I logged into Pinterest this morning and this was on my dash: Be Nice. (The world is a small town.) It seemed like a good reminder for a sleepy Thursday morning.
The last month of the year is finally here. Goodness. I love December. It’s such an exciting month — my birthday and Christmas and New Year’s Eve. I’m still trying to find a middle ground to exist on. I keep waiting for things to slow down, to normalize. I was reading one of my favorite blogs, The College Prepster, and Carly wrote a post called “Good Stress is Still Stress“:
2013 has been an interesting year. It’s been, in some ways, the hardest year of my life. It’s also been a strangely fantastic year. Fistfuls of agony paired with handfuls of hapiness. A blanace that doesn’t always make sense. It can feel like whiplash, from time to time.
I like fresh starts, and October is full of them. Fall is here. The air is turning crisp. I’m moving. I started a new job six weeks back. Step-by-step, this year is becoming what it will be.
A new month, apartment, new job, new goals.
Goal number one: write more.
See y’all soon.
I’ve said it over and over again lately: “I’m just so tired.”
I usually say it when I’m on the verge of tears. Or when I’m explaning why I can’t take on another volunteer committment. Or in response to the standard, “how are you?” Me? I’m just so tired.
But it’s more than being tired. It’s a weariness. An exhaustion.
I looked up the definition of exhaustion, because I’m a nerd. Exhausted: drained of one’s physical or mental resources, very tired. Also, of resources and reserves, all used up. Synonyms: spent, weary, tired, worn out… Yep.
Grief is a terrible master. It’s cruel, driving, relentless. It’s like living in a real life version of Drag Me To Hell. There’s no real escape. At times, it receeds into the background only to surge forward again at an inopportune time. I can’t even find the words, the energy, or the moxie to write. This is the first time in months I’ve put pen to page, so to speak. It’s painful, and slow, and what writing must be like for people who hate to write.
…But not yet read:
I should probably stop buying books until I’ve made it through my to-be-read pile, no?
I came across an article this morning on a startup company called Stripe, which has what they’re calling an “open email policy”. All email is public… Everyone inside the company has access to every email every employee sends. The thought made my eyebrows go up at first, but after thinking about it, there’s nothing in my work email that I wouldn’t want my co-workers to see, except maybe the odd typo.
Alabama’s taking the Voting Rights Act to the Supreme Court, arguing that it’s outdated. For those not in the know, the VRA was passed in 1965, and prohibited changes to voter law and procedure in certain states, counties, and municipalities that weren’t such fans of black people voting. Alabama’s arguing it’s outdated, because apparently, discrimination, voter suppression, and concern about disenfranchisement is a thing of the past. Isn’t that super fun?
Netflix’s new series House of Cards, a remake of a 1990 BBC miniseries, is apparently Netflix’s most watched show. I binged on it while I was sick this weekend and suffice to say, I am obsessed. It’s like The West Wing gone dark and I love it. The relationship between the main character and head schemer, Francis Underwood, and his wife, Claire, is perfect… Or, well, perfectly dysfunctional. I like dysfunction. It’s kind of my thing. My political nerd friends are going nuts, but I’d be interested to hear from people who aren’t political nerds. Any of you watching House of Cards?
Lastly, it’s President’s Day, which means some of you are at home for this fabled three day weekend I keep hearing about, including my friends over at theSkimm. If you’re tired of trying to keep up with all the news, theSkimm is the way to do it. They send out a brief, easy to understand email every morning with the top news stories you’ll need to know about for the day, plus witty commentary so you can get plugged in fast. It’s the first thing I read nearly every morning. Sign up here.
I’m featured over at Rachel Wilkerson’s The House Always Wins today, talking about fashion and having what you want, regardless of size. Go over and check it out?
If you’re popping in from THAW, check out my favorite posts of late:
Hope you’ll stick around!
I used to call these spend or save, but then I realized that honestly, it’d take an act of Congress and something really special to make me say to y’all: yes! Spend four times as much for a similar item! That said, here’s your Look for Less….
On the left, we have a polka dot chambray button down from Old Navy for a mere $24.95 and on the right we have a circle-print chambray popover from J.Crew for an astonishing $88. I don’t know about you, but $88 for a shirt I can’t wear to work is a bit much. Okay, $88 for a shirt is a bit much, regardless. I’ve not been impressed with the quality of the items I’ve gotten from J.Crew in the last couple of years, so I’m confident saying that for such a seasonal, trendy look, Old Navy is your jam. ON has been rocking the J.Crew inspired gear and now J.Crew inspired styling with those sleeves rolled just so. Last week, someone asked how I’d style the colorblock striped tee, so here’s my shot at styling the ON button down:
Simple pearl earrings and a crisp white watch set off the patterned chambray and the bright ankle pants from Old Navy — no dreary days when you’re wearing these tomato red beauties. Simple gold flats don’t compete with either the pattern or the pop of color and make it easy to dash around the office wrapping up your week. Because my motto is “love me, love my giant tote”, I threw in a dreamy leather tote from Madewell. You’ll be ready to jet out for a few adult beverages after work and have a place to stow your sweater for those chilly offices. Don’t you wish it were Friday already?
It is a truth universally acknowledged that you hate your body. No, really. Just ask any women’s magazine. Or men’s magazine. Or pinterest. Or the people who write about waging war on fat. Battle of the bulge. Fight the pounds!
Fitspo. Thinspo. Ragespo?
Here’s the thing: I’m fat. By any measure or judgement, I’m fat. No, no. Don’t assure me that it’s not true. I don’t use that word as a negative or as a self-insult. I use it simply as a descriptor. I’m fat! Someone calling me fat has very little power because, well, yep. On the other end of that spectrum, someone hurriedly assuring me that I’m not fat makes me wonder if they come from a land where everyone is 250 pounds and they’re just the odd one out at 130?
I’ve done a lot of reading and thinking about fat acceptance. One of my favorite authors, Lesley Kinzel (a self-described “mouthy, fat broad”), was my gateway into fatshion – the startling idea that you can be fat and still enjoy being visible. I’ll let you dive into fat acceptance on your own, because body acceptance and rejection of body policing is just awesome.
Someone’s going to make some kind of assertion that by saying I like my body the way it is, I’m ruining America, because — obesity. Blah, blah. Obesity can have health impact. No kidding. But so can a myriad of other factors. We all know a super skinny girl who can’t make it up the stairs and we all know a fat girl running the half marathon. Weight isn’t everything. All of that’s beside the point.
What I’ve struggled with is walking this line… How can I both love my body and desire to change it? How can I resist the cultural siren call of loathing myself while also acknowledging that I want my body to be smaller?
I’m not totally sure how I’ve managed to walk this line. Sheer obstinance, for one. I once saw an ad for Jenny Craig that showed a thin woman who had presumably lost weight. “Now I can wear colors again!” It proclaimed. As if being fat is a ticket to all-black, colorless invisibility. As if being fat removes your value and takes away your permission to exist. Fuck that.
I want my body to be smaller. I want to be able to run faster, wear J.Crew, and go rock climbing. (Okay, mostly I just want to wear J.Crew, let’s be real.) But wanting that, and desiring to be stronger, faster, and yes, healthier for me, doesn’t mean that I loathe the body. My body’s carried me through roughly 28 years of life thus far. It’s taken me into horseback riding competitions, hiking up beautiful mountain trails, kayaking on my favorite lake in the world. It’s been good to me, except that pesky little inability to be exposed to the sun because I am ghost-colored. I’m strong and I take up space and I refuse to apologize for that.
Body hatred is a sport in America. Loathe it, fight it, use war-related language to discuss your relationship with your own physical self. I refuse. I’m not fighting anything. I am not at war with my own flesh. I will wear red pants and polka dots and I will take up space, because no one has the right to insist that I don’t. You are valuable without being thin. You are valuable if you are thin. You are valuable without being able to run a mile as fast as that other woman. You are valuable if your breasts are small. You are valuable without going to war with yourself to achieve some unachievable standard of beauty and acceptable body size. You are valuable.
Things you should read:
Things I wore:
Okay, gang. I might have an addiction to stripes. What? They’re so great. You might recognize the top in outfit number one from this post. What can I say? Told you it was a “buy the cheaper version because it’s just as awesome” moment. Stripes! Colors! Ankle pants! We’ve been having insane weather in Raleigh – the wind has been brutal. Wearing one’s hair down hasn’t seemed like a particularly fruitful life choice at any step of the week. My question is this: does anyone other than me struggle with pencil skirts slipping sideways during the day? It’s only the one I have that’s lined that does it, but man alive, it’s the worst.
Thought of the week…
Because this happened to me at least five times in the last five days… Have a great weekend, everyone! See you Monday.