Ugly Selfie

I was down visiting family over Labor Day weekend with my dude and my cute baby, and of course, my mom wanted to get some family photos taken to hang in her hallway.  And I said yes, because I have a very adorable baby, and it seemed like a good idea to have all of us in photo together, since the gang was all there.

The problem was that a bunch of the photos were taken with the camera at the level of the baby, and since was held in our laps most of the time, that meant mucho unflattering upwards angles.

Exhibit A: all face, all the time. -

Exhibit A: all face, all the time. -

Viewing the photos sent me into a tailspin.  I have a really round face y'all, and upwards angles do it no favors.  And while generally speaking I am very much fuck flattering and all that, I would like to look decent in photos displayed on my parents' walls, you know?

And perhaps I need to recontextualize how my round face looks and be chill with it, but right now, I am doing a lot of emotional work and self-discovery already, being in the first year of parenthood, so I just wasn't up to doing that work in that moment. 

I posted how I was feeling on Facebook, and the first couple of comments were very much "yes, angles matter," with people with typically angular, socially-acceptable faces showing how upwards angles gave them extra chins.  But then, THEN!  Well, then my bestie Megan did something brilliant.  She posted a totally upwards shot of herself with the caption "ugly selfie, no shame!" and just left it there.

No photo of her face straight on.  No flattering angles.  Nope.  She just posted a not-cute picture of herself up on my wall, with no shame, and got on with her day.

It kind of blew my mind.  Being unattractive on purpose?  As a performance, almost?  Showing that we all have angles and times of days where we don't look our best and that's just life.  WHAT?  It was awesome.

And then a bunch of other people joined in.  And that was incredible.  It was so silly and real and irreverent.  I loved it.  I continue to revisit that thread for all my gorgeous friends' silly faces, and it's just awesome. 

It gave me the courage to post the unflattering photo, which I am also doing here.  Because normalizing that we all have those moments, those angles -- that's a big deal.  It's liberating.  It's inclusive.  It's humanizing.  It's radical.

So, if you wanna join me in the ugly selfie challenge, post an unflattering, real photo of your mug on Facebook or Instagram and tag it #uglyselfiechallenge.  Trust me, it's awesome.  Freed from the burden of having to look good, you can explore what your face looks like at any angle.  You'll notice things you didn't before maybe (cleft chin?  extra freckle?)  And you get to just be you.

Let's do this.

Exhibit B: no shame. -

Exhibit B: no shame. -

Wear Clothes You Like

One of the longest journeys towards my self-acceptance centered around buying clothes.  It's always been relatively easy to accept my body sans culottes, if you will, because I can see everything, I know what it looks like, no surprises.  I like my curves and my strength.  But with clothes on?  Oof, girl, there's a battle.

For one thing, we all know the fashion industry is epic levels of fucked up.  From sweat shops in third world countries, to stupid sizing policies, to the lack of quality and fast fashion, it's got issues.  My biggest problem was the whole aspirational clothing wishful thinking thing. 

My weight has fluctuated some over the years.  Not like epic amounts, but I've definitely gone up or down a few sizes in my time.  And the rub of it was that I kept saving my smaller clothes for "someday".  As we all know, you can't live for someday, you gotta live in the here and now.  It's all we've got.

I had a victory last year when I got rid of some tiny-ass pants, and the world was a better place for it.  But I still had the occasional sentimental clothing item around in a smaller size, and that's been hard to shake.  I'm happy to say that I've figured out that holding on to that stuff is actually weighing me down, because when I see it, I miss the person I was inside it, as well as recognizing the happy memories it holds.  It's a bittersweet waste of energy, and another form of not living in the now and letting your dysmorphia run the show.  Photos and memories themselves are a better way to hold on to those good feelings, without being tempted to try to be a past self.  But the best antidote to aspirational clothing?  Buying clothes that fit you now that you actually like.

I can't even tell you how damn liberating it is.  I have heard nearly every body-pos blogger talk about this one, but for serious, it's a game changer.  It takes a loooong time to really get it, but once you do?  Shivers!  Sparkles!  The biggest damn unicorn singing you Bootylicious while handing you ice cream and tickets to a Beyonce concert.

Once I realized that I could wear anything and in a size that actually fit, shopping became exhilarating and my closet became a delight.  I went to clothing swaps and didn't look at the tag -- I just threw that shit on my body, and if it fit and looked amazing, I kept it, and if it did not, I gently removed it and suggested it to someone else.  Boom.

In stores, I guess-timated my size, and wasn't afraid to go up or down depending on the fit and the fabric.  Clothes were just ... clothes -- vehicles to enhance the lovely, strong, capable body held inside.  I didn't pause to check out my cellulite in the mirror, because I already knew it would be there, and that fretting about it wasn't going to change a damn thing. 

Instead, I just got on with my business, no longer an apologetic servant to clothes, pleading with them to fit me.  The game has changed.  Clothes serve me now.  And if they don't make me look good, back on the rack they go.  And I am more than good with that. 

Get yo'self clothes that fit. -

Get yo'self clothes that fit. -

Ode to My Belly

This is a little silly and vulnerable, but often the best things are.  And everyone likes it when you do something kind of embarrassing, right?  Here it goes:

Like many women, I have had the hardest time embracing my belly.  Some people don't like their eyebrows, or feet, or wrinkles, or ass.  For me, it's my tummy. 

That sucker refuses to be flat.  It's always had a bit of a bell curve, ever since I was a little girl in a red two piece strawberry bathing suit, with a pokey-out belly.  Throughout my teenage and young adult years, it was a constant battle to camouflage it with empire waist tops (90s), bootcut jeans (00s), and a combination of flowy tops and high-waisted jeans today.

But the thing about pregnancy + a miscarriage is that I think my belly is here to stay.  I've tried, girl.  I've done sit-ups til I near about puked.  I run.  I plank (front, sides, backwards, whatever).  I do those crazy ball exercises.  But it's not budging.

So instead of hating on it, I wrote it an ode.  I know.  This is not The Breakfast Club.  It's not a little crunchy and embarrassing.  But whatever.  I needed something to feel better about it, so I spent about 10 minutes considering it in the mirror over the weekend, then I got out my Radical Self Love Bible and a sharpie, and penned this ode.

ode to my belly -

ode to my belly -

I'm not totally there yet with the belly love, but I'm moving closer.  And it feels good to accept all of my parts.  I'm a whole person, and all of me deserves that acceptance and love.

What body part do you have a hard time with?