Archive of ‘Self Love’ category

How To Have A Body Positive Vacation

Body Positive Vacation

Vacation is your time to relax, unwind, and enjoy yourself; it is about your happiness. The last thing you need is to be stressed about your body and self perception when your goal is to have fun. Since I just wrapped up my most recent vacation I wanted to  share some of my tips with you on how I had a body positive vacation.

Fear Nothing

I’m going to get the obvious one out of the way first. If you’re vacationing somewhere hot and sunny (because apparently people do vacation in cold places) the number one concern tends to be how to remain appropriately covered up, while still comfortable. Here’s the thing, STOP MAKING THAT A CONCERN. Vacation is about relaxing and it’s hard to relax in the heat if you’re constantly pulling at that short sleeve shrug to make sure it covers your arms in a tank top. If you want to wear a tank top, a crop top, a bikini top, wear it. If there was ever a time you weren’t feeling brave about these things before, than vacation is definitely the time to be daring. Don’t sacrifice your own comfort because someone else may not like to see some arm fat. You don’t have to see these people again, but your vacation memories will come home with you, embrace body positivity to make them good ones. Don’t be ashamed to be bold and do whatever puts you the most at ease and in vacation mode. To get these lovely bikini shots for this post I striped off my coverup and stood in the center of the beach in the water and posed for the camera while strangers looked on curiously. I didn’t care, it was my body, my vacation, and I was going to celebrate it because it’s the only one I’ve got.

Eat, Drink, Be Merry

Please do not diet while on vacation. Diets are never a great idea to begin with, lifestyle choices are the body positive way, but when away from home adopt a vacation friendly lifestyle choice. Eat what makes you happy, what appeals to you, eat what you want, just don’t overdo it so you don’t spend your vacation nursing the toilet bowl. The idea is not to feel ashamed of what you decide to eat. Don’t worry about how it might “look”, just worry about how good it tastes. Fat girls are not required to eat salads, skinny girls aren’t required to eat salads, please don’t vacation and eat only salads! Especially if you’re going somewhere with fun and new foods. Sometimes to stop myself from feeling guilty on a vacation, I drink two talk glasses of green juice in the morning and justify everything else with that. (Don’t judge me!)

Get On The Bus…Or The Roller Coaster

If you’re vacationing somewhere that has amusement parks or interactive attractions, don’t be afraid to try anything and everything. Do not be afraid of what people perceive as being an “acceptable” activity for you. Fat chicks can ski, zipline, snorkel, hop on a roller coaster or a water slide and enjoy their vacation just the same as anyone else. Do not let the voices in your head shame you into believing that you have to be the friend who watches everyone’s stuff while they’re off being adventurous.

The most important thing to remember is that 90% of the time, your biggest body positive enemy is you. Sometimes you’re projecting your own body concerns onto what you think others are seeing or saying. Stop thinking about what anyone else thinks about your body and focus on what you think. If you don’t think very highly of your body than use your vacation as an opportunity to explore why you should love you some more. Push some boundaries, run over some fears, and enjoy your life. Celebrate your body, it’s the only one you’ve got.

Fatkini Revolutionary In Pink Pumps

(PS: If you want more pictures and info on the swimsuit then follow me on Instagram and Facebook for it all) 

Why You Need Selfies

Why You Need Selfies

Why You Need Selfies

“If you’re the type of person who doubts yourself; your abilities, your decisions, your potential…then selfies are for you.”

That was the beginning of the caption I put under a selfie I posted on Instagram last week. In an age where we have front facing cameras in our pockets and wi-fi and 4g at our disposal, snapping and posting selfies is a no-brainer. But as simple and, often vain, as selfies may seem, there’s more to snapping that photo than a duck face and a filter.

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In a Society Obsessed With Ass

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In a society obsessed with ass, where having a masters means less than having a fatty, and twerking is the focus of social conversation. In a society obsessed with the fleek of eyebrows & the laying of edges. It’s really difficult to feel beautiful. It’s hard to remember that ass is brought & knowledge is earned. That your pound of flesh perched on your behind doesn’t define your self-worth. It’s hard to remember that stretch marks are natural, hair grows how it feels, & that your backside isn’t a garden designed to sprout an onion. You forget that with or without your kohl wing you are the same girl. In a society of waist trainers and cinchers, we’ve trained ourselves to exist in impossible standards. Where we look like impossible dolls, our impossible minds created. In a society that demands the impossibility of perfection, you will always be imperfect.

I think it’s extremely important to take time to remind yourself that you’re one person, you’re human, and you were not created to alter who you were already assigned to be. What is the point of contouring for the after, if you refuse to allow people to see your before? You’re not in competition with anyone but yourself, and sometimes you are your own worst enemy. If you can’t stand in front of the mirror and love yourself for what appears before you in the nude, then you have failed yourself as your own motivator. The only one to make you beautiful is you, and your self-worth is self defined.

Don’t miss out on the greater path for yourself by becoming distracted with the flash of fat asses and false lashes. Don’t get me wrong, I love makeup and heels. I couldn’t imagine my life without lipstick, but I don’t cry over the fact that my ass isn’t the roundest, my hair isn’t the curliest, and my eyebrows are far from fleek. There is too much else to cry about and we’re too beautiful for that. Besides… even Nicki’s butt is plastic.Nicki-Minaj-0

Follow Me On Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more. 

On Sanity, Success, and Keeping It All Together

Mental Health College Students

Not more than a week ago I received an e-mail from my alma mater informing me that a Freshman on campus had taken her own life. Just a few days ago, my friend and fellow blogger The Black Collegian, wrote about her disturbed disgust with her own campus administration for their lack of energy and resources towards the mental health of students on campus. Nearly 2 years ago, a girl from my college went missing, and after weeks of searching the tri-state area, they discovered her remains on the rocks of the Hudson River underneath the George Washington Bridge. Students, people, taking their lives because of the stress and pressures of life isn’t a new thing, but it’s really time for us to start paying more attention and taking better care of our own mental health. In a society that is all about results it’s rare that we’re conditioned to stop and ask ourselves, ‘am I okay?’

I finished my undergraduate career just this May, coming out of the other side, holding 2 degrees, an associates and a bachelors, and while

TheDailyCougar.com

TheDailyCougar.com

I’m deeply proud of that accomplishment, my truest pride is that I made it out of college in one piece. I think more than awards, grades, and accolades, your sanity is the most important part of making it through school and honestly making it though life. Having your degree is important, it opens doors, it creates opportunities, and it is very much at the center of making a living; but stop and ask yourself, what good is having an open door, if you’re in such bad shape that you can’t make it through? We’re a society that is focused on end goal and results, and we neglect that as humans our capacity does have limits. For most of us those limits get pushed when we arrive in college, greeted by piles of work and endless demands of perfection. I have friends whose desire to be successful, to keep up with the demand, to survive the load, are slowly breaking them down as the stress eats away at them. I can tell, because stress almost ate me clean away. Endless hours of studying for entrance exams, keeping up with papers, a demanding boss at my internship, it was like everyone took a limb and just tugged until I popped. Balancing that was matter of stopping to find inner peace and remembering that I was no good to anyone if I was dead or damaged due to stress about my future.

It’s really important that if you feel it all coming down on you, you stop and ask yourself ‘am I okay?’ If the answer to that question is no, then you need to stop everything and seek help. We’re a generation that loves to think we can do anything and everything ourselves, but the reality is, you can’t be too proud to ask for help otherwise you may end up flying a little too close to the sun and melting your wings. Help comes in all forms, it can be as simple as having a friend who you spend an hour or two a day with, doing something you love. Everyday there seems to be a new article on productivity, and teenage CEO success stories, and start-ups that boost in the millions, and they are great but don’t let them push you to a dark place in the pursuit of success. Not every action you take has to be academically or professionally productive, doing something for yourself is a means of health productivity. Your mental health is  more important than you give it credit for being. Your existence matters, your existence as a functioning and happy individual matters. As important as a degree may be, no piece of paper has more value than your life or mental being. If it takes you more than 4 years to get your degree, then let it, if it means you keep your sanity. Everyone’s timeline and experience for achievement is different, don’t beat on yourself if you’re not where the next person is, because no matter what you’re doing there will always be someone who is doing it better. That battle will be never-ending. Find self-assurance in every accomplishment you’ve made and don’t downplay your achievements. Celebrate yourself, appreciate yourself, work hard in life, but do not forget to ask yourself ‘am I okay?’

Please seek help if you feel lost, we all need help, none of us are perfect. If you’re on a college campus and you don’t think there’s enough help try here. There is help for you somewhere the first step is to ask. You can learn more about mental health in college students here.

Diary of a Fat Fat Shamer: A Crash Course In Body Positivity

BODY POSITIVE CRASH COURSE

A few nights ago I was scrolling through my Instagram when I saw a video post from one of my favorite women to follow, Pia Schiavo, also known as the blogging mind behind Chronicles of a Mixed Fat Chick. I clicked on the video to see an enraged Pia voicing her frustrations about the antiquated nature of BMI as a system of health measurement, which she is absolutely right about. I browsed her hashtags and noticed one that i didn’t recognize, #HAES, so I gave it a click and browsed the pictures.

As I scrolled down, I was absolutely appalled at what I saw. There were these awful, hateful pictures about fat being disgusting with comments shamefully saying that there’s no way an individual can be healthy without being skinny; fat shaming galore. One page in particular, called FatRejection, focused on informing women that they need to stop thinking they are sexy at any size they considered fat. The page targets women who try to embody body positivity and points out that the only thing they are promoting is the road to heart disease. I eventually figured out that the hashtag stood for healthy at every size, and had essentially been hijacked by fat shamers to promote fat shaming. (more…)

Diary of a Fat Fat Shamer: The Breakthrough

DIARY OF A FAT FAT SHAMER THE BREAKTHROUGH

DIARY OF A FAT FAT SHAMER THE BREAKTHROUGH

We Go Way Back 

When I was in the seventh grade I used to drink nothing but LA Weight loss diet shakes for lunch. When I was a freshman in high school I went on an intensive diet that consisted of nothing but milk, vegetables, and some choice meditation. Slim fast, green coffee bean pills, skinny teas, you name it and I promise you I’ve tried it. I’ve been persistently obsessed with my weight since I was about 10 years old. I should have been worried about which shade of glitter I would paint my nails, or deciding between root beer or vanilla flavored lip gloss; instead I was constantly caught up in my internal struggle to be skinny.

One of the biggest issues with the images of skinny that plaster beauty campaigns and grace magazine covers, is the people it affects. While these ads may be geared towards grown women, they are coveted by young girls. 11 year olds wanting to learn all the secrets held between the pages of Cosmo and the alike. I was one of those girls, I knew from a young age that I wanted to work in magazines, and I spent my life pouring over the pages of every magazine under the sun. What I didn’t realize was how destructive my obsession with glossy editorials was. Paired with the fact that I was the only Black girl in a school full of tiny white girls, it was a recipe for disaster, and disaster struck hard. I would dip in and out of diets, loosing weight to a certain level of satisfaction only to revert back to my old ways, gaining the weight two fold. I was so genuinely insecure, I had all these notions in my head about cute outfits I could wear if only I was skinny. I told myself boys would be attracted to me once I was skinny, that life in general would get better just as soon as I got skinny. My looks would develop once the pounds went away and for the time being it was just me and my books.

Dark Turns 

By the time I reached sophomore year of high school I couldn’t take it anymore, and so began my 6 month battle with bulimia. It was a dark and depressive time in my life. I told myself that I would only do it once a day and just avoid all other fatty foods. I skipped breakfast and lunch and purged after dinner. Convinced that bulimia was a skinny girl’s disease I assumed no one wold ever suspect what I was up to, but a sickness that strong will affect you in noticeable ways. I didn’t really lose any weight in the process, maybe 5 pounds in all of those months. After admitting to my family and friends my situation I was enveloped in a loving support system and found myself on the healing side of the disease, but not yet on the healing side of body image. My body image battle raged on through high school and college, taking on different forms of self hate.

When the fatosphere bubble popped online, I was all over it, determined to embrace the idea of being plus sized. Yet stil, something was wrong. I wanted to be a certain kind of plus sized, the girls with wide hips and flat tummies, whose bodies seemed like instruments of magic, plus sized yet free of muffin tops, love handles, and back fat. That was my plus size goal. I still couldn’t accept my own plus size. Even when I had lost a good deal of weight in pursuit of my goal, I was never quite “there”. I couldn’t just waltz into any store, pick up a  size 12 and walk out. It was something I was completely unwilling to accept, I was convinced that until I was a size 10/12 I was still fat and that translated to ugly.

The Slow Turn Around 

In my post, Diary of a Fat Fat Shamer, I explain my battle with learning to accept my body exactly as it is. The struggle to help transform the word fat into a description, not a definition, and particularly not an insult. I would read body positive blogs, follow the pages on instagram, chant mantras, and post self love quotes on the daily. Then it finally happened.

This June, I went on a family vacation to Cancun. While looking for swimsuits online I came across Gabi Fresh’s Nala Two piece suit. “If only it were a one piece,” I thought to myself. Then I took a step back and said, “so what?” I held my breath and clicked purchase, in what I thought was one of my bravest acts in life. The brave part though, was going through with wearing it. I agonized over whether to wear it once it arrived in the mail, so I quickly packed it into my suitcase and ignored it. Two days before my trip, I dug it out of my bag and tried it on. I was in love. I was in love with what I saw in the mirror in front of me. I felt beautiful and sexy in a way I have never felt in my entire 21 years. I was exposed. I was so exposed that no amount of twisting or posing would hide my fat, and I couldn’t have been happier. I swear I almost broke down in tears in front of my mirror, because my entire life I had never been so understanding, accepting, and proud of my own body. I’m not at my heaviest weight but I am certainly not at my smallest either. I skipped around in Mexico, in my little two piece like I was the hottest thing on the beach. I laid out in the sand while cabana boys served me mai tais and admired my curves, and not once did I stop them. I was too busy loving my curves myself. When I posted pictures of myself on social media, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for all the amazing words of praise and encouragement flooding my inbox. But what has been greater than my little two piece revelation, was the aftermath.

Living with It 

Although I left the sun and sand behind, the pride in my body came home with me. I find myself staring at my reflection in the mirror happy with what I see in virtually anything I wear. I’ve essentially abandoned my shape wear, waist cinchers, and binders, and embraced the way my tank top carefully hugs the curves of my tummy and dips with the movement of my hips.IMG_2419 I’m excited to go out and I’ve even abandoned most of my makeup, living off of BB cream, lipstick, and mascara. I find myself enjoying life more, talking to more men, smiling more often, and living in the moment. All because I finally managed to accept all of me. There are women who have told me that they didn’t stop fat-shaming themselves until they were in their 30s. Most of the body positive bloggers and advocates out there, tend to be older women who have really lived through some things that helped them recognize how much better life was once they began to accept themselves. I’m so extremely happy to be able to say that at 21 I have finally made a huge step in finding myself, and I am sharing this story in hopes that other women my age, older, and even younger will find their moment.  Sharing my story is not about me, revealing this intimate part of my life does nothing for myself, but I do want it to do something for someone, for everyone else. I want body positivity to be something that women and girls have as a tool in every day life as early on as possible, because I can honestly say that it has made my life better. Imagine a world full of happy, comfortable, and vibrant women; there would be absolutely nothing to stand in our way.

Diary of a Fat Fat Shamer

substantiajaniemartinez

If you’ve ever met me or read any of my other blog posts, then you would know that I am by no means a small chick. I am in fact a self-proclaimed plus sized woman and you will often hear me say that I am proud of it. So of course it’s only natural that I am on the ban fat shaming wagon right? Right. What I didn’t realize was just how hard it would be to actually climb on the wagon, it wasn’t just a hop skip and a jump for me.

What is your reaction to this photo on the left? Well as a fellow woman with love handles and a fold or two, my automatic non-fat shaming response should have been “look at this glorious celebration of the female form!” I should have been deeply overwhelmed by the fearlessness of this woman, by her pride. My actual reaction you ask? “Why the hell would she leave the house like that?” My reaction seemed completely natural to me, after all it is not often that I am faced with an image of a woman, unashamedly showing who she is, when she isn’t a smaller size or has all of her “jiggly” parts neatly tucked away. Then I remembered, ” oh yeah I’m supposed to be against fat shaming”, so why would I react like such a vapid, skinny, person?

Well I took time to honestly sit down and think about it, I mean I spend all of this time reading about body positivity and follow some of the most amazing body positive women on Instagram, so I should be completely comfortable with a picture like this. Then it really hit me. The saying goes “Who’s going to love you, if you can’t love yourself?”, but I asked myself , if no one loved you then from where do you begin to learn how to love yourself?
When I was smacked in the face by this revelation it occurred to me that there is a clear process to self acceptance and even more, acceptance of  a different concept of beauty. We have spent most of our lives having it drilled into our heads and our subconscious that beauty is very specific. It has only been recently that brave and revolutionary individuals have stepped up and taken the concept of beauty into their own hands. It is only recently that the fatosphere popped up and there surged forth this massive wave of self acceptance, self-image reform, and the embracing of the female form in its most natural state. The biggest part of battling fat shaming, is battling the body ideals we were set up with. I’ll be the first to admit that I love my Spanx,

Yeah.. That’s Me

and every chance I get I remind myself to suck it in, tuck it away, and cover it up. But there comes a point now where I find myself slowly asking, why? Why am I trying to cover it up? Why am I trying to hide it? I say to myself that I will wear that crop top after another 10 pounds or I’ll buy that skirt when I can officially fit in a size 10, but why? The answer is, I’m still working on accepting the fact that my body has bits and pieces that I don’t want to show to the world. I don’t want my muffin top to become murmurs among my peers; I am still quietly ashamed. On occasion I still catch myself glimpsing a girl on the street with a shirt that shows of her rolls and questioning why she thought that was okay. Then I remind myself, why did I think that it wasn’t, knowing damn well when I go home and take off my shirt I look exactly the same.

I say all of this to say that for all of my other large, lovely, ladies who have not yet found it in them to completely banish their fat bashing ways, understand that it is not necessarily an overnight thing. It is an uphill battle with yourself, where you have to learn to slay the notions instilled in you for years. Stick with the battle, because some of the worst culprits of fat shaming are ourselves. Just like the standard image of beauty was drilled into us until we accepted it, the new concept of beauty has to be drilled just as hard.

Need help? I would suggest following some body positive women on Instagram. It sounds simple,but consistently presenting yourself with images of body positivity will do wonders for the mental part of this challenge. Some of my personal favorites and sources of inspiration? 

Just a Little Inspiration

I know it’s late Monday night and that just seems to always evoke the blues doesn’t it? Monday just screams, tired and unmotivated. I know I feel like that sometimes so I thought maybe a little woman’s anthem might make you feel a little bit better. I love this song, if you listen to the words you’ll feel really great about yourself but even further than that the compilation of the classic female rapper, (before we rapped half-naked and painted like a piece of damn candy) is just beautiful. So enjoy the song, and don’t let Monday get you down. Plus I’ve got a few inspirational pictures for you to remind yourself that you’re awesome, maybe you’ll wake up tomorrow feeling inspired.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/uAj5Lc0laQk]

good women happiness hipbones

 

An Open Letter to AIDS

AIDS,

I wish you would just kiss my black ass. As a black woman in the year 2012 I am much too informed and have way too much common sense to allow you to catch me and ruin my life. Don’t I? But why does it seem like you still manage to catch and punish my peers? How is it that as of 2009 African American women still account for the largest share of new HIV infections among women (57%) and the incidence rate among Black women is nearly 15 times the rate among white women? What is it that we still seem to be doing wrong? We use condoms right? We as black women are smart enough not to just “trust” every man we choose to get into bed with aren’t we? I could have sworn we were! We’re much too clever to be wooed by the “baby you know I’m clean” or “I just wanna feel you & nothing else”! Besides, we get tested, every 6 months right? You obviously have no intention of laying off my people. But I just wanted to let you know that you aren’t going to win. Because as you continue to rage on we will continue to educate ourselves and our coming generations. We will arm our youth in the war you have waged and protect ourselves from your attacks. We are a strong, industrious, and brilliant group and we will fight you to the death. We’re gonna kick your ass, just watch!

Love Always,

Ari

Ladies, it’s World AIDS day, but today is not the only day you should be thinking about the effects of AIDS. This epidemic is and has been coming for us for years. Arm yourselves with information and physical protection. Do not forget to practice what you preach, because the hardest thing is deciding in that moment if you will pick your carnal desire over the safety of your health. Don’t make the wrong decision, because whatever 5 minutes a man can offer you physically isn’t worth the years of treatment and sickness that will follow. Love yourself, respect yourself, protect yourself.

Confidence: The Greatest Love of All

Good morning readers. I know it’s been a little while since I posted, my apologies but school has just grown hectic. There’s been plenty of events and going ons that have happened lately that I should & will write about (President Obama included!!!) but right now I want to talk to you about something that’s heavily weighing on my mind. I am the first person to tell you how important self love is, the necessity that exists to get up every morning and tell yourself you are an amazing and beautiful individual, but I’ve never really mentioned just how hard that is.

Photo Credit: thebridgemaker.com

It’s hard to look in the mirror and love every flaw. It’s even harder to imagine that someone else could possibly what you yourself cant seem to come to terms with. I know this. I understand this. I have lived this. You are not the least bit flawed if you have ever had a moment where you looked in the mirror and felt like crying staring at the reflection, and maybe even indulged in a good cry. Self love is so important but a little self loathing ensures your humanity and even more your humility. I like to walk tall as if I am unaffected by trivial things in the world and I am deeply proud of that ability but I’m even more proud of my ability to recognize that I am flawed, and to a certain extent flawed in a way that I hate. More than anything this recognition is even more reason to stand up and walk tall as a perfectly flawed individual. We live in this world of clashing media issues whether it be the rise of the “fatosphere” or the longstanding anorexic image tradition. Everything is telling you something different, one day you should hate yourself for those extra pounds or blemished skin and the next day you should be flaunting your love handles in a “fatkini” and rocking an earthy no make up look. Sometimes it feels like you just can’t win because you don’t know if you should accept yourself or rather if the world even accepts you.

The simplest answer to this burning internal struggle is this: YOU WILL NEVER WIN. So long as you attempt to set yourself to any standard society has put in place understand that you will never be able to win because society itself is fickle in awarding labels of achievement to those whom we model ourselves after in this desperate hope to meet the standard. With this logic it becomes clear then that we should not compete. Do not enroll yourself into this rat race of social disgrace because the penalty of loss is far greater than the rewards of a winner. You run the greatest risk of loosing yourself and in the midst of the run allowing the wrong ones to find who you are for you rather than you celebrating the gift of finding yourself.

Photo Credit: Tumblr.com

So for all of this I issue a remedy of sorts, it is not easy. Either today, tomorrow, next week, or whenever you feel you are ready take 10 minutes to yourself where you stand completely naked (including makeup & hair) and stare at yourself. It may be embarrassing at first, you may feel a little ashamed or maybe even angry but you shouldn’t look away. Do not let society tell you that you cannot spend 10 minutes alone with your naked self for fear of shame or facing a flaw that you hate. If you need to cry then cry or yell or smile or laugh, do whatever it takes so long as you keep staring. Ladies, please love yourself because in life it is the most important thing. If you don’t love you remember that I do. <3

 

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