2010-2019

I filled out an Instagram story template thingy about the past decade. Honestly, shouldn’t have done it because there’s no way that I can sum up entire years in a few words. I can barely sum up my lunch order in a few words.

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Lucky for me, I re-started blogging.

The truth is that this decade–this life isn’t a list of achievements or big events. It’s sheer layers that overlap each other–sometimes really heavily in some spots. Sometimes it’s a pretty light coverage. It doesn’t seem fair to post a highlight reel of the past decade while ignoring the painful parts–the parts that created me the very most, if I’m being honest.

In 2011, Ryan and I started dating. And it was new and it was exciting and thrilling. It was also the year that we lost one of our dearest, life-longest friends. I still can’t even talk about him. For the longest time I thought it was because it was still too new but I’m just now realizing it’s been close to a decade and it’s still so close to the bone.

Getting married in 2015 was a dream! I’m so happy that it happened. But we should have freakin’ eloped. I think about how much we left our friends to do… like twice a month. I think of writing apology/ thank you notes very, very often. If you’re reading this and you’re wondering if you should elope… okay I’m not going to tell you what to do but if you’re seriously considering it, you should seriously consider it more.

In 2017, I came out and that was one of the most liberating events of my life. And it came with so much pain and trauma and awkwardness. It decimated some friendships and irrevocably altered some familial relationships. It also… strengthened other friendships, bonded my spouse and I closer together and even changed very little. I’ll never get over the way that life plays out in ways that feel so unrealistic. If I were reading a book of my life, I’d have stopped by now because of the unbelievable way the main character keeps making moves. But when you’re living this life, it all unfolds over so much time that it all makes sense.

I started 2010 thinking that I was a Christian, that I was straight, that I never wanted to get married, wanted to make a living writing books, wanted to lose 150 lbs, and needed to live in the city to be happy and satisfied.
I’m ending 2019 with all that shit flipped on its head. I never was any of those things and I didn’t need any of those things.

And I’ve never been more soul-level happy, satisfied, and aware.
This decade has been impossible but we’re doing it and I’m so grateful for all that I am, now.

a big ole brain dump

I woke up the other day to a PayPal notification that I paid for another year of my domain, so I thought maybe I should start making use of this thing. I’ll tell you what, though, I definitely paid for a whole year in 2019 and used about three of those days. Each of those blog posts cost me about $33. So, in 2020 we are going to write more for no other reason than the fact that I’m paying for this space. I can’t bring myself to let it close up, ya know?

What’s on my mind these days… like… so much.

Like, with any luck this time next year we’ll have elected a socialist. And I’m trying not to get my hopes up about it. Not because I’m a pessimist or anything it’s just that I was so certain in 2016 and my heart was broken in such a profound and lasting way that I just kinda can’t see us doing any better. Yesterday was the vote in the UK and Boris Johnson is gonna be still around. So, I guess, point me in a direction where I can witness an example of people making a terrible choice and then learning their lesson and not making that exact same choice again and maybe you can convince me to get my hopes up a little higher. But… Oh! And this is weird too! Because I was vehemently team Elizabeth Warren and lately, without my consent I might add, my heart is softening towards Bernie? Gah. I don’t know. I just want the election to be done. It’s such a stressful orchestra of background noise to constantly be running in the background of all media and my own brain, too.

I will say that there’s one thing about the results of the 2016 presidential election that I appreciate on a personal level. And that is that if Hillary Clinton had been elected, I would have maintained ignorance about the corruption in Washington and also just the horrendous conditions that have been created for and built upon the backs of immigrants and people of color in our country. I would have kept just barely paying attention to politics and what’s going on in our upper levels of government. On one hand, when I saw things the way I did before, I slept better. On the other hand, at what cost?

At least we’re ending the year with Baby Yoda. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again that somehow this little tiny green guy with massive eyes is kind of saving me right now. All the memes. Give them to me. I might even watch the show if I get desperate. But I’m mostly fine with the memes. Ryan put Baby Yoda into Jurassic Park and it feels like everyone has seen it at this point. That’s really cool. The other day, Steven Spielberg’s production company retweeted his video. It makes me so happy that someone who brings so much joy to our life is bringing sweetness to so many other people right now. Everyone gets a little glimpse into the silliness of my person. He worked so hard on it, too, so I’m glad that video got some traction. His hard work paid off in a big way.

Other bits of joy that I’m ending this year with:
-Dolly Parton
-Cards from Keda’s Poetry Service
-Sharing a town with my sister
-We gave ourselves a counter top, electric ice cream maker
-Samantha Irby’s email list. I’m in love.
-Inviting artists to our store every weekend from Thanksgiving to Christmas so that they can sell their wares.
-Fionaimage (8)

What’s bringing you joy in the rough parts?

Listing our Healthy Coping Tools

*Content warning: discussion of anxiety, panic, and how Seasonal Affective Disorder can present itself in my life.
**This post may contain affiliate links.

So, lately, I’ve become more and more aware of the end of summer. Today in the town where I live, school is back in session. That means that the grocery store will get really busy at around 3:30 again and soon I’ll have to slow down through some of the best routes around town. Maybe it means that I’ll be able to get coffee with some of my mom friends more often?

It also means the end of summer.

And, look, summer isn’t my favorite season by any means. I’m not the kind of kid who deals well with heat at all—though I’m dealing with it better in the past few years. But soon the sun will start going down at around 4:00 pm and I’m not ready for it.

I have Seasonal Affective Disorder and winters can be so hard on me that even in August, I’m starting to stress out about knowing that the darkness is coming and there’s really not much we can do to stop it.

Last week Ryan came in the house and I was stuck on the couch. I wanted to get up and go outside but my limbs wouldn’t work for me. I was lying there holding a pillow in front of my face to hide that I was crying.

The panic kind of sweeps in out of nowhere like that. One minute it’s a sunny August day and your dog wants you to take her outside and the next minute, you’re pinned to the sofa and all I could verbalize to Ryan was, “It’s. Getting. Bad. It’s. Getting. Bad.” He sits by me and rubs my back until I yank away from him because he’s making me hot but I don’t have the words to explain—so then there’s another thing that gets added on. Sure, we’re already drowning in panic out of the blue let’s take on a bunch of guilt too, why not.

Ryan’s amazing when I’m in a space like that. He gets this really calm voice and tells me true things. He exaggerates his breathing to encourage me to match him. This particular time, it didn’t get so bad. I wasn’t completely swallowed and I felt really good about it. I’ve worked for years on dealing with panic attacks and sometimes it feels like you’re not getting anywhere. But those times when it doesn’t ruin your entire day is such a massive victory and it deserves to be celebrated. Any time you live through a panic attack, though, to be honest, it deserves to be celebrated.

After I calmed down, I explained to him about my worry. That I’ll get depressed when the sun starts to go down and I’m scared of it. I’m scared that this year it’ll get really, really bad because I don’t know if I have enough energy to fight it off this year.

We decided to not waste a summer night. So we went for a drive to Coronado Heights. I took a lot of photographs.

He’s so beautiful.

He had a birthday on Sunday, you know? He’s worth celebrating.

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I was reminded, today, of the importance of not only having a list of healthy coping tools handy but also keeping a schedule. I have the best friends who remind me of what I need and remind me to remember what has helped in the past.

What has helped me in the past (items in bold are usually reliable quick fixes, the others are more long-term solutions):
Riding my stationary bike often.
Painting regularly.
Cooking and eating meals that do good things to my body.
Watching game shows on television.
Taking a shower.
Wearing clothes that feel good on my body.
Cooking meals that we only get to eat when it’s cold outside.
Meditating.
Visiting with friends and checking in.

New things that I want to try:
Getting a “happy lamp”.
Taking a Vitamin D3 supplement.
Keeping the house cleaner than usual.
Learn about Hygge and lean more on that vibe.

Another thing that I want to remember is that it’s okay to not be okay and trying to fit a square peg into a round hole only makes things worse.

Please, I would love it if you’d share your list of coping mechanisms or other things you use to get through the hardest seasons for you. I’m going to keep a list in my planner, next to my bed, and in my phone. I never want to be without it. Let’s help hold one another up as the days get shorter.

XOXO, Lib

July Things

Here’s a list of some of the things at the front of my mind for the past month. What have you been reading, thinking about, buying, enjoying??

Kansas Friends: the Primary Election is in one week! Who are you voting for? Here’s a link to a sample ballot so that you can research everyone before you hit the voting booth!

So, I made a declaration that as a Fat Activist, I don’t want to spend my money at or advertise for clothing stores that don’t serve sizes larger than what I wear. Because what good is this work if I’m only here to help myself? Anyway, after I made that announcement on Instagram I was really nervous that I just limited all my clothing options even further than they already are. And I did but it’s okay.
THE NEXT DAY Soncy launched!! It feels like a dream come true, really. There’s a new kid on the plus sized retailer block that I’m very excited about. Let me show you the things I want so badly!
This dress.
This jacket (for my pin collection!).
And I love this sweater. I bet it will be really fun for those cozy, work from home winter days.
Quality plus size clothing isn’t cheap and fall and winter are a comin’ so if you feel so led, feel free to make a donation to that paypal. 😉

Oh, other clothing that’s good for the fats? FGF Basics. I think one of each of the raglan t’s and perfect t’s will carry me through the changing seasons quite nicely.

I was so psyched to get to see the whole #planebae saga going down in real time on Instagram Stories. I was that kid ferociously refreshing Rosey’s Instagram feed and quickly searching for a place to charge my phone.
Yeah, it does bring up issues of ethics and privacy and there’s certainly room for those conversations. I know I, for one, would not like to have my flight experience documented and posted to the internet. So, if you completely remove the humanity of those involved, it’s a very sweet story.

Another thing that I would love for the world to let me have: these cookies. As an act of self-care, I decided that I should make these cookies because I knew that I had a lot of sprinkles in my kitchen. Things that, it turns out, I did not have: eggs, butter, milk, sugar, or flour. So I just put on a face mask and watched Johnathan Van Ness’ Instagram account.

Troye Sivan and Ariana Grande’s song Dance To This has been my favorite in July! But you know what’s better than that song and music video? The music video that was recreated with lil baby kids!! AH!

Speaking of music, Ryan surprised me with tickets to see Band of Horses last weekend! We don’t really have a song but we definitely have a band. That fateful day that Ryan came to my house to ask me to be his girlfriend, I was listening to Infinite Arms and Cease to Begin on repeat. We probably listened to those albums at least twice each during the course of our conversation and ensuing make-out session.

Anyway, here’s a pic of me and Ryan with his brother Joshua and our friend Karley at the show!

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Image description: Libby is in charge of taking a selfie that gets four people in the frame. It’s dark and grainy but it’s happy!

I got this lip gloss from Winky Lux in my last Birchbox. I didn’t expect to love it as much as I do! I see myself ordering a lot more from Winky Lux in the future [affiliate links].

Oh yeah, and if you want to sign up for Birchbox, here, use my link! (Make sure that when you sign up for goods and services, check with your friends to see if they have a referral code. It blesses everyone!)

A friend sent me a copy of Landwhale and even though I’ve been in a reading slump, I devoured it in two days. It felt really good and got me back into reading just in time to get into Homegoing for our August book club pick!

Other places I could be found on the internet in July:

I was interviewed for Paper Magazine about the new Netflix original, Insatiable. I’m really excited that people are actually talking about this and I was also really excited to be counted among such hard working people in the Fat Activism community!

My friend J has the best little YouTube channel called Comfy Fat and Ryan and I are featured in their vlog! Go check us out. It was soooooo fun to get to spend time with J and Corissa and I can not WAIT to hang out again. Go follow J on YouTube and Instagram.

Why Don’t You Call Ryan Your “Husband”?

A few weeks ago I asked for people to send in any questions that you had about me so that I could answer them and we could get to know one another better. The following question is one that’s come up over and over again in the past few weeks. So I figured, rather than just letting the answer live for 24 hours on an Instagram story, I’d also talk about it here.

More or less, the question is, “I noticed that ever since you came out as queer, you started referring to Ryan as your ‘partner’ instead of your ‘husband’. What’s the story?”
This also is a subject that has come up a few times since an interview that I did for the Hutchinson News (which I’ve never been able to find online so I can’t link it for you) came out where Ryan is referred to as my partner.

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Image description: Libby takes a selfie with Ryan, sitting at a bar. She is closer to the camera, wearing a green tank dress. He is in a red t-shirt. They are both smiling wide in front of an exposed, brick wall. 

For starters, I don’t think it’s something that I started doing since I came out? Maybe I started doing it more after that? I’m not sure. I’ve been calling Ryan my partner since we started dating because being 32 years old and saying “boyfriend” felt really weird in my own mouth. Also when we were engaged, I couldn’t bring myself to say the word “fiancé” because it’s just so… fancy. When we were first married, I did like the way that “husband” sounded for a while but I just keep going back to partner because it just feels the most right to me.

Personally, in the past year or so, I’ve been trying to remove unnecessarily gendered words from my speech patterns. For example, I’ve been trying really hard to say, “hello friends” instead of “hey guys”. It sounds like a really easy swap to make but it can actually be quite challenging!

I have a few friends who identify as genderqueer, non-binary, or agender and a few of them go by “they/ them” pronouns. I want to respect those friends by using words that make them feel included and in doing that, I want to also train myself to see gender in my language and make changes where/ if I can. It’s just something I want to be pro-active about in my own life. As someone who has experienced the feeling of seeing that certain spaces were not created for my comfort, I want to do what I can to make my spaces into something that’s inclusive and welcoming for as many people as possible.

I’ve also started (trying to remember) to add captions to my Instagram stories and image descriptions to images that I post online when they’re related to my blog. It’s just some small habits that can make interactions with me more pleasant and welcoming for more and more people.

But really, when it comes down to it, I simply call Ryan my partner because I like the word. I think it describes our relationship really well. We live in partnership with one another. We’re teammates. I’ve asked Ryan how he feels when I call him my partner and he says that he doesn’t care one way or another. He calls me his wife–that feels good to him and it doesn’t bother me at all.

I added a new category on my blog called Q&A, so any time I get a question that might make a good blog topic, I’ll tag it as such. With that in mind, feel free to reach out with your questions either via comment, Instagram, Facebook, or email (libby (at) xoxolib.com).

What about you? What do you call your person? If you’ve ever been engaged, did “fiancé” feel as weird to you as it did to me??

XOXO, Lib