Wednesday, November 2, 2016

BEHIND THE SCENES WITH BOPO BABE: CHOOSELIFEWARRIOR

Welcome to my new blog series! I will be going behind the selfie sticks, tripods, and self timers with some of my favorite body positive babes. I suspect if they're not your favorites yet, they will be soon!

Danielle, known as @chooselifewarrior is best known for, I think, breaking down eating disorder recovery stereotypes and fighting fatphobia. Dani found the body positive community when she started her Instagram page 3 years a go.

"I was first inspired by an account called @honorcurves and began posting about 6 months into having Chooselifewarrior. It initially started as a recovering eating disorder quote based account. It has evolved so many times and in so many ways since then. Before social media I didn't even know what body positivity was - I absolutely hated myself. Social Media and the ability to find women who empowered and inspired me was the changing moment."

I asked her how she came up with the name Choose Life Warrior; it makes such a powerful statement on it's own. "Choose Life Warrior is a really personal saying to me. When I had an eating disorder my best friend used to tell me to choose life by making sure I was talking to my support team, eating etc. I added the warrior mainly because fighting through an eating disorder makes you feel strong, powerful and like a warrior."

She is definitely a warrior and fighting through her eating disorder has translated into some radical self love. What are her tips to finding self love and body positivity? "Every day do something that makes you feel good, whatever that is. It can even just be having a food you love, or a shower. Always ask for help if you need it. Never be afraid to tell people if you can't do something if you are too busy. Practice self care every day, take care of yourself as if you're taking care of someone you love in your life. (Online,) follow people who empower you; also, follow people who perhaps push your thoughts and beliefs. Who and what I thought was radical 3 years ago is now so different. Surround your online apps and interaction with positive people who are truly body positive and inclusive. Offline make sure you are surrounding yourself with also body positive and positive people. People who want you to succeed, who believe in you and make you feel good and happy."

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Behind the Scenes with BoPo Babes: ModernDayRomeo92

Welcome to my new blog series! I will be going behind the selfie sticks, tripods, and self timers with some of my favorite body positive babes. I suspect if they're not your favorites yet, they will be soon!



Tevin, aka @moderndayromeo92 is an American Eagle Outfitters in store stylist and freelancer with a Stylist where they work on anything from celebrities to editorial shoots. He only recently found the body positive community. Someone suggested that he tag his Easter Sunday outfit with #bopo and within a matter of minutes he received more traffic on his page than ever before. “People responded so well and it made me happy that the comments being made were about confidence - that's a big thing for me. I always want to inspire others to be confident to be the best person they can be for themselves and those around them.”

 He may not have been following the bopo community online, but Tevin has always been an advocate for self love. “I definitely would say I was all about self love and body positivity (before social media). In high school I was a part of the dance program and so much of my life centered around that and although I was big then too I always strived to not let my weight hold me back. I remember the first day being nervous about changing my front of the other guys and my dance instructor giving me tough love and saying get over it.”

Dancing has a central theme in his self love journey. “(In real life) there's no hiding behind angles to contort your body to look a certain way like they do in photos and the words you write with every post don't quite sound the same. But the truth is it 100% better. I use my body (to promote the bopo lifestyle)! I love to dance, in the classroom or on the dance floor and I don't care who watches me! I tell everyone that one of the most liberating things I ever did was take off my shirt at a club and just dance.”

He has quickly fallen into the bopo way of online life. Someone he looks up to in the community is Kelvin Davis of @notoriouslydapper. “I may have fanboyed just a little meeting him in between shows at men's fashion week.”

And like all our bopo babes, he doesn’t let the negative comments he may receive phase him. He said beyond blocking them, they don’t really make a dent in his day. His motto is to “be a pillar of positivity in all aspects; don't feed into negativity, shine your light upon those situations. People will always take notice of a perspective that is of good will! Your body is your body don't let someone else's perception of beauty dictate yours!”

If he’s having a bad body day, something we can all relate to, he turns to family and music. “I do have them a lot more frequently than you'd think. I share those thoughts with my sisters and my boyfriend. Usually a quick dance break helps too and it's great cardio!”

Working in fashion gives him a perfect platform to speak about inclusivity. “I realized that in popularity comes responsibility. From the time I started working at American Eagle Outfitters I made it my responsibility to be an advocate for the guy who isn't the average size sold in store no matter his body type. I wanted to be the guy who makes these guys comfortable with coming in to shop to start building that connection with the brand and them. To look a guy in the eye that I know is feeling discouraged about not finding his size I can share my story my struggles with him. I can be that person they feel they can trust to explain their insecurities and desires for how they want to be perceived.”

Lightning Round

Favorite Happy Song?
  • TAYLOR SWIFT SHAKE IT OFF! I'm a huge Swiftie
What’s a movie that never gets old?
  • Mean Girls! I can recite entire monologues from that movie!
What’s a book you could read repeatedly?
  • The entire Gossip Girl series
Favorite ice cream?
  • Party cake!! (Fun fact I don't really like cake other than in ice cream,ironically my mother and my boyfriend are both bakers!)it.
Favorite brick and mortar store?
  • Macy's Herald Square specifically they have a little more of a selection of brands that feature items in my size!
Favorite online store?
  • American Eagle sadly I have to purchase my size in most items online despite working in the store
Favorite drink?
  • Bulldog it's a frozen margarita with a beer bottle in it!
Do you have any hobbies?
  • I enjoy anything art related. So I paint, draw, sculpt, work on the pottery wheel, act, sing, dance and sometimes write poetry. It keeps me grounded and gives me a peace of mind like no other!

Check out the rest of the series HERE.

Until Next Time,
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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Last Minute Halloween Costumes


The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture which is where Halloween gets it's beginning. Costumes were worn in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or appease them. These days, costumes are worn to be someone else for the day - your favorite character or someone a little sexier than you normally dress. It's a day to have fun and feel free. It's also a great day for casual racism.

Most people don't intend to offend with their Halloween costumes. I used to not give a second thought to wearing something as long as it was pretty. And I never thought companies would openly sell racist costumes (it's 2016, how could they), but racism runs deep in our country. If you don't consider yourself a racist 364 days of the year, you don't want to choose such a fun night to wear something offensive.  We've all made mistakes, but now that you know - let's avoid cultural appropriation. Find out more about casual racism on Halloween HERE.

Halloween is in 8 days. If you don't have a costume planned yet - I'm here to help you out! And in my list you won't find anything racist or basic!


Snapchat Filters
    • Galaxy Filter:
    • Hipster Panda
    • Watercolor Pop Art
Cinema provides ENDLESS inspiration!
    • Chanel #3 from Scream Queens 
      • Pink fur, ear muffs, and if you're going season 2 a candy striper headband!
    • Harry Potter is always a good choice in my opinion.
      • Luna Lovegood is a special character. Add Spectrepecs and a Quibbler to read to push your costume to the next level.
    • Men In Black
      • Do you have a suit? Sunglasses? You are in a man in black. Go shoot some aliens!
    • Derek Zoolander
      • Paint on those killer cheekbones and smize your heart out!
    • Bob's Burgers - Tina Belcher
      • Black bob wig add a yellow barrette, light blue t-shirt, blue skirt, hightop socks, and Converse! Add your black Wayfarer glasses, some extra confidence, maybe a horse adorned notebook and you're good to go!
    • RuPaul's Drag Race
      • Alaska
      • Trixxie Mattel
      • Miss Fame

Other
    • Witch - we know you have a fab all black outfit now pop on a witch hat and grab your Swiffer! Everyone else wearing all black will be a cat - almost guaranteed.
    • SuperFan - wear all your favorites sport's team gear!
    • I was Cinderella and I only had to buy three pieces - wig, dress, and slippers!
    • Hippie - Floral crown, loose clothing, and a peace sign!
    • 90's Queen - luckily these pieces will be easy to find since they're back on trend! Flannel, platform sneakers or jellies, dark lips, ripped denim.
    • More ideas from 2015 HERE - including Tinkerbell, Ke$ha, and zombie prom
What are you going to be for Halloween? Let me know in the comments below!

Until Next Time,
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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Behind the Scenes with BoPo Babes: Josie_Landry

Welcome to my new blog series! I will be going behind the selfie sticks, tripods, and self timers with some of my favorite body positive babes. I suspect if they're not your favorites yet, they will be soon!

Josie, aka @josie_landry is a self-described “unapologetic activist and ally for body positivity, intersectional feminism, LGBTQ rights, & black lives matter.” She has gained a following of over 2,000 in her short time online.

Just last week, marked Josie’s one year anniversary since starting her transition. It’s been a year since she began living her authentic life. “Transitioning was literally a matter of life or death.  I have always known since I was very little that something wasn’t correct.  As this was quite a long time ago and transgender wasn’t really a well-known topic at the time I struggled a lot to figure myself out.  After years of depression, to the point that I was starting to go on disability from work for months at a time, I was at a rapid decline in mental health.  After many long hours of discussion with my wife, we decided that it was time to go forward with it.

When I was trying to identify myself, the majority of information that I was able to find was from other Trans folks who shared their stories; so I wanted to share mine to both help others and also as kind of a visual diary. Starting my transition last year was a momentous step in my life and it was something that I wanted to document. Somehow along the way it became about body positivity, which is interesting seeing as how the whole idea behind transitioning is to completely transform my body. Somehow along the way I learned to love my body and as it is transforming into the correct body I am learning to love it even more.”
As Josie said, Transgender was not a word I had heard often before Laverne Cox or Caitlyn Jenner became "mainstream". I will admit, I was woefully uneducated. So before we go any further I’d like to provide some education for y’all. 
Transgender people are people who have a gender identity, or gender expression, that differs from their assigned sex at birth. Transgender is also an umbrella term: in addition to including people whose gender identity is the opposite of their assigned sex, it may include people who are not exclusively masculine or feminine (people who are genderqueer, e.g. bigender, pangender, genderfluid, or agender). 
Gender dysphoria or gender identity disorder (GID) is the dysphoria (distress) a person experiences as a result of the sex and gender they were assigned at birth. Treatment for a person diagnosed with GID may include psychotherapy or to support the individual's preferred gender through hormone therapy, gender expression and role, or surgery. Though, not all individuals chose to undergo any type of “treatment” or physical change at all.
Being transgender is independent of sexual orientation: transgender people may identify as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual, etc., or may consider conventional sexual orientation labels inadequate or inapplicable. The term transgender can also be distinguished from intersex, a term that describes people born with physical sex characteristics "that do not fit typical binary notions of male or female bodies." 
Now, back to our bopo babe.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Advocating for Unhealthy Bodies

I feel like I'm on a tightrope talking about the issue of health and body positivity. I truly honestly love myself, but I don't feel like I'm at the place I want to be for my health. As Roxane Gay put it "I don't want to pretend that I'm OK with it (being fat), and it's not judging anyone else. It's just that I know the realities of living in my body. I know how irritating and how exhausting it is to, for example, climb a set of stairs. And so I don't need to be thin, but I want to be in better shape. I want to have more stamina. And I honestly, because I'm vain, want to wear cuter clothes."

And it's like, not that I'm not okay with being fat - I've been a size 18 or larger for the last nine years, basically my whole adult life. But just a year ago I was doing 5Ks and now to walk a few blocks uphill is a struggle. That's a big change in my health.

One of my main issues is that I eat mindlessly when I’m bored. I also eat when I’m sad because the food tastes good and makes me happy (that’s my logic at least). Sometimes I feel depressed and when I think about how much I’ll have to change my lifestyle to be healthy that makes me more depressed. I make meal plans and talk about goals and then it rains or I get sick and I feel like all is lost. I just give everything up completely and binge on all the things.  I have a lot of guilt associated with food. Not because certain foods are good and bad, but because I knowingly and consistently put unhealthy things into my body because it's "easier" aka mindless. I know how to take care of myself, but sometimes it just feels unattainable.

What I’ve always wanted my whole life was to love myself and just be happy. Those are not goals you achieve and move on from. They're not something you ever "finish". Every day comes with decisions and roadblocks. I've learned a lot about loving myself in my 27 years. Loving yourself is not dependent on your size, the status of your health, the amount of “cute” clothes you have, how good you look in selfies, or anything physical really. Self love is loving your body, your mind, your spirit, your entire being. You are beautiful, but you are also so much more than your body. You are so much more than the world can see by looking at a picture of you. Loving yourself is treating yourself as a friend. It’s being encouraging along the journey and realizing the journey is forever because we never stop growing.

It's important while you're growing, learning, and changing, to educate yourself and surround yourself with things that will further your journey in the direction you wish to go - to positivity. Things that are not body positive do not contribute to self love.

*SCREECH*

Hold up. I've been wanting to talk about this since Corissa aka FatGirlFlow got all that hate from her video last month. Dieting is not body positive. Dieting is, according to Websters, restricting oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight. Dieting is not sustainable. Being healthy is about incorporating nutritious food choices and more activity into your life, without the pressure, restrictions, and guilt of dieting. You can lose weight and be body positive, but losing weight will not make you body positive.

If I get my shit together, start eating more balanced meals, start walk/jogging 5Ks again, and stay the same weight - I will be pleased. I will be healthier. If I lose weight because of a lifestyle change I make to become healthier - I will be pleased. There will be no goal weight. There will be no pills or fasts or "quick fixes."

For fat women specifically I feel there is this overwhelming urge to defend your fatness with health. I see a lot of posts from women in the body positive community saying “call me fat, but I exercise every day” or “you can say what you want, but my doctor told me I’m healthy.” Even Ashley Graham's response to not wanting to be called plus size - "The things that I don't necessarily like about it is all the negative stigmatisms that go with the word plus-size -- you're fat, you're lazy, you have no drive, no determination, you're constantly eating," she explained. "Honey, I work out. I work out three days a week. I lift. I do barre. I do it all." Well, I don’t have that defense. I am unhealthy and I still love my fat body.

My self love and body positivity are not determined by the status of my health. Unhealthy bodies are good bodies too. You do not have to be healthy in order to be considered worthy or beautiful. No matter what "body activist" Ashley Graham would have you believe. But that's a whole different blog, literally - clink the link.

I am not a healthy person. I am not telling you that because I am proud of it (see above). It is a fact, just like the fact that I am fat. I am a fat unhealthy person who loves herself. As a fat woman this feels like a thing I should be ashamed about. I think to myself that if I were smaller, no one would mind if I was unhealthy because they wouldn’t be able to tell from the outside. When you’re fat and you have an eating disorder people compliment you on your weight loss. No one asks how you lost it unless they’re looking for tips of their own. People expect you to be counting calories and working out two times a day when you’re fat. If you're overweight, you should constantly be trying to not be. We're taught that fatness isn't supposed to be a permanent state.

As stated above, I have my own issues with health and my relationship with food. Maybe you have a complicated relationship with those things too. But what I know for sure is that you do not have to be a perfect person before you're allowed to love yourself. You don't need to reach a certain weight or a certain level of mental health before it's okay to love yourself. If you don't love yourself now, you're not going to magically just because you lose weight. When you apply that same thought process to someone else it sounds insane. "Yeah, mom I really love you and all, but actually it looks like you gained some lbs since we last talked... Ooh, I actually don't respect you at all now."

No. No way. No how. You wouldn't talk to your mother or your best friend or your boss like that.

Also, here's some people talking about health and bopo much more eloquently than me.

Being Body Positive and Weight Loss
Why Dieting Can Rarely (If Ever) Be Body Positive
The Danger of Praising Weight Loss
Diet Culture and Capitalism
How to Stay Body Confident and Lose Weight


Until Next Time,
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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Behind the Scenes with BoPo Babes: curvycottoncandymane

Welcome to my new blog series! I will be going behind the selfie sticks, tripods, and self timers with some of my favorite body positive babes. I suspect if they're not your favorites yet, they will be soon!

Melissa, aka @curvycottoncandymane, started her Instagram page just over a year ago. She quickly got to the heart of the bopo community and has amassed over 24K followers! She grabbed my attention in the sea of bopo babes with her cotton candy colored locks and got me hooked with her positive energy! In the real world, she uses her perky disposition as a school teacher – inspiring young minds every day. She expands her love of teaching to the bopo community, sharing personal stories and her unique style with the world.

“Finding the body positive community on Instagram changed my entire life, and that's no exaggeration. Never before had I ever seen or heard of other women who not only accepted their bodies, but LOVED them! I was awestruck. All I'd been taught previously was that I was supposed to hate my body until it finally conformed to the societal ideal of perfection. And boy did I! My body was enemy #1! The internet connects you with people from all over the globe who are finding ways, despite the garbage being hurled at us from every angle, to celebrate life and beauty in every way. Find and follow those who inspire you personally. Look at as many different bodies as you can. After doing this your stretch marks don't feel as abnormal anymore, your cellulite and rolls become a normal part of being a human, and your purpose in life will become greater than trying to shrink.

My main source of inspiration was Anna @glitterandlazers. I actually knew her from our university days where we lived in the same apartment complex. I'd been following her on instagram for quite some time and she inspired me daily. I began to think, "If she can love herself this much than dammit, so can I!" I had just moved from Utah to Washington and had made some pretty major life changes, the main one being leaving The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I felt personally empowered and wanted to continue nurturing that new feeling. I was discussing the idea of starting a plus size fashion/bopo instagram account with a cute boy (who is now my amazing boyfriend) and he encouraged me from the moment I brought up the idea. He also happened to be my first follower. :) So buoyed by my new found confidence and some loving encouragement I set my phone on a windowsill and snapped my first picture.”

Over a year after posting that first shot, her body positive journey is going strong.
“It's easy to put on a glossy veneer online and seem like you're body positive 100% of the time. That simply isn't true for most of us. I still have dark days and nights like anyone else. I think it's important to try and be transparent online so that there is no huge disparity between your online content and your real life. I still struggle removing my wrap at the pool, I still struggle wearing short shorts on a hot day in front of a group of people. But the important thing is that I continue to do it and that feeling of inner turmoil decreases every time I do. (My Instagram) keeps me motivated to keep loving myself and (hopefully) it motivates others as well. Body positivity has no end date for me. I won't wake up one day and just be done because I've reached the end. There is no end. It's a continuous path that I must mindfully walk everyday.

I've made it a habit to experience my body at least once a week. I lie in bed naked and run my hands over my bumps and lumps and feel the grooves and wrinkles. Or I stand in front of the mirror and trace my stretch marks. I take photos that are only for me. And it's amazing what a change in attitude can do. I did these same things before out of self-loathing and pity. I do them now as a form of worship and celebration. Positive affirmation is real and powerful. I choose every day to love myself, to love the body I've been blessed with, and to spread that love around in the hopes of inspiring others to love themselves too.”

Sunday, October 9, 2016

September Favorites


FOOD
MEDIA
  • The Good Place
  • RuPaul's Interview in GQ and RuPaul's Drag Race
    • "A lot of people are stuck in the idea of themselves as a victim. Or as a starving artist, or as someone who’s not good with numbers. That perception of yourself is what holds you in place." - Quote from GQ interview
BEAUTY
FASHION



  • Warm fall colors are what I'm gravitating too recently. Throw in olive and some merlot/berry and we're all set with my wardrobe!

PERSONAL
  • My trip to GA & SC! To hear about it click HERE.
  • I'm moving house again. Our lease is up at the end of November so we're on the house hunt yet again and my life will involve lots of packing here in the near future!
  • My Fall Bucket List - see my list HERE and get your FREE printable!


What are you guys loving this month?
Maybe I'll love it too and it will be on my October list!

Until Next Time,
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Friday, October 7, 2016

Our Trip to Beaufort, SC

Recently Myke and I took a trip to visit family in Beaufort, SC. There were a few gems there that I knew I had to share with y'all in case you ever made the trip down south. Chartered in 1711, it is the second-oldest city in South Carolina, behind Charleston (which is only an hour and a half away). It's right on the border of Georgia as well, being only an hour away from Savannah, GA. Beaufort has been the setting or the inspirational setting for several novels by long-time resident Pat Conroy and a popular filming location for major motion pictures, including The Big Chill, The Prince of Tides, The Great Santini, Forrest Gump, Something To Talk About and G.I. Jane.

I would recommend absolutely going to Scout Southern Market to get a tea float. It sounded strange to me which is why I knew I had to have one! You select sweet or unsweet tea and to float is sherbet - lemon, peach, mango, or strawberry! Ten out of ten would get again and again. We spent some time down by the river, taking a river boat tour (which touts dolphin sightings, but we missed out) and watching the birds. The Antebellum style homes were beautiful to see and we also went to the ocean one night! A hidden gem we found was the Kazoobie Kazoo Factory and Tour! Hidden in a small warehouse, we learned about the history of kazoos and heard all different types of whistles & kazoos! All in the all, I sincerely recommend this southern island area to visit!

Click (READ MORE) to get my food guide and slideshow of vaca pictures!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Behind the Scenes with BoPo Babes: uominidipeso

Welcome to my new blog series! I will be going behind the selfie sticks, tripods, and self timers with some of my favorite body positive babes. I suspect if they're not your favorites yet, they will be soon!

In the body positive world the main focus is on bodies with breasts; however, male presenting bodies face heavy criticism as well especially if they are larger. Alessandro aka @uominidipeso is on a mission to bring self love into the every day conversation of not only men, but everyone in Italy - nay, the world!

Plus size clothing options are limited enough as an American female, but if you look around for plus size men’s wear - you’ll see the struggle is real. Allesandro says in Italy, it’s hard to find any options at all.

 “Since September I and other 6 Blogger Italian we will be the team with its hashtag #BodyPosiTeamIT with which we will try to expand their circle and help people as possible. Italy is by no means a Body Positive territory as they pretend. Here it is even difficult to get dressed. A woman wearing a size 34 (European 48/American 14) is considered fat and when exposed is covered with criticism and insults. We Bloggers and activists, like you, Italians, every day we try to change something but it's not easy because any event and any proposal always behind the profit.”

When he started his blog and Facebook page in 2014 he said he “immediately realized that with photos and testimony (he) could help a lot of people and it was so.” With the addition of social media into our everyday lives, connecting with like-minded individuals is easier than ever. If you’re looking for self love inspiration, it’s literally just a search away.

“Online you can direct your pictures and messages, and the success is greater because it more precisely strikes a part of the audience who likes the theme. In contrast in real life, for example, when I happened to speak on TV and theater, well not everyone agreed with my words, and it still makes little effort conquer the audience with our ideas.”

“(Body positivity) enters my life every day through the people I meet through conversations with friends and colleagues through Facebook chat between the boys of #BrawnSquad: ZachMiko, Kelvin, Troy Solomon etc .. and undoubtedly Kelvin - NotoriusDapper because we have the same thoughts, we addressed both on the same street and I love his way to show and encourage people towards #bodypositive. Other people can improve their body positivity by using the internet to look for men and women for inspiration, looking for images and phrases that can help and especially by getting in touch with other people across the world living the same situation.

To be part of the community is a great pleasure because it means that something beautiful and positive I'm doing it and it is also a symptom of pride because without knowing I'm helping other people. The goal is to bring more people to this concept to try to change something in our society.”

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Fall 2016 Bucket List

Lists have been proven to make achieving your goals more productive. By making a list, you can see what you have accomplished and what's left to come. The physical act of writing down a goal makes it real and tangible.

Thursday, September 22 was the first day of fall. Like summer, I find that fall often slips by too fast and then I'm in the cold of winter dreaming autumnal dreams. This year, I decided I would not have any pumpkin spice flavored regrets. So, that brings me to my fall bucket list.


If you'd like to stay up to date on how I'm doing with my list, don't forget to follow me on Instagram and sign up for email updates for the blog! Also, I included the fall bucket list template below so you can download and print it out! I'll be keeping a copy of mine on my fridge!



Until Next Time,
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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Behind the Scenes With BoPo Babe: CurvesBecomeHer

Welcome to my new blog series! I will be going behind the selfie sticks, tripods, and self timers with some of my favorite body positive babes. I suspect if they're not your favorites yet, they will be soon!

Living in America for most of my life, I have a narrow view of the world as a whole. I wanted to delve into body positivity in countries other than my own. Aarti, aka @curvesbecomeher is part of a small community of body positivity in Asia.

“My inspiration stemmed from being a plus size South Asian and Singaporean. There wasn't enough representation for girls like me. No plus size Indian girls in magazines, few blogs that I could relate to. After a year of deliberation I decided to take matters into my own hands and be the representation I wanted to see. There is still so much work to be done for Asian plus size representation and that fact alone makes it important to maintain my social media accounts. There is progress, but it's moving pretty slowly. As a woman of Indian ethnicity who was born and brought up in Singapore, it's a constant struggle against the patriarchy and the hive mind. Although cosmopolitanism has certainly made its way here and we have all the amenities you have in the West, there are a great deal of traditions and old school ways of doing things that kind of make it hard for women who do not fit into society's rules. Be it India or Singapore, I am disliked simply for being who I am - a fat woman of Colour, a feminist, a woman  who dislikes the invasion of her personal space and choices. The constant obsession with slimness, fairness of skin, diet culture is a big problem. The authority by which strangers and people you know feel they have over you by commenting on your appearance as if it's okay to do so, is a problem. There are a lot of times when I consider moving out of Asia but then again, there needs to be proper representation for this very small budding community of body positive advocates here. I cannot just up and leave.”

Being a unapologetic plus size woman can have its repercussions. She says that bullying based on her body has been happening since she was 11. “I find I have less tolerance for it since being an active member of the bopo community. I avoid people or groups of people who I know will be judgemental - I am not here to justify why I am the way that I am. Sometimes it hits me hard. Which is why I struggle with social anxiety. It's an ongoing process that I would really like to see improvement and I am positive I will get there. I was too shy to take outdoor fashion shoots for the blog in my first year of blogging but I slowly overcame that fear. If people want to stare, go right ahead. What they will see is a confident well dressed plus size woman. Who knows, that might give them something to think about? When random strangers get obnoxious about my form, I do have to watch my tongue and try not to lash out. Instead, I choose to give them a smile as if to say "Yes I'm Fat and I feel good about myself. Your opinion is not going to change that".

Along with her own inner strength and her husband/photographer, the online community is a source of support for her. “There is a wealth of resources on the Internet - reading blogs and articles, reaching out to bopo advocates for advice, relating to the many others who are finding their way as well via Instagram, Facebook groups. My personal self love idols are a combo between Virgie Tovar and Ashleigh Shackleford. Amazing unapologetic fat women of Colour who constantly blow me away with their wisdom. Arming yourself with a body positive library is also a good idea! There is helpful literature out there written by people in the community like The Militant Baker, Marilyn Wann. Creating a little body posi circle of your own is something I have really benefited from.”

Sunday, September 18, 2016

What's In My Purse


The contents of my purse don't change that often, I have a pretty solid line up going on. There are a few things that aren't mentioned in the video that are in my purse as I type this including dried mandarins from Trader Joes and lipstick, but you get the idea.

2014's Edition HERE
2015's Edition HERE

Until Next Time,
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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Behind the Scenes with BoPo Babes: AmaScriver

Welcome to my new blog series! I will be going behind the selfie sticks, tripods, and self timers with some of my favorite body positive babes. I suspect if they're not your favorites yet, they will be soon!

Ama, aka @amascriver is a freelance writer and community builder based out of Toronto, Ontario Canada. You may have read her work on Bustle, Hello Giggles, or in Paste magazine to name a few. She was also part of the team that ran Fat Girl Food Squad, which went on indefinite hiatus January 2016. Most recently she was featured in the 50th edition of THIS magazine alongside writers such as Margaret Atwood. On top of that, she runs her own blog and social media. If you follow this powerhouse, you will see not only body positive dialogue but some delicious food as well!

Before the days of Instagram, Ama found her body positive inspiration on Tumblr. Specifically Jessica Luxery of Tangled up in Lace. “I remember reading her Tumblr way back in 2009/2010 and just being in awe of her. She would post these incredible selfies and I never thought that I could be as beautiful or fabulous as her.  A lot has changed since then, but I really owe a lot of my body positivity journey to Jessica Luxery because without discovering her Tumblr back then, I really don’t know where I would be right now.”

In a world where being fat and happy is seen as radical, Ama finds her own brand of body positivity by simply existing and showing the world her life. “With my Instagram, it’s just about me living my life and having fun. I think all too often, we don’t think that fat women are allowed to take up space in this world and for me, it’s important to demonstrate (via my Instagram) that I’m out there fat and thriving. This can be anything from eating food to going out with friends or photographing the fun events I get to go to - really I just love to share my story and my world with the people who follow me. I hope that the people who do follow me appreciate it as much as I love sharing it.  It’s not always political but there is meaning behind it. I think it’s important to show fat folks experiencing life - people identify with that because it’s real.”

Being online is a great way to connect with other people who are like you; that can make you feel less alone especially if people are reacting negatively to you just existing. Sometimes taking what you’re learning online into real life can be challenging, but Ama has some thoughts for us.

“I think being body positive online can be done via social media like Twitter, Instagram or Facebook - whichever format works for you - by participating in conversations, hashtags, posting photos or blogs. There are so many ways to get involved online and such a great community of folks. (…) Surround yourself with other incredible fat babes like yourself who are strong, loud, shouty and the most important attribute: supportive. I find that through my fat babe community, I have come across so many great articles, learned about so many great clothing lines and found a great support system for myself - for good days and bad days. The internet is such a great tool for learning, sharing and finding other like-minded folks.

But I think the biggest thing to remember is developing a positive body image isn’t necessarily easy and often takes a lot of work - online or offline. Being body positive offline is learning to celebrate ourselves and our bodies and work to combat the traditional and Western beauty standards. It’s knowing that you have self-worth and gifting ourselves with self-love.  Each and every single day in your body positivity journey (offline) is a daily discovery process, regardless of shape, size or gender. As humans, our bodies are all different, diverse and unique - and that’s okay! Coming to the fundamental understanding that we deserve to feel happy, healthy and loved is the first step is a positive body journey.  From there, everything else is onwards and usually upwards.”

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Behind the Scenes with BoPo Babes: AmyLoiseW

Welcome to my new blog series! I will be going behind the selfie sticks, tripods, and self timers with some of my favorite body positive babes. I suspect if they're not your favorites yet, they will be soon!

I was introduced to Amy, aka @amyeloisew through another one of our bopo babes – Megan. Coincidentally enough, Amy says that’s how she was introduced to the bopo scene. “I worked with Meg a few years ago and was instantly drawn to how bubbly and lovely she is, and when I found her Instagram a year or so later, and saw her embracing her wobbly bits, I thought maybe I could too. - A few months ago we were shopping together and she told me that I should look at my body as a work of art, if someone were to draw or sculpt me they would take so much time over every little detail and they would put so much love into every lump, bump and other 'flaw' that may be there . It really boosts your confidence to imagine someone pretty much worshipping you!”

She then took her body positive journey online. “There was a swimsuit that I had never let see the light of day, then I wore it in an Instagram post and now I love it and happily skip down the beach in it. I was TERRIFIED when I posted my first picture, and I'm still scared when I post them now. But you (the bopo community) have all made this journey a heck of a lot easier.”

Her main motivation for continuing to post, no matter how scary it is, is to help inspire other men and women into self love. Her future children are in her mind too. “I don’t want to someday have a daughter or son who I have to comfort because they don’t look like people in magazines.”

Being unedited is something that she focuses on in her Instagram posts. She is a self-described “beauty addict” and often posts before and after pictures from her makeup looks. It’s important to know that while someone may not be using Photoshop per se, it is still very easy to manipulate things online and in the media. From makeup to lighting to “flattering” poses, we can still control how our Instagram feed shows us while being #nofilter.

Once she started her self love journey, she says she began to realize how intrinsic diet culture is in our lives. “I didn't notice how surrounded by diet talk I was until I was actively trying to avoid it. I used to follow "fitness" accounts on Instagram. I put fitness in quotation marks because what they actually were were thinspiration accounts. They mentioned nothing about getting fit, being able to move better or being more flexible, they literally focused on whether or not you had a thigh gap. Unfollowing those type of accounts and flooding your feed with a variety of body types really helps you to start to see your own beauty.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Amazon Swimsuit Try On Haul!

Today on the blog is something a little out of my comfort zone. I got five swimsuits from Amazon, tried them on, and filmed a video for you guys! The last one is my favorite, but I'd say three out of five good ones ain't bad!



Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Behind the Scenes With BoPo Babes: BodyPosiPanda

Welcome to my new blog series! I will be going behind the selfie sticks, tripods, and self timers with some of my favorite body positive babes. I suspect if they're not your favorites yet, they will be soon!

After over two years on Instagram, Megan aka @bodyposipanda has less than 800 posts but over 275,000 followers. She started her account in 2014 and it quickly turned to a body positive account. Since then she has been featured on Daily Mail, Metro, and Huffington Post. She’s been on the cover of New! and Pick Me Up! She modeled for @dearscantilly’s latest lingerie campaign and was interviewed on This Morning. She also has a popular blog and Facebook page.

The voice she started with in her first body positivity post is similar to the one she has today. From 2014: “I'm more focused on being me, and appreciating being me, than trying to look as Kardashian as possible at all times. Because that shit is tiring. And because every woman deserves to feel good in their own skin, and more importantly deserves to feel worth so much more than what they look like.”

Melissa of @yourstruelymelly was the first body positive account she came across, saying she found it on her 1000th crash diet and searching IG for fitspo. She was dealing with years of anorexia, binge eating and exercise addiction. It was the first time she saw someone unabashedly loving themselves, no matter how much space they took up.

“Before I found the body positive community I had no idea that there was an alternative to self hatred and starvation, I just figured that was it. Realising that self love was an option changed my entire life, and I knew I had to turn my account into a body positive one and get the message out there to as many people as I could.”

The way she turned her feed from #fitspo to #bopo, she says is by being cutthroat with who she kept following. “First, get rid of anything that makes you feel shit about yourself - fitspo, thinspo, super beautiful celebrities who you only follow because they're super beautiful but leave you feeling worthless, be RUTHLESS. Then fill your timeline back up with bopo babes, feminist goodness and self love inspiration. Day to day we're bombarded with so much diet culture and photoshopped poison, our social media is one of the only places we can take control of what we see. You can even create a second Instagram account to go to on bad body image days if you like your usual account as it is.”

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Behind the Scenes With BoPo Babes: SamJohnsonWrites

Welcome to my new blog series! I will be going behind the selfie sticks, tripods, and self timers with some of my favorite body positive babes. I suspect if they're not your favorites yet, they will be soon!

Sam, aka @samjohnsonwrites is a personal trainer, former fitness competitor, and is going back to school in the fall to become a holistic nutritionist. Her Instagram is filled with food porn and gym selfies, but this is not your typical #fitspo page. What started as a weight loss account turned into obsession which, with the help of diet culture, fostered her eating disorder. Now, she’s using her personal experience and education to spread the message of healthy living from her body to her brain.

“My instagram account actually began as an anonymous weight loss account over 3 years ago; It was very "fitspo - I posted "motivation" pictures of girls with abs, wrote weekly about my weight loss and was constantly posting progress pictures. I was new to fitness and my account was a tool to find my way into the fitness world. I documented my experience with at home workouts, half marathon training, weight lifting, and eventually being on prep for a bikini competition. Throughout everything, my focus was always on weight loss, and competing really pushed me over the edge from being obsessed with weight loss, to struggling with bulimia and orthorexia (an obsession with eating foods that one considers healthy) disorder.

My experience led me re-examine my idea of what health and fitness truly was- and it was about so much more than weight loss and abs. It's about eating foods that make you feel great and moving in ways that celebrate and honor your body. With the "fitspo" trend, I feel like that's not a message that's being spread, so I set out to talk about it, and show that you don't need the "perfect body" to be happy, healthy and fit. I'm proud to post my curves and rolls, because this body is so much healthier, mentally and physically, than I ever was when I was dieting and living in the gym. It took a lot of work to come out okay on the other side, and to heal my relationship with food and my body. When I did, I realized that there were probably a lot of other women who struggled the same way I did.”

And that’s when her Instagram shifted into the bopo safe haven it is today. She speaks about her body just as often as she does her mind. She's found a solid community of support on IG, but there was something else that helped her journey - podcasts.

“There’s something about actually hearing someone say the words out loud that helps hammer them into your head. When I was really struggling with body image, I was listening to podcasts constantly: at work, in the car, at home, in the bath, etc. Some of my favorite podcasters are Kaila Prins, Summer Innanen and Maddy Moon.”



Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Behind the Scenes With BoPo Babes: MsLindsayM

Welcome to my new blog series! I will be going behind the selfie sticks, tripods, and self timers with some of my favorite body positive babes. I suspect if they're not your favorites yet, they will be soon!

If you’re not one of Lindsay, aka @mslindsaym over 25,000 Instagram followers, maybe you’ve used her hashtag #selfiesforselflove or you’re following her page by the same name. Selfies for Self Love has a separate following of over 25,000 and features humans of all shapes and genders. The purpose behind her movement is not only to spread the message of self love, but also to increase diverse representation in media. This quest is something near and dear to Lindsay who’s day job is working in the feminist movement to end violence against women. Intersectional feminist analysis is not only her passion, it is her career and where her formal education is based. Diversity and inclusivity is something that the body positive community could work on, according to her.

“I think we need to acknowledge that the roots of this community come from the fat acceptance movement which was originally created by queer fat femmes, women of colour and people living with disabilities. This movement is about marginalized bodies and when we constantly put thin, white, straight, able-bodied women on a pedestal to represent us, we are doing our history a disservice. I think we got a bit lost in the message of body positivity being for all bodies when it was created by a very specific group of individuals who have faced violence and hatred because of their oppression. While I do want all people to love their bodies we need to be making space for those least allowed to do so, according to societal standards.

Compare this to other movements for example, we don't let straight people run Pride Parades and we don't let White people control Black Lives Matter. Sure we want everyone to be able to have a partner they love, but only queer people are currently being denied that. Yes, all lives matter but currently Black lives are being treated as if they don't by the justice system. Thin people are already accepted by our society, even if they personally don't love their body. They will never face the kind of oppression or discrimination that fat people face in the same way that I as a White person can have empathy for the experience of racism, but I can never truly know how it feels to be the target of racism.

People in positions of privilege are needed as allies, to help us achieve our goals, but never to take over the movement or start to dominate the conversation. As a queer fat femme myself, it hurts me to see this history ignored and for the voices from that community to be pushed out of the centre stage to make room for less marginalized bodies. It makes me sad to see our movement co-opted by people who not only don't know the history but are doing their best to erase it and capitalize on it.

I'd like to see the body positive (and the feminist) community do better around issues of anti-racism and anti-oppression. Sadly, given how long we have been asking for this in the mainstream feminist movement and the lack of results, I don't think this trend will happen any time soon, if at all. In fact, I predict the opposite. I bet you there will be at least one comment that says that I am oppressing people (by saying these things). The people who believe in reverse racism and that we need straight pride parades will not be impressed with my response. But I am tired of not speaking up on this issue and starting to consider moving away from the term body positive in favour of embracing the fat acceptance movement since it is more inter-sectional.”

Friday, August 12, 2016

Behind the Scenes With BoPo Babes: BrittPysar

Welcome to my new blog series! I will be going behind the selfie sticks, tripods, and self timers with some of my favorite body positive babes. I suspect if they're not your favorites yet, they will be soon!

Britt, aka @brittpysar has a self love journey that started offline. When she moved from Vancouver, BC to Hamilton, ON this year she found the change to be a bigger one than expected. Moving across country is already a huge deal, but she found herself following her passion – retail. She finds plenty of opportunities to spread her body positive message at her job.

“I work in retail in a plus size women's store and listening to the way some women talk to/about themselves is heartbreaking but it opens up the opportunity to engage in more meaning conversations about the real problem, which NEWSFLASH, isn't any of our butts or bellies or hips or thighs, the real problem is corporations and conglomerates selling women's bodies and setting a standard that is unattainable for the vast majority of us.”

Not only has her new job provided meaningful conversations with customers, but she says she met an amazing group of women who continually inspire her.

“I work with this group of hilarious, confident, empowering, beautiful and absolutely kick ass women. Working alongside them has changed the way I see myself and other people and has given me this beautifully positive outlook on life. They really are my inspiration. I have never felt such a connection to other humans beings so quickly, and I feel for the first time that I am exactly where I am meant to be.”

Having followed a lot of bopo accounts and being a frequent commenter on their posts, she decided to put herself out there and see what happened. Over 1,000 Instagram posts later, she’s got a following of almost 17K! She’s made quite a splash, I’d say!

Since her online debut, she’s used social media as a tool to meet other babes. “I have found this beautiful community of like minded people who I can share my thoughts with and have open discussions with about important topics. Honestly, I don't think I ever really utilized the hashtag search function on any social media platforms until I started getting serious about having these very real conversations about self love with total strangers. Seeking out people who believe in the same things as you and striking up conversations and friendships is the best way of improving your view on not only your own body, but understanding societies standards for our bodies as well (and why those standards are so unrealistic and damaging).”

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Ashley Graham is not the role model for me.

Ashley Graham is a beautiful and confident role model for women, as long as you’re under a size 20, are healthy, and love calling yourself curvy.

Graham herself is a successful young woman with great public speaking skills and someone I find incredibly inspiring. I applaud her for overcoming self doubt and body hatred. I think her advice of “speaking life” into your body is hands down some of the best body positive advice I’ve ever heard. She describes speaking life as feeding positive energy into yourself as you think about your body. If you’re constantly saying “my body’s gross,” you’re going to start to believe it. She has had to deal with some fat shaming of her own not only in private I’m sure, but very publicly as well. (ref: Nicole Arbour, Cheryl Tiegs, agent)

Graham is a self-described “body activist” and spreads her battle cry of “#beautybeyondsize” wherever she goes. She has quickly become the most well-known plus sized model in recent history. Graham has been on the cover of Glamour, Sports Illustrated, Elle, and Maxim, just to name a few. She’s been backstage at Miss USA, in a music video for DNCE, all over social media, and possibly even in your closets. She’s known for her curves and speaking out against the fashion industry’s label of “plus size.”

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Behind the Scenes With BoPo Babes: FranHayden

Welcome to my new blog series! I will be going behind the selfie sticks, tripods, and self timers with some of my favorite body positive babes. I suspect if they're not your favorites yet, they will be soon!

During her day to day life Fran works as a marketing assistant for a cruise company! She adores the style of the 1950’s and cats. If you met her in public, you’d find a sweet freshly dressed young woman. Online though, Fran, aka @franhayden  is a powerhouse. She has almost 39K followers on Instagram, a popular body positivity blog and a Facebook page. She shares trials and tribulations of her own self love journey as well as encouraging diversity in the community.

Fran told me her own body love was inspired a lot by other body positivity accounts online. “My own body positivity grew out of respect and adoration of others who professed love publicly for their bodies, and supported others in doing so too. The community is a wonderful source


of encouragement and a journey of self-love shouldn't be done alone. Ingrid, @mswink on Instagram and Melissa, @yourstruelysmelly were two of the first plus size bopo babes that I came across, then I discovered Megan, @bodyposipanda - and the rest, as they say, is history. These strong, astounding women have inspired me endlessly and I owe a lot to them for my own bopo journey.”

Following in these women’s footprints, she started her own online presence. She told me she’s never posted of picture of something she didn’t wear in public. Maybe you wouldn’t see her at the grocery store in her underwear, but every other outfit is genuine. Her pin up style can draw attention in real life not to mention just existing as a plus size woman. “It can be difficult to see people give you disapproving looks or whispering about you - but if you hold your head high and make a point of not letting it get to you, it will become second nature.”

Being online, behind a screen makes it easier for people to be hateful. She says she receives more hateful comments online than to her face, but she doesn’t let it get to her. “People are a whole lot more likely to post a negative comment or to bully someone online than they are in real life - sadly, as we spend a large majority of our lives online, we can all be victims of trolling. It can be difficult dealing with online hate, but I tend to block and delete the hurtful comments. They have no place in my life, online or otherwise.”

While most of the hate is online these days, she has been bullied for her size. “I was told by someone that I asked out that they "don't date fat girls", I have been physically harmed because of my size, a friends house was broken into when we were having a party because some people took it upon themselves to bully me, I was bullied at school - you never, ever forget these things and at the time it hurt. But you know, if I can deal with the shitstorms that I've faced in my life, it shows me how strong I am and the potential that I have within me to overcome whatever I set my mind to.”

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Behind the Scenes With BoPo Babes: AshleyTheAdventurer

Welcome to my new blog series! I will be going behind the selfie sticks, tripods, and self timers with some of my favorite body positive babes. I suspect if they're not your favorites yet, they will be soon!

Maybe you’ve never heard of my feature this week - Ashley aka @ashleytheadventurer, but she was one of the first accounts I followed that I didn’t know personally. With less than a thousand followers her page is a personal one. She says she’s “not at the level that I would like to be as far as maintenance of my instagram, and I do not have a blog apart from my tumblr.” But as we all know, body positivity is not limited to the curated images you see online. As helpful as Instagram posts are, self love is a real thing that you have to deal with offline as well. Some of the most inspiring voices are quiet ones.

Ashley was bullied for her appearance when she was younger. “Middle school is brutal, I think that is partially why it took until my 16th year to realize my worth. I've been asked my phone number as a joke, before, along with pig noises and giggling directed my way.” She says that changing her perspective helped grow her body positivity. Before the day of Instagram, she was on Tumblr. “The first glimpse of body positivity was through the account chubbybunnies when I was in 10th grade. (I thought) - here were all these beautiful individuals putting themselves out there in vulnerability for thousands of people to see… And some of them actually looked just like me, something I'd never thought possible previously.”

“The Internet was the first medium which really introduced me to body positivity and the idea that I don't have to hate my body. I think that surrounding yourself with those who, not only do not dislike their bodies but actually love and embrace them is extremely important, whether thin or plus size.”

Those women and since then, women on Instagram have been her self love inspirations. “Those out there who decide to love themselves, despite the world (are my idols). Instagram allows me to meet friends who aren't necessarily in my area. It provides be with some serious fashion inspo. Most importantly, it gives me strength. On the rough days, it pushes me to keep going, keep living.”

Being online can provide freedom and solidarity within our created safe space, but as we all know that body positivity doesn’t stop when you shut off your phone. Ashley makes sure that she does not limit her self love to IG posts.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Behind the Scenes With BoPo Babes: ReadyToStare

Welcome to my new blog series! I will be going behind the selfie sticks, tripods, and self timers with some of my favorite body positive babes. I suspect if they're not your favorites yet, they will be soon!


Alysse Dalessandro aka @readytostare is a force in the plus size community. She self identifies as “a size inclusive designer, fashion and beauty writer, body positive advocate, plus size fashion blogger, professional speaker, and all-around loudmouth.” She is also the entrepreneur behind the Ready To Stare brand which was one of the first to design plus size body chains. The online boutique now includes jewelry, t-shirts, and other fashion accessories.

According to their website, “Ready to Stare believes in fashion as an act of empowerment and the name itself was inspired by designer Alysse Dalessandro's own experience being fat shamed, harassed, cat-called and bullied for the way she dressed.” Also featured on their website is a blog where Alysse shares look books ranging from daring to easily wearable every day outfits.

No matter what social media account of Alysse’s you browse you will find one underlying theme – unapologetic fierceness lined with positivity. After starting her brand, she realized quickly how much she could affect people just by being herself.

“I started posting selfies when a friend told me that my business was suffering because I wasn't infusing any of myself into it. I was really afraid of my visibility for a long time and posting selfies was so scary for me. Having that outside voice believe in me and tell me that I could do it really helped.”

She started to establish herself as a trusted voice in plus size fashion and body positivity in early 2014. She not only speaks out about body positive issues on her personal sites, but writes for Bustle, The Curvy Fashionista, On The Plus Side & more. She says bloggers like Tiffany of The Fat Shopaholic, Essie Golden, GabiFresh and Jessica Luxury really helped (encourage her visibility) too.

Now, with over 48,300 followers on Instagram she is one of the most visible plus size voices out there. Of course with so many eyes on you, there is bound to be some negativity. Online haters are easy for her to handle as she employs the “read, delete, block, and move on” technique.

In her day to day, dressing loudly and not hiding her body she receives more in her face comments – literally. “I receive hateful comments all the time about the way I dress. People have been rolling down their windows of their car to scream hateful things at me while I am simply existing and thriving in my fat body for years. I refuse to hide my body and that bothers people online and IRL. It makes me sad that someone is that uncomfortable by seeing a confident fat girl that they go through all that effort to try and bring her down but I'm glad I'm not that kind of hateful person.” And even though her desire is to shake it off and let it go, it still affects her from time to time.