Those who trespass against us…

Were you taught to forgive & forget? I think forgiveness is a virtue that most children are encouraged to embrace. If like me you went to a Catholic (or any domination) school you likely had whole lessons on it. Parables, examples of Jesus forgiving all sorts of bad behaviour and even the big man himself wiping the slate clean a plenty. Forgiveness was a given.

White stone with words ‘I forgive you’ lying on sand

That all feels fairly reasonable as a kid. I bought into forgiveness being the decent thing. Then of course you get older. The stakes get a little higher. The religious teaching no longer hold sway and the concept of forgiving becomes very different. It is much harder to offer absolution to people who do terrible things & cause real harm. It gets complicated. Do we forgive people who never genuinely apologise? What about those who repeat the bad? And what about the whole forgetting part? Is it wise to wipe our memories of knowledge that may well protect us in the future?

Then there are the people who will tell you that forgiveness is solely about you. You forgive the trespasses, no matter how bad because it’s how you heal. Not forgiving is carrying the toxicity with you. Many times I hear supposedly wise folk advise that forgiving someone doesn’t mean what they did was ok. We do it for our own health. We can forgive and walk away. The key to our own peace is in the forgiveness.

None of that has ever made sense to me. If you remove the ‘what would Jesus do’ element (which I very much do), surely we offer pardons voluntarily? If we don’t feel remotely forgiving, why should we force it? To me, forgiveness is a two person activity. First of all, someone has to be sorry to even qualify. Secondly, they have to actually take steps to do better. Without these factors forgiveness is meaningless.

I don’t buy the forgiveness is for me spin either. It’s entirely possible to remove someone from your life without forgiving them. A person can move on without forgiving. People who hurt us don’t necessarily have to play a part in our healing journey. They don’t have to factor in our future lives at all. I do not believe that forcing myself to absolve a person I do not consider deserving of that mercy will bring anyone peace. If it feels right, it’s probably right. On the other hand, there are things in life that are unforgivable. That’s ok.

You don’t need my (or anyone else’s) permission, but if no one else has ever said it, please know you do not have to forgive. You can carry on, fix anything that person damaged, learn whatever lessons the issue presents and live a lovely life. I’ve done it. I have judged the actions of someone I once loved unforgivable. I won’t ever forgive that person. They did a heinous thing. They never offered me a satisfactory apology. Never made any effort to correct their behaviour. My refusal to discharge their wrongs hasn’t hampered me in any way. I removed them from my life. I had therapy. I had time. I took note of the signs I missed, the acts I accepted and I moved on. I don’t feel anything at all about that person now. I rarely think of them. When they occasionally come up in conjunction with other things I am unbothered. I’m good.

View of sea and cliffs off mull

Forgiveness is optional. It can’t be demanded or guilted from you. Choosing not to forgive is valid. It won’t make you bitter or stunt your healing. You are allowed to build a healthy and happy life on your terms. Never mind JC. Ask yourself what you want and do that.

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Nails done…

What do I do when I feel crap all the time? My nails!

Absolutely love this deep red colour. I fell in love with Chanel Rouge Noir many years ago, but now go for the more ethical Barry M vegan polish. I love a bit of negative space on a manicure; it’s an easy way to accomplish a cool effect.

Two hands showing deep red and silver manicure

Last week I fancied some really bright cheery colours. This mani was fitting for Pride month. Unfortunately they didn’t survive long after a trip to the pool. Good whilst it lasted.

Two hands one with rainbow stripesd manicure, the other with rainbow polka dots

Finally, my attempt at impressionist type floral design. I don’t think I quite hit the water lily look, but they are lovely.

And talking of that trip to the pool, it was wonderful. My sister, my bestie and I took the little ones swimming. I am much more mobile in the water. I love being able to chase them and have a proper carry on. This time I was a shark, kraken and an octopus. Much fun was had. Outfit wise I went for cute and comfy. My beloved Pockets and Sedition palazzo pants*, slouchy tee and ‘sorry not sorry’ my old saggy boobs sans underwiring.

Fat white woman with walking stick is wearing palazzo pants and t shirt
Palazzo Pants – Pockets and Sedition
Tee – Primark
Glasses – Where Light

* Brand Ambassador. Not gifted or sponsored.

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One hand in my pocket…

Like many any other people I have been trying to cut down on my shopping. We’re all very aware of the impact fast fashion has on the environment. Paired with ethical issues and the fact that I simply have too many clothes it was just logical.

So, my plan was just to resist the urge to buy every cute thing I see and then leave many of them sitting in my spare room. Instead, I have been going through my multiple wardrobes & pulling out all the cool things that don’t see enough light. The things I have been buying have been from small ethical brands. These are of course more expensive, but they are also much more special.

All which brings me to Pockets and Sedition*. A small brand that creates handmade items with pockets! Their fabrics are amazing, they support worthy causes and the fit is perfect. My first order arrived this week and I am ecstatic.

Ly  is wearing blue marble palazzo pants and two different tops,  grey vest with black lace and cherub print strappy
Trousers – Pockets and Sedition
Cherub Top – Pretty Little Thing
Grey Vest – Primark

This marble print is the epic and these delights go with everything. I feel amazing in these palazzo pants. Plus, I can actually fit my essentials in these pockets! I am living the dream.

ly is wearing blue marble print trousers with two different tops, a coral pink crop top and great vest with a shark & the word harmless
Trousers – Pockets and Sedition
Crop Top – Primark
Vest – Primark

I expect I will be wearing these trousers a lot. I also suspect I will be purchasing more from this brand.

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* Brand Ambassador. Not sponsored content.

It’s a no from me…

I am attempting to have a rest day, but my head is doing the anxious ‘doing nothing is not ok’ thing. So, in attempt to both rest my body and ease my mind I thought I’d do one of silly little blog rants. Come along if you fancy a vent.

Pores

Oh I know they have job a to do, but why do they need to be so troublesome? They always want to be making an appearance when I want them hidden. Constantly busying themselves with getting clogged. Try to take care of your skin with spf or a nice deep moisturiser and they will suck it up & make a big blemish. I just want soft smooth skin. Why must my pores always try to ruin it?

Horror Movies

They’re all about ghost or too disturbing to watch. Where are all the good old fashioned crazy killer films? Or even a well made creepy monster would do. Maybe I am just old, but it feels like the only scary movies I enjoy are from the 90’s. Is this how it starts? One day pop culture is annoying me and then next I’m saying ‘in my day’ to kids on the bus? Oh god, I hope not.

Stills from 90’s horror films

Fat Phobia

I’m always complaining about this. However, this week I’m pissed off about a particular kind of fat phobia. If you’ve seen that Tik Tok clip of Bethenny Frankel saying she hates plus sizes, you might get what I’m on about. She’s not saying she hates that brands are making xl, xxl and so on. What disturbs her is what they’re named. Why can’t we name them something nicer, she posits while entirely missing the point. The issue isn’t that fat people clothes come in extra, extra large; the problem is the that people still shy away from those terms. Large isn’t bad. Super large isn’t bad. No one is suggesting we find a cuter name for XS. Continuing in the belief that accepting fat people are fat is hurtful is not ‘body positive’. It’s just entrenching the stigma. Our bodies are bigger and that is ok. Everyone can see that I’m fat whether my label says 2xl or ‘bad bitch’. I will face the same stigma & barriers regardless. The point is, the size on your clothes doesn’t matter. It gives no information about a person other than the circumference of body parts. You’re not a fat ally of you don’t understand that.

Instagram Men

Not all of them obviously. Just the ones who think is it Tinder. Every day I get messages from men I do not know who think I exist for them to chat up. Or worse send repulsive, grammatically incorrect filth to. I honestly do not understand why they think it is ok. Nor why they think any woman is going to respond positively. There are sites designed for that shit. If you want to meet someone to date, download a dating app. The folk on there are interested in getting to know strangers. If you want to exchange explicit messages there are sites for that too. Having an Instagram account is not an invitation for any random man to crawl into my dm’s. If I don’t know you, leave me alone!

Man on a busy street holding a sign that Instagram is not a dating app

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All the beautiful things…

If you’ve been with me a while you will know that I love original art on my walls. In recent weeks I have hung some magnificent additions.

My living room has gained this beautiful sketch by Robyn Boyle. It’s my nephew and I when he was still tiny. I adore everything about this. It’s so soft and perfectly captures the tenderness I felt. I particularly love that Robyn got the shape of his wee baby skull exactly right. I spent lots of time stroking that tiny head and I love having this permanent reminder.

Pencil sketch of Ly holding her baby nephew in orange &grey tones
Robyn Boyle

My sexy self love wall in the bedroom has also welcomed a new portrait. It is of course my fat and lovely self. This digital sketch is by Abbie Illustrates. I’m in love with the chaos & curves of this one.

Digital portrait of naked fat body
Abbie Illustrates

Make me feel…

Of late I have been bothered by much of the therapy speak I see cropping up everywhere. I’ve always been slightly irritated by the therapy buzz words, but it used be reserved to certain arenas. Now it feels impossible to get away from it. Some are impenetrable, some misapplied and some a little stupid. So, come with me in a little therapy rant.

Sit with it.

The ‘it’ being emotions. I doubt there is anyone who has ever sought mental health treatment who is unfamiliar with this phrase. I have been advised to ‘sit with’ all manner of feelings. I’ve never been entirely sure what this means. Nor has any explanation ever satisfied me. Let yourself feel it makes sense if you are actively avoiding emotions. I used self harm, disordered eating and occasionally alcohol to block emotions that I wasn’t able to deal with. However, when I moved past avoidance it was still the guidance I was given. When I was ready to acknowledge and tackle those feelings I needed more. ‘Let yourself feel it’ is redundant. I am feeling it; that is the problem.

Sit with it in black letters

Don’t Judge it.

Once you are sitting in all that emotion you will often be advised ‘not to judge it’. Just feel it, they’ll say. Well, I’m sorry, that’s impossible. I have already judged it. Judging is a prerequisite for finding something problematic. The judgement is automatic. More than that, it’s involuntary. The minute I find the emotion unpalatable it has been judged. I came to the (sometimes correct) conclusion that perhaps what these therapist meant was don’t judge yourself for having that emotion. That makes sense, I can work on not attaching negative connotation to what I feel or how uncomfortable that makes me. I can even get on board with attempting not to label specific emotions intrinsically negative. I’m not convinced, but I do see how in some cases that could be fruitful. However, removing the intuitive I DO NOT LIKE THIS just doesn’t strike me as a realistic goal. If I were able to control my brain in that way, I wouldn’t have a problem.

Let it go.

Feel it and then let it go is definitely the aim. I’m not sure it actually counts as advice though. I know that getting stuck in difficult emotions is not good for me. What I need is help learning the way out if that. Restating what I should do is not helpful. I know the problem, I am here because I am looking for answers.

Inner Child

Many years ago when I first experienced therapy the inner child thing was kind of a joke. It never came up. Of course therapists talked about childhood experiences & being compassionate to past versions of yourself. However, a psychologist would never say the words ‘inner child’. Now it is everywhere; from woo woo spiritual healers to actual trained therapists. I’m sure it applies to some people, but it’s just not relevant to me. My inner child is a ok. I had a remarkably lovely childhood. I was loved, appreciated, supported, safe and very well taken care of. My ‘inner child’ is probably the healthiest part of me. I’m not carrying any painful scars from childhood. So, I have found it incredibly frustrating that everyone and their granny wants me to get in touch with my inner child and heal her. Even when I proffer my history and explain that my upbringing is not a problem area, I am still pressed to explore it. I don’t know how or why this happened, but I really don’t love it.

Picture of ly  with her hands on her hips and drawing of a child in her belly

Be vulnerable

This is another one that totally has merit in the right situation. There have been times when I have been scared of touching memories and emotions that made me feel vulnerable. I did need to work through that. Being vulnerable can be frightening, but it is also necessary. I would argue that engaging in therapy is already submitting to vulnerability in many ways. The showing up is a great first step. However, the canonisation of vulnerability has gone too far. There is definitely a time and a place for vulnerability. We can’t and shouldn’t always expose weak spots. We live in a fairly brutal capitalist society and being completely honest about your vulnerabilities will not serve you in many situations. People will take advantage, they will bypass you based on their perception of that vulnerability and many folk will judge you. Still I hear professionals who really should know better urge everyone to embrace their vulnerability throughout their life. It drives me crazy; we need to protect ourselves. Let yourself be vulnerable in safe spaces only.

Drawing of hands holding a heart on green background

Am I just jaded? Or do you feel frustrated by these therapy catchphrases? Maybe you have your own therapy pet hates. I would love to know your takes.

Close up of sleeining cat face and paws
Adorable Bronan for rant tax.

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Favourite things…

After a few misfires, yesterday I finally got to see my favourite man. Since he is my fav I decided I would put on some make up and find a cute dress. Turns out that was a good idea; I felt pretty!

I went all out on the eyeliner. It’s amazing what a difference a winged eye can make to tired face. We bit of blur primer, some concealer and my face was ready to rock. No lippie because MASK.

Glasses – Where Light*
Mask – Topple & Burn

Outfit wise I went for an old favourite. I have had this dress for years, but I still love it. I gave it a new look with this lace crop top and these gorgeous blue tights.

Dress – New Look
Crop Top – Tutti Rouge
Tights – Pretty Polly

I absolutely loved how this look worked out and much fun was had.

* You can use my code LHK30 for 30% at Where Light (affiliate code).

Paint me like one of your fat girls…

If you are a regular reader you may be aware that my bedroom houses a sexy/self love wall. I’m always on the look out look for cool independent art to add to my collection. A few weeks ago I got lucky.

Abbie Illustrates announced she was opening commissions for digital portraits and I snapped her hand off. I am utterly in love with this incredible piece. My curves look so soft and delicious. I cannot wait to get me framed and up on the wall.

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Let’s talk about…

Let’s talk about breasts. Boobs, titties, knickers, baps. Whatever you want to call them. Just a human body part. So, what is all the fuss?

For a long time I thought I hated my breasts. I resented the attention they brought, the assumptions & limitations they imposed. I even looked into a surgical reduction to be rid of their weight. It’s only in recent years that I have realised that there is actually lots I enjoy about breasts. I didn’t hate them, they had just been weaponised against me.

Boobs are great. They feel nice. Breasts can be comforting. Nipples can have incredible sensation. They add lovely curves to the body. Mine look great in lots of things. They can sustain new life. Sure I wish my own didn’t give me back ache but they’re part of me and I like me.

Why all the hate, then? Well, we live in a world that projects so much onto these mounds of tissue. It starts so young. If you are a late bloomer, you are free game for mocking. Develop fast or bountifully and you will be Objectified. I managed to combine both. I was flat as a pancake and then between 14-15 years old my breasts went into overdrive. There’s years of being sexualised. Your peers will do it and you’re told ‘boys will be boys’. Then it somehow becomes a teenage girl’s fault that adult teachers are uncomfortable that they can see bra lines through a white school shirt or that her breasts bounce in P.E. Strange adults on the street will shout gross comments at a child in a school uniform. The bus driver will come onto you every day on the way home from school. Friend’s Mums will view you suspiciously because your body means you are not a ‘nice girl’. All along assumptions are made about who you are and how you can be treated purely by the fact that the tissue on your chest grew bigger than other girls your age.

As you grew older it just becomes more overt. Men in bars will comment on your body and if you complain you’re told it’s your own fault for showing cleavage. Any night out will include at least one random groping from a person you didn’t even say hello to. Getting angry garners insults. You are a slut or you’re ugly because you object to being sexually assaulted. Friends of friends will refer to you as ‘that girl with the huge boobs’. Jokes are made, envy expressed, inappropriate bra size enquiries are never ending. All the while there is an underlying implication that this is your fault. You are judged because of a body that you didn’t choose or have any control over.

It extends way beyond individual experiences. Everyone in possession of a pair is bombarded with messages about our own form. We have all had lists of things we can & cannot do. Don’t show bra straps, but you need a bra to control or enhance your shape. Clothes that aren’t ok for your body. Clothes that are sending a message. Activities we give up because we’re so tired of the attention we attract. We’re shamed if someone can see the outline of a nipple. Censored everywhere because a female presenting chest is sexual; even when it is feeding an infant. We still live in a world where using a breast for its intended purpose can be controversial. It’s all patriarchal bullshit.

ly is wearing a white t shirt with red print saying , if you can see my nipples under this t shirt it’a because i have nipples.
Tee – Curated by Girls

Our bodies are not inherently sexual. Seeing a nipple isn’t provocative. Breasts are just fat and tissue and skin. No more or less obscene than a nose or an armpit. The size and shape of our constituent parts bears no indication of who we are. Neither does how we choose to adorn them.

I feel sad that I ever considered surgically changing my body purely to avoid misogyny in its many forms. I am exhausted that at 41 I still have to explain the same point I was making at 16. None of this new. Yet, there are still umpteen men in my DMs every week talking only about my tits. I still get cat called and disapproving looks. A few years back a GP pointed out that she could see my bra poking out of a vest top and asked what message I thought that sent. This educated, professional woman could not understand my anger or the reason I complained about her comments.

I don’t how or when we bring this to an end. I do know it starts with me (& you) taking back my body. I am not for public consumption. I will continue to wear whatever pleases me. I’ll delete gross comments and if you dare to sexually harass me the very least you can expect is a loud fuck off. My breasts are large, my cleavage exquisite, but most of all they are mine.

ly  is lying in a circular swing wearing black & white print dress ad harness bra

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Fun Street…

Last Friday I had a big treat day with two of my niblings and their Mummies. We checked out a new (for us) play place and had a very yummy dinner.

Fun Street was a hit with both little ones. It comprises a soft play, role play (mini hospital, garage, library etc) and a really cool digital play area. The climbing wall seemed to be the big hit of the day, but they loved they whole day.

I wore something comfy and cute in preparation of much carry on. My little ones didn’t disappoint and much sun was had. Auntie ly may have done a little bit of spoiling in the toy section before we sat down a tasty Wagamamas. That’s what Aunties are for!

Dress – Boohoo
Cardi – Asos
Tights – Snag
Glasses – Where Light