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22. Ask your best friend/sister/mother/significant other to name three beautiful things about you. How does it compare to the list you’d make about yourself?

First of all… I haaaaaaate asking for compliments, and this is what it felt like to me. But I trust my best friend in that she knew it didn’t come from a conceited place (and, well, ya know… just mention brittanygibbons and she knows it’s legit. ;D)

BUT. When I asked my best friend, this is what she said:

"I think you’re very kind, passionate, and honest. Physical-wise I like your face, hair, and ankles. Don’t judge. I’m jealous of your ankles.”
…yeah, I read your mind. Because now thanks to Isha, you’re all wanting to glance at those delicate ankle-beauties, aren’t you? Fret not. You need not even ask. I have supplied some ankle-porn for you:
And yes, if you look closely… that is week-old leg-stubble. I have priorities, and having baby’s-butt-legs is not one of them.
Anyway… I guess I’ll touch on the emotional aspect of what my friend listed off. She says that I am kind, passionate, and honest. Two of those three things I think I would also list primarily about myself. I am very passionate in everything in my life: I passionately love, I passionately hate. There isn’t much that I hold apathy for. It doesn’t matter what it is—you’ll usually know where I stand on a subject. That being said, I generally try to be very respectful about it. That leads in hand to honesty. I was raised in an honest household. It did no good to lie, because Dad always found out. In the end, it was better if you just owned up to your mistakes… and as I got older, I realized that I didn’t want to lie. It made me feel icky. I had a cleaner conscience and was truer to myself when I was honest with people. And I found I earned much more respect from other people, I also hold other honest people in a higher regard, too.
I appreciate that Isha says that I am kind. I try to be. But where we deviate in the top three things is here, I think. I would primarily list myself as loyal. I think I am a fierce friend to have. If I believe in you and love you, there isn’t anything in this world I wouldn’t do to back you up and stand by you. It takes a lot to make me leave. That’s not to say I haven’t had friendships and relationships fail. I’ve had my share. They’ve crumbled despite everything I tried to do to save them, and they hurt like hell. Sometimes I felt like one person trying to hold up an entire building, but it came down anyway. That being said, I don’t bail easily. It takes a lot before I finally throw in the towel.
And as for the 3 physical things she finds beautiful about me… heh.
I feel very flattered. Some days I struggle to find one physically beautiful thing about myself, but I’m getting better.

'Dis me. It's kinda old… it was taken with my red hair back this winter (that I miss SO much). I have more recent ones… but I already e-mailed myself a photo of my ankles, and now I'm feeling lazy as hell so you get what's on my computer. :P

So… yeah. She likes my face and hair. For me personally… hmm. I really like my eyes, my lips/smile, and.. yep. my boobs. I said it. You’re not getting a photo of those, though. :P But they’re large and in charge, and with the right bra and shirt, and some well-accented makeup, I feel like a knockout babe. :)

It’s funny because 8 months ago, I don’t know that I could have written about this prompt. Funny I guess in that it’s surreal to think how far I’ve come with support. I didn’t think I’d ever sit and think to myself “…yep. THIS is something beautiful about me.” The awful thing about depression is that it not only takes all the beautiful out of your world, but rips away the beautiful you need to hold onto inside of yourself, too.

I’m glad I’ve found it again, even if it is a struggle.

…I gave up doing a number a day, because I’m horrible at being consistent.

11. What song would you pick to be your anthem?

I don’t know for certain that I can pick a song that totally encompasses me and every facet of my life. I am a lover of music, so it seems like a slap in the face to something I love so fiercely to just pick one. However, I will go with what speaks to me today, in this moment, as I reflect on my life the last few years. 

This song… Bones, by Young Guns.

The last few years have been really hard for me. I struggle with chronic depression. I was diagnosed with it when I left high school. Sometimes I’m fine and function just as normally as you do—better, maybe. I have really wonderful days where I am in love with my life. Other days my illness gets the best of me and all I want to do is stay in bed. 2013 was the worst year of my life. During that time, I lost my 16 year old dog… I watched as she was put down. I was inconsolable and when they asked if they could cover her up or put her in a body bag, I lost my shit. I angrily told them absolutely not and carried my baby home. My dad, bless him as he tried to comfort me the only way he knew how, tentatively asked when we got to the truck if I wanted to put her in the tailbed. No. I held my baby the whole way home until we put her into her “casket” and buried her.

I lost my grandfather to cancer. I can’t really talk about this much. But I watched one of the strongest men I knew apart from my own dad waste away to frailty and nothingness, to a man who didn’t know where he was half the time. I was in the room when, for the last 15-20 seconds, he looked at my Aunt, Dad, and Grandma, with a look that said it was time… and drew his last breaths as he left us. 

I lost my best friend. No, she didn’t die, but I lost a huge part of my heart. A girl that had pledged her friendship to me (and mine to her) for 10 years. From ages 16-26, we grew up together. And it was mental illness and secrets that drove us apart. She left my life on my brother’s birthday.

I lost my job and apartment soon after in November. I felt like I’d lost my independence. I had to move back home to live with mom and dad, and took my frustrations out on them. At one point it got so bad that my mom threatened to kick me out with nowhere to go. Mental illness will tear apart everything that you love. I was lucky that I got my shit together enough to make amends.

So… this is a glimpse into my hell. In regards to this song? Well… I’d like to sample some lyrics:

_____

Down under the night sky, I lay in wait

Praying to whoever will listen to me

I’ve fashioned my own cross,

Been crushed by its weight

There’s no stronger message

Than dirt in you face

We’re all architects of our own private hell

No one can hurt us like we hurt ourselves 

_____

But somehow… I managed to slowly pick myself up with the help of a few very patient, loyal, and loving friends. Friends that I owe a lot to. My new best friend probably helped me the most… not only for initially being there for me, but by introducing to a group of women that changed my life. There’s so much support and love in it… I can’t imagine how alone and lost I would’ve felt otherwise. 

I know in the past I’ve said that I owe my success to a certain guy, or my best friend or other friends… but they’ve all said the same things, and they are right: I did this. It is because of me that I’ve turned my life around. And no… it’s not perfect. I struggle with my problems everyday. But I fight to win. I’m in another slump at the moment, in fact… but I’ll be damned if I let it beat me. I have everything I need inside of me to fight it.

____

They say the spirit’s willing

But the flesh is always weak

I found everything I needed 

Right beneath my skin, oh

_____

5. Tell me about 5 women who have changed your life.

First off, I’d like to say that I’m skipping 4 because it’s a photo post… and I’ll have to think long and hard about that post.

Secondly… this prompt, too, has provoked some thought. It’s not like I have golden stars listed next to all the women in my life who have changed me, ranking them by their magnitude. I tend to believe anyone who has touched your life has changed it in some way, no matter how big or how small. That said, however, there are some women I would like to mention.

Firstly, I would like to mention my best friend, Isha. (No, I’m not just saying this because I’m currently at your house watching you clean. :P) This girl has done wonders for my self esteem… more than she even knows. It is thanks to her that I am a part of this wonderful women’s group that builds me up. It is thanks to her that I finally talk about sex—more specifically, my OWN sexuality—and am not ashamed of it. I can talk to her literally about anything, and I know it won’t be met with judgement. Honestly, she’s been one of my biggest supporters, and I’m aggravated beyond belief that I allowed us to lose touch after high school. We were good friends then, and even closer now… I feel like we’ve lost time that we can’t really get back. But I suppose you can’t live life with regrets. Thank you, girl, for being my support system and rock. For telling me like it is when I need it. For drunken nights on your porch, enjoying being young women who love life. :)

The second would likely be my mother. Of course, she gave birth to me. But she has always been my supporter since I was young, telling me that I deserve the best and to work for it. While of course there are times that there are things I feel uncomfortable telling her, she has let me know since I was young that I can come to her with anything—nothing is off the table for discussion. The door is always open. I owe her so very much for taking care of me and being there for me when so many mothers are absent in their children’s lives.

The third would be my aunt—my mother’s sister. This woman has always been like my second mother. She has had her share of downs and mistakes—abusive husbands, a teenage mother, five marriages that have not worked. But just because she makes mistakes doesn’t mean she isn’t a strong woman with a big heart. I’ve always loved her, but it wasn’t until this past year or so that she came to stay a week with my mom and I got to spend time with her. We talked for hours, and I really admire her strength and perspective. When I told her of my current relationship, I expected some hesitation like I got from my mother, or some patronization or to blatantly ignore it. However, she was 100% on board with the idea and very happy for me. She told me that she only wanted the very best for me, and she could see how happy it made me. I’m quite proud to have her as my aunt.

The fourth is Taylor herself—miss housewifeswag. This woman is a GORGEOUS plus-size woman like myself… and her self-confidence blew me away when I learned about her. The insecurities are there, sure, just like any woman’s. But her message about self-love is clear—love yourself and be comfortable in your body. She is a wonderful role model. No, not perfect—only human. But a woman whose confidence I strive to achieve the same level of one day.

Finally, the fifth would likely be miss Brittany Gibbons, the founder of the women’s group I am a part of. This woman is like superwoman—a wife, a mother, a speaker, a blog-runner, a group-leader… she juggles so much that I’m not sure how she handles it! But I am so thankful to her for creating a group where I finally feel safe and loved. I know that I can discuss anything in my life and it will be met with optimism and encouragement, not catty remarks and shame. This group has helped to pull me out of my depression and keep me there. I owe so much to all of these wonderful women.

unwinona:

urulokid:

tico-taco-ra-ra-ra:

urulokid:

jellybaby74:

urulokid:

zionicbond:

urulokid:

chibitamichan:

urulokid:

Yeah I’m totally elsa kids come on over

I can’t breathe, this is so friggin cute

Like you don’t understand okay I was trapped for an hour on the second floor of the con with hundreds of children and their parents because everyone thought I was Elsa

Am I the only one who thinks she looks like the khaleesi like The mother of dragons?

I was cosplaying dany I was mistaken for Elsa and wound up at a nine yr old girls birthday party this was the best day of my life

I thought she was Kalesi…

YES I WAS COSPLAYING KHALEESI

I WAS HOWEVER MISTAKEN ON AN ENORMOUS SCALE FOR ELSA OF ARENDELLE BY HUNDREDS OF SMALL CHILDREN AND THEIR MOTHERS

well you didnt have to use caps lock…

I AM DAENERYS STORMBORN, THE UNBURNT, OF THE HOUSE TARGARYEN, FIRST OF MY NAME; QUEEN OF MEEREEN; QUEEN OF THE ANDALS, THE RHYNAR, AND THE FIRST MEN; LADY REGNANT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS, PROTECTOR OF THE REALM, KHALEESI OF THE GREAT GRASS SEA, BREAKER OF CHAINS, AND MOTHER OF DRAGONS 

AND I WILL USE CAPS LOCK IF I SO PLEASE

LET IT GO

LET IT GOOOOOOO

3. “If beauty didn’t matter, I would…”

Wow. This opening phrase has caused a great deal of thought today as I processed it in my mind during work. I wanted to think about what to write when I got home. At first, the superficial things came to mind. “If beauty didn’t matter, I’d be so much more confident! I’d be a totally different person!” Which is true… I would. But not so much a different person in the optimistic way I originally thought.

Beauty isn’t a pair of voluptuous breasts, pouty lips, dazzling eyes, and a sexy dress. It is all of those things combined, on a girl that was unconfident before to wear said dress. Beauty is a child’s smile or laughter. It’s a bright sunny day, with the wind blowing through the trees. 

Beauty is when you take a deep breath, smile, and say “…I’m alive. I’m enjoying this moment.”

I have a friend making amends with the fact that someone ended her childhood too quickly. I have another fighting for her life in her battle against major depression/attempted suicide and dammit, she’s determined to win. As for me personally… I am growing to love myself, and I’m getting better from the major depression I was in myself last winter. To me, they are beautiful. I am beautiful.

So if beauty didn’t matter… I would, WE would… all be lost. Finding beauty in things is what makes us human. That one little leaf still on the tree limb, and the way its colors bleed into others before it falls in autumn. Falling in love for the first time… or the second, third, fourth, or 500th. Watching someone you love smile, or wrinkle their nose, or watch their eyebrows furrow as they devour a book. That is beauty. Those are the things we notice, and that separates us from other species and composes our humanity. Beauty isn’t a set of proportions that is aesthetically pleasing.

It’s finding life, brilliance, and magnificence in the simplicity of the only life you have.

qkumber said: Wow!! You’re absolutley gorgeous! This post really lifted my spirits up. Every girl should feel good about their self image! I’ts good hearing from you again haha ♥

qkumber

Aww, thanks Q! Some days I feel prettier than others. This was a shot I took for my boyfriend (whaaaaat?!?! I still can’t believe I’m saying that!! :D) because he likes to see my eyes without my glasses. haha. I’m so glad that it lifted your spirits—I’m working very hard in this woman’s group, and though I’m not perfect, I am doing much better than I was last winter. It’s a work in progress I don’t mind putting effort into. Good to hear from you too, girl! :) *hugs*

2. The first time you were called fat. When was it, and how did it change your life?

You know… I don’t remember the actual first time I was called fat. I remember the first time I FELT fat. I was very young… I think I was in kindergarten or first grade. We were in a small class of 8 kids. And all of the rest of the kids weighed about 40-45 lbs. And I distinctly remember weighing 63. I remember thinking “why am I fatter than everyone else? We eat the same things at lunch. Why am I so much bigger?”

I THINK the first time I distinctly remember being called fat was when this boy I liked in grade school said it to me. I don’t even remember why, but he did. I think I remember that well because I thought he was cute. And I do remember going home and crying. I also remember the girls in junior high making fun of me because I wasn’t wearing a bra yet. Of course I had little girl overweight boobs, but it was NOTHING that bad that required a bra yet, in retrospect. But I do remember a girl going to snap my bra-strap to pick on me, and after feeling around for it and finding no strap, she looked at the other girls and said “OMG SHE ISN’T WEARING ONE!” And they all laughed. Middle school kids are so harsh.

So while I never remember specifically being CALLED fat (apart from the boy), I remember feeling it early on. And having it reinforced in grade school. It totally shattered my self esteem. I never felt confident to date boys, or even ask them.I didn’t feel good enough. A few years ago, I FINALLY got the courage to ask a guy out at work. He politely declined, saying he wasn’t interested in dating at the time. Tried to avoid the awkwardness at work by joking around like we always did, etc.

…Then started dating a beautiful, thinner blonde the next week.

So that, too, reinforced the “fat, ugly, unworthy” self image I had. I’d actually convinced myself I was unworthy of love from a guy. How horrible is that? I was unworthy of love from a guy because of my weight. It’s a fucked up world we live in if that a girl could feel so low to think that. And the truth is… I still struggle with it. I’m dating this guy now, and every time I send him a photo, I get nervous. Will this be the one where he thinks “nope” and leaves? It’s ridiculous. And I have to talk myself down from it every time.

But I’ll be damned if I’m not getting there. One step at a time, I’m pushing my boundaries a little further and finding it’s okay. That I belong in this world, too, and I’m just as worthy of love as anyone else. Me being fat doesn’t mean I have to hate myself. It means that, while you weighed 45 lbs like everyone else in kindergarten, I weighed 63, and that made me unique. Is being unique so very bad?

I don’t think so.

1. Write a letter to yourself. What do you know now that you wish you had known then?

Dear Abby (har dee harr har. Laugh it up, bitches. :P),

I want you to know, that, as a sixteen year old girl, you think you have the world figured out. Even your mom tells you this, and you get annoyed about it. Like she’s patronizing you. But she’s right, you don’t. In a few years, that boy you’re talking to is gonna break your heart. And it’s gonna hurt like hell. That friend you’ve made by the flagpole? She’s going to be your very best friend for ten years… you’re going to go through major life-changing moments together. And then… you’re going to have a falling out. You’re both going to struggle with mental illnesses that will rip you apart. Things are gonna get real bad and you’re gonna hate yourself. You’re gonna wish you didn’t exist anymore.

But it gets better.

In ten years, you’re going to realize that those things you worried so much about (that boy in class you thought was cute but made fun of you, those football jocks laughing when you tripped and fell, those girls who made fun of you)… all those things you worried about when trying to fit in… God, Abby, they just won’t matter. Those same boys you’ll run into working at the local gas station, doing drugs on their days off and wondering where the hell “the glory days” went. No one’s going to remember you falling. In fact, you’re going to wonder why the hell you ever cared about what they thought in the first place.

As for the more difficult things that come later… there’s light at the end. The mental illness ebbs and flows. It may never go away completely, you think. But it does get more manageable. Especially with a good network. You’ll reconnect with (to you new, to me old) friends, and wonder why the hell you wasted time on ones that dragged you down. You’ll begin to rebuild your body self-esteem at the heaviest you’ve ever been, and realize “you know what, it’s okay to love my overweight body.” OMG… you’ll wear MAXI DRESSES. You know, the ones with spaghetti straps that expose your upper arm flab? And you’ll meet a guy that helps reinforce these things for you, and then realize why you weren’t comfortable with anyone up to this point.

So I know you have to learn this the hard way. You’re not going to listen to mom, and you won’t listen to me, either. You’ll still fret about your belly in that shirt, or the boys that made fun of you who really weren’t worth your time. You’ll be self-conscious about all the nerdy things you enjoy.

But when you’re down, crying and feeling alone, remember this little letter. Remember that it’ll be alright, that it WILL get better, and that it’s okay to love your imperfections. They make you YOU.

I love you.

Love,

Me

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