January 12, 2015

A Cape and a Caveat

Oh HI.

This is my first real blog post in quite some time, and I'm pretty excited about that. A return to the blog! It lives on! As many other pursuits enter my life and take up my time, I just can't seem to say goodbye to this precious little space. When I look at this page, I see little pieces of my insides in the components of my header collage, in the colors that remind me of shells and seawater, in the loosely stitched-together themes and posts and design. I can't give it up. I find it too beautiful.

Things that are happening:

This is my first blog post as a skinny person. Since giving up starches and sugar last spring, I have lost 45 pounds, which is part of why I haven't blogged much in the last year. Nothing I own fits. I haven't bought new clothes, and my old clothes remind me of a time when my closet gave me as much anxiety as it did inspiration--yes, this dress is fabulous, but will it fit? When I was heavier, that question caused me to ignore many items in my closet. I had no idea how some of these things fit, because I avoided trying them on. I felt restricted to certain items that felt safe, and sometimes it felt like I wore more outlandish things to detract attention from my body. If I wore this absolutely fabulous kimono/caftan/dashiki with a load of layered necklaces and a turban, would anyone notice my extra pounds? Being heavy gave me freedom in my wardrobe this way--I was less concerned with how thin I looked because I wasn't thin, so why pretend to be? Instead I could be fabulous. Instead I could indulge my love of ridiculous clothing.

But I was restricted. Certain garments just wouldn't work with my body, no matter what size I tried. Certain shapes and styles just weren't options. I felt limited in my wardrobe choices, one of several reasons why I decided to lose weight to begin with. My body is naturally curvy at any size, and the bigger I was, the harder it was to find things that fit my hourglass shape. Things that fit my bust and hips were too large in the waist. Things that fit my waist would never make it around my breasts and thighs. Being thinner evens things out a bit.

Being thinner does other things too. It freaks me out. Being fat is frustrating, but being thin is frightening. There's a part of me that keeps thinking this isn't real, that tomorrow I'll wake up with those lost 45 pounds bulging under my pajamas. I fear losing too much weight, I fear not being able to keep it up (although the weight loss itself has been virtually effortless and I've never felt healthier), I fear I've somehow sold my soul to the devil and one day he's going to come collect. I never thought I would ever be this thin again. When you want something, and you do not believe it will ever happen, and then it does and it feels easy and right and good, there is nothing scarier. Something opens up in your chest when you realize you can have the things you want, something that feels like hope and glory and fright. One day I'm going to land a book deal and publish my novel, and I'm going to own a home, and be in love with a wonderful man, and I'm going to think, holy shit what if it all goes away?

Living in the moment is not my strong suit.

I wore this today, a dress I've had for years and worn at a few different weight fluctuations. Currently it's a little loose and works with a belt. My father gave me the cape for Christmas. It's vintage, I forget what decade, maybe the sixties? In the weeks to come, I'll be digging through my closet to find which pieces I can wear at this size until I revamp my wardrobe next month. Forgive my pallor--I'm getting over a head cold.

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Thank you for reading, you're beautiful.

December 29, 2014

This old thing?

In the year 2013, I posted 110 times on this blog. 2014 ends in a few days, and this is my 30th post this year. Quite a difference. I've struggled with what to do with this space for some time now. I like having the blog, I like knowing that I can come back to it any time I like, but it hasn't been a particularly active pursuit for a long time. In the last couple years, I have focused mostly on my novel, which is incredibly time-consuming, and occupies such a massive space in my creative brain, there is little room for much else. I also started writing and performing spoken word/slam poetry a few months ago, and that has replaced blogging as the "light" writing that I do, the fun kind that relieves the pressure of a massive project like a novel. I feel like when I do come back to the blog, I mostly write about how I never blog anymore and how I don't know if I want to still blog, and how boring is that?

But I feel the need to check in, to keep the site semi-active, to let what followers I have left know that I'm still alive and well and doing wonderful things.

Also this has mostly been a style-based blog, heavy on the outfit posts, and that's the sort of material I've always enjoyed most. As of today, I have lost forty pounds since the spring, and have not bought new clothes except for a couple pairs of jeans and some boring work stuff. There is not much in my closet that currently fits and also makes for good outfit blogging. There is also not much in my closet that I'm excited about, seeing as everything is old and too big and worn during a time that I felt hidden inside my clothes because my body wasn't what I wanted it to be. But if you are still following, and care to continue, I'm going to be revamping my wardrobe in a couple months, and it's pretty possible that a closet full of new, well-fitting clothes will make me want to pull out the camera and post again.

and this is peak is not dead yet.

You can find me in massive abundance on Instagram, which is like my mini-blog, at lydiabird. I post there pretty much constantly, and it serves as what I would imagine a tiny, photo-heavy version of this blog would be anyway. Thanks for reading, you're beautiful.

September 16, 2014

Does Losing Weight Make Me a Bad Feminist?

About six months ago, inspired by a friend, I made some changes to my eating habits. I cut out starchy carbs like bread, potatoes, rice, and pasta, and pretty much all sugar except fruit and alcohol. At last count, I've lost about thirty-five pounds. And it feels amazing--physically amazing because I have more energy, and feel less hungry and lighter and stronger, but also amazing in a purely emotional, vain sort of way. In the way that makes media depictions of ideal female bodies relevant because, as much as we want to blame the media for our rat-race to impossible beauty standards, we genuinely want to feel skinny. We genuinely want to look the way the media tells us we want to look. We could have a chicken-or-the-egg debate about it--which came first, the perfume ad or the anorexia--but isn't that why those Hollywood depictions of femininity bug us so much? Because they're on to something? Because we do covet tiny waists and thigh gaps?

To be honest, as I've watched the pounds melt off all summer, I've wondered how I'm going to write about it. Because I've spent the last four years exploring the topic of positive body image on this blog (note: the first two years of posts have been deleted from this site). I've posted pictures of myself in a bathing suit while rallying for body acceptance, and written about Internet-stalking my ex's skinny new girlfriend and in defense of Lena Dunham's awkward naked body plastered all over her show Girls. I literally almost did a post on the anniversary of "In Defense of Honest Body Image" in which I wore the exact same bathing suit from a year ago and posted side-by-side images of then and now--which basically felt like one of those diet speed pill ads in the back of my US Weekly. I was like, how do I show you guys what's happened, and also talk about it in a way that doesn't make me feel like a hypocrite? Because none of my clothes fit me anymore, and I'm stoked. Because I had to buy new jeans a couple weeks ago and it was fucking amazing. Because I don't measure my self-worth in terms of how I look, but I do measure my waistline (28 inches as of this morning).

Does losing weight make me a bad feminist? Am I buying into the whole patriarchal idea of female worth? I don't fucking know. I used to hate that famous Kate Moss quote, "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels." I thought Kate Moss was an idiot, because I've tasted some really amazing shit. But now I'm like, yeah, she's got a point there. Skinny feels really fucking good. (Also I would like to note that sugar and french fries have an addictive quality, and when you stop eating them and break the addiction, they really don't taste that great anymore. Lest you think I lost my mind somewhere in those dress sizes.)

It's a very strange, delicate thing to experience a thrill from losing weight and yet hold dear to your heart the importance of healthy self image for women. It sort of makes you feel like a traitor. Sometimes I feel like a shitty feminist anyway, because I really want the dude to pay on when I go on dates and I take a lot of selfies. Whatever. I just want to be honest, and isn't that what matters in terms of women's lib anyway? The freedom to be ourselves, as complicated and diverse and flawed as that may be? What if a lot of my flaws are on the inside?

Here's another interesting thing about losing weight--part of the reason I wanted to do it to begin with is because clothes look better on smaller people and there were things I couldn't really wear anymore, and I thought that being skinnier would open up my sartorial choices. And since I lost weight, literally all I want to wear are T-shirts and jeans. The other day I wore a white button-down shirt, and that was really fashiony for me. (Also I had on this menswear jacket that has a really amazing cut and these killer studded pumps, but whatever because my outfit was all about that button-down.) Is there something about being comfortable in my body that makes me want to shed all the crazy shit I wear and put on a tank top instead? I might just be getting lazy about it, honestly, because lately if I'm not at work, I'm at the cafe working on my novel, or I'm at this spoken word open mic I've been going to, or I'm at home, like right now, in my office, writing writing writing writing.

Plus nothing in my closet fits anymore anyway.

I took the photos below this evening. I'm literally wearing exactly this right now as I type, which is pretty rare on this blog. Or anyone's. It's sort of become my uniform. Actually, last night when I got off work, I put on this exact tank and these exact jeans and practiced this poem I think I'm going to perform at that open mic. I'll probably wear this tomorrow night too, after work, and practice my poem and work on my novel and drink beer in my office and listen to Nirvana.

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Thanks for reading, you're beautiful. I still think so.