Bloggers get a lot of flack every way they turn. Whatever we write about, it seems like we can't win. Should we feel obliged to talk about serious, scary stuff?Read More
I wrote a while back about how I used to be racist, and how I grew up and, through my life experiences and because of wonderful people I have met, my worldview drastically changed. Living with white privilege (or any privilege) means constantly adjusting to be the best ally you can be, and I don't always get it right.
What does coffee have to do with being a bad person, you ask? Read on!
Taking a hard look at your own behaviour can be really difficult. Facing up to your own bad habits and mistakes isn't an easy task, but sometimes it's the first step to making improvements to your lifestyle and the way you treat the world around you. I know I don't tread as lightly or live as nobly as I can, or should. So, in the interests of becoming a (slightly) better person, here is a list of reasons that I'm a bad person, and how I plan to better myself.
(Ok, maybe "bad person" is a bit strong, though maybe it isn't. But whether you think these things make me objectively a "bad person" or subjectively "morally wobbly" that's your call.)
1. Using non-cruelty-free makeup
If you asked me how I felt about non-CF makeup I'd say "There's no real excuse for using makeup tested on animals, especially if you call yourself an animal-lover. There are so many options and awesome CF brands, there's no reason to support brands that are complicit in animal abuse." Yet, if you looked in my makeup box or even my handbag you'd find a ton of lipsticks from Rimmel and Maybelline and Urban Decay, which either sell in China (and therefore their products are tested on animals) or are owned by parent companies which do the same. If I think about someone forcing my animals through the torture of cosmetics testing I fill with rage and sadness, so the fact that I've knowingly supported companies that pay for animals to be used in this way actually makes me feel a bit sick.
BUT I've fully committed to only replacing my used makeup/cosmetics/bath and beauty products with cruelty-free, vegan alternatives. I haven't totally settled on whether I'll continue to use CF brands owned by non-CF parent companies, but what I can say is that I won't be buying from brands that sell in China and therefore allow mandatory animal testing of their products. I've already ordered some stuff from Tarte! What's more, when I've finally moved into my own house, I also plan to use CF and vegan cleaning products in my home.
2. Using an ad blocker
This might not sound like a "bad" thing on the surface, but using an ad blocker means that the producers of online media you consume, from news sites to blogs and YouTube videos don't get their ad revenue. Some creators rely on these paychecks to survive, particularly YouTubers. If I think about it, it seems unfair that I'd undercut the earnings of people whose work I enjoy and admire for the sake of saving 30 seconds, or avoiding a banner here and there.
BUT when I can afford it I do contribute to content creators whose work I regularly watch/read via Patreon or other similar schemes, and I plan to get organised so I can whitelist certain sites to allow their ads. I also buy merch that my favourite musicians/YouTubers bring out, and retweet/share sponsored posts that my friends do. In fact, my beautiful new header was done by my blogging friend, Kelly. Check out her work and hire her, she's awesome.
3. Contributing to "fast fashion"
I think it's fair to say I'm not very "trendy". I mean, I'm secure in my sense of style, but my style isn't exactly stylish, if you catch my meaning.
If you follow me on Twitter you might have seen me rant recently about how modern life prizes convenience over ethics, and this is very true of the fashion industry. Most of us know that in order to produce large volumes of clothing very cheaply, companies rely on exploitative working environments for their factory labourers. In short, this means sweatshops, pitifully low wages, dangerous working conditions and, in some cases, slave labour and the forced employment of children. If this is something you care about on any level, I highly recommend you do some research - it really is eye-opening. As much as I hate to admit it, sometimes I put my disgust at the abuse of vulnerable, impoverished workers aside for a cute, cheap item of clothing.
BUT I'm trying really hard not to let consumer culture get the better of me, and to only buy clothes from charity shops or ethical companies. I also want to try my hand at making my own clothes and I want to focus on being more inventive with clothes I already own instead of feeling a constant need to buy new things.
Yes, my beloved car is also part of the problem...
In all fairness, this is not on purpose. I am a fairly new driver, and a generally absent-minded person. Now and again if I'm driving alone, or it's night time, or there are no other cars on the road, I just don't pay as much attention to my speed as I should. This may sound like pretty average behaviour, but really there's no excuse for it, especially when you bear in mind that excessive speed is the 2nd most common cause of car accidents. Every time I get in the car I think to myself "remember your speed" and yet on most journeys I find myself at least a couple of miles over the speed limit.
BUT fixing this bad behaviour is simply a case of paying more attention. Apple's new update even means that the Maps app shows the speed limit of whatever road you're on, which will be a help. Considering how anxious I used to be about driving, careful motoring should be in my nature.
5. Wasting resources
Laziness isn't an excuse, but it is the reason. I leave things plugged in, I leave the tap running while I brush my teeth, I leave the shower running while I condition my hair, I drive when I could feasibly walk or take public transport, I don't use food in my fridge and have to throw it away, I use plastic straws... the list is, to my shame, somewhat endless.
BUT, first things first, I've ordered these reusable straws so I can stop using plastic ones, and plan to take my reuseable coffee cup with me when I go to coffee shops. I will start turning the tap off while I'm actually brushing my teeth or conditioning my hair, and I'll try and be more organised about making food, using food scraps and turning appliances off at the wall when they're not actually in use.
Ok, so maybe doing all of these things just means I'm a fallible, lazy product of consumer culture. But I don't have to be a fallible, lazy product of consumer culture. I hope that writing all this down and owning up to it is the first step to making myself accountable and doing a better job.
|Cute plant babies soothe my irate soul|
Instead, I'm going to have to talk about something else. I'm going to talk about this statement, which makes up about half of my Facebook and Twitter feeds:
"I have a right to my opinion. Your opinion is no better than anyone else's."
With respect, that is bollocks, and you know it is.
Imagine a scientist is leading a lecture about Earth's atmosphere. Specifically he's talking about the colour of the sky, and why it's blue. He presents all the scientific evidence, counter-arguments and reasoning, and says, "And that's why the sky looks blue on clear days."
Now imagine someone at the back of the lecture hall says, "Well, I don't believe it. I believe that the sky is made of cheese and that the cheese in question is bright yellow. You're wrong."
The scientist is a bit baffled, but asks the other man, "What leads you to believe this, despite all of the evidence to the contrary?"
The man at the back crosses his arms and says, "I don't need evidence, mate. It's my opinion. You can't tell me my opinion is wrong."
Are you seriously suggesting that the scientist's assertion that the sky is blue is of equal validity to the other man's completely fabricated idea of the yellow cheese sky? Of course not.
This is why I absolutely do not accept this woolly, kumbaya rubbish. An incontrovertible fact, or an opinion based on one, is OBVIOUSLY of more value than one pulled out of someone's arse. Besides which, if you really believe that "everyone is entitled to hold an opinion without being challenged on it", then you can't challenge my opinion that your opinion is a shower of shit.
Ultimately, people who rely on "Well that's my opinion and I have a right to my opinion" only argue that because they have no actual leg to stand on. If you're finding yourself relying on "It's my opinion" then have a look at what you're basing your opinion on, because it's likely to be insubstantial.
Additionally, when you say you "don't believe" in something, bear in mind that if it actually happens/exists, what you mean is that you don't "agree".
"I don't believe in casual sex". It happens. It exists. You can't "not believe" in something if it's real. You mean you don't agree with it.
"I don't believe in homosexuality". You mean you're a homophobe. Because gay folk exist. You don't get the option of "not believing".
"I don't believe in being transgender." Again, hundreds of thousands of trans people have existed through time. You mean you're transphobic. Because, here's the deal. You think by saying you "don't believe" in something you're implying that you can't help what you feel about it. Agreement, on the other hand, is a choice. It's affected by upbringing/environment, but you still choose whether you agree with something.
By saying you "don't believe" in something that you actually don't AGREE with you're trying to shirk responsibility for your opinion. Presenting it as a "belief" not an "opinion" is your way of saying that you can't help what you think, when actually you absolutely can. You're basically saying "I think this thing is bad, but that's not my fault" rather than "I think this is bad, and that's my opinion." It's also implying that your opinion is some kind of immovable spiritual pillar, rather than subject to change or persuasion. Agreement is open to debate, discussion and change. Framing an opinion as belief is an attempt to shut that down.
So by saying "I don't believe in this" you're actually saying "I think this thing is bad, don't try and tell me otherwise."
The implication of "believing" is that there's no concrete/absolute proof of the thing's existence/efficacy, but you put faith in it anyway i.e. you can't know for certain that it's definitely real, or that it definitely works, but something in you makes you think it is/does.
Things you can "believe" in are deities, spirituality, homeopathic medicine, magic, soulmates, horoscopes, ghosts, unicorns, an afterlife.
Things that exist, beyond doubt, are religion, witches, stars, LGBTQA+ people, people who have casual/premarital sex, marriage.
So, for an example of the nuance, you can "not believe" in God, but you can't "not believe" in religion, because it definitely exists.
What you mean is "I don't believe in God, and I don't agree with religion." You see the difference?
(To make it clear, "belief" can also apply to things that exist, but haven't been proven to fulfill their intended purpose. For instance, reiki, homepathy, tarot reading, runes, horoscopes, divination in general etc. So you can "not believe" in crystal healing, but you can't "not believe" in blood transfusions/chemotherapy/organ transplants.)
It's an abuse of nuance, not necessarily intentional, but it's a way to throw a shit bomb and then claim you don't stink.
When you say "I don't believe in being gay" you mean you have a moral objection to it. That's not about belief, not really. It's a choice. Much like you believe in God, but you choose your religion/church. You choose what part of the bible to adhere to and what to ignore. And honestly, that's totally ok. That's your choice. But don't pretend that it ISN'T a choice. Own your opinions, take responsibility.
Basically, if you say you "don't believe" in something that is proven to exist, you need to have a little think about your opinions. It might not be intentional, but you're trying to abandon responsibility for your thoughts/feelings/behaviour and deflect conversation.
And, by definition, if you don't agree with the LGBTQA+ community you are homo/trans/bi/aro/queer/acephobic. That is the literal truth.
If you don't "agree" with gender/racial equality then BY DEFINITION you are sexist/racist.
Calling an opinion a belief doesn't change that. You are what you are.
My Twitter rant kind of took a turn when I admitted something I’ve been meaning to talk about for a while.
It took me a long time to say it in these words, I gotta call ‘em like I see ‘em. Teenage Elena, I see you.Here's the kicker, kids: I used to be a racist piece of shit. I was a Tory-voting, headscarf-fearing, anti-mosque-building sack of bile.— The Little Mergoth (@BraveMermaid) June 17, 2016
I could skirt around the issue and say that I was ‘confused’ or ‘ignorant’. I could blame my middle-class background and my private, boarding school education. I could ignore that phase of my life altogether. But, the more I talk about politics, culture, feminism and race the more I feel at odds with my history. Whenever someone on Twitter retweets or praises me for discussing these issues, the more I feel pressed to say, “I’m shit. I have been so shit. I’m so sorry.” I feel terrified that I’ll be ‘found out’. With Facebook’s ‘On This Day’ feature I live in fear of being provided with archived digital proof of my crappy former views. I feel a bit haunted by it. Am I judging myself too harshly?
It’s always my aim to be honest, open and balanced in my writing. Integrity is one of my core values. I feel like if I get this off my chest, if I document it and make it freely available to read, that I might feel less like a fraud. If I say the words “I was racist”, does that absolve me?
It’s not like I’m a reformed neo-Nazi. I never confronted a Muslim in the street to question them about acts of terrorism. I never excluded someone from an event based on the colour of their skin. I never wished violence or misfortune on other races. I never laid a finger on anyone. Does that make it better?
I did think that hijabs, niqabs and burkas were a ‘security risk’ that shouldn’t be allowed in public places, and certainly not in schools. I thought that asylum seekers should have to ‘assimilate’ if they wanted to live in the UK. Of course, by ‘assimilate’ I meant they should act like middle class, secular white people. I’d argue that ‘I’d have to learn to fit in and play by the rules if I moved to Saudi Arabia’, despite also trying to argue that I shouldn’t have to adhere to ‘oppressive values’. I was scared of Brixton, because pop culture references and comedic anecdotes has created a vision in my mind of any ‘black areas’ of London as a living embodiment of Jay Z’s Run This Town video. That video also scared me. I thought casual racism was ‘just a bit of fun’ and that anyone who took offence was being ‘oversensitive’. I was fearful. I was ignorant. I was narrow-minded. Was I the worst of people? No. Was I racist? Absolutely.
It took a few years and very, very good friends to change all of this. When a group of uni friends had a discussion about politics (particularly about burqas if I remember rightly) which made me feel increasingly uncomfortable I was faced with a question that all bigots must be faced with in one way or another. A simple, three-word question that pops up in your brain when you find your views and beliefs being challenged by passionate, intelligent, well-rounded people:
I was lucky. I was surrounded by people who were patient, calm, gentle and, most of all, who I admired. I’ll be honest, part of the reason I listened while they opposed me is that I wanted to be liked. I didn’t want them to stop interacting with me because of my politics. That sounds cowardly, and maybe it is. But when people you like, people whose company you cherish and who otherwise seem to be on your level look horrified when you voice your opinions, it’s inevitable that your resolve will start to weaken a little, even if you’re incredibly stubborn. When you realise that your views make you unlikeable, you start to look at them differently.
I am so grateful to my friends from uni, I’m so glad they didn’t give up on me the first time they heard me say something stupid and racist. I’m also extremely thankful to people on Twitter who are there to pull me up when I unintentionally tweet something harmful and who are kind enough to actually explain what was wrong with what I said, rather than just descending into name-calling. I love the feminists I’ve met in real life and online who have taught me the meaning of intersectionality and White Feminism, and the bloggers and journos who helped me to recognise my own privilege and how to live without letting my past blinker me.
Everyday racism isn’t lynching or pipe bombs or hate crimes. Everyday racism is a middle aged woman muttering about halal stickers on meat in the supermarket. Everyday racism is someone saying that immigrants should have to do jobs that “hardworking British people are too good for”. Everyday racism is complaining when Beyoncé releases a racially-charged song or when Rihanna sings in Patois. Everyday racism is panels of white people discussing race issues in the media without consulting a single POC. Everyday racism is excusing anti-Islamic behaviour by saying “I don’t want my grandchildren being forced to wear headscarves to school”. Everyday racism is believing that certain traits are inherent to people based on their race. Everyday racism is denying POCs safe spaces because you feel left out. Everyday racism is being complicit in the othering of other races to your own advantage.
Everyday racism is subtle. It’s quiet. It’s worryingly socially acceptable. It’s insidious, viral, dangerous. It’s also reversible.
My old mindset makes me uncomfortable. It makes me feel guilty. But most of all it makes me hopeful. If you’d told 18-year-old Elena that she’d turn into a 24-year-old intersectional feminist, blogging about white privilege, voting Labour, condemning my own past racism and tweeting angry satire she’d have thought you were nuts. Yet, here I stand.
Everyday racists aren’t the ones killing people, not directly. But their existence, their proud stance and vocal bigotry stretch the boundaries of what we consider to be acceptable, and it’s those greyed-out limits that let Britain First fundamentalists go by unchecked. Everyday racists didn’t kill Jo Cox, but everyday racism almost certainly played a part in allowing her killer to become who he was.
Please learn from this. Learn from my guilty past. Make it mean something.
|Yeah, this picture is pretty much irrelevant. I'm writing in it, what more do you want?|
I try to stay encouraging as far as I can, and I am always open for discussion and debate. However, today I saw a post about veganism that was so terrible that I couldn't find anything positive to say about it. As well as being poorly researched (i.e. barely researched at all) and misleadingly-worded, it was just really badly written. Not only that, but when challenged on this, the original author was defensive and played the victim online, rather than engaging in a discussion or allowing people to educate her on her dangerous levels of ignorance. To add insult to injury, she's deleting comments on the original post by more informed individuals attempting to set the record straight.
I can't sit this girl down and tell her to stop being so wilfully irresponsible, but what I can do is try and turn it into a more general learning opportunity. So, without further ado, here are some tips for being a responsible blogger.
Don't State Opinions as Facts
Having an opinion is fine. After all, putting opinions in writing for mass consumption is basically the definition of blogging, right? However there a world of difference between fact and opinion. I thought this was obvious, but I've seen numerous instances of people making inaccurate statements (i.e. flat-out lying) and defending their bullshit as "a matter of opinion". In case you need a lesson, here's the difference:
I think that the way slaughterhouses operate is acceptable.
Opinion masquerading as a fact:
I believe that 90% of slaughter houses are killing humanely.
According to HSA information, 2.6 million cattle, 10 million pigs, 14.5 million sheep and lambs, 80 million fish and 950 million birds are slaughtered for human consumption. EU guidelines dictate the minimum measures that should be taken to avoid unnecessary suffering, however whether there is any way to humanely slaughter an animal is a matter of opinion.
When you put a blog out there, you do it to be read. It's completely delusional to believe that everyone who reads it will be congratulatory/complimentary/in agreement. When you create content it is for consumption, and the consumer is just as entitled to hold an opinion as you are. The only way you can hope to avoid the "haters" is by writing well, having popular opinions and crossing your fingers that those who disagree with you don't see it. If however, you write like a toddler, tell bald-faced lies and have shit opinions then you're basically throwing a manure grenade at the internet.
This weekend I went to a wedding in the midlands (Maid of Honour swag, yo) which meant three hours on public transport. I’ve been taking long train journeys on my own for around a decade now, so I’m pretty confident travelling alone. However, this journey was a little different.
“You can anonymously text the BTP [British Transport Police on 61016] or tweet the train company. Or just be straight and ask the person if they are ok.”
|Ripped up denim, plaid and black t shirts are my casual staples.|
2. If you’re worried the thing isn’t “flattering” remember that you look fucking great. You don’t need to hide/compress/disguise your body.
3. Fashion should be a fun challenge, not a frustrating and limiting set of rules.
4. You don’t have to pigeonhole your “aesthetic”.
5. One person’s “flaw” is another person’s “fabulous”.
6. Your style should play with your own boundaries and comfort levels, not be limited by other people’s.
7. Imitation really is a sincere form of flattery, but interpretation is better.
There are a number of people, particularly in the blogging community, whose style makes me various shades of green with envy. Whether it's gothy/grungey/alt girls whose sense of style is within my wheelhouse (I'm talking Sarah, Kimberley and Jessica) or my favourite Balamory-resident-meets-Elmer-and-Alexa-Chung, Belphoebe, I find myself in a community of people whose wardrobes I would happily steal, wholesale. I would let them dress me every day. Blogging makes it even easier to "steal the style" of people you admire, as people are more than happy to share the stores they shop in. However generous they are, it's probably more polite, and more fun, to reinterpret someone else's outfit choices and adapt them to yourself, rather than taking it literally. Nobody likes a copycat, and most people would rather be seen as an inspiration than a personal shopper.
8. “Seasonal dressing” should keep you temperate, not prevent self-expression.
In the words of Miranda Priestly, "Florals? For spring? Groundbreaking." We have all been taught some basic "rules" of seasonal dressing. Certain fabrics and textures are even referred to by the seasons - winter knits, spring florals, summer gauzes, autumn browns... It's tried, it's tested and it's... well, it's a bit boring. So what if you want to wear a bright, busy floral print in the depths of November, or black all through summer? It's obviously sensible to wear clothes that keep you warm when it's cold out, and vice versa, but that should be the only limit you feel pressed into observing. Rule one still applies. Just don't get sunburn/frostbite/extremely soggy and then blame me, ok?
9. Gender norms can get fucked.
I could be very lazy and just scream "RULE ONE" until my eyes bleed, but I'm not good at being concise. If you can physically get the clothes onto your body and you feel good in them, then it shouldn't matter what section of the shop it came from. Similarly you shouldn't feel like you need to stick to one "gender" for even the confines of a single outfit, let alone your wardrobe as a whole. Wear "men's" jeans with a "ladies'" lace crop top if it makes you happy. Whether you wish to express yourself in a masculine, feminine, a-gender or gender-fluid way is absolutely your prerogative. If someone gives you the stink-eye for rifling through the racks in the "wrong" section, remind yourself that the only thing "wrong" with the situation is their bigotry.
10. It is your body, your wardrobe, your happiness, your identity, your life.
|Eyebrow game is strong|
|Myspace mirror selfie|
|Last selfie before I fell asleep|
|The morning after|
|Hungover, in my pjs|
I showed my mum some of the photos from the evening, buoyed up from the confidence boost the evening had given me. She sort of nodded and grimaced while she looked at them and then she said, "But it's not the real you, is it. You can't see your double chin." I tried not to let that comment take any of the wind out of my sails, and I mentioned what my friend had said about my legs. "Your friend must have big legs, then," she said. When I replied that I thought that my legs were proportionally slimmer than my upper body she just declared outright, "You don't have slim legs. You look nice in PICTURES but when we look at you all we see is your double chin." I pointed out that I know I'm photogenic, and that I know I look better in photos than in real life. She said, "I don't want you to have body dysmorphia and think that you look good when you know you need to lose weight." This was the point at which I left the room.
Later she came upstairs and said to me, "I'm sorry... but you don't have slim legs." I told her that apologising by repeating the things she was apologising for was a pretty poor excuse for an apology. She left the room in a strop.
I am too goddamn old to be blogging about hating the way my mother speaks to me.
I know what I look like. I'm very, very aware of how my body looks both in and out of clothes. I know I have stretchmarks in a colour range from angry purple to almost-imperceptible silver across my tummy, thighs, hips and boobs. I know that I have crappy skin on my arms and legs thanks to keratosis pilaris. I could draw you an unsettlingly accurate sketch, from memory alone, of the way my stomach folds at the top of my thighs or the sides of my back, at my waist, which my brothers dubbed "flub lines" when they saw me in a bikini as a teenager. I know I have "thighbrows" when I kneel and a crease in my neck from my double chin. I know I have a flat ass for a fat girl. I know I have a bump in my nose, scars in my eyebrows and on my thighs. And my wrists. And the back of one hand.
My rational, twenty-first century brain tells me that none of those things are something I should be ashamed of or feel forced to change. My liberal, body-positive, accepting, tolerant heart would see any one, all or combination of these things in another person and not judge them. I know that your body size doesn't accurately reflect your health and that BMI is trash. "Fat" is just an adjective.
The fact of the matter is, if someone stabs you with a kitchen knife, you wouldn't call it cooking. If someone uses words as weapons, they hurt. It doesn't matter that I already know when I look like; if someone tells me that they hate or are disgusted by something about my appearance it's still going to sting, regardless of how I initially felt about it.
My relationship with my body is chequered, complicated and incredibly dark in places. I have hated myself and felt such deep despair that I've wanted to hurt and punish myself, and times I've sincerely wanted to disappear or die. There are still things I want to change, and am working on changing. But I have learned from bitter experience that progress that comes from a place of self-love is so much better than progress from self-loathing.
I know I'm fat. I know I disgust and disappoint my mother.
I also know that I can sing pretty well, and write lyrics that people can relate to. I am good at my job, I'm compassionate, and I can make loads of different things, even if it does mean the occasional hot glue gun burn. I also know I can do squats with a 71kg woman sitting on my shoulders. And as someone reminded me on Twitter, if I can lift up an entire human woman, I can lift myself up too.
I don't really know how to end this post. I don't have a punchline or anything revelatory to say. I guess all I can add is that we get one chance at life, and one shot at being remembered. And I'd much rather be remembered as "squishy, but kind".
|This face sums up how I feel about your mean opinions.|
|Clothes: BOB by DOP Model: Angela Scanlon Photography: © David Loftus|
If you're happy to put fat people on your clothes, you should be willing to put fat people in them too.
Since I published this blog, Dawn O'Porter tweeted me to say that her press release mistakenly stated the size range. Apparently they stock sizes 8-18. Except in the skirt. I argued that this wasn't really much better. She also said that the two plus size people clearly seen on the shirt in the image above are normal-sized people in "giant animal costumes". Draw your own conclusions from that one.
Microbeads have been banned from cosmetics in the UK, which is a fantastic move. But other beauty trends could be contributing to the breakdown of ocean ecosystems...Read More
|Me (in the green dress) at my highest weight|
I have no qualms or shame in saying that I am a large girl. I'm 5'7" and I'm a size 14-18. I'm a fervent advocate for body positivity, and we are starting to see great steps being taken when it comes to fat fashion. Social media has wonderful pockets of support for people of all sizes, shapes and styles, and it's becoming more accepted to be big, beautiful and proud. So why am I one of those people resolving to lose weight this year?
|At my lowest adult weight|
Also, I have a couple of mental and physical health issues that would be improved by losing weight and getting fitter. I have some lung problems that are alleviated slightly when I am regularly doing cardio, and the relationship between mental health and exercise is undeniable. I will stress this now, you can never judge a person's overall health by the shape of their body. I am not equating "slim" with "healthy" because we all know that this is a flawed concept. However, I find exercise easier when I am carrying less extra weight, and my lungs and brain work a lot better when I exercise.
|Me at a high weight after a quick weight gain|
It's not all about fixing the negatives, though. Exercise also helps me with singing and stamina while performing. The band has huge plans for this coming year, and I want to give it my all, and that includes being as fit and ready as I can be.
Weight and body image are such touchy subjects for so many people, and I feel a little conflicted talking about it at all. I completely believe that everyone should be allowed to look how they want to look, eat what they want to eat, wear what they want to wear and exercise how, when and where they choose. People should be allowed to take pleasure in things they find pleasurable without being subjected to the unsolicited disapproval of others. This is why it's important to stress that I'm not changing the shape of my body for anyone's comfort but my own.
I'm going to be joining Slimming World, and I've written myself a workout plan inspired by my favourite female characters, like Buffy, Jessica Jones and (of course) Ariel, the Little Mermaid. I don't know how much I'm going to continue discussing my weight loss/fitness efforts here, and I don't really have any concrete goals. I'll try not to be boring about it, because this isn't a fitness blog and I don't want it to become one. But I know this will be a lot easier with some support.
I do not believe that any body type is better or more attractive than any other. In my imaginary utopia all clothing ranges would come in all sizes and tailoring would be free. Everyone would feel free to express themselves however they chose, and airplane seats would be universally comfortable. But, even in this judgement-free dream world, I know I'd want to be slimmer and fitter than I currently am. And, really, that's what tells me that I need to do it.
If you're losing, gaining or maintaining your weight this year, I wish you all the love and luck in the world.
Let’s get one thing straight: I am not 100% happy with the way I look. Of course there are things I would change if I had a magic wand. Of course I think there are things about myself that could so with some work. But that’s my work to do. It’s my battle to fight. It’s not anybody else’s job to “suggest” ways that I should feel obliged to change myself, especially when they are working to outdated, sexist, heteronormative, ableist, racist standard of beauty that exclude so many wonderful, beautiful ways of existing.
I’m a work in progress that won’t be completed until the day I die. I will always see room for improvement. I will always be trying to get better at something. And I see my blog as a way of documenting that, for better or for worse. That’s why I am pledging, here and now, never to retouch any of my photos (aside from Instagram filters because they’re just fun.)
For some people a blog is like a museum of their life, with all the best pieces laid out for public view, and you know what? That is absolutely fine. If you want your blog/website/social media to show you at your peak then that is completely your choice and you have my full support. If you want to airbrush, alter, amend or otherwise edit your photos, that’s ok too. You do what you need to do. Your life, your choice.
Does this mean I’m going to only show you my Worm face from now on? Of course not. My social media and blog will still feature more flattering photographs. But it’s ok to acknowledge that everyone takes Worm photos now and again, whether they mean to or not.