9 things I liked in June…

I’m doing a spot of enforced positive thinking & hoping it bears fruit. Join in me in focusing on the pleasant and crossing my fingers that the good feelings grow.

1. I don’t have much call for work out wear, but I did love that plus size Nike mannequin. Fat folk can & do live full lives. I love it when brands get behind us wearing whatever the hell we want. It’s also satisfying to watch people tying themselves in knots trying to excuse their fat phobia.

Plus size Nike mannequin

2. I’ve been planning a self love/sexy gallery wall in my bedroom for so long and this month I finally executed it. It makes me happy to lie in bed and look at my kinky Shakespeare.

Framed art on red wall

3. I’ve been out of the dating pool for quite a while. My initial dips back in were disappointing & a tad stressful. I didn’t feel all that hopeful about finding the sort of chilled out experience I was after. Colour me surprised to have spent June having a relaxed & super fun time with someone lovely.

4. In the grand scheme of things this may be on the trivial side, but I like it as a symbol. The Trump administration banned embassies from flying the rainbow flag for Pride month. Lots of embassy staff around the world found other ways to show their solidarity. Possibly the best example being the embassy in New Delhi, who lit up the entire building. In the face of this appalling government it is heartening that people are taking steps to visibly resist.

New Delhi embassy lit in rainbow colours

5. While we’re on the subject my nails have all been rainbow themed this month & carrying Pride around with me has been very pleasing.

Pride nail art

6. I am a late adopter and probably about twenty years too old, but I have fallen in love with Lewis Capaldi this month. His songs are beautiful and his insta stories are bloody funny. If you are the one person left on the planet who hasn’t heard of him, fix that.

Lewis Capaldi

7. My amazing muffin made me incredibly proud this month when she won 2 bronze medals at her first Jui Jitsu state championships. My girl is so talented & her accomplishments make me so happy.

8. It’s hard not to smile when you know you’re wearing the cutest knickers. Wilde Mode happy pussy pants have been a simple pleasure this month.

9. June was the month that finally brought the new series of Killing Eve. It’s been driving me crazy that our American friends got to enjoy Villanelle’s antics whilst I languished murderless. All I can say is, it was worth the wait. Sandra Oh is a goddess.

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For your babies…

I’m sitting on the sofa trying to be still because my baby nephew is asleep on my shoulder. He just shifted a little, gave a big sigh & squeezed my arm with his chubby fingers. I can feel his breath on my neck & smell his milky breath. I’m in heaven. This is as close to complete contentment as I get.

I’m exhausted. My back hurts. My knee is throbbing. Yet, I feel happy & at peace. Soon he’ll wake. At first he’ll be confused. He always wakes up suspicious, checking all around him. I think he forgets where he was when he fell asleep. Once he has his bearings his face will break into a big smile. He’ll look at me like he is utterly delighted to discover I am here & I’ll melt for the millionth time.

I feel the same swell of love with all niblings. At the weekend I listened in wonder as my 2yr old nephew sang me the whole alphabet. My heart almost burst as these two beautiful boys played together. Bigger cousin being so gentle with his smaller counterpart. Baba giggling & crawling, so eager to play with his best friend. Every new skill he masters is wonder. I still relish every time he says Auntie Lynsey. The pride & excitement never wears off.

Earlier I FaceTimed his big cousin. She’s 8 yrs old & nearly as tall as her Mum. I remember her being this size like it was yesterday. I’ve watched her grow & learn, loving every single stage. Gone is our baby girl. My Muffin now wants to share her thoughts on cubism & send me animated gifs representing how her day went. Her report card not only applauded her academic achievements, but noted how she goes out of her way to be kind. She’s incredible. They all are. My siblings make good babies.

I am so honoured to have the to opportunity to help mould these precious little lives. They bring me a joy that cannot be replicated. Every smile & giggle & kiss & ‘I love you’ make all my struggles seem void. It is easy to be overwhelmed by what I don’t have. Life is bloody hard, but it feels ridiculously easy when I cause a smile to light up their faces.

Perhaps the next best thing can be enough. You have to take your wins wherever you can find them.

Words are flowing…

Words have always been my religion. Wether my love of the beauty you can create with words made me a writer or what I could say when I wrote made me love words is my own personal chicken & egg. Regardless, the fact remains, I worship words. In that adoration lies a certain obsession; from worrying over a sentence for an hour to finding affinity in a someone  else’s perfect phrase. Which, is exactly what I want to tell you about. 

In the past week I’ve come across two such phrases that at different points in my life seemed made for me. Across the Universe is one of The Beatles songs I immersed myself in as a teen. I still love it, but the words have become so familiar that they often just wash over me. Well, on bus last week for some reason I was really listening. When I reached the chorus, one line flooded me with feeelings from times gone:

‘Nothing’s gonna change my world’ 

I vividly recalled being 15 & completely believing that nothing could shake me. I had at that point lived a charmed life. A life of love & safety & competence that had formed a girl confident she could take on the world. And win. 

I look back on that version of me with such mixed feelings. I’m proud of her; she was the weird girl that managed to be popular. The smart girl that partied. Even at 15 she knew her convictions mattered & those who felt threatened by that could fuck off. It takes a specfic kind of teenage courage to own that you are different & to celebrate it. Oh, the plans she had. It never once occurred to her that anything could knock her down. 

I’m welling up writing this because I know what happened next. It took years of therapy, but I can finally feel compassion for that cocksure girl that fucked it all up. Now, after years blame, I want to protect her. A story of my history & evolution in 5 words. 

A few days later, in a fit of insomnia, I was flicking through tv channels & found Girl Interrupted. The first time I saw this the description of suicidal thoughts clicked. 

‘Once you’ve posed that question, it won’t go away’

I hadn’t heard anyone else voice this cold fact before, but it was true. Once I had seriously considered suicide, it never really went away. Killing myself became the solution to every problem. So many of Susanna Kaysen’s words rang true. Hearing my terrifying feelings expresssed out loud somehow justified my pain. 

All I ever heard about suicide or self harm was don’t do it. People often talk in well meaning platitudes. They’ll tell you that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Life will get better, they insist. It’s all meaningless. When you are in that hole, getting out doesn’t seem possible. More over, even if you believe that someday, you might be happier, it does nothing to assuage your current pain. Severe depression is torturous. There is a comfort in knowing an escape hatch exists. For a long time the knowledge that if I couldn’t take anymore of life I didn’t have to was the one thing that kept me alive. 

Watching that film again brought back those dark times. More than that, Kaysen’s words brought a sense of peace. In my suicidal days, having my daily struggle with those thoughts acknowledged was powerful. Now, realising that suicide is no longer my default trouble shooter is compelling. 

Sometimes it takes a glance at the past to see how far I’ve come. I know those feelings can return. Which is why these words still resonate. Another example of a handful of words spelling out the story of life. 

Big is beautiful….

The Cosmopolitan website featured an interview with two fat women that caught my eye. Cosmo is not usually a publication I favour, but this interview was a rare beauty. An honest & mostly positive account of life as a plus sized woman. The article was a big hit with the plus size blogging community & a number of bloggers have answered the questions in their own words. I have decided to join the pack because the world needs more body positive voices.

How do you feel when other women around you complain about feeling/being fat?
This is a hard question for me because I have such mixed feelings. Of course it can make me feel bad when women who are much smaller than me complain about being fat, but I don’t think I have the right to police their thoughts & feelings. I am learning to love my body and I would like others to feel the same. However it’s not my place to tell others how they should feel about their bodies. I will always be supportive & body positive, but I’m not going to censure people for having insecurities.
How has your body image changed since high school/college?
I was slim when I was younger. I started to gain some weight at university, but I was far from plus sized. Despite that I always felt fat. I believed I was the biggest in my group of friends, wouldn’t wear certain types of clothes and generally didn’t feel very attractive. When I look back at pictures I realise this was nonsense. When I did actually become fat there wasn’t a huge shift in how I felt about myself as I already thought very negatively about my body.

Have you ever tried dieting? What happened?
Yush! I have dieted on & off for years. I am very successful at losing weight, but have never been able to maintain the loss. This is mostly because dieting always becomes very extreme for me. I start off trying to stick to a healthy eating plan, but it descends into a crazy regime. I usually end up restricting myself to about 500 cals a day, which anyone will tell you is not sustainable. I have also occasionally resorted to making myself sick. I’ll be honest, I feel fantastic when I lose huge amounts of weight. It just isn’t worth what I do to myself to achieve it.
Do you think in your case your weight is partly or entirely genetic?
I don’t think I have the kind of body that is ever going to be skinny, but no, my weight is not genetic.
Do you consider yourself healthy? Have there been instances where people assumed you were unhealthy?
I’m not healthy, but that has nothing to do with my weight. I am plagued by a number of chronic conditions, which greatly impact my life. On the other hand my cholesterol level is very good; my blood pressure is low and so on. Losing weight would not improve any of illnesses I suffer from.
Are your parents both supportive of the weight you are at? Have they always been?
Neither of my parents is ever cruel or forceful about their desire for me to lose weight, but I am aware that they would prefer me to be smaller. They have both been very happy when I have lost weight in the past.

How do you think retailers can improve clothes for plus-sized people?
Basically, I want the same clothes as smaller women. Just make all your clothes in bigger sizes & let me decide how I want to dress instead of making assumptions about what fat women want to wear. The only retailer I am aware of who do this are ASOS. I highly recommend their curve range. Oh & stop charging me so much.
Do you think plus-size women are judged differently than plus-sized men?
Yes. There are so many visible fat man on tv, films etc. Large men are portrayed as successful and attractive. You often see very fat men with gorgeous partners and fulfilling lives. On the other hand fat women in the media are usually the joke. They’re the stupid big women who thinks someone might be attracted to her (haha, gross) or the miserable failure. Male actors are allowed to be fat in a way that women are not. There is one version of female beauty in mainstream media and it is not fat.
Do you think there is an assumption made/stereotype that exists about plus-size people? How would you respond to it?
Lazy, unattractive, unsuccessful & unpopular. I respond to that by living my life complete with friends, accomplishments & hot men.
Do you think there is ever a right way or time to express concern about someone’s weight?
Do you suspect that someone has an eating disorder? If not, no.
What are the worst things people have said to you about your body?
I think I have been lucky in that I don’t often get negative comments about my weight. I’ve had men I’ve turned down resort to fat slurs. Similarly I have had a few people throw some names at me during arguments/disagreements. That doesn’t happen often & I tend not to keep folks like that in my life.

What have people said (or do you wish they’d say) that would complement your body or appearance?
I want to hear the same things as anyone else. I don’t need specific compliments because I’m fat.
Do you find yourself hanging out with women who are closer to your size?
Nope. I have friends of all shapes and sizes. Physical attributes have no impact on whom I form friendships with.
How has weight affected your sex life, if at all?
It hasn’t. To be honest I think I have a more active & exciting sex life than most of social circle.
When you’ve been single, has your weight affected your dating life?
Only in that I haven’t always felt attractive. I get the same amount of romantic attention fat as I did thin. It hasn’t stopped me dating anyone I wanted to date. Nor has anyone I’ve been in a relationship with ever had a problem with my size. I am sure there are people who look at me & think yuck, fat. Since I have no desire to date anyone harbouring those feelings it has no impact on my life.
Do you feel weird if the guy you’re with only dates larger women?
I would if he was only with me because I was fat, but that goes for any other single attribute. I want a person to want all of me. Having said that I have no problem with someone being attracted to larger women. If I did I would be saying there is something wrong with being fat. Why shouldn’t folk prefer fat women? As long as that’s not the only attraction, it’s fine with me.

Do you feel weird if he’s only dated slimmer women before?
No. I’m not really interested in who he’s dated before. He’s with me now; he clearly likes & fancies me. Who cares about the past?

You can find the original interview here
http://www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love/fat-women-real-talk