The Fight to Love Yourself

“You can’t stop my happiness because I like the way I am … So if you don’t like the way I look, well I just don’t give a damn.”

I’ve spent a lot of time fighting to be happy with myself.

It’s hard, when you’re overweight, to find that happiness. To come to a point where you accept yourself and love yourself just how you are.

bandaidsIt took me many, many months to get to that point. And it’s a big deal, finally accepting and loving yourself. But you know that is going to be a battle. So you put on your fighting gear and jump into the ring. And, if you’re lucky, you come out victorious.

But no one tells you about the battle that follows.

Sure, strangers are going to give you strange looks, disgusted looks, when they see your overweight body. You’ve also prepared yourself for that battle.

But what about when the person who tells you not to be happy with yourself is a member of your family? Your blood?

When someone in your family thinks you’re not good enough…

What do you do then?

A war between families never ends peacefully. Hard feelings always exist. When you tell someone who takes medication for depression, who is finally happy with herself, basically that she shouldn’t be happy with herself or that she still needs to make changes…

It’s over.

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My stress is a corset.

Each task pulls the strings tighter, crushing my lungs. I panic, grappling at the ties, trying desperately to free myself. My vision wanes, the lack of air creating a haze.

I feel hands reach out. Blindly — afraid the hands will pull the strings tighter and bring about the end — I pounce, clawing at the predator. I hear him cry out.

It’s only then I realize what I’ve done. Those hands, mysterious hands, longed to loosen the corset.

And they have.

But the hurt hands back away slowly, turning away from my hands, which can only cause harm.

The corset is gone, but the weight remains. This time, it’s not just crushing my lungs, stopping my breath.

This weight pushes me deeper into the ground, where it will leave me, alone, as it does best. The weight is a tricky beast. Sometimes, I need help to lift it. But it gets into my brain, and it makes me drive away all those who are willing to help.

The weight leaves me, alone.

Superiority

I feel your gaze upon me, and I know what it means. A combination of pity and disgust, apparent in your eyes as you look down upon me.

“I’m better than you.”

You don’t speak, but I feel the impact of your words, pressing down on me like a boulder, round, hunching my shoulders further forward. My hips dig further into the ground, the sharp, angular bone grinding against my skin.

This is who you are now.

I crumble under your disapproving gaze.

Sabotage

I’m a sabotager.

I don’t know why I do it. But sometimes, when things are going really well, it’s like I wait for the other shoe to drop.

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As if, for some reason, I think I don’t deserve to be as happy as I feel…

So I read way too far into the tiniest of things. And I make myself miserable. And I start doubting myself. And I start doubting other people can actually care about me.

Because apparently I don’t think I deserve happiness, and I don’t deserve to be loved.

So instead I apparently get overly sensitive and accusatory and just turn into a really ugly person.

I’m working on it. I’m better than I used to be. But I still have some way to go.

5 Essential Spring Cleaning Chores

Kaley Belakovich:

Check out a story I wrote that got picked up by TIME!

Originally posted on TIME:

Ah, spring cleaning. All the tasks you pushed aside earlier in the year now await you — a seemingly never-ending list of chores.

However, not everyone has the time or energy to scrub their house from top to bottom. For those who need to abbreviate this seasonal ritual, housecleaners say the following areas are the most essential:

Baseboards

“I think the thing people have the hardest time keeping up with is the baseboards,” says John Crum, owner of Crum Cleaning in Kansas City, Missouri.

To clean your baseboards, first vacuum or sweep the area. Then, take a cloth or sponge and a cleaning solution — a combination of soap and water, vinegar or a wood cleaner — and wipe down the baseboards.

High dusting

According to Crum, homeowners often forget to dust ceiling lights and fans because they’re out of reach. Others may choose not to clean them because the…

View original 339 more words

The Encounter with Mr. Creep

“Come on, bud. Go potty.” The girl pulled on her dog’s leash. She hated walking the dog at nighttime, worried about strangers who could be lurking in the shadows, crouched and ready to attack.

The dog looked up alertly into the distance. An elderly woman and a middle-aged man walked toward them. The old woman, the girl realized, lived in the same building. The girl had seen the man with the old woman before, so she thought nothing of it.

As the old woman and the man approached, the dog tried to run toward them. The girl reined in the dog. The old woman proceeded to the door.

But the man stopped.

The man, looking ragged and dressed in dirty, torn clothing, came at the dog, crouching, threatening.

“Oh, be nice.” His voice sounded curious,  slightly menacing.

The dog calmed, approaching the man, trying to lick him. The girl breathed a sigh of relief.

Until the dog tried to jump on the man — in excitement or aggression, the girl couldn’t tell. The man hunched back over, growling toward the dog. “You better be nice.”

The girl picked up the dog protectively and held the dog in her arms. She watched as the man reached out to the dog again, worried how the dog would react — the dog always became more aggressive when restrained, a defense mechanism. She watched as the dog tried to lick the man, as the man leaned his face in toward the dog, almost allowing the dog to lick him there as well.

After what seemed like an eternity, the man backed away. “I have a cat that could kick your ass.” The man muttered something else, then walked into the building.

The girl waited for a moment, then peaked into the window of the building’s door. She couldn’t see the man. She quickly entered the building, ran to her apartment and locked the door behind her.


I hope you enjoyed this piece of creative nonfiction.

Here’s what’s wrong with #BoycottIndiana

AKA: An open letter to Nick Offerman, Wilco, and everyone else canceling or considering canceling their events throughout Indiana.

I am a Hoosier. Most days, I’m proud to be one. I am a Christian, and I’m also proud to be one. Lately, though…I’m not proud to be a Hoosier. And I cringe when I look at some of the Christians around me. Signing SB101, aka the Religion Freedom Restoration Act, disgusts me.

I understand that it’s also a federal law, and that other states have similar laws. But other states also list the LGBT community as a protected class under the law. Indiana does not.

In an interview with George Stephanopoulos, Indiana’s Gov. Mike Pence couldn’t even answer one simple “Yes or No” question: “Do you think it should be legal in the state of Indiana to discriminate against gays or lesbians?”

Another question he dodged answering? “Does that mean that Christians who want to refuse service, or people of any other faith who want to refuse service to gays and lesbians, that it’s now legal in the state of Indiana? That’s a simple yes or no question.”

Something he had no problem answering? “One fix that people have talked about is simply adding sexual orientation as a protected class under the state’s civil rights laws. Will you push for that?”

“I will not push for that,” he answers. “That’s not on my agenda.”

I do not support Mike Pence.

Indiana signed into law the RFRA, despite many citizens’ pleas for Pence to veto it, or the many outcries now for it to be repealed. They won’t repeal it. This is just one instance where my voice isn’t being heard.

My plea now goes to those in support of #BoycottIndiana. I understand what you’re doing, I really do. You want to show that you don’t support discrimination. I don’t either, so I understand.

The problem is, there are countless Hoosiers with the same stance I have. There are so many of us who love and accept all members of the LGBT community. And by canceling your events, you are punishing us. You are punishing those of us who stand against the bill but live in Indiana. Some of us are tied here by family or jobs. We can’t just leave on a whim. And some of us are working hard to make ends meet, but wanted to treat ourselves to your events. We can afford to go when it’s in our own state or city, but some of us don’t have the options to drive a few hours away for your events. Especially if they’re late at night, meaning we may have to stay somewhere else overnight.

Some of these people may even be members of the LGBT community who you’re trying to support. Instead, you’re punishing them, just because they live in Indiana.

Stop boycotting Indiana. Because when you do, you’re not boycotting the state. You’re boycotting the innocent Hoosiers who happen to live here, even if they don’t support the state right now either.

I hope that this time, my voice will be heard.