Things I’ve Learned in the Past Week

Glennon reminds us not to write from our wounds but from our scars and what I wrote last week definitely came from a wounded place.

It’s frustrating to live my life in the body that I have and continuously bear witness to the dehumanization of my community over and over again and then be expected to behave or articulate civilly. Luckily, none of you asked that of me. I got more “thank yous” than I ever expected, frankly. I wish I could have said what I wanted to thoughtfully and not from a place of pain but, I don’t know, there’s a time and a place for that and there’s a time and a place for mess. And that was some mess. I’m just grateful that you have so much grace for me in my mess place. And I’m okay with it. I’m apologetic but I also don’t regret any of it… I’m holding both those things in the same hand.

Writing about my disappointment in my allies really opened my eyes to the way that I’ve failed as an ally to others. It wasn’t until I was broken and feeling so alone by the pain that affects me, specifically that I realized that I’ve done that to other people. And not just once or twice. I’ve done that over and over and over again when people that I claim to stand for have needed me to speak up and I respond to them with, “you can do it!” Last week I wasn’t asking for encouragement, I was asking for actual, tangible help and I felt deserted.

I’ve done that, though. I do that.


Nia Wilson is an 18 year old black woman who was murdered this week by a white man in broad daylight. Latifa, Nia’s older sister, also injured in the attack, held her as she died. Latifa saw her attacker standing off to the side, calmly wiping the blood from his knife.

To say that race had nothing to do with this attack is, frankly, utterly ignorant. To say this man was a maniac or that this attack was random is to ignore the very real white supremacist system that not only built this entire nation but empowered a person like him while devaluing people like Nia and her sister. Plain and simple, whether her murderer was a part of a white supremacist group or not, he murdered her because he did not see her life as of value. This was a racially and gender-motivated attack. It was far from random or unplanned–the man changed his clothes following the murder. It was a power move.


In my quest to be a “good ally”, I follow a lot of different people of color–primarily black women and femmes on Instagram and Facebook. Following Nia’s death, the mourning in that community was unavoidable and heartbreaking. I didn’t say anything because I felt like it wasn’t my place and because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to use my platform to talk about a heavy subject twice in the same week and a lot of other reasons that I only now recognize as very specific versions white privilege.

Then I happened upon a post by Rachel Cargle wherein she asked for people to tag their favorite white feminists who hadn’t posted anything about Nia’s death on their platforms. It was a Call In, asking for help in speaking out about this event that was grieving the community. Simply asking, “would you please tell this story while we mourn?”

Basically the same question I asked of my friends a week ago–only under far less dire circumstances.

It was when I saw that post that I was brought face to face with my own hypocrisy–and I understood something that I didn’t understand when I asked my allies to stand up for me. Because here I was not standing up for the people I claimed to fight for. Waiting for a literal invitation to do so. And how dare I have the audacity to write a whiney-ass blog post voicing my frustration about their silence when here I was remaining silent over an actual life-and-death-matter.

There’s a whole other secondary mess brought on by Rachel Cargle’s post involving an, apparently, very popular woman that I’d never heard of before called Alison Brettschneider who responded so violently to being called in by the people in her community. I was shocked at the extent to which Allison took her retaliation (calling black women “roaches”, doxxing people who didn’t agree with her, obsessively posting on Instagram) but I wasn’t surprised by the energy behind it. I’ve felt similar pain at being called out in the past–I’m just not the type of person who wants to hit back in public. That’s not my personality and I don’t have an audience near as big, so it’s nothing more than “there but by the grace of god go I” situation.

Some things I’ve learned in the past week:

-I don’t get to label myself an “ally”. That’s not a title you get to just apply to yourself.

-The White Supremacy isn’t some extremist organization–it’s the foundation of this very society that I live in and benefit from every single day.

-I needed to be humbled. There’s so much about race that I had intellectualized and compartmentalized into columns of “this is what a good person does” and “this is what a bad person does”. And as long as I saw myself as “one of the good ones” I was doing it right. This past week has taught me a lot about my feelings of superiority that I thought I didn’t have. I’ve been so smug.

-I’ve made it about me and my feelings and it has nothing to do with me. Even when I thought I was “doing it right”, any work I was doing was still centered on me.

It disappoints me that it took a tragedy of this magnitude to introduce me to myself (especially considering the tragedies that have been happening–I should have seen this years ago). It frustrates me that, even now, I’m talking about myself in the wake of Nia’s death. I could so easily just not publish this… but the point is that I’m a shit ally and I’m not going to pretend that I’m better or “more woke” than I really am. It felt inauthentic and a continuation of my superiority complex to quietly do more work without letting you in on where my mind has been.

I’m ready to learn about the ways that I’m complicit in and benefit from the marginalization of others the same way that I would hope that the people who claim to champion for me would do.

I just want to say that I want to continue to be humbled. I want to continue to learn.

XOXO, Lib

A Letter to my Allies

A Free Writing Exercise turned into… honestly, just begging. I just needed to get this all out. It’s not perfect. Thank you for listening to me.


I haven’t posted on my blog in over two weeks and it’s hard to call yourself a blogger when something like that happens. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say—it’s more like I have so much to say that I can’t organize it. Like when I was in therapy and I would get stuck and find myself completely muted by all that was swirling around in my mind.

Like that prank where your roommate sticks raisins in your tube of toothpaste. It’s in there and it can come out if you squeeze hard enough but are you going to be able to deal with the mess when it all comes out at once?

What did she tell me to do in times like these? I can’t remember.

Sit down. Breathe. Relax. Let it trickle out. Don’t force it.

I often feel like the parakeet in the mine except that no one can tell that I stopped singing.

I’m so tender and I want to tell my people that I need special treatment right now but I don’t know how to say it or ask for what I need. Just that, like, I can hardly handle any pressure without feeling like I’m going to bruise. At the very least. I’m like a peach.

But, like, those ones are the most delicious.

So maybe rather than trying to fight or give up through this season, what I need to be doing is making jam out of this fruit. But god, the energy that requires.

Sometimes, it felt easier to just hate myself like the world wanted me to do. I really, really do wish I could go back to that time. Back when I was apologizing for being fat or pretending I wasn’t queer or thinking I knew all the answers. At least then everyone knew what to do with me. At least then, when people put out TV shows with characters in fat-suits, I could use my own shame as a shield against the hurt.

Like, when it was my job alone to deal with my fatness there was so much armor. There was no way to hurt me. I was a fortress. More insulated than I even knew. Even still, I’m finding walls that built themselves while I wasn’t looking. Dishonesty growing up, sharp and hard like coral that cuts my feet when I start swimming around in the deep end of who I am. I couldn’t see it before but now ignoring it isn’t an option.

But I’m softening.

And it’s worth it. Don’t misunderstand me.

But it’s fucking hard. And scary.

And when you need something. When you ask for something. When you see everyone who’s cheering you on are also the ones passing the buck rather than stretching out the hand you’re begging for—that’s when I wish I could crawl back into my shell but my shell is gone. It’s… there’s no going back. It’s been obliterated and I’m making a new home for myself but I want my home to be soft. But I’m wondering if I can live in a soft place without getting harpooned over and over again.

I’m trying to figure out how to explain “the personal is political” to someone who refuses to believe it. “No, politics are political” is what they say to me. And my heart just breaks because there’s raisins in my toothpaste and I can’t say what I need to say. I can’t just say, “why won’t you go to bat for me?”

How can “the personal is not political” be true when every day that I’m alive, in the world, and not apologizing feels like a fucking protest? I come home exhausted from a day of being alive.

It’s not hard to be a fat person. It’s not hard to be a queer person. It’s not hard to be a woman. It’s hard to be these things—and all these things at once—in a world that is relentless in its pursuit to remind you that it doesn’t want you here. When it goes to extreme measures to get you out.

-When the doctor wants you to lose weight before they’ll agree to treat your cancer.
-When your religious friends truly believe they’re so kind and progressive by telling you—about you—that they “love the sinner, hate the sin.”
-When you have to politely and apologetically maneuver your way out of an encounter that you didn’t even ask for in the first place because you don’t know if this is the kind of person who will kill you for declining his advances.
-When a thin girl in an unconvincing fat suit is the only way studio executives can even comprehend telling a story about a woman of size.
-When “I’m sorry, we didn’t realize you were gay before we asked you to come speak at our event” is, I’m not kidding, considered a reasonable explanation for dismissal.
-When you’re at the grocery store and someone follows you to your car, demanding “show me your tits” before he’ll leave you alone.

I’m trying to explain how and why your opting out of hard conversations and opting out of voting hurts me and reminds me that I’m always going to need to be the one in my corner, fighting for my rights and the rights of others like me. I’m the only one I know I can count on for these fights. When even the people who love me the very most and understand my struggles more than anyone else choose to stay silent when the world gives them an opportunity to have a voice.

The other day I begged my friends with thin-privilege to please start a conversation and speak out about why this new show, Insatiable on Netflix is so hurtful. Because I have been too sad and tired and angry to be able to do it myself. I got a lot of commiseration in the comments but so far I haven’t seen one person who isn’t fat start a conversation about it. Not a single one.

People who ARE talking about this (all fat BTW):
Dani’s Instagram stories.
J’s post on Comfy Fat.
Ravishly’s take.

And let me just tell you honestly that fucking sucks.
That really, really fucking sucks. I don’t know if it’s that you’re afraid to get it wrong?
I don’t know if you don’t see what’s actually wrong with it?
I don’t know if you just assume that I’ve got an overabundance of energy to discuss it?

Well, I don’t. I don’t have any energy to discuss it. I’ve been crying for going on three days. Because I’m so broken and beaten down from being reminded time and time and time again that I shouldn’t be here.

You know what would provide some wind beneath these wings? If I wasn’t expected to carry this all alone. If the people who come into my comments and DM’s after I post this, instead of saying, “you go girl!” or “you are so strong!” would go into their own spaces and fucking say something. (OMG I just thought about how I might respond if a not-fat, white man started talking about this and my mind went blank because I just don’t have that kind of imagination.)

Vote for policies and leaders who care about the humanity of the people around you. Just because something feels like a political issue to you doesn’t mean it’s not a deeply personal issue to someone else. It doesn’t mean it isn’t a life or death issue for someone else. If that’s not personal, I don’t know what is. If that’s not political, I don’t know what is.

And stop asking for a pat on the head every time you did a good for someone else. I don’t have the energy to get in the shower this week and I can’t have you coming over to me and asking for me to tell you that you’re “one of the good ones”. If you really were one of the good ones, the knowledge that you’re doing your best would be enough.

I know… I know this just sounds angry but it’s literally all I can muster. You say you like me because I’m honest. I hope you’re okay with what you’re getting into with those sorts of positive affirmations. I don’t have the energy to melt it down into something moldable and palatable—sweet and darling sharable content. I don’t have it in me for that. I barely have what it takes to say this right now but it’s important enough to dig deep and beg for help (and then take a nap).

And look—I’m only speaking here from my perspective. Even my perspective has a hell of a lot of privilege all over it. I’m a woman but I’m a white woman. I’m queer but I’m cis-gender and in what appears to be a heterosexual relationship. I’m fat but I still have access to clothes and I happen to have a doctor who treats me as a human. That’s a rarity and a privilege. I don’t have a lot of money but I’m not living in poverty.

I’m bummed to have only come to this realization in the past week or so but people who don’t have these sorts of privileges have been asking for people like me to speak up on their behalf for years. And I’ve always been that person who says, “I support you!” But doesn’t really do much when it comes to making actual change–when it comes to having impossible conversations.

I wish it didn’t come down to me being actively harmed by the silence and violence of people I love and count on in order to see the ways that I’ve been complicit but… it is what it is. I’m sorry and I’m here now.

I don’t know how to end this just like I didn’t know how to start it.

 

Meet Me Monday: Kelsey Butcher

I, honestly, don’t remember where I met Kelsey. I just know that one day she was in my life and she wasn’t, before. And then she became my stylist and I haven’t gone back to anyone else for a haircut since. I really love the work that she does. I’m not the kind of person who generally likes to have a conversation when I’m getting my hair done. I usually like to just sit there and relax. But… Kelsey is an expert at conversation. In such a way that I’m never uncomfortable in her chair at all. If I did just want to sit and relax, though, no one gets it more than Kelsey. Just tell her and she’ll be cool with you.
Since she moved into Fox and Ash earlier this year, I feel like an extra cool kid when I come to get my hair done. Seriously, if you’re looking for a new stylist and you’re in the Central Kansas area or willing to drive to McPherson for that good good, look up Kelsey at Fox and Ash. I don’t know if I’m the best example of the work that she does since I like to wear my hair dirty and messy but if you want to see what she can do, go follow her on Instagram.

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Image Description: Kelsey standing in her studio holding a copy of &/Both magazine open, showing off the page where her poem was published. 

How do you want to introduce yourself to these readers?

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could always do this? Like, “Hi! Here are a list of all of my great qualities; let’s just ignore those pesky bad ones…” Here’s the truth though… I am compassionate, creative, typically frazzled, fairly impatient, mildly awkward, forgetful, a sometimes writer, a mother to an 8 year old boy and two rescued dog-daughters, a wife of nearly 14 years, one of two daughters to incredibly supportive parents, a proud aunt of 4, a liberal bleeding-heart feminist, someone who often deflects pain with humor, a Broadway enthusiast, and a passionate hair stylist. I mother everyone around me, even if they haven’t asked for it (it’s an attribute and a flaw). I’m a big fan of Harry Potter, The Office, Hamilton, true crime documentaries, CrossFit, This Is Us, podcasts, Rent (the musical, not the bill), and naps. That seems pretty comprehensive.

What gets you out of the bed in the morning?

Pure obligation! Mornings are not my jam. But… what motivates me is building and maintaining relationships, brightening someone else’s day, and finding opportunities to learn new things.

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Image Description: A selfie of Kelsie holding a Hamilton Playbill. She’s smiling bright with red lips and the happiest face.

What word/ phrase resonates the most in your life?

  • Leap Fearlessly: I actually have this tattooed on my left foot to remind myself not to allow anxiety to take over. Sometimes you just have to do the things.
  • Let It Be: Because The Beatles, obviously. But also because everything is going to be okay, sometimes you just have to let it be.
  • Namaste: The light in my soul and respects the light in yours. (That’s the way it was taught to me, anyway)

What does your ideal day look like?

Hmmmm… I would start with a coffee date with my mom and sister, followed by a yoga class. Then I would go for a 90 minute deep tissue massage. My afternoon would be spent playing games with my son. The evening would include sushi and drinks with my husband. Then, ending the day, we would hop on a plane with all of our closest friends and head to a tropical location.


You just want to be friends with Kelsey after reading this, right? Ugh, she’s the best. Go follow her on IG and let her know where you found her! And if you need a haircut, you know where to go.

If you have any questions for Kelsey, leave them in the comments and I’ll make sure she sees them.

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Lastly, if you or anyone you know want to be interviewed for Meet Me Monday, reach out! You don’t have to be fancy or famous. Everyone is normal and everyone is awesome.

XOXO, Lib

June Things

We lost Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain in the same week this month and there are a lot of thoughts about it. I was most struck by the way the media made it sound so sensational and exotic without any care for the safety of their readers. Kate Spade’s suicide: Another example of how the media fails people with mental health issues.

Anthony Bourdain and the Power of Telling the Truth. 

As long as we’re talking about hard, impossible things, I can’t even talk about the situation with the children and immigration and anything like that. I physically can not talk about it anymore. But I’ll tell you about Unlock Hope, a company I totally believe in. I’m ready to buy this shirt. Plus, $15 from each sale to do the RAICEStexas.org Family Reunification Bond Fund.

  • If you want to reach out to your US representatives about the shit going down at the border:
  • Go to http://callyourrep.co to find the contact info for your representatives.
  • Text RESIST to 50409 and Resistbot will guide your through contacting your representatives.
  • Sign up at https://5calls.org to stay in the know about issues that are important to you.
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Image Description: a photo taken from above of a table scattered with papers, the paper on the top of the pile is an example of how to write a letter to elected officials. If you’re interested in knowing exactly what this paper says, leave me a comment and I’ll email it to you.

I loved, loved, loved this piece written by friend of the blog, Brooke: No, I Don’t Have a Boyfriend, and 12 More Interesting Questions You Can Ask Me Instead. BONUS: there’s even a section about how to be a good listener. I know it sounds basic but this is actually super duper brilliant and helpful for having all kinds of conversations.

We’re in the middle of summer (ish, not technically). We don’t have any big trips planned but we may do some impromptu quick trips for a weekend here or there. I like going to Airbnb to dream about trips we could take. If you’ve never used Airbnb before, you can use my referral code to get $40 off your first booking!! That’s no small amount of travel credit.

Anyway, here’s what I’m dreaming about:
This cozy lil A-Frame house in the Redwood Forest.
We’ve heard great things about this sweet, sweet place in Lawrence, Kansas.
This spot in Chicago is dreamy, dreamy, dreamy!! Oh man, I have a lot of internet friends in Chicago I could go visit…

My summertime skincare routine got a bit of a refresh! I got 3 packs of these Olay daily facials. They’re sooo handy and they do an amazing job. They’re also ideal for traveling since they’re a just-add-water kind of thing. I also bought this Mario Badescu botanical exfoliating scrub on impulse recently (an expensive impulse, I had buyer’s remorse the whole way home until I was able to try it and then my whole face felt brand new, so, worth it) and I’ve been using it in conjunction with their rose, aloe toner. Between these three things, I barely need any makeup at all. Still looking for a delicious moisturizer for oily skin though. [these are all affiliate links through Amazon]

And also, I restarted my Birchbox subscription for fun. If you want to sign up, do it through this link and I’ll get $5 credit in my account! And just remember, as practice, that if you’re going to sign up for a new service, send a quick feeler out to your friends to see if they have any referral links–help out your buddies!

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Image description: Shake Of The Month from Bogey’s in Hutchinson, Kansas. A cup of ice cream with pink and white circus cookies and lots of colored sprinkles poking out of the top. Libby is holding this cup of ice cream in the car. You can see her blue fingernail polish. 

Seriously considering making something like this for framing my next collection of original paintings or prints. (Speaking of, my shop got a face lift and a whole bunch of new things added. Go take a look if you haven’t seen it yet.)

I’m in desperate need of a new wallet but I’m one of those people who are always looking for something perfect and never find it. But here are a few I’m considering [affiliate links]:
This one looks like it can hold so much without getting bulky and soooo many colors.
I like how I could pop my phone into this one and free up my hands a little bit more.
I really love the look of this color blocked one–and there’s room for loose change which the other ones don’t have.

Finally, I want to remind you about Dia and Co. I had trouble with my last box and it bugged me so much that I thought about cancelling all together. But listen to me! I emailed them and told them how bummed I was and their customer service was so cool with me. I was so impressed that I’m going to keep it up with Dia. Sign up for your own box/ help support a cool business that wants to serve you the very best they can by clicking here! And if you’re in the mood for athletic wear they have a whole box for that now, too! [affiliate link]

Other places I could be found on the internet this month:

On Fridays, I’ve been taking over the Fat Girl Flow Fam Instagram account. So on Fridays I get to hang out with a whole new community of babes who believe in body positivity, too!

What was your month like? Did you find any products or services that you fell in love with? Did you do anything you’re proud of? Did you listen to the new Beyonce album (it’s a Beyonce album, ok.)

Size 24+ Swimwear for Women and Femmes on a Budget

I got emotional in Target today.

I was looking for a swim top and I came up with nothing. Of the four plus sized suits available in the store (hidden amongst dozens and dozens of “straight sized” suits) only two of them were two-pieces and among those, only one of them was almost my size. I didn’t mean to start crying. I didn’t want to start crying, but I did.

I couldn’t help but think of my friends who wear a larger size than I do. My body generally tops out at what’s available in most brick and mortar stores and it’s not like I have the largest body ever. I know a lot of people who wear a larger size than I do. And what’s available for them? If even I can’t find anything? What about them? I wasn’t crying because I felt like my body wasn’t good enough (those days are over). But I weep for my friends who are denied basic life-joys like swimming in a pool just because the world refuses to accommodate them.

So, Chefs, what I present to you today is a roundup of size 24+ swimwear for less than $50 (I wanted to make it under $30 but that was proving to be impossible). Please enjoy. 

m_5aecbf843a112ecddd4d9040First of all, I feel like Lane Bryant has knocked it out of the park with swimwear this year. Everywhere else you look, you still have to wade through lots and lots of suits that have been sold, unchanged, since the 1990’s. Lots of ugly tropical prints and “flattering” ruffles, skirting, blouson… AKA: extra fabric. Lots and lots of extra fabric all in the name of “flattering”. But Lane Bryant is killing it!! I can’t believe that I lived to see the day that a suit like this one is available in size Fat! The only complaint that I have is that unless you grab something on super sale (right now, their clearance is buy one get one free), they’re far from an accessible budget. Also, they only carry up to a size 26. It’s 2018 and a plus-size staple like Lane Bryant should be the first in line to add more inclusive sizes but they’re getting left in the dust. So if you wear between a 14-26 and you’ve got the budget: get to Lane Bryant! But if you don’t fit into those narrow parameters, here’s what I’ve found for us:

This red triangle bikini top with string bikini bottoms totals at around $42. It goes up to a size 28 (though IMO most things in the ASOS Curve section runs a little large so may even fit a size 30).

This tie-shoulder, hot pink bikini top from Target is sooooo cute!! It goes up to 26 for $20. The bottoms, though, are kind of a gamble as the sizing is a weird 24/26 and $17. Still, though, a complete set for less than $40 is pretty hard to come by.

I really did love this burgundy one-piece at Target. It only goes up to a size 26 and it’s $32 but if it’s exactly what you’re looking for, go for it!

Simply Be Bespoke Fit Swimsuit in teal (also available in a tropical print). It’s around $20ish and goes up to a 28.

The next six are from Full Beauty, which has proven to be a bit of a gold mine as far as size-inclusivity goes: Chlorine Resistant Chase Purple Princess Seam Top (currently on clearance for less than $20). This one looks super sporty.

 Aquabelle Xtra Life Lycra Bike Shorts–these are the bottoms that I have and they go up to a size 34. (Combined with the purple top above, that’s a whole suit for less than $50!)

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I love the look of this black and white bikini top–would looks so good with those bike shorts mentioned above. This goes up to a size 28.

Here’s a black, v-neck, one-piece swimsuit that goes up to a size 34 and is available for around $32.

Full beauty has another sporty looking one-piece for $32, also goes up to a size 34.

I love the black version of this one-piece by Jessica London. It goes up to a size 34 and costs around $34.

This navy-printed one piece from Yours Clothing is only available in a few sizes right now but if you’re a size 32 or 34, you’re in luck! It’s $36 right now!

Orange_Tropical_Floral_Print_Bikini_Top_With_Ruched_Cups_150023_5015Yours Clothing also has this gorgeous, orange halter bikini top and while I try to stay away from halter tops (they put too much pressure on my neck), I can’t ignore this one. It’s too fun. It reminds me of what the teenagers would wear to the pool when I was a kid in the 90’s. And here’s a pair of board shorts to add which will land you just at the $50 budget.

The following don’t technically fit the parameters of a full suit for less then $50 but they’re close-ish:

Modcloth: These red-striped swim bottoms are available up to a size 34 for around $30 on Clearance. The top is also available for the same price and in the same sizes. So, the whole suit is more than $50.

This black and white scalloped “midkini” top that I love is $30 (goes up to a 30/ 6x) and there are plenty of bottoms available to the same size for around the same price. (I saw this suit on Mary Lambert on Instagram and was overwhelmed with feelings)

And here’s a swimsuit that I love from Venus that doesn’t follow any of the rules. It only goes up to a size 24 and it’s ~$70 but I love the sand and black color combo and the deep v so much. Feels v Fat Bond Girl to me.

In the end, after all of this research, I still haven’t found a swim-top that feels like my style, is my size, and doesn’t cost more than my budget will allow. So maybe I just might not go swimming this year… again… I don’t think the McPherson public pool will allow a skinny dip no matter how much I want it. But I hope that if you’ve been looking, this will help to point you in a direction.

XOXO Lib
(PS: none of these links are affiliate links, I just really wanted to do this work for you to help you out.)