Monday, September 15, 2014

Depression Tried. I'm Still Here!

      I struggle with depression. Depression is not easy to talk about. There is a stigma to it which can bring on shame. I was first diagnosed with depression in high school; however I know I struggled at an earlier age. I have experienced dark times over the years. I have closed myself off as a way to hope the world would forget me and my sadness would not affect those around me. I sought medical help.  For several years now, the majority of the time I have a handle on it. I eat right, I exercise, and I removed negative energy out of my life (where I could). I still have bumps in the road, however, it has been decades since I was plunged into the darkness. The clock starts over; I survived my summer of darkness.

     Skipping the personal details, the best description I can give is my world, my snow globe, was shaken. Hard. I found myself lost and ashamed. I found myself resorting back to old habits for comfort. I started gaining weight - fast. That plunged me even further into despair. When I had to buy bigger size pants this summer I found myself on the dressing room floor in tears. Not only was I struggling with events around me, but now I found I was not able to take care of myself. 

     I shut down. I stopped answering my phone, my blog slowed down, and I hid away as much as I could. The stress that started the spiral downward was getting better though the damage I had done to myself was not. I became unable to fit into my clothes. This hurt the most. I could hear things people said to me after I lost my weight; "If you gain weight again your husband will leave you," "If you gain weight no one will like you." Yes, these are things a few people in my life thought were appropriate to say to me and that's all I could hear in my head. I felt like I had failed, I blog about health and here I had tossed mine to the side. 

Wouldn't let depression win! 

     I did my damnedest to shake the 
depression off. I still put on my bathing suit and I swam in a pool with my son for the first time ever. I did not hate my body and even if my clothes do not fit, it was not my body's fault. I stopped eating healthy and exercising. I started sneaking junk food. I pushed my husband, who only wanted me to feel better, to take us to Sonic for shakes. I ate my way through my depression all summer long. When school started I had gained close to 
30 pounds in 3 months! 

     30 pounds in 3 months is a hard reality and one that I was not sure I should share. After all, my blog started as a way to discuss the afterlife of weight loss and here I had gained weight! My blog may have started out that way; however it has evolved into a body positive blog, fighting for the freedom to love our bodies just the way they are. It turns out that includes my body, even when I am not taking care of it. 

     The reality is that life happens and hard times will shake all our snow globes at some point in our lives. It is unrealistic to think we will be able to maintain our comfort zones forever. This is why I am sharing my story. I am not perfect. I ran screaming from the wagon and didn't look back. I ate my way into a bigger size, I had maintained my size for 7 years, putting on a bigger pair of pants felt like a punch to the gut. However, I have learned that the wagon is never going so fast that we cannot catch up to it and get back on. My skies are brighter and the darkness is fading. I am human and I will make mistakes. I am human and I will learn. I am human and I will get better.  

My soul's smile when a friend understood. 
      I opened up to a few friends and realized that I am not alone. For every person who hugged me and understood my tears I thank you. It is because of these souls that I share this with my readers. If you find yourself struggling, remember that it will not last forever and it is ok to talk about it. We tend to feel we are the only ones struggling and we are not. I did not fail because I gained weight. I did not fail because I stopped caring for myself. I failed because I suffered in silence for too long. Had I swallowed my shame and confided in a friend much sooner it may not have taken so long to recover. 

     It has been a few weeks now of slowly getting back into a routine of health.  I am finding myself again. I have returned to my gym classes, cleaned up my eating, and forgave myself. I will be my own best friend in this recovery process to getting back to my healthy. In the meantime I have to be patient as the weight comes off. I have to stand proud regardless of my pant size for greatness has no size requirement! To my readers, I will be honest with you along my journey and celebrate the good things. For example, today was the first day in three months that I ran and I felt like a million bucks! I'm still here! Maybe a little slower, maybe my gym clothes are a little tighter, but I'm still here!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Defending the Bearded Man

     Typically I write on behalf of women and women issues. I fight for the freedom for all of us to love our bodies the way they are; perfectly imperfect. However, I have come across a group of individuals that need a defending voice. I have witnessed complete strangers feel they have a right to speak their negative opinion on to others. I have witnessed close friends and family do the same. There is a group of people that society feels they can tear down without any remorse and it pisses me off.  I am speaking up for beards! 

     That's right, you read that correct. Beards and every man who has one and has had to listen to rude comments by people who have zero consideration for another person's feelings. I am passionate on the subject of beards because my husband has one and I am fed up the negative opinions people inflict on him. He has a well groomed manly beard and I love it! He loves it! To the beard haters out there, do all the bearded men in your life a favor and shut up! Just shut up! 

     It seems that a man's facial hair is an open forum for anyone, family or stranger, to impart their opinion.  I have been shocked, floored in fact, at the audacity of people. I have heard everything from "You look homeless," to "It makes you look old,” and so on. These are not comments from bullies on a playground; rather, these comments come from family, co-workers, friends, acquaintances, and strangers. Why does consideration for other human beings’ feelings disappear when they have a beard?

     A beard does not magically appear overnight. A beard is, in most circumstances, a choice a man made for himself. A beard is a commitment. A beard requires regular maintenance and grooming.  A beard is a cultivated source of pride.  There is even a world championship competition of beards and moustaches. Men take pride in their facial hair. Men “out man” each other with their impressive beards.  Beards reflect personal expression, like a tattoo, or make up, or a hair style. Speaking for myself, I would never belittle someone's expression of themselves. 

     For those who have not experienced the grooming habits of a bearded man, allow me to shed some light on this:

1. A beard's shape and length are a premeditated choice. A beard does not grow magically into the finished product, it is cultivated. 

2. A beard requires precision with a razor and scissors.  A man will hold his breath and pray he does not make a mistake and ruin his work. 

3. A beard requires shampooing and conditioning.  Men care about hair products when they are caring for their beard.

4. A beard may require the use of a hair dryer. A man does not just get out of the shower, dry off, and leave their beard a mess on their face. No, they brush it and blow it dry. 

5. A beard may require the use of styling products to keep flyaways at bay. 

6. A man looks in the mirror and admires his beard. He is proud of his ability to master his facial hair. Woosies do not grow beards. 

7. Men do not all have the same beard growing potential. Men respect other beards. 

     The beard has been one of many symbolic manly statements throughout history. Open a history book and count the beards. Open the Bible and count the beards. Look around in our society and see who sports a beard; fathers, husbands, and sons. Men that are loved, respected, and cherished by more than one person in their life. I implore the beard haters, before you spit out your degrading beard comment, think about what you are saying and who you are saying it to! It is not a joke to degrade a man for his choice to grow a beard, regardless of your personal opinion, or in some cases, your jealousy.  

     Beard haters, shut up, because the person you’re imparting your "wisdom" on has just moved you down on the list of people they enjoy talking too.  The more you speak negatively about something a man has pride in, the less respect he will have for you. When you open your mouth to express how you hate his beard, you have shown him how little consideration you have for his feelings and well-being. Are you really that big of a jerk? Do you want that person to think you are an asshole? Think before your speak because your words will not be forgotten. 

     Grow on bearded men, grow on! Embrace your facial hair and wear it proud! Just like I tell women to ignore the beauty standards of a narrow minded society; I tell bearded men to ignore the unsolicited comments from those around them and grow on! The body is not a public forum. Every human being deserves the freedom to express themselves however they choose and no one has the right to tear them down. 

To my husband, who has witnessed my smack down shut your face come backs to those crazy enough to make a comment in front of his body positive blogger wife, I love your beard! You have my full support to express your inner manliness! 

Example of competitions:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Drum Roll Please!!

...and the Winner is.....!!!!!

    I am thrilled to be putting a years worth of these amazing lashes into the hands of a woman who is about to be blown away. These lashes transformed my face! 

     Ladies, thank you all for entering this contest. I wanted every reader of mine to see and know about these lashes. They are amazing! My friend and trusted hair dressed, Melissa, has made it so you can purchase these lashes!!!

Thank you all for entering my contest. I will be having another contest before the end of the year. In the meantime, spoil yourself! 

The Winner is.....
Laura Landry
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