Bathing Suit Anxiety – Body Talk

bikini
What can I say about learning to love your body that hasn’t been said before? We all know that numbers shouldn’t mean a thing. That self-deprecating and depriving yourself of food only leads to stuffing your face in front of the TV. That the media is bad. That being healthy is more important than being skinny. We get it. 

But do we remember it when me most need to?

Next week I leave for a week-long vacation at a Jamaican resort with my entire family. Excited doesn’t begin to explain what I’m feeling inside. The beach is my happy place.

Yet, here I am again, close to tears, as I try on my various bathing suits. A wave of rage and hate rolls over me as I scrutinize every inch of cellulite, every stretch mark, and every extra inch of fat that hangs over the thin layers of spandex. 

I’ve come a long way since I was the 22-year-old girl who ate under 500 calories a day, glued herself to the treadmill for hours and thought maybe she might be worthy of a happy life if I was just 115 pounds.

In the past 10 years I’ve grown out of my need to achieve the “perfect” body. I found happiness in my 150 pounds, in life and in love and matured. 

But then why does that starving girl take over my body while I’m in the dressing room of Old Navy, pinching at my hips and thighs and telling myself I look disgusting? She makes me feel like the girl writhing on the couch in pain on Sunday morning, complaining of the worst hangover ever and exclaiming, “I will never drink again!”. Yes you will. 

No matter how many inspirational quotes on body image and self-love that we pin on Pinterest, no matter how strong and muscular we make our bodies, no matter how often we flaunt about self confidently, that self-doubt always finds a way to creep back in.

I fill my head with these thoughts because when I’m trying on bathing suits I picture the perfect woman lounging on the perfect beach.

You’ve seen her too. she’s in every single advertisement, commercial, magazine, weight loss article, celebrity gossip magazine. She’s ingrained in our brain since childhood, haunting us, telling us, ” I have it all! men want me, women was to be like me. I rule everything and I’m so happy!”

Lies. Deep down we know she’s lying to us, right?

She’s not happy. Being happy means that you must feel. And she can’t feel because she’s merely an object to be admired. A pretty little thing for us all to gawk at and admire. Her toned legs and perky breasts are no different from a sand sculpture on the beach. 

No one looks like her on the beach. The beach is messy. If she were real, she’d be smothered in greasy spf 50 sun tan lotion, with sand lodged in places unmentionable. The wind and salty air will have created a rat’s nest of her hair. (Seriously have you ever seen “mermaid curls” on the actual beach?) She’d be bored out of her mind trying to sit and look pretty, missing out on all the fun. 

By comparing ourselves to her we are participating in self objectification.

We are viewing ourselves as objects, making it impossible for us to be anything but. We are socialized to think we will always be less than if we are not perfect. Perfect isn’t for humans. 

You know what makes me feel beautiful at the beach? Playing in the waves, body surfing, sailing, getting lost in a good beach read, acting silly with my husband at the swim up bar, running on the beach. This is what makes me beautiful.

Yet  those thoughts never cross my mind while staring at my reflection in the dressing room back at home.

While trying on your bathing suit, focus on all the fun you will be having in it, rather than what your reflection is telling you. Step away from the mirrors and reflect on your memories and hopes of adventure instead. 

I always stress before a vacation but once I’m on vacation I’m having way too much fun to be bothered about the way I look in my bathing suit.
 
So I must limit the time of scrutinizing of myself. I’m not an object to be studied. I should stop the examination after I discover a suit has a nice pattern or color, covers the pieces I want covered and will stay put while I’m swimming and running. I must stop treating my body in a bikini like an object and more like a vessel for allowing me to have fun. 
 
I don’t want to bring home memories of regret of sitting in my beach chair agonizing over my stretch marks and fat rolls. 
I want to remember how good those multiple desserts at the buffet tasted and the endless frozen drinks cooled me down. I want to remember acting like kids again in the ocean with my siblings and husband and the the way my husband looked at me over cocktails.
 
I want to remember the way the sun and the ocean air and the fun with my loved ones made me feel simply beautiful.  
 
Mr. Thomas & Me

Being Critical is Exhausting, Cheers not Jeers

supportive hand holding

We women can sure be mean to each other. Mean girls don’t die out after high school (and hey happy 10th Anniversary Mean Girls!). Don’t lie, we’ve all done it. The cocktail infused gossip fest that starts with one little dig and then escalates and escalates until it seems like you and your girlfriends are ruthless dictators cackling your heads off at the expense of another woman (sometimes even another friend! gasp!)  

Last week when I was driving home after such a gabfest I couldn’t help but think, what was the point of that? What part of that conversation lifted us up or made our hearts sing? Did we learn anything new about each other or ourselves? 

I tend to be a positive person, constantly reminding myself and other to “find the positive” and to “choose happiness”.  I know I annoy Ryan sometimes because I can hear him right now saying, “Sometimes I just want to be negative and be upset!” And that’s the problem, isn’t? Misery loves company. Negativity is like a fatal virus, it just takes one tiny comment for an outbreak to spread. Pretty soon we’re spewing out negative comments because that’s what everyone else is doing. Well, like The Lion King taught us, life is one big circle, and pretty soon that negativity is going to be coming right back to you. 

We need to stop tearing each other down and instead start lifting each other up. Sit back and think about all the time and energy you spend on hating on other women, whether you’re jealous, being critical, or simply tearing another woman down. Now, picture if you used all of that time and energy to lift up other women. Ladies, we hold the precious power to build a community of strong-minded and bold loving women. Yet, we’d rather isolate ourselves. 

Take yourself back to the last time someone gave you a positive compliment, comment, or gesture. Didn’t it just make your day? Pass it on!  We all want empowerment. Together, we need to build it. Together we can be resilient. Imagine what we could accomplish if we were all full of positive encouragement everyday. 

As bloggers we have the opportunity to build a community and to inspire with words. Last week I took part in Ashten and Amber’s Happy Hour Hangout and had the opportunity to meet a lovely group of women including the all around beautiful and inspiring Casey from Aslan’s Auspicious Albany Adventure does a weekly link up called Jeers not Cheers that asks bloggers to spread the love and encouragement by sharing their recent favorite bloggers and blog posts. Love it! 

Cheers not Jeers
Today I wanted to share with you some of the recent posts that I wanted to pass on to others because they either touched my heart, inspired me, or made me laugh. 

Emily from Ember Grey inspired us all to Just Do You. The blogging community can be a weird place, I find myself constantly doubting what I’m writing and sharing and if I should be doing it at all. Emily reminds us to follow your own heart and write for yourself, in the end your true self will shine through. 

Erika from All Things E is a beautiful writer that always seems to be living inside of my head! Last week she wrote, Love Thy Neighborhood about how loving where you live can have a huge effect on your happiness. I’m currently in the works of writing about how I fell in love with my current home city, even though I never could ever picture living here. Now it’s home. 

Marquis from Simply Clarke shared one of her favorite marriage lessons in 1 Question to Ask Your Husband Every Day. Her words reminded me that we need to pay more attention to the day-to-day interactions of our marriage, even if you are A+ communicators, small feelings or needs can easily fall through the cracks. Sometimes people need reminders that you are there for them, all the time. 

Sara from Life as a Hughes shared her post I’m Not A Fashionista or a Foodie, humorously writing about how she doesn’t necessarily fit the description of a typical blogger. This spoke to my heart as I believe there are zero rules to living life, except those your write for yourself. Life can so easily put us in boxes. Sara shared the fact that she’s just going to keep doing her thing and won’t try to fit into a trendy mold. 

Spread the love people! Please comment below and share any women that are inspiring you lately! 

xoxo Katie

Stop Apologizing

icecream

How often this week have you found yourself apologizing for your behavior? How many times have you said the words “I’m sorry“? (and I”m not referring to when it was in response to bumping into someone, making a mistake at work or at home, or after a fight with a partner or friend).

I can count at least 16 times.

I apologized for not doing my hair. I apologized for not taking down my Christmas decorations yet. I apologized for wanting to get a fattening appetizer AND an entrée at dinner. I apologized for wanting to talk about something that I’m excited about for longer than 4 minutes. I apologized for wanting to go to bed super early. I apologized for wearing leggings. I apologized for needing to work on some writing on Sunday. I apologized for not being able to hang out with a friend because I had errands to run, laundry to do, and a house to clean. I apologized for having a green smoothie for dinner last night. And many more.

Why am I apologizing for actions that do not harm other people? Why am I apologizing for actions that I enjoy and that make me a happier and healthier woman?

By doing so I’m selling myself short. I’m downplaying my self-worth.

I’m telling the world to not take me seriously.

I’m telling the world that I’m not good enough.

We women live in a judgemental world. Believe me, I can be as judgemental as the rest. The reason for our female to female judgements is an entirely different blog post. But, I think we have a hard time validating our life choices and behaviours because we ourselves are so quick to judge others and in turn we believe others are judging us just as quickly and meanly.

I know I’m afraid of being un liked. But to what degree? To the point that I’m not being my true self? To the point that people will never have the chance to know me? To the point that I’m not giving my self and my life a fighting chance to succeed?

By saying, “I’m sorry, I know you’re tired of hearing about it, but I want to talk about how much I just want to start trying to have a baby again. Just a few minutes okay?” I’m telling my friend that yes, she shouldn’t care about my feelings. That I should be embarrassed to feel like this.

By saying, “Ugh, I know I look a mess today, I just didn’t feel like putting on anything other than leggings and Uggs” I’m telling other women that we should be expected to dress up and look fashionable every single day. That we cannot look beautiful otherwise.

By saying, “I’m sorry, but I have to leave a little early. I would like to write and read a little before going to bed” I’m telling my friends and family that my goals and needs aren’t that important.

When a coworker says, “You look nice today! I really like that dress on you!” and I reply, “Oh, this is what I wear when I’m bloated, it’s just really comfortable” I’m telling them that I don’t deserve a compliment.

I may not always be using the words, “I’m sorry” but I am apologizing for who I am.

It’s time to stop apologizing, to stop being afraid to express who we really are, to stand up for ourselves. 2014 is the year I vowed to respect myself. We deserve to respect ourselves enough, to know that we are enough.

I was inspired to write this blog post after reading this article,written by Brianna Wiest, that has been floating around social media last week. Wiest list 18 things women shouldn’t have to justify.

Below are my favorite 6 things from the article:

Putting themselves first. When Barbara Walters asked Michelle Obama if it were selfish that she openly makes herself her first priority she responded: “No, no, it’s practical…. a lot of times we just slip pretty low on our own priority list because we’re so busy caring for everyone else. And one of the things that I want to model for my girls is investing in themselves as much as they invest in others.”

How little or much they’re eating, especially if it’s “unhealthy.” You can eat a big lunch without having to say “I haven’t eaten anything all day” or have some delicious ass nachos without saying “I totally deserve this, I was so good this week, I’ll start the diet again tomorrow.” More importantly, you shouldn’t have to always be interrogated with “that’s all you’re having?” or “you’re going to eat all that?!”

 Not having baby fever. You aren’t more or less of a woman– or person– if having a child isn’t for you now or ever. You shouldn’t have to back it up with the reasons you’re not maternally inclined but will maybe consider it down the road because “who really knows– maybe someday!” when you do really know that you don’t want kids but don’t want to be glared at like a heartless monster.

Enjoying what would otherwise be called guilty pleasures because they’re “girly” things. They don’t have to be “guilty” pleasures, they can just be pleasures. You can enjoy getting your nails painted and wearing a skirt and re-watching 13 Going On 30 a thousand times without floundering in stereotypes.

Amount of makeup worn on any given day. If you want to rock it au naturale, you do that, you beautiful little thing, and if you want to work it like you’re in a drag show, you can do that too. Your face. Your rules.

Being upset about something that warrants an emotional response. You don’t have to apologize for feeling something or acting out on it if it’s real to you. The people who judge you for being a human being, and not being ultimately demure and emotionless and in your place, are the ones who need to apologize.

 It’s time to stop apologizing for who you are.

So what if I like wearing leggings as pants (Blair Waldorf isn’t going to come and chastise me and ban me from NYC). So what if I could watch teen dramas all day every day, they make me feel all the feelings and that makes me happy. So what if some days I eat super clean while the next I want to eat a giant plate of nachos and that’s it? It’s my body and I’ll face the consequences.

It’s time to own up to your actions and stand confidently in front of your choices and the things that make you happy. Don’t put off your happiness because you are afraid.

Respect your choices and they will respect you in return. Happiness and freedom will follow.

Will you join me?

xoxo Katie

 

 

 

 

Someday I Will…

thoreau dreams

Today I’m linking up with the fun and hilarious Taylor over at The Daily Tay. Her link up discussing all the things that you hope to do “one day” is the perfect follow-up to my A Daily Intent post yesterday. (By the way, today’s daily intent is to stay focused at the task at hand, you can join in on the fun over at twitter!)

The Daily Tay

I’m a big dreamer. I believe that having my heads in the clouds helps my feet continue walking forward on the ground. I’m still turning into the woman I want to be – there are some many things I wish to do and see and accomplish. Some are silly, some are big.  Here’s a little list of what I hope to someday do:

Someday I will wake up on a weekday earlier than 15 minutes before I have to leave. I would like to NOT feel like I’m a refugee rushing around her house collecting all her belongings while a gunman is waiting outside. Perhaps you know, brush my hair and check to make sure I got the drool washed off my face. (some days are that bad, I work alone most of the time, so don’t worry).

Someday I will not care so much about what others think of me.

Someday I will fill up my gas tank before it is on empty. Every damn time.

Someday I will learn how to properly meal plan and make an accurate grocery list, and not end up at the grocery store every other day.  Also to stick to the list so I don’t end up with mostly random things in my cart.

Someday I will live in a house on the beach.

Someday I will learn how to properly apply make up other than eye make up. I never wear foundation or concealer and never learned how to.

Someday I will write my book. My character is getting tired of waiting.

Someday I will travel to Greece. To France. To Africa, To Spain.

Someday I will learn to control my anxiety and not feel like I’m about to have a heart attack in certain situations.

Someday I will print out all my photos on my computer. Years of photos.

Someday I will be that super healthy woman – not this 50/50 one that eats pretty healthy but then stuffs herself with ice cream sundaes and Chex Mix.

Someday I’ll have a beautiful wrap around porch perfect for wine sipping, reading, and gossip.

Someday I will have my dream job and be amazing at it.

I would love to hear some of your “Someday I will…” items. Share below or link up with The Daily Tay!

xoxo katie

The Daily Tay

What’s in a Name?

hello my name isWell, last Friday I finally did the ole’ official name change. It only took me three months since my wedding… this was a hard process.  I remained undecided about changing my name until about 2 weeks before the big day. After months of flip-flopping, something in my gut just told me I needed to take Ryan’s last name. Then, why do you ask did it take me another 3 months to actually get the job done? 90% because I was avoiding the pain of wasting half a day going to the DMV and Social Security and 10% because I was still wary about saying goodbye to Katie Walsh and hello to Katie MacDonald. I still look at that name and think, “Who is that?”

When I was a little girl I would doodle my name with all my crushes for fun. Katie DiCaprio was my favorite of course. It was fun to picture yourself as someone else – another way to play pretend. But I’m not a little girl anymore. I’m a woman who has grown into her identity and that identity includes my name. I spent my twenties building the foundation of who I am – personally and professionally.

It took years to really get to know myself as Katie Walsh and now I was expected to say goodbye to a piece of her? It may seem selfish – the feeling that I’m giving up a little piece of who I am, where I came from, my childhood. Ryan said he understood and would be okay with whatever decision I made (even though I knew he really really wanted me to change it). But then, he also said he would NEVER change HIS name. Hmmm. This made me think even more about the societal pressures of why we need to change our names.

name change

Research shows that the nineties were they heyday of women keeping their names. This most likely occurred in the wake of the seventies feminists movement. During the 1990’s a whopping 23% of women kept their last name after marriage. Now, it is estimated that just 8% of American women do so. (research comes from this article and from a poll done by YouGov).

Feminism has changed – I wasn’t making a political point when I was deciding whether or not to change my name. It was simply my choice and I wanted to make the best decision. In the end, I decided to change my name to create a bond with my new husband – to continue the symbol of our commitment and unity. Another big factor is the future kids. I want to have the same name as them to prevent any confusion and to also continue the whole family unit thing. I like to look at us as a team and a team can’t have two separate names right? I’m starting a new chapter with Ryan, we’re doing this together. I’m not losing any piece of who I am – I’m simply adding to it.

What do you think about the importance of names? What did you do when you got married, or, what do you plan on doing if you ever have to make that choice?