"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm."

--Winston Churchill

Friday, November 4, 2011

What Makes a Woman?

Okay, I’m not going to start this post by explaining why it has been ages since I’ve posted a single word on my blog, or a single photo for that matter. Well, I just did, but let me jump into the title of this post. I have realized something about myself as of late that many girls/women may relate to. I am not yet a woman. Sure I’m twenty-four and have graduated from college and gone through some significant ups and downs that have shaped me into who I am today, but in no way do I feel like a woman who has come into my own. I immediately refer to myself as a girl out loud and to myself and almost laugh at the idea of ever considering myself one. Why is this the case? What is it that makes a woman feel like a woman? Recently, I had coffee with a friend who has just gone through a major life transformation since attending a weekend retreat an awesome church. Her whole countenance has completely changed in a good way and she lights up when she talks about her new passion for the Lord. She told me that at the retreat she became a woman. That got me thinking, though she is younger me, I still have yet to feel that way. In no way do I feel like a woman yet. For my friend, it was a revelation experience at a church, for others it may be getting their dream career or getting married. It’s different for every girl. For me, part of my transformation will have to be when I finally accept myself and embrace who I am completely, instead of just part of myself and when I fully accept my body at its healthiest. I’m tired of battling within myself on a daily basis who I am going to be that day. Some days I’m the painfully quiet girl who keeps to herself and goes about her day like a robot till she comes home at night and unwinds alone. Other days I’ll be the friendly, more confident girl who’s feeling social and up for a fun experience that keeps her up till late. Some days I leave the house feeling pretty and stylish and more comfortable in my skin. Other days I feel so gross and disgusting I almost pity the people who have to look at me. I know we all go through different moods, but for me it isn’t just my mood. It’s how I feel about myself that day that determines how confident I am. I envy the bubbly, outgoing girls that light up a room the second they walk in and can make even the most awkward person feel at ease. Those are generally the girls who look great every time I see them because they have learned to love themselves for how they were created and have learned to work what they got. They have a certain aura about them that signals to everyone in the room that they have embraced themselves for who they are, flaws and all, and are ready to take on the world. These are true women, and what I hope to become one day in the not so distant future.


Mindy Kailing, producer of and actress in The Office and author of the new hilarious read, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? is a perfect example of a woman who has learned to accept and love who she is. This particular excerpt stood out to me in her book and yesterday appeared on Glamour’s blog. I’m glad I’m not the only one who got something out of it.

“Since I am not model-skinny, but also not super-fat and fabulously owning my hugeness, I fall into that nebulous, “Normal American Woman Size” that legions of fashion stylists detest. For the record, I’m a size 8 (this week, anyway). Many stylists hate that size because, I think, to them, I lack the self-discipline to be an aesthetic, or the sassy, confidence to be a total fatty hedonist. They’re like ‘Pick a lane.’”

I find it so frustrating that our society basically makes real women with real and healthy bodies feel like they need to be one extreme or the other in terms of weight. The modeling industry is especially bad with this and only offers two lanes for those who want to model; the “plus size” and anorexicly thin. As Mindy says above, stylists in Hollywood usually abhor this “Normal American Woman Size.” Have we not seen the many statues created by the master artists hundreds of years ago where the female form at its most beautiful was represented? Take for example this statue of Venus (below). The woman who modeled for her would probably be considered “fat” in the modeling world and would also be hated by these elite stylists for being “normal” size. I’m sorry, since when is it unacceptable to be healthy and beautiful at the same time? Back in the days of when art was at its prime, women were celebrated for their bodies. Sadly, now we are so consumed with everything our culture shows us and tells us that we forget that hundreds of years ago, women let themselves be women and didn’t squeeze their intestines into faint-inducing corsets or felt like passing out at the gym for working themselves too hard. These women let their bodies become what they were naturally supposed to be and looked beautiful as they aged naturally. I’m not saying that real women only existed in the past and I am aware that I have gone a little off course, but I am saying that I have noticed it has gotten progressively harder for women to feel like women because of outward and inward insecurity.


Though several months ago I wrote for a wonderful site called the Good Woman Project, I don’t feel that I can include myself among these women yet. I’m not saying this to complain or sound pathetic, but instead to remind those of you who still feel like girls that you’re not alone. We are late bloomers but we will bloom. A friend of mine gave me several verses on beauty after one of my dark days recently that I feel perfectly sums up this post.

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day." --2 Corinthians 4:16

Girls, beauty is fleeting. Remind yourselves of that as I have to remind myself constantly. True beauty comes from within. Our lives are but a blip. Do you really want most of it spent fretting about how people see you and what they think of you? None of that matters as long as we’re true to ourselves and are being renewed daily. Let’s try to see ourselves through God’s eyes and become true women through Him.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Not So Much a Fairy Tale: A Shrinking Princess


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Like many romantic and fashion obsessed women in America, I was eagerly anticipating photos from Prince William and Princess Kate's recent trip to the US and Canada. But when I saw the first startling photo of the new Princess (or Duchess...I get confused) wearing a stunning belted Alexander McQueen lilac gown accenting her ultra-thin waist I was stunned and immediately saddened. The princess has obviously dropped a significant amount of weight since her royal engagement and post wedding, it has become an issue of public concern. Already slender and fit, Princess Kate didn't need to lose an ounce of weight to begin with. After looking through photo after photo of the princess looking gaunt and unhealthy in her array of fashionable ensembles, I can't help being reminded of Princess Diana's similar ordeal after marrying Prince Charles. I don't know if I've mentioned yet my phase of Diana obsession in my youth, but I may as well come clean now. I became ridiculously intrigued with the princess after her death in '97 and collected everything associated with her. You name it, I had it. Anyway, you get the picture. I remember the first biography I ever read was one on her and when I read that the Princess battled bulimia, I remember asking my mom what it was. Princess Diana was how I first learned about eating disorders and I remember being so perplexed and sad about it. Why would someone throw up after they ate? Apparently, the princess's battle with bulimia began after her insensitive husband told her she was "chubby." Between that hurtful comment and becoming the most photographed woman in the world, I can't imagine the immense pressure she felt. After all, she was the people's princess and a fashion icon and was basically never out of the spotlight. Now, Princess Kate has taken her place in the public eye and I am saddened to see that she has already succumbed to the pressure her late mother-in-law battled on a daily basis. Princess Di actually advocated for those suffering with eating disorders later on and made a speech on it. The video below is where you can watch it but you'll have to fast forward through the first couple speeches.

Altogether I feel that unlike Princess Diana's battle with bulimia, Princess Kate's situation may be less conscious and more from her recent hectic post wedding schedule and increased stress. She seems to have a supportive and encouraging husband who would never repeat his father's mistakes and make a nasty comment on her weight. However, I hope we as a society don't accept her unhealthy weight as the new norm and brush it under the rug. According to doctors and therapists, Princess Diana's secret battle with bulimia has actually lead to a greater public awareness of the disorder, including my own. If anything, I hope that Princess Kate uses her place in society to continue Princess Diana's fight against the disease, even if she is battling it herself. Maybe once all this post-wedding whirlwind is over, the new princess will gain it all back. But what her and her late mother in law prove is that being a princess in this day and age isn't exactly the fairy tale it seems.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Put a Smile on My Face


Here are some things (including bubbles) that have made me smile since I saw you last...


1.) Beautiful Portland weddings filled with more romance than I've ever beheld at a wedding. 2.) Delicious specially ordered salads at Kaleidoscope Pizza where I've become a regular.

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1.) Celebrating one of my best friend's 21st birthday with her and realizing we've been friends for 7 years. We're growing up! 2.) Taking a moment to read and eat chocolate simultaneously. Two of my favorite activities!


1.) Going to the final Harry Potter midnight showing with a friend who just may be Harry's number one fan and beholding the bevy of HP freaks and geeks throughout the evening. 2.) Sister bonding time on our Portland trip.

What has put a smile on your face lately?

Monday, June 20, 2011

"Mommy, Am I Fat?"

The title of this post is something I never want to hear my daughter ask me, especially at an age as young as three. Last week, when I was shopping in the shoe section at Target, I overheard a little girl no older than four tell her dad that she feels fat. I was disgusted, heartbroken, and shocked. I'm sure the girl hardly knew what it meant but it only proved how easily children pick up on what they hear people say. I can't even imagine having a poor body image at that age. It would be a piece of your childhood being taken away. I hate to say that I actually forgot about that until this feature titled, "Mommy, Am I Fat?" came on Good Morning America this morning about girls as young as three years old fretting about body image. According to the feature, more and more young girls are being teased at school because of their weight and are therefore being made more aware of it. It is also apparent that many of these little girls are picking up on what they hear their moms or teachers saying about their weight and dieting. The lesson here to me is to make sure we never verbalize any sort of body image issues in front of kids. I think that people don't often realize how much children pick up on and actually apply to themselves. Even if you're not bringing yourself down around them but talking about dieting or another person's body, it plants a seed in the child's mind that could lead to a lifetime of body image struggles. Our society's pressures are hard enough. Let's not add more on top of that.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Other Slice




{skirt: H&M; top: Xhileration for Target; belt: H&M; tights: Target; shoes: Payless}

Did you guys miss my face or what? I honestly think I just get tired of myself sometimes and as much as I love fashion and looking at other bloggers' outfit posts, I don't always feel like sharing my daily look with the blogesphere. Call it laziness, insecurity--anything you want but there you have it. So I've been pondering, what can I do with my blog to help me grow as a person? I want it to be about the little and the large things at the same time. So I thought I'd start by acknowledging my proud moments when they occur, whether big or small (and most of the time they are the latter). Most of these proud moments won't make any sense to those who haven't struggled with an eating disorder or who simply aren't an incredibly awkward dork like me. Today's proud moment (other than being published on Good Women Project of course): Making a sandwich for dinner. I warned ya, a lot of my proud moments won't be that exciting to most of you but simply making a sandwich was big for me. Let me tell you why. Carbs had been my enemy since before my eating disorder really started. They were the first thing I cut out of my diet when I wanted to drop some pounds and from then on I had avoided them like the plague. The only grain-like substance I would ever allow myself were plain rice cakes which as we all know is like eating air. So, even though I now allow myself a healthy dosage of mostly gluten free carbs, I still have a hard time eating a full sandwich as opposed to a face up sandwich. This is just leftover eating disorder mindset that bread is bad (even though I would have ended up snacking on crackers or something later to make up for that missing slice). So instead of piling my toppings on a single slice of bread as I usually do, tonight I decided to take that extra step and give myself the other slice that actually makes it a sandwich. Let me tell ya (as if you didn't already know but please, indulge me), not only does it make everything a lot easier and less messy, but it was just simply delicious. Now I remember why people add the other slice. It just completes the whole meal. I savored every bite as if I were eating a sandwich for the first time. Most of the time I relish these little accomplishments to myself but then I realized I don't have to. I can share them with you guys! For me, it's often the simple every day things that most people wouldn't think twice about that when I accomplish, make my day. I guess that's the good thing about being in recovery. You learn to appreciate the simple things. Who would have thought that eating a sandwich would be so exciting? I bet you didn't.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Good Woman Redefined


Okay, I know that once again it's been a while since I've been active on here and I plan on kicking things back into gear soon. My life has been pretty crazy lately but no more excuses. In the meantime I have some pretty exciting news to share. Wait for it...I wrote a guest post for The Good Woman Project! If you haven't seen this site already, you have to check it out pronto. I just love Lauren's idea behind it and what she is doing to change the way we look at the good woman. I've been noticing that even in the church it's becoming less and less "cool" to be the good woman that stands firm in her beliefs and values which is deeply concerning to me. Lauren's goal is to bring back what it means to be a good woman and redefine it whether you're married, single, or struggling with poor body image as is this month's topic. I was honored to guest post for her site and even more honored that she let me split it up into two parts so that I can share my full story. Read the first part today and come back tomorrow for part two!