weight for me

Get it? Weight? Forgive me, my very patient readers, I feel unusually punny this morning.

I was still young when I first discovered the social standards of what’s an “acceptable body type”. Even then, it perplexed me. How can there be a standard for bodies when there are at least 7 billion people in the world, with obviously very different frames and figures? What’s even more confusing is the decreasing number on the scale that’s religiously celebrated by TV ads, magazines and fashion shows—soon enough in the streets of cities and the hide outs of far flung towns too.

Body image is both a personal and a social concept. Much of how we objectify beauty  is caused by the culture we live in. Beauty in an African town, not yet reached by the claws of New York runways, may be an exquisite, dark-skinned lady with a short, curly hair and hefty womb, ideal for child-rearing. In Japan, it could be captivating doll eyes and a petite frame, emphasized by a bright eye make-up and pastel, baby doll dresses. In fashion week, it’s a size zero, thigh-gapped, perfectly-sculpted, 5’7 and above model walking down the runway for some of the biggest names in the industry.

What’s my point there? That even in a very superficial and judgmental society,  beauty is and always will be relative.

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This isn’t the part where I say, well be unhealthy and and raise you middle finger in mock salute to those who eat greens. That’s not my intention.

If the world gets to set standards on beauty, so can you. Make it personal; make it about you. Embrace your curves, your slim figure, your bum, your muscles—everything about you. If you still wanna lose some weight, fine. Go for it! Before you do that though, make sure you love yourself first because if you’re counting on loving yourself when you’ve lost all the weight, it might not work. Often, body image issues aren’t even physical. It’s what you see, not what really is.

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I want you to look in the mirror and see someone beautiful.

I hope you’ll step on that scale and love yourself whatever number it shows.

I beg that you walk in any store and ask for your size confidently, not caring if it’s in one or two digits.

I pray that you’ll be happy with who you are, proud that you’re beautiful in every single way.

 

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#internetfriendsday

A few weeks back my sister got home from school seething and usually I steer clear of her -or anyone that pissed- when I can but something about her screams ‘let me vent’ so I asked what’s she’s reeling about. She told me that in one of her classes a prof blatantly told the class that there is NO such thing as a friendship forged online.

They’re not REAL friendships.

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Let me tell you about my little sister, she’s a world of words in her head but she usually stays in her quiet corner outside of it. You have to be either really dorky, like me, or very close to her for her to even consider starting a conversation with you much more maintain it. When she started with Twitter and Tumblr, she met teens just like her- a little awkward and shy but very creative and witty and with so many stories to tell and talents to show. She grew more outgoing and trusted people more.

People may argue that it’s an unconventional interaction. You can choose to hide behind anonymity or refuse eye contact or whatever else traditional social interactions it requires to make the encounter a success. Really though, what are the rules of friendship? And who made anyone judge of it?

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Because trust and honesty, they’re not founded on proximity or your ability to physically touch someone, Yes, it makes it infinitely easier to comfort your sobbing best friend if you didn’t have a few thousand miles separating you but where were these apprehensions when we force women into arranged marriages or soldiers falling madly inlove with women they’ve ONLY written letters to. THEY WEREN’T BECAUSE CIRCUMSTANCES ARE ARBITRARY AND YOU HAVE TO JUDGE THEM AS SUCH. 

My ability to be a good friend is not limited to a hug or hauling ice cream and a bunch movies to your place when you feel like crap. It also means that I’m here to listen to your rants, share in your eccentricities, reassure you of how much I care, confide in you when no one else is willing to listen and accept you for everything that you are and choose to do including SHARING A FRIENDSHIP WITH ME ONLINE. No one has the right to tell me what my standards should be for friendships.

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I CHOOSE WHO MY REAL FRIENDS ARE AND THEY’RE BASED ON SO MUCH MORE THAN THE SUPERFICIALITY OF PHYSICAL AFFECTION. 

I’m in no way belittling the treasure mined from friends I’ve physically met and spent lots of time with. They’re all amazing and I thank the heavens everyday that they put up with me. All I’m saying is the connection that I organically feel with them can manifest with anyone, in any form, anywhere. It doesn’t have to be 2 meters away from me. It can be behind a screen, 5 time zones away.

So I’ll end this with a personal message to every single person I’ve met online and established a friendship with. The means of our meeting doesn’t in anyway change my admiration, care and love for each and everyone of you and I’ll debate any prof who tells me otherwise. 

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and danie if you’re reading this, it’s for you love. -wink-

united colors of bullies

It’s been awhile since I last put up an entry and before I start sobbing and saying sorry for leaving you guys hanging, let me just say that I had a tough month writing 15 chapters of a book I’m hoping to publish. So please please put down the pitch forks, I’m not one to make excuses but my brain was fried (figuratively of course).

Today I thought it would be fun to write about a topic that inspired one of my book concepts and that is bullies– in all their colors and varieties. We already know about the obvious ones, which mind you are a scary lot but there are more subtle versions. They hide under the covers labeling themselves something more beautiful and attractive. The magpie in us grovel for the promise that it oh so boldly declares then we realize later on that the shine it has is all that it is, shine.

The inspiration came from a nostalgic evening of coffee with 2 of my best friends- after they convinced me to keep writing on this blog because THEY ACTUALLY READ IT AND LIKE IT. Imagine my surprise when they started talking about entries I wrote, I mean these are my overly critical, highly intellectual and difficult to please best friends we’re talking about. My self loathing subconscious found that difficult to believe and quite frankly, I was speechless for a few moments.

On the same night, we realized a lot about the path we took together in college. We gave up so much to be that image of an over achieving student whose main goal is to get the best grades, manage as many  extra curriculars and maintain as few creative, non logical pursuits as we can. Labels and expectations- the box they made for us- those were our bullies. 

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I’ve finally learned that bullies don’t just come in different kinds of people, they come in every shape, size or form. I may not have been shoved around or locked in a janitor’s closet by some teen fiction stereotype queen bee but I’ve been confined in a society where there’s a predetermined standard of beauty- one which some may claim I don’t fit. That norm, that belief, that is my own brand of bully. It follows me around, taunting me to cinch around my curves and smoothen my edges to fit this overused mold already made for me.

When I  found enough courage and fought back, told society to shove its size zero, fair-skinned, blonde perfection up their bums, another bully manifested from the shadows- one far stronger and more paralyzing than its predecessor. The firm grip of its manacle, over sized hands smother me with ridicule of how success has and will continue to elude me because the career I chose to love and devote my life to will not earn me millions, buy me a mansion or a jet-setting lifestyle

Your bullies may be far more frightening or life threatening than mine. I can’t be the judge of that and I won’t try to. If there’s one thing I took away from dealing with bully after bully, people and circumstances alike, they’re never as easy to deal with as they they seem on the outside. It’s a bully for a reason. They know your weakness and capitalize on it as much as they can so you’re hurt in the worst possible way. They planned the perfect, most gruesome way to twist and turn the knife they stuck to your heart so you’re left clutching at it, trying to rip it off and stop the bleeding.

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But if you don’t know already, let me be the first to tell you, you’re far stronger than any of your bullies. You have the ability heal and those battle scars will remind you every day of how you fought and how you deserve to be happy- HOW YOU’RE WORTH A LIFE YOU CHOSE TO LIVE and not one chosen by some thug or an unfortunate circumstance for you. 

You get one shot at life my friend, don’t let some bully take that away from you.