When I was 25 years old, I was in a band. It was a dinky little coffeeshop folk-rock band, but MAN it was fun. I had just enough skill to compose but not enough to accompany myself, so I made embarrassing recordings of half-formed songs, brought them to my bandmates, and we workshopped them together. You know how being the lead singer of a band looks really fun? Well, it IS. Seriously. Keep reading »
I’m fairly certain that I have an addictive personality. I’ve avoided drugs, gambling, cigarettes, and alcohol based on those suspicions, and likely will continue to do so until my dying day. But I got blindsided by my own addictive tendencies when I discovered the joys of personal style. After years of hating my body, I finally figured out that I could look and feel fabulous if I simply dressed to highlight my favorite physical features. It was an absolute revelation, and sparked a new-found, fervent love of clothing, shoes, and accessories. Soon, I fell into some pretty ridiculous and harmful shopping behaviors, the repercussions of which came to a head about three years ago. I had allowed my debt to grow exponentially over several seasons of frenzied acquisition. I’d begun making mental bargains with myself about how another $200 on the ol’ MasterCard wouldn’t make THAT much of a difference in my monthly payment, and I definitely needed those new Frye boots before fall arrived. I’d dug myself into quite a hole, and felt utterly incapable of clawing my way out. Keep reading »
When I was in sixth grade, my boyfriend told me he didn’t care that I was fat. He loved me anyway, just as I was.
It was something along the lines of, “Tom and all those guys say you’re really big, but it doesn’t matter to me.” And instead of hearing the part about his acceptance of me, all I heard was that people thought I was fat. This was news to me, as I’d never thought about my own size, weight, or shape in any way before that moment. Never considered that other people were looking at me and judging me. It was an absolute revelation. And although I give him credit for trying to soften the blow and explain that he could care less, it still changed me. For the worse.
I started dieting immediately, and continued to diet for the next 13 years. On and off, of course, which meant that my weight fluctuated quite a bit. I’ve been 30 pounds heavier than I am today, and 20 pounds lighter. I’ve done Slim Fast, Lean Cuisines, and all manner of book-based food plans. Most recently, in 2004, my husband and I undertook the South Beach Diet. I lost 40 pounds over the course of those excruciatingly carb-free months, then slowly gained back 12 of them over the ensuing years. And although following a different prescribed dietary plan, formulated and tested by weight loss experts, might get those 12 pounds back off, I won’t do it. I refuse to diet ever again. Here’s why. Keep reading »
Last week, I bought new pants. And while that may sound like a mind-numbingly mundane act to you, believe me when I say that the earth shook a little. I haven’t purchased new pants in over three years. I’ve worn them on occasion, sure, and have several pairs languishing in the dark recesses of my closet. But overall, I’ve shied away from wearing jeans, slacks, and pants of all kinds ever since I discovered the fun, flattering, flirty world of skirts and dresses. Skirts work with my figure. They emphasize my waist, glide over my bum and thighs, and show off my shapely calves. Skirts are my sartorial staple. Skirts make me feel confident and stylish and powerful.
Skirts are also decidedly feminine. And as someone who has a deep-seated, highly irrational fear of androgynous dressing, I love them for it. Keep reading »
About six months ago, my naturally curly locks entered a fussy phase. My hair has always been a delicate ecosystem, but some unidentified hormonal, dietary, or environmental shift had caused it to change from uniformly unruly to lopsidedly bizarre. Essentially, I looked like a frizzy mess except for one stubborn greasy patch directly above my right eye. I had no desire to become the poster child for “combination hair,” and spent a lot of time glaring at my reflection while muttering expletives. Keep reading »
Two years ago, I got my fifth tattoo, a large red and black crown on the back of my neck. I went home to visit my parents and was stunned by the lack of commentary. Eventually, I just had to ask.
“Mom, did you see my new tattoo?”
“Yes. It’s … big.” Clearly, she’d made an uneasy peace with the idea that her daughter loves ink. Keep reading »
Every winter, I pack on about 15 pounds. I live in Minneapolis, which means that my city may be blanketed in snow from early-November through mid-May, and all that dark, oppressive, endlessly cold weather makes vigorous exercise and light, healthful foods seem about as appealing as major dental work.
But despite the fact that my weight fluctuates year after year, I don’t diet. Despite the fact that I’ve got cellulite and a poochy belly and fairly big hips for my frame, I don’t diet. Despite the fact that I spent my entire adolescence and young adult life actively hating my body and attempting to hide inside my clothing, I don’t diet. Because for one thing, few diets work permanently, with lost weight often regained within a year. And for another, I don’t believe that there is one acceptably beautiful body shape or figure. And finally, I’ve found a far better way to help myself look and feel good than attempting to diet my body into submission: I dress to my figure. Keep reading »
Two years ago, I was sitting in the bathtub cheerfully shampooing my unruly mop of hair and engaging my morning ablutions. When the time came to wash my privates, a sudden, sharp, stinging sensation arose the second I touched soap to vulva. I actually cried out, causing my curious cat to peek over the tub rim at my submerged body. I rinsed the soap off quickly, but the burning sensation lingered.
And I remained both in pain — and dumbfounded — for the next 18 months. Keep reading »