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