Writing Love Letters

“Love is never lost. If not reciprocated, it will flow back and soften and purify the heart.”
—Washington Irving

If I believe in anything, I believe most in the sharing of truth. Truth in experiences, in emotions, and in word.

This moral high road, it seems, has lead me into the DM’s of boys on a few occasions, letting them know how great I think they are and how great we’d be together.

Inevitably met with rejection, I felt like these propositions had taken me farther away from my classic romcom ending and closer to periods of fiercely avoiding eye contact on my college campus.

Although, once I got over my initial embarrassment, I felt incredibly empowered by my honesty and boldness.

I didn’t even know these boys terribly well and yet I was able to be upfront with any sort of feelings I had.

I was more afraid of missing an opportunity than not receiving mutual affection.

Having the mindset that I have nothing to lose and everything to gain is such a key factor in how I’ve built confidence in who I am and in the way I carry myself in this world.

If I can be honest with strangers with my affection towards them, then I must be as bold in sharing endless affection towards myself.

You can lose nothing by being kind to yourself.

No matter how much I want my Meg Ryan and Julia Roberts moments, if I waited around for the “perfect” people to suddenly realize how great I am, I’d never realize it for myself.

I’m not waiting on these boys to write me back so I can receive the love letters I’ve been wanting. I have to be the one to do it.

This Valentine’s Day, I want you to write yourself the love letter you know you deserve to receive and the one you need to hear.

Tell yourself how you love how strong and beautiful your body is, how you can light up a room with a single smile, how your friends trust you deeply with their secrets, and how the world is a much better place with you in it. Write all that and more.

Add stickers, doodles, pictures, and of course hearts. Grab an envelope and write your name carefully and with hearts over the i’s. Act like you are sending this to the great love of your life, because you are.

Washington Irving was right, the love you give comes back to you in the best ways, if not from others than from yourself.

Happy Valentine’s Day my loves.

x,

Lillie

Note: I’d love to see and share these letters, so please slide into my DMs on Instagram @fleur.de.Lillie with your love letters. I can keep them anonymous if you wish. I’ll be sharing them on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14th.

 

A Year of Tacos

TW: eating disorders, body dysmorphia

I love tacos. I mean, I absolutely love tacos.

This year was a year of tacos when I think about it.

I had tacos in New York, New Jersey, Austin, Houston, New Mexico, Virginia, Florida, and arguably China. Tacos took me places this year or really, I took myself to tacos.

I featured photos this week on my Instagram of me at my most recent Taco exploit: Tacoria in Princeton, NJ.

I don’t post a lot of photos of me eating and I did so because there aren’t a lot of pictures of people eating in general on social media. I see plenty of skinny Instagram influencers posting fashionable photos with their Five Guys fries and soda, though.

And more power to them, I live for aesthetics and using food an an unapologetic prop. But there is also a lot of double standards in what bodies are allowed to look “cute” with food and others that are shamed for eating.

I love food, but I have always felt the need to combat fatphobia with stipulations on how I’m a vegetarian and that I don’t drink soda, as if those things we morally better. And truthfully our society sets us up to think that.

My relationship with food could be and should always have been described as disordered. I didn’t fully realize I might have been growing up with an eating disorder until I had a very brave friend share their experience with one. So I understand the impact of sharing honest experiences, I’ve set that as a pillar for my life’s purpose since the beginning.

It’s like my relationship with my body and food as been the great star crossed love of my life. I’ve always been thicc and I’ve always had a passion for food, but I’ve never had what I’d consider normal eating habits. I remember being young and thinking I was too weak willed to even have an eating disorder: because my habits didn’t fall in anorexia or bulimia, I figured I was just a fat kid destined to be a fat kid.

Then I became an athlete at the ends of middle school. And I became fitter and skilled in using my body as a tool. I learned about lifting and cardio and feeding my body to fuel it. For me, I didn’t feel like my identity was fat kid, it was an athlete with various accolades. My body became an asset, although I was still “overweight.”

My athletics, however, allowed me to cover my poor body image with a drive to be a better athlete. If I lost weight, I would be fast, I would perform better. Throughout high school and into college, my policing came from a place of “reason.” This policing was also enforced by coaches, teammates dieting behaviors & bodies, and doctors telling me to lose weight even at my smallest. I trained with a “no excuse mentality” which led to my worth being directly tied into how I performed and poor performances meant my body was the problem.

It wasn’t until I quit my sport that I fully realized the damage that behavior and environment had on me. It took me almost a year to get back in the gym without carrying the strategic training mindset with me. It was hard for me to alter my identity: I was a fat athlete and now was I just fat? This was when I began to understand that body dysmorphia was playing a huge role in my life.

Even at my smallest, having achieved a 30 pound weight loss because I was eating 1000 or less a day + working out, I never got out of the notion that I was still fat and that I needed to be losing a lot more. It wasn’t until after a year post-athletics that I began to miss the body I had my sophomore year of college. To get that body, I was working out a ton, missing out on my life, and was still unsatisfied with the way I looked.

This is where I’ve found myself: stuck in a cycle of knowing what it has taken in the past for my body to lose weight but now having the understanding that that behavior isn’t good for me.

I read a quote recently that went, “It’s very difficult to connect deeply with ourselves while thinking our body needs to change.” And that struck a cord with me.

I preach self love and truthfully I do feel very good about myself, it’s all very authentic, but the struggles I have with being plus size are things I’ve dealt with my entire life and are things I’m very exhausted to have hinder me.

I love fashion and this would really be more of a fashion blog if I could wear the clothes I like, but my options are painfully limited. Shopping trips are anxiety filled for me because the frustration is real.

Knowing all this however, I want to say how proud I am of body as well. It’s been a journey of realizing that my frustrations with being plus size has nothing to do with me and everything to do with the outside world. I’ve stopped blaming myself and that alone feels great.

It doesn’t make up for everything, but coming to peace with myself and feeling a real sense of pride in the things my body enables me to do helps.

Just this year alone, this body took me across the stage for my college graduation, through Acadia National Park, along the East coast, across the country, half way around the world, along the Great Wall of China, through the streets of Beijing, and to my jobs I love every day.

What is there to be ashamed of in that?

So dear reader, think about your New Years Resolutions this year and consider not putting “lose weight” on that list. Instead, consider working on coming to peace with your body and yourself, choose to celebrate who you are and where your body has gotten you up to this point. Think about all the places this body can take you and be thankful for that.

I know I am. And for tacos too.

x,

Lillie.

Thanksliving

Thanksgiving is one of my absolute favorite holidays. Namely because I get to celebrate it with 3 different meals. One Grandma’s for a traditional southern Thanksgiving lunch with mac and cheese, green beans and the ever popular Costco dinner rolls. Another Grandma’s for a tradition started by my parents for a lunch of crab legs and Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits. Then my personal favorite, my parents and I’s Thanksgiving day parade & brunch.

I have a lot to be grateful for in my life. Always the 3 F’s: Friends, Family, and Food. But also for my jobs and my blog and for all the little things too like a hot cups of tea, the way lavender smells, and how my kitty is just the most fuzzy. IMG_0729

It’s kind of a shame that we have just this one holiday where we say what we’re thankful for when gratitude should be something we practice every day. It’s called a practice for a reason and it’s something I work on doing more, but I know the effects of daily gratitude:

During a major bout of depression last year, I started a note in my phone called “Daily Self Gratitude” where every day before I went to bed, I wrote 1 thing I was proud/grateful for about myself. I only had 2 rules: that my gratitude was positive and was written in an active, present tense.

What I found was that I was able to do a 180 on my mindset and the way I viewed myself. quote 2 thanksliving

You know how if you speak negatively to plants, it can kill them? Yeah, so I was that sad succulent sitting on my window sill that was bringing itself back to life last November and December.

It’s easy to rattle off things we are grateful for but rarely do we actively acknowledge our gratefulness to ourselves. We are never as kind to ourselves as we are to others.

For me, I think that stemmed from comparing myself to others, as if anything I do is nothing compared to someone else. Maybe there will always be someone who is funnier, kinder, or more attractive than us, but that never detracts from how funny, kind, or attractive we are. 

With my Daily Self Gratitude, I was able to acknowledge all the amazing qualities about myself without having to compare them to anyone else. The gratitude practice also established something good in my day. At the end of a shitty day, at least I had myself and for that I was grateful and happy. quote 1 thanksliving

I find that when you give yourself permission to replenish your well – you end up having so much more to give to others. Paying yourself first applies not only in business but in life. It’s not selfish – it’s necessary.

When thinking of gratitude this season, also be mindful of what is draining you and your ability to disconnect from negative things impacting your life. I could list a billion external things, but I want to remind you, dear reader, that you should not be the reason you need replenished. I’m talking about negative self talk and other ways we tear ourselves down.

This season, let’s be grateful that self deprecating humor is cheap and that we are much funnier than that. Negative self talk is something I struggle with too, but it use to be a lot worse when my opinion of myself was very low. So don’t use it around your friends, don’t go out of your way to do it, and think, “Instead of being a dick to myself, why don’t I just say something nice instead?”

Don’t be afraid of how being nice to yourself will change you.

Here’s a little manta that you can use for like, the rest of your life: I am mindful and grateful that I can listen to myself and change my mindset with my own words.

People do ask me how I became so confident in myself and I can never point an exact moment or action, but practicing this Daily Self Gratitude when I needed it the most certainly helped make a shitty situation much better.

Think about how you want to celebrate not only the holidays, but yourself this year. What small changes can you make in your life that build you up?

The first step in practice gratitude towards yourself is acknowledging and knowing that you are something to be grateful for.

x,

Lillie

The Definition of Life

If you look up the definition of life on Merriam-Webster, you get a lot of answers. It explains it in terms of the body before death and in terms of half life for subatomic particles. A few, in particular stood out to me:

6: a way or manner of living

10: spirit, animation

17: one providing interest and vigor

These definitions got me thinking, if life is the period between birth and death and if we are unsure of our capabilities post death, shouldn’t we be making the most of this existence that’s described as interesting, spirited, and vigorous?

The real question, I wonder, is why aren’t we?

My expensive college degree in sociology helps us point towards society and culture as a culprit. On one hand, those two things enrich and extend our lives but on the other hand, it limits us through other people, judgement, and perceived fear.

We generally think to “spice up our lives” we need to constantly be doing new, exciting things, but it’s easy to hit a wall on where to even begin. Maybe our first thought is skydiving or something equally as radical that is suppose to liven our lives.

Personally, I don’t give a damn about skydiving.

What we actually need to do is to stop looking for external forces to change us and focus our efforts on living this life.

Change will come naturally, you going out of your way to find it doesn’t need to be the catalyst.

I know it doesn’t feel like it, but we have everything we need in this moment to live the lives we are meant to be living. It’s not about endless to do lists and self help books that we expect to give us the answers; seldom do we ever reflect and think and choose for ourselves.

It comes down to asking ourselves questions, answering them for ourselves, and making choices.

This doesn’t exclude guidance, love, and support that we receive from others, it just means the change we seek is found within ourselves, not other people.

Somehow, we believe everyone else is so painfully put together that someone else must know how to “life” better than you do. Spoiler alert: they don’t.

The only reason those people are where they are is because they made choices.

You can too.

It’s the blind leading the blind out here; so if everyone is, at the core, as clueless as you feel you are, why not just lead yourself? You’ll make mistakes, but at least they will be your mistakes.

But here’s another secret, you’re not as hopeless or as clueless as you think you are. Like I said before baby doll, you have all the answers, you just need to be asking the questions.

So what to ask? It’s a start, but ask yourself how you want to live this life with spirit and vigor. My alma mater would ask how would you live a life of significance?

Ask for what you want. The important thing is to be brave enough to answer and braver to choose.

If life is the manner in which you live, you get to choose your life.

We are often so afraid to answer ourselves truthfully and even more so when it comes to making a decision, this is where our society and culture get’s the best of us and we let what others think and what is perceived as practical get in our way.

I hate to tell you to get over yourself, but yeah… you’re going to need to get over yourself. If it makes you feel better, so do I.

It’s a process, babes.

But committing ourselves to living authentically, committing to answering our own questions, and committing to just commit to ourselves will lead us through this beautiful and spirited existence, not wasting a moment of it.

You are brave. You are strong. You have the power to make your own choices and create the life you want to be living. Go forth my loves and make the choice to make it happen.

x

Lillie

Self Care that’s Worth a Damn

The notion of self care has had a capitalist take over in recent years.

On one hand, it’s great that people are talking about mental health and the importance of taking care of yourself. My issue lies in the branding of self care. It’s the new “treat yo’ self” as if self care is something that is a treat that you afford to spend some money on because you’re investing in yourself.

What is also true is that we collectively procrastinate with self care, putting it off for when we have a large chunk of time to devote to it – which tbh rarely happens.

I love a good face mask and bath bomb as much as the next person, but being kind to yourself and living a healthy lifestyle should be a given. Cause you’re worth it bb.

Here are 8 easy self care activities you can add to your routine that will actually give you the self care you need:

1. 10 Minute Clean-Up

If your space is a mess, odds are so are you thoughts. Ignoring it doesn’t fix shit. The concept is simple, set the timer on your phone for 10 minutes and start picking up. Doing it early in the morning will help you start your day on a productive foot and help you feel accomplished.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset2. Add Some Fresh Flowers to Your Life

When you feel a little dead inside, the best first step is to add life to the outside and fresh flowers give that pick-me-up. Fake flowers will not do.

For cheap flowers, check out the discounted bouquets at grocery stores. I’ve your #blessed to live near a Trader Joe’s, they have them pretty cheap. You can also look into local farmers markets or see if there are any flower picking fields in your area.

It’ll bring life into your space and making your own arrangements can be therapeutic.

3. Morning Stretches

This one is easy, but doing some simple stretching gets your blood flowing right after you get out of bed. It’ll wake you up and help prepare your body for the day.

22F20AFA-77DC-44F8-B2C5-5B1A5A593330.JPEG4. Wash Your Sheets

Sometimes we spend more time in our beds than we probably should or don’t spend as much time as we’d like. Either way, you can’t go wrong with a clean and fresh place to sleep.

You’ll sleep better and feel more comforted and refreshed. Also washing your pillow cases is good for your skin.

5. Do something Nice for someone else

I’ve never volunteered or given a gift and thought “Wow, I still feel garbage.” Maybe while you’re fixing up a bouquet for yourself, make a smaller one for your mom, grandma, or friend.

Find opportunities to volunteer with a cause that means something to you. Giving a little gives you a lot in return.

img_8195.jpeg6. Set Phone Reminders

Sometimes we get so busy and overwhelmed that we forget to handle the basic necessities. For me, I have a silent reminder to drink water throughout the day.

Setting them for taking medication or even just to take a breath will help you when you forget to help yourself.

7. Practice Gratitude

Stop reading this for a moment and list 3 things that you are grateful for at this moment. For me currently, I’m grateful for my ability to seek out the best for myself, almond milk, and my supportive parents.

The more we focus on the positives in our life, the sooner our entire mentality changes. Set a reminder on your phone and do this daily, even if it’s just 1 thing a day.

8. Change the way you speak

Namely about yourself and about the things you want to accomplish. The way we frame situations with our language tells a lot about how much faith and trust we have in ourselves and others. Instead of writing down goals as “I want to do…” say “ I am currently working on…” You are amazing. You are talented. You are currently developing yourself.

The more present we are with our language about ourselves, the quicker our goals manifest.

Take care of yourself, love your self, do a damn face mask, but never underestimate how small acts can make a big impact on your mental health and happiness.

x

Lillie