Music Monday And The Size Of My Ass… Or Your Ass

Kinda catchy, yeah? The title of this post, I mean. So, let’s get down and dirty…

My ass is a size 22. A size 24 sometimes, depending on, oh let’s see… my stress level, my hormones, my state of happy or sad, my depression, my job (how many hours I’ve sat in a chair and for how many days), my diet, and my genetic pool. Some of these things stay level (genetic pool) and some (all the rest) of them fluctuate by the hour. And they all affect the size of my ass.

All this size crap? Sucks. That little chart in the Dr’s office? That sucks, too. A doctor telling you that you need to eat better, quit smoking, stop drinking, etc…? That really sucks when you find them eating junk, smoking like a chimney, and drinking more every night than you have in your entire life. Do as I say and all that shit.

And right now, I’m eating a piece of cheesecake. And I LIKE IT! It’s so good and rich and it’s all mine. I will not share it with you. Okay, maybe I would, but only if you promised not to feel guilty about eating it…

On the heels of the announcement of the size 16 model on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition in which we are celebrating body diversity, I learn that my daughter is being asked to write a ‘practice’ paper on obesity in children, teens, and adults. This isn’t something earth shattering, because as a society, we have been focusing on obesity for a long time. We charge out the ass for a bottle of water, but give away chemicals (soda) for next to nothing. We charge out the ass for a bag of salad, or a pint of blackberries, but give away a sugar laden candy bar for next to nothing. We talk about getting out and exercising, but we work all the time and don’t lead the example. We have become the rule, not the exception. But I can’t throw stones because honest to God, I hate exercise. I do. I hate sweating. I hate the treadmill. I refuse to join a gym. I refuse to take an aerobics or spin class. I tried several times. I hate it. (I do like yoga, though.)

Over the last year, my daughter has gone from a size 1 and an extra small, to a size I don’t know because she won’t tell me and a medium. She looks beautiful. She looks healthy now as opposed to the gaunt, sunken, unhappy young woman I had previously known. But she looks at the stretch marks and hates how she looks. She’s seeing ONE part of her and hating it and it colors how she sees the rest of herself. And society needs to fucking stop that shit.

You, me, my daughter, anyone, everyone is NOT their skin, are NOT their scars, are NOT the size of their ass. But we make it, we make ALL OF IT about the physical. We don’t give a damn about the kind of asshole person they are, because as long as they look right, it’s all okay, who they are inside doesn’t matter.

When I see my daughter hating something about herself that she has no control over, and no she has no control over the stretch marks that appeared when she was confined to a couch for 4-6 weeks after she broke her ankle last year… Shit fucking happens. I gained weight too when I crushed my ankle right after my son was born. It never healed right because you know, newborn and couldn’t stay off my feet for the weeks I was told to stay off my feet, and I’m in pain with it all the time.

I was told one time by someone very dear that some guys were/are into bigger women and love bigger women and well, he just wasn’t one of those guys… That’s one of those heartbreaking moments in life. That’s one of those life altering moments in life depending on who says those words. And just like everything else in life, it’s how you deal with those words that matters. And I can tell you I didn’t handle those words very well. They broke my heart and sent me down into a deep, dark hole that I’ve only started climbing out of in the last 3 years.

I’ve hated myself and my body for YEARS. For more than 20 years I’ve hated myself and my body. From words my husband and my doctors and my family and my friends and society has spoken to me I’ve hated, HATED myself and my body for over 20 years.

And not hating myself hasn’t come from diets, though I’ve tried them and lost weight. It hasn’t come from exercise, though I’ve tried that, too, and gained weight. It hasn’t come from my spouse, my doctors, my family, my friends, and most definitely not society, because yeah… It’s had to come from me, from INSIDE me.

Do you get that? INSIDE! Not outside. No, cause the outside is cruel and mean and completely heartless at times. But it has had to come from INSIDE.

Many are not that strong. I haven’t been. Not until recently. And no one ever really takes into account that happiness can cause one’s ass to spread too, but it can also cause it so get smaller.

Something I’ve learned is that we have to own our shit. I told my daughter that today. No matter what it is, we have to own it. Own that you ate an entire chocolate cake and loved it. Own that you’re addicted to coffee. Own that you suck at marketing (I know I do and that’s another post altogether.). Own that you hate all the popular stuff. Own your kinks and perversions. Own that you are unhappy or hurting. Own that you’re happy and not hurting. Own your shit. Whatever your shit is, own it, embrace it as yours, accept it as yours. Only then can you begin dealing with it. Only then will the stretch marks become part of you, and not a part that you hate that in turn makes you hate other parts until you’re hating everything you are.

I saw a post on Tumblr recently where a woman added text to an image of herself and it said she was glorifying obesity. She was poking fun at the comments people made about obesity. And some of the comments were just fucking mean. But there were the absurd ones too. One of them from a man was that he bet she cried herself to sleep at night because of her size and that she should think of all the things she couldn’t do that an average weight woman could and that probably made her sad. The woman in the pictures was anything but sad. And as I’m reading these comments and looking at the woman and reading more of the comments from men and women all I could think was, Fuck You.

Society has declared it okay for you to wish my ass were smaller because of how uncomfortable it makes everyone around me. But it hasn’t declared it okay for me to shout Fuck You because of how much of an asshole you are that you can’t see more than that. I don’t have to tell you my ass is big. You see it. But you definitely feel the need to point it out.

We teach girls to hate themselves. We teach the beautiful people that it’s okay to be bitches and assholes because they have what we obese people really want and that’s to look like them, all pretty and perfect on the outside. We teach boys that it’s okay to look at woman and tell her that he bets she cries herself to sleep at night because she can’t do the things a skinny woman can do.

We’re all as different on the outside as we are on the inside. We’re all beautiful and we’re all ugly. We all throw stones. We all break the glass houses that we live in. We all hate ourselves and there are a few of us who love ourselves more.

But we need and much as I hate that word need, we NEED to stop wishing to be different and own our shit. Own the shit storms and the stretch marks and the fact that we have to buy a size bigger. Own that we are mean and cruel and a reflection. Own that we can love and smile and accept and embrace. That’s the only way we are ever going to move forward.

I read book with plus size characters where the heroines are obnoxious about their larger sizes. That’s just as bad as not being accepted at all. Embracing yourself doesn’t mean you have to shove it in another person’s face and scream look at me. You don’t have be an asshole about it. Believe me, people see it and they’re already uncomfortable. Don’t push them away because you had to shout it to the world.

The size of my ass or your ass is no one’s business. As long as the inside is healthy, none of that other crap matters. You want to lose weight? Great. You want to diet? Great. You want to embrace your size, whatever it is? Great. But whatever you do, and when I say you, I mean the collective YOU, not anyone specific… Own your shit. You’re beauty, inside and out. Strengthen your soul, your mind, your heart. Those are the things that matter most. Not stretch marks. Not the size 24 jeans. Not the orgasmic moan you let out when you bit into that piece of cheesecake. But whether or not you were an asshole. That’s what someone is going to remember. And that’s what they should remember…

I posted this video last week and it’s still relevant to this particular topic.

We need to stop hating ourselves and stop hating our differences. For ourselves and for our children…

~lissa

10K Weekends For Writers – Week 6

10K WEEKENDS-2_500
Get those computers out. Those pads of paper and pencils. Those note-taking apps. It’s time to get some words written.

I realize it’s Valentine’s weekend, but I’m sure you’ve got a few words in your to add to your WIP! NASCAR starts this weekend, too. But I’ll be writing.

Will you?

The social media hashtag is #10KWeekendsForWriters The weekend begins Thursday at 7pm and ends on Sunday at 10pm.

Sign up with the Linky below. Keep track of your word count. Check in and let me, and others, know how you’re doing.

Let’s get the words down and get the books written. You can do this. So can I.

I’m grateful for those who’ve been participating. I really want to grow 10K Weekends For Writers. I think it could be a fun way to motivate and write and support each other. So, please grab the badge from the sidebar and add it to your own site, share on Facebook and Twitter.

Happy Writing!

~lissa

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How Do You Find The Books You Read?

Library room with books

This story is already known to some, but when I started reading romance, it was because of the library and a woman I met there. I was looking for a different type of book, but it ended up being near the romance section. She was there browsing their collection, looking very intense, and when I’d grabbed the book I was there to get, I took a few steps in her direction. I wanted to see what had her so riveted.

I had never picked up a romance novel. I’d always read crime thrillers or non-fiction. I looked casually at what held her interest and we started up a conversation. That led to me leaving the library with not only the book I came to get, but with 4 romance novels. Julia Quinn. Jayne Ann Krentz, Linda Lael Miller, Judith McNaught.

I. Devoured. Them.

And I went back for more. This time I left the library with double what I’d left with before. The time after that, doubled, tripled, quadrupled. I left with brown paper grocery bags full of romance novels. I was reading 1 or 2 a day. I had a full time job. I had a toddler. I was always reading every spare moment I could find.

It took several months, but I eventually exhausted all the romance books the library had. The woman and I had become fast friends over the reading of romance. We met up at the library weekly. Then we met up at bookstores.

I started writing not long after that. I have two unfinished novels, one contemporary and one historical, sitting in a box somewhere in my closet. I never thought I’d be a published author, not anywhere near as incredible as those I’d been reading.

But, the bookstores have gone away. For the most part. There are a few left, but… There’s a local one here that caters to local authors, but not romance authors. They don’t even have a romance section. I find that incredibly sad and short sighted.

The landscape for finding books has changed somewhat. I used to ask the bookstore employees when the new Julia Quinn book would be available. Now, I just look it up on her website or on Amazon or her Facebook page. Something has been personally lost in that, a connection has been severed with other book lovers anticipating the release of the same book.

A discussion was had yesterday about marketing and books. I see authors pouring thousands of dollars into Facebook ads, Twitter ads, Pinterest ads, ads on book websites, all pushing their books into what they hope are the faces of their target market. There’s a lot of connection through social media with authors now, but there’s also a disconnect…

Do you pay attention to the ads on social media? Are you this or that author’s target reader? Are you swayed by the push? It works for those authors who get it right.

How do you find books to read? New authors to try?

I was a reader before an author. I listened to what my friend had to say. I looked at books that were housed on the same shelves or nearby to my favorite authors. And I checked the new release shelves to see what might pique my interest. I didn’t read with the trends. I liked what I liked and I pretty much stuck to it. I’m still that way a lot.

On Amazon, I look at the Also Boughts of my favorite books and authors. I don’t take as many chances on new authors as maybe I should. I don’t fall prey to the ads I see, but then I’m also apparently not the target market for a lot of my go to authors. Then again, a lot of them don’t even bother with ads.

There’s so much noise in the book world that it’s hard to sit quietly. It’s always changing. New books are coming out daily. And the competition for limited shelf space is astronomical… And I’m talking virtual shelf space. It should be endless, but in order to be seen… It takes something that I haven’t yet been able to tap into.

So, tell me, readers, how do YOU find your next book to read? Your next favorite author? Is it through ads you see on social media? Is it a book group? Is it a friend? Is it random? And as a reader, what works for you when it comes to YOU wanting to try a new book rather than an author wanting you to try her, or his, new book?

~lissa

Music/Movie Monday – I Will Survive

From the movie, The Replacements… With football season officially over for 2015/2016, it’s time for me to settle in for the long wait until it starts up again. I’ll be keeping myself entertained and occupied with NASCAR and golf.

I. Will. Survive.

Congratulations to the Denver Broncos and to Peyton Manning. If Super Bowl 50 was his final game, what a hell of a way to go out! He’s had an incredible career, one of the greatest to ever play and understand the dynamics of the game.

~lissa

On Creativity

I use Pinterest a lot. Still. I have 60 public boards and several private boards. I love the different things I find, the visual inspiration. The things that are most repinned are food. I’d like it if other things got equal representation, but food seems to be universal…

I started a new board recently and I titled it On Creativity. I’ve been feeling more and more creatively inspired this year. This is a change. And a good one. A really good one. I didn’t feel creatively inspired last year. Or even the year before. I was kind of slogging through the days, waiting to get to the next one. I wasn’t sure how to approach my writing or even if I could call it a business. I mean, other people did, but was it? Really? And that whole line of thinking has changed for me in the last few weeks. I do see it as a business and more specifically, I see it as a creative business.

Follow Lissa Matthews’s board On Creativity on Pinterest.

Enter my On Creativity Pinterest board. It’s not very full yet. It has links to some books I like, some links to articles I like, some links to infographics and such. It’s about how to find and get creative. It’s for those who need some direction toward creativity in their lives.

According to Merriam-Webster, the simple definition of creativity is: the ability to make things or think of new ideas.

Cool. I can do that. It doesn’t have to be crafts or books. It can be whatever inspires us… Coffee. Cooking. Making things with our hands. Music. Art. Dance. Meditation.

It can be in how we inspire others, too.

On the board is a Pin for TED Talks for Creative Entrepreneurs. I am in love with TED. And I love these because they’re given by people who were once like you and me. They once had a dream. They once needed a road map. When they didn’t have one, they created one. They inspire me to create my own.

I’m going to be talking about creativity throughout the year. I’ll hopefully be able to get a few people to come onto the blog to talk about what inspires creativity in them.

But if you need somewhere to start with creativity, try my Pinterest board, On Creativity…
~lissa

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