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Celebreight Yourself now has a Youtube channel!

You can also find more of my writing at three great websites: Large in Charge magazine, Fierce, Freethinking Fatties, and More of Me to Love. Links are below.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Kissing Frogs

"Lena", dir. by Christophe von Rompaey, The Netherlands/Belgium
One of my most anticipated selections at TIFF this September.

Over the years, scores of movies have been made about skinny women being unlucky in love, triumphing over the odds, and getting the man of their dreams.

They are so boring.

Precious few movies have been made about large girls or women searching for love, so when one comes along, it’s definitely something I have to see.

TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) opens here on Sept. 8, and I will be in attendance. One of the films I am most looking forward to (and will be reviewing here afterward) is “Lena”. This film is from the Netherlands/Belgium, and it’s about a chubby young woman who meets a cute guy who says he wants to be with her. Here’s part of the description from the TIFF program:

Lena lives in Rotterdam with her mother Danka, who puts a flag in the window whenever she has a man in the apartment so that Lena doesn’t interrupt. Danka constantly reminds Lena that she’s overweight and in the way: a burden in every sense. Lena doesn’t want to be defined by her size, but it seems she’s only free of it while she’s dancing or having sex. All this changes when she meets Daan. She spots him one night while she’s riding her moped and he’s running from the cops. Daan is handsome and apparently wealthy. He doesn’t mind Lena’s size. He might even be in love with her. He buys her expensive gifts and asks her to move in. Lena is happy to flee her miserable home life, but can she trust Daan?

I can’t wait to find out. And you know I’ll be rooting for the happy ending.

The description of the film started me reminiscing about my search for love when I was a young woman. All of us can relate to feeling like outcasts, being treated unfairly because of our size, and the struggle to find a partner worthy of us. But when you’re in your late teens or early 20s, the struggle can feel endless. At least it did for me. What better way to compensate for feeling like you’re unwanted and left out (and unbelievably horny) than to have sex whenever the opportunity arises? You trick yourself into believing you’re unbelievably popular, you get to have fun, and you convince yourself that the formidable sexual skills you develop may actually lead to a relationship.

God knows I fell into that trap. Believe me, if I could take back all the making out, feeling up, blowjobs, and full-on sex that I indulged in with the lucky men who crossed my path in those days, I would. But then, I wouldn’t have learned anything. 

I wouldn’t have learned how to be more selective. I wouldn’t have learned about what I really needed, wanted, and respected in a partner. I wouldn’t have learned what kind of behaviour is truly repugnant to me, and I wouldn’t have developed the uncompromisingly high standards I have today.

Not that I’m saying you should go out and have all kinds of indiscriminate sex in order to find out what you want and who’s right for you. These days, that’s simply dangerous, in more ways than one. Hopefully, you’re self-aware enough to know what you want without having to go through all the nail-biting and heartbreak, and you’re a good enough judge of character to determine who’s being honest with you and who just wants to get laid. And hopefully, if you're choosing to play Russian Roulette in your sex life, you're protecting yourself from STDs by using a condom AT ALL TIMES.

One undeniable benefit: the sex I had back in those days was just a training ground and a warm-up for the men who were genuine, and became my real lovers. The worthy ones.

Unfortunately, in our quest for love, you may have to kiss a few frogs (or suck a few dicks) before finding Mr. Right. But when you do find him, there won’t even be a question in your mind … you’ll know it. And all that meaningless sex will be worth it. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Diet Book Hilarity

This post isn’t going to be about the fact that diets don’t work. Everyone who has been on a diet knows that they don’t. This post is just to give you a good laugh at some of the ridiculous theories and suggestions we have been subjected to over the years.

First of all, let’s get started with advice from people we are supposed to emulate. It’s not a diet book, per se, just a general, overall treatise on how to be one of the beautiful people:

Question: Where are the windshield wipers for those glasses? And Her Royal Highness didn’t even write this herself. Notice the “as told to” note at the bottom. I can just see it now: Princess Luciana is sitting on her divan across from the author, about to grace us with her most elegant wisdom, and she gently tinkles the bell for Jeeves to bring the writer a cup of English breakfast tea and another vodka on the rocks for herself. Jesus. I wonder how the writer got through this interview without either gagging or breaking into a fit of uncontrollable laughter.

Next up is this little gem:

Of course it’s simple! Eat bananas! Nothing else! How much simpler can it get? Dumbasses.

You can tell this diet worked for this woman because of the smile on her face. You just know that she has a gorgeous hunk lounging in bed, waiting to help her out. Each orgasm = 300 calories! No wonder. Don’t you want to try this one? I sure do.

Hmmm … I didn’t realize the Holy Land was such a great locale for losing weight. Personally, I’d rather check out the Dome of the Rock or one of the other gazillion historical landmarks that fostered the foundation of so many world religions, but who knew … I might as well go on a diet while I’m there too!

And while we're in the ballpark:

Yes, God Himself has given us His own Diet, highlighted by those authoritative, pointing fingers. And here I was thinking he’d done enough work giving us all those commandments! These people have no shame and really owe God an apology, not to mention his share of the profits.

Here is the answer: eat like a caveman. I can’t wait to see those delicious Paleo recipes. What are they? Roasted gazelle with grass stew, and afterward, you can work off the calories by running your ass off from the sabretooth tiger! Makes sense.

This next one I'm a little conflicted about, and it'll be easy to see why:

God knows I'm a rebel, so they're really going for my demographic here ... not to mention that it looks like you might get to eat chocolate! Any diet that includes chocolate is at least worth considering, right?

I have saved my absolute favourite for last:

The title really says it all, doesn’t it? Do absolutely nothing, don’t change your habits at all, and the pounds will just melt off! Such sage advice. You can bet the chick in the bikini tried this diet, right? I have a feeling that Dr. Mezzi got his medical degree in the mail.

One undeniable bonus of diet books, people: They really know how to give us a good laugh.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Say No to Woe

We’ve all heard the phrase “Woe is me.” It’s so easy to sink into self-pity, and blame the world for all your problems. Large people definitely aren’t the only ones to fall prey to the lure of self-pity, though. I know plenty of people – some of them skinny as toothpicks – who have embraced self-pity and who have even devoted their lives to it.

I know a guy who’s in his late 50s. He has never had a girlfriend (and adamantly states he has never wanted one, will never want one, and no, he is not gay), has never left home, and has no friends. He works a menial job as a security guard, despises it, and feels it is beneath him. Yet he does nothing to change his situation. He feels that it is him against the world. The sad thing is that he is quite intelligent. He’s a little odd and could definitely use some social skills, but with some help and an attitude change, his life could be a whole lot better. He insists there is nothing wrong with him. He feels that he is perfect the way he is -- it’s the world that needs changing, not him – and that he will be the way he is until he dies. He will, too.

I know a woman who’s very similar. She’s in her late 40s, has never left home or had a real job, also has no friends, has only had one boyfriend, and that was about 30 years ago. She walks around with a floaty look on her face, as if she is another world, even when she is right in front of you. She never wants to talk about anything meaningful, and her life revolves around her elderly mother and doing chores around her house. She is also extremely afraid of, and resistant to change, and she will also be this way until she dies.

These people are both bone-thin.

Self-pity is a gigantic waste of time. I remember reading a quote somewhere that said pity is actually just a form of contempt, and I totally agree with that. Have you ever been pitied, and felt that quasi-sympathy from someone? That’s exactly what it is. When someone pities you, what they’re actually saying is: “Poor you. Too bad you can’t be like me. Thank God I’m not you.”

Turn that around: When you wallow in self-pity, you’re actually displaying contempt for yourself. You believe that you’re so hopeless you can’t do any better, that your life will never improve, and that you don’t have what it takes to change what’s bothering you or holding you back.

Why would you want to believe that? How can that possibly serve you?

One of my spiritual mentors, therapist Dr. David Viscott, said that hope is a killer. Hope is a wasted emotion because hope is just a belief. Hope implies that you are just sitting around, hoping for something to happen … but if you don’t get off your ass and take some action in conjunction with your thoughts, what good are they? Nothing is going to change or happen the way you want it to if you don’t take action.

A lot of us large people fall into the trap of sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves. Don’t do it. It is a huge, colossal waste of time. That doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to feel emotions. You can be sad about something, or feel lonely, or unappreciated, or ignored, and it’s okay to feel the feelings that go along with them. But don’t adopt them as your persona, and devote your life to being the one who got left behind.

It just isn’t worth it.

Mourn, grieve, rage, cry, shout, scream … do whatever you have to do to express those strong emotions (preferably in a safe, private way). But then get on with it. Take action. Nobody knows exactly what will make you happy better than you do. You know what you have to do … you know what needs to be done.

Don’t waste your life being one of those people everyone else feels sorry for.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dear Gaby -- Volume 3

Dear Gaby,

I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time now and I have to say I admire you. You are such a strong woman and so proud of who you are. I wish I could say the same, but I’m not. When I’m outside, I walk around with my head down, hoping I can get where I’m going without anyone insulting me. I’ve never had a boyfriend. Every guy I’ve ever liked hasn’t liked me back, so I just crawl back into my shell and don’t bother. I’ve tried to lose weight so many times but it just hasn’t worked. My family criticizes me all the time. Sometimes I don’t know how I go on. Life is so unfair, and fat people get treated terribly. Nobody cares about who we are inside. All they care about is how we look. I just wanted to say thank you for your blog, I read it regularly and it does make me feel better. Maybe someday I’ll get the courage to do the things I want to do, but right now I just can’t. I just feel too beat down. 
-- Lonely Girl

Dear Lonely Girl,

First of all, I want to start by saying how thankful I am for your letter. You, and other women like you, are exactly why I started writing my blog. Life IS unfair, no doubt about it. Let’s face facts: In this society, people are rewarded for how they look. In most cases, the way you look affects how far you will get in life. Most employers determine whether you’re worth hiring or promoting based secretly (lots of times not so secretly) not on your resume or your job performance, but on how you look. Men look you over and determine whether you’re worth dating because of how you look. Even friendships can be determined by how you look. It comes into play in every single facet of our lives, and it sucks the big one. But this is where we have to summon the strength inside ourselves, get angry, and say: Fuck You. You will not determine the quality of my life. I will determine the quality of my life. I will not allow others to beat me down, insult me, ridicule me, tell me I can’t do better or find anyone to love me … etc., etc.

I wasn’t always as strong and confident as I am now. For a long time, I was a lot like you. I was afraid of the world, because it is such a horrible, unfriendly place at times. I used to walk around with my head down too. I used to hope no one would notice me, because it seemed like every time someone did notice me, it was only to ridicule me or put me down. I simply got fed up. I got angry. I decided I wasn’t going to let anyone make me feel hopeless anymore.

I don’t know how old you are, and I’m sorry if you’ve heard this before, but with age comes experience. When I was in my 20s, I was totally dependent on what other people thought of me and my life reflected that. I wasn’t getting much positive feedback in any aspect of my life. But as I got older, and started thinking about who the people were that were telling me these things, and the reasons they had for telling me these things, I started to realize … it wasn’t about me at all. It was about THEM. Their well-being and self-image depended on my feeling bad about myself … and I finally realized how warped it was allowing them to control my self-worth and self-image. So I started taking control. I started thinking about what I wanted and what was best for me. Anger was the fuel that kept me going through all the obstacles. I’m not saying anger ran my life, but it definitely gave me the impetus I needed to stand up to people and let them know their free ride was over. I wasn’t going to allow them to get away with short-changing me anymore.

You need to draw on the most powerful part of yourself, whatever it is … whether it’s anger, ambition, creativity, hope, love and respect for yourself … and use that as fuel to keep you going. Once you get in the habit of expressing your strengths, your self image will start to change. You’ll trust yourself and your instincts, you’ll know what’s good for you … and most importantly, you’ll know what’s bad for you, and you’ll learn to avoid it like the plague.

If you’re surrounded by negative people (you mentioned that your family criticizes you), then you need to get away from that influence as much as possible. Most of us still need some kind of contact with our families, even if we know it can be negative, but in that case, you just need to limit your time with them … and when you’re with them, remind yourself that they’re not controlling your life anymore. That goes for anyone negative in your life that you can’t avoid dealing with. You have to be a little merciless if your well-being is the price for being in their company.

I really hope you keep reading my blog and find lots of encouragement and support in it. You're not alone. It’s a privilege for me to hear from people like you. You’re the reason I do what I do.