Tag Archives: A Voluptuous Body

A History of Silence

The other week was Mental Health Awareness Week and I had planned to post this then as a celebration of my own mental struggles – but of course I never got the time/had the energy to sit down and polish off the right words. I do think it’s great that this week is marked in the calendar and that it prompts so many valuable discussions. In the wake of the devastating news about Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbits, it feels especially poignant.

Where do you even start though when you’ve been plagued with doubt your whole life? And why does it always feel so narcissistic to talk non-stop about this stuff? I’ve dealt (and sometimes ignored) my own depression and anxiety since teen age. I always thought I was just supremely anti-social and lazy (I am lazy) but I’ve come to understand that it’s not that black and white. Sometimes the feeling of not being able to physically haul yourself out of bed isn’t just because you’re a sloth. As for being around too many people, that’s all symptom of the same condition. Some days I can’t bear the thought of having to deal with another living soul. My family used to describe me as sensitive and you know what, I really am – and there’s nothing wrong with it.

When I first moved to Brighton I was grappling not only with a dramatic move and adult life away from home but with crippling loneliness. I didn’t like myself very much, felt hideous 24/7 (adult acne did not help) and all I wanted to do was hide away. As I adapted to my new life some of that fell away but I’d fall hard for the wrong men and then feel everything ten fold. The first time I sought (not very good) assistance from a medical professional was because of a man (I had an affair with someone completely unavailable). Really it was about all those feelings backing up one on top of the other and having no understanding of how to deal but the boy was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I was immediately medicated with no other discussion and whatever I took then was not the one. My doctor was well-meaning but not exactly open to a conversation about mental health and I guess I didn’t really care to understand the whys then, I just wanted to be ‘fixed’.

A few years later, during my black period (age 24-30), I was in a very bad place. I was trapped in a relationship that was slowly killing me. For the most part I was numb and uncaring about everything but inside I felt trapped, scared and I did not want to be part of anything anymore. I walked on eggshells around a man that scared and controlled me in subtle ways. When he told me I was crazy I believed him. When he told me I was lucky he didn’t hit women, I believed him.

Well, hindsight is a wonderful thing and it’s sometimes hard to remember how bad things were then but they were the pits. I thought seriously about ending it and planned my out meticulously, something I’ve never really told anyone and certainly nobody at the time. I had it all mapped out but now I think if I’d gone through with it, it would have been a cry for help. Not to trivialise the choice to end a life, I have every sympathy for anyone in that position but I personally wanted a way out or for someone to reach out and tell me what to do. I’m thankful I didn’t act on that and one day did find the strength to leave him. I still dream about that time and live in dread that one day I might bump into him again.

Life since has been up and down of course because it’s life but it’s been good. That anxiety though just doesn’t want to let go. Everywhere I go I am constantly wrestling with the internal voice that tells me I’m worthless and failing at everything. Every time I walk into a new social situation I’m sure everyone hates me – and I will often lie awake at night because I forgot to say goodbye to someone and have probably upset them in some irreparable way.

It’s a funny old battle – the war between this negative voice and the real me – but they are both me and we have to find a way to co-exist. I’m medicated again, I started up on Sertraline about ten months ago and it seems to be suiting me. My lovely doctor also got me signed up to some CBT training and counselling and has generally been adorable every time I’ve rocked up to her office and sobbed my heart out. I’ve been lucky this time and things feel more manageable. Some environmental changes can trigger a particularly bad period but other than that I’m coping.

My heart goes out to anyone with the same feelings and it breaks my heart when another person loses their battle but I understand. Suicide doesn’t make a person weak and if that’s the only way to find peace then I get it – although I would hope there’s always another way.

Things might be getting better and there is less stigma attached to these mental conditions but we still have a long way to go.

Here are a few deeply relatable illustrations about anxiety that I love:

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Smental

So much for Motivated May, eh? I had all these plans to keep the posts flowing throughout Mental Health Awareness Week and then… I couldn’t muster the energy. Instead I had a very chilled week, mainlined Safe on Netflix and spent time with my beloved. Which sometimes is all the self-care you need.

MHAW was a busy one at work though with workshops every day which I made sure I attended. While they won’t change my life forever, they have given me plenty of food for thought. Particularly when it comes to diet, direct sunlight and digital behaviour. I’m not talking going on a diet obviously, I’m talking about the things I ‘should’ be eating for optimum mental health – fermented foods like kimchi, anyone? Sauerkraut with every meal? I’m definitely falling short of my 5 a day (bare minimum) and probably should swap out my daily Wispa for an apple but we’ll see.

Apparently you’re also supposed to get at least 30 minutes of sunlight into YOUR EYEBALLS every lunchtime too – which I definitely do not do, what with being ginger and mutant and all.

For me it’s the digital side of things that is the real problem, I’m the worst for falling down a blue light rabbit hole before bed and not being able to sleep – so I’m looking at what I can do to rein that in. So much of the time I spend on social media could not be considered ‘quality’ and I can do without it. That’s what books were invented for, right?

All in all I think I’m in an okay place. I was going to do a whole spiel for the week about my history with depression and hey, I still will but in a few days when I get my act together. In the meantime, I’m just here thinking about life and kicking myself that May wasn’t the hive of activity I planned it to be. Joyous June, anyone?

Consider this a check in, filler post while I sort out my life.

How are you?

Update on Anxiety

My anxiety has been more in check these last couple of weeks since the panic attack but I am definitely feeling more sensitive to certain things. Like, if there are too many people at an event, I’m out thanks. I’ve always been this way to a point (50% introvert, 50% extrovert donchaknow?) but as the nicer weather starts to show its face and large pockets of people congregate all over the place, it fills me with dread. Even if they are all smiley and happy.

I’m not against joy or anything and I love people really, even though I pretend I don’t – but large collectives stress me out. Even at my own events (like I throw those regularly!), I feel like I can’t sufficiently spread my attentions around and get flappy. So I’m feeling a bit angsty lately and fighting the urge to hide away – I say fighting because so far I’m winning, go me.

These kind of introspective periods make me think a lot about what I’m doing with my life and although I’m pretty happy, I’m starting to lose patience with some things and some people. I think I just have to keep reminding myself that I have the power to make changes, however small.

Thankfully it’s the Bank Holiday weekend and I’ve got lots of plan to podcast, watch movies, see good friends and just chill the fuck out, without having to make any big plan yet.

Bring it on.

Blue Monday

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I was going to do a whole schtick about Blue Monday and my ‘cure’ for such days but, on reading the post back, I realised it was coming off too flippant. Like, ha the cure for any bad day is obviously Jason Momoa’s Instagram, and while I wish more than anything it was that simple, I know it’s not.

All I can say is that anyone affected by anxiety and Mental Health Issues, I hope you get the help you need. You’re not alone, no matter how much it might feel that way.

And maybe Blue Monday is a good thing if it gets us all talking about the January Blues and how depressing it can all be. Maybe in knowing something like this is coming we can better arm ourselves against it? Practicing self-care is incredibly important, be that a bubble bath or taking the whole day off social media to protect yourself from triggering news. We gotta do what we gotta do, right? There’s no other way.

This isn’t meant to be a woe is me post personally but I know how it feels to feel hopeless and trapped and terrified, something I’ve held on to for way too long, let me tell you. And it rears its ugly head in the form of anxiety and doubt all the time. But things can get better, do get more manageable and they can change.

They can change for you too. 💙

If you’re in the UK, you can dial 116 123 to get through to The Samaritans.
This is a handy looking list of Mental Health helplines is good too.

Oh, just in case, this is Momoa’s Insta. 💙

Day 24: Sleigh

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Christmas can be a difficult time, all that family together in close quarters, all that cleaning and cooking to do. I try not to allow myself to stress but invariably do, spending much of Christmas morning red-faced and cussing. Sometimes snapping at my loved ones, as they naturally try to help me out, and I don’t let them.

I’m not talking about my immediate family here because these days it’s just us, chilling out but I saw something on social media about how hard it can be to spend all that time with the people you love when they just don’t understand you. This post in particular was about a girl struggling with being called fat continually throughout the Christmas period by her parents and extended family.

Now, I do know how this feels as I grew up with critical family members, who from an early age made digs about how much and what I ate at Christmas (and all year round). I still remember the exact words and who uttered them, and I must have been no more than 8 at the time. They didn’t stop as I grew up and honestly, if I had a penny for every time I’ve heard “You’d be beautiful if you lost weight”, I’d have a lot of pennies. (Which I’d spend on crisps).

I wish people would stop. Or at least consider how even the most throwaway comment can land and stick for life. I’ve never been conventionally attractive or slim and it doesn’t matter to anyone. Why should it bother an aunt I only ever see briefly at Christmas or funerals?

It isn’t always about weight or looks, either. It can be about career or lack thereof. Or your inability to hold down a relationship. Maybe you have the wrong relationship. Maybe you’re just not living up to your family’s expectations, whatever they are.

In my own meandering way I’m trying to say, if you’re in a situation like this: hang in there. It’s hard just to say fuck them when they’re your family, I know*. Sometimes you’ve no choice but to grin and bear it. But please try to remember that you should be answerable to nobody but yourself.

So they don’t like the way you look. And? They think you could do better career wise. What do you think, are you happy? 

They despise your boyfriend/girlfriend? Well, you’ve kind of got me here ‘cos in my experience, Mother is always right. But you know, you’re the one who has to decide this and you will decide this when the time is right. (I’m living proof you have to take your own time to figure this shit out).

Go slay this Christmas season: be secure in who you are. Try and be patient with the ignorance of others, if you can. Don’t tolerate anything that upsets you. Believe in yourself and don’t forget, people with happy healthy lives never feel the need to throw verbal punches, so consider that.

You’re fucking perfect the way you are. Merry motherfucking Christmas! ❤

*Mum, if you’re reading this, I don’t mean you!

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Naked

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Frankly I felt the cover needed just one addition

This week Kim Kardashian West attempted to #breaktheinternet with the release of some rather grand photographs of her butt.

Shot by Jean-Paul Goude for Paper magazine, the cover (right) pays homage to her famous derriere. Dig a little deeper (as if you’re not interested) and you will witness Kiki ‘re-imagining’ Goude’s best known image “Caroline Beaumont, New York, 1976“.

The Internet seems to still be in tact, just about, but what of all the minds blown by the photographs themselves? People are amused, shocked, disgusted, outraged, curious, excited and royally pissed off by the images.

Kimmy has been the butt (pun intended) of many jokey tributes (including some frankly creepy/unflattering ones) and criticised all over the shop for being a bad feminist, a bad mother and yet again a talent-less, plastic nobody. So far I believe she has turned the other cheek (!!) and I hope that she continues to do so.

NB: Kim did tweet this following release of the pictures:

Who says she isn't self-aware?
Who says she isn’t self-aware?

What has all those knickers in a twist really, though? Is it the nudity, or the apparent Photoshopping? Is it the ‘pointlessness’ of it all? Or is it just that it’s Kim having the audacity to celebrate how bloody hot she is?

I know it’s a broad topic and one that has so many arguments but this post is really about butt appreciation from my point of view, so I shall take it from here, guys.

(And a bit of KK appreciation, if I’m honest. Another Proud Pleasure).

Click on image to enlarge
Click on image to enlarge

Kimmy, in general, to me is something special. I know where she began, what she has done (who doesn’t? She’s kindly documented almost every aspect of her life for us). I know that technically she doesn’t have a ‘talent’ (singer/baker/candlestick maker), but what if her talent is having a work ethic that would make a mere mortal weep?

What if her super power is having the ability to continually pick herself up, dust herself off and turn all her mistakes into gold? Those are talents I can get behind.

I like Kim, love Keeping Up with The Kardashians and I like Kim’s body too. She looks sensational almost all the time and she’s banging, dammit.

I’m not into body shaming, all bodies types are fine with me and I appreciate the female form as much as the next person. I love seeing curvy women celebrating their curvaceousness as much as I like seeing svelte women representing my favourite designers on the catwalk.

Personally, I don’t have anything against the use of thin women to promote anything as long as there is a visible alternative. How heavenly it would be to see those alternatives in the mainstream, and not just as an afterthought. But that’s a whole other topic for another time.

I’m voluptuous and trying to be proud of that. I’m unlikely to ever be quite as banging as Mrs West (shocker), but as a short woman with a small waist and a big old booty, she is closer to my body type any day than the Keira Knightleys of this world (love her). So why not be happy to see that in all its glory? I sure as shit am!

In another shot within Kim’s issue of Paper, we get to see her full frontal. No, I don’t really see the big deal. It’s just a pair of (great) boobs and very smooth private parts (a fitting tribute to the work of her waxer). She is young and looks amazing. Her pose is playful and proud, not even particularly sexual.

Cheeky ;p
Cheeky ;p

But she’s a mother, say some? Heaven forbid that she teach North to be proud of her body as she grows up. That would be awful. North will see these images one day and you know what? By then Kim will have had the talk with her that explains some of the decisions that she made, that have made her who she is today.

Trust me, North is going to have a more complex time wrapping her head around the cult of celebrity, reality television, Daddy Kanye and the Kardashian Family en masse. Nakedness and an infamous bum are going to be the least of it.

Yes, this is a simplistic view. Yes, the photographs look heavily Photoshopped, thus giving us mere mortals yet another unrealistic ideal to aim toward. We’ve long known that pretty much every cover, every photograph we see in fashion magazines has had the same work. It’s part and parcel of the fashion industry and will hopefully change one day.

Had Kim stood up there in all her natural, oiled goodness with her butt at an angle to emphasise its ripeness would she still have got it in the neck?

But, of course.

Thoughts? Can you add to this conversation?

None of the photographs within this post belong to me.