I feel like writing. I can hardly remember the last time I wrote - the last time I wrote just for me. When I didn’t care about what people were going to think or how they’d judge me for it or if they’d worry it was about them even though it wasn’t (although sometimes it was).
I’ve written plenty the last few years. Thousands upon thousands of words about home renovations and reality TV talent shows. Sometimes I get to write fun stuff like album reviews but that’s still not for me.
I guess I feel like I should have grown out of the ‘writing my feelings down’ phase. I’ve become a lot more guarded than I used to be on the internet. I no longer let all the depressing thoughts spew forth into a livejournal that would turn anyone off if they read it. In contrast, I’ve opened up a bit more in ‘real life’, which I suppose is what we’re meant to aspire to.
I can’t write about being happy. And no one is interested when you’re happy. But on the whole, I am. The past few years in particular I have grown so much. I truly understand who I am as a person and I am comfortable in that. Most of the time I am happy in my body and in my thoughts and I can look at the people who don’t want to be around me and think to myself “that’s cool, you’re the one missing out”.
I moved countries by myself. I’ve faced and overcome my fears. I’ve succeeded in things and, more than that, I’ve failed at things and kept going. I am proud. And I like me.
But there are times. Times like now. When you go searching for inspiration or creativity or just distraction. And with so much to look at, those thoughts become inevitable. I’ll never be like that. Like her. Like the better ones. I’ll never look like that or think like that. And it almost doesn’t matter that I’m happy with myself because that’s not what they want.
Like most girls (and many boys), I have issues with my body. And I could write for hours and hours about how I feel about my body, other people’s bodies, how I feel when I’m told what to do with my body, the health movement, the faux-health movement, big boobs, small butts and everything in between.
But I won’t.
We talk ourselves to death about our flaws so rather than adding to the millions of negative words uttered every day about our bodies, I’m going to add to that growing pool of positivity about loving it.
Lately, I’ve grown to feel good about how I look. And while I’d still like to find the time and motivation to go to the gym, I am mostly ok with my body and what it does for me. They say there is a journey to “loving yourself” and over the past year or so, I’ve taken some good steps on that journey. I’d say I’m about 90% there. Will I ever be 100%? Who knows. But 90% feels pretty good. I’m in a place where I am excited about feeling good in my own skin, but I am still close enough to when I hated it that I can recall the things that have helped me. So I want to share, in the hopes it’ll help someone else too.
1. Find role models.
There are thousands of people on the internet. They come in all shapes and sizes and a lot of them are positive and proud of their looks - despite those who try to put them down for it.
Find people out there who are similar to your body type. Or who share the same attributes that you are self-conscious about. Look at how they love their bodies, how they project confidence and think, if they can do it, why can’t you?
Tess Munster is my one of my favourite plus sized model and I can’t think of a better role model to prove you don’t need to be a size 0 to be happy and confident. Just look at her. Actually look. She’s gorgeous. And most likely, so are you.
What is it you’re concerned about? Big thighs? Round stomach? Not sure how to dress from your shape? Find people who own those things that you hate and follow suit.
I also have a bit of a height complex, so I found Honor Curves. She taught me not to just be confident with a bigger body but how to be confident with my (slightly above average) height. I might be well over six foot in my favourite heels but why shouldn’t I be? Collect up all those things that scare you and find people who love them, run with them, and take them in their stride.
And who knows what else you can learn from other people? Honor is also bringing me around to the idea that healthy eating and exercise is a way of thanking your body and giving it what it deserves rather than a way of changing my body to fit in with what society says - a big mental shift for me that years ago I couldn’t have imagined.
2. Find well-fitting bras.
No matter what size you (think you) are, everyone should get properly measured to make sure they’re in the right cup.
A well-fitting bra will define your curves, slim out your shape, and make you feel supported - both physically and emotionally. Yes, emotionally. And it’s a feeling that can’t be described. But a well-fitted bra is like rainbows and puppy dogs and cupcakes and every other great thing you can think of. It will lift your spirits and your assets.
Inevitably, you’ll be wearing the wrong size. But finding the right size is one of the best feelings in the world.
3. Get naked
Seriously, get naked. Or at least spend a lot of time just in your underwear. Walk around the house naked. Take your pants off when you get home. Go braless.
Get used to the way your body looks without clothes. If you perceive your body as a fault and hide it away, it will take you by surprise every time you do see it. You’ll imagine BAD THINGS and they will come true in that split second you’re getting out of the shower or changing in a department store.
Getting naked is an amazing way to get comfortable and confident in your own skin. Learn what your body looks like and how it moves. If you never get naked by yourself - of course you’ll be self-conscious doing to around other people.
4. Show people
Yes, I’m saying it. Don’t just get naked… show people. Show people you aren’t afraid. Walk down the beach triumphantly in a bikini. Wear short shorts to the gym. Strip down and let people throw milk at you to publish in a book (above). Send those snapchats that you want to send.
And why not? Send them to friends, to crushes, to lifelong partners. If you feel good about your body, you should share it. And extra affirmation of your worthwhile feelings from a person that means something to you will only put a smile on your face.
5. Being ok with yourself
I think a lot of people get scared by self-love movements because they can’t ever imagine getting to a point where they are in love with themselves. Their body, their mind, their situation - it’s a lot to take in, let alone learn how to love.
But the secret is, you don’t have to love yourself 24/7. You just need to be ok with yourself in the bigger picture.
You need to learn that it’s ok to be down about yourself sometimes. But in the same breath, if someone else has made you feel that way, you need to be able to think “You know what? That person sucks. I am actually pretty ok.”
You need to be able to say “Yes, I have a belly and some back fat and a kind of bulbous-y nose. Sometimes I say things I shouldn’t and sometimes I cry a lot, but I’m ok with it.”
You don’t need to be in love with it. You don’t need to celebrate it if you don’t want. You can even change it if you feel so inclined. But if you can get to a point where you think “you know what? I’m actually pretty ok” then you will begin to accept those things you perceive as flaws and realise they’re not bad at all.
Being someone who has a lot of friends who proudly describe themselves as geeks and nerds and gamers, it means I also have a lot of friends who “don’t like sports.”
That’s it. Full stop. They don’t like sports. Or they don’t get sports. Or they don’t understand sports.
And it’s not just the geeks and gamers (and it’s not all geeks and gamers), there are a lot of people out there from all walks of life that don’t like sports.
And just like someone who only eats organic food will tell you about the horrors of what you’re eating whenever you sit down to lunch, supposed sport haters will take any chance they get to tell you that they don’t like sports - usually while looking down at you from atop their very high horse.
"I’m not into sports" they say as if you are part of an uncivilized breed of human. And then they go back to playing Saints Row, beating people with a dildo**.
But whenever someone tells me they “don’t like sports,” my face falls flat and my mind draws a blank.
"But, what do you mean?" I say.
"I don’t know," comes the inevitable reply. “I just don’t like sports."
To me, saying “I don’t like sports” is like saying “I don’t like music” or “I don’t like movies.” And I just don’t understand that.
With all the millions of genres of movies and styles of music how can you just put a blanket over the entire category and say, “I don’t like it?”
Surely you must have enjoyed Terminator or Titanic or Back to the Future? Who doesn’t like Back to the Future??? Or maybe you’re more of a documentary person? Or a period drama person? Or sappy romcoms?
Surely you liked Off The Wall or Led Zeppelin IV or The White Album? Or did you hear a song on the radio and enjoy it enough to wait for the back announce or ask a friend who sang it?
Guess what, it’s the same with sports. So you don’t paint your face and wear overpriced jerseys while you sit in a packed stadium and yell at players from your seats every weekend. Do you go bowling with your friends? Do you cycle? Do you play chess? Do you fish? Do you sail? Do you run? Dance? Skate? Climb? Shoot an arrow? Have you ever enjoyed a Saturday afternoon in the sun with beer and lawn bowls? Guess what, you like sport.
You may not enjoy the competitive angle of organised, professional sports. You might not feel the life-or-death style passion that someone does for their team. But just because it doesn’t involve a ball and protective equipment, doesn’t mean it’s not sport.
Sport is defined by it’s competitive element, sure. But whether you are throwing a frisbee with friends or just trying to beat your own PB, there is always a little competition involved.
Think hard. Is there not one aspect you like in the entire wide world of sports?
Have you ever played some beach cricket in the summer? Or cheered on a friend at roller derby? Or been entertained by the Olympics table tennis? Or lol’d at the fact that cheese rolling exists?
See, you like sports.
And that’s ok. We’ll help you through it.
**I’m really not anti gamer here, it’s just a silly example.
Things They Really Should Teach You In High School Part 1: Happiness Is Not A Constant
You know when you ask people what they want to do or be in later life and they always reply “I just want to be happy”?
I hate to tell you this, but that will never happen. Actually, no, I don’t hate to tell you this because you need to know.
Happiness is not a constant. Happiness is not a destination. You will never finally achieve happiness and then spend the rest of your life in a blissful happy state. Happiness is not a finish line.
Happiness is not the default emotional state and anything you feel other than that is wrong.
(graph may not be accurate)
Your emotional state is constantly changing, fluctuating, moving in all manner of crazy directions. You are not bipolar because you are happy in the morning and sad in the afternoon. You are human. And human emotions change constantly.
We’re taught that happiness is a goal. Something to strive for as if once we capture the elusive feeling, everything will be ok. But there are so many issues with this ideal.
If I’m happy one day and depressed the next week, was that not real happiness because I couldn’t hold onto it? Because it didn’t last?
Teaching children (humans, really) that happiness is the ultimate goal to strive for puts too much pressure on people to immediately change when they are feeling anything other than happy.
But what’s wrong with feeling sad? Anxious? Nervous? Apathetic? Yes, there are negative connotations associated with these words but they are, at their base, exactly what happiness is. An emotion. As is joy. Giddiness. Relief. Guilt. Contentment.
And yet we’re told only one of these is “right.”
But happiness is not a factory setting. You weren’t born happy and somehow got messed up along the way. Happiness is not a permanent state of mind. It is not a utopia you will one day reach.
Sure, if there are factors in your life making you feel sad or angry or stressed for weeks on end it may be time for a change (a new job, a hobby, a holiday, or maybe even finding someone to talk to) but don’t expect that you will then be happy for the rest of your life.
And that’s ok. Because you’re not suppose to be. And no one else is.
Happiness is not a constant. Happiness will come and go and you will savour the moments it’s around and turn them into memories that will get you through the not so happy times. But if you continue through life treating happiness like your prize at the end - when, finally, everything is perfect - and only looking at it as a goal, you might miss all the times it pops up along the way.
You know, for most of my life I had been pronouncing my last name wrong. Odd, isn’t it? I suppose it would have been if my father had, just once, taken 10 seconds to sit me down and help me enunciate I wouldn’t be writing this right now. But so is life. None of us get perfect parents.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot.
I changed my name when I turned 18 and it was the right thing for me to do. It wasn’t childish or just another fuck you, I already hadn’t seen my father in 6 years, I could care less if he even found out I’d changed it.
I mean, sure, I don’t want anything to do with my father and I don’t think he deserves to be a part of my life but it had nothing to do with him. It had to do with showing love and appreciation to those people that did raise me. That gave up things I can’t imagine to make sure I had (still have) a good life.
My grandfather moved to Australia from Greece and chose this name before he got here. It is his. Ours. And ours only. He had four daughters and they all married and took different names. And even though my mum changed hers back, there was a time when none of his family shared his name.
My grandfather passed away earlier this year but throughout his life he did nothing if not look after his family - and he continues to do so to this day. He provided more love and support than any of the namesakes shared by my cousins and aunts.
I hate that his legacy will only live on through one of his grandchildren (my brother), because he deserves so much more. I know - should I ever get married - that my name won’t change. But I hate that I more than likely wont be able to pass it on, because more than any other I know, Voyage is a name that deserves to live.
My Top 10 Fictional Bands and their Fictional #1 Hit Singles.
10. Sex Bob-omb "Garbage Truck"
A sweet tune from Scott Pilgrim’s band. Realistically this would be a huge indie hit in real life. One of those tracks that you totally heard before everyone else did, but now that they’re big you have to deal with all the crazy fangirls.
9. Robin Daggers "PS I Love You"
The alter ego of Robin Sparkles, Robin Daggers appeals much more to the ~feelings we all have trouble denying. You can’t argue that this sounds like a legitimate Alanis Morrissette song.
8. Infant Sorrow "Inside of You"
A love ballad from a rocker. With a black and white music video. It’s so serious, it almost passes for a real song. I’d like to see Ed Sheeran sing a version of this. I think it could become a number one.
7. Mouse Rat "Lil Sebastian"
What a voice! Another swoontastic ballad from a real rock outfit. We miss you Lil Sebastian!
6. Hep Alien "Believe It Or Not"
Any band that can survive after Seth Cohen leaves them is A+ in my book. Ok, so they did replace him with the singer of Skid Row which helped a lot. Definitely helped me not think of George Costanza when I hear this song (that’s a lie. I will always think of George Costanza).
5. The Brady Bunch "Keep On Moving"
Please note this is the movie version of The Brady Bunch. The TV version took themselves way too seriously. If you ask me, it was their downfall.
4. The Worthless Peons/Ted’s Band From Scrubs "Theme Song Melody"
This one is a bit of a cheat because Ted’s band is a real life band. They’re called The Blanks. I’ve seen them live. I choose strange things to brag about.
3. School of Rock "School of Rock"
As a 25 year old I wish I could be as cool as these kids are. The costumes! The lights! The stage presence! Except for the chick playing bass, she’s clearing phoning it in. If Jack Black were a teacher in real life, I can’t imagine his class turning out any way other than this. I mean, the kids wouldn’t be able to read but they’d look cool.
2. The Be Sharps "Baby On Board"
I grew up I the 90’s so this was an obvious inclusion. It has a nonsensical subject but perfect harmonies. It’s kind of sad if you think about it too hard, though. Everyone in this band, at some point, “had it.” And now they all lead menial lives.
1. The Wonders (previously, The Oneders) "That Thing You Do"
This song is ultimate 60’s perfection. It’s on my iPod and I listen to it frequently. I can only lament that The Oneders (because I am a true fan) never released a full album. But if you need a little more Oneders in your life, this song is also brilliant.