Layla

Hi guys! I really need to learn to keep up with all the blogs that are being written..

Anywho, the other day I was sitting down and watching some TV with my mom. As the commercials began during a break, I ignored almost all of them like one normally would; but although I wasn’t watching the TV, I couldn’t help but hear a particular theme going on..

Minutes passed, and I waited for the next commercial break – this time I paid attention. Now, ignoring all the car, Wal Mart, and febreeze ads, I took mental note of the Dove commercial promoting their self esteem awareness campaign. And I think it’s a great campaign which encourages girls of every age (not that it should be limited to just girls) to love themselves and their bodies. It’s beautiful, it’s touching, it’s strong.

And then the onslaught began.

Join weightwatchers now for the body you want. Joining Goodlife gym means you will have a good life. Make your lashes look 678% more full with this mascara. Hide your blemishes or wrinkles with this foundation. It didn’t stop for a solid five minutes! Any other day I wouldn’t have noticed just how overwhelming these advertisements are but when I really paid attention; holy crap.

Now the last thing I want to do is come across as a self righteous better-than-your-products-I-love-me person, because I’m not. I use make up, I’ve joined the gym (and quit because who has time for that), and I’ve even been convinced by the TV to buy a special facial cream that promised to get rid of the freckles that my mother and boyfriend love so much (I still have them (: ). So by no means I am going to preach about how you should not buy any of these products. But at the same time does it not feel like they are trying to tell us that we are not good enough unless we use their product? Not pretty enough, not fit enough, your skin isn’t what it should be, ETC.

I ranted about this to my mother and even my manager for a little bit and they both understood where I was coming from when I say that it’s just very overwhelming they they’re promoting change rather than acceptance. But they both brought up very valid points about these ads that made me ease up a little bit;

  1. “How the hell do you think they make their money, Layla?” Okay, very true. Of course they’re going to advertise that you can look %100 times better if you use what they make rather than nothing at all. They research what people are trying to change about themselves the most – and that would be their appearance. So why not make products that can help ease into that change?
  1. Self esteem comes from feeling good. My mother looked at me and asked if I felt good after putting on a nice outfit and a fresh face of makeup. Obviously the answer was of course I do. And then she just looked at me.. and I stared back. Finally, she huffed and then explained it to me; People do whatever it is they like to make themselves feel good. And when it comes to self esteem, people tend to have a higher one if they’re wearing something they like, it they are in the shape that they want to be, and so on.

Mother strikes again. She was very right. But that doesn’t mean I still agree with all of the advertisements promoting that your life sucks without “this” product in your life. So I guess what it is that I’m trying to say is that if you want to purchase what they’re selling to feel good – absolutely go for it. If that foundation makes you feel beautiful, buy it. If those apple bottom jeans make you feel bootylicious, buy them.

You do not need these things, but you need to feel good about yourself. Just please do not let these products or advertisements make you think that you are not beautiful enough without them.

So I would like to know what all the readers think of advertising and self-esteem. Leave your comments! I’ll make sure to read all of them .

Lovingly,

Layla

Beautiful is what you are

Hello, lovers! I haven’t written a blog in a while (since August sadly) so I decided to give it a try once again. At first, I was not sure what to write about and had to ask the lovely Asia for some suggestions. Almost as soon as I asked she suggested that I write about what it feels like emotionally and psychologically to be a “skinny person” in a world where skinny is seen as beautiful. I agreed to take on this challenge.

First, let me start off by saying that “skinny” is NOT what is beautiful. If you have a body type, you’re beautiful. If you have a full figure, you’re beautiful. If you have a slim figure, you’re beautiful. The same goes for everyone in between and beyond. Unfortunately, we are now living in a world where the media is constantly throwing the idea that having a figure that is more than a size 2 is a big no-no. You cannot get through a string of commercials without having some diet or weight loss support group being shown to you, begging you to buy their products and to “have the body you’ve always wanted” with their help. On the other hand, some people in the media have been firing back saying that “big is beautiful” and that they deserve to love themselves the way that they are. I 100% agree with this statement. Sadly, at the same time, I’ve noticed that these statements sometimes go too far and in a way to get back at the media for shaming bigger people (mainly women), they fire back with mean and hurtful comments towards women and men who are naturally on the smaller side.

It’s called “skinny shaming” – a new term that has risen over the past couple of years that defines itself. For anyone that may not be familiar with it, skinny shaming is virtually the same as bullying or pointing out the so called flaws of anyone that is overweight, except the bullying is directed towards skinny people. Take Nikki Manaj’s new song “Anaconda” for example. The song is mainly about how much of a large derriere that she has. And that’s dandy, until she begins to sing that she only wants all the “big booty bitches” in the club to stand up, followed by happily singing “f&^# the skinny bitches in the club”. I’m sorry but excuse me? You could have left it off at wanting all your friends with the gorgeous big bottoms to stand up, Nikki. Not only that, but there are pictures that I am seeing everywhere on Facebook that show a curvy woman with the words “Men are not dogs, they like meat on their bones”, this one gets to me the most. This is giving such a bittersweet message to every woman out there. It is saying that men love curvy women, and they do! But it is also saying that if you do not have any meat on your bones, then no man would ever desire you. How many smaller young girls saw that picture and thought that no guy will like them when they are older? Are they not desirable? Are they the wrong size or shape?

Why is this happening? Why are the two polar ends of body types constantly attacking each other? It’s time to get personal. I am a slim person but not naturally. I grew up seeing skinny models everywhere and wanted to look like them so badly. To spare the sad details, I developed an eating disorder and bulimia at the age of 16. I couldn’t accept my body and fought to change it to the point of damaging myself and staying in a hospital bed for a month. Time has passed, and I am still fighting to recover from this at the age of 22. I think I am doing fine, but then I look on social media and now I am being told that I should be ashamed with the body that I have because I’m skinny. I’m being told through pictures that my boyfriend doesn’t actually find me attractive because I am too small. I’m being told that I’m a b*tch because of my size. I should go eat a burger because I look gross. This isn’t right. There are so many men and women out there who develop these problems such as my own because there is almost nobody that can convince them that they are beautiful the way they are. The insecurities sink in, and the obsession to change the way they are starts to form.

This is why I get so angry at skinny shaming, fat shaming – the lot of it. Why can’t everyone accept themselves without having to bash someone opposite of them as if they have to prove how much confidence they have? This is bullying and it is not fair to anyone. Just love yourselves and don’t pay attention to anyone that has the nerve to tell you that you’re not the right size. Everyone is beautiful, and you should never let the pictures allow you to think otherwise. Big is beautiful, skinny is beautiful.

Lovingly,

Layla

Adapting and Changing

            With the excitement of the recent events of St. John’s Pride Week, I have chosen to talk about a topic in which I am slowly and eagerly learning about; transgendered men and women.

   Growing up, I always saw LGBT people on TV, in movies; men dressing as women and vise versa. As a child I would look at these people on the media and laugh at them. How silly of them to be dressing in those clothes when they are meant for the opposite gender. As I got older and went into my teens I realized that this was becoming common among my peers at school; guys were coming into school wearing tight women’s skinny jeans, girls were wearing baggy sweaters. Because of my age, I didn’t question it, nor did I laugh at it. I just thought they were dressing how they wanted to and left it at that. Fast forward to my high school years. More of the young men and women I was going to school with were beginning to “come out” as being gay or lesbian. But I took no mind to it as I was raised to accept people for the way that they choose to be.

Now in my current relationship, my partner – we will call him “Andrew” – has one sibling. When I met his sibling he was his older brother “Jeremy”. Jeremy was a very nice, quiet, and polite young man when I met him in January 2013. Only a couple months later Jeremy moved out of the family home. I saw him on occasion such as Sunday dinners at the house. I took notice that he seemed to dress a bit more feminine each different time I saw him (every second month or so). He was wearing women’s jeans and sweaters and his fingernails were longer than what you would normally see on a male. I never mentioned any of it to Andrew as I didn’t find it a big deal. Around the end of September Jeremy began texting Andrew asking him to hang out sometime as he had something important to tell him. I dropped Andrew off to his house where Jeremy was waiting to talk to him, and drove home. About two hours later I got an abrupt text message from Andrew demanding that I come pick him up. I could tell something was wrong so I arrived at his house and found him in his garage with a bottle of beer next to him and red puffy eyes. “Jeremy wants to be a woman” was all that he got out.

Of course, I was shocked. In all honesty I was hoping the news that he had to tell Andrew would have something to do with him becoming an uncle. Boy was I wrong. I sat down and listened to him explain to me the conversation he had just had with his brother (now sister). To be short, Jeremy was not happy with who he was and knew that he was meant to be a woman. She had already begun to take hormone pills to allow more estrogen into her system causing her to grow breasts. She began working on her voice as well to make it more high pitched and feminine sounding and had a full female wardrobe and most importantly she had changed her name to Samantha. It was a lot to take in but of course I was nowhere near as affected as Andrew and his parents. I had known Jeremy for only 8 months. His family had known him for 24 years. I decided to take it upon myself to ask Samantha to go out for a coffee sometime as I wanted to learn more, and I also didn’t want her to think that I would think any less of her since this change. Through conversation, I learned that this was something that she had dealt with all of her life as she never felt right being called Jeremy and being referred to as a man. She started the transition from male to female with the help of a therapist and copious amounts of prescribed pills to help with hormone levels. I asked her about her orientation, and she claimed that she still liked women, just as she did when she was Jeremy, and that she would now be considered a lesbian. I asked her how her parents took it and she told me they both cried, but they reassured her that they loved her just the same and that they would accept her regardless. I gained a lot of respect towards their parents as I cannot imagine how it must feel to raise a young boy for so many years and to have him turn around, change his name, gender and gain a whole new identity. I was intrigued by all of it, and accepting. Andrew on the other hand was not.

Although he would never say anything to her face, Andrew would not talk highly of Samantha. He couldn’t understand why this was happening, why she would want to do this. What if someone tries to hurt her because of this? This is just wrong in so many ways. I tried to listen to him as I understood that he was hurting because he lost his brother, but at the same time I tried to tell him that this wasn’t easy for her either. She knows the kind of reactions that she will get from the public, but if it meant that she was happy with whom she was then why get mad at her for that? As time goes on, Andrew is learning to accept Samantha. She is still his sibling, only now his sister rather than brother.

This whole experience has taught me a number of things. The main thing is to accept others for who they are. Coming out as gay, or as transgendered is not easy on any person, but it is also not easy on the ones who love the person. They may question if it is their fault, or maybe even try to change it. The person coming out may always worry if they will ever be accepted by family, friends, and society. As I said, I was the one on the outside looking in and observing this family. I strongly believe that they took this very well and I know that they still love Samantha for who she is and probably even appreciate that she was able to finally come out and tell them the truth of how she had been feeling. I urge anyone who is considering telling their family about coming out that they do so. I cannot tell you what kinds of reactions you will receive but through Samantha I learned that the LGBT community in Newfoundland is highly supportive and are willing to help anybody dealing with any sort of related topic. Don’t be afraid to accept yourself just because someone else does not.

Lovingly,

Layla

Take me as I am

Why do people choose to change things about themselves? Sometimes it’s because they want to feel mentally or physically better about themselves. Maybe they are tired of the same old thing and want to be someone different. Be it a new style, change in personality, or (more commonly) a crash diet. Whatever the change may be, it should always be for the person who is committing to the change; which brings me into the topic of my very first blog.

Why try to mold your partner into what you want them to be? I’m sure that many of you have heard of – or have been in a relationship– a couple in which one person is constantly trying to get the other to change things about themselves such as the way they dress, look, speak or act.

The list goes on. These are just a few of the things that people try to change in others. For me this is a topic that has never made sense. Realistically the things that they are trying to change is what makes us attracted to people in the first place.

So why would you want to change that? I began thinking about this just the other day and thought about my one of my previous relationship s. I began to think about how the two of us started off; we were crazy about each other and nothing mattered besides being together; laughing the days away. It was great it was wild and I felt free. But people change – or in this case they try to make you change. I can remember when it started I had a habit of going to my ex boyfriend’s house in sweatpants, glasses, and my hair up in a messy bun if I knew we weren’t going anywhere. I was comfortable. Apparently that was wrong and I was asked (more so told) one night to stop wearing sweatpants all the time, and to “actually put something nice one for once”. I was so head over heels for this boy that I hid my hurt feelings and agreed to change my outfits for him. No more messy buns. But then it got progressively worse. I could go on and on but I’ll try to keep it short and sweet. He told me that my life goals were stupid and needed to change; my sense of humor wasn’t funny and I should work on it; my brown hair didn’t look good on me, it should be red; I should really learn how to listen to others more because people don’t like me as I am.

I was completely devastated. Why was it that no matter what I did or how I changed myself, he was still picking at other things that could be “improved”. We broke up shortly after I made all these changes for him because he still didn’t feel I was good enough. Big surprise. At first, my heart was broken but fairly quickly I began to realize that I didn’t need someone like that. I remember not even knowing who I really was close to the end of the relationship because he had changed me so much. Who was he to tell me that I was not good enough for him because of the way that I dressed and why did I think it was ok to change myself for someone else? It was ridiculous! Since leaving him I have found myself again, and I love who I am more than ever. Since learning to love myself I have found someone else, and to this day he makes me feel beautiful and reminds me every day that he loves me for the way that I am – all the quirks included.

   If someone does not love you and accept you for who you are, then they are not for you. Never should you feel like you’re not good enough for your partner, and never EVER feel like you should change the things that you love about yourself (I went back to brown hair once we broke up ;) ). Stay true to you, because someone out there loves everything you have to offer.

Lovingly,

Layla