I Hereby Submit My Resignation as Advocate for Plus-Sized Women

Maybe you were feeling ok today, even great— but then some passive aggressive asshole came up to you and hits you with the “Are you ok? You look tired,” or “Oh, what’s wrong with you?” Please do not feed into this foolishness! Backhanded concern and commentary is something subtle and nasty that women do to each other and this is not ok. By the same token, I think this is what society is constantly doing to plus sized women in an oh so subtle way.

You Look Plus-Sized Today

Me: “Cute skirt, I love it”

Stranger: “Thanks, I got it from *insert basic store here*. They probably have it in your size too.”

Holy shade points, batman! I didn’t ask for all of those details and it didn’t even occur to me to worry about whether my size was available for sale or not—I literally just meant “nice skirt”. Somehow, it is perfectly fine for women to speak to each other this way, but I don’t think I’m with it anymore. Going to the gym and wanting weight loss as a personal goal doesn’t mean self-esteem is lacking and certainly does not mean that I need anyone to remind me of or put me in my place about my size. I hate to be a skeptic but I just seriously doubt she would have bothered to provide the same helpful information to someone two sizes smaller than her.

Pushing aside the fact that anyone from a size 12 to a size 30 is considered plus size, is there really a need for women to bother categorizing ourselves in this way? I can’t say that I haven’t been guilty of it myself; emphasizing self-love for plus-sized women on social media and constantly drilling into my boyfriend’s head that he is dating a larger woman (though he could care less about descriptive terminology—he just likes ME). As a tall man with long limbs and big feet he actually identifies with my shopping struggles in the “other size clothing section” but when it comes to women, it seems we are the only ones that make size into such a big fucking deal. Is embracing yourself as a bigger woman really all that positive or is it completely unnecessary?

Urban dictionary

Damn, Urban Dictionary, that’s how you feel?!

Furthermore, these days it’s cute to say you have a thing for BBWs but according to the actual definition you would be talking about Amber Riley from Glee, not the ever so tiny Nickie Minaj and her artificial parts. (i.e. Urban dictionary’s flattering definition: A word that fat chicks use as a euphemism for fat. These girls usually run personal ads calling themselves “pleasingly plump.” Sure, you’re pleasingly plump if the South Pole is refreshingly chilly.)

Precious or Deelishis

Precious or Deelishis? You can decide which is your version of BBW OR stop using the term altogether

It Starts with Self Love—How do YOU define you?
I came across a Facebook article about a woman who cheerfully referred to herself as fat because skinny people refer to themselves as skinny so why can’t she be real about how she labels herself? *Eyeroll* OR how about we find something else that defines who we are besides weight? Ninety percent of the time I’m not thinking of myself as a plus-sized woman until I’m shopping for clothes on the internet and type in “plus sized clothing” or when I’m in casual conversation with someone and they say “We, as bigger women…” Perhaps I’m being petty but I no longer wish to relate to women on that level. Mainly because as I move closer toward self- actualization I believe there is more to who I am than the size of my clothes. Secondly, I am starting to feel it’s a terminology that has picked up momentum outside of the fashion world and evolved into a more negative stigma than it was intended to be in the first place.  It has become one of those undercover malicious descriptions that women use to throw shade at each other or to create a misery loves company-esque solidarity group.  “We are generally unpleasing to society because of our size but we are still cute.”  Bitch, I’m just cute—sometimes you have to pat your ownself on the back! I am a lot of things; I no longer wish for size to be atop the list of adjectives that define me. The women who know they look good and are naked on social media just hashtag #BadBitch, they don’t have to also include #plussizedbeauty  #fattygirl  or #biggirlshavemorefun—let’s all just have fun minus the disclaimers about weight.

Love Your Curves

Don’t talk about it, be about it!

I follow beautiful women on Instagram who market themselves as “curvy”. I’m pretty sure they’re models because they are so gorgeous and there are plenty of posts of them in high fashion clothing. However, every #ThrowbackThursday a few start posting old  pictures and lamenting about when they were thinner. Is you proud of who you is or nah? Why is “plus-sized” marketed as an in spite of attribute?  You can be a model in spite of your weight. She’s pretty in spite of her size. It has become the most gratuitous battle cry “I AM OVER A SIZE 12 AND I LOVE MYSELF!” as if the two are mutually exclusive. (Just today, Facebook presented me with a “memory” selfie from 4 years ago when I was about 40 pounds lighter. I wanted to badly to repost but then again– I was super unhappy 4 years ago. I don’t care if I was smaller, I don’t own the unhappiness that went along with that memory…)

Weight becomes an issue when we allow people to make it an issue. Recently, I’ve not only done that but have allowed myself to become completely consumed by it. I also follow a larger woman on IG that posts pictures of herself scantily clad to fight the stigma and to end body shaming.  That makes sense to me, but if you really and truly just want to be naked and free…do it, post it and don’t hide it under the guise of something else. I did a whole blog post about my Plus Sized Fun vacation and it gave me the security blanket of finally posting pictures of myself in two piece swimsuits and summer clothing. The blog post had its place but if I were to rewrite it today I would probably just title it “Vacation” and not make a big deal out of my body type being so different from the women around me—especially since no one seemed to really notice or care. I don’t have to define myself as a larger woman as a preemptive strike to combat others visual impressions of me.

Bitch Where?

For the women who continue to fight for the cause; more power to you. Personally, I see continuing to go out of my way to always reference myself as plus-sized is nothing more than a defense mechanism and a term that I no longer wish to use as a crutch. Plus what? I’m not an extra person I am THE person living in this body.

We are prone to live our lives out loud these days. I am a proud transgender, I am a devout Muslim, I am a devoted single father, I am a beautiful big girl—at this point I am most interested in simplifying. I am just a person trying to make it through this life happy with who I am inside and out. I no longer have a desire to shout it through the rooftops to prove to everyone else that I am ok with me. Hmm, plus-sized? Bitch where?

Inspiration

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The Blacker the Berry

TBTBThe rains came pouring down in Virginia yesterday. This happened just before I left work. I ran all the way to the metro only barely managing to keep from getting soaked.

I emerged on the Maryland end of my commute greeted by the sun and humidity. It had rained there too, just not nearly as much as it had in Virginia. As I walked to my bus terminal a sparkle caught my eye– something glistening and shiny like an expensive, shimmery jewel. I look up to see just an ordinary black man, lanky in his white t-shirt and jeans, his long dreaded hair pulled back at the nape of his neck. My eyes move to his face and I actually felt my breath quicken and my heart begin to beat faster.

I don’t know what it is, but lately I find myself so enamored with dark skin. It is absolutely gorgeous to look at, and to see a cluster of raindrops reflecting the sun off of his face and forearms gave him the ethereal appeal of an angel come down to Earth. Staring would have been impolite so I politely averted my eyes but it took a lot of concentrated effort to keep away from the sight. I fought the urge to walk up to him, gaping in awe and telling him just how beautiful he was.

I have a dark skinned man at home that I am sure to tell almost everyday how much I love his pretty, pretty skin. I’ve dated maybe 4 or 5 dark skinned men, and couldn’t help but notice that all of them had been treated a certain way all their lives because of it. They make self deprecating jokes about not wanting to get darker in the sun, about being “black enough already” etc. Finally, I took a stand against it and I refused to listen to insecurities about skin tone escaping from full chocolate lips in what was an obvious defense mechanism. Beauty stands proud and alone, it needs no defense.

A dark chocolate male friend of mine came to me and said, “Wow, I saw a picture of your boyfriend– he’s blacker than me!”  Automatically I beamed back at him and replied, “Yes, isn’t he gorgeous?!” I cup his handsome face in my hands, kiss his high cheekbones and tell him so as often as I can. There’s so much going on in the world I can’t bring myself to even write out the extent of my emotions in response to the racial tensions in America and the Black Lives Matter movement. At this point I really just feel moved to savor my identity and to celebrate what others can’t seem to understand or grasp.
I read books and watch programs… see and hear the descriptions of olive skin, porcelain complexions and red tinged lips… no one speaks much about the phenomenon of black skin. Every black man I’ve met and had the pleasure of exploring has been composed of various complicated shades of brown– to the amount of cream in their coffee eyes, the hint of coppery brown in their beards, the tender pinkish brown underneath fingernails and toes, the light tracing of chestnut brown in the lines of their palms…I could go on all day.
I celebrate the very thing that is used against us, to profile us and to make us feel inferior. The same world that makes assumptions about our culture, generalizes us and treat us like animals and stereotype us as heathen can’t deny the unique beauty that lies within our color. And if they can– they are truly missing out.

Undive/Middle River: Salvador Dali Tribute

Happy Birthday to my favorite artist, Salvador Dali!

To honor and celebrate this day, each year I try to collaborate with my best friend (another favorite artist and painter) Traci, and I’m really excited about our plans this time around!

Tune into the blog all this week as we combine the world of creative writing with modern art, as I’ll be sharing poetry and writing pieces to go along with her visuals. I feel honored to be involved in this collaboration. Traci is an up and coming artist who produces bold works that never cease to pull at my heart strings and inspire me to be better, work harder and feel all the things. Please please follow her blog: A Purple Paintbrush, and visit her website www.tracilturner.com to view and purchase more of her works.

Undive

Undive ~ Traci L. Turner

I swim, to the middle of your river and
Stop
Let me drown
In my own expectations and frivolities– all the lies you’ve said to me
The scent of you all over me
Washed in these waters; I can’t get clean
Or rid of the stink of reality
If the illusion of truth lies on the surface
I choose to sink
Never to emerge from underneath
Too broken and damaged
Irrevocably

Nutrisystem Diaries – 3.18

*This is not going to be a daily thing…I promise*
I don’t feel like I’m getting any smaller and it’s bumming me out a little. I’m supposed to lose like 5 pounds in the first week– and I translate that to mean that I should bust the two piece out of the closet. And people keep saying, “Well, if you’re working out, you might gain before you lose.” That’s ass backward– I wanna LOSE before I lose HENCE WORKING OUT AND BEING ON THIS STUPID DIET! (Or “lifestyle change” is probably what I’m supposed to call it…)
So, the good thing about Nutrisystem is that you do get to eat all day. My obsession/love affair with food doesn’t have to come to a complete end. So my schedule looks a bit like this:
9am – Breakfast
11am – Snack
1pm – Lunch
3pm – Snack
6 or 7 – Dinner
In theory this sounds awesome, but yesterday my 3pm snack alarm went off and I remember thinking to myself, “Really? I just fucking ate!”  Maybe the angle is to make you eat so often that you just get tired of food in general and it becomes something you have to do to survive and not the highlight of your life (as it used to be!)  I should really hold off on bragging about it though until I start to see some pounds dropping. Tomorrow will be a week…
Swimsuit

Two piece swimsuit goals (Forever 21–b/c budget)

Instagram Pretty

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Going through some things and scrolling through social media is NOT helping. Why is everyone on everything every where just so fucking hot? Am I the only one that has to take like 40 selfies with specific lighting before I find one that’s just kind of decent enough for me to dare posting?

Maybe I need to hire a make up artist that does contouring,  or quit the open mic stuff and do the introverted writer thing full time. I don’t know,  I’m still mulling it over.  I think the last time I tried to send a sexy pic to my man I ended up using a filter so dark I’m sure he could barely make out my facial features. Anyway, it’s definitely not a good time in the world to have low self esteem because the hot bitch cup runneth over. Advice for the regular ass looking chicks out there? Flaunt your personality like a big booty ho and no one will even notice the difference. Worth it once you learn to perfect it…but still haven’t figured out how to capture all that personality in a Facebook profile pic.

Plus-sized Fun! Embrace the Crazy Vacation

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After chillin on the nude beaches of Lake Tahoe beach day with the kids was a piece of cake.

A few weeks ago I looked over the shoulder of one of my guy friends watching as he used his phone to lurk on the social media pages of pretty girls. One women was gorgeous in the face but as we scrolled through her Instagram page it became obvious that we weren’t going to find any full shots of her body (obviously much more his concern than mine). “Oh, you know what that means?  She’s a plus-sized woman.” He said matter of factly.

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Needless to say, this bothered me and thus the idea to exploit myself during my own vacation was born. I knew that I was finally going to visit some friends in a warm climate where I couldn’t avoid the ugly truth of hot weather clothes and bathing suits. On top of this, these friends had less than a year ago won a fitness contest and have nearly perfect bodies so there was a considerable amount of anxiety and body self-consciousness starting to creep up in the back of my mind. How had I gotten myself into this one?

Based on the way I dress and the sometimes outrageous way I carry myself, most people assume that I have confidence leaking out of my pores. The absolute truth– obvious if you read the blog– is that I’m the largest I’ve ever been in my entire life (size 14/16) and definitely not happy about it. Shit,  I wasn’t happy when I was at my smallest because compared to all those other compact women with the shapely booties I was still missing the mark and I felt it. It was only recently that I adapted the attitude that it’s important for me to always aspire to reach my weight goals but in the meantime there is nothing wrong with learning to appreciate and present my body for what it is. So in the spirit of my newfound philosophy,  she who does not take pictures (my tribal name) decided to stop being so self conscious for once and go out there and live without comparing myself to other women for once. The end result: I had a blast!

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Hanging out at the Jurassic 5 show. I danced sooo much and for once wasn't shy or self-conscious about taking pictures

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On top of being hyper aware of my body I lost my entire makeup bag and had to deal w wearing the bare minimum. Not gonna lie I felt super exposed without my layers

I received a lot of support posting some of these random pics on social media and I was glad. Aside from the flattering feeling it brings when people “like” your posts and show you their approval–my main reason for doing this is because I never would have in the past. I found vacation pictures from years ago and I flipped through each image lamenting the fact that I looked so fat and ugly. This time around I just wanted to be able to look through my old pictures and remember that I had an awesome time.

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The beautiful and peaceful Lake Tahoe

Something about living carefree and even spending time on the nude beaches of Lake Tahoe taught me that life is about enjoying each moment and not being so fixated on the thoughts of others. My body is far from perfect and I find that society is usually receptive to body types that are smaller thus more pleasing to the eyesight but until I get to the size I want to be it certainly doesn’t mean I have to cover up like a nun and be ashamed. I can only hope that one other person sees this and identifies with my common struggle. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I definitely feel that I should be among the people that holds myself in high regard no matter what size I wear and if I’m wearing makeup or not. There are enough people in this world to tear me down over shallow matters– I refuse to join them.

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My last night of dancing

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Hanging w the gorgeous fitness girls. We had so much fun I was able to forget about my size anxiety and focus on goofing off and enjoying myself

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Fin