Health

Skin…..A Battle of the Aging Process

skincareUnless you’ve been living under a rock for the past century, I’m sure at you’ve seen one or all of the above products at least ONCE in your life. But at some point in time, wrinkles became a thing to be ashamed of. Why? Because wrinkles mean sun damage and aging. While some cultures view aging and death as something to embrace and celebrate; Americans have been viewing it as a death sentence, quite literally.

young skin

I realize a lot of women are going to look at this picture and say ‘she doesn’t look like me. Her skin is too perfect.’ I’ve also seen back scratch ASMR videos on Facebook with comments referring to the flawlessness of the person getting the back scratch. Young-looking skin is a tool to get through life, according to some. All models have perfect-looking skin. BUT, if you look close enough, you can ALSO see they’ve got inches of makeup caked on that makes them LOOK flawless. I remember when Jessica Simpson became the spokeswoman for some skincare line back in early 2000s. For the life of me, I cannot remember the name. It was an online purchase only. Couldn’t get it in stores. I remember the ad showed a picture of her onstage. She said the editors had to go through her videos and edit out the blackheads. Now, here’s where reality and elite REALLY show themselves. Regular women had ZERO access to these tools. But once the cellphone and filters came out, pretty much put a stop to it. You, too, can have a flawless face if you have the time, patience and $$ to cake all that crap on. BUT, if you live in a disagreeable environment, or your skin is naturally oily……the makeup is just going to cause you more grief. Skin needs to BREATHE to heal. If you’re CONSTANTLY caking it on every day, you skin is going to be HORRIBLY irritated. Not JUST by the foundation, but the chemicals in the remover. I remember I had a job where I wore makeup EVERY DAY. By choice. I had to stop because my face was becoming red and irritated from the rough surface of the cloths. Even cleaning it with water isn’t going to really take care of it. Think about it. Have you EVER come across a face pad of ANY type that WASN’T abrasive? There’s a reason. Like Kleenex, it’s MADE that way to grab hold. I’ve NEVER completely removed makeup with JUST water. It’s a liquid. Your hands don’t have much in the way of abrasiveness. Even a washcloth is irritating to this type of skin.

Then MASKS came along. I got my first tube of it as a teen. It was a mud mask that isn’t made anymore. Now, several hundred years later, all types and all brands are readily available. You have the tubes of charcoal and mud, individual masks: Que Bella, the ‘yes to coconut, tomatoes, avocado, etc’. Somewhere along the way, we became overly obsessed with younger looking skin. Why?

elderly skinBecause women fear the aging process. It means we’re getting older, it’s beginning to show and it reinforces our mortality. You never see the average fresh-faced teen worrying about wrinkles like her grandmother or great-grandmother. However, there ARE exceptions. It’s not anything you can purchase. It’s called ‘genetics’. My own mother is in her sixties and looks 50 at least. I’m almost forty and mistaken for twenty. But it’s not just genetics. As stated before, it’s also your diet and your environment. There’s zero doubt that people with a tan look great. However, white people usually cannot achieve the darkness of Hispanic or black skin without some SERIOUS outdoor time. Now that I think about it, is it even POSSIBLE for a white person to tan enough to pass for mixed at best? I would think tanning until black isn’t possible. I knew a white teen girl who WANTED to be black. Her bf was black and had a history of dating black guys. When she was pregnant, she stated ‘I’m half black until this baby is born.’ Ok, whatever. I think she compensated by tanning as much as she could.

I don’t tan. I also don’t drink or smoke. Both of which make your skin lose elasticity. The reason I chose this topic is because of Cindy Crawford. Absolutely NOTHING against her. If you watch YouTube instead of regular TV, then you know she’s had her own skincare line for several years now. Meaningful Beauty. In the before and after photos, there really isn’t much difference. There’s a difference in distance from the camera in both pictures,  but other than that, I really don’t see a difference. You can scrutinize this two ways. 1. Genetics. She was a supermodel back in the 90s. 2. Her skincare line really works, since she uses it herself. Now, I am in NO WAY saying that anti-aging lotions and serums don’t work. All I’m saying is there appears to be more than before. But there are also more BRANDS than before. I don’t remember Burts Bees being next to Bonne Bell or LipSmackers as a teen. I don’t remember the ‘Yes to Coconut’ brand, either. I remember Ponds, Estee Lauder and all the other skin brands of the late 80s/early 90s.

It seems to me, that no matter how much you fight with whatever resources you have, aging WILL win. No amount of botox will ever erase what nature has given you. Everybody has the laugh lines and crows feet. That’s the way life goes.

I have bad vision and used to squint all the time. Still do, to some degree. At some point in my life, I realized I don’t have wrinkles. I have ONE between my eyebrows when I furrow my brow. But that’s it. For all the squinting I’ve DONE in my life, you’d think my eyes would be all raggedy. Nope. My mom has wrinkles, but not the deep ones that make your makeup look imbalanced. It’s just a genetic thing. My aunt doesn’t have wrinkles, and she’s in her fifties. My grandma doesn’t have wrinkles and she’s damn near ninety. Wrinkles and old age are inevitable. And those young girls you see flaunting everything in the summer heat will get there one day. Especially if they keep tanning like they do. Tanning booths are actually WORSE than the sun. I can see how. It may be from florescent lighting, but it’s RIGHT next to you. I don’t use tanning booths. I’d rather get my vitamin D from the source.

So as women tell curvy women to embrace their curves, I tell you to embrace your wrinkles. In the end, we ALL end up in a box 6 feet under or ash scattered around.

-Have a great weekend!

Love, Ellie V.

 

Health

I LOVE MY MENTAL ILLNESS….said no one EVER

annoyed face

At a previous job, I worked with young woman of age 27. Her name was Brie. She worked weekends like I did, and I hadn’t seen her for a few days. I saw her the following Monday and asked how she was. She told me she’d been sick. My sister, who worked at the same establishment at the time, had been sick with the flu. I’d asked Brie if she had that as well. She said no, and that she was sick ‘in the head’ and pointed some of the silverware at her head. It should be noted we were sorting the silverware at the time, so this action was not uncommon. I said, ‘oh, I gotcha.’ She asked me if I knew what she meant by ‘sick in the head.’ I told her I did and proceeded to ramble off my own mental issues. People had said to her ‘why are you so sad? You have nothing to be sad over.’

That’s why it’s called an ILLNESS idiot.

If you don’t understand, that’s one thing. But if you’re just plain ignorant and unwilling to learn, then I have no time for you. However, exceptions can be made. At this same job, I worked with all men. Only five spoke fluent English. The rest were English as a second language. Which is fine. However(you knew that was coming)the two I worked closest to….just didn’t get it. Management tried to explain it…..but to my knowledge it wasn’t getting through. It IS entirely possible, that where they were from mental illness either didn’t exist or was on a need-to-know basis. But once you cross into America, it’s a whole new ballgame.

People who don’t understand mental illness are usually the first to say ‘what do you have to be sad over’, then proceed to rattle off everything in their life that they should be grateful for. Or they tell you to ‘just think positive’.  I once saw a meme of someone who had depression and the other character told him to ‘just think positive’. He did and his entire life was changed. ‘You cured me!’ was what came out of the depressed individuals mouth. I laughed. Because only the ignorant and uneducated REALLY believe it’s this easy. The negative voices in your head are the worst roommates you’ll ever have. All they do is take, take, take and make YOU feel like the guilty party.

I’ve read stuff where when DEALING with mental illness, you just gotta ‘do it’, as Nike says. ‘If you want it, you’ll find a way to do it, no more excuses’. The list goes on and on. But if you’re too depressed to get out of bed, then no amount of persuasion is going to change your mind. The best one I’ve seen regarding this is ‘you’re doing great to just to get through the day.’ To me, this is FAR more inspiring than the others I’ve read. To be fair, I DO realize the others are mainly for people who just need a swift kick in the ass. But to battle the demons in your head is NOT an easy, or WANTED, challenge.

You may remember last weekend when I said I had joined WEN. Well, I had to quit last Friday because of a two-day long anxiety attack. It started Thursday morning and seeped into Friday. Come Sunday, I believe, I sunk into a deep depression that has lightened up considerably….but still hasn’t gone away. I haven’t wanted to do a damn thing for the past week. The ‘just do it’ mantra SOMETIMES works with me. ‘if you want it, you’ll find a way to do it’. The latter usually requires patience.

My goal is to become a NPC and IFBB competitor. However, a few things stand in my way: eating, consistency and exercise. You may wonder how this ties in. Easily. Having gone over twenty years with undiagnosed and untreated anxiety, I’ve lost my ability to eat. When your anxiety gets so bad that you have to make yourself sick to get rid of the stomach pangs, that’s bad. But it’s what I had to do. I was always anxious before school, so I never ate breakfast. When I WAS able to eat, I’d binge because I was so hungry. Now, I’m learning how to eat again. Not as easy as it sounds. Hard to eat when nothing sounds good. Mental illness doesn’t always affect the brain and mood. It can affect your eating habits as well. I also know it can turn one into an alcoholic. But since I don’t drink, I can’t comment. All I WILL say though, is it almost killed my sister a very short time ago.

Unfortunately, I’m still in a depressive funk and my brain is everywhere EXCEPT solace.

Have a great weekend!

-Ellie V

 

Health

My Mental Illness Sucks

mental healthMy weekend sucked.

I am fully aware that people have bad days, weeks, months and even years. But when you suffer from mental illness of ANY type, it’s very different. First off, when ‘normal’ people have a bad time…..well, I don’t know WHAT they do. I’m going to guess they go for a walk, talk to a friend or get coffee. They don’t tend to shut people out. But when mental illness is the catalyst, things are MUCH different. You hibernate. Become a hermit. You don’t WANT to…but that’s usually the way it ends up, depending on the severity.

I’ll tell you why my weekend sucked and why I’m posting this late.

I started a program called ‘WEN’. Women’s Empowerment Network. It’s a group FOR women, RUN by women to help ALL women achieve their career goals. They help you search for work, increase your skills; basically give you a leg up when nobody else can or will. You may be thinking ‘why?’ Well, I joined because my sister did a few months back and it helped her a lot. Boosted her self-esteem. Due to my anxiety and panic attacks, jobs are difficult to keep. Plus, with my math disorder, they’re difficult to GET.

The classes are at 9am in downtown KCMO. About 30-45 minutes depending on traffic. This means I have to be up by 7-7:30. This is a trigger zone for me. School attendance and two jobs that gave me severe anxiety issues were about that early. So the stages of the panic attack started Thursday morning. Don’t know why, but I DO have speculations. Friday, I woke with day two of the panic attack. So I went driving. If I can, I force myself to leave the house. Sometimes I don’t go anywhere, sometimes I head to a particular spot in the middle of nowhere. This is where another hobby of mine was born. Historical Kansas and Missouri. I travel to ghost towns and spots where historical events took place. So for the hell of it, I went to a haunted cemetery. I tried to, anyway. I couldn’t find it. So I ended up in Alcove Springs, which was a stop on the Oregon/Santa Fe Trails. This is where things went to crap. As I headed home, I realized my phone was out of range. Ok, just grab my GPS. As luck would have it, I dropped the charging port against the dash board and it broke. After turning on the GPS, I was told it was low on battery. Ten minutes later, it was dead. Great.

But I remember it telling me I was heading to Topeka. Okay. Keep in a straight line. Don’t make yourself MORE lost. Eventually, I ended up in the back roads of Topeka. I STILL didn’t have any online GPS access and it was getting late. I have ZERO navigational skills and it was just dumb luck that I found the cemetery that I’d found some years before, which led to the highway. I-70 East to Kansas City. I made it home by 8pm and the incident traumatized me to the point where I’m not venturing in the middle of nowhere without an actual GPS that DOESN’T rely on wifi.

So Saturday morning, I woke in the depressive stage of what turned out to be an anxiety attack. I just had anxiety about getting up early. No panic. Then I went to the pharmacy to get my medication. WITHOUT insurance, it was damn near $90. I don’t understand why medication MADE to keep women’s reproductive parts safe is ridiculously expensive. But that’s a story for another day.

Since Thursday, things have just sucked. I haven’t wanted to do anything or really go anywhere. I’m sorry this is so short, but that’s where things are right now. I hope to have a better week tomorrow and a longer post.

-Have a great weekend, Ellie V

Health

Living With PCOS

awareness

In a brightly lit room with a circle made of folding chairs, a dozen or so women are at the refreshments table. They’re filling their plates with finger foods and grabbing a drink before going to socialize. Each woman has a blue sticker nametag with their name written in marker. Whether these women are using their actual names or not, isn’t the issue.

After chatting for a few minutes, another woman with a clipboard comes out of another room and sits in one chair. The crowd goes silent as each woman sits in a chair, ankles crossed. After everyone has settled, the woman with the clipboard looks around with a smile.

“Hello, ladies. I’m Amanda. Welcome to the PCOSA.”

Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome Anonymous.

I am one of these women. I begin.

“Hi, I’m Ellie and I suffer from PCOS.”
“Hi, Ellie!”

Whether this group exists or not, I don’t know. I’ve never looked into it. But if PCOS support groups DID exist, I imagine them to either be like AA meetings or a little more personal.

My journey with PCOS began when I was 13. I’d gone 9 months without a cycle. I was terrified, thinking I was pregnant. However, one thing stood in the way of this: I was still a virgin. I was in 6th grade. Boys were SO off-limits. At least the ones in MY school. I didn’t socialize outside of school at that age because there wasn’t anything to DO. All the friends I had at church lived in different areas and had their own friends.

In high school, I remember my mom plucking something out of my chin. It was hair. At some point, I noticed hair growing on my abdomen. I shaved it, but it was back with a vengeance in 24 hours. So WTF was going on?

I wasn’t bothered by it until my mid-twenties. I was with my second fiance’ and hadn’t had my cycle. I thought I was pregnant. Went to the OBGYN and was asked the classic questions: Do you have hair that grows on your chin? Yes. That was the only question I remember. That was when I was diagnosed with PCOS.

 

 

what is pcos

PCOS is a hormonal disorder where cysts grow on the ovaries.  This can cause problems for young teens in terms of discovering their cycle and planning appropriately. Nowadays, you have phone apps that predict this. Back in 1995, you had notebook and pencil. I used Microsoft Excel to make a tracker. From 1995 to about 2000 or so, I tracked ALL my cycles. Looking back, it’s blatantly obvious something was up. I’d go several months without one, several days WITH one. My longest was a month and a half, while my shortest was less than 24 hours. I never knew when it would start or how heavy/light it would be, so I stocked up. I had heavy, light, medium pads and tampons.

For women of childbearing age, this can potentially cause serious problems. Especially if you want children. Mainly because this causes infertility. Now, I’m not saying that women with PCOS CAN’T have kids. All I’m saying is it may prove to be more of a challenge than for women WITHOUT. My knowledge regarding fertility and pregnancy is limited because I am still single and have no intentions with having children. I made this decision in my early teens. Mental issues began to rise and I realized I was a late bloomer. I never dated. The boys I was around weren’t interested in me. That was fine. I wasn’t interested in them, either.

I was in my early twenties when the hair began. It was black and looked goatee-ish. It was long enough that I could pluck it with ease. I tried shaving it, but I had embarrassing stubble. I never let anyone get too close. I then discovered plucking. It took forever, but lasted longer than shaving.

Then I had my first ovarian cyst rupture. Wasn’t that long ago. I was laying in bed, and felt this EXCRUCIATING pain in my right inner thigh. I lifted my leg back and it hurt REAL bad. I thought it was just cramps. But then I got up and realized I couldn’t stand. I went back to bed and realized no matter what I did, the pain wouldn’t stop. I decided to get a heating pad. It was just by the grace of fate that my youngest sister had JUST come back from West Virginia earlier that day. She and her then-boyfriend were leaving. I asked her to get the heating pad. Mom heard the commotion and came out. She thought I had a ruptured appendix. We had to go to the ER. My sister had to help with my shoes because I COULD NOT MOVE. We didn’t get home until 3am. I called into work and spent the rest of the day in bed with a painkiller that made me more nauseas than anything else. I went back to work the following Monday and was gone within three hours. This was when I realized how stupid my management was. I was CLEARLY in pain as I could NOT stand. My manager told me ‘the doctors note said you could come back.’ I CLEARLY CAN’T STAND! Apparently word from authority meant more to them than what they actually SAW. What they SAW was the fact I was in pain and unable to stand. What they BELIEVED was what my doctor had said.

To make a long story short, I went to the ER three times and was out of work for a month. It was two and a half months before I was back to normal. That was when I went back on the pill. I’d taken some samples a few years previous, but they messed me up. I wasn’t really worried. Cysts never crossed my mind.

Fast-forward about five years later to present day. I’ve had three more cystic ruptures and the last one slipped through the cracks. My theory is that the cyst was already growing. Then I went back on the pill for a few months, then missed a few days due to bad timing. Once I got back on, that was when the rupture occurred. So it had all that time to grow when I WASN’T on the pill, then the few days of bad timing was just the tip of the iceberg. I knew what to expect when I suffered a small rupture around Mother’s Day of this year, just to have a really BAD one a week later. I had an idea of what had happened when I’d had my cycle so bad I had to toss my pajama bottoms.

As for the side effects, I’ve never had trouble with the acne. It’s been hair growth. I found a pill that I love because it didn’t slow the facial hair, it stopped. Well, as much as can be expected. But I also discovered taking a hair, skin and nail multivitamin helps with this. The HSN vitamin fills in what the PCOS hormones can’t. So not only do you lose unwanted hair, your natural hair grows faster, as do your nails. Win-win, I say.

So to get rid of the facial hair, I pluck as needed. The heavy stuff was still there. I’d expected it to fall out. But it didn’t. Took me an hour and a half to get EVERY HAIR OUT OF MY CHIN. That was a few months ago. To this day, sparse hairs grow back and they’re mostly white. The shadow I had on my chin has healed and there’s zero indication that there was ever a problem.

As for the weight, I’ve tried the ‘normal’ stuff. Eat correct, exercise. Nothing. I’ve always known with my issues, I’m not in the ‘normal’ realm of ANYTHING. So why should I think I can DIET normally? Nope.

At first it was denial. You want to be like everyone else, even though your body and mind are telling you NO. The more you ignore, the worse it gets. So I believe I have found my OWN solution regarding weight loss. Remember, my goals aren’t the same as everyone else’s and everyone’s body responds to different situations.

I meant to have this posted yesterday, but due to some scheduling hiccups, it obviously didn’t happen. For the next few weeks, my posts could be either on Fridays or Saturdays.

-Have a great weekend!

-Ellie

Uncategorized

Social Media and Self-Esteem

Before I begin, I want to thank my new followers: Healthy Body Support, Freshstart PCOS and beauty135598637. Erwin for their comment on ‘fat’ and Journey Through The Storm and Cristian Mihai for liking my first post. Lets keep ’em coming!

So, as you can tell by the title, today’s topic is comparison, social media, self-esteem, cropping and selfies. Self-esteem has been around as long as humans. But for those of you who are in their mid-thirties and over, a ‘selfie’ was a yearbook picture, taken with a Polaroid or regular camera. Comparison came from magazines and newspapers. To those of you in the 40+ age range; as teens, how many of you looked at the cover of Vogue, Cosmopolitan or some other fashion mag and seen the ‘perfect’ features of Cindy Crawford, Christy Brinkley, Tyra Banks or Madonna? You may not have cared. You may have cared a LOT. It may have made you so depressed you grabbed something unhealthy to eat, or you were so empowered that you decided to join a gym. There is no right or wrong answer. Your response was often based on self-esteem and comparison. If you felt bad about yourself, you did one of two things; became more depressed or took advantage of the situation and made yourself better. Even if you felt like you were on cloud nine, you may have felt a sting of inadequacy. ‘They look perfect. Why don’t I?’ Simple. They Aren’t perfect. It’s cropping and airbrushing. How many of you have seen a picture of a model or celebrity in airbrushed vs normal? Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr is a good example. In unfiltered pics, she has a freckle or mole on her stomach close to her bellybutton. In photo shoots, it’s gone. I don’t ever remember seeing a face-up of Cindy Crawford and her mole being brushed out. She spoke to NPR about it and said it made her self-conscious. But Vogue didn’t airbrush it out. Needless to say, you can always tell airbrushed from untouched when moles, freckles and other ‘unsightly’ marks are there.

With the advent of social media and our access to the same types of airbrushing and other filters; self-esteem is dropping, depression is rising and young women are getting plastic surgery to match their selfies. I wish this was a joke. The desire to be ‘perfect’ has hit new lows and has no signs of stopping. So, lets begin with social media.

Unless you’ve been under a rock since the early 2000’s, social media is EVERYWHERE. Whether or not you decide to partake is your choice, but I’m betting you all have at LEAST a Facebook account.

social mediaEven though everyone has at least HEARD of social media and maybe have an account or two, I’m gonna run down the list(note that most of them are online with apps, aside from Snapchat):

Facebook- Founded in 2004. An online and app platform designed to allow users to post pictures, video and status updates to followers. Anyone can join and anyone can follow, as long as the recipient has an account and you’re accepted into their group.

facebook

Tumblr-Founded in 2007. Users can share photos and hashtags.

tumblr

Pinterest- Founded in 2009. Users can create multiple boards, pin pictures to said boards and follow others with similar interests.

pinterest

Twitter- Founded in 2006. Users can share photos, updates and video with followers. The updates are called ‘tweets.’

twitter

LinkedIn-Founded in 2002. Company and employee-relations. Users can search ideal jobs with specific interests, connect with people in or related to those positions and post photos of their craft.

linkedin

Instagram- Founded in 2010. It’s pretty much like Facebook, only more photo and video-oriented.

Instagram

YouTube-Founded in 2005. More or less ‘personalized TV.’ Users can create their own channels for their own creations and follow others.

youtube

Snapchat- Founded 2011. This one’s a little more tricky. It’s via phone and you can add people only if they have it and accept you. Videos and chats last about five seconds.

snapchat

What does all this have to do with self-esteem? Remember the magazines? Well, it’s diverged into mobile media. Now that we have the same filters(for the most part)as the pros do, we are able to erase, enhance, crop and filter the hell out of anything we deem ‘unsightly’. Which, I’m sorry to say, is a lot. I do not use filters when I take photos. Mainly because I rarely take ‘selfies'(I absolutely LOATHE that word. It insinuates narcissism.) If you ever hear a robotic voice on YouTube say ‘selfie’ it sounds like ‘self-ize. Pretty hilarious. Some people are born naturally attractive, while others aren’t. But you also have to remember that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. When it comes down to it, beauty is relevant. It has no meaning except to the person who perceives. Much like time. It was invented, yet the inventors are a slave to it. Beauty is a perceived idea, yet the creators are slave to it. Take Marilyn Monroe. She was hot stuff back in the day. She wore a size 12. She was not stick-thin. She’s a classic movie star whose life was cut short.

Now, older generations see her as a classic beauty while modern society sees her as ‘not perfect’ because she wasn’t stick-thin. Somewhere between the 30s to 2018, something changed. I think it had something to do with the change in cinema. Does Valentino ring a bell? Apparently his voice was so bad that he was out of work once ‘talkies’ came around. I think it was Joan Crawford who said she’d never make movies again once colorized film came around. I guess she didn’t look too good in color. A LOT of movie moguls lost their appeal once media upgraded. Now that TV is becoming high-definition and Blu-Ray has all but replaced DVDs, the once ‘perfect’ faces are showing signs of ‘imperfection’. I remember seeing Smallville on high-def for the first time and wondered why everyone was sweating. It was just the reflection of the lights. Then I watch stuff from pre-high def and see it’s kind if hazy, like cheesecloth. Things you don’t see at the time, but see upon comparison. Does anyone remember the TIME magazine cover with Tina Fey? I think it was TIME. She has a visible scar on her cheek that TIME airbrushed. She wasn’t too happy about that. Scars are not flaws. To me, they’re a sign you’ve lived your life. Even being in a crash is living your life. Living it isn’t always pretty. And not even the elite are immune.

So with the cropping, airbrushing and the like, what you get is a perfect sense of fake. For example. You see a picture of a fancy meal with silver, wineglasses and a lacy table cloth. Your automatic assumption is a hoity-toity restaurant. What you DON’T see? The dirty surroundings. What you DON’T see is what the brain assumes. You ASSUME it’s a fancy restaurant. You ASSUME there’s a waiter holding a bucket of chilled wine. But in reality, most likely it’s your average joe trying to look cool. Filters to capture EVERYTHING at it’s absolute BEST. And there’s nothing wrong with trying to look better or cooler. Until it begins an obsession or depression. Which is what is beginning to happen. And what’s being done to stop it? More filters.

So what’s the best way to combat? Limiting time is a start. If you want to join the game, ALWAYS be aware that IN YOUR MIND, SOMEONE will be BETTER. Nobody is telling you this, except for your own brain. The photo isn’t telling you this. Neither is the poster. As stated before, it’s ALL assumption. Just remember that there are magazines out there DEDICATED to showing the population how BAD celebrities look without makeup. They don’t look bad. They look HUMAN. With some of them, plastic surgery and too much sun has DEFINATELY taken its toll. But when you’re used to seeing beautiful people constantly dressed to the nines due to paparazzi stalking them, you’re GOING to think they look strange when, in fact, they look NORMAL. Selena Gomez was recently hounded for her weight and her scar. It was a kidney transplant scar. It’s almost as if the magazines are trying to show us that celebrities look like us without their makeup, and at the same time belittling for every little flaw.

My response is this: take a long look at your behavior when you look at this stuff. Do you feel sad? Angry? Depressed? Again, there’s no right or wrong answer. Nobody can tell you how you should feel when you look at something. If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these, ask yourself ‘why?’ Take a look at the picture. If it’s an athlete, model, celebrity, ask yourself why you’re looking at it. Are you jealous? A little envy can be a good thing  because it often makes us motivated to fix the issue. But when envy becomes destructive and affects your behavior, then it’s time to close the app. Are you jealous because you think they look better than you? Do you ever think WHY they look that way? It’s their career. They’re sponsored. They put in HOURS of hard work and dedication. However, NOBODY is telling you that YOU cannot follow that lifestyle. All you have to do is make time for it. Remember though, that no matter how hard you work, you’ll never really attain THAT specific body because your genes are different. If you ever look at fitness, NPC and IFBB models; the only thing they have in common are muscle and toned physiques. Some have bigger butts. Some have larger breasts. So don’t let social media bring you down, as it can always bring you up, no matter WHAT the content.

So here we come to a close. I hope you all enjoyed the content and I’m getting better at not jumping around and going in a flow. But that’s just how my brain works. You can follow me on any social media and I hope to see you next weekend!

-Love, Ellie

Health, self-esteem

Body Shaming in Today’s Society

fat shamingBefore I begin, I want EVERYONE to know, this may be a sensitive story for some. I do NOT approve of body shaming of ANY type. I don’t even LIKE the word ‘fat’ unless it’s directed towards healthy fats. I’m not the tiniest woman in the world, whereas my mother and three younger sisters are on the heavier side. In this article, I’ll be exploring the world of body shaming in it’s entirety. What I’m going to do is post a picture and give a generalized background and how it affects women. Why, you ask? Because I am a woman and this is geared towards women. So, without further adieu, let us begin.

Our society views heavy people as ‘unhealthy’ and ‘lazy’. While this MAY be true for ‘some’, it isn’t the case for ALL. Mental illness, lack of resources, medication, environment, genetics, etc play a role in this. For this case, I am going to pull in the experiences my younger sister had growing up.

She had bad anxiety as a kid. She was put on Ritalin. Her mental health slid BADLY and a few issues with depression landed her in the hospital. She moved to Lawrence to get away and things got worse from there. I hadn’t seen her for awhile; so when she came to visit, I didn’t recognize her. All I saw was this heavy-set woman sitting in the living room. It took me a few minutes to realize she was my sister. She’d gotten so big and puffy that I didn’t recognize her. It turned out the Ritalin had screwed up her metabolism so badly that EVERYTHING was out of whack. Once she moved back, she began to eat healthier. The alcohol was replaced with actual FOOD. She’s lost a few pounds since coming back, but she still gets shamed. It’s sickening to know that people look and my sister, and other women in her position, and automatically judge. It goes without saying that individuals who shame large people have issues themselves. If you think shaming someone will make them change their lifestyle, think again. If they’re already depressed, it just makes them feel worse. If they don’t care, then other opinions won’t matter.

I remember when I worked at Walmart several years ago. I was a fitting-room attendant. A middle-aged woman came out of a room wearing a shirt that was a size too small. She asked me if she looked fat. Those were HER words, not mine. I told her it looked a little snug and may want to consider going up a size. Her sigh of relief told me she’d been called ‘fat’ when asking that question. I was the first to word it differently. It sickens me to know that society thinks this is acceptable.

 

skinny shaming

Believe it or not, skinny shaming exists as well. From what I can tell, the shaming comes from people who could be jealous. This situation stems from the same area as ‘fat’-shaming. I have a friend who has a thyroid problem. She’s been a size-zero ALL her life, even after having four kids. She’s VERY hyperactive and was diagnosed with ADHD early in life. Some people work hard to be skinny, or as I refer to it as ‘thin’ or ‘fit’. I experienced this several years ago. I went to Lane Bryant with my sister so she could find bras. I saw a pair of earrings there that I liked. When I went in the next day, the saleslady gave me a look of ‘what are YOU doing here?’ She didn’t say it, I could SEE it. I bought the earrings and left. Later, I told my sister of the experience, and she said ‘welcome to my world’. That was when it hit me.

But in this case, maybe the jealousy comes from people who, for whatever reason, WANT to be thin but CAN’T. Again, medication and environment play a role. If you’re suffering from undiagnosed depression, life is going to suck. I had undiagnosed depression AND anxiety for over 20 years. As a result, when I got anxious, I’d throw up to relive the anxiety. My appetite was VERY come and go until about four years ago. As a result of this, I AM thin….but at a price. My metabolism is screwed and I have difficulty eating. I’m so used to NOT eating, that it’s out of habit. A habit that is VERY difficult to change.

Certain illness: such as thyroid issues, PCOS and depression can make you either pack on the pounds or lose weight to the point that other medication or a special diet is needed. Hormonal imbalances ALSO play a role. If things aren’t going well on the INSIDE, then things aren’t going to be going very well on the OUTSIDE.

excuse

Remember this? I can’t remember where I first saw it, but it pissed me off. I’m not a mother but this was, and still is, inappropriate. At least to me. In this picture, a mother with a fit body and three kids is basically telling other mothers ‘being a mother isn’t an excuse to be fat’. This caused a GIANT uproar. My mom is on the heavy side. She’s lost a few pounds over the years because my dad’s health is messed up and she’s eating the same food as he does. She’s adopted, so there’s no telling what her biological family is like or her genetics. My mom had four kids, between 1982 and 1990. This was the era of ‘Weight Watchers.’ The budding diet food industry, if I remember correctly. My mother performed as she saw fit for a housewife; taking care of the kids, house and husband. Though I’m betting having 1950s influences, in addition to being raised in a southern household added to it.

Not all mom’s see being fit as a requirement or a necessity. Society tells mother’s ‘your family comes first’. But in an era where some gyms offer daycare, getting fit is attainable, only if you want to. But I’m not a mother and my knowledge is limited, so I’m going to give my two cents worth and back away.

equal beautyWhat it comes down to is this: Love yourself and everything will fall into place. Nobody should tell you what to think of yourself. In an age where social media is the norm and we’re bombarded with scantily-clad women, it’s very difficult to find peace within ourselves. I read that depression is on the rise since the advent of Instagram and Facebook. Not just with looks, but lifestyles. What needs to be remembered though, is it’s usually ALL for show. Unless the person is a celebrity of some type, rest assured that the individuals’ life is most likely the same as yours and they’re just making it seem more interesting.

The bottom line? If you like how you look and feel, NOTHING can change that. If you want to improve, then DO it. I used to have low self-esteem. I’ve changed that by doing the following: have a team. I’ve developed my team by following women who have the physique I desire. I want to be a fitness model. So I follow the likes of Jennifer Nicole Lee(who is the poster child for weight-loss motivation). Why? Because her story starts out as an overweight housewife who is disgusted by a picture of herself and decides to do something about it. She’s used this experience to motivate other mothers to become healthier. Her motto is, more or less, ‘just because you’re a mom doesn’t mean you can’t be sexy.’ Much more uplifting than the mom of ‘what’s your excuse’. I recommend looking Jennifer up online when you get the opportunity. She’s turned her name into a health and fitness sensation. JNL Worldwide.

Have an excellent day!

-Ellie V.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uncategorized

The World of Fashion!

fashion
The World of Fashion allows for individual expression.

Hi everyone! I’m Ellie and I will be giving you a tour, to the best of my abilities, in the wide world of fashion and everything that goes with it! This means makeup, hair, shoes, jewelry, and accessories.

Now, fashion IS NOT ‘just’ for the elite, despite what major media will tell you. Whether we like it or not, the media DOES influence our fashion choices to some degree.  All top fashionistas and socialites follow the likes of a Kardashian. But for people like me, we mostly follow those who we identify with. I do not identify with any Kardashian. I, personally, identify with certain models. Miranda Kerr, Alessandra Ambrosio, Adriana Lima, and Jennifer Nicole Lee to name a few. I don’t identify with them in body type, but by their backgrounds. I’m German, so that’s my link to Miranda(Australian), Alessandra(Brazilian), Adriana(Brazilian) Jennifer Nicole Lee(Italian). I’m striving to become a fitness model, and if you’re familiar with Jennifer Nicole Lee’s background, then you know she didn’t always look the way she does. That and she’s super-cool about adding people to her LinkedIn profile. I follow her on all media and have a few of her books.

It goes without saying that how we feel is reflected in how we look, and vice versa. If you feel absolutely INCREDIBLE, you’ll be done up to the nines, making your confidence SOAR! You’ll probably wear something form-fitting, but not ridiculously tight. Cute shoes, minimal makeup, and an incredible hairstyle. Conversely, if you’re having a bad day it’s still going to reflect. You’re probably going to pull on your jeans and an over-sized shirt. Barefaced and a messy bun or ponytail. Keep in mind, this is how I personally see it. You, the reader, will have a different view. But if you suffer from depression or other mental illness and having a bad day, then I’m probably not far off the mark.

Let me tell you about myself. I’m in my late 30s with an artistic flair for art and jewelry. My interest in fashion didn’t bloom until fairly recently. I’m the oldest of four. As a kid, we lived in(what used to be)middle lower class. This was the early nineties. We had enough for basics. That was it. Our clothing came from hand-me-downs from other families and garage sales. Our grandma was a garage sale fanatic and most of our clothing came from her. As a child and early teens, I remember looking in my laundry basket, wondering where the hell half the stuff came from. My parents spent money if they needed to. A large young family on a budget, it needed to be done. Otherwise, we wore it until it could be worn no more. Usually this occurred when it became too small for my youngest sister.

I had just turned 16 when I got my first job. I worked at a local grocery store. It was my first uniform. Khakis and a white button-down. Tie or pin. This was also the late nineties, early 2000s, when all the fashion info you got was from a magazine. Facebook wouldn’t be around until 2000 and the internet was in it’s infancy. We didn’t get a computer until around 1997 when I was in 8th grade. Everyone in their thirties and over will remember there wasn’t high-speed internet and you had to wait the longest five minutes EVER for connection. Routers weren’t available, so the phone had to be unhooked. If you tried o call, you got a busy signal until the person was offline. Online shopping wasn’t available until only very recently.

Kindergarten to 6th grade are the years where outfits were approved by parents. You were still a kid, but slowly becoming independent. I wore whatever I had. In second grade(and in early summer no less) I wore a cold-weather outfit. It was a black and red matching two-piece with red leggings and a red and black striped top. I was absolutely DYING. In 5th grade, I wore overall shorts with a tee, and a windbreaker. Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem, except I live in Kansas where the weather is bipolar. The weather didn’t warm up as I thought.  The windbreaker. It was mainly red with black and blue block design on the jacket. I wore it to school and a classmate said out loud ‘she finally matches!’ It was out of malice, not friendly. Looking back, I realize this was when my ‘rebellion’ began. I certainly wasn’t going with the crowd, so I was to be ridiculed.

My budding fashion sense began in middle school. Got my first tank top as a freshman. This was also in the budding Britney Spears/ Christina Aguilera era where midsections were all over the place, along with the annoying low-rise jeans. Our school had a dress code though. Nothing obscene, no booty shorts and no bra straps. I don’t recall any double standards at my school. I remember a boy wore a shirt that said something obscene with a phallic image on it. He was told to turn it inside out. And he did.

I had modesty. And I still do. I knew a skirt was too short if I had to squat to bend over. It was my first mini-broom skirt. Not long after I got it, I learned it was flammable. I wore it to church and was an acolyte, so I was around live fire. I got rid of it. This was around the time I decided to no longer wear skirts or dresses and wear pants instead. I felt self-conscious and I never knew why. I wasn’t worried about anyone being gross. Our church was highly -respected and very family-oriented. Everyone knew everyone else and our grandparents were part of the congregation. My mom was head of Sunday School and my dad was in the choir. All I’d have to do was say ‘I’m Bill/Sally’s daughter’ or ‘Frank/Daisy’s’ granddaughter and they’d automatically know who I was. That and my last name is hard to miss.

In 8th grade, the depression hit. This was my baggy era. Nothing fit. It was deliberate. Even my bras were sports. I didn’t know my actual cup-size until my early 20s. I just didn’t care. It carried into high school. Looking back, this was also when the mental disorders were at their peak. I didn’t go with the crowd because I didn’t see the point. I follow the trends I want, and even THEN it isn’t 100%. Bits and pieces along the way.

Now that I’m an adult, things have changed. The illnesses are quelled(for the most part)and I’m learning more and more about my suppressed style. Not only that, but online shopping is available from pretty much everywhere and everyone. Gone are the days when you had to physically visit a store to make a purchase.

I hope you liked this post and I hope to see you for the next one!

-Ellie V