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Wearing My Heart on My Thighs: Loving All of Me

Updated: Feb 7, 2021

There’s been a lot of discussion with my marketing consultant, April, about what my brand is. Despite all the advice I have gotten off the internet saying I should pick a lane and stick with it, April says that’s not my brand. My brand is me. I don’t fit into one lane and neither can my blog. As much as I hate it, me, is currently 170 lbs. It’s not the heaviest I have been but it’s close. I am also 38 ½ and losing weight is harder than ever. I am dropping dress sizes and shaking off the covid weight gain, I've gone from a 12 to 10, 8 on a good day. Unfortunately, the scale doesn’t budge and the cellulite is stronger than ever. Like stretch marks, cellulite is genetic, and middle age weight loss is rough.

After Leanne and I posted What’s My Dress Size?: Say it Louder. Feel the Power, we were approached to model some plus size bathing suits. First, this is a classic example of the fashion industry lying about size. I am an 8/10, with curves, and up to a 12 on a salt filled day. This is not justification for putting me in an ad for a plus sized bathing suit. Putting me in a plus size ad is frankly offensive and I’ll tell you why. We both sized up and I got a size 12 bathing suit, Leanne is a 16 but got the size 18 bathing suit, but it was a little big.

There’s really no world in which the plus sized market should be showcasing me, however, my imperfections, I believe, highlighted Leanne’s perfections. We chose different suits based on preference and not necessarily fit. She did better. She looked better. She knows how to make her body look best. Meanwhile over here I am uncomfortable as hell. There’s no good reason to trot around an 8/10 or even 12 to sell clothes to women who are 14/16 and beyond, when you could just model Leanne. Her smile is genuine because this bathing suit made her look and feel good. It’s a great suit. So is mine but my smile is forced and it may or may not have been the right choice for me.

Frankly, it’s the most uncomfortable I’ve ever been. I started off wearing distracting moon boots and a puffer jacket. But as Leanne shed her layers, so did I. I knew mine needed to come off despite how painful it was. I said in our last collab that where I see beauty and natural imperfections on Leanne, I see a lack of discipline, bad mistakes, and ugly on me. But I know that’s not the case. I know that I worked out with my trainer the entire quarantine and into the summer till I was hospitalized. I know that over eating was a poor choice, but it kept me sane and able to support others. I know that I am not ugly. Actually, I am quite vain. So why is posing in this suit so hard? Because it’s not the version of me I want to be.

I am a huge proponent of the idea that working out is as good for your mind and soul as it is for your body. I also think the idea of self love has chipped away a bit at the need to get fit and healthy. It’s not that dieting is good so much as eating healthy is good for you. I hate WW (weight watchers). I hope I have signed up and quit for the last time. They say it’s a lifestyle and that you must do everything in moderation. Who eats only one piece of pizza and doesn’t hate life? People say WW combined with IF (intermittent fasting) is a great combination. In theory that’s true. WW is calorie reduction and IF does reduce calories, but the sheer idea of keeping track of every last thing you eat makes food the enemy. Which in turn makes you hate yourself, partially because you’re hungry, because WW encouraged you to drink diet coke and eat nothing but grapes. But partially because you screw up over and over again. I like how the MyFitnessPal app, which counts calories, lets you make up four slices of pizzas by going on an hour run. I love the idea of balance. WW Fit Points just make you feel guilty you ate so much pizza. But whether you're counting calories or points, your life is all about food, and not in the good way. There has to be more to life if you're going to actually enjoy it.

The balance between pizza and running is similar to the balance between needing to love yourself for what you look like while also needing to get healthier. Two pieces of pizza and a half hour run, is a better balance to be sure. I’d argue that IF can make that difference happen more painlessly, but it’s not for everyone. But there’s more balance I need and that’s the balance between being frustrated with three days a week of workouts not being enough on my 38 ½ year old body, my love of pizza, and loving my body. I said before, that Target traps me by showing me the dress on a size 6. That 6 is only one size away. I’ll buy it and in no time it will fit, right? Wrong, it won’t be no time, it’s taking more time than it ever has before. In the short run I have to take off the coat. I have to be ok with what’s underneath. Leanne did it, so can I.

Instagram has created this new pocket universe where everyone is beautiful and perfect. "Influencers" are young, thin, and all have perfect hair extensions that they fly to Arizona to get. The Recruiter Mom's blog exploded in a year because she's a 12 but still beautiful, with perfect hair and what seems like on the surface a perfect life. I highly doubt Raynne wakes up looking like that or that she doesn't struggle with the same work/life balance we all do. But likely her brand manager is saying don't show it.

But that's not me. Here is my morning routine that helps me achieve “I’m no longer asleep” status. I'm so messy and EVERYONE knows it. April doesn't think I should hide it because there are more people out there like me then there are like the influencers. My brand is as messy as I am. Leanne pushed me outside my box to take these photos. But it was my choice to post them, ok with pushing from April and Leanne, on my blog. Being authentic matters to me, no matter how much the world tells me it shouldn't.

I want my brand to be about what I love and I love travel, booze, fashion, and fitness/healthy living/lifestyle. You're going to get it all, all of me. The good, the bad, the sad, the cellulite. If you buy into my brand what are you getting? A woman who doesn’t know her lane. A woman who doesn’t fit the mold. A middle aged woman with a covid weight and hair dye problem. A woman who can’t decide if she wants to be Anna Della Russo or Emannuelle Alt. A woman who loves Disney World and Paris, but never Disneyland Paris. A woman who loves tabatas and four pieces of pizza. A woman who likes Napa Cab and Gose beer. A woman who used to dress her dog in petticoats and now has a tomboy for a daughter. A woman who wears her heart on her sleeve, or in this case, the cellulite on her thighs. Take it or leave it. This is me.

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