Monday, November 25, 2013

Wedding Pics! FINALLY!

So... my elaborate steam punk masquerade ball has been put on hold.  Marrying the man of my dreams?  Not so  much!  We still got married on Halloween, with a small contingent of friends and family.  Like including J and I and the JP there were 11.  Like I said, small.  However, I promised pictures, so here they are!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Oh the Speeches you'll write...

So, I have decided that I want to give a speech at my best friends wedding on January.  I have a rough draft, and I'm looking for some advice on it.  (Keep in mind I will be giving the bride and groom a copy of Oh the places you'll go)

Some of you  may not know me,I'm Mandee and Stefanie and I have been best friends for more than half of our lives.  It wasn’t always that way, Stefanie and I actually got off on the wrong foot, I laugh now thinking back on that time, because I cant imagine my life without her.  Stefanie and I have been through some tough times together, and some truly amazing ones.  We have been separated by miles you could walk,  miles you could drive and miles you should fly.  Even an entire ocean once.  And we don’t get to talk every day, or even every week, but I have never had a more dear friend.  When Stefanie asked me to be a part of the start of her new life with Eric I was thrilled I have known Eric for nearly as long as I have known Stefanie.  I could not be more proud then to stand by their side while they enter into a commitment to last a lifetime.

Stefanie is the nicest most genuine person I know.  She will drop everything and help out friends and family in need.  She has an ear to listen, a warm hug to comfort and a shoulder to cry on in both joy and sorrow.  She is the most driven and dedicated person I know.  And has talent to boot!  She has always know what she wanted and never let anything get in her way.  She worked her way through her associates degree, then decided she wanted a bachelors, and now holds a masters degree and makes a living doing what she loves.  The old saying goes, do what you love and you will never work a day in your life.

Stefanie and Eric always hung out in the same circles, it was inevitable that they become friends.  But time and distance changes everything, and we often lose touch with people we were close with.  Years spent away at college and building careers and growing up separated Stephanie and Eric.  Until a few years ago when they got back in touch.  (Oh, the joys of social media!) they started dating not very long after and Stefanie had never been happier. 

Both the bride and groom have wonderful families that will be only enriched by the wonderful bond of love being made today.  I have a small gift for them today, the book of “Oh the places you go.”  The advice written herein is often taken as advice for young people going out into the world.  But can be helpful to anyone, be they single, couple or group, embarking on a new journey.  I leave you with some words from the infallible Dr Seuss.

Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)
Kid, you’ll move mountains!
So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Why my Body defines me.

I know, in this day and age, with projects like The Adipositivity Project, and Fatshion blogs in abundance and a more fat acceptance than I have ever seen,  how can I say that my body defines who I am?  I'm not really sure, I just know that it does, it always has.  

Growing up being picked on for your weight by acquaintances, "friends", and family alike, in addition to the media frenzy on being thin and dieting, does not bode well for girls int heir formative years.  And this has only gotten worse since I was a child.  I learned from a very young age that I should be ashamed of my body, and watched my mother who was always thin, and still is, diet and exercise like mad.  She wouldn't eat for days and then she would binge in the middle of the night.  She had my step-dad put a padlock on the fridge to stop her from eating, so I was surrounded by disordered eating and distorted body image.  

Granted I suffer from a serotonin imbalance casing anxiety and depression, but even when properly medicated the smallest things can set of a bout of self loathing with regard to my body.  Two seemingly minor issues I dealt with this week resulted in bouts such as this.

Issue number 1:  Bras
I have always had larger breasts, even when I was thinner.  However, weight gain has only made them bigger.  Fitting into a bra has always been difficult.  I have never had a bra where the gore (the center piece between the cups) set against my breast bone, or had straps not leave painful marks on my shoulders.  the list of grievances I have with Bras goes on, but i digress as this is not the point.  I knew I was wearing the wrong size bra, most women in the US are, but I had no idea what size I should  be wearing!  I went to several stores and got sized, and kept getting the same answer.  I finally found that being an overweight woman, the stores were measuring the area at the bottom of the bra, which was actually my stomach, not under my breast, which is how you get a proper band size!  Delighted with this new information from, I measured myself and used the guides found at to get a correct size!  Huzzah!  I was so thrilled!  Finally, I would be able to find a properly fitting bra.  then an epiphany, perhaps it would even be comfortable!  Could it be?  

The answer is yes, and no.  Unfortunately for me, my bra size in not available in the US, so i have to order from out of the country, and the selection is limited.  And they are often sold out.  I am young enough to want cute underwear!  and I am a newly wed to boot!  Only full coverage bras are available in ,y size meaning that not only are my bras ugly, but unless I'm wearing a turtleneck, it also pokes out from most normal shirt necklines.  And being heavy, i never wear shirts that come close to my neck, both for comfort and aesthetics.  I tried to find a bra this week on a recommended website from a fellow extremely busty gal, and the website stopped just shy of my size.  Instantly I wanted to cry and looked up breast reduction surgery.  (The cost of which is astronomical!  Even AFTER the insurance pays their part, if you qualify)  So I can get a bra that fits, for a ton of money, plus shipping, that will not work with  most of my cloths, and be hideous.  Fair trade right?  Not so much.

Issue number 2: Pants
Pants, pants, pants.  How I loathe thee.  But they are necessary at my workplace.  A cooler option in the blazing summers of Florida, because I must wear stockings if I wear a dress or skirt, not to mention the bending squatting and climbing that I do on a daily basis.  

Pants are not the most flattering on my body type, and I do prefer dresses and skirts, for many reasons, but pants in my size are available, kind of.  The problems are still there though.  I can get pants that pit well, and don't look ridiculous, for a price.  A price i cant afford on a regular basis, especially with my thunder-thighs rubbing together and wearing out the crotch so fast.  Being short, I struggle with finding a plus size pant in a petite.  People seem to assume that petite means you must be thin, this is not the case!  In clothing it simply means short!  Guess what?  I can be short and fat.  Promise.   

So I needed pants for work, and I found exactly one pair of pants in my size at a store we were at that boasts a large plus size section, not all of it is great, but it never is.  I already have a pair of these pants, and I hate them, but they fit and they are $20.00 or less.  So I get to wear horrible unflattering pants TO WORK.  Because that's all I can find, and afford.  Awesome.  

My husband got to be with me for the pants excursion, and didn't understand my frustration or immediate mood difference.  And I couldn't tell him, because A) I would have cried  and B) its so hard to explain to someone who hasn't been taught that they aren't good enough because they aren't a size 2.  I have always wanted to be a performer, I can sing and dance and act, triple threat baby! But I have only ever been to 1 audition.  At a size 14 I heard the check in person tell the next person I would never get cast, because I was a cow.  I went in anyway, and as I waited for my number to be called it ate at me, for hours, eventually the insecurity won and I never even got through the audition.  I gave up on one of my dreams, because some jerk made a comment about my body.  Saying it sound ridiculous, and my rational brain knows it was insane, but my heart doesn't.  When someone makes a comment my heart hears the years of being called Orca, in Jr high and high School, my mother telling me it was okay to be so hungry my stomach hurt because i might lose a little weight.  And something so simple as not finding pants, sends me right back there. I become the insecure little girl again, looking at myself in the mirror and wondering if i will ever be good enough.  

Eventually this feeling passes, and I am back to my bad ass, uber confident self.  But each time I have to live through this a little piece of me will never be the same.  A little part of my soul becomes a bit more brittle, and I wonder if I will be able to bounce back next time.