Archive | December, 2008

What Would Jesus Do?

28 Dec

As a preface, this post is in no way meant to lay blame on Christianity or Christians in general.  I am Catholic (and despite what I’ve heard many times, Catholics were the first Christians, okay?) and do not believe that the majority of Christians are this way.  But I had to write about an observation I made yesterday.

I was at the swap meet yesterday, searching for those interesting unique beautiful old things as I love to do.  I walked up to a booth.  The woman was standing under a tent, behind a table covered with baubles.  I’m drawn to sparkly bits and pieces, so I walked up to see things a little bit closer.  And overheard a conversation between the vendor and another shopper.

It went something like this:

     Vendor: “All the crap they’re telling us now; why should they tell us what to believe?” 

     Shopper: “Yeah!  Too many damn liberals in the churches now…” 

     Vendor: “I mean, why should they tell me what to think?” 

     Shopper: “I know!  What gives them the right to tell me I need to be diverse?  I can hate people if I want to.  I mean, why do I have to love colored people?”

Mind you, this is California in 2008, not Alabama in 1965.  I almost gasped audibly and started to tiptoe away.  But was struck by the vendor’s response:  “I know!  I mean, Jesus wasn’t diverse!  He said, ‘you’re either with me or against me.’  He didn’t bother with people who didn’t listen to him…”

Wait…  What?

Wasn’t Jesus the one who said “Love your neighbor”?  How about all his hobnobbing with lepers, prostitutes, and tax collectors?  What ever gave you the idea that he was hating on the people who didn’t follow him?  And even if he hadn’t been all about the outcasts of society, what would make you think he’d promote hatred?

I couldn’t stand to listen any longer and disgustedly walked away.  But as I was waiting for my hubby to finish shoving the new (old) bike he bought into the back seat of my subcompact, I wandered back into the area.  I happened across the same vendor’s booth just as she was talking to another shopper about her hours: “I’m here every Saturday, and I’ve been here a few Fridays too, but they’re very small.  But,” she continued, motioning to herself with a little shrug,” I’m Christian.  So I’m never here on Sundays.  I believe in going to church on Sundays.”

She sounded so self-riteous, so superior.  So extremely pious.  But I had heard her hatred and bigotry in her earlier discussion.  No amount of going to church is going to convince me that she is a good person if she feels that it’s acceptable to hate other people.  No number of zealous proclamations of Christianity are going to demonstrate that she’s actually taken Jesus’ teachings to heart.

What would Jesus do?  I’d like to think he’d knock some sense into this woman.

And One More Thing…

23 Dec

I was reminded today when I was wrapping presents of one more thing.  Another piece of “homework,” shall we say.

One of the most important things about feeling good about yourself is seeing yourself in a good light.  Most of the time, we see ourselves in the mirror – all stressed out and looking tired – or in snapshots – usually with a strange expression on our faces.  Often, when we’re the most dressed up – to go out for an evening on the town or to a friend’s wedding – we are the least likely to be featured in a photograph.

So here’s your assignment: get some good photos taken.  Spend some money to have them professionally done, or have a friend take them, or pose in front of your own digital camera with the delay on.  But you need to have really beautiful, sexy photos of yourself.

My favorite photographs of myself are from our wedding, and photos I took for my husband for Christmas.  In the former, I’m dressed in a beautiful fluffy wedding dress.  In the latter, I’m dressed in a very cute, very short Santa outfit.  In one, I’m full of joy.  In the other, I’m trying very hard to be sexy!  But the one thing about both is that I took time to prepare – I have a full face of makeup (something I rarely wear in “real life”) and my hair is done.  My face is not screwed up like it is in most snapshots of events (usually I’m talking) – I’m looking at the camera and concentrating on looking good, or not concentrating on the camera at all.

Regardless, these photos draw me in.  I look like me – but I look good!  You can see the extra flab under my arms, the place where my skin is squeezed by the opening in my sleeve, and my extra arm hair.  In the photos I took yesterday, you can see some strange little scars that barely show up every day but are enhanced by the magic of photography (I didn’t have a chance to worry about retouching them).  But my eyes pop, my hair falls just right, and my outfit shows off my figure well (even the lingerie doesn’t actually reveal a thing).

I look hot.

So like I said, it’s important.  Have beautiful photos taken of yourself.  Or take them of yourself.  Get dressed in something that makes you feel good – whether it’s a dress (wedding or otherwise), lingerie, or even your favorite pair of jeans.  Put on a full face of beautiful makeup – that means eyeliner, eyeshadow, plenty of concealer, lipstick, etc. – and get your hair done.  Look at the camera and smile.  Then turn your head a little.  Pout.  Try a sexy look – even if you’re in a wedding dress and even if you feel silly.  Have two hundred shots taken of you looking at the camera – or away from it – in as many ways as possible.

Then take a good look.  There will certainly be photos you can’t stand.  But there’s bound to be three or four you like – in which the gorgeous combination of hair, makeup, and clothing work.  In which your eyes sparkle and you look your best.

Concentrate on it.  Look at it whenever you feel down on yourself.  See past the funny little rolls and wrinkles.

You look hot too.

Homework

22 Dec

I figured since I was on this body image rant lately, I would give everyone in need of a body image boost some homework.  I was told several years ago by a very dear friend of mine (who is a curvy, sexy, gorgeous woman!) to read this book. 

It’s truly inspirational and a good, fun read too.  Maybe it’ll make you think a little bit differently about your own body image.  If nothing else, it’ll stop you from reading those diet books or fashion magazines that only cut you down and depress you (because, after all, without low body image the diet industry wouldn’t be in business and the fashion magazines wouldn’t sell nearly as many copies!).

The book is called A Fat Girl’s Guide to Life, by Wendy Shanker.  You can get it on Amazon, here: http://www.amazon.com/Fat-Girls-Guide-Life/dp/1582344280

Happy reading!

Are you Sexy? YES!

21 Dec

I can’t even say how many women I know who have said that they don’t like their bodies, that they are unhappy being their current weight or size or shape.  That they don’t feel sexy or desirable – and many of these women are in long-term relationships!  Sure, we all have bad days – days where nothing fits, where nothing feels good.  But to live in a constant state of revulsion at one’s own self…  It’s just not good for anyone.

 

Certainly, we can all stand to eat a little less junk and a little more good stuff.  We can cut down on the soda and up the water intake.  We can work out.  But it’s only going to do so much.  Without strict and extreme changes in our lifestyles, it’s next to impossible to make a size 16 body fit into a size 8 dress.  So many of us choose to hate ourselves and our bodies for our failures to be skinny – and to feel like it inhibits our abilities to be desirable women.  But does it?

 

When I was in my younger years, I used to go out dancing every once in a while.  Not all the time – I have never been a huge party girl – but once a month or so.  For a while, I’d stay in the background, let my friends attract the attention.  I would wear sort-of party clothes, but I didn’t feel comfortable dancing sexy or having real fun – after all, I was the big one in the group, the obligatory fat friend around to make the other girls look cute.

 

One day I was going out with friends for a someone’s birthday.  In fact, I had forgotten completely about the party – so I was in plain old regular jeans and a sweater, not even a V-neck.  No showing off the cleavage for me.  But for some reason I decided that since I already looked schlubby, I wasn’t going to stress myself out about being the fat friend.  In fact, I relaxed.  I danced.  I got hit on.

 

It was the first time in my life I’d actually been grabbed in a club.  A gorgeous man with an extremely well-built chest and smooth ebony skin and a Jamaican accent saw my butt-shaking and decided I looked like a hot and sexy Italian woman.  He stayed by me the whole evening and gave me his number.  He also said some incredibly suggestive things.  I had no intention of calling him, of course (especially at that point in my life, suggestive things freaked me out!), and gave him a lame excuse about having just moved and lost my cell phone (which was, of course, sitting in my purse on my arm).  But that attention gave me such an ego boost that evening that after that I decided to look at going out a little differently.

 

I went out some more, and got hit on each time.  Sometimes more than once in an evening.  Most of the guys were sleazy (it was a club, after all) and I didn’t give anyone my number until I met my husband.  But I got asked.  A lot.  I still dressed basically the same – usually a shirt and jeans and boots – when going out.  I still weighed the same – in fact, I met my husband while dancing in a club downtown at my very heaviest.  But what changed was my attitude toward myself.  I decided that I moved well.  I felt sexy.  I was sexy.

 

Most of us can’t change the way our bodies were made.  And if we try, we only become frustrated and angry, disappointed in our inability to be a perfect size two.

 

  

What’s the solution?  To accept and learn to love ourselves, every last roll and bump and curve.  Girls, repeat this after me: I am beautiful.  No, honestly, say it.  Think it.  Mean it.  Do you think you have to look like Scarlett Johannsen before your husband or boyfriend will want to see you naked?  Try it.  I think you’ll see he loves that love handle and those bones that jut out.

 

Believe it.  You are beautiful.  You are unique and special and beautiful.  If you proudly enjoy that your body is your own, and don’t beat yourself up about your small breasts or your big belly or your size 16 (or 12, or 8) jeans, if you own it…  Then you will feel sexy.  You will be happy.  Losing weight or gaining boobs won’t make you happy.  You will make you happy.  You have the power right now to change your body image.  It’s in your head.

Weight Wars: Healthy or Heavy?

20 Dec

A few years ago, I lost thirty pounds.  I was working out three or four times per week, eating veggie and lean meat wrapped in whole wheat tortillas every day for lunch, and preparing nothing but salads for my dinner.  I wasn’t snacking, wasn’t eating dessert, wasn’t drinking anything but water.  A size 10, I looked better than I ever had.  I was still curvy – it’s just how I’m made – but I was wearing Medium-sized shirts.  I could go into any store and buy any piece of clothing off the rack and it would almost always fit.  I loved it.

 

But then I started a new job.  With a lot of stress.  And no gym close by.  And stopped being obsessive about what I was eating.  And gained back the weight.  All of it.

 

This last spring and summer, I decided I needed to get healthy again and started walking with girlfriends.  Five miles a pop.  At first, it was awful.  Then I began to look forward to our weekly walks.  They gave me energy, they made me feel powerful and strong.  They even inspired my eating habits to be healthier.  I lost only three or four pounds – total – over several months.  But my body reshaped itself slightly.  By the time I got married, my dress was several inches too small in several spots.  It felt amazing.

 

But I am still wearing the exact same size pants.  I am still considered medically obese.  Without obsessing over my eating habits and my exercise, I won’t be able to get myself down to what is considered a “normal” weight for my height (by the way, even when I was down to a size 10, I was considered overweight by 20+ pounds).  I refuse to stress myself out about it.  I refuse to expend so much energy defining myself by my body shape and size, and by the number on the scale or the tag on the pants.  I still will continue to try to exercise and eat relatively well.  I still will try to be healthy, because I have to admit to absolutely loving the feeling I get when I am.  But worrying about whether I’m a size 8 or 18 won’t change the fact that my body was not built to be skinny.  And I have learned that once I accepted that, I became a lot healthier and happier, heavy or not.

Body Size

19 Dec

So many of my friends and acquaintances have complained to me about their “fatness.” A couple of college girlfriends of mine (who each weighed at least 50 pounds less than I did at the time) would grab their imaginary fat rolls and whine about their “obese” bodies. Worse, other friends I know who are similarly built have told me that they aren’t comfortable being naked around the men in their lives because they feel too fat.

Still other friends, these ones with a little more meat on their bones, say similar things. They squeeze into clothing that is too tight because they can’t possibly be a larger size, or swim in clothing too large because they can’t possibly show off their curves. Ill-fitting clothing of any variety is simply not flattering.

Why do we feel so ruled by our body size? Girls with skinny bodies want to be skinnier. Girls with less skinny bodies beat themselves up about it. Where is there written that a woman can’t be a desirable, sexy, beautiful woman if she’s bigger than a toothpick? Where is it written that we have to all look like Courtney Cox? Before the 1920s, desirable female bodies were rounded, curvy, soft. A little more padding on those bones was a sign of prosperity, womanhood, and fertility. Our bodies were made to have a little fat on them, girls!

This isn’t to say that I haven’t experienced the frustration of going into a store and not being able to find something that fits. Attempting to zip up a pair of pants in one’s size and having the zipper stick on a particularly stubborn fat roll instead of gliding up smoothly, or actually getting that pair of pants zipped only to turn around and find every crease in your underwear and dimple in your bottom on display, or buttoning the top button on a blouse only to have it pop open? Not a fun experience. Having to buy a wedding dress two sizes bigger than you usually wear makes you feel very strange. Sometimes it’s easier to wear your old pair of jeans – even if your tummy tumbles out over the top – or a caftan with enough material to make a teepee.

Girls, stop being in denial! Too-tight clothes are just as unflattering as too-huge clothes. Neither one shows off your assets very well, and in neither are you very comfortable. Buying outfits made for your size – whether it’s a size 2 or a size 20 – and your shape (this is a very important point that a lot of people ignore, but not everything is made for every shape) is the most important thing. If you wear clothing that makes you feel great, you will feel great. If you obsess over losing those last five – or fifty – pounds, and wear clothing you don’t like wearing, you will feel yucky. “Fatness” should be a banned word.

Curious Photo Question!

18 Dec

I occasionally notice strange things, and I like to share.  I was driving to work today and noticed this logo on the side of a truck.  I had to take a picture and ask the question: does anyone know what this means?  I just couldn’t figure it out.  It’s a logo for a cabinet maker, and obviously the AB is the company’s initials.  But what’s all that stuff inside the lettering?  Ideas?  Suggestions?

What the heck does this logo mean?

What the heck does this logo mean?

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