Tuesday, February 26

know yourself.

Hello dearies! Hope this new week is treating you well.

I've had a few conversations in the last couple days that have led me to this blog post.

One of those conversations was with a friend.  We were talking about clothes and she asked how I go about picking things out and putting them together.  When I go into a store I generally know what kinds of things I'm looking for and can pass by everything else.

The next conversation was with someone at the school where I do my internship.  Someone made a comment basically saying that she wasn't sure how I was able to get my schoolwork done, attend classes, keep up with my internships, work, maintain a home, and still have time to sleep and such.

The third conversation was with one of my best friends.  We were talking about going to counseling.  I told her that going to counseling really helped me get into touch with a lot of things in my life and helped me to just accomplish a lot of my goals and move on from a lot of what was bothering me.

The more I thought about both of these, I started to realize that they are kind of related.  All of it had to do with one thing: knowing yourself.  I have certainly not always known myself.  But thats one of the great things about getting older.  You really start to figure out who you are.

I know my style.  I'm a southern girl.  I'm pretty girly and kind of preppy.  I like button downs, floral skirts, cardigans.  So sure, that bedazzled Juicy jumpsuit is probably really cute, but I know Stephanie, and that doesnt say her...

Same thing goes for my schedule.  I know that by the end of the day I'm gonna be really tired, so I better finish that load of laundry in the morning.  I also know that if I don't know what I have on tap for the entire day that I'm going to get really anxious.  As such, I better keep track of my day in my planner.

No matter who you are, what your style is, or how your day goes, learn yourself.  Its the best way to make things happen!  I'm leaving you guys with a few wise words about knowing ourselves.


Thursday, February 21

Eff Your Beauty Standards

Hello lovlies!  Hope everyone is having a fantastic Thursday! I got a tax refund today, my girl scout cookies came in, AND I got cancelled at work tonight... so my day is shaping up pretty well.

As I mentioned in my last post, I am going to be posting more about self-esteem, body positivity, and fat acceptance.  This is really close to my heart for obvious reasons. I struggled with self-esteem for so long, and have just recently started to really grasp how special I am despite not fitting into America's size standards. Grad school and counseling others has really helped me (and my classmates I'm sure) identify and resolve a lot of our own personal issues. Weight, self-acceptance, and the shame others sometimes try to impart on overweight people was a HUGE thing for me to deal with.  For me to say hey, I'm fat and more importantly to accept (even LOVE) that about myself is something I NEVER thought I'd be able to do.

As I REGULARLY preach to my counseling clients... support support support.  You can't tackle issues like this alone.  Personally, I don't know too many women that are fabulous fat girls (and even fewer who accept it... I have met a few this semester in class. AWESOME.) Anyway, Wanting inspiration about how to dress a plus size body, feel sexy (omg did the fat girl just call herself sexy?! Yep.), and embrace being who I am I turned to where everyone in my generation turns... the internet. Upon searching social media I found a few awesome plus size ladies working hard to raise awareness about the same stuff I was in my bedroom at night contemplating! Sure, they are fewer and farther between than activists for racial or sexual minorities... but they recognize that too many beautiful fat girls aren't living their life the way it deserves to be lived and they are working to change that!

I wrote ALLLL that (verbose, aren't I!?) to lead up to this.... Very rarely do I post words that aren't my own, but today I was on Instagram (@steffiefresh if you want to follow...) and one of those lovely inspirational ladies, plus size model Tess Munster (@tessmunster... follow her too!) (side note: plus size, redhead, AND wearing animal print... she might be my long lost sister!) posted an AWESOME photo and caption that just completely made my day.  I had to share it! Below is that Instagram post:

"Reposting for my new followers because this is very dear to my emoji I dont know about you, but frankly I am tired of getting told what curvy/fat/plus size girls are “allowed” to wear. For everyone that says we cant show our tummies, wear a pencil/form fitting skirt, wear a bikini, wear sleveless tops… YOU can! I want YOU to join me in wearing “daring” fashions & stop hiding your body because society tells you to.Break out those horizontal stripes & hashtag #effyourbeautystandards on instagram &  tumblr. We will take back our right to be a total babe regardless of our size..big OR small we all deserve to feel beautiful." - Tess Munster

This really brings a tear to my eye because I wasted 25 years NOT living like this.  Nothing in my life has changed my my self-imposed limitations! Every day my mission as a counselor is to help clients break through such limitations.  Yours might not be size.  I just talk about that because its mine. Whatever it is PLEASE think about moving beyond it and embracing life. #Effyourbeautystandards might sound harsh, but that really is the attitude that makes life happy!

I'd love to hear your thoughts/struggles.  Believe it or not, hearing people's feedback REALLY helps, not only with me personally, but when talking to clients too. 


Wednesday, February 20

It starts with me

You know what annoys me?

"People say... "
"They think..."

Don't you hear this like ALL the time?
I do... and it irritates the heck out of me.

"You know... they say that horizontal stripes make you look fat."
"You know... people say you aren't allowed to wear white pants after labor day..."

Seriously. Who are these people? Why do THEY get to dictate what we can or cannot do and/or wear? Why the hell do we listen to "them"?  I've been thinking about this sort of stuff a lot lately. As anyone who knows me personally already is aware, I'm a plus size girl. Hold the phones, I dare say... I'm fat. OMG did I actually say that? Hell yes, I absolutely did!

Here's the thing about it though... the only person who ever calls me fat... is me.  Sure sure, there was the rude kid in school who said something out of the way, but that was in middle school, and since I'm 27 now that's sort of way in the past. Nobody at a clothing store is ever like HEY YOU, I know that comes in your size but its horizontal stripes, and that's not something fat girls should wear! The only person who ever tells me things like that is me.

I never really thought about the messages that I told myself until I started grad school.  In the counseling field we talk a lot about schema and self talk and all that other cognitive stuff. Anyway, for whatever reason (which I sort of know... but don't want to blast people who helped shaped my thought processes... its not really anyone's fault per se... we just don't realize how messages 'stick') I always corrected myself about things I could do/not do, wear/not wear, think/not think because i was fat.

(side note: FAT is NOT a bad word. Its not an insult. Its just an adjective. Its not insulting to say a girl is a redhead or a guy is black.  Its not bad, its just what it.... same with the word fat. So yeah, I call myself that. I also call myself southern, smart, redhead, preppy, white (pale really haha) etc and none of that makes people think I hate my body... neither should fat. Its just how I am... and I don't mind that damn it!)

Ugh... chased a rabbit. Terrible habit. Back to what I was saying... Nobody ever comes up to me and says I can't do something because of my size.  I lived with limitations for a LONG time that I thought were from the outside... but now I'm really beginning to see that they are self-imposed. I thought I couldn't get a boy to like me in high school, so I didn't date. NEVER did one of my girlfriends tell me I couldn't get a date, I told myself that... and I didn't try. NEVER has someone told me that I shouldn't wear shorts or a tank top or whatever else, but for a long time I told myself that "people say that." Nobody ever said that I shouldn't have long hair, I just had it in my head that I couldn't pull it off because I was a 'big girl' (thats what called myself back when I was scared of/embarrassed by the word fat.)  Seriously, all these ridiculous messages came from INSIDE MY HEAD!?

There was a time when I would have DIED if I had to call myself fat, much less write about it where someone might read it. This would have been a DEEP DARK SECRET that i was keeping from everyone.  Then one day I realized... people already know. Ummm duh. People look at me every day, and they can obviously tell that I'm not a size 6. Secondly, it didn't seem to really bother anyone... except me.  When I went out for ice cream with my friends, nobody was like "hey fat girl, drop that cone!" I, however, was certain that everyone was looking at me. (How self-centered was I?!) Seriously, who thinks everyone is looking at them when there are delicious deserts around?!  I was living life with a set of rules that SUCKED!  These rules were self-imposed. I wasn't 'allowed' to live fully because I was fat?! Excuse my bluntness, but thats bull shit. I DONT have to wear things to 'cover up'. I don't have to avoid eating in public. I don't have to pretend I want to be super skinny (I don't btw being fat is part of being me... I own it!), I don't have to lose weight to have a relationship (seriously, my bf is a total hottie!), and I DO NOT have to have a less fulfilling life just because I'm an awesome, fabulous FAT GIRL.

I'm gonna post more about fat acceptance, loving your body, and positive self-talk in the coming days, but for now I leave you with a positive thought below...  I'd love to hear your (kind) thoughts about body image! If you don't have something nice to say... well you know!


Saturday, February 9

Spring cleaning

Ok, so it isn't quite spring.  Even so, I decided to clean up my blog a bit.  I deleted some links, updated my about me, and am planning another couple of things in the coming days.  So, what brought this on? Honestly, I'd all but forgotten that I had a blog.  I get caught up in an endless cycle of classes, internship, providing counseling services at Winthrop's counseling clinic (side note: if you need some counseling, its FREEEE and really good... ask me about it!!), working, homework, and housework.  My blog and my sewing are the two projects that suffer due to my jam packed schedule.  Anyway, my friend Wynne (she's adorable btw) mentioned that she stumbled across my blog the other day and read it.  She said she loved my writing and I should update my site.  Honestly, that is without a doubt the best compliment I could possible get.  Sure, any girl loves to be told she's pretty or has cute shoes on, but for me my writing is one of the closest things to my heart. As such, hearing that absolutely made my day...

it also got me thinking about what I needed to do to give my blog a little facelift.  I still LOVE my layout and the custom header I made.  It took me FOREVER considering I have no idea how to do computer programming and such.  So, that stuff will be staying.  I have a few really interesting (to me at least) ideas that will be worked into posts in the next few days/weeks.  But seriously, who else lets demands and 'have to' stuff get in the way of 'want to' stuff?!  I'm sad that I've walked away for something that makes me happy for so long.  Writing is therapeutic for me.  I write every single day without fail.  I really enjoy this format of writing a lot though.  When I share a struggle or an important discovery, it makes me feel good.  Its nice to think that when I've made a mistake or come to a new realization I can post it here and maybe, just maybe someone will read it and benefit from what I've gone through.  Anyway, I'm going to get back to this (I know, I know... I've said it before) because doing what you enjoy is JUST as important as keeping your responsibilities in check. I'm TERRIBLE about carving out time for doing things just for myself.  This is one of those things, so I will be MAKING myself devote some serious time to blogging in the next couple weeks.

So, what's you hobby/pastime that sometimes takes a backseat to less fun things?