Thank you(s), epiphanies, and a HUGE break-up!

This week, in my little corner of the blogosphere, I have been more touched, motivated, and thankful than I could EVER find a way to put into words. A couple days ago, I wrote down possibly one of the most vulnerable subjects of my life. You can read it HERE. Puh-lease, please, please read the comments below my post if you haven't! What I wrote started the discussion, but the amazing part was in the response. From the VERY bottom of my heart…thank you. To every woman that made me realize that I was not alone in feeling this way, to every man who was so incredibly sweet that I want to just wrap my arms around you and never let go, and to everyone who even took one minute to read what I wrote. I am amazed.

Beyond the support, something else happened. I'm even daring to call it healing. It may seem silly to say I didn't realize how many people struggle with this, but I really didn't. I didn't feel alone anymore, I felt empowered. I feel compassion for anyone that has ever felt like less because of their weight or their mirror. I read so many articles about the issue (here are three of really good ones: The best article I read anywhere!, Body Image Tips, and Teen Body Image Talks - Stopping the Issue at the Start), my eyes hurt. It made me angry. And anger makes me want to fix things. It won't happen overnight, but I'll be damned if I continue to accept feeling this way for the rest of my life.

Which brings us to the break-up. It's Friday. I've never broken up with anything on my blog, but taking a page out of the book of Shine, this break-up is gonna be a big one (TWSH). Diet companies, airbrushed magazine ads, and unrealistic ideals on outside appearances? WE ARE DONE. No more will I allow you to make me feel like crap about my jean size, my Jessica Rabbit rear end, or my cute little round face. It's mine. It's the only one I get and it's pretty adorable. I'm on to your antics. I know that diet companies have become a $40-100 billion industry based on "failure" or the perception of failure. I see the *Results not typical at the end of every article, diet advertising, and before/after photo you bombard us with endlessly. And I've had it. I may not feel better about this tomorrow. I'm not going to end a 19 year struggle with this overnight, but I'm going to turn my focus on kicking your ass instead of berating my own.

I'd like to challenge everyone to do a few things this next week, month, year of your life. Stop buying diet aids that promise unrealistic results. Stop allowing your friends to obsess (if you see it) over their "imperfections" and find a way to talk to them. Have the conversation. Stop being afraid to say it, because I promise you…we're all feeling it. Stop calling yourself "fat" when what you really mean is, "I'd like to work out more" or "I feel like I'm not living or promoting a healthy lifestyle". Realize that every comment you make could be affecting much more than just you. You could be aiding the struggle of the person sitting next to you and continuing a vicious cycle. We are all beautiful. We are not all Angelina Jolie. And thank God, can you imagine all the babies? If you see something promoting unhealthy expectations, don't buy it. Write a letter to the company, the tv show or magazine promoting it. And equally, promote the good stuff. Dove's Real Beauty Campaign or Glamour's Campaign to bring real life pictures into magazines are just a few rocking my socks off. People are aware of the problem. If we stop supporting the unrealistic expectations, maybe just maybe we can start seeing the beauty in who we are today and stop living for the person we'll be 5, 10, or 50 pounds from now.

This won't be the end of the talks about this on my blog, but I promise to return to regularly scheduled programming of ranting and useless lightweight ramblings here next week. I just wanted to say thank you to everyone the only way I knew how. In the words of MJ, "If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a CHANGE!"



The Skin I’m In

I'm not a terribly personal blogger. I've gone out on a limb from time-to-time when I post, but it's usually more of a rant than anything productive. Today that is not the case. I've written this post about 10 times, been too critical of it, been too scared to post it, then eventually deleted it every time. It's not like me to be very private about anything. I've always felt that if you had to hide it, something was probably still wrong. Well ladies and gentlemen, something is wrong. 

The issue of weight has presented itself in more forms over the last few weeks than I can even explain. LiLu started an incredible blog of support and community at In It To Gym It. Shine bravely posted many of her thoughts/issues in her own struggle here. I met Sketch and Carissa and heard their incredible stories of battling, losing, and even some days feeling like they've overcome weight issues. Then I started reading a book called, "Good In Bed". Since you probably won't click that link, I'll sum it up for you. Girl is overweight, dates boy for 3 years, they break up. Boy gets job at newspaper and writes article about "Loving a Larger Woman". Cue April crying twice before page 50. When I first read the article he wrote, I was so angry with him. How could he believe that loving a larger woman was some sort of gold pin he deserved for not being shallow? How could he think writing something like this was okay? Then I read it again. I read the last paragraph and I cried. Only, I wasn't angry at him anymore.

Excerpt: "And now that it's over, I don't know where to direct my anger and my sorrow. At a world that made her feel the way she did about her body – no, herself – and whether she was desirable. At C., for not being strong enough to overcome what the world told her. Or at myself, for not loving C. enough to make her believe in herself."

I realize this book is a work of fiction, but I've been there. I've been in a relationship where the man tried to make me see the beautiful things about my body. I'm NOT a big girl. I say I am all the time to protect myself from anyone else saying it first, but I'm not. I'm not thin, nor will I ever be. I'm athletic. I can still skate circles around girls half my size. Many men are still attracted to me. I'm also lucky enough to have friends that tell me I'm gorgeous all the time. This isn't the issue of the outside world. This is MY reflection of weight on ME. 

I grew up watching a mother (who is incredible, so don't you dare judge her for this) lose weight until she weighed 83 pounds. That is not a mis-print. At 83 pounds, she felt fat. I looked at her "feeling fat" and did the math. If 83 feels fat, what does 120, 130, 140 mean? I couldn't skip eating, so I ate and then purged. For years. I struggled with bulimia until I got caught and I only stopped BECAUSE I got caught. No one that has ever TRULY loved me has ever judged me for one minute about my weight. But I do. Every.Single.Day. 

I don't know how to fix this. I'm highly educated (now) about nutrition. I know that eating healthy and exercising is the ONLY way to achieve healthy weight loss and maintenance. I'm fully aware how to do it and that I am capable of it. What I don't understand is why I won't. Why I continually judge myself for not being thin. Why is this the ONE thing I've never gained control of in my life? Why do I look back at pictures when I had 8% body fat and remember EXACTLY how fat I felt when that picture was taken? Why do I let my weight affect everything?

And what scares me even more? Are the young girls I teach to skate at the rink. It doesn't matter if they are 8 or 14. I watch the skinny girls. I watch the athletic girls. I see them compare everything about their figures to one another. I see the "bigger" girls already becoming "funny" to compensate. It makes me sick to my stomach. I'd love to figure out the pattern so I could stop it. I'd love to help my friends feel complete in every body type they have. I'd love to know why, at the end of every day, we are each our own worst critic. 

Poisonous mixtures and the part where people start taking my advice!

<Women's Writes

Some of you have noticed I've been MIA from the blog world for a while. More of you probably didn't. Mostly I haven't been writing because I've had a little trouble writing anything that didn't come out like this...*$#&%&@!!! No matter though, I'm back today for a very important cause "Women's Writes". I think it's an incredible idea and even my laziness, frustration, lack of anything coherent to write wasn't going to stop me from jumping on the bandwagon.

When I was asked to write about an issue relating to women, I had grand ideas. Weight loss, society pressure, shopping, leadership....the list is endless. Then I realized this needed to be something I had actual experience with in my own life. So where did I land? Dating. Let me tell you a little bit about dating from a single, late 20's girl's perspective in the 2010.
It. Royally. Sucks.
A few years ago (after long relationship followed by long relationship), I decided to take some time to heal, grow, learn how to get over  some effed up things from my past, and MOST importantly...stop the cycle of "bringing up old shiz" in any possible future relationships. It seems that MANY men do not ever take the time to do this (yeah, yeah, I'm aware women do this too, but this is WOMEN'S writes hush). This ridiculous fear of the unknown is creating a never ending cycle of passing everyone's crap onto everyone else. We each add in a dash of our very own insecurities and we end up with a very poisonous mixture to pass onto the next unsuspecting victim.

Maybe everyone is just afraid of being alone. Maybe we've become so "connected" all the time that we've lost the ability to stand still for a minute and just let things happen. But I'd like to kindly ask you all to STOP it. Immediately. Take some time and put a little metaphoric Neosporin (i.e. spend time with good friends, find hobbies, work on what YOU did wrong in the relationship, etc) on that break-up/divorce wound. Stop looking for the next best thing and MAKE yourself the next best thing. Finding the opposite of everything that drove you crazy in the last relationship won't fix anything. Filling the void with a person who otherwise could truly care about you, will just ruin any chance of a foundation.

Listen up Mr. not-so-healed, not-so-broken-up, not-so-divorced (don't even get me seems I now have to request divorce decrees in writing). Stop hurting wonderful women. Stop answering the questions we ask with the answers you know will get you exactly what you want. We're not a prize, toy or game. We're human beings that just want the actual truth (at least the good ones do). We may not deserve a relationship or a fairy tale ending, but we do deserve to know that we can trust what you say. That when you say you're ready, we don't have to think for you. We can trust that you've taken the time, be that a week or a year or a decade and you've let go of your crap. WORK ON YOU. Then find someone else. It's really that simple.

And through it all, I still believe there is a right time for everyone. I believe there is a moment when you have in fact finally gotten over or let go of all the hurt you can and you're ready to move forward. I believe those are the relationships that work. The foundations that can survive any of life's earthquakes. And that if we each took a little more time to heal our wounds, we'd end up hurting a lot less people on our path 'o destruction. We'd spend more time talking about all the great dates we've had and all the great experiences we had when we spent just a little more time....single.