Bohemian Summer

by Brittany on July 28, 2014

in Fashion

I don’t have a single summer memory of my childhood that happened indoors. We simply weren’t allowed. For years and years, summer meant my parents kicking my little brother and I out of the house to explore, play and entertain ourselves until dark. Sometimes it was amazing, sometimes it sucked. I went into fall with callouses so dense on my feet I could cross a stone driveway without wincing. Attractive? No, but at the time a point of pride.

I was the only girl on my country road. There were moments that were awkward, like playing spin the bottle with the three neighbor boys and my brother or explaining that I wasn’t allowed to skinny dip in the pond three fields over because my pubic hair had come in. But, also moments that were empowering. I climbed trees, caught crawdads in the creek (or crick, if you are from Ohio and you know me) along our property and cleared fields barefoot in seconds flat before a thunderstorm. It’s those memories that pull me to grab my children, blissfully giggling and laying on the giant trampoline in our back yard playing a game on their iPads, load them into my car, and haul them to my parents where I push them outside shoeless and point to the fields.

Today my husband and I spent the morning in those fields; no make-up, frizzy haired, sweat rolling down the backs of my legs, and mostly barefoot, running between the crops before the sky let loose and stormed, stripping down and changing quickly in the back of our SUV in the middle of the woods, the only paparazzi a swarm of mosquitoes and a couple woodchucks. Of all the pictures this man has ever taken of me, these are the most like home.

Tye Dye Maxi Twirl

Tie Dye Maxi

A Facebook friend posted to my wall a few days ago about a boutique that “felt like me.” I followed the link, and emerged hours later dizzy from shoppers high. Marlie Madison is like cocaine to me. Tie dyed, bohemian, country girl cocaine.

Dress: Indiana Jones Maxi, Marlie Madison, size XXL $50
Necklace: Personal Collection

Block Maxi Bib Necklace

Bib Necklace Closeup

I have a current obsession with bib and statement necklaces. I mean, I have really great boobs and my earring holes closed up… that right there is a recipe for a great neck piece.

Dress: Maternity Maxi, Old Navy, size XL (You say: Um but it’s maternity. I say: So? Who the hell cares? Size down.)
Necklace: Sioux Hippie Bib Necklace, Marlie Madison $26

Boho Tunic

Oh, this tunic is my jam. The print and the fit (yeah, definitely size up, no give in this polyester, none.), this is my go-to summer party dress. In fact, I’m wearing it to a fundraiser next week at the Toledo Zoo, so if you see me there wearing this, act surprised and tell me I look pretty.

Dress: Boho Bright Tunic Dress, size XXXL, $44
Shoes: Cork Wedges, Target

White Plus Maxi

White is a color often discouraged for curvy women. It’s not seen as flattering or discreet, but rather obvious and magnifying. It is with infinity fashion fuck yous that I danced around the soybeans in this dress. Give me a tambourine, some goats and a yurt, and I’m never coming home.

Dress: Crochet-Lace Maxi Dress, Old Navy, size XL, $44.94
Flower Crown: Personal Collection

{ 16 comments }

This Human of New York

by Brittany on July 17, 2014

in Chubby Girl

HONY

See this guy right there? That’s my dad.

“Are you lonely?”

“It’s been a lifetime of loneliness. I decided early on that I better get used to it. I go to movies by myself. If the movie theater is completely empty, I’m even happier. I learned early on that if I wanted to go to restaurants, I better learn to go by myself. One benefit to being big is that people don’t bother you. I’m shocked that you came up to me. Nobody’s ever done that. When I started to go to therapy, it took me several sessions before I even spoke a word. I’d just sit there and cry. And honestly, you caught me on a tough day. I was sitting here feeling really bad about myself. Because I went to the doctor today, and I was sure that I’d lost weight. But I’d gained some.”

Alright, he’s not really my dad, but he could be. Maybe that’s why I’ve read this one thousand times since yesterday. Maybe that why I’ve cried in random moments of the night thinking about him. Maybe that’s why I absent mindedly opened up my laptop and priced tickets to New York with no real purpose other than finding this man and siting quietly beside him in a movie theater, sharing a popcorn, as friends do.  I can’t tell what hurts more, the pain I feel for this lonely man, or the guilt I feel for the amount of compassion I’m blindly giving a man that I sometimes don’t offer my own father out of frustration.

As Andy and I reread the entry and the comments that ensued on Humans of New York’s Facebook page, he looked at me surprised and said, “wow, I was expecting this guy to get skewed, but most of these comments are amazing. How the hell is that happening?”

“This is why everyone should try to be kind to one another, you never know what a person is going through, I hope he finds some happiness.”

“This breaks my heart. What does it say about ourselves as a society.”

“I admit I sometimes judged fat people. But I won’t anymore. This really touched me.”

After laughing to myself thinking, welcome to my fucking uphill battle, man. I gave him the explanation that myself, and every person working beside me in the body positive movement, are striving to have understood. He is a human, not an obese man.

What moments like this do is give a face and a heart to the person society would otherwise be mocking. It’s harder to shame someone you know. Andy was shocked by those comments because we aren’t used to plus size just people being people. We aren’t used to assuming that their loneliness comes with hurt and that their days aren’t consumed with thoughts of food or laziness. Everything we know about plus size people is wrong.

As I continue to scroll down my timeline, fulfilled and happy like Scrooge on Christmas morning high on human spirit and kindness, I am reminded that the battle is still there. A woman in short shorts mocked for what’s spilling out the back. A blurry photo secretly shot of a curvy woman at the beach in a bikini, I mean, what she thinking, right? When friends share some horrible viral photo of a person, and I interject telling them that I weigh the exact same, and yeah, probably own those leopard leggings, their response is always, “well I don’t mean you…”

But they do mean me. I am no better or worse than the person in those photos. The media takes the humanity right out of plus size people. On the news our heads are blurred or cut off. In mocking Facebook photos passed around we’re made into almost a cartoonish joke. In fashion, we’re rarely ever seen just whispered about like unseen Sasquatches against the comforting glow of beautiful photoshopped people. Recently, a friend shared with me a photo that was circulating online by Chicago Bear’s fans featuring a plus size girl whose breasts were covered in cheese slices, the joke being that she was trying out to be a cheerleader for the Green Bay Packers.

Now, the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers rivalry is a very real thing, and if you followed the news last year, you’d know the weapon of smack-tacking choice is mocking the looks and weight of Packer’s cheerleaders. I get it, football rivalries are intense. I went to Ohio State. I can barely look up north without dry-heaving and mumbling curse words under my breath. But seeing this girl paraded virally around as a giant joke ( none of the commentary was kind), all I wanted to comment was… this is my cousin.

Alright she’s not, I’ve never met her, though who knows? I watched Cindy Crawford find out she was related to an Italian King on some TLC genealogy show once, so really, I can’t rule out that we’re not related. But she’s somebody’s cousin. Hell, she could be your cousin. The point is, this photo has over 5700 shares and none of them are met with compassion.

“Hey, she obviously posed for this picture, so she’s asking for it.”

Yeah, that’s bullshit. We never ask for it. Trust me, I know more than anyone how much it sucks to have your photo stolen and circulated without your permission. So yeah, she did pose for this photo. Maybe she sent it to her boyfriend. Maybe they broke up and he shared it with a friend who uploaded it to a revenge porn site. Maybe her laptop was stolen at school and a group of mean girls posted it up online and it went viral.

Or maybe it doesn’t matter why she took it because we’re fucking women and we don’t need to justify what we do with our bodies, or the cheese we put on them. We have empathy for an unknown man because he shared that he has a capacity for pain and loneliness, and we skewer a girl because we assume she has none.

Compassion and respect is not exclusive to the pretty or the likable. It is to be doled out equally and without prejudice to weight or looks or money.

Now, when I see photos like these, my response isn’t shame on you for posting this, it’s “that’s my dad,” “that’s my cousin,” or “that’s me.”

Because if we let this continue, it very well could be.

 

{ 30 comments }

Group Therapy

July 14, 2014

“8 and three dashes.” “What?” “8 and three… yes three dashes.” I hold three fingers up into the air as Andy and my brother Adam stare at me from the table saw positioned on the deck. “8 and three dashes.” I yell at them again from the center of the dining room. “What the fuck […]

Read the full article →

The Apology

July 7, 2014

Our life this month has coincided beautifully with the 4th of July… some change and some freedom. Physical and emotional change that has been wonderful and sweat-inducing and scream-ridden and terrifying. You’ll read about and see more of that in a few days. But first, a little bit of freedom, and what precipitates freedom more than […]

Read the full article →

Confidence… WE GOT THIS.

June 23, 2014

There is a box at the very top of my closet full of photographs. Remember those? Archaic artifacts from a time when we needed our memories to be tangible and red-eyed. The box is deceiving. While the photos weigh mere ounces, the collection itself contains hundreds of pounds gained and lost and gained again. Glossy […]

Read the full article →

A Day of Yes

June 17, 2014

I say no a lot. I mean I say no to my kids a lot. Strangers and friends who I care considerably less about, I seem to struggle with limits an nos, and yet my kids, no is almost reflexive at this point. Hey mom can- Nope. Hey Brittany, can you fly in to do […]

Read the full article →

Get Your Camp Throwback On… TODAY!

June 16, 2014

Holy shit, it’s that time again! Tickets for Camp Throwback 2015 go on sale TODAY at 10am EST. CLICK HERE to check out CampThrowback.com and buy your tickets! Wanna read the wrap-up from the 2014 event? Click here!

Read the full article →

When the Internet Steals Your Pictures

June 13, 2014

First of all, if you came here via a search like “OMG SOMEONE STOLE MY PHOTO ONLINE!?,” this is awkward, but I actually have no real advice for you outside of procuring a lawyer and having them handle all the legal crap. Way easier. Also, maybe go see Maleficent twice in a 5 day span […]

Read the full article →

Dear Kate & Me

June 12, 2014

Dear Kate, A few months ago I walked in the pouring rain through Chinatown and Little Italy to McNally-Jackson bookstore just before 6am, and without a stitch of make up or hair spray, I took off my pants and shopped in my underpants.  It was one of my most favorite days.  Brittany I can say […]

Read the full article →

Throwback 2014 Wrap-Up

June 4, 2014

I stood on the gravel with bags of marshmallows in my arms. The sun was just about down and as I stood at the entrance of the pavilion, I could see the fire roaring, people dancing, corn hole matches being smack talked, honeymooners kissing, beers being cheered, selfies being snapped, and smiling. So much smiling. And […]

Read the full article →