Health

A Rant About: Why my body is such a thing

bodyrant I have been steadily gaining weight the past few months. As a feminist and lover of all body types, it shouldn’t matter to me. But I am a human living in THIS world. The one where it seems like EVERYONE is always talking about bodies…their bodies, a celebrity’s body, working out, eating right, looking a certain way…it gets in your head, no matter how actively you try not to care.

I don’t have a problem with the way I look. There is nothing wrong with my body right now. It’s just different than it was a few months ago, so I am adjusting. Emily and I always say that if we just had clothes that FIT, or if we had money to go buy a whole new wardrobe to adjust to our weight gain, we would not care. It’s just hard trying to feel good in clothes that don’t fit you. It’s that simple.

But I don’t have money to buy a bunch of new clothes so it feels like a THING all the time. Oh, I can’t really wear any of my skirts any more because my butt is for reeeals right now. Which is AWESOME. But it’s not awesome that I can’t wear any of the like, six skirts that I love in my closet.

Anyway, my point is, you may have felt the same way. And I am certainly not trying to say that I’m struggling or something. It’s just a thing that’s on my mind way too much, considering that I like how I look right now for the most part. I also feel good, because I’m being active every day lately, which is unusual for me. So why does it matter?

What inspired me to write this post was first a conversation I had with Emily where we vented about how annoying it was to have to think about our bodies so much when we generally are very confident. We don’t want to feel like it matters at all when we go up two pant sizes – who cares? But then why are we close to tears after trying to just find something to wear? It can get very confusing. And it helps so much to talk to someone who gets that you love your body even while you complain about adjusting to having more weight. We can joke and we won’t take it too seriously, and it’s not a compliment-fishing expedition. But it also helps to talk to someone who tells you you are beautiful all the time.

The next thing that inspired me to rant about this is a conversation I had with my friend a few weeks later. She is a personal trainer, so she knows all about the health crazes and fitness nuts, and I love her because she is so healthy and good at her job – but balanced at the same time. She doesn’t make me feel weird for never working out, but she’s also a great resource if I have any fitness or health questions.

So she texts me the other day saying that people keep commenting on the fact that she had gained a little weight. Which makes me upset to begin with. Then she said that one woman asked her if she gained weight, and she said “A little.” The woman responded: “A LOT!” With her eyes bulging as she said it.

What. The. #%&$()@^#???

My friend wanted me to note that she kept getting comments from people a few months back saying that she looked super fit when she lost some weight. But she was not eating properly and was super stressed out at the time. Further confirming that weight is not a sign of health.

So I obviously freaked out. I can’t imagine how that would make me feel, when my weight is on my mind a lot already. It makes me mad enough that I can’t stop thinking about what I’m eating or if I’m working out sometimes – it feels involuntary, like I just feel like I have to think these things but I don’t ACTUALLY care. But if other people were commenting on it too??

Who does that? Who thinks it is their right to “weigh in” (har har) on someone else’s body?

I don’t think that we should never talk about our bodies, or health, or whatever. Our bodies are an important part of our lives so we’re going to talk about them and we should be comfortable doing so. But this policing that people do! It’s so preposterous.

I had a boss who would go to the gym at lunch every day, which is great. The thing is, he would come back and joke around with the younger girls in my office about what they ate that day and asked them if they worked out that day yet. Seriously.

This monitoring that people do with each other is totally inappropriate. It is not okay to pressure someone else to have the same health or fitness routine that you do. I have encountered this so much and it is so blatantly rude.

I realized that I actually feed into this every time I criticize my body out loud or think out loud about if I should really have a burger and not a salad. Even if I’m not being rude and talking about someone else’s habits, I still am putting that negativity out there. Whenever someone says they hate their legs or what have you, I look at my legs. “Wow, her legs are great… if she hates her legs, should I hate mine?” Obviously the process at my age is a little less middle school and more subconscious. But it’s something I have tried to work on lately to battle this environment of body policing.

What if we lived in a world where we saw people of all shapes in the media? Where we didn’t feel pressured to look a certain way? What if feeling good and having our personality define us was the whole point?

A while back Anthony and I watched some documentary where this guy talked about how much his image mattered to him. He was highlighted as a “metrosexual” or whatever. Basically he was remarkable because he was not the male norm. Anthony talked to me after and said, “It made me think- like can you imagine if how you felt about yourself depended that much on your appearance? ” I replied, “Ya, welcome to being a woman.” And he said, “I know, that’s what I’m saying! That must be so hard.”

We went on to talk about how fragile your physical appearance is, and how relying on that as a source of self-worth is just not sustainable. It’s a part of life that your body will deteriorate. Imagine if we placed more of our worth on our other, non-physical attributes from the start, as a society?

Because you can’t escape the messages that are constantly meandering their way into your head. I don’t have cable, don’t read magazines, and barely watch movies. I watch a lot of TV, but I also read feminist blogs and have feminist friends who all actively try and combat pressures like these. Regardless, I still hear it in my head…

If only my stomach was just a little flatter…If I bike this much every week, how long until I will see results?…God, my pants just look BIG, am I that big?…Look at that picture of me last year – I used to be so skinny!…

I love getting dressed up, and taking pictures of my outfits, and obsessing over a new hairstyle or makeup trick. I am not against a little vanity. Just like I said in my selfie post, I think we should embrace images of ourselves as beautiful and more valuable than the fake images we see on the regular. I just wish we could take all of the pressure and anxiety out of it.

I’m trying my best to wake up every day and remind myself that I don’t look like everyone else. I have a unique body that no one else has, and I want to appreciate the things about my body that are solely mine. I want to love my body as I age, and notice the beautiful things about it in different stages in my life. I want to drop the voices in my head and just buy new clothes, already.

Here’s to loving our bodies now, just the way they are.

 

Amazing Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie

Happy Monday, everyone! Let me just start out by saying a big HUGE thank you to everyone who read and supported us during our first week here at Miss Mélange! We’ve been having so much fun and we’re so thankful to have readers tuning in :) Also, thank you for all of your sweet comments after the post I wrote on Friday. It means so much to me, and I was astounded with all of your kind, sincere words. You guys are the absolute best!

I have a smoothie recipe for you to help start your week off right. It is so SO good, and my husband and I both wanted it for several days in a row. It’s ingredients are anti-inflammatory, which help with so many different things in your body. Inflammation affects every aspect of our health, and can contribute to arthritis, psoriasis, mental and emotional disorders, and skin issues, just to name a few. So in other words, drink up! Plus, it’s sooo good you’ll forget you’re doing something amazing for you body. DSC00619 Serves 1

1 cup parsley

1 cup frozen cherries

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

2 medjool dates

1 cup water

Blend all ingredients on high until smooth :) You can also add chia seeds if you want to some extra kick to your smoothie. Chia seeds have tons of awesome benefits, and they’ll keep you full even longer if you add them to your drinks. Enjoy!

Spread love wherever you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” -Mother Theresa

 

Depression: It’s Not My Fault

Let me preface this by saying this was not the intended post for the day. I was going to post about how to make a pretty headboard…but this felt more important. Also, I didn’t edit this. I wrote it last night when I was feeling low, and I took a chance. In fact I scheduled this to post before I usually wake up in the mornings so I couldn’t change my mind. Please forgive any run-on sentences or misspelled words… this is from my heart <3 IMG_0108 I’m the bubbly one, the smiley one, the girl who’s always cracking jokes, but this isn’t me all the time. Sometimes I feel like I have no control of my body, and I don’t even know how to deal with myself. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for other people in my life…but they tell me not to think like that; “It’ll make it worse”, they say. I have depression. I’m not afraid to admit it. For a while I thought it was something to be ashamed of,  and actually sometimes I still do. But it’s no more my fault that I have depression than it is someone’s fault that they have a disease. This is hard to get a grasp on. I feel guilty a lot. I spend my days telling myself that I’m lazy and that if I just tried harder this would go away. If I could just eat healthier, or keep the house cleaner, or exercise more, surely I wouldn’t be so depressed, right? Nope, not at all. I tried that for waaaay too long. I tried fighting it on my own for way too long. I spent multiple days in a row in bed not wanting to talk to anyone, not wanting to go anywhere, and finding it difficult to even take a shower (which made it worse). All the while I was thinking, “You are wasting your life, just get UP”. But I couldn’t. Wanna know why? It wasn’t my fault. It’s still not my fault. Let me put this in writing for myself as well as for anyone else out there who has depression or loves someone who is depressed: Depression in NOT a character flaw. It’s a medical condition.

It’s so hard to understand though, even when you’re the one going through it.  I get so down on myself because I feel like I’m not doing my best, living life to the fullest, whatever you want to call it. Most days I feel like a failure…and it’s really really hard to get out of that mindset.  When looking back on my life, there are several times that stand out because they really proved to me that it wasn’t my fault, but it’s still hard to understand.  Depression is the most obvious to me when everything in my life is perfect, and I still feel terrible.

When I was 19, everything was great. I had a new boyfriend who was incredible, I was going to my local community college and taking art classes, I was living with my amazing and supportive family, and I had a group of friends that I loved. But my hair was falling out… a lot. Like, I avoided washing my hair at all costs because it made me cry to watch my beautiful hair clog the drain. I didn’t tell anyone because I thought it was my fault, and that I just had a bad attitude and I wasn’t trying hard enough. But by bottling up my feelings and depression so much, my body made a desperate cry for help. I was over at my boyfriends late one night and I just broke down. “I’m so sad and I don’t know why, and my hair is FALLING OUT.” I could hardly even get those words out I was crying so hard, as I still often do. I was hyperventilating and catching my breath was getting harder and harder. This is when Kirby drove me up to my parent’s house and got them at 1:00 in the morning; we were all scared. I felt relieved, scared, and embarrassed all at the same time. I just KNEW I was overreacting and being dramatic. I must be, right? I got help. My family and Kirby are so supportive and got me to doctors and psychiatrists and psychologists and anyone they could think of that could help me…. But it still wasn’t fixed.

Two years later Kirby and I went to Europe, and again, it was a perfect time in my life. We had five weeks off together to travel; we had nothing but time, love, and new things to discover. Our travel plans were flawless, the weather was perfect, and our trip was everything we dreamt it would be…except I was sitting in our room in Cinque Terre (a heavenly small town on the west coast of Italy) sobbing for unknown reasons. Feeling guilty, of course, that I wasn’t enjoying the perfection that was my life. “It must be my fault,” I thought. “Clearly I don’t know how to just let it all go and enjoy my life”. Again, I was wrong. It wasn’t my fault.

Skip ahead to our Honeymoon in Costa Rica, age 25, just 7 months ago. Our wedding was perfect and it lived up to every small detail I had wanted since I was a little girl. Not only was our wedding a dream, I married the most perfect, dreamy (yes, he is seriously dreamy) and wonderful man I have ever met. We had a view to die for, tropical drinks were flowing, the weather was perfect, and all of my bikinis were fitting just to my liking. What did I do for some of the time on our honeymoon? I cried. Sobbed, in our beautiful, perfect room with a view. “You ungrateful bitch,” I thought. “You can’t even enjoy your life NOW? Kirby deserves so much better. What is wrong with you. Go DO something. Enjoy yourself. Have FUN.” But in that moment, I couldn’t. Wanna know why? It. Wasn’t. My. Fault. It was my depression. My ugly, stubborn, nasty depression.

The thing about depression is you can’t fix it on your own. You need help. I’m doing another post about what has helped me, but if I included everything this would go on forever…there is a lot to say because this has been a long journey. Oh, but the other thing…? You can’t fix me either. It took my wonderful, caring, sweet, patient husband a long time to understand this. It’s not in my control, and it’s not in your control. You can’t will your partner into not having high blood pressure, and it’s the same with my depression. This sounds hopeless, doesn’t it? Yeah, it feels that way, too. I’ve had a bad past few days, but I’ve been trying to just take care of myself, which I wouldn’t have done several years, or even months ago. It’s a long journey of learning what works for you. Instead of being curled up in my bed crying right now, I’m drinking tea and writing about my feelings for the whole world to read…for me, that’s major progress.

It is so so hard to write about the times when my picture perfect life just…wasn’t. These days with social media, we feel a pressure to make everything look like a Kodak moment. I often joke that we’re quick to put up pictures of us laughing with our friends and dressed up for the night, but not so much during the moments we’re crying on the couch in our pj’s and eating ice cream. You don’t want people to know about those times, because it makes you look lame, weak, what have you. But to me, that makes us real. One of our goals on this blog is to keep it real. To include the good with the bad. I’m taking a risk by putting myself out there, because I know I’m not the only one. There are ways to feel better. I promise. But more than anything, know this: It’s not your fault.

Domino Effect

Cleaning up your routine is a slippery slope, my friends. Ye be warned. I swear this little adventure of mine started out innocently enough, but then I couldn’t stop. You can blame Pinterest I guess, even though in my opinion that’s an unlikely spot for someone to find information on becoming healthier. Pinterest usually has recipies like pudding oreo dip and super stuffed jalapeño cheddar burgers alongside pictures of (way too) skinny girls, but what can ya do. On with my point.

I was browsing Pinterest and I saw some information on what people call going ‘no poo’. As odd as it sounds, it’s actually quite simple. You stop using shampoo with chemicals and sulfates that strip your hair, and switch to washing with baking soda and apple cider vinegar. Weird, right? But after reading all the rave reviews about how much healthier people’s hair got after they started the ‘no-poo’ process, I was willing to give it a shot. To be honest, I just cared about how my hair looked. I never really thought about the chemicals in my products before. However, after reading more about it I realized how absolutely horrible conventional shampoo is (more on that another day), so I decided to give ‘no-poo’ a try. It was probably at the worst time ever, too, being as it was the week before I went to Vegas with some girlfriends, but at this point I was committed. Despite some less than ideal Vegas photos and my hair getting a little nasty, I did it for an entire month and a half. Now, there’s this whole waiting game thing with the ‘no-poo’ strategy. First your hair gets kinda stringy and oily, but then it’s supposed to get all amazing and shiny and perfect. Like, unicorn tail perfect. Not surprisingly, I got really impatient. The whole gross looking hair thing really isn’t my scene, ya dig? So I started doing some research to see if there were other options, and in the process of trying to find cleaner alternatives to shampoo, I realized that pretty much anything and everything we use, from household cleaners to the stuffing in our sofas, have chemicals in them. Boo, I know.

Cue the pushing of the first domino.

I started reading the blog No More Dirty Looks, and the authors Siobhan and Alexandra are amazing at explaining why and how to clean up your routine. After reading their website and checking out all the chemicals in my products here, I realized if I was gonna throw out my shampoo and conditoner, I would need to throw out all my drugstore makeup as well. This included me convincing my fiancé, Kirby, into doing the same (this is why I love the guy). A few weeks after throwing out the biggest pile of junky products ever, I realized there was no point in cleaning up our hygiene products if we were cleaning our house with toxic chemicals, so I found ways of making all natural cleansers. Then, just this month I realized there was no point in worrying about all the chemicals outside of our bodies if we were eating foods covered in pestisides, so we started shopping for organic produce at our local farmer’s market. Do you see how this goes? If you do it all at once, as I’m sure you can see, it can be super overwhelming. Where does it end? I’m actually not quite sure, because even after all that we’ve done to clean up our routine, I’m now starting to think about things like water and air purification in our home and the chemicals in our clothing. I might end up eating grass eventually (organic, of course).

You would never guess I was born and raised in Santa Cruz, huh?

I’m aware that I’m no expert on all of this. But I have been doing a lot of reading on the subject, so I feel like I at least have a little to say, and if nothing else I have a lot of links to give you. I’ll try not to overwhelm you though; I’ll break it down. We’ll start with beauty/hygiene products, and then move on through different categories until I feel like I have (kinda) covered it. I want to pass this on because I feel like it’s important, and doable. I promise, I am the most non-committal person ever, so if I can do it, so can you.

I understand I might be preaching to the wrong crowd being that my readers are all my facebook friends (holla). But it is so worth it, I promise. If you don’t do it for yourself, as least do it for the planet and vice versa. I keep on hearing that if you want to be happy you have to do something that you’re passionate about, and I’m actually, strangely, passionate about this. And the whole point of this blog is to document what makes us happy, right? So here goes!

It’s gonna be fun, guys!

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