My kids are pretty average boys at 11 1/2 and almost 13. (Well, other than their inherited above-average intelligence, but enough about me.) And like most adolescent boys they love video games. This includes an old PC game called Minecraft that's been around for ages. If you have a kid around the same age as mine you've heard of it. If you haven't heard of Minecraft, can I please come live with you?
So back in August we were back-to-school shopping and my kids saw some Minecraft t-shirts and lost their damn minds. Lost them. I gave in and got them each two of these coveted shirts after spending nearly thirty minutes deciding who gets which design. $10 a shirt. No biggie, right? It made them happy.
My oldest wore one of his shirts on the first day of school. When they came home from school my youngest proceeded to tell me that "everyone" (read: one kid) totally made fun of his brother for his shirt, calling him a nerd and a gamer. My oldest quickly piped up and said, "I don't care who likes my shirt. I like my shirt and I'll wear what I want." Yay! Good for him! ASD continues to be a life saver in the self-esteem department.
My youngest son flat out refused to wear the shirts. Refused. I tried to talk him into it. I tried to guilt him into it. I tried everything. Mostly I was ticked off that I spent $20 on shirts he'd never wear but I also hated the fact that he could be so easily influenced to just toss away something he was so excited about.
He finally decided to wear one of the shirts this week I think in an effort to either make me happy or prove a point to me, which in any case was a win-win for him. He got off the bus, came in the house and said, "See!! I knew this would happen!" This same kid that likes to pick on my kids for everything they do and overshare all kinds of explicit sex mis-information that I then have to correct (without the benefit of wine, mind you) decided to call my kid names and make fun of his shirt, including calling his shirt "gay".
I lost my shit. I really did. I told the boys that they should not be worried about what other people think. That this kid wasn't the end all, be all in fashion choices. That maybe they should consider not hanging out with someone that made them feel bad about themselves all the time. That if I ever heard them use the word "gay" as if it was some kind of insult that embodied wrongness I would tear their Minecraft world apart, block by block. Then the doorbell rang about three minutes later. That kid wanting the boys to come out and play.
I didn't yell. I didn't cuss (gold star for me). But I told this kid in no uncertain terms what I would and would not accept from him if he wants to play with my kids. Mostly I scared the scrap out of him. Could have been the fact that I hadn't showered all day but I think it was my fierce Mom-tude.
Any way, the kids still went out to play with him, my kid will wear the shirts, the mean kid stopped himself from being a turd and apologized to my kids mid-insult. I win, right?
Except I don't. All of this crap reminded me of junior high and peer pressure and all that. It sucks, right? It's horrible for everyone and I can totally sympathize with my son for wanting to fit in or at least not stand out in a negative way. I get it. I wanted those things, too. I wasn't usually successful at them but I wanted them. I don't blame him for feeling that way but, God, I want it to be different for him. I want that so badly. So much so I would give up all the Guess jeans I ever fit in to in order to make it different for him. Oh, wait.
Here's the deal. I have really spent the last year getting my shit together. I'm not there yet but I'm so much better than I was. Working on body confidence has been a HUGE eye opener and I know I've come a long way. But God damn if I didn't fuck it all up when I first started this blog.
To date one of my most widely read blogs is my blog on fashion for the thick girl. I basically tried to tell you what and what not to wear. I've had so much guilt (my number 2 talent, shame being number 1) over this stupid blog in the last few months it's made me crazy. Do you people not like me? Do you not care enough about me to tell me when I'm talking shit? Seriously, what's a girl gotta do to get you to smack some sense into her?
I don't know a God damned thing about fashion and I admitted as such. Everything I told you came from a place of, "You can't get away with wearing that" or "You're too fat to wear that" or "Don't draw attention to yourself or any of your imperfections". That's how I have lived my life in regards to fashion. Well fuck that. To quote one of my very favorite internet personalities, Fit Mama Training, "What you think of my body is none of my business." And that applies to what I'm wearing. And it applies to what you are wearing, too.
So lets just break this down, bit by bit, and revise my previous rules on fashion:
Jeans:I tried to give you advice on pocket flaps vs. no pocket flaps, bedazzling, whiskering, wash, skinny legs vs. bootcut. Jesus. This from the girl who can't find one pair of jeans to fit her right to save her life.
Revised rule: Wear whatever the fuck you like. You don't owe it to anybody but yourself to like your own damn jeans.
Shapewear:I didn't so much as give you instructions to wear Spanx as I did bitch about it but this still bears mentioning:
Revised rule: You are not obligated to smooth anything. Real women have lumps and bumps and cellulite is not a defect but a perfectly normal part of the body, especially the female body. If you feel confident in some shapewear, do it. But don't you dare do it for someone else.
Ankle Straps:For real? I wrote about this? I have talked about what I have perceived to be my "cankles" many times but I know I said this: "Your fat ankle does NOT need a belt." Sigh.
Revised rule: First, I'm a moron. Second, wear whatever the fuck shoes you like. Third, I'm having a love affair with a man named Vince Camuto who made the first ever wide width strappy high heel shoe that makes me feel like I'm walking on air. And guess what? It has a fucking ankle strap. And it even fits around my ankle. Booyah.
Bras:Ok, I'm not budging on this one. If you want to wear a bra and I'm certainly not going to be the person who says you have to, you really should make sure it fits right. You owe it to yourself. The right size bra can make you feel like hot shit.
I recently had a woman from Nordstrom size me. I had it done before but it seems the recent weight I've gained has landed on my chest. She asked what I thought I was and I told her and she immediately said, "No you're not." Um, ok. She took me to a dressing room, measured my band and told me my band size and then said, "Now take off your bra and let me see your breasts." I immediately followed her directions without her even giving me so much as a cocktail and she sized me by sight. That's some damn good skills. And she was right and the bras were amazing.
I talked about not showing too much skin. I talked about not having words on your ass. I talked about not wearing big, baggy clothes. And not one damn person told me to shut the fuck up. You all are on notice.
Here's what I want you to know. What you wear is your business, no one else's. How it makes you feel is the only thing that matters. You don't owe it to anyone to hide from what you think are your imperfections or live up to other people's preconceived notions as to how you should dress based on your weight or your body or your interests. Go on and wear your Minecraft shirt, damn-it! That's how I'm going to make this different for my kid. I have to be different first.
This right here, from my another of my favorite online self-love advocates, The Militant Baker, is from here on the only thing that matters when it comes to others judging what we wear.
And for the love of God, next time I'm talking out the side of my neck give a girl a heads up, ok? Sheesh.
Oh, that reminds me. You need this. Just because I said so.