The Power of Plus

I checked this book out of the library.

At the same time I’ve been studying the topic of microaggressions too.

One common comment is “You’d be so pretty if_______.”

I don’t want to trigger followers by typing in the rest of the sentence.

Who in their right mind would think this is a kind and caring thing to say?

Why would they think only thin people are pretty?

In my view I don’t think most people need to lose weight. Some of us carry more weight on our frames.

The author of the Power of Plus is Gianluca Russo an Italian freelance journalist. He exposes the folly of the thin white-centric ideal of beauty that designers foist on fashion models and consumers.

Russo ends the book on a positive note quoting powerful ladies.

To get readers to buy the book or at least check it out of the library I will quote one section toward the end.

Per Russo:

“I never knew what it meant to live authentically until I entered the fashion industry…That is what the plus-size community has taught me: true self-expression is perhaps the strongest power to exist on earth.”

Right said Russo.

If you ask me followers it all comes down to self-expression being the pathway to success.

In 2015 when I published my memoir I was the first woman writing about mental health who talked about how self-expression via dressing in fashion helped her recover.

I knew this then and I know it now: individuality is what makes a person beautiful.

Why should any of us feel the need to conform to what’s viewed as normal or acceptable?

True self-expression is irresistible to others.

Become who you are. Regardless of whether people like this

Shrinking ourselves to make others feel better is no way to live.

Shine on fabulous ladies.

Dress Code

The 2022 book shown above should be required reading.

The author is the Fashion Features Director at Elle magazine.

It’s a biting, incisive critique of the fashion industry, the Instagram Influencer trend, and the obsession with self-care.

I was born in the first year of Generation X. I have zero interest in engaging in the white-women influencer self-care practices or in buying the products they’re hawking.

The only form of self-care I’ve adopted is eating well, walking everywhere, and exercising 2x per week for 30 minutes as often as possible.

In 2011 when I turned 46 I decided that I had to start doing strength training. Before that I hadn’t lifted one 5-pound weight.

In January 2014 three years later I could dead lift 205 pounds at the gym.

No–I didn’t start “lifting” to lose weight. I didn’t do this to attract a man.

In February 2011 I was in a pizzeria having a slice. I could only eat half the slice, and threw the rest away.

I had the sense that something terrible had happened and this was verified that night.

I decided right then that I must start strength training. When women are going through a hard time I doubt most of us in an instant think that the solution is to lift weights.

I’ve failed at performing other acts of self-care. What struck me about Dress Code is the idea that self-care has become an impossible standard to live up to.

I don’t light candles (I’m a firefighter’s daughter afraid my apartment would go up in flames).

Nor am I keen to buy a product like Glossier lip liner in an attempt to feel good.

“Shopping in my closet” to create new outfits doesn’t cost a dime. Listening to music on audacy.com is free too. Checking books out of the library saves money as well.

What upsets me (why?) is the reference to how other women’s ugly bodies are not displayed and fawned over in the fashion media and Instagram accounts.

First: Everyone living on earth is beautiful. There are no ugly bodies in my view.

Why do critics persist in using the term ugly to describe bodies that don’t fit the fashion norm the critics rail against?

Too often women internalize shame about our bodies.

Do you want to know the only reason I exercise and eat well?

My father had Stage 3 colon cancer that spread to his liver.

My great-aunt, grandfather, and 57-year old cousin were in comas at the end of their lives.

My mother had breast cancer. One other aunt had cancer.

With that track record in my family history I won’t take chances by sitting on the couch watching TV all night.

In the epilogue to Dress Code author Hyland gives the rosy view that things appear to be changing and will get ever better in terms of the representation of women on social media.

Do you want to feel good? Then do good. I found a way to do this that I’ll talk about in a coming blog entry.

Serendipitous Motivational Tool

Getting COVID for two weeks I was lucky to be able watch Netflix shows on my home computer.

Binge-watching Sparking Joy with Marie Kondo I was inspired to tidy up my desktop.

Placing a small wooden box in a donation bag. It had been hanging out atop my desk for 11 years. My business cards were suffocated housed in the box.

Storing the business cards out in the open in a silver mesh tray in a desk drawer was the solution. Easy access to take a few cards to give out when I meet people.

Mixed in with the business cards I found this blue card with white letters proclaiming: You have cool hair.

The blue card I discovered was the perfect motivational tool. This card I placed on my newly bare desktop. To remind me that my hair was lovely.

Yes–I urge everyone to get vaccinated and boosted.

Andrew Giuliani the angry white man who ran for New York governor on the Republican ticket refused to get vaccinated. His claim was the vaccines don’t prevent illness.

Giuliani didn’t win the primary. We didn’t need this science-denier making decisions that effect the citizens of New York.

The regular flu vaccine–as well as the COVID vaccine–all vaccines have the goal of preventing death.

I’m grateful I had a mild form of COVID. Had I gotten ill before I was vaccinated I could’ve needed to use a ventilator. Or worse I could’ve died.

This is not the get-out-of-jail (work) Monopoly card I would’ve liked. Prefer I would to be able to take a month off in the form of a sabbatical to do anything I wanted.

Chancing to find the blue business card was a bright spot in my recovery from COVID.

I hope seeing the photo of the card inspires you to love your hair too.

Breeding Love with Hair Care

This week I watched Self-Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam CJ Walker.

Born Sarah Breedlove the beauty products entrepreneur did exactly that: breed love of their hair for millions of African American women.

More than an astonishing narrative about a self-made woman the story was an aperture onto Black history in the wake of enslaved Africans being freed.

Dismissed by Black and white men alike Walker persisted with her ambition.

Madam CJ Walker was the first female millionaire in America. She built an estate in Upstate New York near the home of John D. Rockefeller.

Proving the truth that where you start out in life is not where you must remain.

Watching the show I could relate to how Walker was driven to succeed.

With 10,000 sales agents Madam CJ Walker was bigger in her time than Mary Kay today.

Viewing Self-Made was the latest method of reinforcing that I should love my hair even when it’s not cooperating.

I say to you readers: persist until you achieve your goal(s) in life.

Tear a page from the Madam CJ Walker playbook (like I’m doing) and be not afraid to Make It Happen.

Refuse to let shame or blame imposed either by others or you on yourself prevent you from acting to get what you want in life.

Lastly what Self-Made taught me:

Having ambition aligned with a humanitarian ethic will make you succeed.

Be unstoppable.

Banishing My Hair Hate

Three months ago, I read the bell hooks book Communion: The Female Search for Love.

Though the copyright date is 2002 hooks’ theme is eternal. Everyone coming up in their life should read Communion.

Author bell hooks is the True Prophet of Passion.

While speed-reading through this riveting book I decided not to care about my disobedient hair. Finally, I could leave it alone to carry on wayward despite my best hand with the blow dryer.

April has heralded the start of my hair frizzing and curling up in rainy or humid weather.

To be proactive on these days I don’t dry my hair straight in the morning. I blow-dry my hair while scrunching the hair tight upside down.

Viewing old photos of when I was younger, I don’t like the tame ordinary haircuts I had. Nor do I like the androgynous haircuts I used to get with my former hair stylist.

I’m 57 years old. After turning another year older I’ve stopped caring to impress others. What I’ve learned I’m going to share in a coming blog entry.

One day a female customer raved about my “new haircut.”

What? In the morning I had woken up without shampooing and drying my hair. Only brushing my hair so that it wasn’t sticking up or out in a wild way.

She thought my hair was lovely!

Everyone else is too obsessed with agonizing over what they think their shortcomings are. This guarantees that they have no time to assail you.

The ones that care if you have wild woman hair–I wish I had the kind of time they do to waste on thinking ill of others.

If I had that extra time, I would be spending it writing blog entries to amuse readers. Given 15 minutes more every day I would plan a new outfit to wear that I hadn’t worn before. Or wash my face and apply moisturizer to it.

Today–and this might be imprudent–I revel in my wild hair.

We should all love our hair. Whether curly or straight coiled or kinky all hair is beautiful.

Fearing what other people think of our hair is a waste of our time and energy.

Yes–I understand the implication in going around sporting a hairstyle that does not conform to what others deem is acceptable grooming.

Only:

Liberating myself from hair hate I hope is the start of bigger and better things happening in my life.

Here’s to Hair Freedom leading to Hope for achieving what we want to get in life.

If I’m able to I might post a video here where I flash my wild tresses.

Keep wild and carry on.

Rules are designed to keep us in our place.

Fie conformity!

Fearless is the New Flawless

A friend shot the photo above.

In the picture the only makeup I have on is black eyeliner.

The photo shoot set off a revolution in my head.

Through a series of recent events, I’ve come to see that letting go of what no longer serves you is the first step in setting your intention for the New Year.

I’ve learned that it’s okay to let go of the anger. That freedom lies in having self-acceptance.

I’ve decided that how I’m dressed in the photo is an OK Winter Date Night Outfit.

No pumps or stilettos for me. Just rocking boots.

It takes guts to act true to yourself. Only believe me faking who you are leads to ill health.

Getting the new haircut shown in the photo was what turned around my thinking. A great haircut gives you the confidence to take on the world.

Who couldn’t use more confidence in 2022?

On the Classes for Confidence page of the beauty emporium’s website their stance is that:

Fearless is the New Flawless.

Living through the pandemic I’ve come to see things differently.

I’m not keen to have the makeup on my face be the first thing people notice.

In a room of women spackled with obvious makeup I would rather stand out having a fresh face.

What I’ve learned is that worrying about how you appear to others is a waste of time and energy.

Perhaps by talking about my experience I can give readers the courage to act true to yourself too.

2022 is here.

It’s time to let go of the fear of what will happen when we show up as ourselves interacting with each other.

To abolish the hate in the world we must first love ourselves.

The mirror is not our enemy. Nor is any other human being.

Laughter is the Best Cosmetic

In the October Allure magazine Ariana Grande is quoted on the cover:

“You can never have enough music or makeup.”

The superstar vocalist is bringing out her own beauty line.

In truth music and makeup have been healing modes of expression for me.

First in the 1980s when I was a disc jockey on FM radio.

Throughout my life listening to music even today.

Fugees are on the Post Modern Music Box channel with “No Woman No Cry” as I type this blog entry.

I recommend going on Audacy to listen to 100s of music stations.

My favorites are the Punk Party channel and the Post Modern Music Box channel. There’s also a channel for The Cure and for New Arrivals.

The link to Audacy will be at the bottom of this blog entry.

Elsewhere what brightened my day was cashing in my 1000 points in the Sephora Rewards Bazaar.

My Benefit brand gift was a water bottle inscribed with We Dream in Pink that changes color. A white tote bag with pink letters chiming: Laughter is the Best Cosmetic. A tube of They’re Real! Magnet Extreme Lengthening Mascara.

In the October Allure there was a review of the They’re Real! Magnet Mascara.

Smitten I was with this lash-defining product. So I will keep using it.

Music and Makeup.

I find myself listening to music at all hours of the day and night.

Lining my eyes with black eyeliner. Or using silvery-white eyeshadow.

Going through a struggle I feel good when I make others feel good. There’s a lot that’s not right in the world. So injecting humor and hope into everyone’s lives is called for.

Sephora now sells a haircare line by Tracee Ellis Ross called Pattern. Definitely worth checking out and the packaging is gorgeous too.

Here is the link to the Audacy website.

Weight a Minute

Yes–I get it that OKCupid is set up to attract romantic partners.

Everyone should have my kind of dilemma:

I’m resigned to the fact that I’m a tiny person. As in a woman who would be called “thin.” Only 5’0″ I fit into a size 2 Petite.

So–I removed the words “fit and active” to describe myself in my profile essay.

I don’t want to attract men who are fixated on my figure.

You can check off “prefer not to say” as an option when it asks you to click how much you weigh.

Only why be coy? I’ve decided as a rule to not lie and live in hiding.

So–I reluctantly checked off “thin.”

You should not be afraid to check off “full-figured.” Yet go right ahead and click “Prefer not to say” if you want.

IRL you won’t fool anyone about your weight. Why not own up to your beautiful body in whatever size or shape it is?

If this gorgeous earth we live on is round why can’t a female body be round?

I’m not naturally thin by the way. I got this way because I’m muscular. For over 10 years I’ve engaged in intense weight-lifting routines.

Plus I don’t eat meat. Only (mostly organic) chicken, seafood, vegetables and salads.

My father had Stage 3 colon cancer that spread to his liver. The cancer killed him.

It’s because of this that I exercise and eat well as consistently as possible.

Being “thin” is not something to covet or be proud of. Whether a woman is skinny or voluptuous no one should be commenting on her body either way.

Oh–I suppose I could’ve clicked “Prefer not to say.” Why not? Only no one should feel guilty or ashamed because of their body and how they look.

In fact you might be able to not answer this question at all and leave it blank.

The double bind is: why should there be a need on OKCupid for the website to ask this question in the first place?

Style Therapy

I bought the book Style Therapy: 30 Days to Your Signature Style by Lauren Messiah.

So far I’m in Week 3 of the challenge to alter your wardrobe so that you can get what you want in life.

Messiah crafted her career as a personal stylist after hitting her own roadblocks in life.

Now she’s a million-dollar entrepreneur.

The memoir aspect of Style Therapy is the part that inspires me the most. At the end of this blog entry I’ll link to Messiah’s website.

She used to be a Hollywood stylist. Her life turned around when she decided to go into business for herself helping ordinary women.

In Week 2 of the 30-day challenge you confront other people’s opinions of who you are and what your body looks like.

Messiah confessed that after a hurtful comment about her thighs looking fat in shorts she didn’t wear a pair of shorts until she turned 36.

Her defiance to rock short shorts inspired me to get over my own gaga about my thighs. To buy and wear a pair of shorts too.

Like Messiah I think being open and honest is the way to go.

My literary agent told me that maybe I should archive this blog and focus on other things.

Counter-intuitively I decided to keep posting blog entries here that tell the truth.

Messiah links rocking your authentic style to achieving your goals in life.

While working on the exercises in Week 3 I was empowered to reach for the stars.

Later in life I find myself becoming only more ambitious not less motivated.

See the Lauren Messiah website to download a free e-book.

Reading the emails she sends me is one of the highlights in my inbox.