Before & After

Let me just clarify one thing, before I get into this. Body positivity is for ALL bodies. My body type happens to fit within one faction of body positivity, but in no way does that mean fat girls should be shaming skinny girls. (A topic for another day.) We also shouldn’t be shaming disabled bodies, birth marked bodies, muscle bodies, etc. Sometimes we see things that are un-natural to us. While that fact makes sense, we often react in humor to make light of the situation. This can, on occasion, turn into aggressive behavior and what most like to refer to as body shaming. Let’s stop doing that, it’s not cute.

All that being said, “Before & After” pictures stress me out.

Like… does anyone else have a moral dilemma before clicking the like button? I sure do.

Here’s the thing, I do not have a healthy relationship with weight loss and dieting. I have been fat since seven and let me tell you I’ve tried about a billion different ways to lose weight. I’ve never lasted much longer than a couple months; because the problem is that I become obsessive in a very unhealthy way. You can spin it however you want, “dieting, lifestyle change, weight watchers, portion control”, I’ve done it all. It doesn’t work for me; I know this about myself. On the other hand, I enjoy working out. I HATE RUNNING. But working out is cool, I actually enjoy feeling sore and getting my sweat on. However, I was NEVER happy. I was ALWAYS in my head questioning every choice I made. I wasn’t living for myself, I was living for what I thought I needed to be. That’s when it clicked for me. I needed to be happy inside, before I could do the rest. All I was doing was torturing myself every day and still not feeling like I was good enough.

So there’s a point to this sad little story…

I recognize the extreme dedication and hard work that goes into losing a lot of weight. Those “Before & After” pictures are a beautiful representation of the kind of soul and determination a person has. Also, if a person did manage to lose weight, it’s because they truly wanted that for themselves. That goal deserves recognition.

Here comes my dilemma.

I HATE the body shaming that comes along with those pictures. Its subtle, but it’s there. It’s in the comments where people tell you that you look so good now, as if you didn’t before. It’s in the way people celebrate their weight loss, as if you can’t be a happy fat girl. It’s in the way people learn to love the fat girl when she’s not fat anymore. It’s in the way, little girls go home and take half naked pictures just so they examine their rolls and decide how to get rid of them one day. It frustrates me. I was that girl, and it’s ass backwards.

I should have been going home, looking in the mirror and figuring out how to say I love you, you’re beautiful. Instead, I was looking at my body, crying, and reminding myself I’d never be the skinny girl. What I wish someone had told me back then, was that I didn’t have to be the skinny girl, to be the happy one.

I already know that this particular blog will stir about a lot of thoughts and feelings. I’m not saying people should stop posting those pictures, but I do think how we react to them can shape how our youth view themselves. It would have been so much more beneficial to me, to see comments like…

“Your happiness is inspiring.”

“You worked really hard to reach your goal.”

“You were always beautiful, but seeing your journey is awesome!”

You see, I think the thing about “Before & After” pictures is that they showcase certain happiness. We’ve somehow created that to mean weight loss, when really all it has to show is your journey to self-love.

Happy people are beautiful.

Happy people are surviving.

I am living now.

I hope you can too.

Here’s my “Before & After”

XXX

Izzi Marie

(Listening to Birthday Cake, by Rihanna)

Find Magic or Be It

People often ask me how I’ve become so confident and it’s always really hard for me to answer that question. I think, mostly because I question myself a lot in the choices I’ve made and if I’m good enough. That’s not necessarily in regard to my appearance, but to my life. That’s a natural and normal response to getting older, but I always laugh a little bit at the question. Aside from the obvious response of “fake it till’ you make it”; I think there is a key reason I’ve managed to accept myself enough to live in a brighter world than I did when I was thirteen. The simple answer is that I’ve always managed to surround myself with magical people.

I’m constantly amazed at the individuals willing to jump to my defense in an instant. Have I heard negativity, in regard to my size, during my lifetime? Of course. Would I say it’s a lot less than the average person growing up in my generation? Absolutely. I have to own my past and how it differs from many people I know. I think that’s only fair if I’m going to sit here and preach self-love. In fact, I’d go as far as to say the most hatred I’ve ever dealt with has been in the last two years of my life, but it touched me a lot differently. It’s been difficult, because I felt thrown into a place that I should have learned to cope with in adolescence, but instead it’s been impacting my adulthood.

That’s a story for another day. I say all this to recognize the friendships/relationships I created in my youth that saved me from a life filled with ridicule and hatred. I certainly did enough of that myself; I didn’t need any help from others.

It’s safe to say I’ve lost a lot of friends.

Some, just because it’s life and it happens.

Others, because there were fights that never healed over time.

Many I’m just not able to see as much as I’d like.

Most of who inspire me from their own confidence.

The one thing I can say, no matter how it happened, every single one of those people had my back. They each still hold a very important place in my heart, because you don’t make special memories with just anyone. They supported me and helped me feel beautiful. Above all I’m sure they kept things to themselves that could have destroyed me. While I’m not a fan of secrets, sometimes it’s important to know when a piece of information will help heal someone or continue to keep them down. I’m not a fool. I know when people talk about me and whether or not it’s malicious. I also know when my friends, past or current, are trying to keep my soul from the dark stuff. I appreciate that dearly, because it played a huge role in the person I am today.

I cannot emphasize this piece of advice enough: SURROUND YOURSELF WITH MAGIC.

It’s not hard to find and I seem to discover it around every corner. It’s in people you never thought possible and in quiet hero’s who surprise you in times of need. My social media is mostly filled with positivity. That is not an accident. It’s important that you accept the role you play in your own happiness. Most of the power is in your hands and for the rest you’re just along for the ride.

I do want to end on this note. I mentioned, ”fake it till’ you make it” earlier. That could not ring more true for me. There should always be a key element of self-satisfaction in your being, but few question the confident girl. However, they do demand answers from the one who looks like she’s questioning herself. Just keep that in mind in your every day life. Take a risk. Nine times out of ten people will applaud you for it and if they don’t at least you we’re bold enough to try. That should be plenty to sleep at night.

If it’s not? Try a piece of cake 😉

XXX

Izzi Marie

You’re allowed to have bad days.

I did a Youtube video about a million years ago.

*Side note: Yes, I have a Youtube channel. Yes, it’s an awkward time capsule of who I was for about three years. Yes, you can try to find it, but I will not help you haha.
But seriously, back to the important part. I talked about something that was significant to me, so I thought I would address it again for you here.

Let me first point out the obvious, in that, we are ALL human. We all make mistakes, have goals, dreams and ambitions. We all have great days, followed by horrible ones. I work relentlessly to love my body, and myself. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have days where I dislike myself a little. Sometimes a lot.

I AM ALLOWED THAT. YOU ARE ALLOWED THAT.

What that doesn’t mean, is that I cry myself to sleep every day, because I’m fat.

I don’t hate myself every day.

I don’t hate my body every day.

I know the difference, because I was that girl for a long time. I was that girl when I was 10, 12, and 13. I’m not that girl anymore. I am empowered by my body and the beautiful community that surrounds me.

What that does mean, is that sometimes I have moments or days where I’m not crazy about how everything is coming together. I dislike how my outfit looks on my body. Or that that one stupid hair won’t stick into my bun and I’m about two seconds away from lodging a tin full of bobby pins across the room. 

The idea that a bad day is solely related to my fatness, really pisses me off. You know why? Because when I’m completely in love with myself and having a great day, no one relates that at all to my fatness. This body is mine, 365 days a year – 24/7, but people don’t care about that. People only care when I’m crying about it, because it validates their viscous stereotypes. Well world, I’m not here to validate you. I’m here to validate myself.

For the beautiful people reading this right now, everyone is at a different spot in their journey.

If you’re still that 13-year-old girl with struggles. Don’t fret.
If you’re a 45-year-old woman who still struggles. Don’t worry.

I’m just here to tell you that – if you’re at the point where you are loving yourself, it is alright to have a bad day. And if you’re not there yet, those bad days will become fewer and fewer.

It’s OK.

You don’t start all over just because you need to let a few tears out.

You don’t start all over just because you don’t like how your arms look.

It’s one day.

You reset.

And if it takes you a while to get back to that healthy mindset, just use it as motivation.

It’s your story.

Don’t let them write it for you.

Instead… Just eat some cake.

XXX

Izzi Marie

You are more.

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 5.31.08 PM

You are more than a pretty face. You are actually a whole lot more than that in general, but for the sake of argument just roll with me.

I am SO tired of people telling me that I have a “pretty face”. If you are reading this, there’s a high probability you know what context I’m referring to. The “pretty face” in relation to the “that is the only thing that is pretty about you” facial expression. Yep, that one is my favorite.

One guy actually had the audacity to tell me, “You know Izzi, I’m not really into big girls.. but like you’re pretty sexy.” BYE FELICIA. Did you really think that was going to get you in the door? I wish I had thought to tell him that I wasn’t really into assholes, but he was a particularly large one. #notbitter There’s just a certain way to go about these things and body shaming in an attempt to compliment me is not the right path.

I think it is safe to assume that anyone saying these types of things don’t mean to verbally slap you in the face. (mostly anyways.) It is actually a great teachable moment, but sometimes I don’t feel like teaching and that is ok. Tonight is an exception to that feeling.

You’re more. You can always be more, you just have to allow yourself to be.

Never settle. Love yourself more. Then find someone who loves you more.

Don’t allow yourself to be done when you think you are, because you never will be.

I used to think comments like that were harmless, but then I really took a look at how they were manifesting in me. They made my face the most important thing I had and the only thing I thought I could have. That’s not true. I am more than a pretty face. I have a beautiful body that contains my everlasting soul. You do too.

Close your eyes, breathe in deep.

Do you feel that?

That’s your essence.

THAT is who are.

Don’t let them tell you any differently.

Now go treat yoself. #cake

XXX

Izzi Marie

Messy

Self-love is messy. It starts young and dies old. It’s staring in the mirror naked, trying not to see what the world wants you to. It’s anger, frustration. It’s hysterical crying in the shower at any time. It’s counting calories and keeping track in a diary you hide, because you don’t want the cool kids to notice. It’s thoughts of self-harm. It’s ugly and it never gets easier. There will always be bad days. But there will be less of them. You get used to checking yourself, before you let your mind get ahead. It’s about recognizing what you have, before you discredit your individuality.

On a day-to-day basis I interact with countless women who shame their own bodies and poison their minds continuously. I could sit there for hours and tell them that their beautiful, but it won’t matter until they can go home and say it to themselves. I watch women cry in dressing rooms, because they’re a size fourteen and not a twelve.

But there’s a flip-side…

I watch women who are sizes twenty and up love themselves backwards and forwards. I get to see beautiful fat babes where crop tops, bathing suits, show their arms, show their legs, and show off their true self. I get to watch women fall in love with themselves, just like I did. I get inspired by women, who do things I’m still working on. They’re confident. They’re bold. They own it. They just do it, because the best person to tell you it’s ok to do something is yourself.

I cannot sit here and tell you how to love yourself, because mostly I’m still learning. But also… because everyone does it differently. Each day shape shifts into a distinctive method. Some days that means dressing up, other days it means dressing down. Some days it means cake; some days it means a salad. Sometimes it means going for a walk, sometimes it’s Netflix and chill. For the most part these days, it just means me dancing around with no pants on. I do what feels right. I do anything and everything to give my mental state a high five. Self-love never looks the same and that’s ok. That fact alone is what makes it pretty messy; you’ve got to figure it out for yourself.

I read a quote from Anthony Bourdain today, “Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.”

Self love is messy.

Self love is beautiful.

I promise you…

Self love will save your life.

(So will cake.)

XXX

Izzi Marie