A Wayword BoPo Sheep

20150822_111131I am struggling with my body positivity. I’m not sure what else there is to say. The soaring confidence I used to have in the body positivity movement doesn’t seem to be coursing through my veins like before.

It’s not that I don’t believe in the movement. In fact, I still believe it has done tremendous things for my life. I would have never embraced my ability to dance without it. I never would have explored the forest, waterfalls, and hiking in general with out it. I certainly would not have found the confidence to get on stage and try stand up comedy with out Body Positivity.

Yet, if I were to give a “State of My Union” address, I would have to say the state of my self-confidence is at a low. It’s not an all-time low. I still know I am in a better place mentally than I was when I started this journey two years ago. But, it is low.

The only thing I can pinpoint this dip in self-confidence is starting comedy. Specifically, watching myself on video constantly. I tape every set I do. I want to see how my material does. I want to see what nervous ticks I have on stage so I can work on them. The problem with cameras, especially when you have to prop them with beer bottles on a table, is the angles suck. I see myself, admittedly, at some of the worst angles in some the harshest, unflattering light. As I find less about my performance to beat myself up over, I find myself focusing on what I look like on stage.

Let’s be honest. It doesn’t matter what your size is. It is important to think about your image when you are building a career like comedy. It’s important to think about what people see on stage. I have no guitar to hide behind. I have no distractions on stage. It is just me, microphone in hand, wanting to gain the trust of an audience enough that they are willing to find humor where they might not otherwise. What I wear, what I look like is important.

It’s important for anyone, in any field. There is room for personal flair, and for all body types. In whatever any of us do, it’s important to project confidence and look like you have your shit together.
12705568_10207076201757668_390478687671836899_nBut, I’m struggling with the duality of it. Does this mean that I need to worry about my VBO in jeans? The rolls that I have? I’ll be honest. It drives me absolutely nuts. If there is anything about what I see on camera, it’s my midsection that fucks with my mind more than anything else. Where is the line between ensuring I look put together and trustworthy, and yet embracing my body for what it currently is with love and respect?

I don’t know the answer. I am far from someone who can give advice at this point. Perhaps I need some.

It’s not fair to blame it all on comedy, either. That ordeal with Craiglist hit me harder than I ever wanted to admit to anyone. I still struggle with stepping in front of anyone without thinking about it. The struggle with online hate is real. Maybe I should have waited longer before entering a new career, a new community, a new spotlight before working through that. There are other factors, other influences, that don’t have the same BoPo philosophy. It’s also not fair to blame anyone by myself. I have lost my way.

I am a wayward sheep. The farther I wander from my herd, the farther I get from the habits that helped me love my body, and the closer I get to the habits that didn’t. I drink less water. I drink more soda. I put garbage in my body. I will say, this moment has helped me remember something vital about this movement. When you love something, you treat it with care. Body positivity helped me love my body, and want to take care of it. The farther I get from that, the more I don’t care.

I think it’s the feeling of failure that burdens me the most. How could I be such a proponent of a moment for two years, and the moment I really become tested lose my way?

And, I hate to talk about it. I don’t want to be one of those women that seeks input from others to feel better about themselves. I don’t want to be a woe-is-me about this. But, I wonder if it’s important for others to see the struggle. It’s not always easy, all the time. Every journey has up and downs.

Spring Forward

20150822_111131I know, daylight savings time is a real debate. Some people like it. Some people hate it. But, nonetheless, many of us are about to spring forward our clocks.

Why do we do this? We do this to try to spread the sunlight out to the more useful hours. It is said that the use of Daylight Savings Time saves over 10,000 barrels of oil a day. Say what you want, but it does save energy.

But, what does this have to do with anything you would care about? Well, this got me thinking about body confidence. I was thinking about how I come across situations in my life that take so much energy, especially in the battle of body positivity.

For example, I had headshots taken this weekend in the name of comedy. I found myself worrying about them. Would I look okay? Was it worth paying for a photographer when I’m not a model? The idea of being in front of a camera really shook my confidence.

When the time came, I had a choice. I could either waste energy on these feelings, or spring past them. I had to spring past my insecurities so I could truly enjoy the sunshine of the moment.

Okay, so it might be a metaphorical stretch. But, you get where I’m headed, right?

12705568_10207076201757668_390478687671836899_nIn the last 3 months I’ve had a lot of first times. First time on stage. First real gig. First head shots. All of these moments have come with significant body confidence troubles. My mind wants to put significant energy into how I look on stage. How my outward appearance might negatively affect how my material is received. But, I choose to spring forward, if even in that moment when I have to step on the stage or in front of the camera.

So, feel free to steal my poor metaphor (but good advice). Sometimes it feels like we can’t run from our insecurities. I think working through insecurities, especially those connected with body issues, can take a lifetime to unravel. There are so many societal messages that reinforce our negative self talk. But, instead of spending energy trying to ban them forever, maybe we can all start at trying to spring forward. We can tell our insecurities we will fall back on them after our tasks are completely.

Spring forward for your goals. Spring forward so you can experience new things. Spring forward so you can love yourself. You might be surprised what results you get when you spring past your insecurities, if even just for an hour.

Katy Ipock Headshot

Why Deadpool Is My New BoPo Spirit Animal

20150214_185614My husband wanted to see dead pool for our Valentine’s Day/Anniversary. (Yes, we got married on Valentine’s Day. Everyone celebrates our love. You are welcome.)

I knew what I was getting into, and was actually excited. Who doesn’t love a Ryan Reynolds in a spandex suit? And the filthy humor is right up my alley.

Here is what I didn’t expect. As I was watching Deadpool beat the snot out of bad guys, I realized his power comes from his lack of fear. He knows he will survive any damage. He is truly invisible.

What if we all lived our lives this way? Of course, I’m speaking metaphorically. I’m not suggesting you believe that you are immortal, and no bullet or car accident is going to harm you.

What I mean, is what if we all lived our lives like the words and attitudes of those around us just bounced off? What if we believed that no one could damage us with their words, actions, and attitudes? Sure, they cause a hole for a moment, but our bodies will just close that shit up and we will survive.

What if we all realized that we truly, kick ass?

20151005_093717I think if we all believed that no one has the capability of hurting us permanently, we would all live a more fulfilling life. No more worrying about judgement. No more nights wasted wondering if our mere presence is disruptive. What dreams would we strive for if we didn’t take into account how others will react?

So, channel your inner Deadpool ladies. Remember, that though it may sting for a moment, the words and actions of others are meaningless.

They are the opinions of sheep.

We All Lose Our Way

20150328_140727I feel like I’ve been writing a lot about the intersection of body positivity and health. I get on the soapbox and talk about it’s possible to live in that intersection without sacrificing your self love or your desire to be your healthiest self. There is a way to meld these two together in harmony. It’s all about checking your motivatations and not making any decision purely to chase the unattainable goal of the perfect looking body. Thinness isn’t health. Blah. Blah. Blah.

Here’s the thing. I’m feeling like a fraud lately.

Ever since I went on stage for my first open mic, I’ve been battling the old voices. I thought I was strong, and ready to take my next step into the world. But, I worry. Will my weight keep people for appreciating my humor? Will people give me a chance? Will they still be able to relate to me, and what I’m saying, even if I don’t “look pleasing?” Do I need to start wearing make up at every show, and update my wardrobe?

It has motivated me to start working out at home. This is something I have battled forever. “Traditional” exercise has always made me feel weak in the past. But, that has changed. I am up to doing 100 squats, 100 crunches, and 85 push ups. I’m going slow, but it is feeling amazing.

But I know I’m doing it for the wrong reasons. I’m doing it in hopes that, eventually, it will start changing some of the dimensions of my body. I’m hoping, on top of all the healthy stuff I am already doing, this will help my body begin to conform to a more “acceptable” shape.

20140823_085751There is some truth to my rationalizations. I’m not hiking right now, it’s too cold and wintery for me. And, it doesn’t stay light late enough for me to go for walks after my husband gets home. Plus, I’m not dancing as often. So, I need to do something at home while my son is at school. I need to keep my stamina up so I can hike and hunt waterfalls this coming season.

But, I have to admit, my head isn’t in the right place, either.

We all get lost on our journeys. No one is prepared for every twist and turn. The trick to is find your way again. I’ll get there. So will you.

Why You Should Try That Thing You Are Scared Of

20150816_163745

I try not to speak for people other than myself. Somehow, I feel pretty confident that I am not the only person who is afraid of experiences. Especially when it’s doing something for the first time.

My problem with these fears is they hold me back. They have kept me from exploring the world, and all the new experiences it has to offer.

Last night, I tried stand up comedy for the first time. It was a resolution last year, and I had put it off. Why? Because I was scared.

I was scared I wouldn’t be funny, that people wouldn’t look past my outward appearance, and I know deep down I was scared because I didn’t feel good enough.

I put off trying stand up comedy for a year. Though, I know I’ve been putting it off longer than that. I delayed because, despite my lack of fear of a microphone, I was afraid of not being funny. It’s the only time in my life I’ve worried about crickets.

When the time came, I wasn’t nervous about the crowd (I had, unknowingly, stacked the room with all my friends), or being on stage. I was nervous about making people laugh. I was nervous that I might not accomplish my goal, which was to bring some joy and laughter into the lives of those in the room.

I learned a long time ago, when doing speech team in high school, that a certain level of nervousness is a key to success. It was a sign I had truly invested in a speech. Those speeches, the ones that made my palms sweaty and my heart race when I took my initial breath to begin, would make it finals.

It was the speeches where I was cocky, and without a care in the world, that never made it past the first round.

Not all nervousness is a sign that you are doing something wrong. It’s not always a sign that you are in the wrong place, or the universe telling you it’s not your path. Some nervousness is a sign of how much you love this thing you have created. It’s a sign that you have poured yourself into something.

Rejection happens. Failure happens. Don’t let a fear of those things stop you from trying. The only true failure is the project that is never taken on.

I wish I would have realized this sooner. I wish I would have shed the weight of shame and guilt years ago. But, I also know that the universe brings you things when you are ready for them. And, maybe this is a sign that I am ready for my next adventure.

 

The Oprah Outrage

20151101_155613Remember my post a few weeks ago, where I said I wasn’t going to response to the body negative things anymore. I wasn’t going to perpetrate there hatred by shinning light on it? This won’t be the first time I break that rule.

You probably know, but may not, that Oprah has endorsed Weight Watchers in a very big way. Ignoring the fact that she owns 10% of the business, she opened in her video (which arrived on everyone’s feed thanks to the Facebook Sponsored post system) with this statement:

Inside every overweight woman, is a woman she knows she can be.”

Oprah, arguably the most powerful and successful woman in the world, has put herself out there and say she doesn’t feel happy with herself because she is overweight.

So, why is this causing an uproar? There are probably million of women who feel this way. They want to be healthier, and happier, especially with this time of year when so many of us are looking at ways of self-improvement.

The best way to explain this might be to, again, take you through my personal journey.

3rdMy first memories of trying to be active is in elementary school PE. We were running relays. I was not very fast, but I was enjoying myself. At one point, for whatever reason, I fell. The kids laughed, and the teacher brushed it off. It was the first I had ever felt my ankle hurt.

For the rest of my childhood, anytime I would run or walk for an extended period of time on or both of my ankles would begin to throb and seize. All the adults in my life would say the same thing. It’s just growing pains. I felt defective. It was like being told that my body was not made to be active.

I also grew up in a time before body positivity, bully prevention, or what feels like general awareness of child mental health. It’s was acceptable to everyone that I be called fat like it was a nasty thing to be. If a kid spit on me in the playground, I was treated like the bad one and told to play somewhere else. I was chastised when siblings would push my face into a slice of cake I didn’t want to eat while being told I was a pig. When I was told to go kill myself, I was made out as the bad guy because I started making plans.

The lesson I learned was simple: To be “bad” at sports is to be fat. To be fat is to be ugly. To be ugly is to be worthless.

Once I got to middle school, I just began to believe what I was told. I had a gigantic chip on my shoulder. My PE teachers would yell at me when I was laying on the floor trying to understand why my ankles would seize. The kids would laugh. And of course, the ever present taunting.

Once I got to high school I just gave in. I believed that I was a bad student because I was bad a sports. I believed I was a bad person because I was fat. I believed that this meant I was ugly, and worthless, and didn’t deserve to be anything but a “fat slob.”

If you ever wonder why a kid like me would give up things when struggles would come, it’s because when you are told all your life you aren’t worth effort.

It became the reason I allowed people to mistreat me, abuse me, and generally ignore me. It was also why I allowed the adults in my life to tell me it was my fault.

This progressed through my adulthood. I never completed college because I didn’t feel smart enough. I was convinced my co-workers hated me because I was fat and wasn’t pretty. I was sure that my only job in life was to sit on a computer all day, and be a fat slob.

0987121-R1-054-25AI crash dieted through my early adulthood, losing over 60 pounds twice in my life. It never stuck, because I never learned how to actually take care of my body. The easy fixes the media sold me never fixed the real problem. I was deficient in self worth.

It wasn’t until almost two years ago, a light bulb started to click. I went on a walk with some friends, the whole time apologizing in advance for being slow and fat and ruining their time. I thought they would have to stop for me every few steps so I could catch my breath.

I’m not going to say that we never stopped, but I was not the only one catching my breath.

I walked 3 miles that day.

A few weeks later I saw my first waterfall. And I cried.

I started to realize the basis for everything I ever felt about myself was a lie. Not everyone is a star athlete, but this doesn’t mean that you aren’t worthy to work out. Not everyone is stick thin model, but that doesn’t make you unworthy of love. Sure, I was fat but that didn’t mean that I was unworthy of happiness or a fulfilling life.

I realized that being fat is just a descriptor. It is a way of describing someone’s appearance. It has nothing to do with their happiness, their abilities, or what path they should take in life. Being fat isn’t a lifestyle you have to conform to UNTIL you have earned your right to be seen in public.

20150614_114923It’s taken me two years to fully untangle the lies of my early life. I still have people who try to shove them down my throat. But, I think I’m doing okay.

That is why Oprah’s statement is so inflammatory. If someone like Oprah can tell a world that SHE isn’t good enough because she isn’t thin, she is discounting every success she has ever had. She is telling people that the only thing that matters is how you look. Her one statement says until you conform the societal standard of normalcy, you are unworthy of happiness.

Believing that lie kept me unhealthy, scared, and depressed for almost 30 years. It kept me from believing that I could achieve anything. No young person should feel this way. No child should have their self-esteem tied to their appearance. Every person is human. Every person is worthy.

Inside every person is their full potential. But, you don’t need to lose weight to find yourself. Your weight does not dictate who are you, what you are good at, or what you are worthy of being.

As for the ankle pain? Well, after almost 10 years of never feeling it, it came back a month ago. I had been dancing in non-supportive shoes. Almost every day for a week my ankle would seize. I’m 30. Somehow I doubt it’s growing pains.

I’ve always noticed this bone on the side of both my ankles that didn’t seem right, though no physician as ever said anything. After some googling, I believe that I may have Accessory Navicular Syndrome. (I’m lucky the internet gave me something so benign.) It’s on my list of things to mention to my doctor, even though there is nothing to really do with it. But it would unravel one last lie. It’s not that I am bad at sports, or unworthy of being active, I just have an extra piece of awesomeness. If I would have know that when I was kid, my entire world would have been different. One more reason why telling fat kids they suck because they are fat is a bad lie to tell them.

Do I honestly expect my doctor to care? Not really. I’ve never had an adult in my life saying anything other than, “get over it.” The world still believes that the worst thing to be is fat. The world believes that every problem is because of fat. I wonder how many more lives that lie will derail?

cropped-img_8317.jpg

 

2015 Recap – 2016 Goals

IMG_56396246643012015 was a banner year for growth. For me, for my son, for my family. I’m happy to attribute so much of this growth to really thinking about what I wanted my year to look like. Here is my Recap/Scorecard of my 2015 Resolutions:

My Son:

-I will focus on having positive interactions with my son: I would actually say this was a real success. My husband and I both have worked hard to find ways we can get into our son’s world. 

-I will focus on supporting my son’s therapeutic goals at home: Maybe, not so much. This year has been about making his home his sanctuary, and a place to be who he is. 

-I will work on incorporating at least one-hour of non-screen time into our routine: Something we are still working on, but we have definitely focuses on this throughout the year. 

-I will work on providing my son with more time outside everyday: I have absolutely gotten more comfortable with taking him outside, especially by myself. When we have good weather, we do a pretty good job of getting out to a park at least 2 to 3 times a week. I’m having a tough time with this when the weather is poopy, but I think most parents do. 

-I will work on getting my son potty trained: Ha! Hahahahaha! Maybe next year. 

-I will work on getting my son to eat at the table: I call this a no, but it’s not for lack of traying. 

20150909_181618I will continue to eliminate “sippy cups”, replacing them with real cups for every meal: I completely forgot we were still using sippy cups last year. We’ve been sippy cup free for what feels like ever!!!! 

-I will continue the Family Park Tour with hopes to complete in 2015: We did get some parks done. Unfortunately, most of the parks we have left on our tour were closed to the public for most of the spring/summer. This should be completed in 2016. 

Home Life:

-I will find ways to create new, positive memories, with my husband at least once a week: I was better at this in the beginning of the year, and fizzled out after a while. I think the biggest problem I have is I’m stuck trying to do what society considers dates and alone time. This doesn’t really work for us. We don’t get a lot of alone time. We have to make due with what we have, and what money we can spare. 

-I will work on making my work at home a higher priority: This ebbs and flows for me. Certainly something I could stand to work on. 

20151101_155233-I will continue to learn how to fuel my body, and my family’s body, in a more nutritious way: I will call this one a success. I have really gotten better at getting away from processed food and incorporating more fresh things into my family’s diet. 

-I will put more effort in learning how to cook, by cooking a new meal from scratch at least once a week: I feel like I have mastered this step, for sure. I feels weird if I’m not cooking dinner at night now. 

Personal:

-I will continue to explore the concept of being body positive: Duh! I love my BoPo journey. 

-I will continue to find ways to be active every day: Not so much. I did get a lot better about participating in “active” activities. I no longer assume whether I can or can’t do something. 

-I will attempt to battle my uneasiness with traditional exercise: Wait, I was suppose to do this? Oops. 

-I will continue to seek out new experiences that challenge my beliefs of what I am capable of and what I may or may not enjoy: Absolutely! I’ve really grown into myself this year. 

-I will continue my goal of seeing every accessible waterfall in Oregon: Of course this happened. I only have two waterfalls left in my close vicinity. They definitely are getting checked off my list in 2016! 

-I will try to do an open mic comedy at least once this year: I wrote about this briefly. Though, there was a development right after posting. They have brought Open Mic back! So, this will be added to my 2016 goals, and will be checked off on January 5th. Yay me.

-I will focus on staying in contact with friends, making plans with them, and not putting meeting new people ahead of my current friends: This is another one of those that I could probably have done better. But, I also did a pretty decent job of not putting new connections ahead of current friends, either. 

-I will work on expressive more positive thoughts and opinions, while suppressing my desire to express negative ones: I feel like I do a relatively decent job here. I’m sure I have room to grow. I am certainly guarded who I speak negatively to, and even more selective when it comes to what I’m negative about. I think being involved in the Body Positive community helped me with this quite a bit.

-I will continue quit smoking: I think the majority of the year I was smoke free. Though, I can’t say that about myself right now. 

-I will find ways to put money into a savings account: Ha! Wait, what? 

Hobbies:

-I will find a way to monetize at least one of my hobbies (open an etsy store/participate in craft fairs, tutor people in line dancing, create and monetize a line dance youtube channel, do social media work for companies, ect.): Didn’t happen. Not even close. I love my hobbies, and what I do. I do want to try to branch out into youtube videos though. It is time. 

-I will continue to line dance at least two nights a week: Do you even know me? I think I maybe missed a handful of evenings. 

cropped-ipockolypse-e1440388096419.png-I will attempt to choreograph a new line dance once a month: This didn’t happen much. I’m still trying to evaluate where I went sideways on this one. 

-I will let go of my desire to manage COG and the sub-groups alone, and will find someone interested in being an admin as well: Not only did I this, I managed to pass on the responsibilities to someone who is amazing. 


 

Truth be told, I feel like there was quite a bit learned about goal setting in general for 2015. When your looking at goals for an entire year, it can be hard to keep track of them. The goals that were broken up into more accessible, measurable, pieces stuck in my mind better. 

I also had a wonderful light bulb moment thanks to Power, Peace, and the Porch Gym. Her approach to habit goals is almost revolutionary. I’m excited to use her method for 2016. I’ve spent the last week or so thinking about my goals, and how I format them to fit this model. I’m excited for what I have come up with.

2016 Goals

 

The numbers are based on thinking about the year as 10 months (instead of 12) or 50 weeks (instead of 52.) I have a couple one and done goals, but the rest of the are measurable and track-able.

I also started using Habitica. It’s a web & phone app that “Gamifies” your life. I love playing games on my phone. I love RPG’s. I love anything that rewards me for adulting. I feel like this is a real step up from the boring To-Do lists and trackers I’ve been using. I will be using a Google Drive spreadsheet for my long term goals as well. (And I made myself a daily for that, so I get points for it. Yay!) I’ll let you know how it goes.

What’s on your goal/resolution list for 2016? Do you have a plan?