What’s in a shape?

It’s that time of year again when everyone is trying to get into their best “beach” or “bikini” bod shape.

I’m seeing/hearing a lot of talk about getting into shape, but I’m also seeing a lot of what that ideal shape is being challenged. I am happy to see a lot of websites I follow, like Buzzfeed or Hello Giggles, posting articles that promote acceptance of women (and men) of all shapes and sizes. My love-hate relationship with Buzzfeed aside, I’ve been pretty happy with their posts recently – including one I saw today about the best places to buy swimwear, and there was a variety of bodies represented in the list.

I have always struggled with my weight, I’ve fluctuated my whole life, but I’ve struggled even more with accepting whatever weight I was at – whether at my highest or my lowest, I was not accepting of myself.

Even though it’s been nearly a month, pictures from my wedding are still popping in people’s feeds. My initial reaction is to always smile and feel all warm and happy inside at the memory, and then my immediate reaction after that is to cringe, and wonder: “Am I really that fat?”

But I’m trying to adopt a healthier mentality. When I catch myself thinking that, I first remind myself about how beautiful I felt that day, and more importantly, how HAPPY I was that day. I think what the extreme happiness I felt shows in every single picture I’ve seen, and to me, that should be more important that how wide I looked or how many lumps I had. If I still have trouble accepting that thought when looking at a particularly unflattering picture, I just close the picture. I will open it again later, with that first initial happy reaction, and I will keep working until I can look at it without critiquing my own appearance.

I am no stranger to wanting to get into “shape” for summer. I’m not currently happy with my weight (no surprise there), and I want to feel better about myself. But I’m going to take my time, and I’m going to do it the healthy way – both physically and mentally. I’ll make better decisions about my health but I will not deny myself an enjoyable ice cream date here and there. Although I’d love to ideally lose a bit of weight, I’m determined to enjoy my summer regardless.

In actuality, the only real goal I want is to find enough confidence to wear a swimsuit that shows my stomach scar and not be ashamed of it. It was my goal last summer, and I shamed myself out of ever reaching it. I don’t want to do that again this year. And the reality is that I should be able to find that confidence regardless of whether I lose weight or not.

If there’s anything the internet is teaching me, it’s that we’re seeing a shift in what is the “acceptable” body shape at which to feel beautiful. We should all be free to feel beautiful, no matter what size, shape, color or gender. It’ll take time, there will always be close-minded trolls, but I think we’re on a positive path and I’m determined to take part in that movement by accepting my own body first.

That’s my two-cents on this sticky summer afternoon.

Now here’s a picture of my cat, who is also big and beautiful.

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Good news!

I received an e-mail yesterday confirming that I was accepted as a vendor at one of the largest Summer art markets that takes place here in Pittsburgh!

I am very excited to have a booth, which means I have a lot of work ahead of me for the next few months making up large quantities of product and also adding more to my shop in order to have enough product available for the entire weekend!

Keep posted for pictures of new items to come! I can’t wait.

I got married last Saturday, May 2nd.

I didn’t think, after 7 years of dating and 6 1/2 years of living together, that much would change. But I was so unbelievably happy to finally be marrying him that I haven’t stopped smiling since. I have a light, content feeling in my heart (complete with little butterflies in the stomach) and I feel like a silly little girl who just started dating this cute boy. There’s undeniably a new level of closeness, now that we’re married. I haven’t quite adjusted to friends and family teasingly calling me, “Mrs.” but there’s that warm feeling when he slips his newly adorned hand into mine and says, “I want to take a walk with my wife.”

The wedding was absolutely perfect. The day before, not so much (I would never recommend moving the day before your wedding), but the day of was beautiful and nothing else mattered. I cried a lot, I smiled more. I was reminded why I chose this person to be my partner for the rest of my life. There was dancing with groups of friends and family and there were intimate moments with individuals who have been by my side for most of, if not my whole, life. We wrote our own vows and they couldn’t have been more perfect in expressing the mutual respect and adoration we have for each other. We’ve been through a lot together and taking this step felt like a reward for staying so devoted to each other through it all. It truly was a celebration.

My dad probably managed to make me cry the most, when during our father/daughter dance to a song he wrote for me, he said that the most he could ever hope for for any of his children is that they find what Sean and I have in each other.

It reminded me that, as I said in my vows, I know that what we have is not guaranteed. So I am eternally grateful that in a world of 7 billion people, we found each other.

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Photo by: Kyna Damewood and Mindi Harkless

Things that have changed since my last post:

  • I’m still getting married May 2nd.
  • I’m still moving – BUT, we found a beautiful place and I am sooo excited to move in there (even if it will be two days before the wedding and therefore I will be stressing the fuck out).
  • Work is still crazy, but we had a progress meeting and I got positive feedback on this project and I’m happy about that.
  • My family is still crazy and addicted to drama.
  • I’m still going into debt with this wedding.
  • I am feeling better, but there was no diagnoses on my health and so I’m just hoping it doesn’t come back.

That’s it. I’m in a far better place mentally right now than I was when I wrote that last post, I couldn’t tell you why. In the back of my mind I’m still freaking out about all the things that I need to do in the next 40 DAYS and wondering how I’m going to make more money, but for right now…

I’m in my fluffy robe, drinking a cup of tea with my kitten at my side and I’m okay.

I’ll be okay.

It’s raining menstrual cramps.

When it rains, you’re fucked.
That’s how that saying goes, right?
Not trying to be a Debbie Downer, or construct this entire post from cliches, but my life is insanely stressful right now.
  • I’m getting married May 2nd.
  • My lease is up May 1st.
  • We’ve taken on new clients at work.
  • One high-profile client wants us to give them an entire re-branding… in two weeks.
  • I’m experiencing health problems which are yet to be diagnosed or relieved.
  • My family is crazy-full of drama.
  • I’m going into serious debt with this wedding.

I could keep going on, but I’m going to stop myself there. I’m not here to complain, it’s merely just a reflection on how incredibly chalk full of stress my life is right now. My mind has sort of shut down at this point and I come home and either crash on the couch to watch TV or lose myself in the Walking Dead graphic novels to avoid any responsibility. I guess I’m subconsciously hoping this wedding will finish planning itself.

However, tonight we went and viewed an apartment that actually is beautiful and has some serious potential, except it’s a wee bit high for our budget. Which led me down the dark and scary path of doing the math to figure out how much money I’d have left over each month after paying for that place, which led me to realizing I need to seriously kick my freelancing butt into game, which brought me back to this blog.

There’s no way I can tackle it now, but after the wedding I plan on  need to start taking freelancing seriously. I’m in the fortunate position of having chosen a career/skills that can be freelanced, so I should really utilize those to help relieve some of the financial stress each month.

I need more creativity in my life!

And money. Definitely money. Because to close with a cliche – whoever said money doesn’t equal happiness clearly was not living a life of debt.