Daily Delights

The weather in Colorado Springs has just been gorgeous for the past few days, so we’ve spent a lot of time outside, obviously. Malcolm just bought clippers to give Attie an at home shave, which cost at home prices. Winning! We’ve tried to shave him once before in Malcolm’s tiny apartment with some old shears. That was a long, fairly awful experience. He just has so. much. hair. This time we were outside enjoying the sunshine when we decided to try again. This time was a pleasure. Atticus laid his body weight on me while Malcolm shaved. Attie was so comfy that he almost fell asleep in my arms. It was delightfully adorable and made my heart melt. Ugh. That dog. Oh and one of the best parts about it? We saved some moolah! Can’t get better than that. I did get an intense sunburn on my back and shoulders, but it was worth it.

Maegan

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Daily Delights

This weekend was the first weekend warm enough to spend time outside. In desperate need of Vitamin D, M and I turned our flower beds/garden, did some much needed pruning, and relocating some iris bulbs. We brought all of the animals and potted plants outside for some sunshine as well. They were out there until the sun began to set. After watering them inside, I put my plant babies back in their homes. When I did that, I noticed that each plant had visibly stretched out. I could almost feel the relief of the plants to finally get some sun so they can make food. When I checked them today, I was exuberant when I noticed newly emerged buds on healthy stems. They are also a more vibrant shade of green. This plant lady thing is a lot of fun when you don’t have plants dying on you left and right 🙂

I hope you can find a small delight to relish today!

Maegan

Diet Culture in Department Stores

When M asked me to go shopping with him, I assumed he meant to Target or our favorite thrift store which are our go-to haunts. I was very surprised when he said he wanted to shop department stores or the mall. I will admit, there is an alluring luxury of walking into a store and seeing all of your options neatly laid out before you in seven different colors and patterns. What?! I don’t have to hunt for a sweater my size in a decent color? The experience felt like a different world.

Especially when I couldn’t find my size. In any of the five stores we browsed. With each new store we entered, the message became abundantly clear: if you don’t wear a size 00 through 10, you can’t sit with us. You don’t belong.

As you might imagine, this launched me into a cadre of emotions. Anger at an industry that only includes people in smaller bodies who can afford these clothes. Disappointment in myself for no longer fitting into that mold. Sadness for feeling like a fat fucking failure of a human being. Inevitably my emotions turned on me and directed all my negative thoughts and blame on myself. I tried to hold on to the anger at the vague “man” figure whom I envision owning these companies and making decisions, but that sometimes isn’t enough to silence that internalized hate.

There was a time in my not so far past when I would react to this feeling by burritoing myself in my comforter and canceling all my plans for the rest of the weekend. However, I’m working on keeping my promises to myself and one of those is to be kind to my body. Here are some strategies that actually helped me direct my focus back outward where the blame actually rests with our society and diet culture:

1. Speak your shame: the almighty Brene Brown taught me to speak my shame. Because of the shame associated with being in a larger body, I hardly ever communicate exactly what’s happening in my head during these moments of self loathing. Let your loved and trusted ones know what’s going on inside you. Tell them you’re struggling with body shame and remembering that diet culture is the culprit, not my body, mind, heart, or spirit. Resist the urge to cancel on your friends and yourself. If they really deserve to be on your personal baseball team, they will remind you of how badass you are in your moment of overwhelm. We’re all in this together.

2. You are not a size, you wear a size: Speaking about size as what we “are” (e.g. I am a size 22, I am a size 31, etc.) instead of what we wear has always bothered me. My size does not define my worth, and neither does yours. I wear a Large, not I am a Large. My size is not my identity. Neither is yours.

3. We are all in this together: (Is it obvious that this is my new mantra?) I’m Maegan and I’m here to give you permission to unfollow the accounts on any social media that only serve beauty in the form of white, thin bodies. I now almost exclusively follow body positive accounts that remind me that being thin isn’t always the norm. And that’s okay. If you fill your feed with images steeped in perpetuating diet culture, you will feel bad about yourself. You may be thinking, but that’s what I aspire to, that’s my goal. I’m wondering if you’ve ever stopped to ask yourself why is that your goal? To be healthy? To feel as good as the person in a small body feels (or what we assume is good)? Or is it because we were told that is the most desirable body by society? Maybe sit with that for a while before deciding to alter your social media content. If you can get to that point, the next step is finding community and leaning on that community in moments such as the one I experienced this weekend. I immediately returned home, sat on my couch, and pulled up body positive accounts exclusively to remind me that I’m not alone. Neither are you. 

That was hard for me to share. This diet culture runs so deep into my psyche, and everyone’s really, that it’s hard to get some distance to dissect diet culture for what it really is. I’m new to this journey, and I already feel so liberated. I’m finally beginning to get out from under the weight of what society says my body “should” look like.

Thanks for letting me share!

Maegan

Photo Friday

Jackson loves to sit in the window and daydream about catching a bird or a squirrel. At least that’s what I imagine he’s thinking. He hangs out there so often there’s a ton of little kitty paw prints on the white window sill. He’s lucky he’s so damn cute.

Daily Delights

Typically I am more of a money saver than a money spender. But every now and then I like to treat myself to something luxurious whether it be a massage or purchasing a piece of jewelry. In one of my most recent moods to actually spend money, I purchased this necklace from J & Co. Jewelry. I didn’t realize that the company is based in the UK so it took a very long time to be delivered. I had so much joy over finally receiving this and putting it on for the first time. Buying quality jewelry for myself makes me feel like an actual put-together adult, if there really is such a thing.

Warmly,

Maegan

Sam Smith Identifies as Non-Binary and Why It Matters

Did you hear/read that Sam Smith came out as non-binary yesterday? If not, I recommend stopping here to read this NBC article. This is such exciting news for many reasons, one of the main ones being that the more we shine a spotlight on “gender queer” “non-binary” “gender non-conforming (GNC)” the more our society can get away from being so entrenched in gender. There are so many people with different variations of female/male identity and expression who do not identify as part of the binary that are depressed, self-harming, or suicidal because they do not want to be continually shoved into the box that was labeled for them when they were born.

Imagine a world where when we speak about random people on the street or in the market we use gender neutral pronoun of “they”. For example, when my dog barks at people while on a walk or tries to pull towards them I say, “Leave that person alone” or “leave them alone” instead of “leave that man or woman/ he or she alone”. I just identified their gender for them and whether it’s correct or not in terms of how they identify themselves does not matter. What matters is that I allow people the space to define that for themselves. Who am I to assume anyone’s gender? Imagine the freedom that would come with expressing ourselves outside of the gender binary. Imagine a world in which we ask people’s pronouns every time we are introduced and then we give ours. Imagine a world in which we don’t have trans/gender queer/non-binary people murdered every day because they are trying to live and be free. Voices like Sam Smith’s is integral in this social shift.

As humans we are so focused on putting everything in a box with a label in the files of our minds. This need came from primitive humans needing to look around or hear their environment and quickly identify threats. Is that sound a lion or just the bushes rustling? Nope, that’s just leaves. I don’t need to run for my life. This served our ancestors well but it is no longer serving us as it has pushed us further into the gender binary (male/female). People who have large platforms like Sam Smith are helping us fight our way out of the gender binary trench. This normalizes the idea that gender can be anything we want it to be, it is not the sex that we were labeled at birth.

Will you join me in referring to everyone as a person or “they/them” before we know how they identify? Language matters. Language impacts our thoughts, not to mention the thoughts of those around us. It’s such a small yet difficult shift, and it matters.

A Break from Weekend Routines

During the weekends, I usually spend a lot of time relaxing or sleeping. I am one of those people who could sleep 15 hours without the help of medication or other substances. It boggles my mind to think that some people can’t sit for more than 30 minutes to an hour at a time. Girl, I can sit longer than your brother in college takes to get out of bed the day after a frat party. One of my favorite blogs regularly produces posts on their weekend routines which sounds so boring, but I’m unusually into.

I think it’s such a shift in perspective when people can fit in like 8 different events, chores, tasks, meetings, etc. in one day of the weekend. When recently thinking about blog posts, I thought, I should do a weekend routine post. Then I envisioned what that post would look like for the majority of my weekends, especially in the cold months in Colorado: Netflix and chill with snacks basically sums up my weekends. I felt shame about what I would post because it would be like 5 AM: Dog wakes me up to take him outside. Go back to sleep. 7 AM: Cats wake me up to be fed. 8 AM: After trying to ignore the cats in a semi-conscious sleep, I finally get up to feed them. Then I lay back down to sleep. 9 AM: Wake up and make coffee, and get back in bed for more puppy and kitty snuggles. Malcolm and I love to catch up on the news during our morning coffee typically drank in bed. Anywhere from 11 AM – 1 PM, get up to brunch. By 1 PM on Saturday, other people might have already worked out, showered, ate breakfast, went to the Farmer’s Market, met a friend for lunch, cured cancer, etc.

BUT this weekend was different. I did not nap on either Saturday or Sunday. My friends would be shocked to know that as I am the reigning nap QUEEN. Well, this queen had a very productive weekend. With the time change, my new commitment to not break promises to myself, and warm enough days to go coat-less, I felt very motivated. It’s not a routine yet, but it felt so wonderful at the end of the weekend to have a clean house, clean laundry, clean dishes, etc. I also found this succulent hybrid this weekend at Home Depot. (Going to Home Depot is a sign of a productive weekend, amirite?) It was the only one in the whole selection flowering. I hadn’t ever seen a flowering succulent, so I had to have it. $3.50 later, I had a baby plant with a flower sprouted which obviously has to be good luck, right? Anyways, I digress. I kept all my promises to myself this weekend a la Rachel Hollis and it feels like I’m finally getting it right. I kept all my promises and even managed a sporadic trip to the local doughnut haven for sugary sweets and bitter coffee which is my favorite combination all before 10 AM on Saturday! Winning, obviously.

What do your weekend routines look like? Does the warmer weather have any effect on those routines?

Photo Friday

Little known fact: M’s favorite beer is Blue Moon. Whenever we can find it, we purchase the variety pack with the mango and the apricot flavors. So on the way back from a recent weekend getaway, we stopped at the Blue Moon Brewery in Denver. I ordered their fried chicken with macaroni and cauliflower and it was superb. I mean, I’m going to love any fried chicken cause MMM, but this was particularly crispy and flavorful without being too oily. I can’t even talk about how good the mac and cheese was, but trust me, friend. Oh, the beer was good too, I guess 🙂

Happy Friday!

Maegan

Book Report: Girl, Wash Your Face

Every now and then I’ll become motivated to buy new books. And by every now and then, I mean all the damn time. ALL the damn time. Even when my to-read pile would take years to finish, there’s just something about purchasing a new-to-me book. Maybe it’s the opportunity to see life from another’s perspective, or the opportunity to learn new things and new words (my forever daily delight). I usually buy books used because I love the passages underlined that spoke to its previous owner. I love the yellowing of the pages. I love the smell of poring over novels in various states of disrepair whose pages may have been touched by several people. However, I bought this book new on Amazon so I could take my own notes. My non-fiction books tend to have A LOT of annotation in them, so I like to buy those brand spanking new.

The same is true with this book. Lots of annotation. Lots of stars and comments in the margins. Rachel Hollis’s 20 lies that she’s once believed about herself were so compelling, I could not wait to start reading to absorb the brilliance. Though this book is chock full of gems of wisdom, she has some views that made me uncomfortable throughout the book, especially when it comes to diet culture. So many good things about this book, but I’m having trouble getting past some pieces of this work. Let’s start with some of my favorite quotes that resonated with me so profoundly I thought about getting them tattooed on my body.

1. “How many times have you bailed on yourself to watch TV? How many times have you given up before you’ve even started? How many times have you made real progress, only to face a setback and then give up completely? How many times have your family or friends or coworkers watched you quit? That is not okay.”
In this chapter, Hollis poses a hypothetical to her readers: what if you never broke a promise to yourself again? This is something I’ve been struggling with, well my whole life, but very recently I decided to put this particular issue under the self-awareness microscope. I break promises to myself left and right. Daily. Multiple times daily. Hollis makes a convincing argument, and I’m working on not bailing on myself.

2. “I love goals. They can help you become your best self but big dreams shouldn’t have expiration dates.”
For years I had convinced myself that I was going to live a year abroad and teach English, travel the world, become very worldly and cultured before I hit 30. Because 30 is serious. 30 means that the frivolity of our 20s was cute and fun, but now society says we have to have a house, partner, our dream job, etc. I love the idea that big dreams shouldn’t have expiration dates. That means that I can still become worldly even after I turn 30, or 35, or 40, or 65.

3. “Nobody will care about your dream as much as you do. Ever.” This was one of my favorite chapters because Hollis spells out exactly what it looks like to never take no for an answer. She lists strategies for not giving up and believing in our dreams so much that we simply don’t take no or rejection at face value. If we’ve come up against the same brick wall, it’s time to find another avenue over, around, through.

Alright, so for the piece that does not vibe with me or my recent intuitive eating discoveries. Hollis does a sound job of creating a tone that does not ring of judgment or telling us what we “need”; however, in this chapter, I believe she misses the mark. She states, “I also believe that humans were not made to be out of shape and severely overweight.” She goes on to tell us what she believes all humans “need”: “You need to be healthy. You don’t need to be a certain size or shape or look good in a bikini. You need to be able to run without feeling like you’re going to puke. You need to be able to walk up a flight of stairs without getting winded. You ned to stop filling your body with garbage like…” Sorry, Rachel, I’m going to blah blah blah you here because this is beginning to feel like a sermon.

Speaking of sermons, she talks a lot about being Christian and God. She often quotes the Bible. If you’re comfortable with that, then full steam ahead. If you’re like me, I really had to push myself to continue reading passed the Christian pieces. I just can’t relate to that. That is one of my biases built into my framework from witnessing religion wielded as a weapon. But pat me on the back, friends, because I carried on. And you know what? I’m glad I did. I decided to simply filter out the advice that is not for me. That’s all we can really do when consuming others’ creative products and thoughts.

In conclusion, Hollis is inspirational and compelling. I would recommend this read because of all the real, relatable stories and clusters of wisdom baked in to her writing.

So I want to know, what did you think of this book? Is it on your to-read list?

Maegan


Daily Delights

I had such a wonderful dialogue about gardening with a dear friend this week. As our ideas blossomed, so did my ardor for growing my own food. How nuts is it that we think of growing our own food as revolutionary? I mean, have you ever grown a plant with flowers that could sustain you? It’s so magical and such a privilege now, but in my grandmother’s time was a complete necessity. If they didn’t produce enough food to harvest and can for the cold months, they wouldn’t eat. My grandmother first tried beef when she was 18 because our family did not raise cows. That was such a foreign idea to me when she first told me that. Why, you can walk down almost any block in today’s town to order a limp frozen hamburger topped with mushy onions and pickles.

With all this in mind, I came home from the gardening coffee chat to find an onion that I thought I purchased last week sprouting. Maybe I bought it old, maybe it’s been there longer than I remember, but usually that would trigger my brain to throw out the waste. By throw out I mean compost, of course. I’m not a barbarian. But this time, I’m going to plant it. I use onions in EVERYTHING. Wouldn’t it be nice to skip throwing a bruised, half rotted onion in my shopping cart while perusing the aisles of a too cold market? I want to pick a fresh onion that makes me gush tears when cutting. What a simple delight to know that life will find a way, even on my sunless kitchen counter. I did nothing to help the little guy sprout, yet there it is, existing in all its alive glory. Maybe if we could let things be more often we would find beautiful fresh starts.

I’ll report back on this babe of a bulb.

Warmly,

Maegan