Mamafierce | Lessons Learned
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I have two theories as to why I’ve been feeling all grunge-types of angsty lately. One, I’ve been REALLY into chokers and when they join forces with my shaggy baby bangs, I just see Courtney Love in the mirror. Two, I’m actually depressed. Literally. No punchline.

I’m gonna go with the former, at least long enough to cover this outfit. Then we can get real.

Lane Bryant Prabal Gurung plus size skirt

Ugh band tees and skirts. Did I ever tell you about the time I wore my un-cut, long and boxy AF Marilyn Manson shirt with a pink circle skirt for a solid week in college? Of course, I didn’t have the fucking sense to tuck it in or do anything to make it look at all good. I was just too stoked that I could, in theory, pair these two pieces of clothing I loved. I was just starting to wear women’s clothing on the reg at that point so there was a learning curve. Obviously.

In Utero shirt

Anyway, that was my first band tee/skirt combo and many other have followed sense. I feel like this is my Patronus outfit. This is the type of look that literally is me. It’s trash but its fancy trash?

Lane Bryant Prabal Gurung plus size skirt

OK so back to the real shit. I am now at the six-month mark since I quit my job and started freelancing and blogging full-time. My life is better in many ways. My life is worse in maybe a few more? It’s hard to tell. How can you really be objective about your own life? Either way, I’m having a tough time a lot of the time and this is something I haven’t said since a couple of years ago when I was trying to find a job that was the right fit after Vince was born. It’s just difficult to sit in and surrender to. It’s hard not to immediately get into fix-it mode. There might not be anything to fix. There may just be some adjusting on my part. In the meantime, I’ll keep doing what I know works–pairing band tees with skirts. 😉

Shopping Linkies:

Prabal Gurung lace-up skirt | Lane Bryant (2.5% Cash Back at Ebates! Join here.)
In Utero shirt | Amazon

 

beforeandafterWhen I think of plus-size role models or icons, I always think back to Roseanne. She was maybe the first fat woman I remember seeing on TV who had most of the shit woman are supposed to want–a husband, kids, a house, a job. She had friends, was well liked and was even hit on by strangers occasionally, proving that she wasn’t the leper I felt all fat women were considered to be. Fast forward 20 years, the world knows gorgeous and fabulous fashion icons like Gabi Gregg and Tess Holliday who not only refuse to hide their bodies, but dare to be noticed for their curves. We’ve come a long way with body diversity and positivity and women like this have made it easier for me to be myself, without a doubt.

So why am I losing weight?

The picture on the left is me over 50 pounds ago. I’m wearing a neon mixed print dress to my homie’s wedding. Obviously, I’m over the whole hiding my body thing. I had been wearing “look at me, I’m fat-bulous” clothes for quite some time, ever since I started working retail in women’s fashion when I was 20. I ditched t-shirts and cargo pants and started showing my arms, which was something I had refused to do since junior high. Embracing my body didn’t come from giving up on being thin because I never really dared to hope for that. I witnessed the women around me hate on their bodies and battle their bulge all my life. I watched my beautiful mother constantly dieting and resolving to lose the weight only to fail over and over again. So not only did I think I would surely fail as well, being thin never seemed worthy of this “torture,” this losing war we waged against ourselves. I was ready to wave my white flag and go on with my life in the body I was given.

Never, EVER will I regret learning to love my body, even as it climbed up to 238 pounds on a 5’1” frame. I found love in this body. I graduated college in this body. I took this body to London and bought it some clothes (thanks, French Connection). I started my career in this body. I got married in this body in a gorgeous size 22 wedding dress. The only thing I was ever terrified to do in this body was have a baby.

37147_10100145953015793_2376672_n

Big beautiful bride.

Never mind my chronic back problems, knee aches, the removal of my diseased gallbladder and the development of fatty liver, which caused excruciating gastrointestinal distress that made me pass out on many occasions. The idea of getting pregnant and gaining what I thought was the standard 60 pounds, which would get me dangerously close to the 300-pound mark, was what really had me scared. That’s how warped my definition of “health” was. It was some alarming number on a scale and not actual facts about how my body was functioning. Or failing.

Little did I know, my sickness wasn’t just physical–it was mental. I couldn’t stop eating. No matter how hard I tried.

Not all fat people have a “problem” with food, but I sure do. What I don’t have is a “weight problem.” Weight is simply a symptom of a bigger disease, in my case. I used food like an alcoholic uses booze–in copious amounts, at any time of day, for no particular reason, to the detriment of my physical, emotional and spiritual health. Once I realized how much I was letting food rule my life, I was able to accept help. This help has resulted in weight loss and weight loss has cured my health problems. But losing weight is not the goal itself. Not being a numbed-out slave to food and not killing myself is. And however my body changes while I become this person, who has a sane relationship with food, is as far as I am concerned, none of my business.

So I don’t care about being “fat.” Not anymore.

croptop1

Me. Not curring.

People have asked me what my goal weight is and I’ve laughed and said “I just don’t want to be a fat person anymore.” These were true words when I spoke them. I have been fed up with the label, that scarlet F letter painted on my chest my entire life. Only recently through my own blogging and following other body positive bloggers and their supremely inspirational examples of self acceptance have I realized that a big chunk (pun intended) of what I hate about being fat has to do with other fucking people. From fat shaming to the segregation of size, these are not problems of my doing. This is oppression. And it helps no one. Trust me. If shame was ever an effective motivational tool, I would have put down the fork a long time ago because I’ve been dealt my fair share.

I love my body but my body is changing. This is a tricky spot I find myself in. It is hard to not get hung up on weight when all you are trying to do is be healthy and all everyone ever tells you is that health depends on weight. It’s just not that simple. I am now 187 pounds and a size 16. I can swim 20 laps. I complete 5Ks. I give my 2-year-old pony rides in the living room and chase him around playgrounds. I do not have diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. And my fatty liver? That’s gone. I. Am. Healthy. I have peace around my food. This is my body for today and I am celebrating it. Every pound, inch, dimple and stretch mark. We all deserve that.

 

black lipstick

There are so many things I have been meaning to write about. After reading this post from The Anti-Diet Project this morning, I totally wanted to write a response but all I can really get out in an excited sputter is THIS THIS THIS:

“…when you’re used to being invisible, it’s startling to suddenly be noticed — even when that’s all you’ve ever wanted. Sometimes it feels safer to run from success.”

Thinking about my weight and body-image struggles only made my mom problems claw at my leg with chubby, macaroni-and-cheese covered hands and look up at me with sad “what about me” eyes like something…oddly familiar. Anyway, those are complicated and have redefined the time-space dimensions of what I have ever referred to as “a hard time.” This is the longest, weirdest “hard time” I have ever had–a grueling seven months of trying to find my place in the world when just being a mom wasn’t cutting it, at least not like I thought it would. I have come THIS CLOSE to starting the epic task that is putting all of this into words but it’s just too big and it’s just too heavy and

Anyway, black lipstick.

I know my best friend is going to seriously press me after I say that my absolute favorite photo shoot from ANTM was in cycle 14 (that’s right, the one with Angelea) where the girls dressed up in Victorian garb with pale eyebrows, white eyeliner, and of course black lipstick. This was the very moment the I-need-to-find-a-place-for-black-lipstick-in-my-life seed was planted. And that is, indeed, the trouble with black lipstick aside from it being a bitch to put on and maintain. Where does it fit in the life of a wife and mother pushing 30?

Seriously. Black lipstick is the boldest of bolds. It is the statement of all statements ESPECIALLY if you aren’t an aging goth or a 17-year-old kiwi pop star. As much as I love Lorde, I definitely don’t want those “that bitch is tryna be Lorde” looks.

But fashion experiments like these, if nothing else, are a helpful reminder that no one’s really looking at you, you crazy narcissist. Seriously, no one cares. I literally just went out for giant sandwiches with an old friend wearing layers of black lipstick that just ended up on my chin, nails, and the damn sandwich and there was not a fuck to be given in the entire place.

So the answer to the “too old” question is a real obvious “uh, no” only because who cares? Even though I certainly have those “lady, you are too old for that haircut” thoughts, they ARE just thoughts. And you might not be able to help thinking I look RIDICULOUS in this lipstick but damn it I just can’t fight this feeling anymooooooooooooore. I gotta rock it. Maybe not during my next sandwich run but ya know. Lessons learned.

black lips

Another lesson, this is I how I like to wear it best–bright clothes, bronzer, metallic eyeliner, no shadow. And yes, I took a mirror outside to take these pictures because my house has terrible lighting.

And I’ll close this post with a picture of my baby being a model.

Vince

 

 

Torrid fatkini

So. Quite the way to say hi to y’all after another long absence. But camping trips and summer parties will be here before I know it and it was definitely time for a swim wear upgrade. Or I guess down grade since the issue was needing a smaller size.

Don’t get me wrong. Going from a size 22 to an 18 doesn’t suddenly make me feel like hot shit. It’s great but this is ultimately not the body I anticipate ending up in. So celebrating it with a fucking bikini seemed weird and premature and I literally lost count of how many times I added and removed the stupid thing to and from my online shopping cart. Honestly, this was not an easy purchase let alone photo to take AND SHARE WITH YOU ALL GOOD GOD WHAT AM I DOING.

So why? Because, hold on for this one, today…this is my body. And today is literally all any of us has. Last night I threw a fucking hissy fit when I got two pairs of pants back from alterations only to find they were taken in wayyy too much. Mark shrugs and says, “Just put them away for when you do fit into them because you eventually will.” And I go into a tirade about “I CAN’T LIVE LIKE THAT THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES I NEED CLOTHES THAT FIT ME NOW NOW NOW.” *whispers* I’m super easy to live with.

My craziness aside, I think the sentiment is quite sane. This is my body today. And if I hide or feel shame, today is wasted. Believe me, if shame did me any favors, I would have put down the fork a long time ago because I have been dealt my fair share of it. Shame will only derail everything I have worked for and all the miracles that I have allowed to happen to me by finding recovery from a cunning and baffling disease.

And plus, the obvious, I am killing it with this fucking bikini. Besides the fact that a fat woman in a bikini is such an awesome fuck you to the male-gaze-manufactured standards of beauty, for reals, I just look good. FACT.

By the way, this is a Torrid fatkini. 🙂

Tool shirt

Yikes.

Ten years is indeed a lifetime when it comes to your closet. Obviously trends change dramatically in a decade but what about your tastes, your figure, your lifestyle? Ten years ago I was a sophomore in college, I LOATHED my body, and my clothes had an entirely different purpose than they do today. They were meant to hide and blatantly advertise me all at once. I swam in them in an effort to make my body look small and dainty because I thought it worked for the skinny girls (but really it only worked for them because underneath mounds of fabric, they actually were small and dainty and I was still just fat). Clothes were also my freak flag. They represented my interests and lifestyle choices because when you are that young, you think all that shit actually IS you and not just what they are–things you like.

My style then and now are basically a world apart and in between, I broke so many rules of basic fashion decency that I can’t even list them all. SO…let me break down my style lowlights by combing through my most egregious fashion infractions.

1. Men’s cargo pants

One important detail can explain most of my bad fashion habits. Plus size clothes were fucking ugly, dated, unflattering, and marketed for the middle-aged back then. Honestly, stocking my closet with men’s pants and t-shirts seemed like the lesser of two evils. Still there really are few things less flattering than cargo pants on any woman and turning any part of your body into a storage unit is never a good look.

2. Cut-offs

I’m 5’1″. Capris and crops are basically off limits for me but cut-offs–SO much worse. Remember when Lane Bryant had those hilarious (yet helpful) shapes assigned to their jeans? I was a square. So what better to highlight my no-waist, boxy glory than to take wide leg trousers and cut them off at the calf? I looked like a Lego person.

3. DIY band shirts. NOTHING but DIY band shirts.

In high school, I would raid sporting goods stores for blank baseball jerseys in every color, cut off the fronts of band tees and sew them onto the jerseys. A 3/4 length sleeve was as girly as I got back then so this was actually a tiny baby step in the right direction. Proud as I am of my craftiness, I sadly could not stand to wear a top that did not have a band logo raggedly sewn across it. This even took a sinister turn when I finally started to wear women’s tops. Whether it was a plunge, boat, or crew neck, it didn’t matter. I would find a way to get a Tool logo on it. Even in my current wardrobe, you will still occasionally see plain camisoles with a sewn-on, and even rarer–puff painted, band logo. I wish I knew how to quit you, band shirts.

Actually sorry, not sorry. I love you.

4. The way-too-blond phase

Fact: All Hispanic women go through a blond period. It is our way of exploring exotic territory and it’s very exciting at first until you realize there is a reason your hair has to be darker than your skin. For me it was a little insidious. My hair is naturally almost black and I had been coloring it red since I was 12. In an attempt to (pun intended) get back to my roots, I switched to real, blue-based Superman black. I looked ill and none of my makeup worked any more. So I paid $180 to have someone strip my entire head. I looked like the sun. And because I hadn’t yet mastered the art of touching up my roots instead of pouring an entire bottle of dye on top of my head and slathering it in like shampoo, it just got lighter and lighter until I saw a picture of myself and screamed holy shit I’m super blond.

5. Overplucked brows

I might never forgive my mother for encouraging me to shape my eyebrows. In junior high I was too chickenshit to pluck them so she shaved off my strays with a razor blade. Once I was ready to pluck, she cautioned me to stay within her carefully laid-out guidelines. She should have known better because you see, children are power-hungry, dumb little assholes. If you say you can have one cookie, they take three. Such was the fate of my eyebrow hairs. By the time I actually noticed the ruins of my once-full (and now-would-be-considered-TOTALLY-chic) brows, it was just too late and they NEVER grew back. And I only started using brow powder like four years ago, which was a rocky start to say the least. It took me maybe a full week to not go full Faye Dunaway in Mommy Dearest. Good god.

I don’t know why I just couldn’t have stayed down this path:

Watermellon dress

I would totally rock that watermelon dress today. But those little white shoes, yuck.

Vince

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably noticed a heated argument between me and a follower, who is actually my oldest IRL friend, after I posted a picture of my son, used male pronouns, and called him a “little man.” They asked me how I could gender my child so early.

I found myself so taken aback because my husband and I talk often about how we would KILL IT in the parenting department if any of our children were gay or transgendered. We would love them. We would support them. We would try our best to understand them and to protect and guide them. And if we needed help doing that, we would ask for it.

My son will have a fighting chance in this world just because we love him so much. But our unconditional love, our promise to support his every decision short of compromising our own boundaries, will not spare us from making mistakes as parents. It will not save our son from having his own baggage because we all have it.

Personal development just fascinates me. Watching a shit-ton of Intervention (which I dooooo) and becoming a parent makes me almost constantly evaluate my own childhood and the relationship I had/have with my parents. They made mistakes that I can see clear as day because they happened to me. Some I have forgiven them for and some I still have to work through. I am trying my best not to make these particular parenting mistakes and while I’m busy doing that, I will fuck up my son in some other insidious way I never even imagined.

I’m not going to raise my son as gender neutral. I’m not going to talk calmly and reason with him when he’s a toddler. I’m not going to cut out all processed foods. I am not going to keep him from watching TV as a baby (he’s watching Anderson Cooper right now). I’m probably not going to watch my mouth much in front of him. I am not going to break my back being everyone’s collective ideas of a perfect parent because I will be too busy doing the million other things that I think he needs most. Including loving him until my last breath and beyond.

My boy.

My boy.

 

Teddy Bear Baby Shower Cake

V is for Vince. Bear is for Bear. Vincent Bear is his name. Don’t wear it out.

*Sigh* This is a delicate subject. Looking a gift horse in the mouth always is. Before you decide that I am spitting in the face of my loved ones for their very well meaning but ultimately failing gifts, I have to cut them a little slack because these are points that never even occurred to me when I have purchased baby shower gifts. So here goes:

Echo The Couple’s Interests, Not Your Own

I don’t give a flying shit about sports. Any sport. Neither does my husband. Even without being douche-y and pointing out the implied gender roles of boys’ onesies featuring puppies playing football, I still couldn’t really bring myself to dress my kid in all of his sporty little clothes unless it was an absolute laundry emergency. “But he might like sports!” you say? Wanna know one of my favorite things about my baby? HE DOESN’T HAVE INTERESTS. He barely has preferences. He’s a blank canvas for me to impose MY interests on. If he ends up having a healthy passion for sports (which is pretty fucking unlikely in this house), then whatever. I won’t even be disappointed. But until then, it’s all robots and dinosaurs. And the occasional silly cat onesie.

Cat onesie

Only a truly secure man can be a silly cat when the mood strikes.

Snaps Suck

I really don’t blame people for buying me pajamas with neck-to-toe tiny snaps that take a feat of zen-like patience to deal with at 3 am. I blame Carters. Because what the hell? Why would they even make them like that? I’ve been told zippers tend to break but I would really rather go through a few busted zippers than 500 of those stupid little snaps.

Thick Jumpsuits Suck Even More

Now this one is really sad because some of these were adorable and I couldn’t wait to see Vince in them. Unfortunately, dressing a baby younger than six months is like putting tiny clothes on a water balloon. They can’t sit up and every bit of that thick-ass fabric has to go over their soft, hopelessly floppy heads. It’s just not happening. And I live in the bay. If my hood was prone to blizzards, I might put in the extra effort to stuff my kid into one of those sacks but that’s just not the case.