Sorry I haven’t been posting more looks, lately! <3
I’ve been under the weather and busy with work.
Here is my Thanksgiving look.
I transformed this modern dress and gave it some vintage glamor and sass.
Fall in SoCal is much warmer than other places I’ve been during Thanksgiving. So, I wanted to keep my look airy and light.
This is the SWAK Dafni dress in Coral.
However, I am wearing it BACKWARDS!
Yes. You read that correctly. I intentionally decided to wear this dress backwards because I liked the draping back in the front way more.
Plus, the crisscross in the front really reminds me of late 50s/early 60s DIOR evening gowns.
I also added a nylon petticoat for flare and volume.
Cinched the waist and broke up the block of color with a black belt.
And, accessorized it with black shoes (SoftSpots) and demi gloves (to bring it into Fall).
I am also wearing LUMIERE Holiday Pigment from Mon Ennui Cosmetics’ Rich and Warm Holiday Collection on my eyes and cheeks. It gives my skin a romantic candlelit glow.
Mon Ennui Cosmetics Limited Edition Holiday Gift Sets.
My fella and I have now been married for 11 years.
In January… we’ll have been together for 12 years.
We make magic together.
We laugh… a lot.
And, when things get rough… it’s always he and I… back-to-back… us against the world… kicking ass.
We eloped. It was the best thing I ever did.
People said we were “young and stupid”.
We were okay with that.
We both wore all black. He had purple hair. I had red and blonde.
While we giggled at the weird seriousness of the courthouse ceremony… the judge made a snide remark about the sanctity of marriage.
We still giggle when things get too serious.
This is… Love on our terms.
Knowing that there is one person in the world who puts up with your shit… supports your dreams… will follow you into a world of pure imagination… fight through hell… and let you wake them up in the middle of the night so you can get super fresh donuts…
I want to share something with you. I am sure that I might lose some followers, after doing this. It’s okay! I understand. And, I also promise that I’m not going to talk about this all the time.
On March 5th of this year I had a craniotomy to remove a brain tumor that was causing me some trouble. The photo of me in the hospital bed was about 6 hours after surgery. They said I could eat whatever I wanted. Everything tasted really weird and my throat was still super dry from the breathing tube. My head also bled a lot during surgery… which is why I am an awesome shade of green.
The photo on the right is two days after surgery.. when I informed my surgeon I was ready to leave the hospital and he removed the bandage. I looked at my husband’s shocked face. There wasn’t a mirror. The nurse said that I could look when I got home. I insisted he take a photo because I needed to see it. That photo was the first “real” moment I had in all of this. I broke down and had a panic attack.
The nurse told me that it was okay to get upset… because I had been so strong and so “together” through my entire operation and hospital stay.
They also told me that I could stay longer.
I didn’t want to. I wanted to leave.
My husband told me, later, that as I cried and freaked out… my head was beating up and down with my heartbeat.
That night… I woke up with a big pocket of brain fluid in my face.
Then… about a week after surgery… the depression and anxiety found me. Depression and anxiety are common after brain surgery.
I felt… hopeless… scared… and angry.
Everything was too intense. Healing was so bizarre! Nothing I read or was told could’ve possibly prepared me for it. The hair thing REALLY bothered me more than I thought it would. Not just the shaved spot… but, also how much hair fell out… and how my hair changed color and texture from the trauma.
Mentally… I had a really hard time functioning.
I swelled up. I gained weight.
I felt like I was losing myself. It was extra hard for me to process information. I misunderstood people A LOT. My head hurt more and there were issues with the pressure around my brain changing frequently. My brain registered everything as mean or hostile if things got too intense or stressful. I lost friends… because they didn’t seem to understand that I wasn’t the same person anymore (and when I said I needed them to STOP stressing me out… it wasn’t a judgment… it was me expressing my needs). People expected me to be able to just go back to how I was. Hell… I was expecting that, too!
Life isn’t like a movie. People aren’t predictable. They don’t do or say the right things. They can’t see through your eyes. Not everyone is as compassionate or empathetic as they think they are.
And, that’s OKAY! I don’t really mind if things don’t work out… as long as people aren’t abusive or hostile about it on the way out. In the end… I made some new friends while I was at my worst. They ended up being more supportive and understanding than the friends that were used to me at my “struggling with brain tumor symptoms” best self before surgery.
After about three months after surgery… I started to “land”. And, this calm security started to wash over me.
I’m NOT the same person anymore. Not the same person I was before surgery. Not the same person I was right afterward, either.
It’s the most profound realization.
One day … you wake up… and certain things about you that you hated but had defined you for years… have suddenly changed! Then, other things changed over the next 3 months until I hit the 6th month mark… more and more… a different person started to emerge. I’m still “me”. But, there are differences that astound me.
At six months after surgery I felt more positive. I felt like I wanted to try to look nice and put on makeup and feel pretty.
People judge that.
The need to FEEL good about yourself… whatever that means to you… people think it’s “superficial” or “vain” or “selfish”.
For me… I needed to feel… pretty. I needed to put on makeup, do my hair, put on a pretty dress… and pose for some photos.
I needed to SEE someone that wasn’t weak.
I needed to get up… leave my bed and my room (even if I only had enough energy for a few hours)… put on something nice… find some happiness… and be able to SEE IT. Just like how I needed to see the photo of my staples and scar and bald head. That photo made the surgery real, for me. I needed to see a me that is full of life… strong… sensual… powerful… unwavering… bold. I needed “healing” to feel real to me.
The bottom photos are me six months after brain surgery (left) and eight months after surgery (right).
I’m still healing. I’m going to be healing for a few years. The first year is the most dramatic… by the end of the second year I’ll be done.
I still have bad days. I get exhausted. I get bad headaches sometimes. I get overwhelmed. I still have some confusion and memory issues.
People still think that it’s something I’m choosing to do (instead of just something that I am overcoming). I have learned to handle that better, too! I just tell people “I’m doing my best, right now”… and if they can’t handle it, I’m fine if they go away.
I’m in less pain. I feel more clear. I feel more calm.
My balance is better. My face moves symmetrically. I’m having less seizure activity. My double vision is improving.
But, I still have a long way to go.
I guess that the reason I am writing this is…
You can’t always look at photos of people online and think you know everything about them. You only know how they make you FEEL. And, that’s the art of it all!
The struggles I’ve had and the secrets beneath my flesh… are very big and very real. But, they aren’t more important than YOUR struggles are to you! My struggles are just most important to me, because I’m the one who has to get through this. I express my struggles because they are mine to express.
I’ve had to accept changes in my mind and body. It’s been very difficult, for me.
I had to re-learn how to take care of myself… how to connect with myself… how to BE myself! I’ve had to put myself first, despite my urge to sacrifice myself to my family’s drama and the pressures of my work.
Right now… I’m just a human with a skull held together by metal, superglue and prayers… hoping that I can find ways of looking at myself and saying “You’re way stronger than I gave you credit for!”. I’m hoping to pace myself and give myself a break when I need to be weak.
I hope that whatever you’re dealing with… you’re putting YOU first. And, you’re looking at yourself and finding ways to see a stronger person every day. Struggle is struggle. You have your fight and I have mine.
No matter what you’re fighting against, today… you’re going to get through it! And, six months from now… a year from now… you’re going to look back and pat yourself on the back and say “Good job!”
Hopefully this post is holding your hand, right now… and proving to you that everything is going to be OKAY. It’s okay to choose YOU. It’s okay to find out what you need and ask for it/get it. It’s okay to accept where you’re at, right now… because six months from now it’s going to be different for you!
It’s okay for you to do what you need to do to feel your best and prove to yourself that you’re amazing.
You can do this… because you’re the best you on earth. <3
You cannot help anyone else or be there for anyone else… if you haven’t taken care of you, first! Nobody is going to love you the ways that you need them to… until you figure out how to love yourself and walk away from people who stress you out or aren’t good for you.
Don’t read this and compare our problems!
Don’t read this and think “Oh, I shouldn’t complain or feel bad for myself!”
No. Read this. Figure out your struggle… figure out some way to look at yourself in a more positive way… and move forward with that. Water it. Nurture it. Help it grow. Chase your happy! Chase what makes you fall in love with the beauty in YOU.
When you get there… figure out a small way to pass that on to other people who need it, too.
Think about this for a moment:
You are trying to sell something to millions of adult women (25-35) with disposable incomes. These average women are 5’4” tall, a size 14 and weight about 170 pounds.
Now we have our client! We know what they look like. We know what they need.
So… we’re going to hire 16 year old girls… who are 5’10-6’ tall… and a size 4-6… and have them wear the clothes we want to sell to our average clients in our catalogs.
BUT… the clothes don’t fit our models correctly! They’re all sized way too big. That’s okay.
We’re going to stuff socks in their bras, shove empty water bottles down their pant legs, pin dresses back at the waist and bust with binder clips… and only photograph them from specific angles that hide the lumps, tucks and stuffs. This ilusion will give our client the impression that the clothes actually fit properly on anyone… and make them think they’ll will look taller and thinner wearing them.
Fashion advertising shouldn’t be a mind fuck. It’s no wonder most women feel like they are at war with their bodies!
This houndstooth printed dress just begged for anachronistic flare.
At 6’ tall and a current modern size 24/26/28 (depending on the brand)…
Finding any vintage clothing in my size is nearly impossible.
So, I find a happy balance with “modern retro” styling by taking current pieces that have updated a vintage look with modern textiles/details and accessorizing.
I love vintage style! I owe that to my Grandma who took me shopping for dances and chose empire waist dresses with trapeze line skirts and showed me how flattering “fit and flare” silhouettes are on a plus size figure.
It’s really nice to be able to find modern options that lend themselves to vintage glamor. Modern textiles with a little bit of spandex are much more comfortable on bigger bodies. You can look fantastically stylish without feeling like you’re trapped in your clothes all day.
Houndstooth dress by NYCollection
Black satin bow heels by Lane Bryant (2011 Holiday collection, I think)
Black crinoline (to add volume to the skirt)
Black belt and red leather demi gloves.
My most popular post is THUNDER THIGHS.
It has been passed around and loved over 1,200 times in the last three weeks.
It’s a simple photo of my naked legs with the text:
Growing up… girls said I have Thunder Thighs.
I’ve decided that it was a compliment.
"It’s not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind and the earthquake.”
- Frederick Douglas
Today, I saw that someone reblogged the photo with the following text added to it:
Did you just take a quote from the most famous abolitionist in U.S. history and make it about your chubby white legs?
Yes. I DID take a quote from a famous abolitionist and make it about my chubby white legs. The juxtaposition was intentional. Fat prejudice is a serious issue that includes all races, genders and ages! It is perfectly acceptable for doctors, politicians and employers to act with extreme prejudice toward fat people. It is perfectly acceptable for fat people to be the brunt of jokes and social harassment. So, yes. I did make that parallel and it was absolutely intentional.
It’s not just about MY “chubby legs”. It’s about every single fat person in this world who wants DIGNITY.
We need fearless people who are willing to stand up and stand out in a world that says “I’d rather be dead than fat”.
Also… I am considered “morbidly obese”. Not chubby.
I was recently denied an MRI in Hollywood (after I had already had one at the same facility) because they told me that I would “break their machine”. They were rude and cruel about it. I had to speak to my surgeon about it and have them speak to the facility’s owner.
Welcome to the year 2013: Where more people campaign for the fair treatment of livestock than human beings.
Some people might think that it’s distasteful for me to make the connection between human rights violations. I felt that it was perfect… and that it would reach out and speak to people in a big way.
I am humbled at how many people the photo and sentiment has reached, so far. I suspect that it will go much further than I could’ve ever thought possible.
Art isn’t just about making pretty pictures. Art can also change the world.