The less visible sister of fat shaming – skinny shaming.

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Skinny girl with brown hair in sports gear, walking

Hello, dear readers! By now I think you have all heard of fat shaming. Curvy people, especially women have raised awareness about it a lot during last few years. It is no secret that media has been pushing the image of “perfect woman” onto us for quite a long time. We are still drowning in magazine articles about getting beach body and different diets that will help us lose x amount of pounds every month. However, there is one side of body shaming that has not been covered as much and it is skinny shaming. Yes, that is really a thing! Why am I writing about this? Well, because I have been fat shamed as well as skinny shamed.

During my childhood years I was somewhere in the middle – not really chubby but also not skinny. However, I despised PE lessons and ate what ever I wanted, so I was no way considerable as the fit one. Being a kid and hating sports was not cool at all, so I quickly became the main object of mockery in my school. Most of my bullies were boys, who were skinny and loved sports. They could eat all the junk food in the world and still stay the same way. However, if I would eat too much pizza or cookies, my body would show it after some time. I was a girl and being tall and thin was not in my genes. I was jealous at girls, who were like that. The self consciousness made me feel terrible about my thighs, who seemed way too thick at the time (I mean, how thick can be thighs of a ten-year old, who is not overweight?) and small stomach roll that I had while sitting down. For nine years straight I was laughed at because of my body and fat shamed almost every day. It did not mater, if I tried eating less or dressing differently – I was still the ugly, weird and fat kid. This nightmare ended after middle school.

About a year before graduating from middle school I started working out. Of course, results did not show that quickly but I was getting there. After middle school I decided to continue my studies in a different city and different school. Things seemed to get better – my schoolmates did not care about my looks at all and the fat shaming was over. However, soon after that when my workout results finally started showing, I experienced something as uncomfortable which was skinny shaming. As I continued to workout, my stomach rolls disappeared, hip bones, ribs and collar bones started showing a little bit more. I was eating healthier than before and still had normal BMI, however, my parents started getting worried with no apparent reason. I started getting a lot of comments from them that I workout too much and suggested me to workout less and eat more. I could not understand their reaction. I finally started feeling better about my body after all the fat shaming and now this? My parents have never been on the thin side, so this fact made me nervous from early childhood. Will I look like this when I grow up? I didn’t want to. I wanted to be like one of those fit, happy girls you can see on Pinterest and Instagram. Why was is such a bad idea? My parents should have been happy that I wasn’t one of those girls, who look at thinspo every day and starve themselves.

During last  4 years I’ve been working out and eating healthier but their remarks didn’t stop. Especially from my dad. I wanted to feel better about my body and love it but comments like: “You should eat more. Your breasts have become smaller. Your hip bones are showing too much. Your ribs are showing too much. Are you trying to starve yourself? The way you look isn’t healthy. Stop starving yourself. Stop working out so much.” made me insecure and unhappy. You might think that having a slimmer body would make me more confident. It didn’t. I still listened to what people are saying about it. I felt insecure about my hip bones and the fact that I sometimes got bruises on them after workouts, I felt stressed out because I couldn’t find pants that fit me just right. Most of them were too tight in the area of my thighs and too loose around my waist. I felt insecure about my breasts that were never too big but now got even smaller. I was jealous to girls, who could wear nice lingerie, push up bras and actually have something to put inside them. I was almost flat, I still am.

I shouldn’t hate my body, I should love it and you should do the same with yours. It’s okay to have thick thighs, it’s okay to have tiny breasts, it’s okay have boyish body with no curves or very curvy one without small waist. I’m here to tell you what no one has told me – love your body the way it is now. It doesn’t matter, if people tell you that you’re too skinny, too muscular or too chubby. There is no such thing as perfect bikini body and you shouldn’t stress about getting it. There is not one universal body shape everyone should and would be able to fit. No matter what body type you have, it has its own beauty. Stop listening to media and society in general, who’s telling you that you need an ass like Kim Kardashian or body like Keira Knightley, or that you can’t wear crop tops because your stomach isn’t perfectly flat. Wear what makes you feel good, don’t torture yourself in order to look like someone else. You already have a full package of what you need. Sure, you can do some ab workouts or squats, eat more veggies and treat it like a temple but… never take it for granted. You are beautiful in your own skin – embrace it here and now.

That’s all for this week’s blog post. I hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as enjoyed writing it. See you next week with another great article. 🙂

Love, Porcelain Doll.

Being fit does not always mean loving your body.

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Girl preparing for a run.

Hello, dear readers! Social media, magazines, commercials and movies are full of images of hot bodies. More concretely – fit bodies. We are overwhelmed with titles of blog posts and magazine articles like “How to get in shape for summer”, “How to lose 10 pounds in 4 weeks” etc. Even more – authors of these resources are trying to tell us that, if we lose 10 pounds, get a flatter stomach or thinner thighs, we will like ourselves more. Hell, we might even love ourselves. However, that’s not true. Let me tell you my story about how I tried to change my life by becoming fit.

I was never the sporty type of kid in school. In fact, I was the one, who was hiding behind all others and hoping that somehow the teacher would not notice me and I could skip high jumping or rope climbing. Maybe I would have tried but the teacher just didn’t care enough to motivate me. Maybe… but the others would have still laughed at me, right? I grew up hearing phrases like: “Ew, she’s fat.” , “Oh my God, look at her ugly face!” and other similar ones every school day. I am pretty sure that I could count the days that passed with no such comments on fingers of a one hand. Not many, honestly. I kind of knew that my bullies weren’t right – I was not fat, just a little bit chubby like a lot of kids in their childhood and early teenage years. However, at that point I didn’t pay much attention that it was normal. All I kept hearing were those mean phrases, repeated every day. And not by one or few people – at least ten if not more of them. These thoughts got stuck in my head and I started to feel more and more uncomfortable in my own body. “Damn,” I though to myself. “my thighs are actually huge and I hate that my stomach isn’t as flat as it should be.” I started to hate what I wear and how I look because so many people reminded me, how much they hate it. Around the age of thirteen I started spending about a half an hour, sometimes even more on my makeup, trying to make it look as good as possible. I thought that maybe it could help me cover up my insecurities and make my, so-called, ugly face more beautiful. I did my best to look better, naively hoping that it will make them stop. How foolish – nothing changed. I hated myself and constantly asked myself: “Why me? Why am I the ugly one? Why can’t I look like my friends? They don’t get even the third part of the mean comments that I get.” This first part of the story continued until the age of fifteen.

One summer I thought to myself – enough is enough. I don’t want to be the ugly girl anymore. I’m sick of having huge thighs and a little chubby belly. I am going to workout to get the body I want and that will make me feel more confident! I started out small – with about 30 squats, 30 sit ups and 30 reps of some other kind of exercise daily. There was nothing more I wanted than just to get those results. This was kind of similar to the makeup part – I hoped it would make me feel more confident and keep the bullies away. Side note – if kids have no apparent reason to be mean to you, they will make something up in their heads. It doesn’t matter, if you have glasses or not, if you’re fat or not, if you’re teacher’s pet or not – they will come up with something. Like Dita Von Teese said: “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be someone, who hates peaches.” However, I didn’t know that at the time. So kept trying and pushing harder with every month. I used work out every day and sometimes I skipped a day or two, or ate something unhealthy, I hated my guts for some time. How did I dare to do this to myself? I need to reach this goal, I can’t self sabotage myself right now! My workout plan changes with time but I still managed to exercise more than 2 years straight in a row. My body looked better than ever but I still didn’t feel confident enough. I used to look in the mirror and look for imperfections. “My abs are not showing, my arms are too thin and shapeless…” I used to think to myself. I was on this journey that should have been incredibly exciting but somehow I wasn’t excited. Even though I noticed that I had made some kind of progress, it was never enough and the feeling of frustration never really left me.

Some time in November of 2016 I gradually stopped working out at all. I was so sick of this endless frustration and never feeling confident about my body. Whenever I started exercising, there was a little voice in my head that said: “You hate doing this and you still haven’t gotten your dream body after two years. Why even bother?” So I quit and focused on eating less and healthier while I lost about 8 kg until May 2017. Month later I got off the meds and started recovering from everything that had happened. I’ve spent way too long time in this trance-like state, not really caring about anything, not really wanting anything and sleeping way too much. I couldn’t help but sometimes wonder – is this how my life is going to pass? Am I going to exist all the time that I have left in this world?

Getting off meds wasn’t hard but I really had no idea what to expect afterwards. Will I need to use them again? Hopefully not. So I got the courage and told myself: “Listen, you need to get your life together. It’s not going to be easy but you can do it. Stop putting yourself down. Some other person is probably doing it, so why join them and make yourself feel even shittier?” Later on I came up with the 3 task idea. As you probably know, depression basically turns you into a zombie. You don’t care about anything, you don’t want to do anything but sleep and it’s not easy to get out of this cycle. The 3 task idea is pretty simple. Just wake up in the morning and get 3 things done that day. Even if it’s just watering your plants, washing two dirty plates and making your bed. It’s small but it’s still a progress. Later, when I felt like I’m ready to do more, I added more tasks and – voila! – now, in September I’m pretty well-functioning average person. The fact that I came to this point has already raised my self-esteem. When it comes to body image – I realized that I am a human being. I don’t need to be perfect. In fact – I don’t think there are people in this world that have naturally perfect bodies and who maintain them without doing much. Some of as have huge thighs, some of us have small breasts, some of us don’t have perfectly flat stomach but hey, it’s okay! For example, yes, my thighs are still not on the thin side but at least my waist is slim. Life is just way too short to worry about my imperfections and constantly blame myself for not fitting some unrealistic standard. Also, this reminds me one quote I recently found on Pinterest and now it’s added to my cork board in my work room.

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So that’s my journey from hating my body to finally feeling comfortable in my own skin. The moral of the story is – being fit does not always mean loving your body. It’s not about working out, it’s about putting yourself in the right mindset and accepting who you really are. Sure, you can lose those 10 pounds, if you want to but before you do that just stop and ask yourself: “Do I want to do that because I feel the pressure from others and want fit some strange standard? Do I want to do it because I don’t like my body?” If the answer is yes, you’re doing it for all the wrong reasons. You don’t have to be the next Jen Selter, you can live a great life in the body you already have. So what if those thighs jiggle a little? You’re not a Barbie doll that’s made of plastic. Let them haters talk but do not become one of them. Remember, there are only two chances – you can either be your worst enemy or your best friend. Chose wisely.

Love, Porcelain Doll.

5 facts you probably didn’t know about me.

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Hello, dear readers!  While I’m still coming up with a list of non-personal blog post ideas, the purpose of this entry is to give you a chance to get to know me better. I am still a little careful every time I write about myself because, if you have been following me for at least 6 months, you know that I basically used to turn my blog into online diary where I rant about pointless things in my life. It was more like a trash can not a blog, to be honest. However, those times are over and I am not going back to my old way. So, here is a list of 5 facts you probably didn’t know about me. Even some of my friends don’t know some of them yet.

  1. I often laugh when I’m nervous or uncomfortable. I have no idea what kind of weird reaction is it and how long I have been acting like this but sometimes it appears in very weird situations. For example, if I’m watching a horror movie and a character gets murdered in a bizarre way, I will laugh. Not because I find it funny or entertaining but just because my mind is confused and I don’t know how to react otherwise.
  2. My hair changes whenever I experience major change in my life. Somehow I just want mark the beginning of something new by changing my hair. Not in the “Britney Spears in 2007” kind of way but still. So far I have had blonde, green and purple hair ends in different periods of my life. Also, let’s not forget the period in my life when I was obsessed with hair chalk and had strands in all possible colours.
  3. From age 12 to 15 I spent way too much time on Wattpad, reading and writing shitty fiction. They say you have to start somewhere but, believe me, everything that was written by me was garbage. Or at least 96% . Why? One of the reasons – when I started writing new piece of fiction, I had no idea, how my story is going to end. There are plenty other mistakes I made but I will go in-depth about this in different post in very close future.
  4. In kindergarten I was constantly fighting with boys because I liked toy cars and Legos better than dolls. I have no explanation for this but I remember that chubby dolls with blinking eyes, dressed in frilled dresses were boring to me. The same was with toy tableware and everything that was placed in girls’ corner. I guess even then I didn’t give crap about gender roles and thought that everyone can play with any toy they wanted to.
  5. I hate being interrupted during a creative process. It does not matter, if I’m painting, drawing, playing an instrument or busy with a random DIY project. Don’t you dare to come up to me and start some off topic chatter or even ask me to do something else. If were not creating together and you are not here to help me, better just leave before I get mad.

Here you go – now I am not just a random person behind your screen and after this personal post I will be ready to entertain you with different kind of content in the future. By the way, can you relate to any of the things I mentioned in this list? If so, please let me know by commenting below. 🙂

Wishing you all the best, Porcelain Doll.

Out of the comfort zone – my first exchange program.

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Hello, dear readers! You have probably noticed that I have been away for a little more than a week and shame on me – I forgot to write and schedule post for that time period. However, this week was not wasted and I am back with more exciting content. For the first time in my life I strongly decided to make this summer exciting, push my limits and try new things. The tattoo was first of them. Next thing I challenged myself to do was to participate in an exchange program. I still remember the day when I filled out the form and sent it. One part of me was feeling unsure but the other one was too worried that my youth might go to waste, if I do not step out of my comfort zone. The last thing I want in this life is to live a boring life and at the age of seventy realize that I did not take all the chances I should have taken. Besides – every summer until this one passed so quickly and finally when the school year started again, I realized that all I did on summer break was sleep, spend way too much time on social media and occasionally meet few of my friends.

When the leaving day finally arrived, I felt a little mad at myself that I actually decided to participate in this event. I am that kind of person, who does not go to unknown places and events without my friends by my side and sadly all of my cool crowd had other things to do this summer. “Oh well,” I thought to myself. “Just one week and you will be home. You can do this.” When we finally arrived everything seemed okay but I could not deny the fact that I was scared. How could I not be? As an introverted person, whose voice was too quiet for most of the people and who already got used to the fact that no one cares about my opinion, I was beyond terrified. Nevertheless after the first full day with workshops and social activities, I realized that most of the people are way friendlier that I expected and I am definitely not the only one, who prefers working by herself instead of being a part of a group. This was the main reason I chose art workshop instead of dance or music. Also, I was already way too familiar with music and dancing did not catch my eye as much as improving my art skills did. Although workshops lasted only 3 days and we had performances after that, I was pleasantly surprised and realized that trying new things does not always mean feeling uncomfortable and worrying about everything being perfect. Plus – who could have imagined that I will end up painting something on a blanket with spray paint? All the room for expressing myself was confusing at first but when I finally got used to that, I wanted to keep up it endlessly. Spending most of the day creating something side by side with like-minded people, drinking a lot of coffee, having weird and meaningful conversations and laughing until tears start rolling down our cheeks was my version of heaven on Earth. Besides – I was surprised that I, out of all the people in our group from Latvia, started to socialize with everyone the most. After spending most of my life between people, who just suck out your energy, do not understand your ideas and are constantly grumpy, I finally felt like a fish in the water and happier than ever. I even barely used my mobile phone because everything that was happening around me was way more exciting. (I guess, I rarely had such a good time in my life that I even forgot to use my phone.)

Exchange project Sakskobing.

Yes, that’s me – with the guitar.

One more pleasant surprise I experienced was… actually playing the guitar a lot and enjoying it. I went to this exchange program lacking inspiration and motivation professionally and I was close to giving up. I did not want to play anymore, I was sick of it and almost all eleven years I have been playing classical guitar seemed like nothing. Yes, I could find notes, play pieces but the spark was gone. Imagine looking at fire-place that is empty and do not have even coals in it. That was me until I found that the guy, who is managing the music workshop plays guitar as well. After all these years spent between guitarists, who had one common opinion, I was glad to communicate and learn from someone, whose knowledge is different. After some great conversations I even felt ready to play in public again and all the support from people, who enjoyed my little performance made me feel thankful. I even came to a realization that I should stop focusing on creating a perfect result, enjoy the process more and open my mind to different kind of knowledge. Thank you for bringing my inspiration and a part of my self-esteem back, I’m still close to tears because of that.

Poetry and girl with a guitar.

Even though I wanted more workshops during this exchange program, I was also thankful for the days when we only got to perform. Otherwise I would not have met few great people from other groups, who made me smile and laugh as well. It is hard to explain how thankful I am to everyone I became friends with in this exchange program. I definitely want to see all of you again, so we can grab a cup of coffee, tell each other jokes and inspire each other even more. It’s kind of funny, how right after coming back home I am already thinking about ways to meet everyone again and travel some more but I’m thirsty again for some great emotions. If you are one of the people I met past week, let’s stay in touch because you are super cool. Huge thanks to everyone! Together we definetly made the greatest memories of this summer and I am looking forward to see you again in future exchanges and in between them, of course. 🙂

With love, Porcelain Doll.

P.S. Can I still call myself Porcelain Doll? No matter, how hard I tried to escape the sun, my skin is already a little darker than it was before I came to Denmark. 😀

Seeking my true calling.

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Hello, dear readers! Before I even start, let me say that this post will be personal not educational, however I will try not to whine and put myself in a role of a victim. It’s been a week since I returned from the summer guitar camp in which I spent most of my time not playing the guitar but drinking coffee, writing and sleeping instead. I guess, that period in my life was when I experienced serious change in my mindset. Say what you want but I realized that I will never become a professional musican and I was kind of alright with that. Sitting in class with my instrument for at least 6 hours and totally lacking social life never seemed appealing to me, even more – I found it rather sad. My friends were always more like a family, they supported me the most and I simply could not imagine my life without them. Also, for me there is no point in spending hours playing because I see no goal at all. Do I want to be like every other classical guitarist from Baltic states or Russia? No. Do I want to teach children? No. Is playing on stage is my dream? No. I used to think that being a musican is my true calling but now I am almost 100% sure that it is not. I am pretty sure that you would like to stop me here and say: “I think you are making decisions way too quickly. You have bad periods of time in every profession.” Okay. I will agree with you for now. However, if a person is truly passionate about something, doesn’t it keep him up at night? Does this person even thinks about looking at the clock because a lot of time has passed? Is this person too distracted because he’s not seeing a result for a long time to keep doing something? I am pretty sure that the answer to all of these questions is no. When you are truly passionate about something, you do not care that there is no result yet, you do not care, how much time it takes to improve your skills and you can not live long periods of time without doing what you love. So, with that being said, I am not sure I will feel passionate about music ever again and I am almost completely sure that writing is my calling.

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I do not care, if good story idea keeps me up until 5 a.m. I do not care that I am not professional yet. I do not care that finishing one chapter might take me up to 2 hours and that I will have to edit it before this part looks the way I want it to look. Even more – I will not give up when I catch the famous disease, called writer’s block again because I have a goal to become successful, published writer and I will find a way to get there. I love both – the good and the bad times because the flame of passion is burning somewhere inside of me and my head is always full of different ideas. I have so much going in my mind that I can not wait to tell it to the world through writing and I feel like my head will explode, if I do not tell what’s on my mind at least 2 times a week. I know it wil be hard, I know I will probably have a lot of useless drafts and rejection letter but I will get there. Why? Because I want to not someone else wants me to. I am sick of following other people’s expectations and ignoring my dreams. Doing what everyone else expects from me will not make me happy. It is my life not theirs. Mine. I have only one life and it is time to stop wasting in and letting parents and teachers to dirrect it. I will get where I want to be, just watch me.

If you are reading this and feel trapped because someone is expecting certain behaviour – stop! It is better to take a risk and fail than never take it in the first place. Yes, you will fail but that is part of the process. You have to fall before you fly, so I dare you to jump. Now.

Wishing you all the best, Porcelain Doll.

My first tattoo returned my faith back.

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Hello, my dear readers! Today I wanted to talk about one of the things that I’ve been dreaming to do for so long – getting a tattoo. I still remember those days when I was a little girl and had conversations with my best friend how, when we are going to turn eighteen years old, we will get tattoos. We even romanticized this idea so much that we thought about getting our appointments in one day and being next to each other while it is happening. Of course, in reality it did not turn out like that. When I just turned eighteen, there was no way I could get a tattoo because I did not have enough money. It took a lot of saving but finally, in June 29th I got my tattoo done.

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Some people think that getting tattoo in a young age is a mistake. I bet every person, who has a tattoo, has heard a phrase: “Have you ever thought, how you will look with it when you get old? What if your interests change and you do not like it anymore?” at least once in their life. So did I, every single time I mentioned my wish to my parents. Also, I got told: “If you do this, you will probably get AIDS.” Oh well, mum and dad. Even if I would not get a tattoo, there are plenty of other chances to get AIDS. And, can you, please, stop telling me that I can not do things I want just because there is a risk to fail, get ill etc? This fear of failure, if I try to do something I really want has followed me for years. My mother has always told me things like: “You can not get a tattoo, you will get AIDS, if you do.” , “You should not study something other than music in college because what if you are just another average person, who chose that path?” , “I do not think you should become a writer. You are not talented enough. Is there even something you have written so far?” . Every single one of those things just made me feel miserable, made me feel like there is no point in even trying because I do not deserve the things I want in life and I am not good enough to get them. Well, guess what? Not anymore. I am done believing these lies.

For me getting a tattoo was not just getting a tattoo. It was me, proving myself that I can do things I want to do. It was me, showing myself that I am strong and I can handle the pain. And it was me, telling myself that, if I can do this, I can do anything. Maybe I will not study in the university I have planned to study in for years but I will find another one that is just as great. Maybe I will not become as successful as J. K. Rowling or E. L. James but I will definitely do what I love and find a way to make money with it. It is just a tattoo but it was one more little thing that showed me, how you think things are impossible until they are done.

Whenever it got so painful that pain was literally running down my hand, I thought to myself: “Oh well, at least this is not as painful as seeing my parents disappointed and not being to accept me for who I am. At least as moments when they do not understand, how much effort it takes to do even smallest things when you are depressed. And it is definitely not as painful as their yelling when I am doing my best but it is still not good enough for them. That’s how I got through the pain and it did not seem too bad to me at all. And in the end – something incredibly beautiful came out of that pain. A wonderful phoenix tattoo that symbolizes, how I can get through anything. To me it is more than a tattoo. It is the symbol of bravery and strength. Probably, it will not look as good when I am seventy years old but at least I will remember why I got it and what it means to me.

What do we get out of this story? I guess, the main idea is: “Do something, if it seems meaningful to you. It does not matter, if others like it or not. What matters is how you feel about it. And then when you are old and wrinkly, you will be able to tell your grandchildren that you were brave enough to live to the fullest and have no list of things that you could do but never did.”

Love, Porcelain Doll.