Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hey guys, I totally killed it at yoga!

I try to make it to Fat Yoga every Saturday.  Due to my ridiculous work schedule, I can't make classes during the week so Saturday mornings are precious to me.  There is something magical the happens in that time and space and when I miss it, I feel like I have missed out in some sort of cosmic cleansing and emotional refueling.

I have been doing yoga off and on for nearly 20 years and never has it felt quite like this.  The owner, Anna, is a magic maker.  She invites us back into our bodies, which on more than one occasion has brought me to tears.  Anna reminds us, as we move through poses, of how strong we are and how we deserve to be here today taking up space.  She encourages us to grow in our love of our bodies.  She challenges us to trust our bodies and to listen closely to them.  She creates a space for rich conversations to happen, where we can safely explore what we don't know and continue our journey to being allies for one another.  She mirrors humility and pride, so that others might take risks, not always be right and own their worth.  Anna has become an important part of my journey and for that I will be forever grateful.  I wish everyone had an Anna and a Fat Yoga in their life.  Image what kind of changes we could make in the world if we were all given the time and space to honor how our bodies and minds have gotten us to where we are today as well as learn and grow together.

Yoga Dress: The Avenue
Leggings: Torrid
Flip Flops: Teva's

Monday, September 15, 2014

Party Dresses

I have always loved dressing up.  My mom has awesome pictures of me a child in frilly dresses.  I loved having my bone-straight towhead blonde hair up in pink curlers the night before an event and then watching them fall in to bouncy curls the next day.  In my teens it was getting dressed up in my gowns for Job's Daughters, or singing at weddings and in the choir which required emerald green and black taffeta dresses with sweetheart necklines and poofy sleeves.

Frilly dress and curls circa 1978
Somewhere between adolescences and adulthood it changed.  I have been reflecting back and think it was upon my return from living a year abroad.  I feel like I changed a lot that year.  I got pierced and tattooed.  I feel like I came into my identity as someone who was not straight (it wasn't until college that I fully embraced my queerness!). I became a much more whole being during that time, exploring and embracing more complicated facets of who I was in general.  Then I returned home to Eugene, where everyone had moved on with their lives growing and changing together.  When I came back, it felt like I was supposed to just pick up where I left off - when in fact I was a completely different person.  I believe now that that dissonance fed my poor self-image and forced me further into my shell.

Some who have known me my whole life would probably never describe me as someone that was ever overwhelmed or intimidated  and that is often how I felt and still feel inside.  My experience growing up in a fat body allowed me to only see two choices; one was hiding away and never being seen or heard the other was to step into my own skin.  This would often mean "faking until I felt it" and displaying a brave face when other people were mean and hurtful.  This meant laughing at myself first as to beat others to the punch.  Big smiles, confident, out going; lonely, lost, sad.

I am glad I no longer reside in those places as often.  That's not to say that I don't get tripped up on my own stuff on occasion.  It's easy to do, regardless of your size.  Now a days, I have been trying to investigate and stay curious when I start walking down that road.  I try to find spaces where I can be ok, just how I am in my pretty frock or sweatpants, reminding myself that this is a journey, not a destination.

This was a dress that I bough over a a year ago to wear to a wedding, however the in one of those moments decided that I couldn't wear it.  A year later I pulled it out and got lots of positive feedback and felt pretty sexy in it! 
Dress:Lane Bryant, Belt: Torrid
Shoes: Crocs Tattoos: Roll Hardy

This is a new addition to my collection.  I bought it two months ago for a wedding and was so excited to gt to wear it.  It looks like lace and is in fact a wonderfully comfy heavy rayon/poly/spandex blend.  It is incredibly comfy and both hangs and twirls nicely.  Can't wait for cooler weather to partner it with a jean jacket, leggings and boots! 

Dress: Torrid Sandals: Aravon


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Profound Change

Today I was looking through the pictures I have loaded to my computer thus far in my fashion/body pos blogging journey, and this is what my screen looked like.



I started giggling with giddiness.  I don't think I have ever seen 36 pictures of myself in (mostly! - but that post is literally for another day) clothes that I love and a smile on my face.  Oh, I have a selfie here and there and some lovely engagement/wedding photos and nothing quite like this.  I have to say that the more I do this project, the more comfortable I have become with my body and aware of my feelings about my body. That might sound funny to those of you who read this and know about my body journey, and it's true!

For many years I have had an ambivalent relationship with my body. I have both loved and loathed it.  In public and among my peers in the Fat Activist/HAES movement I was full of pride and joyfully presented myself.  Strong, confident and outgoing - all words used to describe me.  Often times, I felt (and to be honest sometimes still) the exact opposite.  I was able to look at my peers bodies, both larger and smaller than mine, and find beauty, grace, strength, softness with genuine appreciation - yet often could not see the same things in myself.

It has been in the last year or two that this has really begun to shift.  I feel that as I age, I have begun to be a little more gentle with myself.  I have been able to fully appreciate that my body and soul have carried me through so much.  Recently, in my yoga class I have paid close attention during savasana as my teacher reminds us that we get to live this life once that we know of and that our bodies have carried us through to this moment and we should be grateful.  It feels like such a simple, yet profound statement every time she says it.

Today, when looking at this page of pictures I had that same feeling.  How simple yet profound it is to love myself.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

When I'm feeling shitty...

It's been a rough week.  Not just rough, but truly soul aching.  People in my life, both personally and professionally have been struggling and sometimes it is hard to bear witness to.  With the recent suicide of Robin Williams, the talk of depression and suicide have been on the forefront of social media, the news and many conversations this week.  I am so glad people are talking, sharing their feelings and creating space for dialog to happen.  Also, I am feeling super tender about it.  I feel like I have very few spaces where this conversation is not happening all the time.

There has also been the brutal murder of Mike Brown, a young black man, by a police officer in Ferguson Missouri.  By all accounts he was a good kid, getting ready to go to college like thousands of other kids this fall and arguably due to racism, is now dead.  Not only has his bright star been dimmed, but a whole community is suffering because of it.  I don't know how anyone can deny that we have a serious problem in this country that needs to be addressed now.  We are not post anything.  We are actively racists.  From our foreign policy, to how we treat children escaping violence in other countries and seeking refuge here, to educational policy, to stop and frisk laws, driving while black/brown and this is just the tip of the iceberg.  Institutional racism is destroying our future and making the here and now nearly impossible for many people.

All this being said, in order to feel like I am showing up and being present with those who need my support, I have to feel good.  Part of me feeling good is dressing myself in a way that is physically comfortable and fashionably fulfilled.  Here are my ideas for comfort dressing this week...

 This is an old Lane Bryant dress that I got from a clothing swap 
and I threw on some LB leggings and Crocs for comfort. 
 This is a Torrid dress and belt, LB leggings and Old Navy cardi
 Comfy Avenue capris and shoes with an LB top.
Lastly a splash of color to brighten up my spirits.  
Top and jeans from LB.  Fancy shoes by Torrid

I am feeling a bit nervous about posting about my fashion, suicide and racism in one post and I think it accurately represents some of the complexity that exists in the world.  I cannot occupy one space or idea all the time.  I have to create a space where my brain, body and spirit can take a break. I know that this is a privilege and I truly believe everyone deserves it.  I want to support and encourage anyone who reads this to take care of themselves, in what ever way feels true to them.  Just as it is so important that we are taking care of each other, we need to be sure to take care of ourselves as well...


Monday, August 11, 2014

Make sure to take care...

I need to work on my self-care.  I am really good at talking game with others, however when it comes to ensuring my own well being, I am not always the best.  I stay up too late, haven't found a way to fit in exercise - beyond my weekly yoga class at Fat Yoga which is awesome - just not enough and I have an ever growing afternoon Diet Coke habit, just to name a few.  Needless to say I am working on it, it's just tough.

I am currently balancing between two jobs.  One is a fulltime, benefitted job in community mental health, where I get to do some really interesting work with people who are mainly in crisis.  My second job 12 hours a week is working with naturopathic medical school students, in a student mental health clinic.  I love this as it is less crisis oriented and gives me the opportunity to build therapeutic relationships.  I also get to provide supervision to student interns who are broadening their skill set while preparing for a future career in mental health.  It keeps me engaged with students, which I love (being one too!) and it keeps me engaged with the public administration side of my brain.

The thing is working 52 hours a week outside of the home, then trying to be a good parent and supportive partner is tough.  Like many people who have to balance lives similar to mine, it is easy to focus on what we aren't doing versus where we are being successful.  I know that most days, I good at my job as a clinician, parent and partner.  I know that when I take better care of myself, I am able to be more present in each of these roles.  I know I feel better and have a healthier mindset.  So today, I slept late, lazed around the house in my jammies until near noon.  Took a long hot shower before heading in for a wonderful pedicure.  Then I hit up Trader Joe's to make sure that I had the food necessary to nourish my body this week.  Lastly I grabbed dinner out.  It was a nice reprieve since it was so hot today.  All this to say, take care of yourself.  Do what you need to do to make sure you can show up in your life.  Your self-care is just as important as everything else you do for everyone else.  Remember, it doesn't have to be big and fancy, it just has to be something that nourishes you.  

 Shiny new toes post-pedi! 
I wasn't too sure about this outfit today.  I felt a little bleh, then as I was getting ready to leave, my partner said, "I like your outfit.  The shirt looks really good with your earrings," and it put a smile on my face. 
Shirt: Torrid, Tank: Lane Bryant, Shorts: Old Navy, Shoes: The Avenue  
My earrings were by a local artist that was selling at NAYA's Holiday Bizarre in 2010. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Super Moon - August 10th, 2014

The lovely view from our back deck...


 The one above is my favorite.  It looks like lace to me!





Friday, August 8, 2014

The look that started it all...

When I began my new attempt at fashion/photo taking journey it sprung from this cute picture.  I was reading a bunch of articles by Lesley Kinzel and she kept showing up in these cute little dresses with leggings and a shirt tied high.  I loved the look and again, was convinced that it would not work on my body type.

This is an ongoing narrative in so many peoples lives.  "I can't wear this, it's not right for my body."  "I can't cut my hair that short, my face is too fat."  "I can't show my arms because they jiggle."  All these are excuses that get in the way of living a full life, a life that we deserve.  I can't how many times I have allowed myself to miss out on an adventure, both big and small, out of fear of how my body may be perceived or fear that it/I won't be accepted.  I am tired of feeling that way.  I am tired of feeling like I don't deserve to feel good in what I am wearing, how I want to move my body and where I want to go in life.  So today,  I put on my dress, tie up my shirt and walk into the world, just the way I am...

I love this dress!  It's comfortable and can be dressed up or down.
Also, IT HAS POCKETS, which is perfect, if you ask me.
I added a strand of pearls to "dress it up" a bit and it was perfectly for work.
Dress: Torrid; Shirt: The Avenue; Leggings: Lane Bryant; Shoes: Crocs