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INTUITIVE EATING CAN BE A DIET | BY CHRISTY HARRISON

(Quote via Christy on Instagram + click and read the caption!)
Intuitive eating doesn’t mean “you can only eat when you’re hungry, you must stop when you’re full, and you must always eat exactly what you want”—that’s just a diet, and one that’s only accessible to the economically privileged.
If you really don't have enough resources—enough food, enough time, enough energy—intuitive eating is going to look VERY different from that diet-y interpretation.
For people with food insecurity, for example, intuitive eating means working toward consistent, reliable access to food, any food—and at the societal level, it means enacting progressive social policies to help end the poverty and economic injustice that creates food insecurity.
For low-income people working long hours or multiple jobs, intuitive eating often means eating when you’re NOT hungry to ensure you get your food needs met within the constraints of your day—and at the societal level, it means fighting for social change to enact a living wage and affordable healthcare and housing.
Also, when you’ve gone through the trauma of food insecurity, it’s really common to have a hard time stopping when your stomach feels full—and that’s a very understandable response to starvation. That’s your body looking out for you and your survival. That’s NOT “doing intuitive eating wrong.”

Intuitive eating is about getting your needs met to the best of your ability, whatever the situation—without the intrusion of diet culture and the fatphobia and food-phobia it creates.

And diet culture is a system of beliefs based on racism and misogyny, so dismantling it is essential to the project of social justice.

Intuitive eating is also the default mode, the way we’re all born relating to food and our bodies, before those diet-culture incursions—and we ALL deserve to get back there.
It won’t be “perfect,” especially in more difficult circumstances, but it’s worth fighting at the societal level to make it possible for everyone to get their food needs met.
This week on Food Psych, we’re replaying a fan-favorite episode that explores the impact of hunger and food insecurity on people’s relationships with food.
My guest, the incredible author, and activist Jes Baker, shares how growing up in poverty created a very deep sense of food scarcity for her, and how she’s working to heal from it.
We also discuss why talking about trauma is so important, why Jes uses the term “body liberation” instead of “body positivity” or “fat acceptance,” why we need to have more nuanced conversations about people's body-liberation journeys, how the experience of being “small-fat” differs from the experience of being in a larger fat body, and so much more.
Plus, I answer a listener question about starting movement again after a history of compulsive exercise.
Tune in right here, and be sure to subscribe via your favorite podcast platform so that you never miss an episode.
Here’s to getting your needs met in any way you need to, 
Christy
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A note from Jes: You can also find more podcast interviews I've done right here, which answer many of the questions I'm often asked!

DO YOU HAVE TERRIBLE COPING SKILLS? (PROBABLY NOT, BUT LET'S TALK ABOUT IT!)


When I read the tweet above from @MrsSarahAnn on Twitter, I was overjoyed to see someone normalizing an action that so many of us do in a simple and universal way. (True story: my therapist has actually "prescribed" more Netflix when I was going through a rough patch.)

The life-changing part for me, happened when I reposted this on my Instagram with my favorite shows* (she originally mentioned Friends) and the question: "Fellow Anxiety Identifiers, what do you watch/have on rotation?

(*I apologize to the hardcore GBBO fans who view calling it the "Great British Baking Show" or GBBS as sheer sacrilege; I have since repented and promise to sin no more!)

The responses blew me away. I watched lightbulb after lightbulb go off as folks listed their favorite "comfort blanket watches" in addition to their amazement that they weren't the only ones who did this particular action to relieve anxiety. Amongst the copious amounts of shows listed there were also innumerable comments like the ones below:

"Oh my gosh. I always felt like something was wrong with me for doing this. I suffer from severe anxiety and I’m so happy to see this is normal."

"This is me, I thought I was the only one!"

"This was exactly what I needed to see today! Sometimes, I feel really guilty for watching too much TV but it's the only thing that makes sense and the only way I feel better some days. I really appreciate that you posted this. It gives me permission somehow."


"Oh my goodness, it feels really good to identify this! I get annoyed with myself for binge watching tv shows or reading non-stop, but it really does help my anxiety to break out of my own life and worries and concentrate on a different story. This makes so much sense. Thank you!"

"Ugh you know those moments when some quirk you had as a child or teenager gets recast as an indication of the very real issues you're dealing with as an adult? ....yep."

And then there was one comment that summed it all up into one sentence: 

"I didn’t know this was a thing... I always just thought I had terrible coping skills."

As someone who has worked with countless individuals and assisting with the development of a list of coping skillsalso called survival strategies or wellness tools—I'm fairly accustomed to seeing lists being filled out with everything from taking medication to making crepes to hot showers to taking a walk to petting an animal to having sex (alone or with others) to brushing hair to listening Harry Potter audiobooks and beyond. The options literally, ARE infinite.

There's never been an "official rulebook" for what or what isn't a helpful coping skill because we are all unique in our needs and what makes us feel safe/better.

Does it up your happiness? Does it ground you? Does it bring some peace? Then list it and use it! List and use them all!

And, total transparency, this is simply my personal opinion: After working in behavioral health for the better part of a decade—and also working on my personal recovery!—I don't think that (when it comes to most things, items that harm others being an exception) "terrible coping skills" actually exist.

When I say this, I say it in the context of: we do what we need to in order to survive and if you're still here on this earth, it means you're nailing the survival game!

THIS IS HOW I FEEL ABOUT YOU NAILING THE SURVIVAL GAME:


If I could hit a golden buzzer and blast some wildly tear-inducing, empowering song while glitter rains from the sky for you... I TOTALLY WOULD.

Where the "Maybe I should change some of my coping skills...?" part can come in is if/when we feel like the tools we're using are no longer working for us or we'd like to try something different that jives a little more with our current goals.

It's in those moments that we get to play around with other tools and ideas that may serve us better.

Until then, I'd love to suggest the idea that most of our "coping skills" are wonderful, shame-free, and "normal" actions that we take to keep ourselves alive and (hopefully) thriving! I'm here to cheer you on as you figure out more of what those things are—you are the expert on yourself after all!—and as you keep adding to that "wellness toolbox."

I believe in you, my friend. I really do.

I'd love to hear what some of your coping skills/wellness tools/survival mechanisms are that YOU enjoy! If you feel like sharing, just let me know below!

Offering you permission (only if you want it, of course) to not only survive but thrive,



🎵 SPEAKING OF WELLNESS TOOLS: Each morning starts with some music that lifts my energy and more often than not, you can find me singing along or dancing in my office before sitting down to work. I've made four (free) kick-ass Spotify playlists for you (my current fav is this one) and I'll be adding more as we go along. Add 'em to your library and dance like no one (or everyone!) is watching! 

THE DISAPPROVAL MATRIX // BY ANN FRIEDMAN

(via)
Real talk: finding Ann Friedman's hand-drawn charts has undoubtedly contributed to preserving the blessed sanity that I have left after working on the internet for 7+ years. And that sanity? It's a precious, precious commodity, my friends.
Here's how she's helped me personally: I've struggled for the majority of my time working online (sometimes still do), trying to figure out how to handle the overwhelming amount of feedback I receive on a daily basis. Some days I'm a gift from heaven; others, I am the devil incarnate. I am spot on; I am delusional. I am inclusive; I am divisive. I am approachable; I am haughty. I am selfless; I am self-obsessed

YA BOOK REVEAL | THE (OTHER) F WORD: A CELEBRATION OF THE FAT & FIERCE


Do have any idea how often I hear "Man, I wish there was a book about body image and fatness just for teens!"? 

Between you all and the looping narrative in my own head, it's very, very often.

WELL, YOUR WISH HAS BEEN GRANTED, MY FRIENDS!

The wonderful Angie Manfredi has worked her ass off to compile and edit exactly what we've all been dreaming of. And while it may not have been available for US while were teens and struggling to figure out what the hell to do about our self-esteem and body image woes... it is now about to exist in the world for all the current young adults and teens who can hold this priceless book in their hands soon.

WHY THE WORLD NEEDS MORE UNFLATTERING PICTURES


I'm unsure what I love most about this picture.

Maybe I love it because I'm not smiling and that's a rare thing to capture in a photo. It could be because there are magnificent rolls and stretchmarks that are unapologetically visible. It's possible that I love it because it speaks to the sentiment that "I'm fatter in real life" which makes me grin. Or, perhaps it has to do with the fact that my hair looks fucking phenomenal. More than likely, it's a combination of all of the above.

Regardless, I adore this image and I'm thrilled that I can view it through such a loving lens.

In all honesty, this is exactly the kind of picture I would have immediately deleted when I first started blogging, but things have changed in the last five years. I was unaware that my partner snapped it during one of our porch hangouts and when he showed it to me... I was stunned at how beautiful I found both myself and the image. Instead of being repulsed by my authentic body, I was entranced. This was an unexpectedly  pivotal moment for me.

It's striking in it's black and white contrast, sure. But I also loved how few boxes it checked when it comes to what we collectively imagine when we talk about "flattering" photos.

Sonya Renee Taylor, who founded The Body Is Not an Apology (seriously visit this site if you haven't already and buy her goddamn book too!) has been posting "unflattering pictures" for years and now hundreds of people have joined in on this "Bad" Picture Monday challenge.

Her reasoning behind this concept is simple: "Shame is ugly. YOU ARE GORGEOUS."

The "Bad" Picture Monday site explains:

The 5 Best Essential Oil Blends for Improving Your Mental Health



Welcome to my favorite corner of my house... the corner in which my essential oils and diffuser live.

I started using essential oils years ago so I could recreate the relaxed + healing energy that was always present in my Executive Director's office at the mental health agency that I work at. This led to a realization of how goddamn helpful they are, not only as a calming routine but also as a core part of my mental health healing. Once I started to research each oil and their effects... I made it a non-negotiable part of my morning routine after starting the coffee pot, letting my puppy out for a morning run and taking my meds of course. 

Starting up my oil diffuser (placed next to my desk) and using an aromatherapy combination that supports my brain for the day is priceless when it comes to combatting my chronic depression, soothing my nervous system, heading off anxiety. In short, it creates an environment where I can boost my spirits as well as be more productive. Once thought of as purely "anecdotal" when it came to their effectiveness, research now shows that aromatherapy can be an immensely helpful addition to our wellness routines. (It's important to note that they're not a replacement for my medication/other healing modalities, but instead they're another tool I use.) 

Essential oils, in short, have become one of MY FAVORITE tools to use when it comes to finding brain and body "balance."  Here are five combinations that have become the "main stars" of my rotation:

I'M COMING TO HELSINKI!


This is a very fake photo of my very real excitement about the fact that I'm going to be coming to visit all of you in Helsinki, Finland on January 12th*!

I've known about this for months, but I wanted to wait until my flights were booked and my coat arrived to make the official announcement. Given that my coat fits perfectly and my itinerary just popped into my inbox last week I'm thrilled to say: I'LL BE SEEING YOU SOON, FINLAND!

Here's the coolest part: I'm coming to participate in Finland's FIRST EVER "kehopositiiviset messut"... or, in English: their first ever Body Positive Fair!

WHERE TO BUY WIDE CALF BOOTS: MY TOP FIVE FAVORITE PLACES TO SHOP

Where to buy the best wide calf boots

I have been waiting for this season for over seven months and I'm SO thrilled that it's finally BOOT SEASON! For those of us that wear plus sizes all around, it gets even  better because... it's finally WIDE CALF BOOT SEASON!

Basically, it's officially the season of: charmingly chilly temperatures (when you live in Arizona this is a big deal), layered clothing + prints (which means my outfit options have quadrupled), picking up pumpkin spice scones from Starbucks (the literal best) and making BOOTS the star of my wardrobe.

I don't need to wait until the December holidays roll around; this is the "most wonderful time of the year."

Luck has only been on my side once when it came to "stumbling across" a pair of boots that fit me perfectly; a pair of old black cowboy boots, found at Value Village over ten years ago. I still have them (though they're in desperate need of new soles) but as finding $12 boots in thrift stores that fit my 20.5" calves is incredibly rare, I've now become accustomed to shopping for wide calf boots online over the last decade.

In celebration of fall finally arriving, I would love to share my five favorite places to buy wide calf boots just in case you've been on the hunt for a perfect pair as well!

If You Want To Talk About Physical Health, We’re Probably Going To Talk About Mental Health First


In March, I attended a “health and wellness” retreat for women held in a lodge that rests at the bottom of the Okemo mountains, surrounded by a forest and a few sleepy towns. As someone who is known for their immersion in body politics and mental health, I was invited to participate in their program in exchange for feedback. 

While I was in the back of a shuttle, driving up the icy, winding road to the lodge the night before the retreat started, the realization started to sink in that their primary focus was centered around treating binge-eating disorders and that there was definitely a chance that this could go horribly wrong. As I grabbed my bag out of the trunk, I inhaled and forcibly exhaled while shaking out my shoulders, in preparation for entering the building that hosted I program I knew very little about. My breath was hyper-visible in the freezing air while I silently berated myself — What the fuck did I sign myself up for?

Bright and early the following morning and still uncertain of everything, I settled into a cushioned wooden chair next to a fireplace for the first workshop of the week. I listened to the Clinical Director describe the 40-year-old institution’s history and their specialized focus. There was an immediate emphasis on how they pride themselves on always being sure that the latest science and innovation inform their programs. The director went on to detail that the co-owner holds multiple degrees, including a Bachelors in Psychology, a Masters in Nutrition, and a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry & Metabolism. 

These sentiments rang with antagonistic familiarity in my ears.

They brought to mind the myriad of times that I've heard medical professionals use similar rhetoric to bolster their relevance, only to follow up their proclamations with the same outdated fatphobic and shame-based recommendations that have plagued our “health care” system for centuries. 

The science that proves that shame, bias, and stigma are catastrophically harmful in the long run (and that we are incorrect in how we assign “blame” to weight) has existed for quite some time.

Researchers documenting these findings have talked about the countless times they've shown pages and pages of evidence that contradicts old theories around weight and health in front of doctors and, almost without fail, the findings are disdainfully skimmed and quickly dismissed in the name of tradition.

I slumped slightly in my chair and resigned myself to a week of (at best) marginally progressive medical indoctrination; if I were lucky, perhaps I would hear a few updated findings, but I was still prepared to participate in workshops whose messaging would likely cling to what is socially respectable in our fatphobic culture. 

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

SUCK IT FLAT TUMMY: WHY MARKETING EATING DISORDERS TO "BABES" IS HARMFUL AF


If this billboard strikes you as vaguely familiar, it's likely because you either saw something similar last month while in Times Square or read about the colossal internet controversy it’s generated since.

The original billboard (photographed by Sophie Vershbow) hosts a smiling model's face—placed in one of one of the world's most visited tourist attractions—holding two lollipops with the text "Got Cravings? Girl, Tell Them To #SUCKIT!" bookending her grin on a trendy, Millennial Pink background. This advertisement belongs to Flat Tummy Co., a business which, in addition to selling "tummy flattening" tea and smoothies, seems to delight in calling consumers "babes" as often as possible. In May, they launched and quickly began peddling their new “Appetite Suppressant Lollipops” orif we were to stop mincing wordseating disorders for just $49 per month.

The pushback against these lollipops—and this billboard in particular—has been both widespread and thunderous. Pushbacks have ranged from a Change.org petition demanding its removal signed by close to 100,000 people to dozens of articles pointing out how encouraging customers to not eat adds to the already pervasive issue of eating disorders that affect approximately 70 million people worldwide.

When you take into consideration that:


… those who rail against Flat Tummy Co. have every right to be appalled. This type of advertising campaign isn't casually controversial; it's deadly.

Here's what companies like Flat Tummy Co. will never tell you, so I will: We are born with an inherent connection between our minds and our bodies—a glorious communication channel that is then systematically stripped away by our ubiquitous diet culture.

The solution to this monumental problem is NOT to suppress cravings or our appetite; this not only causes mental and physical harm, but also perpetuates the cycle of internal disconnection. Rather, the solution is to relearn how to trust ourselves and how to listen to what our bodies are telling us they need—to slowly rebuild the beautiful relationship with our bodies and brains. A relationship that was intentionally removed by companies who profit from a $66 billion dollar weight loss industry.

In light of everything mentioned above, I'd like to offer an antidote to this Baffling Billboard Bullshit.

If we are going to be posting advice-dispensing billboards that start with, "Got Cravings? Girl, ...", here’s what they could say:

PLUS SIZE COSPLAY: LUNA LOVEGOOD


Welcome to my first foray into the world of cosplay! It has been something I've been infatuated with for years but have always watched from the sidelines; never daring to try to represent characters because it seemed to me that the ultimate cosplay success would lie in crafting both the perfect outfit and having "the perfect body" (read: a thin body to match the most popular character's physique). 

But Disneybounding ignited some sort of fire inside of me and I decided that I was ready to do more than just watch.

With this fire (okay fine, obsession) fueling my creativity, I started to ruminate about which character I would dress up as if I released the idea of reaching my definition of perfection. The answer came immediately. The peculiar, luminous, perceptive and loyal Luna Lovegood OF COURSE.

This gal is undoubtedly my favorite Harry Potter character, closely followed by Neville. Quite frankly, I think they would be perfect together but as it turns out, that narrative wasn't up to me. Doesn't stop me from dreaming though.

Here's the thing: comparatively, there aren't a ton of plus size cosplayers (though I recommend you follow the hashtag #plussizecosplay because the ones that are out there are killing it) so naturally, guidance is scarce... and unless you can sew (I most definitely cannot), recreating a specific look can be challenging.

LUCKILY FOR YOU I found a way to make some serious Luna magic work for us plus babes!

I've linked each piece below and included notes on how I made this Spectrespecks-donning Luna Lovegood look (inspired by train scene from the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince movie) a reality!

WHY I'VE CHOSEN BODY LIBERATION OVER BODY LOVE


You may have noticed that my blog headline (and personal messaging) changed a year or two ago from "Lose the Bullshit. Love Your Body" to "Lose the Bullshit. Liberate Your Body." This was a purposeful word change that, to this day, I still support wholeheartedly.

I’ve long preached the importance of body love, the proposed goal of falling head over heels with your physical appearance and celebrating it for how it looks regardless of how it fits (or doesn’t fit) into society’s definition of beauty. Body love asks you to achieve a 180-degree mental change; instead of “hating” your physical self, it insists that you can adore it for the way it looks regardless of what others may say. 

In theory, it’s a lovely thought—worshiping your body because it’s yours, because our beauty-centric culture is designed to be exclusive—to reject complete assimilation seems like the ultimate victory.

What I have come to realize, though, is that asking someone to achieve body love can quickly become another unattainable prerequisite, much like the desire to change our body into what is deemed desirable. 

When we focus solely on learning to “love our bodies,” there is a possibility that we are simply replacing the obsessive hatred around them with an equally obsessive love.

And hell yeah! That’s progress, right? Love is so much more desirable than hate; trading one negative emotion out for another more positive feeling is a glorious stepping stone.

But body obsession is still body obsession.

PLUS SIZE STYLE ICON (DISNEYBOUND EDITION): WINNIE THE POOH


If you love Disneybounding, stick around because you are in the right place. If you haven't heard of Disneybounding? Then you DEFINITELY need to stick around because I'm about to introduce you to your brand new, favorite obsession.

Kelsey Borresen says it best:

For the uninitiated, Disneybounding is a subtler, more fashion-forward way for fans to show their love for Disney. Instead of wearing full-on costumes as cosplayers do, Disneybounders dress up in stylish, everyday outfits (known as Disneybounds) that are simply inspired by a particular character. 


The term Disneybound is accredited to blogger Leslie Kay who runs Disneybound.co and she has created an enormous community of people who emulate their favorite characters using everyday streetwear. 

This became 1.) a necessity since Disneyland doesn't allow anyone over the age of 14 to wear a "real costume" (understandable from a liability standpoint) and 2.) a wonderful challenge to see how much of your character's personality you can infuse into your outfit without really "dressing up" like them.

I love a good challenge. And crop tops. And Winnie the Pooh. Obviously, Disneybounding was going to happen this year.


(Side note: props to the Disney photographers for making all the photos they took of us look like they had a honey filter on them.)

There aren't any "real rules" when it comes to Disneybounding but I have a feeling that my Winnie the Pooh ears were a little on the nose. I, in all honesty, wasn't planning on wearing them the entire time (just for a couple pictures) but the second I walked into the theme park with Bevin and saw hundreds of tourists rocking enormous mouse ears covered in sequins I decided that my chubby little cubby ears were definitely not a crime.

The greatest part of this dress-up trend? Plus gals (though drastically underrepresented in the community - more on that later) can participate too! Below I put together seven different Pooh inspired outfits for you to rock at Disneyland, Disneyworld, brunch, on vacation or at the grocery store. In other words, wherever you goddamn want.

Word to the wise: don't miss the plus size Disney resources at the end of this post- you're gonna want them. Trust me.

KATE, ANTHONY AND THE LITTLE THINGS WE CAN DO TO HELP ON A DAILY BASIS


It's been almost four years since Robin Williams passed away, but I remember losing him it like it was yesterday.

At the time, I was working as a BHT in a psych-social rehabilitation program for adults with serious mental illness and the morning that the headlines hit, we gathered in a circle for that day's check-in. This was a normal routine for us; each day our agency started with a "team meeting" where we would discuss personal recovery updates, practice bite-sized therapeutic practices, and implement other related mental health exercises. 

The room was uncharacteristically somber and the topic organically centered around the "gentle, kind" man who "seemingly had everything" that was no longer with us. I had already read everything that journalists had written online, but it's a different experience to talk to a room full of resilient individuals who identify with debilitating mental illness - most of whom have had near-suicidal experiences themselves. I wanted to know more about what they had to say than anyone else.

There were stories of personal connection, tears of understanding, voices that spoke to overcoming their personal barriers, and the grief that comes when you know that mental illness affects so many... even those who seemed to be as successful as one could be. We all felt the feelings of loss as well as the heart-rending reminder that not only have we been there too but might find ourselves in a state of hopelessness again. Brains have a way of hijacking our wellbeing even when you're doing the "work"... this was something every person in our seated circle knew far too well.

Similar feelings have no doubt resurfaced for many with the news of losing Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain within a few days of each other. We often find ourselves at a loss when it comes to addressing these events; simultaneously pondering how to talk about it and also wondering what more we "could have done" to halt these kinds of situations before they happen. The harrowing reality is that we may never be able to put a complete stop to something so ubiquitous and painful.

But there are ways to attempt to lessen the burden that so many carry.

Yes, we need to universally destigmatize mental illness, make resources readily available for all (it's important to acknowledge that both Kate and Anthony had privilege/financial access to many resources and that we also need to be thinking about/working for those who don't have these tools in their reach) and have more conversations that unite us in our common experiences. These are large, societal shifts that are being worked on as we speak. If you're one of the people currently doing this work, thank you.

There are also other smaller ways to help; things we can do on a daily basis. My dear friend Sonya Renee Taylor described these kinds of actions beautifully:
"We all need each other more than any of us wants to admit. We must show up more than we have known before. Perhaps more than anyone has ever done for us. We must practice a radical vulnerability with each other. It will not always work. Some of us simply cannot stay. But we owe it to each other to try. Have you asked someone you care about any of these? If not, try asking?
  • Can I hold you while you cry?
  • Can I rub your back, feet, shoulders?
  • Can I make you some tea?
  • Can I tell you why you matter?
  • Can I call some therapists for you?
  • Can I stay with you a few nights?
  • Can I listen while you tell me what hurts?
  • Can I take you on a walk or drive?
  • Can I wash these dishes and tidy up for you?
  • Can I remind you to take your meds?
  • Can I call your family for you?
  • Can I make you dinner/lunch/breakfast and eat with you?
  • Can I make a safety plan with you? 
  • Can I call you every 2 hours, 1 hour, 30 minutes?
  • Can I send someone to be with you?
  • Can I run you some bath water?
  • Can I take your kids for a few hours/overnight?
  • Can I get you some groceries?
  • Can I come with you to some appointments?
  • Can I sing to you?
  • Can I hold your hand?
We can send more than love and light. We can try harder for each other and ourselves. Let's make love tangible. Sometimes it is enough to get to another sunrise."


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JUST IN CASE YOU NEED THEM:
A few clickable articles I've written about brains + mental health over the years:

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I'll leave you with Ijeoma Oluo's words of wisdom (that she kindly allowed me to syndicate here) just in case they speak to you:

"Please try to remember that if you are battling depression, your brain is often telling you horrible lies.
You aren't depressed because you are bad or because you don't deserve happiness. Depression picks whomever it wants no matter how funny or kind or talented or loved you are. And depression will lie to you and say that you are none of those things.
It is unfair as fuck, but if you are depressed, you haven't done anything to deserve it and you have nothing to be ashamed of.
You are worth fighting for. And I'm so grateful that you're fighting. And I say that knowing that you shouldn't have to fight this hard, that it's deeply unfair and cruel that you have to. And I know that sometimes your best efforts will have little impact on an illness that often doesn't give a fuck about how hard you are trying. You have every right to be upset and hurt and angry and exhausted about that.
But I am going to ask you, beg you, to fight anyway, because the world really is better with you in it. And because you deserve to win. You deserve to be here in less pain. You deserve life."

Here for you, 


P.S. If you have a mental illness, have you ever made a WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan)? If not, I'd highly suggest that you fill one out when you have the spoons available. It's a "self-management and recovery system developed by a group of people who had mental health difficulties and who were struggling to incorporate wellness tools and strategies into their lives." It was developed by Mary Ellen Copeland and you can learn more about it + download it here. 10/10 recommend!

GIVEAWAY | WIN A LANDWHALE GIFT BOX!


Landwhale: On Turning Insults Into Nicknames, Why Body Image Is Hard, and How Diets Can Kiss My Ass is one of the biggest projects I've undertaken and the endeavor that I am most proud of for finishing. Real talk: it was a BEAST to write and I ended up booking three therapy sessions a week while writing a few of the chapters. (If you're wondering where my book advance went, you can bet the majority went straight into my therapist's bank account. No regrets.)

It contains essays that highlight every raw, honest and brutal truth I've experienced while living a fat body and truth be told, as I was writing it I found myself wanting to censor the hardest topics because sometimes it's really hard to be so open about the things that hurt the most. But every time I felt like holding back I would reread the advice that Ijeoma Oluo gave me (which also became the dedication) that reads:

We have tried to prove to the thin world that we are worthy for far too long. If you are going to be brave, be brave for the fat people.


So each time I felt compelled to shrink away from the difficult emotions, I pushed my (very valid) fears aside and wrote what felt impossible to put into words... all in hopes that you would feel some solidarity in the stories I share. That you would, for once, feel like you're very much NOT alone.

I also love to package heavy feels with cute accessories (don't come for me, it's my favorite thing!) and this brings us to today's giveaway: the Landwhale Gift Box!


Giveaways are often gifts from other companies I love but this one is particularly special because that "company"... is little ol' ME! This is a present from me to you and I'm so happy I'm able to do this!

Things to know: No matter what, there will always be a chance for everyone to enter at least once without having to "like" or "follow" anything. If you want to be an overachiever beyond that, it's up to you. Like and follow away. (I'd HIGHLY recommend subscribing to my newsletter if you haven't yet... you'll always hear about the rad shit first!)

AND, of course, if you think giveaways are bullshit, you're allowed to skip everything all together and just come back for my next post which will likely be about that time I fulfilled a lifelong dream by Disneybounding as Winnie The Pooh. It's gonna be an epic post. Either way, you're a grown ass adult and you get to make your own decisions, mmkay?


This super special Landwhale Gift Box includes:

  • A signed copy of Landwhale
  • A limited edition Landwhale enamel pin 
  • A mini Landwhale sunscreen bottle (for beach or poolside reading!) and
  • the CUTEST heart-shaped sunnies!

TWO of you will win this box and I can't wait to ship it your way! Open to everyone, international readers included!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

BEST OF LUCK AND SENDING LOVE YOUR WAY!

THE LANDWHALE BOOK TOUR!



There are no words to fully explain how thrilled I am to announce that the Landwhale BOOK TOUR IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING! It's not only happening, but it's also going to be fucking incredible

This tour was nothing more than a dream a few months ago and now that dream has come true... all thanks to Dia & Co. These rad plus babes have been SO supportive of my work for years (we also did a fun Q&A here if you'd like to take a look) and when they signed on in support of making this tour happen I danced around my house for a solid hour. True story. (I also cried tears of happiness if we're going to be completely honest.)

There are seven stops in total, with the first being a launch party in Tucson and then I'll be making my way around the states and here's the best part: I'm going to be joined by brilliant, bad-ass, fat babes at each location and there will not only be a stellar panel conversation about topics covered in Landwhale but the opportunity for you all to ask questions and then have your books signed with a big fat hug afterwards if you're into that kind of thing!

For details on who will be there and to RSVP (I can't wait to see you!), just click on your cities link and let me know you're coming! You can also find all this information and more about the book on the Landwhale website.

May 8th | Tucson, AZ
May 11th | Raleigh, NC
May 16th | Seattle, WA
May 17th | Portland, OR
May 24th | Los Angeles, CA
May 29th | Cleveland, OH
BUT WAIT! Did you know: Limited edition Landwhale pins are available RIGHT NOW for purchase? Join the hundreds of other pin owners who are reclaiming the coolest creature ever with this adorable pin! Landwhales UNITE!

I can't wait to hear your stories, talk about some really important subjects and party HARD with you all!

SEE YOU SOON!

P.S. You can pre-order the book NOW if you'd like! Just click here!
P.P.S. You can also sign up for my newsletter and then rest easy, knowing that you'll never miss another goddamn thing!
P.P.P.S. Did you read Landwhale and love it? I'd be honored if you shared some of that love and leave a review on Amazon so more hearts and hands can read it too!

MY BEAUTIFUL, BORDERLINE MIND // SAM DYLAN FINCH

(via)

Not too long ago, I wrote an article about the misconceptions around borderline personality disorder.
“I reject the idea that people with BPD aren’t deserving of competent care and compassion that would allow them to thrive,” I wrote, “and if we dismiss them as being irredeemable, that support becomes more difficult to access.”
Writing that piece was painful. Recalling the ways that people misconstrue my struggles was a deeply emotional process for me.
It also brought to light the very real stigma that still exists around BPD.
I started getting emails.
“My husband has borderline, but he’s horrible,” someone writes. “How can I get him to be more self-aware like you?” (This is almost, word-for-word, a message I received.)
“My partner with BPD is crazy, she’s too much,” someone explains. “What pills are you taking? Do you think that they’ll make her normal?”
This wasn’t the first time I was being held up as some kind of psychiatric achievement. Sometimes even my clinicians viewed me this way. “Most people with borderline aren’t like you,” a clinician told me recently. When I asked what that meant, he told me, “Most of them are just… flailing around, deeply unstable.”
Flailing around. That’s what most people think. Even our clinicians believe we’re chaos embodied, helpless, disturbed.
And thus I was propped up as an ideal. I was the repentant borderline, the good borderline. The more I was perceived as distancing myself from the disorder, the more people applauded me.
This is because the borderline that the world likes the most is the “reformed” borderline — the one that will apologize for being too much, will cut themselves down to be accepted, be neurotic in “acceptable” and small doses, and most of all, disavow any and all traces of the disorder.
In other words, the self-hating borderline is the one that the world loves the most.
It’s an uncomfortable truth, then, when I tell people that I don’t really hate my borderline mind. For all the hell it’s given me — and by extension, the folks who’ve supported me in my recovery — BPD has given me a beautiful intensity that I appreciate.
The world asks me to reject my borderline mind, looking for some symbolic gesture to demonstrate that I hate myself as much as they hate people like me.
In me, they see the redemption of their “crazy” spouse, their unhinged mother, their unruly child.
Every time I apologize for my existence, they are comforted knowing that they don’t have to learn to love someone with borderline — they can wait for the day when their loved one with borderline finally hates themselves enough to be someone else, or hates themselves enough to die.
But there are parts of me that I so deeply love — parts of me that wouldn’t exist if BPD weren’t a part of me, too.
And so long as we view people with borderline in such a reductive way, we fail to appreciate what’s possible for people with BPD. We demand that they erase themselves or punish themselves, rather than coming into their own, realizing themselves fully, and perhaps even learning to love themselves.
It’s devastating to think that, as we characterize people with BPD as abusers that need to repent or as irredeemably lost, we create a culture that denies people with BPD the possibility of authentic healing and self-love.
In the process of my own healing, I’ve realized that BPD is not just a source of trauma, but in some ways, it’s been a source of unique strength.
That’s the conversation that’s missing. That’s the conversation I’m longing for, waiting for.
The love that I’m capable of feeling for others, when it’s no longer fueled by fear, is a remarkable thing. My capacity for seeing the best in others, my ability to love deeply and fully, my sense of connectedness to the folks that I care about — these are things I would never change, so long as it comes from a healthy and secure place.
While I can be reactive, my sensitivity allows me to tune in deeply to the feelings of others. My firsthand experiences of pain allow me to make intense and empathic connections to others who might be suffering. And knowing what it’s like to be left behind, the loyalty that I possess makes me a reliable and caring friend.
What people with BPD need isn’t the greatest possible distance from themselves and from their disorder. What they need is security, healthy attachments, support, and genuine safety, so that they can become someone that they’re happy to be.
My borderline mind can be frightening and self-destructive. Ask anyone who was along for the ride this last year (when I was hospitalized not once but twice) and they’ll tell you as much.
But this mind also has a capacity for intense love, connection, and empathy — a potential that’s so often ignored or missed in people with BPD because of a stigma that leaves no room for us to grow.
For me personally, living with borderline has been retraining my brain to recognize when I am safe, after having lived for many years without protection in the face of complex trauma and PTSD. It’s been a process, too, to create the safety that I lacked for so long, and to trust in it when I have it.
It’s also been important to understand that safety doesn’t have to come in the form of support from others — it’s safety I can create for myself.
But that’s a realization I never would’ve come to if I’d listened to the stigma that told me that having BPD meant I was inherently bad, spiteful, or dangerous, teaching me to fear myself rather than be kind to myself.
Nothing about this process has been “flailing around,” as a clinician once said — it’s been a desperate search to regain the safety I’d been denied. And nothing about that process has been “manipulative,” either. Any misdirection to meet my needs, especially during a struggle I wasn’t prepared for and never asked for, was an act of survival, however flawed or unskillful.
My borderline mind has embedded in it a propensity for chaos that I won’t deny, but just the same, it gives me an incomparable ability to love and be loved. I have a sensitivity that keeps me deeply engaged with my world, a vulnerability that gives me immense integrity and strength, and an intensity that makes me creative and dynamic and alive.
And with the right support, I’ve been able to nurture that empathy and depth in incredible, unexpected ways.
I don’t believe that a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder is a statement of finality, of futility, of hopelessness, and I resent any suggestion that it is. I think for many, it can be an opportunity — a chance to grow, and to take everything we were taught to fear, and find the strengths hiding just underneath.
I wouldn’t be who I am without BPD. And I’m tired of the world demanding that I be anybody else.
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Sam Dylan Finch is a queer writer, media strategist, and unapologetic feminist.

Sam is perhaps best known for his platform Let’s Queer Things Up!, a blog navigating the complexities of queerness and disability. Sam currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he can often be found dancing to embarrassing pop music and plotting for the imminent queer takeover (shhh, we’ve already said too much).

You can find Sam on FacebookInstagram, Twitter, and you can also support his AMAZING writing by signing up for his Patreon.
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