Global warming has given us another insane heatwave. It’s hard to keep cool in this weather. If you are concerned about what others may say about any flesh you reveal, it’s even harder. So, I thought I’d cover some old ground just in case any new readers need some tips. Here’s my guide to getting comfortable with your body.
Look at yourself.
I think the first step is looking at yourself. Really look. Stop avoiding mirrors and rushing to get dressed after a showers. Get comfortable naked. And in your underwear. And different types of clothes. Touch yourself, not the way (well, that way if you want). When it comes to your body familiarity does not breed contempt. Getting to know your body leads to acceptance, which is the first step to self love. You’ll be surprised how quickly you learn to enjoy your jiggle.
Photograph yourself every chance you get. Selfies, nights out, big events, pictures of your feet, anything. Get used to looking at yourself living your life. I used to duck out of pictures because I hated the way I looked in them. Forcing myself to be present in those pictures plus taking hundreds of myself is the only thing that let me see the truth. I didn’t like the things society had taught me not to like. I hated my rounder face, flabby arms & chunky calves because I thought I had to be something else to be worthy. Once I started appreciating those pictures for what they were; a record of living, I could enjoy them. The more I looked at images of myself and others the more I could see that everyone had those terrible unflattering shots where they look nothing like themselves. Everyone had those snaps that amplify their perceived flaw. Everyone has those pictures in which we miraculously look like a model version of ourselves. None of it matters. What matters is having the memory of that time & place. Capturing that moment of you living your life. Seeing myself living & loving in those pictures showed me that my body was absolutely good enough. Your body is just the vehicle that allows you experience the world. What you look like at any given time matters much less than what you’re feeling & seeing & loving.
Surround yourself with things that make you feel good. Change your reading, watching & following habits. Ditch investing in anything that is focused on diet culture & traditional beauty standards. Discovering the Body Positive blogging community changed my life. For the first time I was seeing fat people who liked themselves. People with bodies similar to mine proudly taking up space & looking amazing. When you submerse yourself in spaces that reject fat phobia you begin to feel differently about yourself. To begin with I was in awe of those plus bloggers. I thought I could never have their confidence or be so beautiful. As I learned more about bopo and started unlearning all I previously been taught about my body, I had a revelation. If these fat women I was admiring were stunning, sexy & elegant then I could be too. If I see beauty in other fat bodies then what I despise about myself is not my wobbly belly. Click unfollow on anything that makes you feel not good enough. Replace that stuff with content that embraces diversity and honours people who look like you.
Make a list of all of the things you want to do but feel you can’t because you are fat. Not just wild ambitions, everything. Do you worry about eating crisps on the bus? Think you shouldn’t wear a short skirt or even shy away from getting on top with your lovers? Put it all on the list and then start doing them. Start living your life. Pick the easiest ones first. Trust me, your confidence will grow. There will always be someone who does not like you loving your fat self. There will sometimes be looks or comments. You will stop feeling crushed by them. When you realise how much you gain from accepting your body as it is and experiencing your life to the max, someone saying you’re fat no longer matters. Losing weight will not make you happier. All you problems shrink to fit into your smaller body. You can live now.
Stay tuned for my advice on avoiding all the discomforts summer can bestow on is chubs.
Every once in a while I find that dream garment that makes me feel like I’m on top of the world. I bloody love that feeling. I’m even more enamoured with it when the item in question is a surprise win, which is absolutely the case with this beauty.
I was perusing the boohoo sale section when I spotted this slinky number & slung it in my basket. I didn’t hold out much hope for it, the fabric looked like it might cling & had the potential to be too much on the shiny side. However, I have been after a button up dress and at £6 it’s always worth the chance. I’m so delighted I clicked buy.
Dress – Boohoo
Tights – Asos Curve
Flats – Primark
I am besotted with dress. Everything about it is perfect. Awesome wintery green & deliciously soft fabric. The split is just high enough to be sexy without making it tricky not to flash. I’d say size up if you have substantial boobs, but otherwise fits well. It’s such a simple piece, but I felt super hot it in. All hail my new bargain bin sex kitten ensemble.
Nothing cheers up a dreary Monday than running off to a peaceful country hotel. A couple of days immersed in gorgeous grounds, yummy food & a relaxing spa definitely puts a positive spin on your week.
Houstoun House is set an historic building with great services. Set in pretty countryside with some lovely formal gardens it is a great spot for a soothing escape. After dealing with another kidney infection & heavy bought of insomnia I was eager for small break. My super mummy sister was equally in need of a rest. Our tiny companion is pretty happy exploring any new place, but he was particularly delighted with Houstoun House.
A delicious three course meal followed by a good old carry on with the baba got us off to a good start. A huge comfy bed & top notch breakfast eased us into the next day. Then it was time for deep tissue massages & lots of splashing around in the pool with the boy.
What else to wear when being a luxury bitch, but velvet? Oh & some leopard print too.
As the weather gets colder & the nights get darker I feel the need for even more colour. I subscribe to the why wear one colour when you can wear five anyway, but definitely garner warmth from rich tones at this time of year.
I applied this thinking when selecting an outfit for our last day in Dundee. Our plans were lunch with a friend & a wee wander at the harbour. Thus, I wanted cosy, comfortable & chic.
Skirt – Monsoon
Vest – Primark
Jumper – ASOS Curve
Bag – Topshop (gift)
Flats – Primark
I caught up with my lovely friend Dawn over lunch. She’s just returned to scotland after many years living in a London, so we had a bunch to gab about. Afterwards with full bellies & tired tongues the Toyboy & I headed off for a little wander by the water. We checked out some cool big boats (I’m such a maritime expert) & enjoyed the bright day.
I had a busy busy Friday culminating in date night. Sadly for my tired face all that bustle meant I only had about 45 minutes to execute operation pretty. Given the limitations I think I polished up not bad.
You can’t really go wrong with red lips & a high side pony. A taxi selfie sessions hyped me up & I arrived to meet the Toyboy with some pep in my step. We had a munch at a casual Mexican place before heading down a lane for some live music.
The gig was boisterous (see previous post) & my outfit was a new frontier. Yup, I’ve finally succumbed to the crop too revolution. I ordered this skeleton number (size up, it’s small) for Halloween, but couldn’t resist wearing it as soon as it arrived. I styled it with a retro swing skirt because I rather like pairing things that just don’t go together. I finished the look with my faux biker jacket & leopard print lace ups because you might as go all out on the mis match.
Skirt – Lindy Bop
Crop Top – Boohoo
Shoes – Just Fab
I bloody loved it. I’m also delighted with this ‘should be an outtake’ photograph. The TB has managed to grab my feeling myself attitude with this not quite ready pic. It was a fun night that continued with a lot of late night carry on when we got home. It may have taken me all of Saturday to recover, but you’ve got to misbehave sometimes, right?
Part of the reason I’ve been so busy is I have been watching my brother’s dog, Ringo, this week. He has squeezed himself into a cat bed every single night. Bronan watched on in distain as he has never lowered himself to sleep in the thing.
This week’s celebrated woman is someone I have the pleasure of knowing. She is a bopo goddess, a thrifting maven, accomplished public speaker & possibly the bubbliest person I’ve ever met. Ladies & Gentlemen, I give you Hayley Angell.
I met Hayley at a blogger event in Glasgow & was instantly impressed by her vintage look. I was also a little intimated by her polished confidence. I don’t find these events very easy. I have a lot of anxiety around new people & situations. I have even more anxiety about hiding my discomfort. The moment I spoke to Hayley I felt more at ease. Her sincere warmth allowed me to collect myself & have a good time.
I obviously immediately commenced following her on social media and have done so since. Hayley’s accounts are bursting with life affirming energy. Her honesty about her body positive journey; discarding control garments, trying new activities & generally enjoying her body is inspiring. She recently discussed her experiences as a plus size women taking burlesque classes. Despite outward proclamations of inclusivity she still felt it was assumed that fat women would be less assured. She got the sense that fatter folk were quietly ushered into the background. It takes guts to be open about this stuff. Even more to be honest about how often we convince ourselves that we belong at the back of class. Thus, she used her Instagram account to launch #stepforward a reminder to all plus size people that we are worthy of taking up space & being seen.
The Body Positive community has given me so much. I always want to say thank you to those who inspire me. I also want to spread their work because I know it can bring others happiness. Hayley is one of those fabulous women who can help you change how you see yourself. She is an insta must follow.
Bopo aside Hayley is, as I mentioned, a thrifting magician. Her Instagram is worth following for her second hand style alone. If you need tips on trawling the charity shops for fashion gold, Hayley is your woman. If you simply enjoy seeing a person enjoy themselves & clothes, she is still your gal.
I’ve only met Hayley in person once, but I would not be without her online presence in my life. For a shot of genuine self love, go press those follow buttons.
‘I wish I had the guts to wear that’ is a phrase I’ve been hearing in one form or another since I started picking my own clothes. It’s not a sentiment I’ve ever properly understood. Putting on the clothes I like has never struck me as a particularly brave act.
To begin with I felt a bit sorry for people who said it. They would admire whatever item I was wearing before enviously making the proclamation. I pitied that they didn’t know they could wear whatever they liked. There was very little at risk. I’ve been called weird for as long as I can remember, but with very little negative impact. There really isn’t much people can do if you own the label the give you. You say I’m weird, I say I’m proud of it. There’s nowhere for that conversation to go. It’s hard to mock someone who isn’t ashamed of the thing you find laughable. I felt sorry for people who didn’t know that. Who worried too much about what other people thought to spread their wings & give it a try.
I got older, experienced more of life & understood their fear a little more. I never felt the need to conform in my life decisions or even my sartorial tastes. I did however learn the weight of societal judgement. Getting fatter proved just how much the world wanted us all to live up to it’s expectations. I spent too many miserable years feeling the need to hide my too large body. I added scars to the mix & the pressure to keep it all under wraps increased. I finally got what all those people meant when they said they lacked the courage to wear an eccentric outfit. They were just trying to fit in, trying to be good enough. They were simply straight jacketed by a different societal standard. That’s when those comments started to make me mad.
I wasn’t angry at the person saying it (well sometimes I was, occasionally it’s just a bitchy back handed compliment.). No, I was pissed off at all the ridiculous standards we place on each other. Moreso, I was angry at myself for falling for it. You see, I had been right. My original theory of pleasing myself & laughing in the face of judgement was spot on. Having since applied that approach to the areas of my life (& body) that I was taught to dislike, I realise it works. Just as I didn’t have to be ashamed of being the only vegetarian in class or the only kid who wanted to wear tartan tights, I also don’t have to feel bad about my flabby bits. I can wear what I find beautiful & be who makes me happy. Those who seek to bully me still have little impact because I don’t think their idea of beauty is more valid than mine.
This realisation bought my freedom back. With it, an even greater desire to break the stupid limits society places on us. Fitting in is not they key to happiness. Being authentically you, is. I have never lacked friends or adventures. You will always find your people if you hold tight & refuse to compromise the important parts of yourself. Some people will try to attack your willingness to be different. As I already said, it’s really difficult to tear you down when you stand on rock solid ground.
All of which has brought me full circle. I don’t understand why so many people squeeze themselves into boxes that don’t fit. I’m angry that we continue to be taught to conform. I’m desperate to create & consume anything that crushes the idea of rigid norms. And, yes, I still feel sorry for anyone I hear doubting they are brave enough to wear really big glasses or a crop top or head to toe sequins because it really doesn’t require bravery. Nothing very bad will happen if you wear the thing you love. The worst you can expect is a double take from a stranger or an online idiot leaving a comment. Trust me, the joy of having the stunning thing on your body is very much worth it.
So, next time you catch yourself thinking I love it, but I can’t pull it off. Stop. You can. You’ll look amazing. You’ll feel fantastic. You will learn to laugh at fools who try to deride you. Life is too short & the world is too full to limit yourself. Screw the trends. Forget what’s cool. Fuck flattering. Wear what you love & be who you are. You’ll thank me when you feel free.
On Monday the Toyboy & I headed off for our annual (it’s the 2nd year, that counts, right?) trip to the Edinburgh Fringe. Three days of exhausting, but fabulous adventures ensued.
Our first show of the 2018 fringe was Phil Jupitus is Porky the Poet in Living in A World Where They Through the Ducks at the Bread . That title is quite a mouth full as was some of this show, but in a good way. I’ll be honest, I only really knew Jupitus from Never Mind the Buzzcocks & it turns out I like his poetry much more than I liked that programme. His poetic style is silly & witty & heartwarming. His in between chat is also all of the above. I’m a spoken word/poetry fan, but I think even poetry virgins would enjoy Porky’s words. Oh & bonus I got a free badge that sums me up fairly accurately.
Voodoo Rooms is a perfect example of example of Edinburgh Festival venues. It’s down a lane, riddled with stairs & you’re packed in tight enough to lose circulation in your extremities. We made the mistake of trusting directions of a stranger (male, why can they never admit they don’t know?). We walked around in a massive circle before discovering the venue was about 2 minutes from where we started & on arrival I realised I had actually known where it was all along; I just didn’t know the street name. Anyway, what I’m trying to tell you is this is a quintessential festival experience. Finding most venues will become a magical mystery tour of possibly the least disabled friendly city in the world. Everything is up a hill & 3 dozen stairs. Spoonies beware or budget for a lot of taxis!
We acted the tourist for a little bit; had a lunch from a food truck & bought Edinburgh rock. Then I tortured the TB with outfit pictures before an outfit change & catching up with some Edinburgh based friends. After a few cocktails & much hilarity we headed off to our last show of the day.
The Waverley is just off bottom end of the Royal Mile. It looks like it hasn’t been decorated since 60’s & feels like it might house a tiny part of real festival spirit. In the upstairs room there was a sparse audience & a life size cut out of Billy Conolly declaring ‘This is where I started’. I’m not sure if that’s inspiring or just a kick in teeth to those playing a quiet room, but the woman we came to see gave it a spirited try. Becky Fury (that’s her real name) hinted that she perhaps wasn’t having her best night, but she did have some interesting takes on current state of politics. I suspect the show that emerges from her Edinburgh run will be more polished than Lip Salve for the Soul. In the meantime her Star Wars movie via Corbyn memes was funny. Her visual display of how dehumanisation happens, somehow Hillary Clinton faired worse in polls than terrorists, was insightful. Plus her off the cuff material on my breasts was actually pretty fucking amusing. Anyone who can make ‘that’s how genocide happens’ a punchline & get me to laugh when the size of my tits is publicly discussed has got to have talent. I’d say book early for her 2019 show, it’ll be a cracker.
With only two shows under our belts we grabbed some very expensive fast food & headed back to our apartment. We needed a bit of rest because Tuesday was jam packed. Stay tuned for everything from medieval disco theatre to serial killer book podcasts all viewed with eyes adorned in razor sharp liner.