On Being Chubby, and Trying to Not Hate It

Loving yourself is not always easy. Forever torn between wanting to accept myself in the body I have, and wanting to change my body/get back to my slender self, self contentedness is like a unicorn; hard to find, and harder still to hold on to.

You could say I have a love hate relationship with my body. There are days when I get dressed and I look in the mirror and think to myself “hell yeah, girl. You look the bomb”. And then there are other days when I avoid mirrors altogether because the sight of my own soft, round body makes me feel disgusting. Especially when I am confronted by photos of myself from a few years ago, when I was smaller and probably far more comfortable in tight fitting clothing! The thing is, where once I would have been described as svelte, these days I fall somewhere in the curvy category. Or, more accurately, I think I am actually smack bang in “chubby” territory. Which is fine…until it isn’t. And the truth is, most of the time lately, it definitely isn’t.

A lot of my close female friends are all about that female empowerment, self love, and not subscribing to mainstream ideas about beauty. They inspire me, constantly. But when I am home, stripped down naked in front of the mirror, there is a big part of me that can’t help the barrage of negative thoughts that flood my brain. I prod my soft little tummy with a finger, I grab at my wobbly inner thighs, my face scrunched in subconscious disdain. Clothes don’t fit comfortably, and I am forever conscious of the way I look, terrified that someone is going to point out that I am extra chubby lately.

It’s a horrible thing, to not feel comfortable in your own skin. And its exhausting trying to be positive about it all the time. Yes, my body is a wonderful and powerful thing, and yes I know that I should focus on the good bits, but sometimes I just feel a bit shit about it. I mean, right now is a particularly bad time, because it’s that time, which means my tummy is rounder, and achy, and I just generally feel a bit awful about everything. I am fairly certain I can be forgiven for not being all self love about things right now, and I am trying not to feel guilty about not loving myself as much as I should. It’s a process, what can I say?

In a society where we, as women, are still inundated with images of impossible standards of beauty, loving yourself can sometimes feel like an exercise in futility. But I’m trying. And hopefully I can learn to fully love myself the way I am, chubby body and all.

Hello, I’m Alive!

You may have noticed that I’ve been gone a while. Then again, you may not. With everything going on with the world right now, I doubt very much that people are paying attention to random blogs in a little corner of the internet! But, nevertheless, I was gone and I have returned once more, popping up again like a long lost friend…or, y’know, a whack-a-mole.

Anyway, all I’m here to say is HEY! Wait, maybe that was too aggressive. What I meant was more of a casual heyyyy. Still not clear? Ah well, just imagine I’ve walked into a thriving party, and am giving you a collective wave. I am also here, of course, to reassure you that I am still alive, and that I haven’t forgotten about you. You’ll have to forgive my absence; I needn’t reiterate how strange things are right now, and I confess I haven’t had a lot of motivation to put pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard as it were. But, in an attempt to find my groove once more, I thought I might just reconnect with my poor neglected blog, and to the few familiar names that consistently pop up on my screen when I put up a new post. I have come to feel something of a camaraderie with those followers and post likers, and my regular readers hold a special place in my heart.

That said, I’d best be off. Like the best kind of visitor, I pop in just long enough to have a cuppa and a chat and then head off before I overstay my welcome. Hope you’re all well, I promise I’ll be back soon – without such a big gap between posts next time! Ciao!

Cultivating Your Peoplehood

We all have our people. You know, the friends and/or family members that just…get it. Those people who understand and accept you as exactly who you are. Those people who you can be totally open, and honest, and raw with. The people that will hear you without judgement, and allow you to be your most authentic self. My friend and I have a word for this group of folks that you surround yourself with. More than just “mates” or people that you just happen to know. Not necessarily family either, though not explicitly excluding those individuals. An all encompassing term we coined to describe your tribe/friends/soul mates all in one. We call them your peoplehood.

I’ve had many different groups of friends in my life. School friends, long distance friends, work friends. Some people I have associated with purely due to circumstance, and others that I have grown fond friendships with after meeting in completely unexpected ways. There has certainly been cases of friendships based solely on proximity, that end without animosity when the situation changes. Friends I had at one job, that I lost contact with when I changed jobs, for example. I’ve had friends that I thought I would have forever – like the group of girls I went to highschool with – that I have grown apart from. I suppose you could easily sum it up by saying that I have had different people along for the ride in different times in my life, and many were in my life for only as long as they needed to be. Hey, the Universe works in mysterious ways, what can I say.

Now, it’s no secret that I don’t particularly like people as a whole. I’m an introvert at heart, and largely impatient and easily frustrated by humanity. However in recent times, I have come to realise that I actually have a much wider group of friends than I had ever really considered. This realisation, and indeed, reality, is at odds with my overwhelming misanthropy. But, at almost 28 years old, I have long since learned that it is not about the amount of friends you have (be that a large or small number) but about the quality of those relationships. And reflecting upon my close group of friends – my peoplehood – and the wider circle of friends I associate with, I have to say that I have succeeded in surrounding myself with some truly stellar folks.

I think it is important – nay, essential – to make sure that the people around you are good people. And by that, I mean people with whom you are comfortable, and safe, and happy. People who support you and raise you up, instead of dragging you down. People who you can turn to, and who can be comfortable turning to you. A relationship in any measure is, after all, a joint effort. It is also important to recognise when a relationship is no longer a healthy one. Toxic, unhealthy relationships not only affect you on a base level, but on a spiritual level too. It can sometimes be hard to step away from something, and see it without rose coloured glasses, but being able to do so will benefit you in unimaginable ways.

The message here is essentially that you need to find your people. Spend time with folks who make you happy. But more than that, surround yourself with people who understand you, and who light your soul on fire. Your time and your energy are precious commodities, and wasting them on people who bring you down, or leave you feeling drained will only hurt you in the long run. I’ll say it again for the people in the back; cultivate, and nurture your peoplehood. You’ll thank yourself for it, and you will get back as much as you give, every time.

Creative Person Syndrome

As a sporadically, broadly creative person, I find it hard to do just one thing. I sew, I paint (badly), I try and play the violin (even more badly), I sing, I embroider…I love to learn new skills, and so I am constantly trying to fill my time with various creative outlets. My problem is that I forget about setting aside time to just do nothing. I have three days off, today being the last before going back to work, and I have spent every moment of that time doing things I had meticulously planned out. Now, with this afternoon left before going back to work tomorrow, I have decided that I will take a step back from all my creative pursuits, and give myself permission to do nothing at all.

I put on a load of washing this morning (essential) and had a shower (also essential) but I have forgone straightening my hair, and I plan to stay home all day and do very little else today. Which is easier said than done. Every fibre of my being wants to pick up my paint brushes and create a pretty picture. In fact, on my drive home earlier, I saw so many things that inspired me, and I desperately want to try and recreate them on paper. However, I tend to paint hunched over, curled up in a small, unintentionally tense little ball. And I am aching all over today, so I know that painting that way is not conducive to healing. So. I am practicing a different kind of self care today. Instead of creating something, which for me, is a kind of self care in and of itself, I am electing to just veg out and watch some Supernatural in bed, with a cup of tea.

I love making things. A dress. A terrible artwork. A batch of chocolate chip cookies. It doesn’t matter what I make, so long as I’m creating something, then I’m happy. The thing is, I need to move away from the notion that if I’m not filling every spare second with something creative, then I am wasting my time. I think a lot of creatively minded people have the same problem. Creative Person Syndrome! I don’t want my hobbies to become a chore, or feel like something that I need to force myself to do. It is ok to not do anything creative today. It’s ok to just watch tv for a few hours. And that it exactly what I plan to do. My paint brushes will still be there tomorrow.

High School Reunion? Not a Chance.

I’ve never understood the concept of high school reunions. And I can not think of a single thing that I’d want to do less, than attend a gathering of former classmates ten years after graduating. It seems such a pointless and mundane idea, not to mention entirely unappealing. I knew it was coming. It’s been ten years since I finished my last year of school, and I knew it was only a matter of time before someone decided to organise a get together.

I briefly logged into Facebook tonight, searching for a photo of the wedding dress I made a couple of years ago. I didn’t find it, but I did get a pop up notification for a ten year school reunion event/group, which is what inspired this post. Now, I wasn’t actually invited, which is down to a couple of things. First of all, the name on my Facebook page is not my real name, so I’m not the easiest to find. Second, I keep my account permanently deactivated, only logging in perhaps once every 12 months for no more than ten minutes. And third, I’m actually kind of an asshole, so I don’t imagine I’d be high on the list of invitees, which doesn’t upset me in the slightest. Really, what is it about the idea of a reunion that gets so many people all hyped up? I mean, high school wasn’t exactly a stellar time, and quite frankly I’m happy to leave it in the past.

I think about the people I went to high school with, and the few times I have seen them in the years since. I have occasionally run into old classmates either at work, or in random unexpected situations. There is always polite, somewhat forced conversation, wherein the other party seems far more interested in talking about themselves, with the obligatory “so what have you been up to?” tacked on the end. So a whole night filled with those same conversations isn’t exactly my idea of a good time. The thing is, I wasn’t particularly sociable in high school, and I’ve gotten even less so as I’ve gotten older, so I honestly don’t care what a bunch of strangers are up to now, nor do I want to spend an evening with them. And I can’t understand how any of that is even remotely appealing.

I think what it comes down to, is a pissing contest. People attend their high school reunions under the guise of friendly catch up, to see who is successful and happy, and who isn’t. It’s nothing more than an opportunity to try and outdo everyone else in the room. It’s a big competition to see who has the biggest rock in their wedding ring, who makes the most money, who has the most stereotypically boring suburban lifestyle that people in their late 20’s seem to froth over. Who has put on the most weight? Who is still single? Who is gay now? I can just picture a room full of people who are now married with children, chatting idly about their identically uninteresting lives, unsure of how to relate to former classmates outside of the designated cliques that seemed to dominate the high school years. Dull conversation, silent competition, and the inevitable drunken mess who can’t hold their liquor, and has to be led stumbling to a taxi in a fog of vomit scented embarrassment. Ugh. Thanks, but that’s one event I plan to avoid.

Still Here

30,000+ Free River & Landscape Images - Pixabay

Lately, being an adult has kind of sucked. In between having less money (thanks, COVID-19), not being able to leave my house for the solo adventures that keep me sane, or have a few drinks with my friends (thanks, COVID-19), struggling to find motivation to do even the things I love, and just generally dealing with a whirlwind of emotions that are frankly giving me whiplash, it has kind of made me wish I was a kid again. Y’know, when existential crisis wasn’t in the forefront of my mind, and my life was generally more stable.

The thing is, I feel like some time in the last few months, I lost myself, and I’m not sure how to find myself again. I’ve cried a lot lately, mostly at night, when I’m in bed and not sure if I want to live or die. It sounds dramatic, I know. But I feel hopeless, and lost and so very exhausted with the weight of being, and living. I feel like I am stuck in this same monotonous rut, walking blind, with no light at the end of the tunnel. I have reached this point where even the idea of taking another step makes me want to just stop altogether, and check out for good.

It is a peculiar thing, this apathy for life. How can I even begin to talk to the people I know about this? I’ll either be labelled a drama queen, or lay down a whole lot of worry on the people I love and then feel guilty about that too. I don’t want to feel this way, and I wish there was some cure all pill to make it all go away. I want to be ok, I want to feel normal again. And I feel guilty because I’m not.

I try to find joy in small things, and sometimes I do. But I feel like I’m forcing myself to feel happy, and it doesn’t really work all that well. I tell myself that if I had this, or did that, then everything would be better. But I know that’s not the case, and besides which, I am tired of running away. I seem to always be doing that; running away from the reality of everything. I pretend to be really tough and carefree, but the truth is that I’m just scared that I’ll never be really, truly happy.

I don’t want to do this anymore. But I will. Because if nothing else, I’m stubborn. And there’s so much yet to see and do, even if I don’t want to see or do it right now. I have to believe that something better is coming just around the bend. It’s the only thing I can cling on to, the notion that this part of the river might be rocky and bumpy, and I might be holding on for dear life right now. But sooner or later, the rage will slow, and I will once again find myself in calmer waters.

It’s Been a While…

I haven’t written much lately. The truth is, I haven’t felt up to it, and I haven’t had the words to explain how I’m feeling. In a way, my blog is like a diary; a way to vent out the things I wouldn’t dare say out loud to the people I know. You, my readers, you guys are different because for the most part, you don’t actually know me. I’m a stranger on the internet. Sometimes, it’s easier to talk to strangers. And besides, if you know all my secrets, then it doesn’t matter that no one else does, because I can then maintain this tough girl facade.

I can’t talk to the people I know about how lonely I am. I wouldn’t even know where to begin. How do you tell them that sometimes you literally cry yourself to sleep because there is a physical ache in your chest? I mean, crying is for weaklings, right? How do you explain that the sight of couples in the street, or on television, or in photos on the internet, makes you feel a little bit empty, because you’re always the odd one out? How do you tell your closest friends that sometimes, you just need someone to hug you, and kiss your forehead, and tell you that you are, in fact, enough?

It’s partly my fault, I guess. I’ve worked so hard to present myself as this tough, independent, solitary person, that maybe the people I know actually believe me. And maybe that’s why it’s so hard to talk to them about this stuff. Not that I’ve ever really been that good at talking about my feelings in person anyway, but it’s particularly difficult when the words I want to say sound weak and childish to my own ears. No, best to just keep up the facade I think.

The crux of it is, I think I am going to be on my own for a very long time. Maybe even my whole life. And I know that sounds melodramatic, and probably typical of a lot of single people. But I don’t mean it in an angsty, teenage, My Chemical Romance kind of way. I mean it in the heart achingly lonely way of someone who feels a whole lot of nothing a whole lot of the time.

I hope you don’t mind me spilling my secrets out to you like this. I just needed to get some things off my chest, and if you want to judge me, that’s actually ok, since I don’t know you. It’s easier than talking to the people that I actually do know, at any rate. So long as they’re in the dark, then I can go on pretending that I’m doing ok, without having to have the awkward conversation about my feelings or…y’know…whatever.

Precipice

My heart aches. I feel things coming to an end, that can never end without suffering. I am conflicted, and confused, and I want there to be an easy solution to this complicated problem.

I am struggling, and it is harder and harder to pretend that I am ok. My energy is draining, my soul has become a wilted, battered thing. I don’t even have it in me anymore to rage. It has all given way to sadness, and the unkind truth. I can’t pretend. I can no longer tell myself the same lies, and expect to believe them.

I have turned into someone I don’t like all that much. I hear the words leave my lips and they sound desperate, pleading, even to my own ears. I listen to the sounds of petulance and pain and I hate myself for it. Sometimes I think if I make myself loathesome enough…I guess after everything, I’m still a coward. I want a way out, so desperately, and yet at the same time all I want is to have it all. I don’t want to be stuck here anymore.

I need a cosmic hammer to shatter everything I am barely holding together. I crave a shift in circumstance and I am on the precipice, I am ready to throw myself off and see what comes next. I just have the urge to fling myself into the ocean and see where the tide takes me. But at the same time, I am terrified. Fuck it. I dare someone to push me.

Body Modifications vs So Called Professionalism

I had a job interview on Monday. I was dressed neatly, I had relevant experience, and I was informed I had been given “glowing references”. The interview went quite well, and the man who conducted the interview seemed satisfied, if not impressed with me as a potential candidate for employment. I have to admit, I was feeling quietly confident. There was just one thing that apparently was holding me back.

“That piercing, does it come out?”
“Well…it can…”
“Well obviously if you are successful, you will have to remove it. We have a girl here with a nose piercing, but a lip ring is just…not the way we do things here.”

There it was. The one tiny, insignificant detail about me that would be the difference between me potentially getting a job, and being rejected. The piercing in question is a vertical labret; a small, unobtrusive little metal bar that goes through the centre of my bottom lip (though I had a clear bar in at the time). I have had this piercing for seven years, and it has never once affected my ability to do any of the number of jobs I have held during that time. Now of course, I could understand if the job were at a law firm, or a doctor’s surgery, or some kind of factory where there was an inherent risk of injury resulting from jewellery/piercings. However, the job I applied for was a retail position.

The thing I found almost as silly as the notion of having to remove my piercing in the first place, was the apparent distinction between a nose piercing and a lip piercing. They are both on the face, after all. Why is one piercing more or less offensive than another? Why should I be expected to remove a lip ring, when someone else is permitted a similar kind of jewellery in their nose? Needless to say, after a lot of thought and reflection, I opted to withdraw my application for the job. In the end, I realised that it just wasn’t for me.

Here’s the thing; it’s 2020. We are living in a time where it’s probably more unusual to not have any kind of body modification. So I find it really difficult to understand why there are people and businesses out there who still subscribe to this outdated idea of professionalism. In all my years of working in customer facing jobs, I have only ever had the odd question about a piercing or tattoo. But I have never received a complaint, or been told that someone finds it offensive. I mean, it’s not as if I had some obscene phrase tattooed across my forehead.

At the end of the day, any job that requires me to remove a piercing or cover my tattoos, is not a job that I want. I am wholly, unabashedly myself, body modifications and all. And I have no intention of stamping my personality out just to fit into someone else’s idea of what a retail employee should look like.

Ex Etiquette

Exes are a weird thing. It’s funny to think that there are people with whom you were once so close, who can become as foreign to you as a passer by on the street. Like…I don’t know, strangers with history I guess. I’m not good at exes. Of the small number of people I have been romantically involved with, I am only still in contact with one of them. And whilst she and I are really good friends still, I can’t say the same for everyone I have been in a relationship with. The other couple have become, in the months or years since we were involved, effectively non existent to me. Which, I suppose, is often how these things go.

I’m very good at the avoidance game, but the problem with living in the same town for most of my life is that it is regrettably inevitable that I am going to run into my exes from time to time. And regardless of how good I am at pretending to be really intently focused on my phone when someone that I used to know walks by, it doesn’t help the feeling of awkwardness that often comes with it.

The thing about breaking up with someone, is that often there is collateral damage as well. You meet their friends, they meet your friends. In many cases, families get involved. What are you supposed to do about potential friendships that may evolve during the course of a relationship? Are you supposed to end your friendships with people when you end a relationship with the person who introduced you to them? Moreover, is it weird to befriend your friend’s ex after they have broken up? I’m still not sure how I feel about this one. I wouldn’t like to be told who I can and can not be friends with, but there would certainly be some awkwardness in remaining friends with the friend of someone you no longer have in common. Particularly if that once common thread is the only reason you knew each other anyway.

And in the cases of exes who remain friends, what is the right course of action when your ex partner’s new significant other doesn’t like you very much, on the very basis of you both having dated the same person? I think jealousy is an irrational emotion at the best of times, but when you throw romance into the mix…I’d rather just avoid the whole thing altogether. It can be a tricky situation to manoeuvre, because no one wants to be the cause of argument, or certainly end up arguing about someone else.

The thing is, I have never been broken up with. As a staunch hater of people, with an inability to commit to anything long term (I am afflicted with a restless spirit, what can I say?), I have always been the one to end a relationship. As such, the choice to no longer see someone – and by extension, their friends – lies with me. Often, I opt to cut them out entirely, for the above mentioned reasons. Look, maybe I’m just a bad person, but for me once something is done, it’s pretty much done, and I don’t see any reason to hold on. I have had moments where I have considered reconnecting with old flames, but my logical mind wins out every time, and reminds me that I broke things off with those people for a reason. Besides, what is there to be gained from reopening old wounds?

Like any situation in which people are involved, things have a way of becoming complicated. It’s all part of the human experience, I figure. If you can navigate your way around relationships – and their subsequent end – without being too significantly scarred, then you’re doing ok.