The Internet is bullsh*t

Okay, so the title is a bit strong, but read on…

So Kidlet and I were running an errand on the weekend. A song came on that I hadn’t heard in a while. Naturally, I began car dancing. I’m a GREAT car dancer. I can drive and shake my shoulders like nobody’s business. The car slowed at red light and then I really started dancing, putting my hips into it. I then felt a kick on the back of my seat, “Mum, stop!” I thought, “Huh? We’re just getting to the best part of the song!” “Mum, stop dancing!” I looked beside me and realized that both people in the car beside us were looking at me. It didn’t bother me really, but I thought, “I should be able to car dance if I want to!” I asked Kidlet, “Are you embarrassed of me?” What he said next is what blew my mind.

“Mum, do you want people to laugh at you? What if they’re taking video and then they put it on the internet? What if they put it on Facebook and then everybody just laughs at you? Is that what you want?”

Yeah. That happened.

Am I just naive? Maybe I just don’t get it. Is this something that people have to think about these days? What the hell? It took a while to process. I suppose he had a point, but it wasn’t something I never, ever thought about before. Sure, sometimes when I’m engaging in a shenanigan or two, the thought does cross my mind that perhaps what I’m doing is unseemly for a woman of my age, but my car dancing? Bite your tongue!

His reality is that people who are different or who are just living their lives are subject to JUDGEMENT on a global scale. Maybe twenty years ago, shows like American Funniest Videos were good innocent fun, but now, kids are killing themselves trying to escape from the fallout of viral videos. It weighed heavily on my mind.

Then last night, a friend on Facebook posted a picture of a female topless sunbather whose breasts had not recovered from breastfeeding. She was wearing sunglasses and looked like she was sleeping, so it could be that she didn’t even know the picture was being taken. My eyes were drawn to that picture since you know how I feel about my boobs. The woman was wearing a bikini and you can see the stretch marks across her belly, so she probably has had children. Anyway, I didn’t need to see the stretch marks, I know the cause of those boobs because I have a pair that do not look dissimilar.

The comments on that picture broke my heart. They really did. I piped in with

Vikera Hunte When you push out some chirren and feed them for a year each, then you can make any comments here….

but it didn’t make a difference. My three comments and one other were the only ones that were not negative. Everyone else seemed to think it was the worst thing they’d ever seen. The reality is though that this is how life is now. Anything is open for ridicule and judgement regardless of the cause. While I was taken aback by Kidlet’s comments in the car about my car dancing on Saturday, I had proof that he had a valid point.

The internet is a place where you can bring good and positive things to the light. It’s a place where things you never knew about can be seen, like those flowers whose petals go transparent when they’re wet (or was it frozen, I forget) or you can see what people or places look like in countries you’ll never be able to visit. The internet can also be CRUEL.

So where is the line? Can I not car dance anymore? Can I not sing (and dance) while I’m doing grocery shopping because it makes me happy? Can I not wear my bikini if I don’t have the perfect breasts and perfect body according to “people” even though my body is ravaged because I brought another human into the world?

Sigh.

Vikera

p.s. While I do not actually think that the internet is bullsh*t, it’s becoming or has become a weapon of mass destruction and I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all!

Advertisements

Through my own eyes

Good morning everyone!

Do you think when you look at yourself you see yourself through the eyes of someone else? When you make your decisions, do you subconsciously let others weigh in?

I’ve always said if it wasn’t for my mother being who she was, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today. She was always in my corner boosting me up and letting me know that I could do anything. Sure, there were times when her advice was misguided because she feared for me and my well-being. Our opinions differed only because as a mother she wanted to protect me and I wanted to take risks. Now that I am a mother myself, I get that. She always let me know that I was smart, she let me know that I was beautiful and that I had many things to offer. She let me know that I was worth something and that I was a prize. Hearing that all through my life gave me confidence, it gave me strength, it made me stand up for myself and it also made others treat me the way she saw me.

You teach people how to treat you.

It’s only now, when she is no longer here, I see the fact that for a long time, I had been looking at myself through her eyes. My kindness and gentleness, my sense of fairness and generosity, my loyalty and honesty are all things that she wanted me to be, what she thought me to be and I manifested that and became all those things. Over the years, I had become that woman.

Interestingly enough, while I had a voice in my heart telling me how to be a good person, there were also other voices creeping in with disparaging words; words that told me that I am other things too. In the past, there was someone in my life through whose eyes I also saw myself and the Vikera I saw was not so good. The Vikera I saw was lazy, loud, aggressive, overly talkative, too smart, a mediocre mother, cheap, naive, a little bit stupid and overly ambitious. I saw myself through that person’s eyes for a long time and it took its toll on me.

Over time, I started to believe those things, in varying degrees. My mother had created such a strong foundation that this other stuff couldn’t possibly be true, but for pockets of time, I did question if I talked too much, I did think that I could be a better mother, I did wonder if I should dampen my rambunctious, vivacious personality. I realized that I started looking at myself through that person’s eyes.

Isn’t that strange?

Luckily for me, though, over time, I started looking at myself through my own eyes: a skill that took A LONG TIME to get a handle on. It took a long time to start looking at myself objectively and judging myself and my actions based on the person I wanted to be not who someone else thought I was.

I do not judge my actions based on what others think about me. I judge my actions based on what is right and fair to others.

This circles back to how strongly I feel about the media and body image and all of that stuff. This comes back to all these forces in our lives telling us things about ourselves that we may not necessarily buy into but before you know it, we start believing it and repeating it. We start looking at ourselves through others’ eyes – others who do not have our best interest at heart, others who don’t know who we are, others who try to hurt us, others who are not trying to build us up. We have to be vigilant, we have to be aware. We have to think if our opinions are actually our opinions or if we are voicing or thinking someone else’s.

I do like my rambunctious personality, I am hella smart, I am definitely loud and funny, I can be lazy. I am a wonderful mother. I hate doing dishes and laundry. I can do anything. I have thick thighs. I am a procrastinator. My wit is everything! I can be too generous sometimes. I am loyal. I love hard. I snore.

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. Please do not squirrel off with it without asking first.

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. Please do not squirrel off with it without asking first.

All in all, I’m not perfect, but I’m fucking awesome and will only get better! <— That’s me looking at myself through my own eyes and I look goooooood!

Have a great day guys! ❤

V

Ways to feel better about yourself – Part II

If you read Part I and you’re STILL not feeling better, continue reading this list. There might be something in here for you.

5. Take yourself out on a date. Treat yourself to the things you love. You’re alone yes, but there is nothing wrong with that. Remember all the times you were smothered by people and talking crowds, and you only wanted to be alone with yourself. 

(The word ‘date’ in this line almost made me abandon this whole post. I’m so very bitter about my lack of one lately! lol) I am the Queen of doing things alone. While I am extroverted and do feel energized around people, I quite enjoy doing things alone. I went to New York for a week alone. I volunteered for a weekend alone. I go to the movies alone. I go to dinners alone. I go for walks alone. I enjoy my own company and that’s not just because I talk to myself a lot and I am hilarious…because I am. It’s about creating your own happiness. It’s about doing the things that you want to do and not being constrained by needing a companion. No one, but no one likes your taste in movies? Go alone! Who cares? You’ll be sitting in the dark anyway and NO ONE likes to talk during the movies, right? Enjoy yourself! Do what you like! Do what you love! Be happy!

6. Write yourself a love note. Tell yourself your favorite things about you, and tell yourself all the things you want to become. Tell yourself you’ll love you forever.

I’ve thought about doing this before, but haven’t. I have a pretty good list going in my head though!

See the good things in yourself. Have you ever thought, “I”m a really patient person” or you’ve heard enough good things to start believing it yourself? Just like when someone brings you down, you tend to believe it, use the same tactic to boost yourself up. At the end of your day, when you have a minute, think about the awesome things you did that day even if it was just making someone smile.

7. Take pictures of yourself. Selfies are magnificent! Take 500! Take them everywhere! Find the good lighting! Pick your favorite one and realize what a wonderful work of art you are.

If you get ready and dressed to do errands on a Saturday and you look in the mirror at yourself on the way out the door and you think, “Hot d@mn, I look super cute today,” take a selfie! Keep it as a reminder at how effortlessly beautiful you are! Just think, models are models because someone decides he/she is beautiful enough for it. Why not make that decision for yourself about yourself?

8. Acknowledge your accomplishments, all of them. Got out of bed? It’s hard sometimes and it’s been hard before, so honestly great job. Drink lots of water, and at the end of the day congratulate yourself for staying hydrated. Let yourself know when you are proud, and soak up the feeling of “well done”.”

Celebrate your achievements. If you do something that was hard for you to do, think about what a good job you did. Measure your accomplishments by your own standards. Some of the things I have felt good about in the past:

  • staying in bed and not getting up to do chores because because I worked hard all week and I deserve to relax
  • every time I stop eating after I’m full and not continue because there’s still food on the plate
  • when I put myself and my needs first
  • every time Kidlet says “Thank you” without prompting
  • not getting another pair of shoes I don’t need
  • each and every time I’ve written a blog post and hit “Publish”

The point of these things is to prove that you are more amazing than you think and you deserve to be happy! As long as you remember this, every day will be a good day!

 


Thank you to aavocadobaby and Voluptuous Vixens for this list and the inspiration! You have helped me and others remember that self-love is important. Happiness starts inside, radiates out and then comes back to us!

Have a super fantastic day!

 

Ways to feel better about yourself – Part I

It probably wouldn’t come as a surprise to you that I follow a page on Facebook called “Voluptuous Vixens”. This page often brings positive messages about self-image and self-love. One of its recent posts was about how to take care of yourself. I heart that post so much. Not because I just like what it says, which I do, but because I have done a few of these myself and they do feel good and make me feel good about myself.

I want to share the message with you….with my own interjections, of course…..

1. Sleep without underwear every once and a while, it’s good for you. Maybe even try sleeping naked.

While I’ve tried this before, I don’t do it that often. When I do decide to do it, usually in the summer, I lay there in my natural-born state and think, “What if there’s a fire and I can’t find any clothes to put on to get out of the house!?” Then, I think about the firemen and I’m fine. 🙂 My compromise – I ALWAYS keep a t-shirt at the foot of the bed, you know, just in case. Sleeping in the nude is relaxing, for sure, as it allows your body to fully be free for a few hours. Ahhhhh…..I find when I can feel the cool fibres of my sheets, it’s soothing.

2. Take long baths with tea, ice cream, or whatever you please. Throw in bubbles if that’s your style.

I’m not a ‘bath’ kind of person, but every now and then, I can run a bath and sit in there, but the whole time I’m in there, I worry, “Is this how I”m supposed to fit in here? I’m only 5’2″. How does a normal-sized person fit in here? Wouldn’t my knees get cold? How can my whole body fit in here?” That goes on for a couple minutes, but then I can usually relax: just sit, close my eyes and listen to my breathing. Once, I even fell asleep in the tub. Magical. With soft music playing or loud music so that I can sing along? It’s all good.

If you are in Trinidad and don’t have a bathtub, try relaxing in the ocean or at a swimming pool. Same idea.

[As you can tell, it’s not easy for me to relax, but I try to do it and when I do succeed, it does help!]

3. Look at yourself like you look at your best friend. Find the freckles you love, what your eyes look best with, what hairstyle compliments your smile.

I spend a lot of time looking at myself – not in a ‘Mirror, mirror on the wall’ kind of way, but just to know myself: the moles on my shoulders or the freckles on my nose or other things that I’ve noticed. I find when you really know yourself and look at yourself, it’s really easy to see what’s loveable, cute and unique about yourself. Once you know what there is to love, you won’t have to wait for someone else to point it out because you’ll already know.

4. When you look at your naked body in the mirror, only think good things. Say compliments to yourself aloud. Watch yourself smile, and encourage yourself.

It doesn’t have to be when you’re naked. When you leave the house, try to feel good about yourself before you leave. Take a moment to really look at the person in the mirror. Is that shade of red making your skin glow? Is your hair WORKING IT today? Do your legs look fab? Are you wearing awesome shoes? Is your haircut on point? When you look good, you feel good and when you feel good, anything can happen…..

Have a super great day!

I have THICK THIGHS and I can not lie!

Hiya!

Personally, I’ve always wondered how I would feel about my body if I still lived in Trinidad. Sometimes I feel a little like Mowgli from the Jungle Book: a completely different species trying to integrate, everybody telling him, “You’re one of us, you’re the same,” yet he knows and they know he’s different, but everyone just plays the game. Anyway, on to what I wanted to write about today.

A friend of mine shared an article from Elisabeth Akinwale’s blog. Admittedly, I don’t know much about Elisabeth. All I know is that she does Crossfit, which seems to be a kind of hardcore bootcamp-ish kind of exercise that focusses on all over body strength. (Because I’m not sure what it is, I’m deliberately being vague, so as not to misrepresent it. People who do it seem to love it though! You should check it out.)

Anyway, Elisabeth shared  this article about the “thigh gap”. Go ahead, click on the link, read it and come back, I’ll wait.

According to Wikipedia, “A thigh gap in women is a space between the inner thighs when standing upright with both knees touching”and I will confess to you: I once wanted a thigh gap.

Years ago, I admitted out loud that I wanted a thigh gap. I was tired of shorts being bunched up because of the friction. I have thick and solid thighs…not super muscular, but dense and they swell into full hips, so in my mind, if my thighs would slim down, because my hips were so wide, it wouldn’t take much to get that gap. I had it all figured out! Sigh. Poor delusional me. I never did anything much to achieve it, but it was one of those things I wished I had, like a million dollars!

In Elisabeth’s article, she talks about her big thighs being 26 inches around. I knew mine was in that area. Sure enough….

I only had the mini sewing kit measuring tape, so I had to stick one side down to get the other side around.

I only had the mini sewing kit measuring tape, so I ran out of tape.

Over the years, a few things happened that help me accept my body the way it’s structured:

  1. I went on a trip with a couple friends who had full thighs, and they introduced me to some kind of powder to prevent chaffing of the thighs. That was a revelation to me. Not only did other people exist that had touching thighs, but there were enough people with full thighs to have products to address specific concerns about rubbing thighs. Whoa!
  2. On my 3-week visit to Trinidad, there were thick thighs as far as the eye could see, strutting proudly. They probably never even heard of a thigh gap and they all seemed to be happy.
  3. Hearing my cousin talk of her thigh issues and pants, I realized that I come from a long line of thick thighed (<– I just made up that word!) women, so I don’t know who I’m trying to fool anyway. You can’t fight genetics.
  4. Elisabeth alluded to it too, but I’ve realized that if my thighs were smaller, my butt might get smaller too and that’s definitely not a risk I’m willing to take!

I’m really glad that I read this article. I found myself nodding the whole time I was reading it. It confirmed that I have stopped the insanity and accepted that whatever will be will be!

To counterbalance the “Mowgli effect”, I deliberately seek out images and sources for positive reinforcement. If you can’t find someone to be inspired by with the bodies you see, find other bodies to look at! If what you’re looking at makes you feel bad about yourself, look at something else!

I’ve always looked to professional athlete Serena Williams’ and the ultimate dance performer Beyonce for inspiration because they have thick thighs too, are FIT and fabulous! Now I will add Elisabeth to that list!  Feel free to comment with other women I should put on my radar.

In the comments section of Elisabeth’s article, there were things said about how ridiculous the whole ‘thigh gap’ thing is to begin with, but I felt very sheepish to judge. After all, I was once a believer.

To write this article, I did an image search for “thigh gap” and the results were pretty crazy…crazy like a ketchup and peanut butter sandwich! Click on the link and see what I mean – it will petrify you!) Just looking at those pictures, I know that it’s not even something that is desirable to me anyway, let alone being possible! It’s like busting your hump aspiring to be a size 4 and then you see what a size 4 really looks like and you almost pass out because you realize just how misguided you were in the first place!

Humour me, next time you’re in a clothing store, go check out a pair of pants in your ‘dream’ size and ask yourself if it’s reasonable that you can make it happen from where you are today and think of what it would take to get there. That will put it in perspective. I know it helped me be realistic about my body and my expectations of it.

These days, I’m embracing my body for what it is. Sure, I’ve thickened up a bit over the years, but for someone who eats popcorn and yogurt (not in the same mouthful though) in bed at 11 pm, what’s to be expected?

The thigh gap? I’m okay with not having one. Besides, like Elisabeth says, having a pair of thick thighs has its uses.

No-gap thighs are GREAT for hide and seek!

No-gap thighs are GREAT for hide and seek!