Guest Post: Body Shaming (Victoria Fisher)

Today I’m handing the blog over to Victoria Fisher. Don’t worry, I’m writing other stuff. You’re just not allowed to read it right now. If you’re interested in my thoughts on a somewhat related topic, check out Self-Esteem: Why Christian Girls Don’t Need It. Also, I locked myself out of my apartment again just to help you feel better about yourself. Hugs and stuff – K

brunette, kristie was here

The quest for body-beauty is therefore not a choice for the Western woman and the concept that she is free to choose her own image is a myth. It has not built confidence and self-esteem in the woman but rather produced a mentality of insecurity and obsession with her appearance. The Western Beauty Myth – Shabaat of Hizb ut-Tahrir 2003

Everyone is different. It’s science. We’re born with different DNA, different personalities, experiences, and ways of interpreting the world around us.

But there’s one thing we all have in common in Western civilization: we’ve all been exposed to Diet Culture. We’ve been raised with the idea that if we don’t look a certain way, our bodies are wrong and we aren’t allowed to be happy until we fix it. Pre-teen girls are known to think of themselves as “fat” and admit to trying to change their eating habits in order to lose weight.

Think about that for a minute. Our little girls are taught from day one that their bodies are something to be loathed. How can they ever feel comfortable in their own skin? Comfortable enough to play sports, to stand up for themselves or others, to believe in their voices, to try to create change? They can’t. So, many times, they don’t.

What might we be doing, thinking, feeling about if we didn’t think about body image, ever? Caroline Knapp

Just because you’ve been told something your entire life doesn’t make it true.

Here’s the thing: Hating your body helps no one but the people who want your money or the a**holes who want to bring you down.

People who are told to hate themselves do not treat themselves well. It makes sense, right? If you hate your body, how likely are you to nourish it in a way that makes you feel your best, or exercise to feel good? You’re exercising or eating to punish yourself for being in a body that you don’t believe is good enough. Body shaming, whether it comes from you or others, just makes you feel worse. There’s no justification for it. My advice? Do yourself a favor and cut that shit out!

Every weight loss program, no matter how positively it’s packaged, whispers to you that you’re not right. You’re not good enough. You’re unacceptable and you need to be fixed. Kim Brittingham

I know that’s blunt. And I know it’s not easy. These messages aren’t something you turn off after a lifetime of indoctrination. You’re going to get upset sometimes when that cute dress on sale only has sizes left in extra small. It happens to even the most fierce body love warriors out there. I’m not expecting change overnight.

But I want to challenge you to try to look in the mirror and dare not to think of your body as a work in progress. Love it for what it is right now: a 100% unique, complex gift from Nature or God or The Flying Spaghetti Monster; whatever belief system is your jam. Get to know your body instead of fighting it. Eat food and see how it makes you feel. Exercise and see how it improves your mood. Do and eat things you like. Yeah, spinach is good for you, but if it makes you want to throw up in your mouth when you think about eating it, why put yourself through that kind of torture? Life is too short.

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Victoria Fisher is a freelance writer in Michigan. She is a fan of feminism, rainbows, and the Oxford comma. She sometimes talks about feelings on her blog, Disaster Poodle. You can hire her to write stuff for you at her website.

Hope from the Sea

“Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach—waiting for a gift from the sea.”
― Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

It’s amazing how moments of sand and water bring clarity into an otherwise anxious life. I drove to the beach a few weeks ago to meet up with a friend and to build sand castles and walk the ocean’s line. I was reminded again how friends are scattered across the country and how sometimes I wish they weren’t, how the things I love are sometimes miles away when I want them next door.

I am aware that the miles happen because I’ve moved, and written, and said hello to good-crazy people who are okay with swear words and truth-telling (and also because not everyone is stupid enough to live in San Francisco).

I am still surprised by what we humans can accomplish together. It’s a special kind of goodness and love; it reminds me to hope. There’s something miraculous about community. However we find it. Whenever we find it.

The truth of the matter is, I feel utterly and completely like crap. I believe the correct term is “sad.” For a few reasons, but mainly because of an ending and a mismatch of lives, and people, and parts. These things happen. I know. I know. And I know that I will be less sad if I let these feelings works themselves through. So, that is what I am doing. I really am. Well, that and watching everything created by the BBC. Life must not all go to shit.

So, I am being patient and (relatively) kind, and practicing radical self-care while remembering that hope is there, even when our toes sit in the too-cold Pacific and our hearts break on our sleeve.

There’s still a bit of it to be caught near the ocean.

 

 

 

Note To Self

Note To Self, K mug

Yes, that’s a parking ticket on your windshield. Yes, you illegally parked three car lengths behind a meter maid in downtown San Francisco. Yes, you have a problem.

If someone asks you what size beer you’d like to order, making hand motions to show them the size you want is weird. Wait. Yep, it’s still weird.

You’ll have a dream that you clean out your mother’s closet since it needs to be organized. Why? Because you have the most boring dreams ever.

You will manage to lock yourself out of your apartment and your car on the day you need to drive an hour for a meeting. You will borrow an unemployed friend’s car because he’s got his shit together more than you. Way to boost his self-esteem.

You’ll read a stupid article about how you have to make over $140,000/year to have any hope of purchasing a home in San Francisco. You decide to never purchase a home in San Francisco.

You’ll accidentally download adware software onto you computer and call the company that helped make that happen. Said company will eventually hang up on you when you tell the manager JP, “I don’t care if that’s not your procedure. I want the procedure for the non-compliant customer who needs you to uninstall this software without paying a ridiculous fee!” You’ll figure out another solution and almost call JP back to let him know. Then you realize you should just go feed yourself.

You’ll travel on a Tuesday. Your flight will get cancelled, you’ll book another ticket, your hotel will be under construction, the sink will break and overflow, and Daylight Savings Time will still be wreaking havoc. Don’t worry, it gets better.

You’ll realize it’s perfectly acceptable to request that your guy friends pick up the tab until the wage gap is fixed. It’s been this way for three decades. For every 54 cents you make as a hispanic woman, they make $1.00. Plus, you’ve gotta budget money for those parking tickets.

Why You Need Help & So Do I

The path to your life’s work is both difficult and mysterious, which is why few finish the journey. – Jeff Goins

Why We all Need Help

Sometimes life is hard, and shit is real, and we are broken. Sometimes we need to ask for help, and wring our hands, and point ourselves in a new direction. And when this happens, when we need so desperately to get from point A to point B, we often don’t know where that is.

Life’s a real party like that.

It’s hard to figure out what you want to do, and when to do it, and how, while keeping your self-esteem in tact when no one is hiring you (or buying your products or recruiting your services). It is hard. It is even harder when we try to do it all on our own, without help, and without a support system.

It’s actually a pretty bad idea.

I’ve tried it.

Which is why I’d recommend a life coach. Why? As Stephanie from The Loudmouth Lifestyle puts it, “A life coach assists in guiding you from point A (where you are now) to point B (where you want to be).” Coaches help with the in-between. They are a solution to stuckness.

See? Gold.

Now me, I am not a life coach. It is not my calling. I mostly ooze sarcasm and side eye. So, I am always impressed (and slightly mesmerized) by people who make coaching their livelihood. They’re like unicorns or super heros or extroverts: things at which I marvel.

Because I am so enamored with (and believe in) this whole coaching process, I sat down with Stephanie to learn more about her coaching programs and what possessed her to offer folks a lifeline.

Stephanie - Loud Mouth Lifestyle

Q: What do you get from having a life coach? 
Having a coach is not the magical potion for success. It requires you to study your life, decide what you want from it, and complete the steps to get there. A coach is less like a therapist, and more like a personal teacher and cheerleader. I am not a fairy godmother, sprinkling pixie dust to make things happen in your life; instead, I motivate others to make things happen. I have experience with both life coaching and therapy, and I have gone through my own personal struggles, so I know what it’s like to be on the other end. I’m willing to share plenty of tips and advice that I’ve learned the hard way, but I am not meant to heal you. I’m here to remind you that you have the power to do big things.

Q: What do YOU bring to this whole coaching biz?
Steph: I’m an advocate of intentionally cultivating an extraordinary life. I’ve been through [coaching] myself and have survived a lot of shit. I have the ability to truly relate to my clients. In addition, I’m constantly researching and studying; I’m open to learning new things. I also love planning. [She seriously does.]

Q: How do you balance being honest with being smart about boundaries?
Steph: My sessions are about the client,  it’s their time and I keep things focused on them. I may use personal experiences as examples to better illustrate my point, but the sessions really are about you, not me.

Q: You have an April session opening up. When does Loud Ladies: Spring Break Edition start? 
Steph: You have until April 7 to sign up (or until the program sells out). The course runs from April 13 through April 19.

Q: Can I get a discount code for my readers for your coaching services (since they’re awesome)?
Steph: Yep. They can enter KRISTIE15 at checkout for 15% off. [You’re welcome.]

Final Thoughts

Look, if you’re on the fence about coaching or you’re feeling incredibly stuck, Stephanie may be your unicorn gal. She understands people and relationships, and she’s all about getting your ass in gear.

I am no stranger to the I-don’t-know-what-I’m-doing-with-my-life conversations and looking for not-my-current-job. In fact, it’s been a reoccurring theme for the past two years. I’ve leaned hard on friends for support and sanity, and these friend sessions often looked like minor mental breakdowns coupled with pub crawls and gif-filled emails. It occurred to me that a life coach may have helped. It can be that voice saying, have a little grace and get a plan, and yes, a new job would be a very good idea. It’s the person who can remind you to think bigger and to take walks outside, and also maybe work on that default face.

What do you think? You up for giving coaching a try?

Stephanie Planner

P.S. Consider joining my email list to get me in your inbox once a week. It’ll be like we’re pen pals.

P.P.S. If you’re not sure about coaching, then keep your eyes peeled for Jeff Goins’ new book Art of Work. It may be more your speed until you’re ready to pull the trigger.

 

 

Quotes and images provided by The Loudmouth Lifestyle, top photo from deathtothestockphoto.com