How To Identify & Remove Toxic People From Your Life

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How To Identify & Remove Toxic People From Your Life

Toxic people can create negativity that seeps into all aspects of your life. They can affect your self-image, your mental health, your very sense of self and who you are as a person. So, how do you know if someone is truly toxic, and not just having a bad moment? When do you know when it's time to finally cut ties, and how do you go about it?

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What Childfree Women Want You To Know

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What Childfree Women Want You To Know

Childfree people face so much stigma in our society. We're told we're selfish, unfulfilled, and incapable of making decisions about our own reproduction. We're assumed to hate children, we're told that we're not fulfilling some sacred or intrinsic obligation to procreate, we're belittled and harassed. Childfree lifestyles are completely valid. The decision not to have children isn't an attack on people who do have children, and there are a huge number of reasons both within and out of our control as to why we don't procreate. These are the main things that all childfree people want you to know!

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5 Steps to The Perfect Boudoir Shoot!

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5 Steps to The Perfect Boudoir Shoot!

Boudoir photography is growing in popularity rapidly, and it's not hard to see why: it can boost confidence like crazy and can be a very empowering and liberating experience! Here are my top tips on how to make your boudoir session successful!

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Insults Childfree People Receive Every Day & How to React

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Insults Childfree People Receive Every Day & How to React

People always seem to throw rude comments and questions at me whenever I reveal that I don't have children, as if my childfree status is a personal attack against them. Knowing what to say in these shocking situations is hard, but hopefully these help you get an idea of how to combat the hurtful comments and stick to your guns!

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A Fat Babe's Guide To Body Positivity

Illustration by Jenn Stonge, CA

Illustration by Jenn Stonge, CA

Finding self-confidence and a style identity as a fat babe in a world that's constantly labeling us as 'before' pictures can seem to be a near-impossible task.

We live in a society that generally glorifies thin body types as perfection, while labeling plus sizers as people who need to be "fixed". I don't have a thigh gap; in fact, mine are full of cellulite. My hips are wide, my booty is enormous, I have a belly, my arms are big and I weigh a solid 300lbs, yet people stop me on the street constantly to compliment me on my style. This is how I found the courage to come out from underneath baggy, shapeless clothes and embrace my curves, "flaws" and all.

Step 1: Stop Bullying Yourself

I'd often catch myself looking at my body and thinking that it was ugly, or gross, or too big/too celluiltey/too stretch mark'd. I realized that I was constantly bashing my body; that I was bullying it and making myself feel worse. To remedy this, I decided to stop allowing myself to use negative words when thinking about my body. Whenever I did slip up and have those thoughts, I'd make myself go back and compliment myself instead. My inner dialogue went something like, "Ugh nothing fits me right, I feel so ugly.. but my butt looks really good in these jeans, and I have such a nice smile." It felt silly at first, but when I kept it up I saw that it was really starting to improve my outlook not only on my body, but on life in general.

Step 2: Realize Your Worth

It's so easy to get caught up on body image; our society teaches us that it's tightly connected to our self-worth, which just isn't true. Part of gaining the self-confidence to rock the edgy fashion trends I want to (sheer! crop tops! short shorts!) was realizing that I have so much more to offer the world than my appearance. I wrote a list of all the things at which I'm excellent and kept it taped to my mirror, so that every morning, I'd be reminded that I have value as a person, and an identity beyond the word "fat".

Step 3: "Fat" Is Not A Bad Word

All my life, people have hurled weight-related insults at me. I've been called a whale, a pig, tubby, a chubbers, fat; every time someone called me one of those, it stung me deeply and left me feeling insecure for days. Realizing that "fat" isn't synonymous with "ugly" was a big game-changer for me. I AM fat. So what? "Fat" and "beautiful" aren't mutually-exclusive adjectives; I can be both. When I feel down, I scroll through body-positive hashtags on Tumblr and Instagram. Seeing all those photos and posts of fat babes absolutely killing it always reminds me that being fat doesn't automatically equate to being unattractive.

Step 4: You Don't Owe Anyone "Flattering"

I unapologetically rock crop tops and sheer blouses with nothing but a bra underneath. I go sleeveless, I wear short shorts.. I participate in whatever fashion trends I feel like participating in, because no one owes anyone "flattering"; being yourself is enough, without body shapers, without long-sleeves and pants, without covering up and hiding your body to make other people more comfortable. YOU have to be happy with YOURSELF and not live for other people. I used to wear baggy sweaters in 90 degree weather because I didn't want people to see my fat arms, my rolls, my chub. Now, my comfort and happiness is my #1 priority- I no longer care what people think about my cellulite, fat, etc., and that's such a powerful, liberating feeling. My mantra is: If people don't like the way I look, they don't have to look at me. Some people won't like the way you look. You're going to have haters; that's just part of life. universal popularity is unattainable, so instead of trying for it, you'd might as well make yourself happy.

Step 5: Go For It!

Body acceptance/love is a process that takes time and work, but when you're feeling up to it, I dare you to try out new trends that go out of your comfort zone. The first time I went out in public in a sleeveless dress, I was terrified and insecure. The second time wasn't as bad, and now I don't even think twice about it. When you go out of your fashion comfort zone and the world doesn't end, you'll feel unstoppable!

Self-confidence doesn't always come easily, but cutting out negative self-talk, taking stock of your true value, realizing that "fat" isn't an insult or synonymous with "ugly", and forcing myself to step out of my #fatshion comfort zone helped me to be able to love myself for who I am, stretch marks and all. Because we live in a society that glorifies skinny regardless of health, people will always try to make fat people feel badly about themselves, perhaps even more so if they have the *audacity* to be both fat AND happy. Being confident and secure in yourself makes it easier to let negative comments roll off, as the fabulous Jinkx Monsoon would say, like water off a duck's back. So, get out there, be large and become your own brand of fatshionista!

There's no better feeling than the self-confidence that comes with unapologetically rocking your curves and knowing you're hot as hell.

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Four Things Body Positive Activists Want You To Know

Illustration by Jenn Stonge, CA

Illustration by Jenn Stonge, CA

The Body Positive Movement is everywhere right now- men and women of all sizes and abilities are setting out on journeys toward self-love and body acceptance. With all the attention the movement's been getting, there are a few messages that have gotten muddled. Here's what body positive activists everywhere really want you to know about the Body Positive Movement:

1. No, We Don't "Glorify Obesity"

Body positivity isn't about glorifying obesity; it's about promoting positive self-image and mental health.

To those who say that being overweight isn't healthy: neither is hating yourself.

Promoting positive self-image has been shown to actually encourage people to take better care of their bodies; conversely, bullying and harassing overweight people has been shown to do the opposite. Body positivity is all about mental health and loving yourself; it has nothing to do with glorifying or promoting one body type over another.

2. 'Fat' and 'Beautiful' Aren't Mutually-Exclusive Adjectives

Right this minute, there are millions of plus size men and women out there looking fabulous. Style isn't size-exclusive; fat babes can rock any style just as well as their thinner counterparts can; I myself rock crop tops and sheer things; supposedly big 'fashion faux-pas' in the plus size community.

Everyone has the right to wear whatever style of clothing makes them feel most lovely.

Plus size people aren't obligated to wear the most 'flattering' clothing for their body type, we can rock whatever we'd like to.

3. You CAN Be Fat and Live A Healthy Lifestyle

I weigh three hundred pounds. I work out twice a week at the gym and go for daily walks with my dachshunds. It takes 3-4 flights of stairs for me to be winded, I can jog a mile without stopping, and every single blood test I've gotten indicates that I'm in above average health.

I eat both healthier and less than everyone I know, and I'm still the fattest of my friends. I live my life consciously in a healthy way.

My weight problem stems from a hormone imbalance that refuses to be controlled with medication, not because I'm lazy or an over-eater or because I have a poor diet, which is what people assume when they look at me. I'm living proof that you can live a healthy lifestyle and still be 'morbidly obese'. Body positive activists want you to know that it's possible to be both health-conscious and plus size, and that size isn't an indicator of how healthy a person is.

4. You're Conditioned To Be Intimidated By Happy Fat People

Everyday, all day, we're bombarded with messages from advertisers and the media telling us that you can't be fat and happy. You *need* this diet pill! You *need* these work out videos! You *need* to be skinny so you can be healthy and happy! We've been conditioned by advertisers and the media to glorify a thin body type and to view larger ones as unattractive, which is why, when we see someone who's fat and content with themselves, some of us just lose our minds a little. We're taught to be discontent with ourselves if we're not thin, so people who are content and fat go against everything we've learned over our whole lives. I try to keep this in mind whenever I get negative feedback on my appearance across social media- being fat and happy in a society that profits off of our insecurities is a radical thing.

The Body Positive Movement is about promoting self-love, as-is, without any qualifiers. You're allowed to love yourself NOW, not when you lose ten pounds, not tomorrow, but right this minute.

Body positivity is about trying to recondition ourselves not to view our perceived flaws as problems, but rather to appreciate ourselves for who we are. Mental health and positive self-image are inextricably linked, and the Body Positive Movement has done so many beautiful things for people. Go out there and take all the self-care selfies you want; you're perfect just the way you are and should be celebrated!

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