(Q: What kind of blogger would I be if I didn't have a number balloon during a celebration?
A: The worst kind of blogger. P.S. That's definitely a fake balloon because I am the worst kind of blogger.)
What started out as a silly blog on vintage kitchenware and recipes (which was admittedly an abomination in the blogging world because I thought centering text was cool- embarrassing proof here) eventually turned into a well known blog about reclaiming your space in the world! Throughout these last four years, The Militant Baker has allowed me to reach millions of people, speak to thousands of university students, publish a book, partner with great brands, travel the country and meet similarly minded people who continue to change and better my life.
I can't tell you how lucky (yes, much of this was luck) and grateful I feel for the opportunities that have come from owning this domain. When I step back and look at them, it's almost unbelievable and I love sharing them with you!
However, in the interest of transparency, I'll be honest: doing whatever-it-is-that-I-do isn't all rainbows and flowers. In fact, Jessica Valenti nails it in her article for the Guardian about online harassment:
... it would be a lie to say that the cumulative impact of being derided daily isn’t damaging. It is. It’s changed who I am on a fundamental level. And though I’d still like to think of myself as an optimistic person, being called a “cunt” or “whore” every day for a decade leaves its mark.
That. But replace decade with four years (hats off to Valenti) and cunt and whore with "talentless, crass, narcissistic and repulsive extortionist who looks like an amoeba blob and is so ugly that she wouldn't be attractive even if she was skinny."
IT'S LIKE THEY KNOW ME!
And that's just a cute compilation of a few of the things I've stumbled across. Over a dinner in Seattle, Lindy West shared that my hate following seemed comparable to hers which simply means... I haven't seen most of it. To which I say: 1.) What a compliment! and 2.) DAMN. I'M GOOD. Jes: 100 points, Mean People: mayyyyyybe 1. Depends on the day.
The silver iridescent/mylar lining though, is that because of this daily exposure- my head is now more squarely on my shoulders and I have learned how to consciously choose excellent people, activities and projects to fill my life with. I choose the best and I discard the rest; no compromises. What is then left over is a life full of love, excitement, opportunity, undertakings that I absolutely adore. I've more or less been forced to learn how to be kinder to myself and to how to surround myself with those who are kind as well. This is arguably the best thing that could happen and it is certainly a large part of how how I survived these last four years. And of course, how I will continue to keep kicking ass for the foreseeable future.
I've also learned something valuable through blogging that I feel is relevant to every human on this planet. I technically can use a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, but today I'd rather cite Bikini Kill's lead singer:
You’re still going to get criticized, so you might as well do whatever the fuck you want. -
Amen and yes ma'am.
I'll be the first to acknowledge that I am (and this blog is) far from perfect. I write (and punctuate) the way that I speak which makes many editors itchy. I have bad body days and I share them visibly, despite what others think or say. I still occasionally say the wrong thing no matter how hard I try to avoid it. And there are times where I lose my inner zen because lets be real: the world can be pretty fucked up. But I also have days of ultimate empowerment. Moments of extreme happiness. And times when I wouldn't want anything else in the world.
And those days, moments and times are why I'm still here. Still typing. Still sharing the tough stuff and offering up my vulnerabilities to the internet. Because I find liberation through honesty. I triumph over shame when I expose it to air. Because I love to challenge myself to be bolder and braver every day.
Y'know what else? I write because of you. Because I love all of you in this community SO FUCKING MUCH. You inspire the shit out of me and your boldness and bravery continues to do so every time we interact. Thank you for being here. Thank you for sharing your stories with me. Thank you for your love notes. Thank you for continuing to fight for love and autonomy in a culture that finds these things threatening. We are so much more than our bodies but we also deserve to love them... or at the very least not hate them. On days when I forget, you remind me and when you've had a rough week, I'm here to remind you.
You are priceless to me, my friend. Thank you for being here.
So, fucking-a. Here we are with four years under our belt. Maybe for the five year mark I'll throw a bikini party like Brittany Gibbons? TBD, but whatever we do, it's gonna be amazing. CHEERS TO ANOTHER YEAR OF BODY + BRAIN BAD-ASSERY!
P.P.S. Shirt found here, shorts here, glasses here.