When Your Mother Says She's Fat, by Kasey Edwards

Hello my beautiful angels! 

I hope you're having a wonderful holiday season, enjoying your break and taking good care of yourself:)
Here's a piece I found on tumblr, from the wonderful author at kaseyedwards.com

Dear Mum,
I was seven when I discovered that you were fat, ugly and horrible. Up until that point I had believed that you were beautiful — in every sense of the word. I remember flicking through old photo albums and staring at pictures of you standing on the deck of a boat. Your white strapless bathing suit looked so glamorous, just like a movie star. Whenever I had the chance I’d pull out that wondrous white bathing suit hidden in your bottom drawer and imagine a time when I’d be big enough to wear it; when I’d be like you.
But all of that changed when, one night, we were dressed up for a party and you said to me, ‘‘Look at you, so thin, beautiful and lovely. And look at me, fat, ugly and horrible.’’
At first I didn’t understand what you meant.
‘‘You’re not fat,’’ I said earnestly and innocently, and you replied, ‘‘Yes I am, darling. I’ve always been fat; even as a child.’’
In the days that followed I had some painful revelations that have shaped my whole life. I learned that:
1. You must be fat because mothers don’t lie.
2. Fat is ugly and horrible.
3. When I grow up I’ll look like you and therefore I will be fat, ugly and horrible too.
Years later, I looked back on this conversation and the hundreds that followed and cursed you for feeling so unattractive, insecure and unworthy. Because, as my first and most influential role model, you taught me to believe the same thing about myself.
With every grimace at your reflection in the mirror, every new wonder diet that was going to change your life, and every guilty spoon of ‘‘Oh-I-really-shouldn’t,’’ I learned that women must be thin to be valid and worthy. Girls must go without because their greatest contribution to the world is their physical beauty.
Just like you, I have spent my whole life feeling fat. When did fat become a feeling anyway? And because I believed I was fat, I knew I was no good.
But now that I am older, and a mother myself, I know that blaming you for my body hatred is unhelpful and unfair. I now understand that you too are a product of a long and rich lineage of women who were taught to loathe themselves.
Look at the example Nanna set for you. Despite being what could only be described as famine-victim chic, she dieted every day of her life until the day she died at seventy-nine years of age. She used to put on make-up to walk to the letterbox for fear that somebody might see her unpainted face.
I remember her ‘‘compassionate’’ response when you announced that Dad had left you for another woman. Her first comment was, ‘‘I don’t understand why he’d leave you. You look after yourself, you wear lipstick. You’re overweight — but not that much.’’
Before Dad left, he provided no balm for your body-image torment either.
‘‘Jesus, Jan,’’ I overheard him say to you. ‘‘It’s not that hard. Energy in versus energy out. If you want to lose weight you just have to eat less.’’
That night at dinner I watched you implement Dad’s ‘‘Energy In, Energy Out: Jesus, Jan, Just Eat Less’’ weight-loss cure. You served up chow mein for dinner. (Remember how in 1980s Australian suburbia, a combination of mince, cabbage, and soy sauce was considered the height of exotic gourmet?) Everyone else’s food was on a dinner plate except yours. You served your chow mein on a tiny bread-and-butter plate.
As you sat in front of that pathetic scoop of mince, silent tears streamed down your face. I said nothing. Not even when your shoulders started heaving from your distress. We all ate our dinner in silence. Nobody comforted you. Nobody told you to stop being ridiculous and get a proper plate. Nobody told you that you were already loved and already good enough. Your achievements and your worth — as a teacher of children with special needs and a devoted mother of three of your own — paled into insignificance when compared with the centimeters you couldn’t lose from your waist.
It broke my heart to witness your despair and I’m sorry that I didn’t rush to your defense. I’d already learned that it was your fault that you were fat. I’d even heard Dad describe losing weight as a ‘‘simple’’ process — yet one that you still couldn’t come to grips with. The lesson: you didn’t deserve any food and you certainly didn’t deserve any sympathy.
But I was wrong, Mum. Now I understand what it’s like to grow up in a society that tells women that their beauty matters most, and at the same time defines a standard of beauty that is perpetually out of our reach. I also know the pain of internalising these messages. We have become our own jailors and we inflict our own punishments for failing to measure up. No one is crueler to us than we are to ourselves.
But this madness has to stop, Mum. It stops with you, it stops with me and it stops now. We deserve better — better than to have our days brought to ruin by bad body thoughts, wishing we were otherwise.
And it’s not just about you and me any more. It’s also about Violet. Your granddaughter is only three and I do not want body hatred to take root inside her and strangle her happiness, her confidence and her potential. I don’t want Violet to believe that her beauty is her most important asset; that it will define her worth in the world. When Violet looks to us to learn how to be a woman, we need to be the best role models we can. We need to show her with our words and our actions that women are good enough just the way they are. And for her to believe us, we need to believe it ourselves.
The older we get, the more loved ones we lose to accidents and illness. Their passing is always tragic and far too soon. I sometimes think about what these friends — and the people who love them — wouldn’t give for more time in a body that was healthy. A body that would allow them to live just a little longer. The size of that body’s thighs or the lines on its face wouldn’t matter. It would be alive and therefore it would be perfect.
Your body is perfect too. It allows you to disarm a room with your smile and infect everyone with your laugh. It gives you arms to wrap around Violet and squeeze her until she giggles. Every moment we spend worrying about our physical ‘‘flaws’’ is a moment wasted, a precious slice of life that we will never get back.
Let us honor and respect our bodies for what they do instead of despising them for how they appear. Focus on living healthy and active lives, let our weight fall where it may, and consign our body hatred in the past where it belongs. When I looked at that photo of you in the white bathing suit all those years ago, my innocent young eyes saw the truth. I saw unconditional love, beauty and wisdom. I saw my Mum.
Love, Kasey xx


Self Care Saturday

Hello my angels!

Today is Self-Care Saturday; the day you sit your butts down and take care of yourselves!
After battling gruelling exams or the cold winter air, we all just need a little down time, aka as a treat-yo-self day, brought to you by Parks and Recreations.

Here are some of my favorite self-care treats (pssst: these would make some great gifts...)

Face Masks 

Hello, my name is Gabby, and I'm a face mask addict. I don't know what it is about sporting a bright green layer of clay that makes me feel special, but lord knows my skin appreciates it in times of stress. Freeman sells some great cheap ones, or you can make your own by using natural ingredients (list of organic ingredients for your skin, written by yours truly: http://www.dropofpink.com/2013/12/07/3-natural-ingredients-for-skin-and-stress/)


If you know me at all, you know the biggest loss of my life was when I had to leave my beloved candles at home due to my dorm's no-setting-fires rule. How oppressive, I cried! However, it makes it that much more special for me to light a holiday-scented candle this time of year.

Not a candle fan, or want a portable aromatherapy solution? An adorable mini-perfume is the way to go.

Are the winter blues getting to you? A great body butter or lotion with a tropical scent can pick up your mood and smooth out that dry winter skin. Score!


The best self-care ever? SLEEP.
If you want to make your ultimate off-time even more replenishing, find yourself some hair oil and a strong face cream, pop them on before bed, and wake up looking and feeling like a goddess.

Well, that's all I have for today.
Take good care of yourselves:)




Why Is Pale Not Pretty? (Part 2: Tanorexia)

Hello my darling fudgies!
The pale versus tan debate is one I find absolutely fascinating. In fact, I found my research so compelling that I divided my article into 3 different parts! Here's part 2, hope you enjoy:)

'Tis the season to be tanning...wait, what?
Yes, that winter "glow", i.e. the look of death that emanates from pale skin, is not on most people's Christmas wish list. Tanning beds fill up, trips to Cabo doublebook, it seems that being a fair maiden means not what it used to once upon a time (more on the history of tanning popularity in part 1)

But most importantly, it reflects the 21st century Occidental beauty ideal that is glowing, Mediterranean, tan skin. When did "tan" become the new spokesperson for health and beauty, and what does that mean for the rest of us anatomy doll lookalikes? 



Someone once told me, after I commented on their dangerous tanning habit and pointed out the risk of skin cancer: 
"Well, you gotta die of something". 

It's this kind of complacent self-destructive attitude that worries me most about the tanning fad. 
I'm not going to lecture you about the serious repercussions of sun beds; the severe wrinkles, melanoma, damaged skin, skin cancer, excess dehydration, and shortened life expectancy. 

Your grandmother could use ignorance as an excuse for laying out in the sun for hours on end; you, my darling, cannot. 

The psychosocial term of the day is "tanorexia", or an addiction to tanning. 
There have been many critics of this pseudo-scientific diagnosis, and I agree with some of them, but whenever I see a so-called addiction, just like plastic surgery or shopping addiction, I always aim to find the underlying issues, the insecurities that would push someone to such potentially fatal extremes. 
Let's take a look at what's really happening here:

Biochemical: For tanning addicts, tanning causes the release of endorphins, also known as the "happy" molecule. A study conducted in 2006 showed that "when frequent tanners took an endorphin blocker, they experienced severe withdrawal symptoms, while infrequent tanners experienced no withdrawal symptoms under the same conditions" (Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology)

Hence, from a neurological standpoint, a "tanorexic" lacks natural endorphin releases in his/her life, implying that tanning has become a coping mechanism for depression, anxiety and general low self-esteem. Pretty legit so far...

Insecurities: I often wondered where the term "tanorexic" even came from, since we usually add the suffix -holic to anything in order to coin said thing's addict. But it turns out the idea behind the use of the eating disorder "anorexia" in the name stems from the common ground of poor self-esteem and distorted body image.

The idea is pretty simple: most of us feel, from time to time, a little low on confidence. 
Tanning mom, a popular mediatized example of "tanorexia"
However, if you suffer from an eating disorder or "tanorexia", your idea of yourself and your body is so distorted, so negative that you will take extreme measures to correct your flaws. 

However, we know these flaws are often greatly exaggerated or even non-existent, so this poor sufferer will never stop trying to perfect his/herself. What does that mean for "tanorexics"? 
Well, they believe they are unacceptably pale, and will keep tanning to reach the darkness they need to feel "okay". BUT THEY WILL NEVER REACH THE "PERFECT" LEVEL OF TAN, , as the real problem lies in their self-image, not the complexion of their pigment (yes, I just quoted Macklemore, deal.)

That is the real danger for real tanning addicts: there is no limit, and there never will be. 
They will go for the gold (skin) until they burn to ashes. 


Have a lovely day, stay tuned for part 3:)



Why Is Pale Not Pretty? (Part 1: Wealth)

Hello my darling fudgies!
The pale versus tan debate is one I find absolutely fascinating. In fact, I found my research so compelling that I divided my article into 3 different parts! Here's part 1, hope you enjoy:)

"My god, you look pale!"
...what does this expression mean to you?

To most, it isn't meant as a compliment. "Pale" can be replaced with sick, tired, ghostly, on the verge of death, what have you.

To me, it's a comment I receive every other day, on account of my naturally translucent skin and lack of sunlight exposure.

But most importantly, it reflects the 21st century Occidental beauty ideal that is glowing, Mediterranean, tan skin. When did "tan" become the new spokesperson for health and beauty, and what does that mean for the rest of us anatomy doll lookalikes?


Wealth is Beauty, Beauty is Wealth

The transition between pale love and pale loathe can actually be attributed to history, and industrial revolution. During the Victorian era, pale skin was all the rage. It was a time where the yeoman earned their living working outdoors as cultivators or animal breeders. Pale skin was therefore associated with the privilege not to have to labour outside in the sun, hence a pale complexion was a symbol of wealth. Women carried parasols everywhere, and hid themselves from the treacherous sun with gloves and hats. 

And then came along a little thing called the Industrial Revolution. Factory labour rendered farm labour scarcer, so much so that by the late 20th century, most of the Occidental world earned their living indoors. Furthermore, the increasing accessibility to education across the nations opened doors to millions of future lawyers, doctors, and other professionals. 

The indication of wealth now lied in one's ability to travel to exotic destinations, own a pool, play golf, tennis, or spend leisurely time outside; and what better way to show off your trip to the Caribbean than with a killer tan? 

This whole "wealth is beauty, beauty is wealth" mentality troubles me deeply. It reinforces 2 dangerous vicious cycles!
 Beauty is wealth? This ideology reaffirms the societal mentality that money is the end-all be-all of our time on this earth. There's a reason why the tanning industry is worth over 5 billion dollars: the last impression you want to give is one of poverty, which is synonymous with pale. 

Wealth is beauty? On a different note, this logic builds beauty up to be something more than it is. The pigment of your skin now means your status, your job, your friend circle, your savings account: no wonder we put so much pressure on ourselves to look a certain way! If beauty was represented just as it is, a simply characteristic of your being, not the entirety of your worth, we wouldn't be so critical of our bodies. 


Here' the end of part 1!
Stay tuned for part 2 my loves<3




It's Okay (Asking for Help)

Hello my beautiful dolls:)

Fact: I am currently taking medications to manage my anxiety.

Fact: I used to think medication, or therapy, or any form of exterior help was for the weak. I'd gone through recovery for an eating disorder the long, hard, painful, medication-less, old-fashioned way, and didn't think there was any other way to beat your problems than to fight everyday for years.

Fact: I was wrong.

You build walls around your heart to protect yourself from getting hurt.
Like being vulnerable or weak is something that should be hidden from the general public.
Like your neighbour isn't broken in some way too.

And sometimes it feels like throwing yourself off the mountain you are so desperately trying to climb is a better option than asking for a hand.
Trust me, I know.
I hate group projects, I hate relying on people, I hate asking for help.

But you know what I also hate?
Panic attacks.
Oh, I tried it all. Wishing upon a star, praying, breathing exercises, all in vain.
I couldn't imagine my life without anxiety.

So I caved. And as it turns out, caving takes a lot of strength.
When you cave, you don't give in to the fight.
You gain an army, you accumulate weapons, you get yourself ready for the big battle.
You face your fears head on, no coping mechanisms.
And who cares about looking all strong and mighty?
You'll get the last laugh when you win the war.

So whatever you are holding on to.
Every compulsion, coping mechanism;
Drop them.
Watch them as they hit the floor in a clatter.
Feel that weight on your shoulders?
Feel your scars throbbing, feel your eyes watering?
Not anymore you don't.

I love you, have a wonderful week:)



December Darlings

Hello my beauties!

I have been home due to american Thanksgiving break this past week, just sleeping, relaxing, and, of course, not writing. I have no excuse, except for the fact that I had not been home in 3 months? Forgive me, dears. I will never give up on you.

But on this magical day that is December 1st, I decided to share some of my favorite things.

1. Beutiful Magazine 

This blog, linked right here, is a cornucopia of body positive pictures, tips, articles.
Please check it out, it's one of my faves at the moment!

2. Crazy Christmas Decorations

I do not care if you don't celebrate xmas, due to religion or hipster anti-comercial principles, you must admit pretty lights and twinkling trees are freaking fun. Unless these are you neighbours, in which case I apologize for the lack of sleep you will encounter, this amazing house I found in Pierrefonds (looks better in real life, so go out and find it) made me want to blast Bing Crosby and throw myself in a snow bank.
I think the holidays, if anything, should be about embracing that inner child, so bust out your inflatable Santas people!

3. Holiday Food Frenzy
This great article on Adios Barbie click here to view preps you for the holiday food anxiety some of us feel around this time of year. I also plan on writing a little something about it, but in the mean time, check out my editor's take on surviving the season.

4. Finals! 
Oh my god, who's excited for a week of massive exams, mountains of papers, lack of sleep, anxiety and the looming pressure of college???!!!!
(not me)

My loves, I have many wonderful things planned for the month of December, and cannot wait to share the love. But until then, stay beautiful and stay warm!




Once Upon A Time

Hello my loves!
This is a translation of a piece I wrote for Derriere le Miroir (available here: http://www.derrierelemiroir.ca/donc-mon-prince/) 

Once upon a time there was a young princess
Who danced in the rain and jumped into puddles
She was wild, she was free, she was fearless.
She didn’t mind if her hair was a tad too curly.
She didn’t care if there were 300 calories in her cookie.

She didn’t need a prince charming.
With or without him, she was a princess worthy of respect.
“Maybe later, when I’m older” she told herself
“For now, I rule this kingdom just fine all by myself”

But the seasons changed, and a princess can’t stay young forever.
All her friends were attracting the attention of dukes and earls,
Dancing the night away in the arms of their admirers
While our princess spent her nights all alone.
And she started to ask herself when her prince would come along.

She stared at her reflection in the puddles she used to jump in
Desperately looking for the reasons behind her solitude.
Suddenly the rain started pouring, deforming her reflection, so that all she could see
Was that her problem lied in the atrocity of her body.  

Her hair was now much too curly
And every single inch of her skin was a prison keep
Trapping her in a tower, too ugly to be saved.
And those 300 calories in her cookie? Those were 300 too many.
She made herself believe that her prince would only visit
When her collarbone was protruding enough for all to see.  

So she lived in this sad fantasy for many years,
Without the kingdom noticing their shrinking princess.
Until one day she had had enough of starving.
And as she looked at her reflection in the mirror with new eyes
She realized she had hated herself for nothing.

Okay, so this prince had yet to show up at her door
But a hunger strike won’t make him arrive sooner.
From now on, this princess worries little of her happy ever after
« Because I never needed a prince to be the greatest ruler »


The Block

Hello my loves, 

Yesterday afternoon, at around 3:30, I suffered from the crippling illness that is writer's block. 

And children, you do not want to see me when I'm suffering from writer's block. 

I start ranting in both French and English, abusing my keyboard with a ferocity unknown to civilized society, pacing up and down my dorm's hall, trying to find the perfect place to write the supposed master piece just floating in my head waiting to be unleashed. 

I try to rhyme, and be poetic and mysterious. 
I try to research articles and papers to sound smart and knowledgeable. 
But when it comes down to putting words on a page, it all sounds forced.

Who's going to read this, I ask after every miserable sentence. Images of critical English teachers and random students from my classes blur my vision, and before I know it I've deleted the entire paragraph. 

So I go take a walk, breathe in the fresh air, but in vain, I still feel trapped in my own brain. 
I call my mom, vent and whine as daughters do, but alas I only hang up feeling homesick. 
I try to eat, lord knows how I convinced myself that it's a great way to enhance my writing abilities, but sink deeper in the hole of my own self
pity, and retreat to a world where all is well and just: Netflix. 

A few hours later, however, I came upon an idea as I finalized my english paper. And I wrote it down. 

No one looking over my shoulder, no future judgement clouding my honesty, no paralyzing fear of failure;
It's all just ink on paper. 

So whatever obstacles you encounter today, my dear fudgies, just push through.
Don't let the things you can't control control you. 




"Rating" Your Friends: A Dangerous Game

Hello my beautiful fudgies!

Today's post will be inspired by a scene from "Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging", a hilariously
awkward and (unfortunately) mildly accurate depiction of a teen's life. Except for the fact that most of us don't end up with hot British bass playing boyfriends, especially since I have been condemned by the universe to become the crazy cat lady up the block.
But I digress. Back to the movie.

The scene depicts the sacred girl ritual of giggling, gossiping, and pouring your heart into a bag of Cheetos, also known as a sleepover.
I feel you, Georgia, I feel you. 
The girls are all sitting in a circle as they decide to play a "rating" game, or as I'd like to call them, "raining" games, because of the shit storm they inevitably cause.

Their version consists of filling out a sheet for each girl present, rating their different body parts on a scale of 1 to 10, anonymously of course, like that's going to protect a 14-year old's feelings from getting hurt.
And then, of course, the inevitable occurs:
some poor soul receives a 4/10 for her nose, and the whole world as she knows it ceases to exist. 

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the danger behind "rating" games, and the aforementioned isn't the only one I've ever heard of:
-Rating each other's outfits on a daily basis
-Playing "Would you rather have...?" with their friend's physical features?
-Every single type of Mean Girl-esque pity party where girls whine about their atrocity and their friends are legally bonded to disagree (more on that in this article: Body Bashing Ritual)
The list goes on and on!

But why do we put ourselves through this bizarre rite of passage, and what kind of long-term effects can they have on our self esteem?

Validate Me!

At an age where our perception of ourselves is distorted and constantly progressing, it can be hard to know for a fact how we feel about our physical appearance. One day it's Victoria's Secret, the next it's Monster's Inc. So we turn to our supposedly most reliable source of information: our friends. 
And it may seem like a great idea! After all, a high rating can instantly boost your confidence!

But as research, and my own personal experience, has proven time and time again, teenagers rarely come up with the greatest, most body positive ideas. 

False Facts

Not convinced your rating games can be potentially destructive? Here are 3 reasons:

1. Your friends are not credible, valid sources of information. Someone could be having a bad day and taking it out on your score, someone could still be upset at a rating you gave them the week before, but most importantly: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS FACTUAL ATTRACTIVENESS. 
Maybe your friend likes straight hair, and the Lord hath blessed you with ridiculous curls (join the club). It's all based on personal opinion, and in no way does it reflect what everyone thinks, and in no way should it reflect what you think of yourself. 

2. Numbers are dangerous. For the same reason people are rarely happy with their weight on a scale: there's no room for grey, no subjectivity, no perfect number. Let's face it: you could get a 9 out of 10 on "body", but your first thought would be WHAT IS HOLDING ME BACK FROM A 10? and down you go into a questioning spiral that could have been avoided. Leave the numbers for Algebra, k?

3.  Your friends are your source of support: they should make you feel better about yourself, point out all the reasons they love you. Focusing your collective energy on physical appearance is unhealthy as it detracts from humane qualities such as kindness, generosity, empathy, humour; the real reason you love each other. And it could potentially lead to some more serious clinical impacts, as proved by NEDIC: "a girl who is unhappy for any reason may be more likely to believe that the solution to unhappiness may be found in losing weight, if thinness is highly valuated within her friendship group" 


So please: keep your friends close, tell them how wonderful they are without assigning them a number.
Have a lovely day, my loves





Hello loves!

Here is a creative writing piece submitted by Genevieve of Quebec City! Enjoy!

I stare at her freckles, and I just don’t understand;

I don’t understand why she stares down her reflection,
blaming a mirror that will never tell her what she wants to hear.
Won’t these miserable spots ever leave her be?
She asks, she pleads, she begs, as a long drawnout sigh escapes her lips.

I don’t understand the toxic chemicals with which she scrubs her face.
The home remedies, the beauty creams, the crackled layers of foundation;
 they can barely fade the defiant freckle spatter.
Perhaps she will never stop scrubbing,
in hopes of peeling off her treacherous skin.

And I don’t understand;

Because I love her adorable little freckles,
sprinkling the tops of her nose and the apples of her cheeks.
I find it adorable the way they dance around the crinkles of a timid smile
 or a burst of laughter.
I use to draw little brown dots on myself
to imitate the lucky ones.

And perhaps she will never know,
And that would be a shame.
Because when she looks at my naked nose,
She thinks the same.

So tell her now, tell her loud,
Tell her to be proud!
And the world will be a little better
As she goes to sleep tonight
Thinking of your voice’s sound.