Vocabulary Lesson: All

It’s a tiny word, but huge in meaning: all. It means everybody. Everyone. All of us. Have you heard of the denim company 7 For All Mankind? They’d been on my periphery for awhile, but today I checked them out properly. They came to my attention because one of my …

My Body Valentine

Dear Body, I’m sorry that I’ve spent so much time wishing you were different. I’m sorry I blamed you for not being small enough. I’m sorry I tried to force you into a shape you couldn’t be. I’m sorry for every time I cried at your reflection. I’m sorry I …

Fashion at Your Door

Have you guys ever tried one of those plus-size subscription clothing services? A few years ago, I tried Gwynnie Bee. It was okay. I definitely loved getting clothes delivered right to my door, but I ended up sending almost every piece back. They were either too big, too small, not …

When Doctor Doesn’t Know Best

A lot of people go through life thinking that their doctor knows best. After all, doctors go to medical school for many years. They learn a lot of stuff that we know nothing about. But that doesn’t mean that doctors are free from bias. They can be misinformed. They can …

Activewear Done Right

Back in September, I was out in Minneapolis to see my favorite band. My hotel was right down the road from the Mall of America, so of course I had to check it out. And even though 67% of American women wear size 16 and above, most stores in that massive …

Now You’ve Got My Attention

What does it take to get your attention? It’s a busy time of year, and we’re all stretched thin. If you’re like me, your inbox is overflowing with emails from companies fighting for your hard-earned dollars. I delete almost all of them, but there’s two ways they grab my attention. …

You Don’t Know Me

Let’s talk about what it means to know someone. When you look at someone in the grocery store, across a room, online, do you think that you know them? Let me give you an example. I’m on all the dating apps. I have face pictures and body pictures. I have …

Eating Overseas

Hej! (That’s Danish for “hi!”) I went to Denmark earlier this month, and I have to tell you what eating was like over there. First, because the food was SO good. But also, because eating overseas was so different than eating here in the States. We were super lucky to …

Big Brave Deal

What’s the scariest thing you’ve done lately? Maybe you asked for a raise, or asked for a date. Maybe you shared your art with the world for the first time, or signed up for a marathon. Being brave is tough. If we put ourselves out there—artistically, romantically, physically, and any other -ally you can think of—we risk failure. We risk being laughed at, mocked, and rejected.

Being brave on the internet is especially scary. Internet trolls lurk everywhere. You can read the most innocuous article, and when you look in the comments, you’ll find the worst of humanity. I’m not sure why so many people feel compelled to hurt strangers. There’s something about being behind a keyboard that gives them a different kind of bravery than the kind I’m talking about today. I used to think that the thrill of anonymity was what drove so many people to be awful to others online. But nowadays, we often use social media log-ins when we comment. It’s fascinating to me that having your name and profile visible doesn’t seem to deter people from being their worst selves.

Anyway! The point of all this talk about bravery is that I’m going to do something brave. Right now. My friends over at TeeRico asked if I’d have some pictures taken of me in the tank tops and t-shirts they’ve asked me to test and review. Gulp! Tank tops and t-shirts mean bare arms. If there’s one part of my body that I still have to work hard to accept (much less embrace and love), it’s my arms. Don’t get me wrong: They’re strong and capable. They lift, push, pull. They’ve swum endless laps. They’ve come with me on twelve 13.1-mile journeys (and countless training miles to get to those start lines). They’ve hugged some of the best people in the world. But they are, by society’s standards, unattractive. And many other adjectives that I won’t list here.

We talk a lot about how much representation matters. When I see images of a fat person online who doesn’t have a perfect hour-glass figure, it’s shocking. And so wonderful! I want—and need—to see images of people who look like me. People with belly rolls and cellulite and stretch marks. We have to stop thinking of these natural things as flaws we should be ashamed of and cover up. Think about it: The more we see different bodies, the more we’ll come to accept them. The more we see visibly fat bodies (not “plus-size” model bodies), the more we’ll come to accept them. If we work hard enough, if we’re brave enough, we’ll see diversity everywhere. We’ll accept it, we’ll expect it, and we’ll love it!

If somebody sees my pictures and feels kinder about themselves as a result, then my fear is worth it.

So here I go. I’m sending these pictures out into the world. Thanks for holding my hand, friends. And an especially big thank you to Luis at TeeRico, who inspires me to be bold and brave. ¡Vamonos!

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(And thanks to Austin for being my intrepid photographer!)

 

Don’t Look Back

If a person with a time machine showed up on your front lawn and offered you the choice to go anywhere in time, where would you go? Would you go back? Or forward? It would be a hard choice, for sure. I’d love to see what the future looks like …