respect certificate in the post.

Always.

I can safely say that this piece of graffiti was not supposed to evoke such a reaction in me but it has. Call me sensitive if you like but my very badly constructed argument still stands.

Dietland (Book) Review

 

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It’s only the first few days of June and I think I’ve already found my book of the year.

I’m going to try to review this without giving much away because I think it’s a fun, dark and interesting look at society, feminism, revenge, beauty and self love, amongst other things – and I want people to read the hell out of it.

Dietland gives us a fat protagonist, Plum which is a treat to find in literature. Or at least, it’s less common to have a fat character presented in a positive light. This seems to be changing, however despite placing a lot of ‘fat main character’ books on my Amazon wish list recently, it still feels like a novelty.

That last statement might not be strictly accurate btw. I should say that I haven’t noticed main fat characters much in the books I’ve read but I would be open to recommendations on books that do feature them. As many as possible! Ones that aren’t the DUFF or end up having massive makeovers to deem themselves acceptable, obvs.

Alicia ‘Plum’ Kettle is deeply apologetic about the fact that she’s fat, so any change in this attitude is a way down the line. More than apologetic, she is obsessed in her quest to lose weight and become her real self – just ‘Alicia’.

Here in the current day, Plum fills a wardrobe with clothes she’ll wear when she’s skinny, when she’s had the stomach stapling surgery she’s booked in for and can finally transform into her true self. She’s been on a diet for most of her life and tends to stick to the safety of her immediate environment to avoid drawing attention to herself. Which doesn’t work really but hey ho.

She works for a big magazine, answering personal emails to her shithead boss, Dear Kitty, who doesn’t have the time to do it herself. Plum spends each day in the local cafe sending advice to ‘her girls’, on anything from self-harming to sexual abuse and life’s what it
is. Kind of in limbo until the real living begins – when she’s thin.

A quick aside from me: I love Plum because I’ve thought like her and I know a lot of people have and still do. I’ve tried to stop this damaging thought process and accept that how I look now is more than likely how I will always look. The concept that “Life begins” at a certain (and mostly impossible) point is incredibly sad.

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Photograph not mine

One seemingly ordinary day, Plum notices that she’s being followed by a dark-haired girl who appears to be making notes about her in a journal. She’s used to comments and people taking her picture on the street but somehow senses this is different.

Little does Plum know that her stalker is about to change her life completely and in the most dramatic way possible.

Running alongside Plum’s ‘rebirth’ is news of a  feminist terrorist organisation named by the media as “Jennifer”, who are committing violent acts of retribution against rapists and abusers, as well as major media outlets and the porn industry.

Sweet and fluffy this book is not and I love it all the more for that. There are horrific descriptions of some of the acts, by both the terrorists and those they are carrying out revenge against. It doesn’t shy away from rape culture and it’s powerful stuff.

Plum’s story is wonderfully empowering and I actually love her. I feel like in many ways she is me, she is every woman and when she starts to figure out where she belongs in this world and begins to enjoy the space she takes up, I may have whooped.

I also love many of the supporting characters who open Plum’s eyes to the all the bullshit out there, without too much personal judgement. Plum undergoes such a transformation by the time you reach the last page that I think it would be impossible not to feel happy for her – and it probably won’t be in the way you’re expecting.

Does Plum undergo the weightloss surgery she’s so focussed on, and start that brand new life that’s been waiting for her since she was a teenager?

And the question you’ll no doubt be asking yourselves: what has the mysterious “Jennifer” got to do with Plum, if anything at all? Find out by picking this book up ASAP.

My Thoughts:

You may not agree with everything that takes place within this book but I think for the most part, any woman can identify with the exhausting notion that we have to look and be a certain way to be deemed acceptable by society.

The issue here is not just fat but beauty on the whole – from the tips of our toes to the roots of our hair. And beyond beauty, there’s an interesting comment on the porn industry that made me think a lot more about it.

I find stories like this empowering while others may not and that’s okay but I think the story fits in a lot with the way I’ve been viewing myself over the last year which might be why it resonates so. I’m learning that I don’t have to be sorry for anything, let alone the amount of space I occupy.

I really just want to read this all over again.

Book details:

Dietland
Publisher: Atlantic Books; Main edition (5 May 2016)
ISBN-10: 1782399291
ISBN-13: 978-1782399292
Bought paperback (new)

If you read this book, or anything similar, please let me know. I’m always up for a good recommendation ❤

Skin Care for Basic Bitches

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My bathroom looks NOTHING like this

Just lately I’ve been feeling like an old lady, with an old face to match.

It might sound ridiculous to most that a 38-year-old may feel this way but I feel like it’s natural to be looking at yourself in a new light as you approach significant junctions in life.

As a result of my navel (or rather ugly mug) gazing, I’ve taken a few steps towards skin care with a view to waking up looking like a wee baby one day soon (or Cara Delevingne, I’m not fussy).

My friend Darren is a skin care and product aficionado who’s only too happy to share his favourites so, based on some of his recommendations (and some of my own finds), I’ve put together a very simple skin care regime. All I have to do is stick to it, sit back and wait for people to start commenting on how goddamn radiant I’m looking.

For the purpose of this post: I think I have normal skin with a propensity towards dryness around the edges. My routine before this involved Simple Facial Wash and a no-name cleanser. If you’re lucky, I might remove my eye makeup before bed but it’s really hard to do as all my products are waterproof (and therefore would survive the Apocalypse).

If I’m honest, my lacklustre complexion may have kicked off this new campaign but a night of heavy drinking last week brought me out in a horrible alcohol rash (anyone else get these following a binge drink?) and that did not help my self-esteem one bit!

It’s been a week now and I’m really trying to stick to it. What I’m using at the moment:

8878808334366Nip+Fab Dragons Blood Fix Cleansing Pads

I usually stock up on these bad boys when they’re on offer, which thankfully they seem often to be. They might be hard on sensitive skin but for me they seem fine. I like how they clean the skin but also seem to leave a slight sheen on the surface, which is better than it sounds. I feel clean when done, and do this before bed and first thing in the morning.

A couple of these products contain acidic properties and this one contains Hyaluronic acid which hydrates the skin, making it plumper (funny how plump is acceptable when it comes to the face and mouth!). I likes it, though, I likes it a lot.

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This one sounds a bit scary but I love the idea of my skin working overtime as I sleep. Again, this contains some heavy-duty acids that work together to exfoliate (I don’t get how without me physically helping it along – it’s a beauty miracle!), hydrate, purify and resurface my tired old skin.

This has a sort of grapefruit-y smell to it which I enjoy but when I first used it it really warmed the skin, almost to an uncomfortable degree. It’s not been quite so bad since so I’ll put that down to getting used to the acids. Sensitive skinned lovelies might have to exercise a little caution if they try this product.

8906053648414Superdrug Simply Pure Hydrating Serum

This is Darren’s pick which came after he read this article. Apparently it’s something of a miracle for its tiny price tag and that couldn’t appeal to me more (I’m cheap, what can I say?).

I apply this in the morning before primer and make-up, and I’m counting on this to change my life. I definitely have less dry skin around the nose and chin now and its lovely and light, so the skin drinks it up without too much effort. I like that. Providing it doesn’t disappear again (due to insane demand), I’m happy to give this a permanent place amongst my essentials.

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I should admit that I got a sample of this free with a lipstick when I popped into the Big Boots on a week day off. The sales girl persuaded me to buy a matching lip scrub for the free moisturiser and she was nice, so *why not*, right?

I love the name because it implies exactly what my skin needs, a lovely nourishing drink of something cool for the face. It’s a nice consistency and isn’t so rich that it causes breakouts, which is what I get from heavier night creams. Although I tend to pop it on after the serum in the morning and before the rest of my face (is over hydration a thing?).

~

So there you are, my current recommendations. I’m really no expert in anything beauty but I know what I like. I’d also like to be better educated – perhaps this is my time and my late thirties and beyond will be where I finally start to shine!

What are you loving right now? ❤

Get Me Bodied

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Last night I fell into bed at the usual time utterly exhausted. Had I climbed a mountain, or run 10k? Nope, just the usual: spent more than a ‘healthy’ amount of time on Twitter.

I can’t blame my favourite social media app for all these feelings of inertia but a conversation started on there that began to melt my brain, and then got me thinking about all the other negative talk I hear on a day to day basis.

It gets to the point where you can feel like you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders and for a moment there I wanted to shout; “Stop the world, I want to get off!”.

Then I remembered that the new patch on my denim jacket urges me to consider what Kathleen Hanna would do and I know I can’t just lie down until it passes. Not that this blog post will change society in 350 words obviously, but at least I can get it off my chest.

It’s about bodies (who knew?).

The thing that triggered me yesterday was news of a plus-size issue of Glamour magazine. Cool. But apparently, or at least this is how it looks to the outside world, they’d struggled to actually fill an entire issue with ‘acceptable’ women of size so they’d turned to Amy Schumer as one of their poster children.

She’s not plus-size in my eyes but by that stage I didn’t know what dress size she was so, whatever (obviously it wasn’t going to be a large one). Schumer, on social media, reposted the cover with the a “Hey Twitter, what are your thoughts?”. She went on to say she had nothing against being plus-size but that as a US size 6 (plus-size begins at 16), she doesn’t consider herself to be in that category. She also claimed she was never told or asked that she’d be in this edition, and that she’s offended by it.

This whole thing does raise the question of why she’s so bothered about the association to this label, especially when she’s started off by being so body positive. I get that the label is not for some. Ashley Graham wants to be referred to as sexylicious ffs! But from what I’ve seen, Amy has made a career out of fat jokes about herself, I guess she just doesn’t think it’s cool that anyone would consider her that way, beyond herself. It’s just such a mixed message.

I’m not saying she’s wrong for raising the point of how this labeling could affect young people but I just… I’m tired of it all.

Not even to mention the fact that they could have filled this issue with hundreds of incredible fat ladies who aren’t models and made this issue actually something special.

I’m tired of fat people still not having it better in 2016. I’m tired of insidious fat talk seeping into my every day life and never being put in check. I’m tired of Amy Schumer’s poor comic delivery if I’m honest.

Most of all, I’m tired of thinking about my own body all the time. Like, all the shitting time!

Out for drinks on Friday I found myself talking about this vessel I call my body wayyyyyy too much and it was only because one person in my party likes to bring it up. I’m not sure why: to make me feel different? Special? Not good enough? It’s likely not malicious but it’s helped me on my way to typing this out. Shut up about it already!

Normally I’m all for this chatter. I’m getting better at it and I accept myself a hell of a lot more than I did ten/two years/one year/six months/a day ago but sometimes I just feel worn down. I think it’s the beauty industry altogether, with fat just being one branch of it.

And you know what else, I’m a privileged fat person at that – I’m white, at the smaller end of the plus-size spectrum and I’m represented a hell of a lot more in the media and all around than a lot of other women. So I have much less of a right to be moaning right now.

So, before my head falls off (at least I’d lose half a stone, amiright? BOOM):

  • Is it okay to be fat? Yes.
  • Do fat people deserve the same considerations as thin people? Yes.
  • Is it a form of rebellion to love yourself despite the fact people around you are telling you not to? Yes.
  • Is it okay to hate yourself every once in a while, despite all your body po personal achievements? Fuck yes.
  • Is it okay to be thin and beautiful? Yes.
  • Is it okay to opt out of triggering body talk? Always yes.
  • Is it okay to call someone up on their casual fatphobia? Yes.
  • Is it okay to feel down about bodies in general and write an incoherent post about it on your blog? God I hope so.

Finally:

  • Is it okay to dislike Amy Schumer (not for this) but still sort of enjoy Trainwreck (2015)? I don’t care what the answer to this one is TBH.

That’s where I am head wise today. If I were given the opportunity to be a brain in a jar for a while I might take them up on it just for another perspective.

One day you know maybe there won’t be the need to assess women by their size and conversations like this will be a thing of the past. I look forward to that day but until then, call me plus, give me clothes that fit and less of the fucking attitude.

What’s on your mind today? ❤

Painting the Walls

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I’ve never identified more with an illustration found on Twitter before (Heather of Yummy Sushi Pajamas kindly sourced the artist, who is Suzeart).

This is exactly how I view my tattoos and how wonderfully that’s been put here. Too often I’ve told myself I’ll wait until I’m a certain way (thin, obviously) before I treat myself to nice clothes, a decent haircut – new tattoos. Once I even set myself the goal of a new tattoo at every significant weight loss milestone – how sad is that? If you want ink and can afford it, why wait? Treat yourself NOW dammit.

I didn’t really start to love myself until I started to take some ownership. To witness other fat ladies online doing something as radical as loving the fuck out of their bodies had such an impact that I can’t really put it into adequate words. I knew I had to start taking responsibility too. This involved taking back the word “fat”, using it as a descriptor rather than a derogatory term, accepting what I really look like and not hiding away in shame.

And not putting my body down.

That’s the hardest part for me I think, seeing myself caught on camera by someone else and not freaking out, feeling crushed by how grotesque I am. But nobody said it would be perfect, or easy. Learning and maintaining a strong sense of love for oneself is an ongoing project as far as I see it. I very much doubt you one day arrive at a permanent plateau of total and utter satisfaction for who you are – or maybe some people do.

I started getting more into brightly coloured tattoos about 2 years ago. Before that I had tattoos, but they were mostly rebellious or part of my rites of passage. I was lucky enough to make friends with a tattooist who could facilitate this on the reg and together we changed the landscape of my chubby little arm forever. Although we’ve both moved on and I see Alex now instead, during that time I started to think of myself as less of a useless lump and more of an empowered person, doing what I wanted without permission.

That felt good and although I’m nobody’s door mat, I sometimes find it hard to demand things for myself. Painting the walls and hanging pictures all over my body is a form of expressing exactly who I am, without having to use the words I so often stumble over.

I put myself under the needle again yesterday afternoon and let me tell you that ribs are a whole other ball game when it comes to tattoo pain. Youch. So so worth it though to be able to rock the piece below.

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Yes that’s side boob

This is my new mantra BTW. When I feel the need to run myself down to others or be derogatory or rude about my looks, I shall stop and remember that I love myself. More than that, I completely adore myself, rolls and all.

It’s fitting somehow that I went through Hell to get this tattoo (not really, my tattooist is very good) – a nod to the journey *puke* from utter repulsion to self-acceptance. None of it’s easy, for any of us but if we can at least get on the right track, we’ll start a happy life-long relationship with someone who will love us for the rest of our lives, and love us better than anyone else can.

It’s okay, I’m going now. I just wanted to share the above illustration and a few of my thoughts on moving into your body fully and decorating as you see fit.

I know tattoos and body modification aren’t everybody’s idea of expression but I think this can translate to how you wear your hair and make up your face, how you dress – not everything has to be permanent or set in stone. I just happen to like my paintwork that way.

Always have, always will ❤

Lest we forget my inspiration for the above skin decoration, my original post featuring Artist Yayoi Kusama.