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Lavender Labia
Lavender Labia

Meet Yourself In The Mirror" by Ashley Wylde

Tell me what you love.
If I look you in your eyes and ask you what you love,
the answers will likely roll off of your tongue.
You love pizza and crafting and roller coasters and poetry.
You love to read, you love to write, you love birds, music,
tattoos, obscure documentaries, and the colour of the sun,
filtered through the smoke of a wildfire.
You love your boyfriend. Your mom. Your brother. Your sister.
Your daughter. Your best friend. Your dog. Your grandmother.
Your cousin. Your aunt. Your wife.
You love pastries and foreign languages and folk music,
and the way it feels to itch a bug bite.
You love early mornings and late nights
and study breaks and hugs and sentimental cards on your birthday.
How long do you think you could go on and on before you said,
“I love myself”?
Most people go a lifetime.
I used to think I was invincible, like most young people do.
And my grandmother, with a smile sewn of wisdom, told me if I really want the truth,
go stand in front of a mirror.  She told me:
“Meet yourself in the mirror, make a date of it.
Look closely, and even if it’s strange, keep on looking
until your eyes became skies with constellations of light,
and the everything else falls away.
Examine every inch of your face, and feel however you feel about it.
But be thorough. See even the things you don’t like to see.
And when you know your face like you’d know a friend’s, meet your eyes again.
And if it’s awkward or forced, do the best that you can,
and with all the sincerity you can muster, say, ‘I love you.’”
I thought it was stupid, and I told her that right there,
but for some reason I still crept into the bathroom late that night
to rendezvous with my eyes.
It was surprisingly awkward. I was awkwardly shy, and I kept my gaze turned down,
like I was looking at myself for the first time.
The flutter in my stomach, I met my own stare,
and even though everything in me protested,
I let out a half breath that carried an almost inaudible whisper of the words
“I love you”.
And then I cried uncontrollably because I knew it wasn’t true.
I stood in that bathroom every night for a year,
and I lied to my eyes until I could rewrite the truth.
When I looked in the mirror for the first time and knew that I loved myself,
I also knew I would never need anything else to survive.
My grandmother knows me, and instead of telling, she showed me that love is a tree,
and if we don’t grow the roots, we’ll spend our lives collecting dry leaves;
and they’re charming when pressed in books and kept in picture frames
but they don’t grow up to feed our families the way seeds do.
She told me:
“You cannot say, ‘I love you,’ without the implied foundation of, ‘but I love myself, first.’
If you don’t love yourself, every time you have ever said, ‘I love you,’ it was a lie.”
And she was right.

A wee note…

This is just a note to say I’ll be blogging less and less over the coming weeks. I’ll probably keep posting cute animals and the odd political quote, but I’m going to stop engaging with the discussion and activism side of things. I find the drama and in-fighting to be very draining and – even though I do my best not to engage – seeing it unfold on my dash is stressful and exhausting. I need to make my mind a happier place, so please don’t be offended if I unfollow you. It’s not you, it’s me. And when I’m feeling more resilient I’ll hopefully return. 

Thanks for understanding, and for being such awesome followers. 

P.S. There are still about thirty posts in my queue so there’ll be a transition period while it runs dry. 

[TW: weight loss, abuse, bullying]

lovely-lace-and-fishnets:

Five years old, hospital, lungs in danger, use my machine every four hours every day, can’t go out to play, she says ‘you were so tiny your ribs poked out’ and I swear I hear nostalgia there

Because I was skinny

Seven years old, matching outfits with best friend, he says ‘you’re both wearing the same thing but she looks good and you look fat,’ stomach flips, and now I don’t deserve these clothes or my friend

Because I am fat

Eleven years old, weight of a grown woman, stuffed into a school uniform, forced invitations to slumber parties, they call me ‘pig’ but say it is code for nice, and I want to believe them oh how I want to

Because I am fat

Twelve years old, cruelest years, laughter, name calling, gum spit in my hair, inside jokes about me in my face, let them cheat for a moment’s peace, bully cusses and threatens and pushes me into corners, and I just want to go home to my dog, my only friend

Because I am fat

Thirteen years old, he says ‘Fat women try to dress up and hide it but there’s no way to hide fat and they can never look good,” lump in my throat, and I can never again feel like Daddy’s ‘little’ girl

Because I am fat

Fifteen years old, somehow in the popular clique, dress like them, crop top, a shout of ‘gross put your shirt down,’ no date to homecoming, and I am not even surprised when the group dumps me

Because I am fat

Sixteen years old, sitting on the bedroom floor, my almost-boyfriend, tongue pierced, blonde curls, easy smile, everyone wants him but he is here with me, she passes by, ‘why don’t you get her to lose some weight,’ I am not the daughter she dreamed of

Because I am fat

Twenty-one years old, hits me, breaks me down, terrible threats, constant fear, drop out of school, can’t deal, two words over and over, ‘fat bitch,’ and I don’t leave because otherwise I might be alone forever

Because I am fat.

Twenty-two years old, want a new man, no carbs, exercise two hours a day, a nip and tuck, congratulations all round, I’ve made it to the human club, she finally looks at me like I’m beautiful, buys me clothes, and everyone loves my new body even though it is scarred and painful.

Because I am not fat.

Twenty-four years old, it comes back, ‘need to lose it for your health,’ terrified, doctors say obese and diabetes and heart attack, so much shame, make him look away when I am weighed, and I suspect he might wish I didn’t look like this.

Because I am fat.

Twenty-seven years old, a joyous time, but books say I shouldn’t be pregnant like this, other women panic about being half my weight, and no one says ‘congratulations’ because they are afraid they might have it wrong.

Because I am fat.

Thirty-three years old, self-loathing and shame for as long as I can remember.

Then, these women, fat accepting, obesity glorifying, proudly showing their bodies, bodies like mine, talking about love and sex and clothes and food and just living.

Above all, the radical idea that I AM ALLOWED TO EXIST AS I AM and others do not have the right to be critical or superior or cruel.

Because I am fat.

Forever, I am her world, I think what if, what if she lives what I lived, too soon to tell, have to stop it before it ever begins, explain it all to her, respect and kindness for everyone, she gets it, Mommy I am skinny and beautiful and you are fat and beautiful, and I know I was able to teach her this important thing.

Because I am fat.

Every day now, look at their pictures, read their stories, understand their sorrow, their anger, their joy, not alone, adding my pictures, my stories, my sorrow, anger, joy, adding my VOICE, DON’T GIVE A FUCK, and I begin to inspire some people myself.

BECAUSE I AM FAT.

deviantfemme:

pratfall:

How to dress for your shape:

Are you human-shaped? Play up your natural sex appeal by wearing whatever the fuck you want.

Life Tip: As the weather gets warmer, continue to wear whatever the fuck you want. Flaunt everything or keep it cool under cover. Dress to make yourself feel rad.

drbrucebananer:

So, it’s pretty common to see an image like this with like an article about body image or eating disorders or whatever.
And then they go on to talk about what a problem it is and how sad all these young women are hating themselves and hurting themselves because they think they are fat, when they aren’t.
Implying that if they were actually fat, then there wouldn’t be a problem, it would be totally normal and expected (as it is) to hate their bodies and hurt themselves over it.
Thin bodies shouldn’t be used to represent poor self-image and low self-esteem, just the same way fat bodies shouldn’t be used to represent greed, laziness, gluttony, disease, or any of the other nasty shit that fat bodies too often symbolize
You know who sees a fat girl in the mirror every day? fat girls. And I wanna see a picture of a fat girl seeing her own reflection in the mirror, and I wanna see the article talking about why that girl doesn’t need to hate herself or starve herself or think herself unworthy of love.

drbrucebananer:

So, it’s pretty common to see an image like this with like an article about body image or eating disorders or whatever.

And then they go on to talk about what a problem it is and how sad all these young women are hating themselves and hurting themselves because they think they are fat, when they aren’t.

Implying that if they were actually fat, then there wouldn’t be a problem, it would be totally normal and expected (as it is) to hate their bodies and hurt themselves over it.

Thin bodies shouldn’t be used to represent poor self-image and low self-esteem, just the same way fat bodies shouldn’t be used to represent greed, laziness, gluttony, disease, or any of the other nasty shit that fat bodies too often symbolize

You know who sees a fat girl in the mirror every day? fat girls. And I wanna see a picture of a fat girl seeing her own reflection in the mirror, and I wanna see the article talking about why that girl doesn’t need to hate herself or starve herself or think herself unworthy of love.

Don’t worry about your body.

It isn’t as small as it once was,

But honestly, the world needs more of you.

You look in the mirror

like you’ve done something wrong,

But you look perfect.

Anyone who says otherwise is telling a lie

to make you feel weak.

And you know better.

You’ve survived every single day,

for as long as you’ve been alive.

You could spit fire if you wanted.

"For My Mother When She Doesn’t Feel Beautiful"
[TW: threats of rape, suicide, homophobic bullying, abusive slur]

PSA:

So things like this happened. 

And then this

And more stuff. 

And some other stuff. 

I don’t want to live on this planet right now. 

So I will be indulging in some self-care blogging (aka mainly pictures of animals) for the next week or so. 

I need a break from politics. 

"Just went into my room to cut and I open my box where I keep my blades and this is what I found."

"Just went into my room to cut and I open my box where I keep my blades and this is what I found."

Study finds fat acceptance blogs can improve health outcomes:

"Fat acceptance" blogs urging overweight people to shed negative feelings about their body image can lead to healthier diet and exercise choices, a study has found.

The fat acceptance movement, which seeks to foster a support network among overweight people, has inspired a plethora of blogs and web forums such as CorpulentFat Heffalump and The Rotund — an online community that’s become known as the “fatosphere”.

In a study published in the journal Qualitative Health Research, researchers from Monash University, the University of New England and the University of Canberra interviewed 44 fatosphere bloggers from Australia, the US and the UK about how their involvement in the movement had changed them.

“There’s been a lot of criticism of the movement that it promotes obesity and encourages people to give up on weight loss and makes their health worse,” said one of the researchers, Dr Samantha Thomas, a Senior Research Fellow at Monash University’s Department of Marketing.

“We saw there was a lot of opinion about the movement but very few people had actually studied it.”

Interviews with the respondents revealed many had experienced feelings of worthlessness, shame, crash diets, cycles of starvation and binge eating and laxative abuse before discovering the fatosphere.

“Having that support and feeling empowered, people slowly found that their health behaviours began to change dramatically. For example, many people suddenly felt confident to do swimming, something they would not have done before,” she said.

“People shifted their focus away from weight loss and more toward health. A lot of people started to take part in physical activity not as a way to lose weight but because they enjoyed it. Instead of pounding it out on the treadmill they start playing with their kids. It’s actually a massive shift in the way they looked at things.”

Shifting the focus away from restricting food and toward listening to the body’s needs could also lead to better food choices, said Dr Thomas.

“There are actually a lot of lessons for public health here,” she said.

“The term fat acceptance is really confronting for people. That’s why we have seen a lot of blame and criticism. Society tells us it’s not OK to be fat for a whole bunch of moral and medical reasons,” she said.

“This study shows that far from promoting obesity and promoting negative health behaviours, the movement is really positive for some people’s health.”

iridessence:

The more you claim to hate my body, the more I will love it.

Diet culture, even when it doesn’t involve surgeries or starvation or physical harm (although it very often does involve these things) is violence. Even the language of diet culture is about hurt: burn those calories, zap that fat, I’ve been so bad, no pain no gain, beat the hunger, crush the cravings, fight the fat, battle the bulge, waging war on obesity. See? All about the hurt. It’s no wonder then that some people seem to perceive fat acceptance as a new kind of danger. Some assume it’s a movement that promotes harm to one’s own body or to the health of others, or even to taxpayers. It doesn’t. It simply illuminates this fact: if there is a war on obesity, there’s a war on ‘obese people’ and those people have a right to resist. So we do, often by opting out of the war altogether and making peace with bodies. I don’t want to fight my body anymore and I sure as hell don’t want to fight yours, whatever size it is. In fact, I don’t even want all that rhetoric about fighting. Why are softer words (embrace, accept, listen) less utilized? Traits commonly seen as ‘feminine’ and therefore weak — like kindness – are actually some of the most effective mechanisms we have to use against fat-hate. It’s hard to sell diet pills to someone who’d like to be gentle on themselves, accept themselves for who they are, listen to what their body needs and embrace size diversity. And it’s hard to see how creating a world without diet pills wouldn’t be a win for feminism.
Spilt Milk, “Fat acceptance: when kindness is activism
One day I decided that I was beautiful, and so I carried out my life as if I was a beautiful girl. I wear colors that I really like, I wear makeup that makes me feel pretty, and it really helps. It doesn’t have anything to do with how the world perceives you. What matters is what you see. Your body is your temple, it’s your home, and you must decorate it.
Gabourey Sidibe
You either like me or you don’t. It took me twenty-something years to learn how to love myself, I don’t have that kinda time to convince somebody else.
Daniel Franzese