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Kids Don’t Come With Instructions So Give Yourself a Break, Mom
The baby did not come with instructions. I was keenly aware of this fact, looking at the small mound of flesh that vaguely resembled a turtle, laying on my belly in a private room at St. Paul’s Hospital. I held him ever so briefly, just long enough to not appear to be a complete sociopath, all the while casually scoping the room for signs a real grown up was going to arrive and claim him.
To Write Love on Her Arms
I felt trapped for far too long, held captive by my own preoccupation with the number displayed on my bathroom scale. On particularly dark days, it seemed to glow brighter than the hope in my heart. Staring at it had the same effect as an eclipse, overshadowing any redeeming quality about myself. It seems unlikely that something that is powerless when I remove the batteries could have so much power over my brain and how I lived my life. But that blinking number trapped me into thinking things that were not true about myself, what I am worth, and what I have to offer the world.
Studies suggest that parking our children in front of the television for eighteen years straight and hoping for the best is perhaps not the best parenting strategy. I park places for extended periods of times myself, but usually only because I can’t find my car. That said, in many ways, my favorite streaming service–Netflix–often parents my kid better than I do.
There’s trouble in Latte Land. Red cups are alleged to not be Christmassy enough. Usually around this time of year we are complaining about Christmas stuff coming out before Remembrance Day and how it’s poor form to celebrate the holidays before our veterans. Apparently, some folks are more mad that their personal beliefs aren’t being sufficiently promoted by a private company that is no way obligated to do so.
There is nothing more nauseating (and this is coming from a former bulimic) than seeing something that nearly ended your life trotted out as a fashion statement. Anorexia is so “hot” right now, and that’s the exact freaking reason I volunteer my time and pour my heart out in blog posts to stop that from being the case. And by “hot”, I mean prevalent, because it’s a DISEASE and that’s the language we use to describe the spread of disease.
Parenting has taught me how rare an uninterrupted sentence is, I’m not sure why I thought sleep would be any different. Mommy’s bed is valuable real estate and it’s regularly invaded by a bed space snatcher. I don’t know how something so small can take up so much space? But it’s hard to sleep with a tiny elbow jammed in your knee, so I lay awake pondering my dilemma.
I coach a lot about self-compassion. When someone comes to me with icky feelings about a personal failing, I say:
“What would you say to a friend who failed? Would you call them names? Or would you encourage them to be kind, help them problem-solve how to do better next time and urge them to keep on trying? Be your own friend.”
Cue that “Rhinestone Cowboy” song and saddle up for some Pinterest-inspired, crafty, body-positive artistic expression.
Women You Should Know
USA Track & Field hammer thrower Amanda Bingson made a major impact with her powerful words on body confidence in the ESPN Body Issue, and by posing nude on its cover. I had the opportunity to interview her about body image and how her life has changed since the shoot.
I don’t believe a feminist worldview requires me to unsubscribe from that which is feminine. I love pole dance for the same reason I love pinup art and vintage clothing: an ability to express playful, exaggerated femininity. I can make shapes and perform movements that accentuate that which I see as feminine about myself. I consider the base architecture of a spin to be a glorious celebration of curves. I get to do it in a way that is strong and powerful, and I consider that to be an artistic and athletic feminist expression.
Brett Stanley’s Underwater Pole Fitness series is definitely making a splash on the Internet. It is so innovative and beautiful. It’s capturing the imagination of viewers along with the submerged artistry of the dancers. It turns out, water is the perfect medium to distill and amplify the diverse facets of pole dance itself.
“Hello” was hard to say. Always the new girl, we moved more than most people who aren’t fugitives. I was awkward, hiding behind glasses and books. I was shy. It was hard to make friends. Becoming a mom, I thought my biggest challenge would be teaching my son to meet people and say “hello”. I was wrong.
Mall Christmas shopping in December is the 8th circle of hell. It is my absolute least favouritest thing to do in the history of ever. I always swear I will do it differently each year and ultimately end up doing it ALL OVER AGAIN just like last year.
The thing about family weddings is that family is there, in Costco volume. This is amazing, wonderful and a blessing, but also a bit overwhelming for those of us that don’t feed off the energy of others. I recently attended a wedding that was lovely and very introvert friendly, but I put together a plan for next time. These are some helpful hints to surviving a large, noisy family function without alienating others.
Dear Flesh and Bones and Heart that Sustains me,
We were first paired some 31 years ago. Neither of us had any idea what kind of journey we would be on together. I was so excited about you in the beginning. You were magical. You could do no wrong. You carried me everywhere with strong legs. We had adventures and everything was fresh and new.
There is a lot of talk about what women want. I sometimes wonder, “What do men want?” I braved the man cave to conduct a not-so-random survey. I wanted to find out what men find so darn exciting about retro dresses.
I have always wanted to dress up in a beautiful, retro inspired wedding dress. Lots of girls dream about their wedding day, and for many, it’s all about the dress (and saying yes!). I love pinup fashion and integrate it into my everyday life, so it would only be natural for it to be featured front and centre on the very biggest day of my life; an honoured guest on a glamorous, special occasion.
Surely you’ve heard the song lyrics “Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes…these are a few of my favourite things!” White dresses are definitely some of our favourite things. You know, it’s not always all about the little black dress. There are just so many reasons to fall in love with white dresses.
Dr. Psych Mom
Keep your feet on the ground. Be practical. This is advice I get all the time. My imagination, enriched by early literary pursuits, left me hungering for more from life. I am urged by circumstance and responsibility to get my head out of the clouds and be a grown up.
You get what you get, don’t get upset
More is something I’m not afraid to be. My body is part of who I am. The journey to accepting my body has turned out to be one about accepting me as a person so that I can be “more” than I was before. My struggle with eating disorders was about disappearing and being “less”, needing “less”, using “less”. I want to be “more” now. I want to be present.
I am a feminist (a feisty one) and a pole dancer (a sassy one). I don’t consider these aspects of self to be in conflict.
Iron Lotus Yoga
My relationship with exercise has always been complicated. The math of calories in and out consumed me in an unhealthy way. When I made the decision to practice yoga, it was with a view to the spiritual benefits even more than the physical ones. I needed more than churn and burn. I needed an ignition source. I needed depth. I needed connection. I needed peace. I needed warmth.
Lipstick and Politics:
For five years, I felt like my body was the enemy. It was too big, all wrong, an ungainly mistake. It took up too much space and all I really wanted was to disappear. I hoped to fade quietly, to make myself as small as possible to keep myself safe. In other words, I was bulimic.
I sat across the table from him and stared incredulously. He listed from side to side like a boat that was about to sink. His eyes were glassy and his pupils dilated. We had been having a delightful conversation, before he excused himself to the restroom and came back high as a kite. I was surprised not only by the audacity of using drugs on a first date, but that he did so with someone who works in the criminal justice field—as if I might not notice he was “in a condition other than normal.” “Beam me up, Scotty!” I prayed in vain.
The Laughing Lesbian
I have given a lot of thought to what women’s empowerment means to me. It’s been repeated so many times it scarcely has meaning. It reminds me of the Princess Bride quote, “You keep using that word, I don’t think it means what you think it means.” How do you define something so abstract? I decided to use a metaphor to bridge the gap in understanding what true women’s empowerment really is. After some careful consideration, I’ve decided women’s empowerment is a sports bra.
When Crazy Meets Exhaustion:
I am going to be a bridesmaid in August and I need a strapless bra for my dress fitting. One of the universal truths about strapless bras is the crucial nature of perfect sizing. If the bra is too big, you have a very elaborate belt with gel cushiony cutlets stuck to your belly button. If it’s small, you are a squished can of store bought biscuits under extreme pressure, oozing out the top awkwardly. That being said, I really did not like the idea of the enormous investment of a specialty bra purchase.
I have never been more excited to receive such an honest Mother’s Day card from my child (except for maybe last year when he divulged my love of fast food and said for fun I like to go to the grocery store by myself). This mother’s day, he chose to celebrate the fact that we like to pole dance as a family. I think he feels that way because he has been part of my pole dance journey from the very beginning.
Everything for Dads:
“Mommy, how long does it take you to forget things?”
I am used to getting weird questions from my kid, but I didn’t know where he was going with this exactly. I looked at him quizzically and prompted him to explain
‘”Don’t go down the alley!” we yell at the TV screen while we watch the protagonist about to encounter certain disaster in a horror movie. As parents, we instinctively want to protect our kids from danger. We teach them to look both ways before they cross the street, not to stick metal things in the electrical outlet and not to give personal information to strangers. As a parent encountering body image issues, “Don’t go down the alley!” becomes “That scale doesn’t define you!”
The relationship status on my Facebook profile would most accurately read “in a relationship with recovery, and it’s complicated”. At a certain point fifteen years ago, I made a commitment to myself that I would live, because in those darker times, that seemed the very best I could hope for. Since then, I have learned living is just the beginning, that there is also room to blossom and thrive. I lost important pieces of me, and recovery is the ongoing, difficult, but ultimately necessary process of setting intentions to reclaim them. After losing Mia and Ana, I needed to find me (Allie).