I typed. Retyped. Started a new draft, with new thoughts. Went back to the old draft. I made sure I covered all the past things that got me here (mean high school girls, chocolate gravy for breakfast as a little girl, hysterectomy at a very young age). And all that just took up too many words and seemed to STILL miss the one main point of this post, all together.
All I really need to say is this….I have fallen in in love with my body. And with that said, I have some killer swimsuits this season that need their moment. So please allow me to introduce you to some great swimsuits for those of us with a little oomph and extra! 🙂 Of course, they come with a few paragraphs of life lesson, which I hope you won’t mind! Frankly, I just do not care about how uncomfortable you are with how fantastic I feel about myself, nor do I care to suffer through an Arkansas summer more covered than necessary (I HATE THE HEAT)!
It makes zero sense to be this in love with a body that needs so much improvement. But I truly love it. I actually don’t want it to look too much differently than it does now. I mean that. I have come a LONG WAY in ceasing to compare myself with other bodies. It feels SO GOOD to look at a pic of another woman and think “she is so pretty” or “I love that outfit” versus the other horrible comparisons I would do, or even worse, trying to find someone that I thought looked bigger and worse than me so that I would feel better about what I currently looked like. I am so ashamed to admit that I did that.
I want this body to be healthier. I don’t want gravity to take over. I need the fine lines and wrinkles to simmer down. However, this poor body has carried me through some terrible times. It has had the worst neglect and too many “I’ll start tomorrow”, to count. It has been beaten and spit on. In it’s current state, literally every day that I wake up, it has to decide to fight against an illness I like to pretend I don’t have. Lately, walking at all is more of an accomplishment than I have shared with most of my people.
It could’ve failed me long ago. It could’ve put out a completely different reflection, based on what I have put in it over time. But it hasn’t (thankfully!!). So, I owe it a bit more credit than I have given it in the past. PLUS, I decorate it pretty well on most days!
I know how much work it took, to only take way too long to get here. The last thing I want is to contribute to any other little girl or woman watching me attack myself and thinking it’s ok. I try to be especially careful of what I say about myself when I am in front of my nieces or friend’s kids (or on first dates, for the matter). It’s VERY important to me that I do all that i can to influence them to value themselves, just the way they are. It is my passion that every girl feel good about and love herself. I mean that with every fiber in this newly loved body!
So when I walked out of my room in my swimsuit and my nieces said “Oh Auntie Ricia, I love that suit. You look so so pretty!!!”, and when they were the ones who pushed for me to “put it on your Instagram” …..I figured today was just as good as any to do the swimsuit showoff I have wanted to do for so long. I want them to see me loving my body and being ok with whomever may see it.
I had been waiting for the perfect situation (makeup, hair, tan, someone to help me snap the pics, perfect weather, not bloated….miracle major weight loss, bla bla and so on)…when all I really needed were a couple of 8 year olds saying “put your hand on your hip and smile bigger”. I wanted to even hire someone with mad photoshop skills to do a little smoke and mirrors. But, that would defeat the purpose of the lesson, right? Hold please, I need to pause and take another deep breath. I cannot believe I’m doing this.
ANYWAY……the process was pretty hilarious and has made for an awesome memory for them. We got caught in a storm while we were at the pool, doing the initial shoot. We powered through and then made a mad dash back to my apartment, completely drenched (see “after pic directly below)! Even though most of those pics were ruined and we had to call reinforcements in for help, the littles learned a lot about dancing in the rain and finding the good in not ideal situations. They went from being a bit scared of the storm, to getting back upstairs and saying “THAT WAS SO MUCH FUN, AUNTIE RICIA”!!! Mission accomplished!!!
I think it’s funny how this whole life thing is working out. I’m aware of the bad decisions that got me in this physical state and I long to be healthier. I had no idea how hard the mental road to reverse lifestyle and upbringing would be. I get SO FRUSTRATED that now my body just can’t cooperate that easily to just get healthier. I am angry at an illness that provides hurdles and still struggle with the looks I get from people when I try to explain (you know that look of “if you would just lose some weight you would……be this or that). But even in this state. I’m also the happiest I have ever been. I love how kind life is back to you , when you try to work alongside it versus fighting it or going your own road.
The scale may not show it, but in many ways I have shed weight. The weight of toxic people (and more of that is in the works). The weight of trying to please others. The weight of saying yes all the time. The weight of worrying myself sick about what others might think or how they spin their side of a story (it’s really none of my business what people think or say of me). That alone has probably shed thousands of pounds 😛. I am consciously trying to be kinder and speak love and encouragement to others. I am declaring that I absolutely refuse, from this moment forward, to make one woman feel better, by tearing another down (i.e. Oh his new girlfriend is way uglier than you).
This week, my nieces showed me that they genuinely think I am beautiful. So I guess I should let myself believe it too. As a matter of fact, I have no intentions of hanging out with anyone who doesn’t see me the way they do, anymore! I hope when they are older, they come across this rambling and know what a cool day this turned out to be!
I’m promising myself that I will believe in this post. I will not worry or let my mind wonder to a place where there are screenshots and memes made and conversations behind my back! I will try my best not to worry about a few that I know would never say anything to my face, but will definitely not agree that I should be this comfortable being this fat, much less putting it all on the internet. I’m not going to give in to worrying about how much better I would look if I actually had knees 🙂 (for the record, I never really have, even at my smallest).
I hope that if you’ve read this far and browsed the included pics, that you see joy and that you feel inspired to be just a little nicer to yourself when you sport your next swimsuit. And lastly, I hope that if you came across this and use it to shame, belittle, or talk about “did you see what Alicia had the nerve to post of herself….that girl is too big to be wearing a two piece”…..that you have a few days of explosive diarrhea! :p
I will be forever thankful for three little girls who made me feel like the prettiest girl in the world (and a few friends who go out of their way to make me feel that way often!)!
The end (for now).
I wore the two piece the rest of the day, while we played and enjoyed some sunshine. It felt so fire!! Look at this look! It screams comfortable and relaxed!!!
Black and White Strapless and RWB Paisley: Walmart (two years ago, no longer available) – but here is a link to their great swimsuit options from this season
Ah, the holidays! One of the most fun times of the year! Christmas decor, holiday parties, ugly sweater goodness and now A NEW DOLLY PARTON MOVIE (just what I needed to continue to feed my love for her)! In honor of her Christmas movie airing today (that I have been anxiously awaiting for and assume you’re watching), I’m not only sporting a snazzy, what I hope would be Dolly approved outfit to work, I’m giving you a sneak peak into my holiday party outfit options. Even though I have a feeling I know what Dolly would pick, I’m going to let you vote on your favorite look! Whichever one gets the most votes (no matter which one I’m partial to, you know, kinda like an American election), is what I will wear to the party. Promise.
In addition to some great outfits (or what I feel are great outfits), I’ve also put together party prep list!
Enjoy! I can’t wait to see which outfit wins!
Party Prep Checklist:
- Understand the party dress code. Then, wear what you want anyway.
- Make sure that what you wear won’t get you fired.
- Look in the mirror and say “This is going to be so much fun! I look fabulous”
- Take pictures and show the internet (no matter how badly you don’t want to and no matter how worried you are at what people will say of your cheesy shots, that you had a blast with…..not that I’m talking about the pics you are about to scroll through or anything)
- Pre-game. This step is important. Do something to relax you before going into the potential sea of judgement and lame office jokes (thankfully, our office party is guaranteed to be lame free so I’m not even worried. I’m just saying you should be aware of the potential for you to encounter lameness). Have a couple of glasses of wine. But stay away from shots of tequila (until you get to the party and you see your boss throwing them back). Turn up some good music while you’re getting ready and dance like you’re a star in a Paula Abdul video.
- Make sure if you’re taking a date, that he/she isn’t lame.
- Go to the party.
- Laugh, have fun, don’t make a jerk out of yourself that could later haunt you (like getting too drunk, lashing out at people you think hate you and slamming car doors……I’ve heard of that happening)
- Assume everyone that is staring at you is only thinking how fabulous your outfit is and how they wish they would’ve dressed more fun.
- If there is music, dance. Even if you wouldn’t normally do such a thing.
That’s it. That’s all you have to do (other than stay sober enough not to stick your foot in your mouth).
Now, the outfits!
The party is a dressy casual event. Most will wear jeans and a nice top or a fun dress. When discussing the attire during our staff meeting, it was well established that they could make whatever decision they wanted, but that I would be wearing snazzy stuff no matter how casual they decided 🙂 Funny enough, nobody in the room seemed surprised by my announcement!
Sequins and Jeans (which also happens to be the outfit I am wearing to work today. It’s completely justified as explained in this previous blog. Click here to read it real quick)
I was worried this look would look too plain. Turns out, I ended up thinking it has the perfect balance of casual and snazzy!
I am in love with this skirt and how well the necklace compliments the outfit!! Guess what else? The skirt has pockets!!!!!!! Winning all around!
I don’t want to influence or rig the voting (too soon?), but I cannot deny that this one is my favorite thus far. It’s magical. Just look at how fun it is and how it fits!
Jeans/Peplum Jacket/Red Shoes: Lane Bryant
Varsity Jacket: JC Penney
Black Top: Melissa McCarthy for Lane Bryant
Necklace: Rue 21
America. Here’s the deal. I did NOT want to show you this outfit. As much as I love sharing myself, especially my closet, some aspects are a real struggle to put out there. The good days are good. People seem to align to your way of thinking and the interwebs join in chorus of agreement that the look I chose for the day is “on fleek” (is that still a saying amongst you young ones?). The bad days, well, they’re not my favorite. The days when people think because you are putting yourself out there and you are a blunt person, that they can take liberties in being blunt with you in telling you they don’t like your outfit, or if they were you, they wouldn’t wear this or that.
I took the VERY LONG way around in all that “find yourself”, “love yourself”, “be comfortable in your own skin” mess that we all are supposed to arrive at. I took the long way and choose to tell you about it in hopes that if you’re on your way, you get there a little quicker than I did.
- I just try to be nice to me.
- I try not to apologize for it.
- I own myself and my attitude daily (even if it’s bad or misunderstood and misperceived).
- I wear the things
- I celebrate the wins and steps forward
- I force myself to learn from the steps backwards and not to camp out there very long
Well…..I knew this day would come. I just didn’t know it would be this liberating to address this time around. It’s funny how much energy we give to our critics. It’s also funny to me that I have any at all. I usually truck along each day assuming that most barely notice my social media presence.
I don’t have a viral amount of followers. If you were to track my interactions statistics, you would see that I don’t get a lot of engagement, percentages wise. I’m not even good at rallying any “shares” or gaining a lot of traffic to this blog or to any of my posts. I am always shocked to run into people and have them reference a post when I didn’t even think they knew we were social media “friends”. I have my core social media group that I can always expect interaction from (and I love them dearly). So, by all accounts, one would assume that there wouldn’t be a large pool of “haters” out there, since there barely seems to be any “pay attentioners”
This is where my small town naivety flashes over me like a neon sign. OF COURSE there are critics. OF COURSE there are people who find it easier to pick on someone else instead of admitting their own insecurities. OF COURSE there are people who can’t handle how comfortable and happy someone is within their own self. OF COURSE there are people who truly think they are helping you by the incredibly rude (or what they call honesty) things they are bold enough to say to you (because they assume it won’t bother you, since you are a blunt person).
I have addressed critics before (you can read that here for a refresher). Every time I address things like this out loud, I get asked “Did someone REALLY say that to you?”. The answer is always yes (just because I choose not to air screenshots or names doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen). I try to make it a habit of not giving them too much attention in posts and such. What they say may rattle me for a second, but usually I shake it off. Plus, I don’t think any negativity or counter productiveness towards another human, deserves much attention.
But, it seems as if once a year or so, for my own cleansing and therapy, I need to address them out loud, in bulk. you see, part of my problem is that I just don’t care much anymore (as in the amount of cares I give is so little in every aspect of life, that I really need to get it under control before the only friend I have left is my dog). I personally am bathing in how good it feels to finally be at that point. Even better than that is that I care even less about those who have negative things to say to me. I cannot put emphasis on that enough in words. But if you are ever nearby, take me out for coffee and I will GLADLY make sure it’s communicated clearly in person. What leads me to a point of addressing hate towards me at all these days is when I do address it, I simply feel like I have turned off the noise.
It just builds up. Like little annoying coyotes in a field at night. You know they aren’t that close to you, but you can still hear them. They just howl on and on and when enough of them get together, even though they won’t come close to your house, they can still make enough racket to make you want to yell “OH SHUT UP ALREADY“. And that’s where I’m at.
I’m addressing the latest round of hate mail, not necessarily for myself this time, as much as for the hope that others will gain some confidence to be themselves out loud, just a little bit more boldly DESPITE any critics they are encountering.
- In regards to my closet project: Those aren’t “real” pictures of you. They are filtered or photoshopped.
- Response: Nope. They aren’t. They are taken “on the fly” every time with my iPhone usually and I am usually just praying that nobody zooms in on the poor resolution of them! I tried to do a couple of “work ahead” shoots with my professional camera and I simply just don’t have time. I don’t know how some of these fashionistas on Instagram do it with a full time job. So, what ya see is what ya get. Example: yesterday’s outfit post compared to this chick’s outfit posts, which are always top notch and way fancier than mine (she is local and had 84k followers, a kid and works…I am beyond lazy compared to that). I am flattered that my awesome new line of makeup makes me look like I applied filters though! I am happy to sell you some if you’re interested!
- “Funny how you are always shooting from an above you angle, Alicia”
- Response: …welllll…DUH. That’s social media pic posting 101, folks! Why is it bad for me to try and capture my best angle/look? Who voluntarily says “let me shoot from am angle that captures all my chins”? I’m a big enough girl, that an elevated angle isn’t going to make THAT much of a difference, sweets! But, just for fun, here is a straight on angle versus a pic where the person was a couple of steps above me. Yeahhhhhh, way different. I look like a completely different person. NOT!!
- You can’t post only the good stuff and try to make people think you’re perfect.
- Response: This one is just laughable and shows that either a) you don’t really follow me at all or b) you have me hidden from your feed. Anyone who knows me for more than 3 posts, knows I post it all. Yes, I try to stay on the positive or humorous side, but that’s because I feel like life is just better from that side. I try to exercise silence (yes, it happens!) versus airing negativity. I used to go on all kinds of rants back in my more immature days . Plus, some things are just none of your social media business. I realize that perception is a part of it. Some may read what I post differently than I intended for it to be interpreted. That’s on me to be mindful of. But at the end of the day, I make no apologies for what I put out there and I certainly make no apologies for how you misinterpret. My give a crap meter is busted beyond repair. BUT…to humor you in regards to “real” pictures…..I gladly give you this, today’s outfit. My hair is a mess (thank Jesus for a hair appt Saturday)…I don’t particularly care for this outfit…..and it’s a straight on shot….that ought to satisfy your craving for something to talk about. Oh, AND I have gained back 5 of the 17 pounds I lost. Yep, better pour more coffee and sit back down to keep talkin.
- You post too much.
- Response: I am so sorry that I refuse to change that for you. This one is almost too silly to address. Honey, that’s what the delete button is for. This critic type is one of my faves because it’s almost cute at the way they think they are doing me a favor by telling me this AND not deleting me. “You post too much Alicia, but I am not going to exercise my free will to delete you. Instead, I am just going to tell you that you post too much while secretly reading every post”….lame. PLUS, believe it or not, there are people like me! Hard to believe I know. But there are a tribe of us that run around over posting, over sharing and senselessly rambling. I have provided my favorite example for comparison…my dear friend Aaron Cooper. He can ramble and post with the best of em! :p
- And, as I do every year, let me give you out loud permission to go away. I will probably not even notice and I can assure you it hurts not one feeling to be deleted. I am not for everyone. And that’s ok!
That should wrap us up for another little while!
My point is this….
I am real. I am imperfect. And honestly, I am none of your business. I have fought a battle for YEARS and finally won. You are always invited along my crazy journey because I am an open sharer by nature. But, you will never get close enough with any negativity to keep me down.
Pipe down coyotes….I have a whole big world to conquer!!
I have struggled lately cause I haven’t seen any big changes recently. But I knew it was my fault for not working as hard the last few weeks. I never care about being “thin”. I just want to be healthier. I truly mean that with everything in me. And being mentally healthy is just as important. Because I can tell you that in some of these before pictures, the ugliest thing about me was the inner struggle much more than the outer appearance issues. It feels SO GOOD to be working hard again and slowing down enough to make wiser choices for myself.
When you see yourself everyday, it’s hard to notice changes when they don’t seem to come in the form of 20 pounds dropping over night. I even noticed that I was falling back into old tricks of trying ridiculous angles on my outfit pics to try and look the smallest. I did not want to do that again. It is SO IMPORTANT to me and at my core to be authentic and real. It’s who I am. So the last thing I wanted to do was start deceiving with my pics. That alone was motivation to get my butt back in gear.
But, when I came home after work today to an apt of teenagers and one who hadn’t seen me in a while made more than one comment about how different I looked, I thought I would go through old pics and make comparisons. Man, am I glad I did. To you, it may not be THAT big of a difference. To me, it’s A WORLD of difference. What is crazier to me is that these comparisons are only from October to now!
It’s almost a completely different face – less puffy, better complexion…and do you see that happy? Oh the hurt you don’t even know about that was dwelling within me in that top 3rd pic!!!!
It’s a healing difference – even though it had been a couple of months out of a break up in the before pics, there was still SO MUCH anger and hurt. I still get a little angry about it. But the new faces….those are healing faces. Those are faces that are excited about life and that have owned where she is at….determined to be a better than ever face.
Still so far to go. But still so much difference already. I will always be under construction. It’s just so nice to have a different approach to the project lately. Peace, determination, forgiveness of myself (still working on the forgiving the ex part) and the expectation that the new greatness coming, isn’t going to happen overnight…..those are the beautiful descriptions of Alicia 2.37923 😝
I recently had the opportunity to take some really hard truths given to me from a friend and go 400 steps backwards…or finally do something different. The old Alicia would’ve taken the truths spoken and dwelled, cried, ate my emotions and over analyzed for who knows how many days. I would’ve talked to a hundred others trying to get confirmation that those things couldn’t possibly be true. I would’ve decided that I might as well give up on ever being different.
Instead, I took it to the treadmill and opened a book I never finished about how successful women think differently. And it just so happened that my last bookmark from where I left off was on a segment about strengths and weaknesses. We should be aware of weaknesses within us, but we should concentrate and grow from our strengths…not from constantly trying fix a weakness. Well if that train wasn’t on time, I don’t know what was!!!
See, once again, not a big change to speak of for someone else to read…but a HUGE change for me. i would dare say that it is one of the things I am most proud of in a long time!!
So, THANK YOU for watching me change and being so willing to embrace it and for letting me be me…authentically…and now authentically smaller 🙂
Today’s shopping in my closet comes courtesy of copy catting. I have seen plaid and stripes a lot and been wanting to try it on myself. I am sure some of you out there can relate to a fear of putting stripes on a bigger body. But, if I am gonna live unapologetically this year, I can’t say I am sorry for trying off beat patterns.
It is probably still too soon to wear this dress for the stomach I still have. But i did it and I am not sorry. This dress was made to do you favors and those criss-cross stripes are my friend! Most importantly, it’s all comfy for the all day meetings I am headed into.
Luckily, thanks to great hair and good lipstick, my only decisions are how to manage my water intake to bathroom trip ratio when I am stuck in a conf room all day!!
Tis the season…..for plaid, pearls, sparkly heels, AND A TULLE SKIRT that is to die for!
Before I put this outfit together for my Christmas card, I looked everywhere for cares to give about how I might be perceived as an adult, plus sized lady in a tulle skirt. I looked high and low and everywhere in between. But no cares were to be found! So, on a random whim, we put on our fancies and ran out to grab some snapshots that are sure to bring our Christmas card to life!
I grew up in a world where you could only wear cute things or be considered “cute” if you were one of the rich girls in town, who also just happened to be between sizes 0 and 4. I longed to wear the outfits they were wearing, but knew I could never pull it off.
Fast forward to lots of years and many life lessons later, and you end up strutting around a museum in loud shoes and a skirt that your friends will probably have to pry off your cold, dead waist before you take it off!
I don’t know when the exact moment happened where women started being louder than ever about real beauty and about wearing what you want without apology. But, I’m sure glad we have finally made it there!
I challenge any woman to put a tulle skirt on, no matter your age and tell me that you don’t catch yourself walking a little peppier and even twirling around when nobody is looking (or when they are looking – who cares?!). To be honest, I felt so good! I loved this look and my makeup so much, that I wish I would’ve had a party to go to after!
What is your holiday look?
When you explain to a woman that you can’t date her because of her size, what you are really saying is:
- I hold myself in such a regard, that I think I am extremely handsome and therefore in a higher regard than you as a fat person. There is a 99.999% chance that you would not qualify for People’s hottest men. This thinking (whether you realize you are doing it or not) makes you a jackass.
- Not that number 1 wasn’t enough to just stop, let’s discuss a few more. You are saying that you have no ability to invest time. Cause you might discover that the fat girl is working on herself everyday. Not necessarily to be a skinny minny…but to be a better, healthier version of herself. If she is as strong, ambitious and kickbutt as I happen to be, then she is also probably working towards conquering the world and realizes she needs to be the best version of her to do so. Because she is most likely self aware enough that she needs to be her best…..what your statement says is that you are not willing to invest time and be a part of that improvement.
- You are clearly not self aware. Cause unless you are walking around with zero body fat, the title of Mr. Olympia, and the servant heart of Mother Teresa, you need self improvement too. The difference is, that girl was probably willing to invest the time in you and would’ve probably loved you despite you not carrying the Mr. Olympia title.
- You are insecure. You need a “pretty” person to validate yourself. And you probably couldn’t have handled this girl anyway. That might seem a bit dramatic, but I promise you that deep down (maybe deeper for some than others) that plays a part. Maybe you are worried what your friends would think…..again…insecurity.