This above is what happened when we tried to take a serious photo in celebration of " LETS SPEND OUR LIFE BEING SUPER AWESOME TOGETHER", but then the best image ended up being the one with me yelling at a random guy to take one more picture and my partners hand awkwardly touching my boob. 

I honestly couldn't find a more appropriate representation of us. It's just... perfect.

So yes, we're engaged (!!!) and though we've planned on this happening for quite a while... it's kind of fun to put a ring on it. Both of us have an appreciation for some parts of tradition and obviously we also believe in following Beyonce's advice. SO. HERE WE ARE. And you know the best part of all of this? The engagement party, obviously. I love any reason to throw a party with my favorite people and if you can get Tucson's best Blues performer (I love Tom Walbank) there too? Well,  then I'm there will bells on.

This is the part where everyone in the universe says "OMG I KNOW EXACTLY HOW AND WHEN AND WHERE YOU SHOULD DO YOUR WEDDING WHAT ARE YOUR COLORS AND YOUR CATS SHOULD TOTALLY WALK DOWN THE ISLE ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE URSULA OFFICIATE THE CEREMONY?!?!" but we're annoyingly stubborn and believe in doing everything our way which means: patience, Grasshopper. We got this. Go watch some Grace and Frankie (no really, go watch it!) and leave the timeline to us. Though that Ursula idea is brilliant, so thank you and I owe you one!

In addition to this fun little event, life has been... well, shifting for me. And while change always takes a lot of my energy, I'm really loving where all these turns are taking me. These turns include things like:

We got a really weird dog that looks like a Jim Henson Muppet: If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that a couple months ago we went to Phoenix to pick up a puppy and... Oh. My God. Puppies will turn your world upside down seven times over until you don't know which way is up.

I'm sure this is basic knowledge for most but even though I prepared myself for "the worst" I was completely bowled over by the amount of space, energy and life that a puppy takes up. I'll be totally honest: I was unsure I was gonna make it during the first 6 weeks.

But make it I did. And while things are forever more complicated now, I'm starting to love this obnoxious, strange looking, Dr. Seuss shaped creature with giant eyebrows (he looked so normal when he was little!) though I'm afraid can't say the same for the cats. BUT C'EST LA VIE MY PRECIOUS KITTENS. THIS IS OUR LIFE NOW.

Four animals is so many animals. So, so many.

I'm working in Mental Health again and it's awesome: I ran into the Executive Director of one of my past places of employment months ago and she asked if I had any time to come and "consult" for the agency. I had been missing the one-on-one aspect of recovery so my answer was an immediate YES. It feels so wonderful to put in a handful of hours every week when your job description is #1.) Help others feel like they are humans worthy love and respect, #2.) Be a cheerleader when times are tough (and in Behavioral Health, times are often tough), and only after those things comes  #3.) Do the actual work that people think of when you say "job." Even the last part is fun.

It's been a great grounding experience and a much needed reminder that so much healing happens without the internet. Shocking, I know.

I'm working on another book proposal: This is a really risky thing to put out there because it is still in progress and without contract BUT it's been taking up a lot of time and brain space so I'm sharing anyways. If I ever get a confirmed yes I'll be sure to share those details with you. For now, it's just a project that's "in talks" with the team and has been a large part of my life. Regardless if it is published or not, my takeaway from this writing process has been powerful and totally worth it.

I've figured out what makes me happy and I'm only doing that: I have tried a lot of different projects/ventures over the last four years; some amazingly wonderful and some seriously traumatizing. That sounds like an exaggeration but I promise you it's not. Through this process of doing the "awesome" and "terrible" I've learned how to sort through job activities (whatever this job is) and only keep that parts the restore my soul and are worth my time. Writing books, speaking to universities, volunteering at high schools, consulting/mentoring other activists, working on exciting campaigns (y'all didn't think I got this cool haircut for fun didja?), and speaking on panels at rad events are just a few that fit this description. More of all of that please!

I'll likely always blog to a certain extent (because it's blogging and that's a thing we do here on the narcissistic internet) but I'm far more interested in writing something meant to be read in it's entirety, hugging people who need that loving energy, brainstorming with brilliant and similar minds, helping members through crises, answering teen's burning questions and attending empowering events that don't have hate threads attached to them.

I am constantly working on building a life with more nourishment and less negativity. It's necessary for both surviving and thriving.

I'm traveling to Belize and this is the first trip of many: I wrote about some plus size travel inspirations a few weeks ago because travel has been on my mind for quite a while. I've gained weight over the last two years (rad article on that coming soon!) and this has caused some irrational (though valid) fears about how my body will fit into other cultures. I know better, but the thoughts are of course still there. THANKS FATPHOBIC SOCIETY, YR A REAL PAL. 

After processing these thoughts and using a little bit of logic, I realized that these fears are only barriers if I choose to let them be and obviously I'm not going to let that happen So first stop? San Pedro and Caye Caulker for a few days with my honey where we will snorkel, drink Belizian beer, eat incredible street food, ride bicycles, leave our shoes at home and soak up as much beach time as possible. My passport photo is so "terrible" it belongs on Bad Picture Monday and that makes me so happy.

P.S. There are over 170 pictures of fat girls traveling and they're so amazing you should stop reading this super long shit and go check them out here.

My activism is changing and it's a good thing:  I used to blog about feeling beautiful and that was so important for me at the time. I was uncovering truths about my body that had been smothered by lucrative lies; I was learning that I had more options in this world than I had ever dreamed. I was coming out of an emotionally abusive relationship and honestly a life that "proved to me" that I wasn't deserving of happiness, feeling sexy, or love. Obviously, none of those things are true.

But years later, the world is a little bit different for me. I see "pretty" as the profitable construct it is, and while I'm so grateful for my quest to feel beautiful (because it led me into the world of activism and helps me form my sexual/romantic identity, even still) I'm noticing that beauty has become less of a priority in my own life. The blatant and horrifying sexism, racism, ableism, transphobia, fatphobia and other forms of bigotry that has been pushed in front of my face while working on the internet... has changed everything for me. I was conscious of (and against) all of these forms of discrimination before, but until now I never understood the full extent of harm that they cause. When I assess injustice now, I feel a deep and grounded anger instead of the reactionary rage that used to arise. This shift has completely changed how I participate in the world, and while it's heavier... it's also better.

I now see body activism as not only the struggle to be respected and seen, but also the struggle to simply survive.

I could (and started to) write an entire blog post about this while using an analogy of an iceberg, but we'll leave that novel for another day. I just wanted to share that though it's taken me years, I'm starting to see body acceptance for the multifaceted and complex movement it is. And I'm here for it.

Bonus: I also had this epiphany the other day regarding mental health and body image (another thing I could write a novel on):


So, THAT is how I am. The honest to god truth and now I want to ask: how are YOU doing? What are you doing? What changes are happening in your life and what epiphanies are blowing your mind? How is your self-care going? Where do you want to travel to? Are you writing a book (I know lots of you are authors!)? What barriers are you trying to remove? WAS YOUR PUPPY UNMANAGEABLE TOO?!?!? I'd really like to know, so give this bitch a chance to connect with you and leave a few bits about yourself below!

Hugs forever, my friends.

Like this blog? Then you'll probably love my book Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls. TNOWTFG "is a manifesto and call to arms for people of all sizes and ages." Learn more here.

Want to hear me speak? I'd love to visit your campus or come to your event! You can find more info here or you can just email me at themilitantbaker at gmail.com. Cheers!

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