Tag Archives: Body Image

Relinquishing Rapunzel

We’ve all been there before. Post bad haircut, second-guessing our decision to be brave, and waiting for it to grow out with painstaking regret..and a new hat.

It’s only hair, right?

It will grow back, right?

I get that, I really do. But in order to understand why it’s so much more than that, you have to also understand what it represents, what it symbolizes, and why losing it and letting it go are two totally different things.

Long hair in literature is well documented as a sign of importance for various reasons. Samson’s hair was the root of his virility and strength. Lady Godiva would not have been half as memorable without her trademark long tresses. And of course there was Rapunzel.

But what about Rapunzel?

How would she have ever been rescued from the tower without her long flowing locks to aid in her liberation? She probably could have freed herself by chopping off her braid and using it mount a daring escape… but that’s not how the story goes. Actually, that’s not how any of the stories went when I was growing up.

Barbie had her Ken, Sleeping Beauty needed the Prince’s kiss to awaken her, Cinderella waited for Prince Charming to scoop her up out of abject servitude, and Snow White relied on the Seven Dwarves to protect her from the wrath of the jealous evil Queen.

But I always felt a little bit more like “Snow Off-White” in my early 20’s. I was the designated good natured chubby friend that was relegated to entertaining the awkward third wheel friend of the cute guy that was flirting with my gorgeous Malibu Barbie roommate. Making tedious conversation to pass the time, sipping wine coolers until she was ready for me to drive her home. Sadly, back then, the only (real life) Seven Dwarves that I ever encountered were Itchy, Scratchy, Burpie, Sleazy, Humpy, Gropey, and Prick.

I grew up envying Farrah Fawcett’s long feathery locks, the perfect coiffes of Charlie’s Angels, and Christie Brinkley’s flowing mane. Not to mention every Whitesnake video featuring a wild haired token beauty with her lustrous tendrils blowing in the wind in hair band  slo-mo. Even Daryl Hannah in Splash, with her shock of blonde Mermaid hair adornment bewitched and beguiled me.

I wanted Mermaid hair.

I wanted what I never had.  Continue reading Relinquishing Rapunzel

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Fat(ish)

Photo courtesy of Dreamstime.com

Sometimes when there is no known word for how you feel, you have to invent one…

Fat•ish

[fat]-iSH    

Noun:

-a defeatist state of mind achieved by a downturn in critical morale

Ex: The fat(ish) took over.

Adjective-

-having the characteristics of; or outwardly resembling one’s perceived fatness

Ex: She could no longer happily wear that dress because it made her feel fat(ish).

Verb (archaic):

-to make or become fat(ish) by falling back into old habits

Comparative synonyms

-Busted can o’ biscuits

-Sausage stuffed into a casing

Antonyms: Skinny•ish

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Our mind/body link is a force of nature.


How you feel on the inside is directly connected to how you present yourself on the outside. And it becomes harder to manage it the worse you feel. Often times it’s so involuntary that it evolves without notice.

Having dealt with weight issues even as a child, and having been overweight/ morbidly obese my entire adult life, I had adjusted to my state of being in a way that found me complacent to its challenges.

I had “adjusted” to my limitations and found a certain level of comfort in it.

But once my weight loss began…

Once I started feeling differently in my body…

Well, I started to feel “skinny(ish)”.

It was a state of mind that was created by a boost in confidence that had allowed me to picture a new reality for myself.

And even though I knew that I still had a long way to go, the tide had turned, and the feeling was palpable.

With every pound lost I began to feel thinner. Even when nothing physical was noticeably different, I felt the change manifesting from within.

I knew I wasn’t “skinny”, but I was skinny(ish), and that was a million dollar feeling.

But, once I reached my weight-loss goal, and the hovering began, I noticed that that feeling was harder and harder to hold onto.  Continue reading Fat(ish)

The Maid in the Mist


Niagara Falls.

I had always wanted to see it for myself.

Several years ago, while visiting the East Coast and getting ready to leave Baltimore, we found that on our way to Philadelphia we still had three days before we were expected at a family get together.

So we sat in the parking lot of the Civil War Memorial near Antietam Maryland and tried to decide where we would go.

The Captain and I have long since practiced a little something we call accidental tourism, where we will just randomly pick a direction or destination and head out without so much as a reservation and the fervent hope of seeing where the adventure will take us. 

So we started looking at the map and trying to decide which direction we would head.

And there I was, waiting for some kind of sign from the universe, when a delivery truck drove by with the logo for Tim Hortons donuts emblazoned on the side.

*cue slo-mo montage…

It was like that moment when the clouds part, and a ray of sunshine breaks through to a chorus of euphoric accolades.

What? We love Tim Hortons! I did not even know that they had stores in the US, I thought they only had them in Canada! Living in Washington State, we were frequent visitors to Vancouver B.C on the western side of Canada, and sometimes we would even go across the border just for a coffee and donut run. Lemon crullers for me and apple fritters for The Captain. And then, we always got a box of assorted TimBits donut holes with a few extra cherry chip ones for the road.

This might be a game changer.

I started feverishly looking on my phone for the nearest Tim Hortons, and found that in upstate New York they had one in Buffalo.

It was decided. We would be heading north.

I looked at the map. I had wanted to see the eastern side of Canada, and I had always heard about how beautiful upstate New York was.

Done. Let’s go.

And then I spotted it. Right there on the border… Niagara Falls.

And as it so happens, that one was on my bucket list. Continue reading The Maid in the Mist

The Legendary Saga of Brokebutt Mountain

It had started out innocently enough.

“Let’s go tubing,” they said, “it’ll be fun,” they said…

Liars.

That mountain became my nemesis.

That mountain humbled me.

That mountain gave me a reality check.

I went in there with a head full of fun and frolic, and I left with a limp, a whimper, and a cracked tailbone.

The night had begun uneventfully enough, with a fierce quest for adventure and winter time thrills.

I had never once considered the dangers. Especially since I had gone tubing before, and enjoyed it quite a bit.

I had also dipped my toe in many another endeavor without pause. I had skydived, and zip-lined, and navigated the roaring whitewater rapids in a raft…

I had jumped in headfirst into so many an adventure, that a night out tubing at the pass seemed harmless.

Not so.

We had arrived to find a bit of a snow/rain mix, and everyone was scrambling for the tubes, and rushing to catapult themselves down the icy hill into oblivion. So I grabbed the first one I could get my hands on, and quickly got in line.

The first time down, I definitely felt the rush. It was pretty slick due to the dense snow pack, and the light rain had added an invisible layer of slippery ice. But the tube I had chosen was a bit over inflated, and since I couldn’t nestle securely down into in it, I felt a bit vulnerable. And as I was going down the hill, I felt as though the tiniest bump might bounce me out of my vessel.

I furiously clung to the handles for dear life, and white knuckled it all the way to the bottom. Like a bolt of white lightning, I had rocketed to the base of the run.

And my very first thought after reaching the bottom of the hill, was that I needed to trade in my tube for a better one. 

A safer one.

But what I did not know then, was, that decision would drastically change the next ten months of my life… Continue reading The Legendary Saga of Brokebutt Mountain

The Curious Migration of the North American Gym Rat

image from @GymRatMemes
The gym.

I had driven past it every day on my way home.

I wasn’t ready yet, but I was going to go in there…someday….

Well, at least that’s what I told myself.

Up until this point, the farthest I’d gotten was the parking lot.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. I did make it to the front desk exactly one time, but I didn’t really count that as “going in”, since it was the very first time, and afterwards I had never darkened its doorstep again.

What were they all doing in there?

I had ridiculous visions of them all gathered around the weight benches, fist bumping each other, grunting, and pumping iron.

I was not an athletic person by any means, and I certainly could not imagine that I would ever be a person that would drive to this place happily, on purpose, and walk into those doors to be subjected to what ever exhaustive regimen or exercise in futility that awaited me.

But every once in a while, I would get sassy, wrestle myself into my workout clothes, and drive there, with inspired intentions, and there I would sit, in the parking lot, watching everyone going in and out.

What did they know that I did not?

Why did all of those people look so determined to be there?

And why was it was all I could do to drag myself to the parking lot and then try trick to myself into going inside?

I felt like there were some big secret that everyone knew about the gym, that if I drove there enough times, I would figure out. Like I would have some sort of moment of clarity, or an true epiphany…or a maybe a paranormal psychic vision.

And if not, sooner or later, I thought, I was going to get out of the car and march right in there and find out.

But today was not that day.

Today, I still had too many excuses to offer myself, only one of which was the fact that my Caramel Macchiato was still hot. I had paid five dollars for that tasty distraction, so I wasn’t just going to leave it in the car to get cold while I went into the gym…

Hell no, that was just crazy talk.

But I admit, I was curious.

Continue reading The Curious Migration of the North American Gym Rat

Tangled

tangled 2.png

She follows me.

Everywhere I go.

I see her.

Lurking.

Watching.

Hiding.

Out of the corner of my eye.

In a photograph.

In the reflection of a window.

Just a glimpse.

A mere silhouette on the edge of my awareness.

For just a fleeting moment.

I feel her presence.

When I am feeling vulnerable.

When I am trying to hold on.

When I am pretending to be okay.

I can sense her lingering within the fringes of my joy. Continue reading Tangled

Plump and Circumstance

One size does not fit all.

Whomever decided that particular description was an accurate size determination, was clearly never a size that was more ample than the norm.

Over the years, I had grown wary of the one- size-fits-all label, because when you don’t even fit into a one-size-fits-all, you begin to question whether or not there is some alternate subspecies outside of “all” that you fall into.

Like one size fits everyone… but me.

I had worked really hard towards earning my Design degree during the three years that I spent going back to college after my divorce. I had thrown myself into my college education with 100% of my effort. And now I was graduating with honors and distinction, and finally getting my much sought after, formerly elusive, college degree.

Initially, I had gone to college right out of high school up in northern Arizona with the idea of becoming a nurse. But after being out on my own and deciding that nursing school was not for me, I had spent the rest of that first year aimless and floundering, with no direction or course of study. I had partied a little bit too much, and pushed the limits of my self-discipline (or lack there of) to the point to where, after only a year, I had given up, dropped out, and moved back home to “find myself”.

But all I found, it seems, was a part-time job at Jack-in-the-Box, and a whole lot of yearning for something more.

I eventually ran away to the beach in California to follow my bliss, and left my college aspirations in the dust.

Life happened, and after a while, I just forgot about my foray into higher education, and accepted my current circumstances as “a choice that I had made”.

After that, I got married, had two children, and worked as a nanny, a barista, and as a video store employee for minimum wage.

I made due.

It wasn’t until I got divorced, and became a single parent, that I realized that I really needed a college degree in order to give myself the best chance possible to provide for my two little boys. My job at Starbucks was not enough to build the life for us that I had wanted.

So I packed up my pride, transferred my job, and moved back to my childhood home in Arizona. Into my old bedroom, where my Scott Baio posters still hung on the closet door, in the hopes that my parents would help me to get back on my feet, and also, so that I could return to school to finish what I started so many years before.

During those three years back in Arizona after my divorce, my weight went up to my highest on record of 293 pounds.

Those were three very stressful and difficult years while simultaneously juggling single parenthood, work, and school… but I did it.

I worked really hard, and surpassed all of the expectations that I had for myself academically. 

But still, here I was, on the verge of graduation, staring at a box that held my cap and gown, and my Phi Theta Kappa sashes, and feeling nothing but dread when I noticed the tag on the commencement gown…

One-size-fits-all…

My heart sank.

I hadn’t tried it on yet, but it made me nervous, and here we were, on the very day of graduation.

I started to feel uneasy.

I pulled out and looked at it. It looked big enough, so I began to put it on…

But alas, it did not fit. Continue reading Plump and Circumstance

A Chance to Dance


I have always been a dancer deep down in my soul.

Dance lessons as a young girl were always my happy place, and soon became an integral part of my identity.

It was an outward expression of my creative spirit, and a way to connect with myself as I grew into a young lady.

I danced with reckless abandon.

With the entirety of my being.

Like my pants were on fire….

I was a dancer.

And I just wanted to dance.

Even while I was in high school, I joined the dance team. But due to a specific set of standards, even back then, I was considered the “fat girl”. I was “muscular”, and “big-boned”. It was just an unfortunate circumstance, that compared to the other girls, I was the heaviest. And once I had begun to see myself that way, I was never really able to “unsee” it.

Eventually, that altered version of myself became an integral part of my newly evolving identity…and that was when things began to change. Continue reading A Chance to Dance

My Life as a Ninja

Weight Watchers has irrevocably changed my life.

I do not look at anything the same way that I used to…….. especially food.

Some things just have the power to take over your mindset, and permanently replace a former way of thinking.

Once I became a Weight Watcher, and food turned into points, the game had begun. It was a challenge that every day, I wholeheartedly accepted. An invisible contract with myself, to eat within the confines of my given points, and to strive to meet all of my Continue reading My Life as a Ninja