bodies

All posts tagged bodies

Fat Liberation is for Fat People with Disabilities Too

Published July 30, 2017 by Fat Heffalump

So if you read my previous post, you’d know that almost two months ago I had a rather spectacular fall (total dignity stripper) and did myself some considerable injury, including a fractured ankle, which has me in a moon boot. I’m really lucky, I’m not in a huge amount of pain, more sore than acute pain, and I’m pretty mobile despite the moon boot. I can walk fairly well, and though my mobility is somewhat compromised, I can still get around and live my life not all that much differently to I was pre-fracture. I’m embarrassingly slow up and down stairs is the worst thing.

However, even in my privileged position, I have experienced some issues with other people’s attitudes and behaviour since my mobility has been compromised. People walking at me or into me, some make snide comments about my ankle injury being “because she’s so fat”, an old woman on the bus asking me if I fell because I’m fat and then saying, “Well with your size I bet you went down hard.” (FYI, I fell because a patch of footpath was old and lumpy.) Or people kvetching because I’m so slow on stairs when I can’t avoid them altogether. You try walking up or down stairs in a huge boot when your ankle doesn’t bend.

I can only imagine the garbage that other fat people with disabilities (fat PWD) are subjected to.

People with disabilities (PWD) already have to deal with enough stigma, discrimination and general douchebaggery from non-disabled people, but add fatness to the equation and a whole raft of new shittiness is added.

Fat PWD are accused of “causing” their disabilities because they are fat, are accused of “just being lazy” or treated like even more of an inconvenience than thin PWD. It’s hard enough for PWD to get the equipment and services they need, and for many of we fat people to get equipment, clothing and services that fit our bodies – the two issues compounded make it even more of a burden for fat PWD to bear.

Just as a small example, a friend mentioned to me when I said that I had to get a boot to be aware that it may be difficult to get one to fit me, as she had trouble finding one that would fit her calf, and that eventually they had to pad a very large boot out in the foot for it to fit her calf. I’m fortunate there, I have big feet, which means a bigger boot, and my legs are proportionately smaller than the rest of me. But I know how hard it is for many fat women to find regular wide calf boots, let alone medical ones!

I have another fat friend who has a chronic health issue that means she needs access to disability toilets. She’s not visibly disabled, so she cops a lot of heat from strangers who make comments about “you’re fat, not disabled”. Nobody should have to justify their use of accessible toilets to bloody strangers! She has the same issue with disabled car parks.

Fat people are already beaten over the head with the health stick, throw disability and/or chronic illness into the mix and we just can’t win. Even though many chronic illnesses and disabilities can cause or are correlated with weight gain, our bodies are scrutinised further simply because of their fatness, regardless of our physical ability or levels of health. We’ve all had medical professionals prescribe weight loss for things wholly unconnected to weight (sore throats, injured bodies, reproductive system issues etc), how difficult must it be for fat PWD to get proper diagnosis and treatment of illnesses, injuries and other conditions.

As part of the fight to have the full humanity of fat people recognised by society in general, we need to make sure we are including fat PWD. Fat PWD should be able to advocate for themselves, get adequate medical treatment and suitable equipment to fit their bodies, as well as the basic dignity of being able to exist in society without stigma or vilification for their bodies for either disability or fatness.

Advertisements

Dear Ashley Graham

Published March 16, 2016 by Fat Heffalump

Dear Ashley Graham,

Please stop.  Just… stop.  Look, I know you’re the hot name of the moment in plus-size models and you’re getting a lot of media and marketing attention.  Congratulations, enjoy it.  But you seriously need to knock it off with the whole thing about not wanting the term “plus-size” to be used.  What am I talking about?  Well, there’s this…

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 7.56.39 PM
I get that you don’t want to be called a “plus-size” model because let’s face it, you’re not a plus-size woman.  Unlike myself and so many other women who shop at the stores you collect cheques from for modelling their clothes, your body is not fat.  To anyone walking past you on the street, you’re just a woman, and a very beautiful one at that.  But when I walk down the street, I’m a fat woman.  Nobody is going to dispute that fact.  That’s where the vast chasm lies between the models who are chosen and paid to showcase clothes for fat women, and the actual women who are buying them.

AG

A plus-size model.

 

An actual plus-size customer. (Photo by Paul Harris)

An actual plus-size customer. (Photo by Paul Harris)

The thing is, women like me need the label “plus-size”.  We know that the label doesn’t refer to us or our actual bodies, but refers to the section in the store that we need to find – almost always a dingy corner in the back with no signage, poor housekeeping and terrible lighting – if we are lucky.  You wouldn’t know what it’s like to need that section because your body is catered to in most standard “straight” sized clothing ranges.  When you want to buy a swimsuit, you need to know where in the store to go to buy one right?  So you go to the swimsuit section.  Well, we need and want to buy clothes that fit our body, so we need to be able to find the section that has those clothes, and for the last century, almost anyway, there has been a conveniently named section called “plus-size” that we can seek out.  This saves us from wading through the other 90% of clothing that doesn’t include us.

When you, who have far more access to the media and marketing than we do, by the blessing of your pretty face, hourglass figure and relatively small size (compared to actual plus-size clothing customers) start trumpeting that the clothing industry needs to get rid of the term plus-size, two things happen.

Firstly, you stigmatise fatness further than it already is.  You might not be actually saying that, but that’s what many not-fat people, including the businesses who are supposed to be serving us, actually hear.  The corollary of that is that not-fat people and businesses stop listening to us.  They don’t listen to us much anyway, but your efforts are causing them to shut us out even further.

Secondly, businesses start thinking that they can “drop the plus” which means they start literally dropping plus-size product.  They downsize their collections.  They trim the size range, removing the larger sizes, which are already as rare as hens teeth.  So you are actively making it harder for many of us to find the clothing that we want and need.

While we’re at it, let’s touch on the “curvy sexylicious” thing.  I personally find it cheesy and childish, but you get to decide how you identify and you’re perfectly entitled to decide on that label for yourself.  But the reality is, the vast majority of women who actually buy plus-size clothing will never get to or want to be referred to as “curvy sexylicious”.  To start with, many of us a “boxy fat fabulous” or “roly-poly arse-kicking” or “shaped-like-the-magic-pudding awesome”.  We’re fat.  We don’t have neat little hourglass figures with a tiny tummy bump or a pair of thick thighs.  We have big, fat bodies.  Bodies that are still awesome, but they’re not being given the opportunity to model for Lane Bryant anytime soon.  Also, I can’t go to work in a lacy bra and tight skirt and call myself “curvy sexylicious” like you do when you go to work.  I need to wear something suitable for my job and call it “creative professional woman”.  Sexing up is all well and good, but we need more than lacy bras and sparkly evening wear (don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of lace and sparkle).  We need suits for the office, dresses for daytime, skirts and blouses to go to church in, smart casual gear to go to the school event in, all those sorts of thing.  When I go through my work day, I don’t make kissy faces and toss my hair – I have to answer phones and go to meetings and do a whole lot of innovative thinking, plus a lot of networking with people of all types – from management to politicians, from librarians to electricians.  That’s not exactly “curvy sexylicious” appropriate, you know?

Besides, not everything in plus-size has to be “sexy”.  In fact, not everything about womanhood has to be “sexy”.  Sexy is fun sure, and has it’s place, but women are worth far more than their worth to the male gaze.  We are more than valuable for our fuckability.  When I see models promoting plus-size clothing brands, they’re almost always naked, in lingerie or in some state of “sexyfication”.  I know why this is done – mostly for the shock value of seeing a body that has some small rolls or curves in a world where most models are ultra-thin.  We often don’t get to see the products actually showcased in the same way that straight-sized clothes are.  Which makes it so hard to shop for the clothes we want and need.  Particularly when our clothes are relegated to online shopping or badly maintained racks in the back of the store.  We need to see what an outfit will look like when we wear the whole outfit – very hard when we’re forced to shop online.  The lacy bra and tight skirt is cute on you in a promo shot, sure… but how do I know what it looks like with a jacket or blouse in the same range?   How do I know what it will look like on a body shaped like mine, rather than tall, hourglass and slim like you are?

What it really boils down to is that we need more clothing options than there currently are in our sizes, and we need to be able to see them in a way that reflects how we live, feel and look.  We need to see ourselves.  Your constant calls to lose the term “plus-size” don’t help that.  Perhaps if you don’t want to be called a “plus-size model”, it’s time for you to step back, stop collecting the cheques for jobs that are supposed to serve fat women and let some larger, more realistic to the customer, models take the jobs.

Yours sincerely
Kath
aka Fat Heffalump

Good Weekend – Corrections and Clarifications

Published January 23, 2016 by Fat Heffalump

Well, hello!  There are a LOT of new people popping in to view my blog, and I can only assume that it’s because of the article published today in the Good Weekend magazine, which is a weekend addition to the Sydney Morning Herald.  Welcome to all of those who are newly discovering this little blog.  And to all of those of you returning, it’s good to see you back.

Dog Reads Newspaper?

*Deep breath*  Today has been a little intense and it’s a new kind of intense on top of an already intense week.  I’ve had a lot of people contact me today thanks to the aforementioned article, some of whom with very valid questions and critique.  Quite a few talking out their arse, but I pay no mind to those.  I just wanted to write a little something to go with the article.

Now I don’t think that Tim Elliott has written a bad article, quite the opposite.  But I have been misquoted/misinterpreted a bit, and I don’t know whether that was a communication error, misinformation or just bad copy editing (do newspapers even have copy editors any more – or were those all made redundant too?).  Generally speaking the article is far more fat positive than most pieces we see, and it’s so good to see some actual fat women represented.  I had loads of fun doing the photoshoot for it by amazing photographer Paul Harris, who was really fun to work with and seemed to just “get it”.  My hair and makeup were done by Monique Zalique who was an absolute sweetie and made me look super glam, despite it being a roasting hot day!

So, a few things I would like to set right.

Firstly, for some reason, the amazing Jessica West, at fashion organiser and advocate, as well as my friend, has not been credited at all.  She’s the mega cutie in the video with the black and gold headscarf and babely glasses.  She was interviewed and photographed for the article but it wasn’t used, but footage of her was used in the video and she is the only one whose name isn’t published!  So I want to acknowledge her first and foremost.  She has a killer instagram, go follow her.

Next I’d like to address the way I’ve been described.  The “fat prider” thing – I’ve never called myself that, though I do believe in fat pride and fat liberation.  I identify as a fat activist and my focus is on fat politics.  The article implies some kind of leadership role, but I have never called myself or inded wanted to be a “leader” in any form of fat politic movement.  Personally I believe that activism should have no leaders, because activism is about pushing and growing and evolving, not a direct hierarchy.  In Australia, there are many fat activists, doing their thing in their own way.  All of us are needed.  I’m just one that will put myself in front of a photographer or journalist and do the media thing from time to time.

I also want to correct a couple of statements.  While I have had my workplace contacted by harassers, I’ve not had one show up there thankfully.  Not that that diminishes the actual harassment that has happened.  I also did not actually catch anyone slipping an abusive note in my mailbox, though I did contact the police about it at the time, who suggested I should “just get off the internet” and “not be so confident”.  The young law student from UQ that I caught was creating fake accounts on Facebook to send me harassing messages, and I was able to link those fake accounts to her real one.  Since I named her, she has not been back to my knowledge.

As for the suggestion that fat activists harass and bully people who lose weight, by choice or accident, that is absolute bullshit.  While we may object to those who start (or return to) “fat is bad” attitudes, and we will call out those who use stigmatising and hateful language to describe fatness and weight.  Saying “It’s not acceptable to vilify fatness.” is not bullying, abuse or harassment.  Unfortunately those who promote weight loss and/or dieting refuse to accept that by it’s very nature, eliminationist rhetoric about fat, the idea that fat should be prevented, cured, eradicated, it is harmful to fat people.

What you do to your own body is your business.  When you start promoting that some bodies are better than others, then I’m going to point that out as unacceptable.  That is not bullying or harassment from fat activists, and that does not make us “neo-fascists”.

One of the biggest problems with people who have privilege pointed out (especially if it’s new privilege, through weight loss, popularity or financial gain) is they refer to anyone pointing that out as “hate”.  Hate is sending threats, telling someone they are disgusting or sub-human, or ridiculing someone for who they are.  Pointing out that someone is engaging in behaviour or rhetoric that is harmful to others is not “hate”.

And finally, there is one statement that really, really bothered me.

Indeed, many fat activists regard their battle for acceptance as akin to the civil rights movement, or the struggle for gay and lesbian equality.

I really, really cringe at this.  Yes, I understand there are SOME that still see fat activism that way and conflate it with other movements.  But here’s the thing.  Marginalisation is diverse.  Each kind stands on it’s own as a valid thing to fight.  Many people have intersecting identities that are marginalised.  Some of those identities are in more peril than others, which makes the fight for their rights crucial and urgent.  Black people and trans people are currently extremely vulnerable.  There is no such thing as “another civil rights movement” – they’re all facets of the same fight – the right for ALL people to be treated equally.   The “struggle” for equality belongs to all of us, we just have to realise that some of us have privileges that others don’t.  As a white, cis, heterosexual woman with a regular income, I have privileges that others don’t.  As a very fat woman with disability, I am not afforded the privileges of thinner people, able-bodied people and men.  There is no sliding scale.  All of this is complicated and intertwining and every bit of fighting for human rights of any kind is needed.  None of them are new or taking over.  Can we please let go of that thinking right now!

So, that’s my clarifications/corrections to the article.  Again, while there are some issues with details, I still think this is a very positive article and I’m proud to have been able to participate in this get some light shed on fat liberation in the mainstream media.

Fat Activism is Not About Your Boner – Part 2

Published November 7, 2015 by Fat Heffalump

Ugh.  It’s happening again.  There’s another round of posts/tweets/talk declaring “You can’t force me to find you attractive!” responses to fat activism.  Post after post after post from random dudes, usually crawling out of reddit or 4chan, loudly declaring that fat activism has no place in modern society because “You can’t force me to find you attractive!!”  It doesn’t matter what topic we talk about, there they are:

“The availability of a full range of affordable plus-size clothes is sadly lacking.”
“You can’t force me to find you attractive!”

“Doctors are failing to treat fat patients with dignity and respect, and this is endangering their health.”
“You can’t force me to find you attractive!”

“Fat women are paid less than thin people for doing the same work.”
“You can’t force me to find you attractive!”

“Fat women cannot walk down the street or be visible online without being abused and harassed”
“You can’t force me to find you attractive!”

“Fat women are not represented fairly in art or media.”
“You can’t force me to find you attractive!”

“Gastrointestinal mutilation is killing fat people.”
“You can’t force me to find you attractive!”

Hot tip fellas – we have never either asked or demanded you find us attractive.  It’s pretty certain that if you’re that type of dude, we don’t find YOU attractive, and we could care less whether you find us attractive or not.  Fat activism has nothing to do with your boner.  It has always been about the rights of fat people to live their lives in dignity and respect, without fear of vilification or discrimination.  Standing up and saying “Don’t treat fat people as subhuman.” does not mean the same as “You must find us attractive.”  Our demand to be able to walk down the street or be online without being abused and harassed, or to get decent clothing, medical care and working conditions has not one iota of anything to do with whether or not people find us attractive or not.

But that’s the thing isn’t it?  Many men only treat women with respect if they find them attractive.  It’s the Nice Guy phenomenon.  Those men who are only “nice guys” to the women they want to sleep with.

Which leads me to the next problem that fat women face – and that’s at the other end of the spectrum.  Men who expect us to be grateful that they DO find us attractive.  I can’t tell you the number of times I have complete strangers contact me to tell me that they find sexy, as if I’m supposed to care.  I write about fat women in fiction – skeevy dudes commenting how they like me in a particular dress, or emailing me dick pics.  I even get them creeping me on LinkedIn and GoodReads for fucks sake!  I write about harassment online, some rando messages me that he wants to lick my fat feet.  I post pictures of my new outfit, some creep follows me on Flickr and favourites hundreds of pictures of me.  I say on Instagram that I feel cute today – some dude tells me I’m a hot BBW.

Newsflash – I am not your BBW, whoever you are.  I am not your ANYTHING.  I don’t know you, and I don’t want to hear about your boner.

When women talk about how they feel beautiful or sexy or pretty, it is not the same thing as demanding or inviting other people to do so.  It’s about how we feel, our self-confidence and self-esteem.  It’s about our right to take up space and feel good about ourselves.  If I post a picture of myself and say “Damn I’m cute!” – it has NO bearing on whether or not someone else feels the same way.  It’s about how I feel and if someone disagrees, I don’t care.   I am still cute, whether you agree or not.  No need to tell me.  It’s not about you.  I’m not going to click on some strange guy’s photo and say “Dude, I don’t find you attractive at all.”  Or “You’re gross.”   One, what I think about some stranger doesn’t matter and two, it’s DOUCHEY to try to make anyone feel bad about themselves.

We don’t have to feel or show gratitude for men telling us about their boner.  Particularly when most of them would turn and sneer if some random woman who they weren’t interested in approached them.  It’s interesting how a man declaring sexual interest in a woman is something women should be grateful for, whether they are interested or not, but a woman showing interest in a man earns her scorn and ridicule if it is not reciprocated.

Because that’s how they’ve set up the parameters around fat women – we can’t win no matter what we do.  If we demand to be treated as human, we are either accused of forcing random men to find us attractive, or we’re treated as objects to fuck with no agency or humanity.

To all the fat women out there sick of either being abused or skeeved on by random men – your self-confidence and self-esteem is not determined by other people, it is determined by YOU.

Not New At All

Published January 3, 2015 by Fat Heffalump

Happy New Year!!

This is where I spend at least a month being absolutely astonished that it is 2015 already.  It happens to me every year, you’d think I’d get used to it by now.

I have a love/hate relationship with New Year.  I love the fresh feeling of a new year, all the potential laid out in front of me, even though it’s arbitrary.  I love having Christmas (which is a difficult time for me) behind me.

But for the love of all things sacred, I fucking hate all the resolutions, New Year/New Body/New Me, let’s get fit/get healthy/off the couch, the public announcements of how “good I’m going to be this year” bullshit.  It’s like a fucking tsunami of thinly veiled moralism coated in self aggrandisement.  It’s the once-a-year parade of “Look what a good cookie I am!”

Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m all for self improvement.  I’m all for setting useful goals and working towards them.  That is, improvement and goals that are about being your best you and living your life to the best of your ability, not changing your appearance to meet some societal standard.  I simply believe that these things should a) be all the time, not just on an arbitrary date change and b) NOT be announced publicly to draw attention to what a good little person you are.

A lot of people don’t even realise they’re doing it. They’re not aware of the air of self congratulation, of moral superiority they’re emitting.  Hell, I used to even do it myself, before I realised what a vacuous societal performance it all is.

But most of all, I hate how unaware people are of just how harmful all that bullshit can be for the people they subject it to.  I don’t know about you, but my social media feeds are all a massive minefield of moralising, diet talk, “fitspo”, food policing, and New Year bandwagon jumping.  It has absolutely fucked with my head over the past week or so and I find myself spiraling into some really dangerous territory.  Every day I have to dodge trigger after trigger from people I do love and care about.  I’ve struggled with all of those old dark thoughts about food and eating and dieting to the point where I had to really sit down and work hard to pull my thinking back into a sensible place.  Thankfully, I’ve reached a point in my life where I can recognise it creeping up on me, not everyone has got there yet and the spiral can head downward faster than they can keep up with.  It sends them into a horrible place that takes forever to claw back from.  But that said, even though I can recognise it, I still have to work REALLY hard to undo the damage.

What it all boils down to is needing to engage in real self care.  Which I know is really difficult to do, particularly when your brain is being dragged down a dark path by constant triggers from those around you.  So what I thought I’d do is share with you the things I do that help, and if they are of use to even one of you, it’s worth it.

  1. Use the block, unfriend, hide, mute, list, or whatever functions on social media you can.  Have a purge.  Get rid of the people who deflate you.  For the rest, that you do care about but are hurting you with their New Year crap, hide/mute them or create a list on the site that is ONLY the people who make you feel strong and positive, and focus on that list.  Each site has a bunch of different functionalities, but most of them have options that will at least reduce the harmful crap.  Don’t feel ashamed or harsh for doing this.  You have to take care of you first.
  2. Fill your social media platforms with fabulous people who make you feel strong and positive.  Start a Tumblr following a whole bunch of fat positive accounts.  Follow a bunch of intelligent, witty people on Twitter who bring good things to the table.  Seek out blogs that talk about food in a way that helps you balance your thoughts.  Jump on Facebook and find pages that are by people who share empowering content.  Follow lots of fab feminist accounts of people of marginalised identities on Instagram so you can see representation of lots of awesome diverse people.  Make yourself a playlist on YouTube that fills you with joy.  Whatever social media of your choice, build it in to something that empowers you.
  3. Hang out with someone you know makes you feel good about yourself.  If you have a buddy who suffers from the triggery shit as much as you do, get together and have a good vent about it, and then move on to something positive and fun.
  4. Relax.  Whatever your method of relaxing is, do it.  Take a bath.  Read a book.  Have an orgasm (alone or with someone, doesn’t matter how).  Go for a walk somewhere nice.  Watch a movie that makes you laugh.  Listen to good music.  Have a cup of tea and a biscuit.  Build Lego.  Whatever that thing is that makes you sort of forget time, and just relax… do that.
  5. Make sure you feed yourself.  God this is a tough one.  The downward spiral is ever present for me on this one.  Have breakfast.  Eat lunch.  Get a decent dinner.  It’s easy to skip meals or live off simple things (ramen anyone?) when your brain is being bombarded with triggery stuff.  But if you focus on feeding yourself properly, you will feel better in the long run.
  6. Take your medications.  Yep, that’s one that I find VERY difficult when triggered by New Year shit.  Set an alarm on your phone and take them when it goes off.  Portion them off in a pill box if you need to.  Just get in a routine and take them.  Not taking them makes the downward spiral faster.
  7. Get some sleep.  Even if you have to leave other things undone, get some sleep.
  8. Get some fresh air.  Go outside and fill your lungs.  Just breathe for a while.  We all spend too much time in air-con/heating without getting a little fresh air once and a while.
  9. Treat yo self.  A bunch of flowers.  A really, really good cup of coffee.  A new dress.  Some nice hand cream.  Whatever is a nice little moment of pleasure.
  10. Remember this: You are awesome.  No, you’re not perfect, but you’re awesome.  The only person you need to impress with self improvement is YOU.

lokibetter

Birthday Post – 42 and Counting!

Published October 25, 2014 by Fat Heffalump

Happy Birthday to me!
Happy Birthday to me!
Happy Birthday dear Heffalump
Happy Birthday to me!

Photo by camknows on Flickr

Photo by camknows on Flickr

Yes, today is my 42nd birthday.  I was hoping to wake up this morning and find that I know the meaning to the question of life, the universe and everything, but sadly, that hasn’t happened yet.  Maybe it will happen at 6.45pm, which is the exact moment that I entered the world 42 years ago.

But I do know some things, and I think I will share them with you all since I’m feeling like my 40’s are bringing me into a new level of wisdom that I never had before.  Consider it my gift to all of you.

1. Getting older is kind of awesome.  I know a lot of women say they feel invisible once they get into their 40’s, but hey, fat women are mostly invisible all their lives, so that hasn’t happened to me.  In fact I would say that I’ve become more visible – not just in the physical sense, but in that I will speak up now.  I spend a whole lot less of my time trying to disappear and not be noticed.

2. Not everyone can love their body.  But learning to value it is a good thing to do.  Bodies don’t always do what we want them to do.  And despite all the well intentioned “Love your body” messages, for a lot of people, that’s just not possible for a myriad of reasons.  However, our bodies propel us through our lives.  They do a bunch of important shit that we need without us ever being conscious of it.  They can experience (and give) a lot of pleasure.  Learning to just inhabit the body you have got to the best of your ability, and at least value it enough to be kind to it.  The kinder you are to your body, the easier it is to live in.

3. Your self worth does not hinge on whether or not men want to have sex with you.  Remember, as said by @moscaddie on Twitter – dick is abundant and of low value.  Believe me, no matter who you are, there are dudes out there who want to fuck you.  But really, aren’t you worth more than that?

4. Your 20’s suck.  That’s not the peak of life.  If it is, then you’ve got a big, long, downhill slide ahead of you!  Aim for your peak to be much later.  I think I’d like to peak around 65.  We as a culture seem to put so much value on to our 20’s, when really, it’s a pretty rough decade for the majority of people.  You’re old enough to have to adult, but you’re not old enough to have figured out shit yet.  It gets better than that.

5. Be kind to your feet.  Yes I know those 6 inch stilettos are gorgeous and make you feel sexy.  But give your feet plenty of rest and care.  Because you will be forced to wear ugly, ugly shoes way sooner than you want to if you don’t take care of your feet now.

6. If it makes you feel good, it’s not a waste of time.  Yeah I know, there are so many things we need to do with our time right?  We really shouldn’t take that nap.  We really shouldn’t spend an afternoon reading/building Lego/faffing about on the internet/insert idle entertainment here. I should be cleaning the house.  I should be sorting out that spare room.  I should be…  Let yourself have regular leisure time.  REAL leisure time, filled with things that make the time zoom by because you’re so into whatever you are doing.  The dishes will get done.  Whatever else it is you feel you should be doing, you will do later.  It is good self care to just chill.

7. You don’t need that much perfume/body spray/other scented item.  Believe me, just a little dab or spritz is all you need.  If someone can smell it on you when they are more than a metre away from you, it’s WAY too much, you’re making people’s eyes water and nose run, they’re just too polite to say anything.  Scent is sexy when you’re up close, not when it’s crop dusting everyone in the vicinity.

8. All genitals look weird.  No really, they all look weird and nothing at all like you see in porn.  There’s nothing wrong with how yours look.  Unless they’re suddenly green and oozing, then go see a doctor.

9.  Food is not the enemy.  You need food.  Stop fighting it, and you’ll start to notice things you never noticed before.  Like when certain things make you feel tired and run down or queasy, or jittery.  You can’t know which foods your body needs when you are busy treating food like an enemy.

10. Fashion is fun, but style is personal.  Have fun with fashion, but don’t be a slave to it.  If you don’t like anything that is currently in fashion, just rock your own style.  Truly stylish people wear what they love, not what is fashionable.  Even if others don’t like your style, who cares?  You love it right?

11. Blood is not thicker than water.  Families can be some of the most damaging people in your life.  If they do you harm, you are within your right to remove them from your life.  Build your own community of people around you.  People who treat you with respect and love you unconditionally.

12. Be in photographs.  If you shy away from cameras, there will come a time you will regret that there are no pictures of you.  Let the people who love you take photographs of you, or take them of yourself.  I really wish I hadn’t bolted from cameras all through my teens, 20’s and 30’s.

13. At least once per year, sit back and note all the things you’ve done over the past year.  And I don’t mean big things that happen once or twice in your life, I mean all the things that you do all the time and barely take notice.  Projects you’ve finished at work.  Things you’ve done around the house.  Books you’ve read.  Places you’ve been.  Events you’ve participated in.  Blog posts you’ve written.  Craft projects you’ve made.  Anything that you’ve completed.  We are so focused on the next thing we’re working on, the next hill we’re climbing, we forget to acknowledge all the things we’ve completed.  It feels SO good to look at that list and it makes the stuff in front of you less daunting.

14. Never give up an opportunity to pee.  Or get into an elevator with a full bladder.  Just trust me on this one.

15. Tell the people that you love, that you love them.  You have an unlimited supply of  “I love you’s.”   Give those babies away freely.  You will not be diminished by how much love you give, instead you will be enriched by it.