Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Surviving Self-consciousness

Today's entry isn't 20-something specific...it isn't even woman specific...but it is something I feel strong about. For my whole life I've struggled with body image - although who hasn't on some level?  Hair too curly, over bite, large nose, freckles, taller than everyone else or in my case over weight. 

I didn't have some kid in elementary school call me names or parents who put me on diets in junior high. I had my share of high school romances and had a large social network of friends through college. 

What I did have was a society unappreciative of diversity. I grew up with no one telling me I should be proud of and embrace my curves, clothing stores who gave me the only option to look like a granny in paisley muumuus, hearing how beautiful my sister is and how smart I am (and the good old "great personality" comment), a best friend who had more boyfriends than she could count while I was always "like a sister" to the boys I crushed on.

Somehow despite all of this...or perhaps because of it...I have found myself a fairly confident adult, Someone who friends ask for fashion advice, who has found a special someone who thinks my curves are sexy and even receives compliments from her "prettier" sister about how nice I look before going out for the evening.

Yet, there is still a small self-aware fat kid inside of me. She came out and cried this morning when a complete stranger shouted out their car window "fat cow!"

Why the Hell should I care what they think?

I've always believed "bullies" were such because of there own insecurities. and need to feel "superior". However, I never thought at 27 years old I'd still come across a "school-yard" bully...let alone be upset by one!

But there I stood on the side of the road waiting for my morning bus not only shocked but hurt by what I heard. I touched my hips and measured how wide they are, put my hands on my stomach and wondered if I could find myself a work out partner who could help motivate me to get rid of this belly fat....

I was letting that jerk get to me!

How dare he ruin my day before it even started!?
How dare I let him ruin the confidence I worked so hard to get!?

So instead of reverting back and hiding in my shell I decided to write this blog entry! 

I decided I was going to show the world you can be plus-sized and rock it! To follow in step with Queen Latifah, Mia Tyler and Nikki Blonsky and flaunt my curves. Support the businesses who are getting with the times and producing more hip (yes pun intended) and stylish clothing for the plus-sized markets. 

We're all unique and whatever area or body part isn't our favorite I think we need to learn to embrace. Learn that it's these small "imperfections" that make us wonderful. So here is the beginning of my embracing me - hips, breasts, stomach and super white legs! :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

My Big Fat German/English/Italian Family

I realized today that it has been a month since my last posting, and let me tell you it's been a month of survival overload. In the past month I've been surviving a nasty chest cold (a plague a cursed upon the entire office), surviving the trauma and chaos that is being 27 and living at home with your mother/sister, surviving the wrap up and conclusion of one job while searching and being hired for another (which goes along with my heart palpitations of facing unemployment in today's economy - AGAIN), and finally trying to survive a 7000 mile long distance relationship.

Boo-hoo. Right?

I'm not looking for sympathy just more of clarification and window into where my head has been these past few weeks.

So the reason I discovered this gap in blog entries is because I finally have found the time (thanks to the cold that still lingers) to have a new topic come up over and over again in.  

The topic for today class is DATING.

A quick Google search for "Dating" gave me 245,000,000 results in 26 seconds. After all the simple term "dating" encompass a lot of information.

There's being single and enjoying the single life...being single but wanting to meet new and different people with no serious strings and there's being single but interested in finding that special someone.

And if you're interested in meeting someone(s) you have a laundry list to choose where to find him/her: bars/clubs, "Ladies Night", online dating websites, bumping carts at the grocery store (sorry that sounded dirtier than it was intended), church, starting a conversation over the newly release best seller, your Aunt Gertrude's neighbor's nephew...the list just goes on and on.

So let's say you have finally found that person (or persons...no discrimination here against polyamory) - you still have a number of hurdles to jump and deal with from within the relationship and outside pressures (and sometimes I think the "outside" hurdles and pressures are more strenuous and frustrating that the actual relationship).

Since this is by far a simple topic, and entire libraries worth of self help books have been written about this small six-letter word, I'm going to stick with my own current dating obstacles (and I'm sure this will just be one of many entries dedicated to dating).

My bf and I have been together sixteen months and have had far from a typical relationship. We met online through a non-traditional avenue (i.e. NOT eHarmony or Match.com) and have spent the majority of our relationship in "long distance" mode (other cities, other states and currently he's in another country). 

We do our best to stay connected and grow as a couple - phone calls (although being 7000 miles away does put a damper on that phone bill) and text messages, emails, instant messaging...the usual mediums. We both believe that each relationship is a unique entity and shouldn't allow others to influence or determine the path of our relationship.

However, sometimes this is easier said than done when you have a family/friends that resembles the Portocalis family from My Big Fat Greek Wedding - loud, invasive but full of love (and I am referring to the German/English side just as much as the Italian). Everyone has an opinion and everyone feels like it is their god-given-right to express that in volumes. 

Sometimes though, you don't want to know what they think...you aren't looking for their  (often jaded) experiences and thoughts behind why something is the way it is...sometimes you're just looking for someone to listen, to be there and be supportive of your choices...to be happy because you are happy.

Is that really too much to ask?

I really don't need pursed lips and rolling eyes when I say we want to live together. I'm sure those shaking heads would explode if I said we wanted to get married.

Being 20-something and dating is hard enough.

Being in love with someone 7000 miles away is more than hard enough.

But feeling like you can't share (let alone talk about) your relationship is unbearable.