NotBlueAtAll

I'm just a fat gal with a blog and an opinion. Well, lots of opinions.

You Do Not Have To Remain Calm

January5

I saw the above image with the text, “2018 Goal: Stay calm in all situations.” and I was immediately irritated! Ha-ha! I’m sure the intention of the text isn’t for us to aspire to be emotionally stoic robots, but damn if it didn’t feel that way at first encounter. It reminded me right away of a time when I worked for one of the largest and most worshipped tech companies in the world. I was on a lunch break in my usual dark corner of the cafeteria and had received a text message with sad news. I usually read a book while eating, so I’m sure my facial expressions were ever changing. The following day I was lectured for 45 minutes by my immediate supervisor for looking sad and was instructed to compartmentalize and to never appear emotional at all ever. UGH! Infuriating!

I’ve often gotten into hot water in work situations for caring “too much”, but I now see it as an asset. My intuition has steered me clear of many of life’s pitfalls, though certainly not all. People trust me and come to me for a variety of reasons, but my honesty and compassion are usually at the top of any list. It is difficult to remain honest and empathetic, let alone compassionate, in a large corporation or your typical office politics filled environment, but it is why I am so good at what I do. I wear all the hats, help anyone who needs it, and make things happen! After wrapping up my ninth phone interview for the week (whew!) I have had to talk about this and myself so much that it no longer feels like a sales pitch (yuck). It’s not bragging if it’s true, if it’s your actual reputation, and you can back it up in a heartbeat.

What about when the shit hits the fan? What about when your personal or professional life is falling apart? What about when you lose someone? What about mental health issues? You have no obligation to remain calm in the face of personal or professional tragedy. You do not have to be the calm face of serenity when life throws a bushel of bullshit in your face. You just don’t! You’re a multi-faceted individual, not a robot! People fear emotions because they feel the need to be in constant control, that’s not realistic. It’s certainly nowhere near an authentic existence. We should be supporting each other instead of shaming one another. Ugh!

The very concept of being expected to hold it all together, to appear calm in the face of danger or dramatic life shifts, is just wrong! Our brains are wired by nature and our environment. When it reacts to something in our world that brings about emotion, we should be paying attention, not tamping it all down or bottling it up. That is a recipe for eventual disaster! Our brains and bodies react to stress to ensure our survival. It’s not about appearing weak or unprofessional (fuck that!), it’s about finding the power and strength in our vulnerability and persevering in the face of life’s roadblocks.

 

“It’s okay not to be okay” was such a tough lesson for me to learn. It’s no coincidence who first brought that phrase and song into my life, as it was my dance partner, Tigress. I had been let go from yet another job and facing this new and scary thing that was our first dance performance. It was the first time I’d be on a stage in 17 years! I was fucking terrified! Tigress got it, but she insisted that it was okay and you can just be not okay when you need to. Hearing that was such a game changer! We chose that song by Jesse J for our first performance and we’ve been performing for over five years together now. Her friendship continues to broaden, inspire, and bring so much goodness into my life.

I was talking with my BFF about some major life changes they’ve been working through. They’re moving to another state and leaving their job. We have supported each other through so much in life, though we live so far apart. We’ve been there to cheer each other on through moves and divorces, breakdowns and health crisis, but at every turn, it just never feels easier. And ya know, it doesn’t necessarily have to, either. They were powering through but feeling that depression would soon seep in and I just knew exactly what they meant. My response?

“Sometimes, when depression is tapping me on the shoulder, I’m just like, ‘Hey dude, what’s new?!’ and kind of just fucking embrace it like an old, holey sweater. Sometimes it’s just easier and almost helps me get through in a weird way.”

“This is why I love you! LOL” They replied

“Probably the worst advice ever.” I said

“Nah” they said

“New big shit is hard. Depression is familair and I can navigate the uncomfortable things because it will just feel like regular coping. Is that the most fucked up?” I half jokingly, but really not, responded

“LOL! No! It makes perfect sense.” they replied

There is something so perfectly, nonsensically, and necessarily human in falling apart. I no longer see it as something to fear or be ashamed of. Every time I have fallen apart or broken down it has been the best thing in the end. It leads to a purge of old ways of thinking and an opening to new things and people. It is both an end and a beginning. It is brutal and beautiful. I say embrace the hell out of it, knowing that growth and a better you will be on the other side. Baby steps are perfectly fine. One step is great! More will follow and you will get through it. Just don’t hide from it!

I hate how society treats human emotions. It’s not weak, but it’s branded as weak because of those who are truly afraid of having an authentic feeling touch them. To be moved, deeply, within our very souls, must be a terrifying concept to someone who places far too much self-worth and stock in feeling as though they can or need to control every aspect of their lives. Baby, that ain’t living! That is living in fear, with only avoidance and shame as your defenses. *Shivers* No thank you!

I may walk a path others wouldn’t. I may make choices and decisions for myself that others would find mind-boggling. I am not here to live for them or to make sense, quite frankly. I choose human connection, deeper connections, over networking and appearing to have it all together. I don’t keep up appearances for others or try to hide my many flaws. If anything I almost flaunt what is “wrong” with me in the face of a society that would prefer I’m hidden away in shame and misery. I wear my misery like a badge of honor! I highlight my flaws with sequins and knit fabrics pulled taut by every lump, bump, and rolls of my body and mind.

We can absolutely choose to feel every feeling that comes to show up the way to our true path. We can create a life that serves to move us further along our journey and find those along the way that prefer to be authentic, too! We don’t have to fall in line or fit into something we had no part in creating or agreeing to try to be subservient to. Being ashamed or hiding from the softer or more difficult moments in our lives isn’t what will serve us in the end. People live with regret because of not feeling connected, and avoiding vulnerability with those they love. I think love, in it’s purest form, is a powerful and vulnerable thing.

Life may rarely seem to make sense, but it can teach us so much if we just choose to be present, and listen. That includes listening to our own intuition and being aware of our feelings, embracing and facing them, even when it may be frowned upon. There is no need to apologize for what is natural and necessary. You can shine a light on your strength and power by allowing whatever may come, just come. It’s okay not to be okay. And breaking down is just a way for us to find a better path to our purpose. Be you!

Rad Fatty Love to ALL,

<3
S
Please take a moment to select the type of content you’d like to see more of on this blog. It is a brief poll with a comment box at the end if you have anything to share. Thank you so much in advance! https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XZX5933

P.S. Check out and use the hashtag: #FatAndFree on Insta & FB!
And my hashtag #DateMyDamnSelf on Instagram if you feel so inclined

Donate to this blog here: https://www.paypal.me/notblueatall

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (and updated daily): http://on.fb.me/1A18fAS 

Or get the same “shared” content on Twitter: @NotBlueAtAll

I also have an Instagram I’ve finally started to actually use: https://instagram.com/notblueatall/

And as always, please feel free to drop me a line in comments here or write me an email, I love hearing from readers. (Tell me your troubles, I don’t judge.): notblueatall@notblueatall.com

 

Outgrowing = Growth

December31

I think it is a very healthy and important thing to recognize the things and people in your life that you’ve outgrown. Often this doesn’t happen, though, and we find ourselves conflicted or in conflict with those things. Sometimes it’s obvious, but often it’s far from it. We will avoid things, facing them, because we don’t know or can’t acknowledge what it is or why you’re feeling a certain kind of way about it if you can even get that far. We often ignore our gut feelings about things in the name of manners, courtesy, obligation, and societal pressures. It makes it very difficult to move on or grow in this world.

Some of you have specifics in mind already. You know deep down what is no longer serving your life’s purpose, path or journey. Maybe you have a negative ninny in your life? A job that feels so heavy and pointless that you want to run screaming from the building every day? A friend who only calls you to complain? A person you’ve shared your life with that no longer shares theirs with you? A career path or dream that no longer lifts you up as it once did? A relative that leaves you wishing you were an orphan? There are so many things that just no longer feel right anymore, to me, to you, to everyone. It’s a natural thing, mind you, for things to run their course. The hard part is acknowledging it, of course, but then to take action. Okay, maybe even just deciding that action is needed, even before you get to what that action should be.

I guess most often this is in the context of a romantic relationship, but I think friend breakups are toughest. Sometimes there isn’t even an actual breakup, but just a break or a tapering or ghosting. I’m not sure what’s worse, but they all fucking suck! Family shit is hard, but I think most just stay entwined or under the spell of obligation, guilt, and shame. I’ve never believed the whole “blood is thicker than water” bullshit. Humans are human, flawed and terrible, fantastic and incredible. We will push others away without realizing it. Our behaviors towards them may change before we’ve even identified our feelings about them. We may begin to hide things or stop sharing things with them.

I have said before that the best way to tell how you really feel about someone deep down is that first instant that their name pops up on your phone, be it for a call or text or email. It’s such a quick thing we often ignore or shake off before acting, by answering or replying. Think about it, though, how does that moment feel? Try it. The next time anyone calls or texts, don’t act right away, just look at the name on your screen and think about what you’re feeling in that moment. I’ve often suggested changing contact names to what that person makes you feel. So, instead of “Pat”, you might change it to “Belittled” or “Insecure” when you know that isn’t who you are or want to be.

Of course, no one is perfect. Perfection is a myth, in my opinion. Only you know what is right or wrong for you. Creating healthy boundaries is a mature and awesome thing to do! That can be telling your mother that you will no longer engage in conversations about size/weight/diets/food/etc or an ex you no longer want to be mentioned. It can be setting an expectation together with your spouse or partner so that you both are on the same page and can act accordingly. Unexpressed expectations are dangerous and detrimental! I spent years and years in relationships where both parties held the other to expectations that were never spoken. Nightmare!

Consider open dialogues over ultimatums. I have never been a fan of ultimatums. Ultimately it only forces someone to make a choice on someone else’s terms and that just doesn’t fucking work! Life is never so black and white. When dealing with actual humans, emotions, struggles, baggage, trauma, survival, abuse, love, etc. you cannot force a decision or timeline. You can appeal to someone and communicate your needs and feelings, but if an ultimatum is what you’re considering, I ask that you simply walk away entirely. You cannot help or support someone by forcing them to choose something that doesn’t align with what is best for them. You can say why, of course, but demanding a choice be made is unfair at the very least (damaging and abusive at worst).

What’s great and okay is to read books and blogs on interpersonal relationships and communication. It’s healthy and awesome to seek counseling and therapy and more support in your life overall. You deserve to feel safe and supported in your life. You get to decide what that means and what that looks like for you! It’s pretty rad! I mean, what other point in being an adult is there?! Find a quiet moment to be alone and think about what this means for you. Paint a picture of what you want in life, what fulfillment looks like, what a good balance might be for you. Then think about what obstacles lay in your current path. Can you remove or change those? No? Can you correct your course to move around them? When you consider all that you’ve been through and have become as a result, how does that person or thing or relationship or environment fit in?

I think everyone and everything that comes into our lives is meant to teach us something. Though many of my life’s lessons have been learned through brutality, that hasn’t always been the case. It is sometimes through gentleness and love that I found that even the best of intentions can still hurt. That control can come in many forms and rarely do we believe that we’re attempting to control others, even when it’s pointed out to us. Sometimes we don’t realize how much has been taken from us or how long we allowed someone to shrink our lives around us. My last relationship was fulfilling in many ways, but I couldn’t shrink myself to fit into the box they wanted for us to live in and I never will.

Ultimately, to find and live your most authentic life, you have to decide for yourself what is right and necessary. It will be painful at times, as all big changes often are, but know that you are worth every ounce of effort and energy to find that path for yourself. It’s your journey, it’s your life, you cannot change others or make them see from your perspective, but you can remove them from your life. It doesn’t matter how long or how involved, if they are not lifting you up or helping you to grow, they aren’t supporting the life you want to live. So live it! Love it! Be the you that you know you want to be! It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of you, their opinions are none of your business anyway. You will soon find that what aligns best with your life and dreams will be attracted to you naturally. Go get ’em!

Rad Fatty Love to ALL,

<3
S

 

P.S. Check out and use the hashtag: #FatAndFree on Insta & FB!
And my hashtag #DateMyDamnSelf on Instagram if you feel so inclined

Donate to this blog here: https://www.paypal.me/notblueatall

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (and updated daily): http://on.fb.me/1A18fAS 

Or get the same “shared” content on Twitter: @NotBlueAtAll

I also have an Instagram I’ve finally started to actually use: https://instagram.com/notblueatall/

And as always, please feel free to drop me a line in comments here or write me an email, I love hearing from readers. (Tell me your troubles, I don’t judge.): notblueatall@notblueatall.com

#DateMyDamnSelf

December30

I sit here wondering if it is just easier to do it this way, to sort of date myself. Exhausted by the ceaseless emotional labor demanded of me by any potential suitor reaching out through numerous dating apps. I ask each, regardless of gender, “Do you call yourself a feminist?” and their responses have all been the same, save for one (okay now two and I met the second Last Night!). I joke with my friends that I’ve become a sort of feminism 101 professor through these interactions. As many people as I have talked to through these apps, I have gone on very few actual dates because of this. It is the word of the year for fuck’s sake! My new motto:

Get with the times or get left behind!

Oh, that one, with the right answer? They were a great date! Like, a real and honest, nearly traditional, sit-down date. At an Italian restaurant no less. The date was filled with dazzling conversation that left me with great hope for a future date with them. They’ve traveled back home to visit with family for the holidays, but we have loose plans to see each other after the 3rd. They are brilliant in mind and conversation and a talented artist from what photos of their sculptures they shared in their profile. We discussed everything from UFOs and ghosts to body dysmorphia, art, sci-fi and video games. The food was divine and the company so great, I was sad to see it end but it had to.

I probably approach dating very differently than most. A friend recently insisted I was being unreasonably discerning by my declaration of a date wearing white jeans as a major red flag for me. It may sound shallow, but I assured my friend that someone who can comfortably and proudly (they were actually trying to impress me by wearing them) wear white jeans out in the world would have zero understanding of me or the lifestyle of the working class. It was a horrid date, something out of an old Seinfeld episode it felt like, but we all have our horror stories. Ha-ha!

I do not think it unreasonable in the least to insist that someone I might invite into my life, or bed, see me as an equal and whole human being. The fact that anyone in the world thinks this to be even remotely too high of a standard can fuck right the hell off! I refuse to be complicit in my own oppression. You wouldn’t expect a gay man to date a homophobe! Many cis-gendered, hetero males feel women owe them their time and attention, regardless of how they treat women in general. I will not stand for such nonsense, especially in my personal life, nor should anyone.

Feminism is not a dirty word. Feminists don’t hate men. Feminism is for everyone! Misogyny hurts everyone! Anyone who rolls their eyes at the word feminism/feminist is willfully ignorant and quite frankly a selfish and misguided asshole, period. Unpopular opinion? Perhaps, but I do not care one bit what the popularity level of my opinions are. I’m not here to appease or kiss asses, never will be. I’m living my life for me. I am creating a life of my choosing and creation. The folks that insist they are “good guys” aren’t. They just aren’t. That is not a thing! This isn’t an 80’s cartoon, good guys vs. bad guys, no. Not even close. This is me trying to protect myself from those that would harm me.

When I tell men (I date all genders, but get more messages from hetero cis men, currently) that the leading cause of death in men is heart disease and the leading cause of death in women is men, they often laugh or try to laugh it off. They don’t want to live in the real world. They don’t want to see women as equal and whole humans. They want to live in the world they feel safe and in control of. THAT IS NOT MY WORLD! I live in reality and I face it every time I leave the house. I know I can’t control everything, nor would I want to. Control is a falsehood, change is inevitable, and everything is temporary.

I will never be the grateful fatty, happy to gain anyone’s romantic attentions. Fuck that! I will always insist upon more. More than the typical, more than the expected, and please, far more than superficial. I would rather be alone and independent than stuck in a one-sided relationship again. Nothing feels lonelier than that. Besides, I already have the unconditional love and companionship of the most charming gentleman I know…my puggo!

So what does it mean that I want to #DateMyDamnSelf? It means I will put in the time and attention to myself when I go out alone or with friends, that I would for a potential date. It means owning all that I have and being proud of it because it is true! It means enjoying my alone time, practicing self-care, being a better friend and spending more quality time (as in walks and new experiences) with my puggo. It also means calling out folks who claim to be something that their actions prove they are not. I will only socialize with unapologetic feminists, regardless of romantic intent.

I have been struggling, but I am feeling so much better now. I have had a few loved ones in crisis lately and supporting them has made me feel seen, too. It seems my unabashed honesty and ability to see patterns and through other’s fake bullshit is a blessing after all! Ha-ha! Seriously though, this week has proven to me in a multitude of ways that there is no need to ever struggle alone or in silence. Reach out! You may have support and love in your life you didn’t previously recognize. Speak up and let someone know what’s on your mind and in your heart. People want to help, they want to support, they want to connect and love you. Let them, accept that you’re worth it…YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY WORTH IT!

Rad Fatty Love to ALL,

<3
S

 

P.S. Check out and use the hashtag: #FatAndFree on Insta & FB! And now my #DateMyDamnSelf on Insta, because why not?! Please, join in on the fun!

Donate to this blog here: https://www.paypal.me/notblueatall

Do yourself a lovely favor and join: feministstickerclub.com it’s $2.50 a month and it’s the best piece of mail I get in my mailbox every time! The flowery heart feminist image is a sticker from this club.

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (and updated daily): http://on.fb.me/1A18fAS 

Or get the same “shared” content on Twitter: @NotBlueAtAll

I also have an Instagram I’ve finally started to actually use: https://instagram.com/notblueatall/

And as always, please feel free to drop me a line in comments here or write me an email, I love hearing from readers. (Tell me your troubles, I don’t judge.): notblueatall@notblueatall.com

The Lies They Sell in the Name of Body Positivity

December28

Women’s Health (Ha!) magazine published an article by Anonymous (Not the cool one, I assure you) entitled, “How Becoming A Nudist Helped Me Accept My Body” (I refuse to link because fuck that magazine and all it promotes) with the following image at the top:

(Photo depicts a thin, white, seemingly able-bodied woman from behind with long wavy brown hair coming up out of the water.)

My immediate and initial reaction was an overly dramatic eye roll. Not at being a nudist, mind you. Nah, to each their own, live and let live is my way. My reaction was mostly to the photo. My inner thought was a very snarky, “Oh sure, it’s a helluva lot easier to love your body, especially amongst nudists if you are the embodiment of western social beauty standards! Psshht!” Today I decided to examine my own snark and read the actual article. My initial reaction, I found, was not wrong. Ugh!

This was written by someone who claimed to already love their naked body, to feel their best when wearing nothing at all. They then go into how they were at their largest size after years of yo-yo dieting. The writer then aims to demystify what nudism is and how meetups and events work. Sexual and lewd behavior is not allowed, it’s all very normal and nice, just nude. I was open to what they had to say until it ended with:

“Now that I feel a healthy acceptance of my body, I feel all the more motivated to improve it. The body that I love is healthier than ever, and I consistently make an effort to nourish it, exercise it, and pamper it.

After all, I have quite the audience these days. And I love it.”

One of these days I will surely get my eyes to permanently roll so far back the can no longer sit in their natural place! For fuck’s sake! How did I fucking know?!?! This person never loved their body and they still fucking don’t! This person points directly to how their size increased and then recommits to the same destructive pattern in yet another futile attempt to “improve it” after participating and feeling part of a community that has embraced her and believes:

“Nudists (or naturists, if you will) consider the human body a beautiful creation, and something of which no one should be ashamed.” 

What in the actual living fuck?!?! NO! This is not how that works! Why did I read this infuriating article? Why am I sharing this here and with you at all? Because we all need to recognize and think more critically about this bullshit that gets shoved down our throats in all media, even and maybe especially when it paints itself in pretty, body positive colors. UGH! Yeah “body positivity” is really just another way the weight cycling (read diet/fitness/etc) industry adds to its billions of dollars in profit. That profit comes from those who just want to feel better, to feel like they belong in this world, to feel whole and human and right. It’s all lies!

You need only to scratch the surface to find co-opted language ripped from the fat positive/acceptance movement directly. I remember the gross, deep, awful feeling that sat in the pit of my stomach as I saw for the first time the weight watching ad depicting an outright rip off of Marilyn Wann’s “Yay! Scale”. I’ve seen companies such as lane bryant pushing a seeming body positive message in order to shill their control-slimming-torture garments in order for us all to fit in…or is it really just fall in line?! No thank you!

All bodies are good bodies

“There is no wrong way to have a body!” I believe originally said/written by Lesley Kinzel, but google results were too numerous and varied to prove this, thanks to further co-opting in the name of body positivity that actually isn’t at all. We don’t need media further profiting off of us when we’ve been beaten up our entire lives by a society that sees us as inherently wrong and othered. I refuse to consume anything that makes me feel like shit or tries to convince me to. Fuck that noise! That’s all it is, too, is noise. It is a din that finds its way into our very pores and then sells us pore minimizing creams lest the rest of the world discovers we inhabit actual human bodies.

I am obsessed with Sailor J, who has a YouTube vlog in the style of makeup tutorials. Only she uses her fantastic and sarcastic sense of humor in such a way I have not encountered online. To find inspiration in someone so much younger than myself is humbling, but awesome! One of my closest friends is 24 and while the world opens its doors to her as it slams them on me, she is open-minded and willing to see what that means and why that is. Sailor J reminds me of her, but funnier and more feminist in her own way. Love them both! I think it is both easy and wrong to dismiss the views and experiences of those younger than us/me. I highly recommend Sailor J’s Contouring 101 video. I have no interest in the subject itself, but it is a fantastic commentary on the absurdity of beauty standards in a patriarchal society.

I am fat. And I have this radical idea that I am allowed to exist.

There is nothing wrong with having a fat body, of any size. There have always been fat people, throughout time! Humans seek to control anything that feels out of their control. Today’s beauty standards have not always been based on thin, white, euro-hetero-centric bullshit. How fucking boring and unreasonable is that?! I love the diversity of where I live, the San Francisco Bay area in California. I love that nobody looks the same or is shaped the same. I have visited places where that is seriously not the case. It was surprising to me and I couldn’t feel comfortable in those locales. Why anyone would want that I will never understand, nor try to, honestly.

While we cannot change other people, or their beliefs or ability to see people of size as whole and equal, we can choose to laugh in the face of those who oppress us with those boring and small-minded views. We are not here to be pleasing to everyone, or anyone, other than ourselves, dammit! We have just as much a right to exist in this world, to seek happiness and create a life of our choosing, as anyone else. They will try to lie to our very faces and insist we live a life confined by their standards and miseries, but that isn’t the life I want. That isn’t the path to fulfillment. Follow the money, examine what media you consume and think critically about it. They love to take and take and take from us, but to walk in our radically self-accepting shoes would rock their damned world!
(Que “Fat Bottom Girls” by Queen LOL!)

Rad Fatty Love to ALL,

<3
S

 

P.S. Check out and use the hashtag: #FatAndFree on Insta & FB!

Donate to this blog here: https://www.paypal.me/notblueatall

My blog’s Facebook page for things I share that aren’t on this blog (and updated daily): http://on.fb.me/1A18fAS 

Or get the same “shared” content on Twitter: @NotBlueAtAll

I also have an Instagram I’ve finally started to actually use: https://instagram.com/notblueatall/

And as always, please feel free to drop me a line in comments here or write me an email, I love hearing from readers. (Tell me your troubles, I don’t judge.): notblueatall@notblueatall.com

Finding my Truth and Owning my Feels Through Vulnerability

December27

“I gave myself permission to feel and experience all of my emotions. In order to do that, I had to stop being afraid to feel. In order to do that, I taught myself to believe that no matter what I felt or what happened when I felt it, I would be okay.” Iyanla Vanzant

I struggled for a very long time to acknowledge my feelings, to feel them, to sit with them, about anything. I would make jokes, “Feelings?! Blerg! Nope!” or make barfing sounds (because my inner child will never die!), but I didn’t recognize this repulsion as fear. I think that is what it was all along. A fear of feeling anything that I couldn’t control or would remind me of darker times I’d survived. It was so much easier to tamp those feels down and pretend all was right in the world.  It’s sad to say, but I even used the whole positive thinking tropes as a way to ignore any emotion that didn’t feel in line with that. I suppose it was my own weird way of coping with what I wasn’t yet ready to process.

Our brains are there to help us, support us, to get us through what we don’t think possible. When we dream, even if we have nightmares, it is our brain’s way of defragging or cleaning up the bits that life leaves in the grey wrinkles within. It doesn’t mean anything, necessarily, but if it helps you to gain perspective it can be meaningful to examine. Our brains can protect us from that which we aren’t currently able to face, such as trauma. I recall being so stressed out beyond measure that I actually didn’t feel stressed at all. I’m certain that this was my brain’s way of ensuring my/its survival. It wasn’t until I left that job, this was a long time ago, that the weight of that stress was fully felt. At such times we insist internally/externally that we don’t have time for this shit. Or that feelings, stress, processing is for the weak. Ha-ha! I can assure you that the opposite is in fact true.

“I’ve found that growing up means being honest. About what I am. What I need. What I feel. Who I am.”

I spent years in a relationship longing for my desires to be fulfilled, but completely unable to express them. That was a quick and sure path to misery. In my marriage we both, I think, followed this pattern. Not speaking meant not confronting what was obviously wrong in the relationship. This was a pattern in the long-term relationship that followed my marriage as well, though I did my best to be upfront and straightforward, insisting to do better this time, but the other person turned a blind eye at every turn. Avoidance of feelings does not erase them, it only prolongs what you must at some point eventually face and deal with. In the end, you won’t be the only one suffering. I tried to push the issue, head on as is my way now, but they resisted so hard that eventually they would just acknowledge the issue and promise to do better, ad nauseum. Nothing ever improved until we were both living the lie that was our relationship for four years. Ugh!

The struggles of that relationship affected my friendships. People I loved and trusted and cared for deeply gave me full and encouraging permission to compromise my own principles. It made me distrust the world to the point where I didn’t talk about anything personal at all. It is very likely what kept my writer’s block in place for so long, too (what a miraculous relief it is to be writing again). Some of those friendships had to be severed when the pressure to sidestep what they saw as an unreasonable if not inauthentic relationship became toxic. I was quite clear in expressing my boundaries, but folks who ignore or push your boundaries are not people you actually want in your life, I promise. I isolated myself out of a necessity to be myself. It was a tough time, but soon I had new people in my life who I shared those truths and boundaries with who accepted me and loved me for them, not in spite of those boundaries and principles.

Compromising yourself for the sake of others rarely turns out well for either party. You’re essentially living a lie and forcing someone else to, too. Whether either knows or acknowledges this is not the point, you will be miserable, but maybe not immediately. I spent twelve years like this and didn’t understand why or how we could both be miserable. When you hold back so much of yourself when you stop sharing and becoming your true self and seeking that in the world and your own journey, you live for someone else and it is a lie. To be honest is to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is a scary thing, but it is a powerful and necessary thing. I pushed vulnerability away for so long in fear of being rejected, even in my own marriage. I found truth and honesty in leaving to become what I needed to be, whatever that meant or turned out to be in the end. I’m now finally feeling the fruits of that labor, and still seeking and becoming what that is.

 

“All I wanted was to live a life where I could be me, and be okay with that.” Charlotte Eriksson

Something that has helped me along the way was the suggestion by a then-coworker to read the book “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown. Brene Brown has one of the most watched TED Talks of all time and it’s all about vulnerability. Daring Greatly came after this, but it pushed me to find a way to own my vulnerability and to find power in it. It showed me ways that these things can come up in our lives where we would typically run from or avoid those feelings. Having someone to talk through these things while also reading that book helped immensely. It makes me incredibly sad that that same former coworker went through that with me only to then turn their back on it and me entirely. C’est la vie!

I have had many other people reach out to me to tell me that by being so open, transparent, and ultimately vulnerable in an often public way, has helped guide them to find their own light and truths from within themselves. Nothing has ever moved and inspired me like that. That is what reignited my voice and my writing here. I am so grateful to have this platform to share my stories, to give voice and names to the things we all struggle with. It helps me just as much if not more than it has helped others. I know I am living my most authentic life, being my truest self, and “riding my own melt” when I am helping and supporting others. It may not make sense to everyone, but to the ones that it does strike a chord with, it is golden. Thank you so much for that.

Rad Fatty Love to ALL,
<3
S

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