Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Just Friends

This is my personal life experience. Not everyone's story is going to the same and I do not claim to speak for all or anyone but myself.

Boys and girls can't be "just friends" is an ideal I stood by for a long time. In my experience this was always true. I never had a guy friend that was into girls that solely wanted to be my friend. It always seemed like they wanted something more from me. I couldn't figure out girls who stood by their guys friends and swore up and down it was just that. I think, I've finally figured it out.

I was being prejudice to men. I thought they could only see me as a sexual being, someone to be valued for their body alone. I put this on them when it was really me. I was the one who thought I wasn't worth more. I was the one who thought I didn't deserve love.

I was attracting the type of energy I was putting out into the world. I got exactly what I thought I deserved - men, let's be honest - boys who didn't care about me. This is not to say that I was pressured into anything or hung out with anyone against my will. I totally did what I wanted. I had a great time hanging out with these guys. That's all we did though - hang out. I didn't go on dates, I didn't have boyfriends, and then I wondered why not.

This carried over into other relationships as well. I had friends who were inconsistent. There were people in my life that I thought didn't value me or my time. I would sit at home after being cancelled on or just stood up and wonder what *I* could have done differently. Should I have lied and told them to get there an hour earlier, knowing they would be an hour late? Should I have not asked them to hang out while they had so much other stuff going on? Then I realized that maybe I was part of the problem, but not in the way I was thinking. I was letting this happen to me. I was putting up with this time and time again.

Once I started putting myself first, taking care of me, I found what I needed. I started asking more from people. When I acknowledged what it was that I needed, the good people in my life obliged and responded with their needs. Once I made this change in my self respect, my relationships grew stronger. Putting myself first became my way of life because everyone I'm surrounded with just wants the best for each other. My family and I became closer. My friendships became family status. Men became dates instead of hook ups. I found my partner in life.

I have been lonely. I still feel lonely sometimes. I feel lonely some days in a crowd of people that love me. It's not a thing that anyone stops feeling. I also know that being alone, even if that means single but with lots of friends, is not easy for some people. (Tangent - I've always liked being alone for the most part. I like quiet. I like thinking. I like thinking even when it makes me sad. When I process things, it helps me move forward. End Tangent.)

My mom taught me something that's always really stuck with me - You have to be your own number one. I love deeply and widely, but all of that is possible because I start with myself. You cannot take care of others properly if you're not taking care of yourself. You will never be enough for someone else before you are enough for yourself. These are my truths.

Until Next Time,
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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

My amazing incredible joy filled weekend!

This weekend was filled with so many memories. I kicked it off on Friday night with some friends at the second to last OKC Baron's non-playoff home game. It was also a Friday night which made it $1 hotdog night! We won and are already headed to the playoffs so it'll be a great end for this amazing team. After this season, they're heading to California. I'm sad that we're not going to have a feeder team anymore, but I've been told that we have a lot of great college teams around!

Saturday morning Myke and I were up early and headed for breakfast before the YWCA 5K. We went to a local diner and filled up on fried eggs, bacon, and toast with lots of water. Then we headed down to the park to pick up our registration packets. We changed into our shirts and watched the Kiddie 1K Fun Run! They were so fast, the first kid finished in 5 minutes! A lot of the kids that ran the 1K were also on the 5K course with us - such energy! There was walkers/runners of all ages out there - cheering each other on and representing for this amazing necessary cause.

We listened to our headphones this time, but still chatted along the way and kept pace with each other. I can't even describe to you how helpful it is to have someone with you. He makes me walk faster, challenges me to jog little bits, and makes me laugh along the way. I hit my stride about 2.5 K in and I knew I was good. We were making great time and my playlist was killing it. We finished the race at 50:53 minutes.

Our time two weeks a go was 56:32 minutes. We shaved off 5 minutes in TWO WEEKS. That's so insane. As we were finishing the last 1K, I became flooded with emotions. I was thinking of all the people supporting me - by donation or kind words and how far I've come in the last year since my first 5K. When we crossed the finish line it hit me that in the time it took me to finish the race, about 25 people had been sexually assaulted. And how we raised $660 to support these victims. I felt like a crazy person, smiling for the camera, heavy breathing, and tears behind my sunglasses. I found out yesterday that I was the only fundraiser in the top 5 that was not an employee or board member!

We went home, changed into pants and headed to the animal shelter. Myke had this great idea to put his skills and love to good use helping dogs. We took 6 dogs out of their kennels and played with them, also taking pictures. Then Myke created the most magical Instagram page with little bios for each of them! These are all dogs that are available for adoption and SO worthy of love. I'm so excited to continue on this project with him. If you're looking to adopt, or just love dogs, follow @OKCDOGS on Instagram to see some great looking poopskis!

I, personally fell for Jack - or as I called him - Little Lumpkin. He's a 6 year old pug/corgi mix. He could use a little love - we pet a lot of extra fur off him and he's a little chubby - but in the short time we spent with him, he showed such heart! He just wanted to play and snuggle and be loved. I stopped petting him at one point to get my phone and he whined - my little heart almost burst!
Sunday, we woke up bright and early again walking the mile to the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. Sunday, April 19, 2015 was the 20th Anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building. The tone of the event was somber, reflective. I was only 5 when the bombing occurred, but still very affected. My mom and her family are from here and I moved here when I was 9. Even 20 years later, this tragedy is fresh on every Oklahoman's mind. This article from the NY Times perfectly sums up the memorial in my opinion. Another, by the Miami Herald is worth a read as well.

A thing that happened because of this event, is that I met Bill Clinton. President Clinton has been here six times to remember the bombing. You guys - I freaking met President Bill Clinton! This was one of the things on my 30 Before 30 list that everyone scoffed at! And I did it! I'm still 25!! He was just as charming and personable as I expected him to be. He made people laugh and shook as many hands as he could. He was one of the last "officials" to leave the site, making sure everyone got a picture that could. Don't think I'm sated though, if anyone knows where he'll be next I'd love to meet him again and again!

Until Next Time,
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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Still Not "Asking For It"

This month is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). I find myself asking "What can I do to help?" This year I'm trying to make a bigger attempt to raise awareness and educate others and myself. I do have a platform and a voice - Instagram, Facebook, this blog. Why not use those tools to my advantage?

Something that is a huge problems with these crimes is victim blaming. People are taught to protect themselves and avoid "dangerous" situations. We act as if this is something we can avoid happening to someone because they dress conservatively, don't drink, and never travel alone. No one is ever "asking for it" or deserves to be assaulted, stalked, or raped. We need to stop victim blaming. This does not and will not help us achieve our goal of stopping violence.

There's a few assumptions that people generally seem to make when an assault happens. There's a few questions that seem to come up that insinuate that the assault would some how be preventable by the survivor.
  • Was (s)he drinking?
 Answer - Irrelevant. No matter what decisions a person makes about alcohol/drugs, that does not mean they're sending an invitation to be attacked. Just because you could doesn't mean you should.
  • What was (s)he wearing?
Answer - Irrelevant. Wearing a tank top/red lipstick/booty shorts does not equal consent. A person dressing "provocatively" is not an outward invitation to be sexualized.
  • Did (s)he lead the attacker on?
Answer - You guessed it. Irrelevant, but also - what the hell does that even mean? You can change your mind AT ANY TIME. You can always say no and that should always be respected. You can be assaulted by a significant other. If you say no and they go ahead, it's not consent just because you're dating, married, or have done it before. Sexting is not an invitation to be attacked. Flirting is not an invitation. Dancing is not an invitation. There is no such thing as "I couldn't help myself." You, as beautiful and overwhelming as you are, are not irresistible.

People are violated and assaulted every day no matter where they are, what they're wearing, or how much they've been drinking. We need to change our education from teaching risk-reduction to consent. We need to place the responsibility back on potential rapists. By teaching everyone at a young age about respecting bodies and consent (rather than teaching people to walk with their keys clenched in their hands), we aim to stop perpetrators from ever perpetrating.

Until Next Time,
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Friday, April 10, 2015

I love everyBODY.

This post is about self love no matter what your size and also pictures of me in my underoos.

This week Lane Bryant unveiled it's #ImNoAngel campaign. I was so excited to see Ashley Graham (one of my favorite models) along with five other gorgeous women, being plastered around Facebook and Instagram. I loved the message that Ashley posted on her IG: "Beauty is Beyond Size".

The #ImNoAngel hashtag is a not so subtle reference to the Victoria Secret Angel line. Victoria Secret was criticized last year for their "Perfect Body" campaign. I don't like the either/or mentality that the media is giving this campaign. I look at both the sets of models and see only gorgeous women. I don't think it's good for us to pit fat against thin. I want to love and appreciate every BODY for what it is uniquely.

I love that these Lane Bryant models are getting face time and the idea behind these advertisements is beautiful - "Our '#ImNoAngel' campaign is designed to empower ALL women to love every part of herself," Chief Executive Officer Linda Heasley said in a statement. "Lane Bryant firmly believes that she is sexy and we want to encourage her to confidently show it, in her own way."

There's still some problems in my opinion though.
Here are two ads, one for VS and one for LB.

The Victoria Secrets models are all relatively the same height and they all look pretty fit.The Lane Bryant models are all relatively the same height and have generally a flat but soft body.

I definitely look more like the Lane Bryant girls, but honestly I don't see any BODY that looks like mine here. There's still ideals being shown. There's still a general height and proportion that each model has. They have curves, they have lumps, they have rolls, but they're still models. What would be more helpful to me as a consumer would be seeing a girl with my actual body type in lingerie. That would get me more excited. A lot of the stuff I buy these days comes from inspiration from real women on Instagram. I have nothing but love for these models - They are gorgeous and they are making that money, working hard.

Anything that gets the self love message to the world is okay by my book, but I think we could be doing more. It's like we're slowly showing our "fat girl" to the public, easing them in by showing them the pretty fat girls first. There's just not an honest representation of woman out there in the public eye. That goes for the average woman that shops at Victoria's Secret AND Lane Bryant. Both companies are only representing a small portion of the body types that exist.

Of course, one of my real life role models Amanda Kate beat me to writing about it because she's a writing goddess who's on top of her shit. She started the #imnoangel #imnomodeleither campaign that I hope to see sweeping Instagram soon. You could read all about it HERE. In solidarity with the gorgeous women who have been participating, I too took some pictures in my Lane Byrant underwear. Well, Myke took them.

And before you get too scandalized, here's a quote from Amanda that sums up all the feels.

"For me, it's hard to see how taking photos in skivvies can truly push something forward. But then when I got to your point about women teaching their daughters to love their bodies, I realized that underwear pics on Instagram (or in clothes, for that matter) can be a tool for women to teach and learn. I don't really expect media to change, at least not quickly. But in the mean time, we can see these types of images, create our own positive examples, and hope that others can take something good away from it? This is my thinking."

Until Next Time,
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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Things I'm Living For

It's been a few blog posts now since I shared with you guys some things I'm loving.

  • The first of my current obsessions is RuPaul's Drag Race Season 7. No spoilers, but here's some of my favorite queens from this season. If you're watching this season please let me know, I'm always looking for more people to discuss this show with!
 Ginger Minj - my comedy queen this season. She is neat, petite, and ready to eat!
 Max - my classic beauty queen. I'm obsessed with her entire look plus she's talented and kind!
 Trixie Mattel - She reminds me a little of Ben DeLa Creme from Season 6. I love her aesthic, I think she's kitschy and fun.
  •  My new address labels and state envelope seals from Etsy!
  • Shamir is my new pop love. Call It Off and On The Regular are really fun pop songs that are from his soon to be released album Ratchet. If I just had to compare to him to someone, I would say MIKA. I love this article about him, it talks about his folk and country background. I'm so glad he went the pop route as I've found some insane dancing/work out music, but this cover of Miranda Lambert's song The House That Built Me really shows off his voice.
  • The Mindy Project - I recently discovered this gem on Hulu and am obsessed. I have so many feels when I watch this show - mostly: THAT'S ME! SHE IS ME! 
  • My new Fossil purse from a vintage store. I've been lusting after this purse since I was in high school (that's at least 8 years a go guys!). Myke and I just came across it in while we were waiting for our table at Empire Slice last week!
  • Our little garden is blooming!
  •  True Detective - If you can't tell, I've been watching a lot of TV lately. Myke and I finally got around to watching this on DVD and finished it in 4 days. I thought it was so good and kept me very engaged. I can't wait for season 2 to come out!
  • Nick Jonas released the video for Chains. If you missed it, I'm Obsessed with Nick Jonas.

  • This apple fritter I'm eating.
Until Next Time,
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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

*Trigger Warning*

I've had a lot of people asking why I chose to make the YWCA 5K my first large goal for fundraiser. This 5K is April 18th, smack in the middle of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). A lot of people, notice I say people as in humans as in non-gender/age/race specific, pass over this month and these statistics without a second look.

The SAAM 2015 campaign is centered around preventing sexual violence on campus. In the United States, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 59 men have been raped in their lifetime.  Approximately 1 in 15 men have been made to penetrate a perpetrator in their lifetime. Most victims first experienced sexual violence before age 25 and 1 in 5 college students experiences sexual assault during their college career.

At a pivotal time in peoples' lives - where they're becoming adults, learning new life skills, growing into who they are - they're also being ripped of their feelings of security and safety and losing trust in humanity. The ACLU estimates that 95% of US campus rapes go unreported.  Approximately two out of three sexual assaults are committed by an attackers that the victim knows. About 38% of rapes are committed by a friend or acquaintance of the victim. The most likely location of a rape or sexual assault in in the homes of the victim or the perpetrator - a place the victim once felt safe. These victims are blamed or shamed; told they deserve it or they could have done something to prevent it.

There's a great campaign going on this month that I just found out about today and FULLY plan on supporting. It's called Red My Lips. I heard about it from this Bustle article HERE. The idea behind this campaign is that nothing, absolutely nothing, gives anyone the right or a "valid excuse" for sexual assault. Red lipstick, short skirt, high heels, tight tee shirt that shows off your muscles, or your booty shorts that show off your ass - no clothing gives permission. Drinking, passing out, being in a club or a bar or at a party - these are not invitations for sexual activity.

I believe that the people in my life know the facts about this cause. I believe that if anything ever happened to them, they would come to me. I also believe that not everyone has a person they could go to. And that's where the YWCA comes in. They provide support for all people who have experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking of any kind. Between 1998 and 2010 alone, Oklahoma lost 1,059 victims to domestic violence. There are more than 32 million victims annually. Up to 60% of men who abuse women also abuse children. Male children who witness the abuse of their mothers by fathers are 50% more likely to become men who batter in adulthood. That's a lot of people who could use our help.

They have hospital advocates who are on-call 24-hours per day to provide emotional support, advocacy and crisis counseling to sexual assault survivors at hospital, police stations and throughout the legal system. They also have a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) program. These nurses offer a unique contribution to forensic investigators by providing a comprehensive, objective physical examination for victims of sexual assault. The collaborative efforts of the all the agencies involved in the program ensure the evidence is collected without re-traumatizing the victims. They provide housing for victims and their children. It's an emergency shelter, providing help in obtaining legal services, transportation, housing information, medical care, child care and advocacy services for up to two months. They have transitional housing for victims of family violence. Participants have up to two years to obtain the education and job skills training needed to begin a new life. They also provide a wide array of crisis services to help victims rebuild and heal.

And for these reasons and so many many more, I support the YWCA in Oklahoma City. This is why I'm training and raising money for their 5K. There are still 17 days left til the race and if you'd like to support my run personally, you can do so HERE.

Until Next Time,
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