Saturday, May 2, 2015

Wearing Leggings, Inception, and Other Assorted Observations




I am going to get up on my soap box here real quick. I promise it won't take long...I just need to get this off of my chest. 

Okay, so the other day, I saw someone repost this absolutely wretched little meme that was all about how "leggings are great, unless you're 350 pounds!!"  hahah, Laugh at fat people and lycra.  Hahha. The comments were what you would imagine: deplorable....and it occurred to me-

Weight is an EXTREMELY hard struggle,  (one that I've dealt with on a very real level), as is emotional eating, eating disorders, and...... let's not even get INTO all of the loads of deeply painful issues that are byproducts of being overweight. You have the whole world telling you "Just Eat Less" and that is like saying "just breathe less!" or "just sleep less!". Truly, think about it. If "just eating less" were truly the answer, wouldn't every diet work, and then everyone who got overweight, went on a diet, and "just ate less" would be thin. 

I've been in a business where I have the privilege to talk to thousands of women about their bodies, and I've been doing it for 11 years. I can not POSSIBLY count how many intelligent, active, energetic, STRONG, driven women I have met who DO NOT EAT TONS OF FREAKING CRAP and exercise, run marathons, and countless other things, and STILL struggle on a very painful level with being overweight. 

Everything that I have learned and read has led me to believe that weight is not actually about the body.....it's about the power of our minds.  It's about who and what we believe ourselves to be. Holy night, it's so complicated, and I don't even have time to get into it right now, because I could write books and books on this (and other, smarter-than-me people HAVE!).

We live in a very toxic world....it is toxic both on a physical level, with what we breathe, what we consume in our bastardized food, AND what we consume through our brains. We are so lucky to have to much information and so many pictures, but it also certainly wreaks havoc on the mind.  

So, keeping this in mind, and remembering that people who suffer with extra weight KNOW how painful it is, they KNOW how unacceptable society thinks they are, and they KNOW that they SHOULD do something different, and struggle every single day because of it. 

So, making fun of them for wearing lycra makes you a bastard. Period.  That's like pointing and laughing at someone for having depression (oh, gee, byproduct of excess weight) or for losing their job, or for going through ANY of the endlessly depressing struggles that life can throw our way!!! 

I truly believe that we are all brothers and sisters here on this earth. When we choose to belittle our fellow family members, it eats away at our souls. 
And HERE is where I'm going to blow your mind!!!  *POW!!!* I am part of the problem!!!  I see posts like this, and I get really defensive, think about how much people suck, and think assorted, colorful potty words!  I get online and get all worked up about what jerks people are!!!!  And....guess what????

Ahem.

I'm making fun of MORE people who have emotional problems and struggles.  When you feel SO low about yourself that you feel the need to "make fun of fat people"   OR in this instance, "make fun of people who make fun  of fat people"  (INCEPTION!) YOU, YOURSELF also have deep emotional problems, insecurities, struggle, sadness, disappointment, and you're trying to avoid the VOID in yourself by pointing out the flaws in others.

The crazy thing is....the only reason you're ABLE to see these flaws in others so obviously, is because you notice them in your own life so often. You know the flaws very well. You and the flaws get together every day and have vigorous discussions over pieces of cake and Diet Coke.

So.

Sorry, to those of you who re-posted the "Fat people shouldn't wear leggings".  If you're feeling empty and like you need to pick on people, I need to be KIND to you and build you up so that you don't feel the need to take a poo on others.

Sorry to myself.  I should be SOOOO much nicer to you, because you are a stand-out type of gal, and you truly don't need to put others down to bring yourself up. We all have light to shine, and we all have gifts and talents and opportunities, and they WON'T emerge when we're beating ourselves and others down. Don't beat down. Bring up.

Let me go put on a pair of leggings.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Feeding the Beast?

        Holy night. I've had a hard time in my brain lately.  I'm in some kind of crazy-pants self-punishment loop where I will first start off trying to MAKE myself feel awesome about myself, but then I'll see what I perceive as a blatant weakness, or I'll receive criticism, and then it just sits and festers in my brain, and I think, "Holy crap, I'm such a loser. I'll never be able to change." and then I'll think, "Michelle, you absolutely KNOW better than that, and it's not the truth that you're a loser. What an IDIOT you are for even THINKING that!!!"   What...in..the....?
       I have tried affirmations, but I'm such a dang non-conformist, that I think I'll be able to "trick" my brain...or like....use reverse psychology on myself. I don't even know if I can possibly explain the complexity of this, but it goes something like this. I will repeat really positive affirmations about myself to trick my brain into feeling better and NOT going into "fight or flight" mode, and THEN when my brain least expects it, BAM!!!, I'll be all like, "Ha! You were feeling ALL GOOD about feeling good, but I TRICKED YOU! You're still a piece of junk!"
         So, basically, I view myself as a really negative person, and a negative force, because I can HEAR the thoughts in my brain, and they're so dang loud that I figure everyone must hear them and see me for what I am. I feel frustrated, because I DON'T want to be a negative person, and so I beat myself up in a negative way for not being a better person.
         Remember my love for self-help books? I really do keep trying to find the answer...pouring through literally hundreds  of super upbeat, promising, catchy tomes....the more I search, the deeper the answer gets buried inside of me.  The more "advice" people give when I try to explain what I'm going through, the less I trust myself and my intuition.
         It DID occur to me that I don't actually have a concrete problem. I mean...."starving children in China"  and "Well, at least you're not BOB! Did you hear about how he just got his elbows chopped off,  his wife left him, he lost his job, and he is now Celiac? You COULD be Bob! Stop complaining!!!"
             It also occurred to me VERY STRONGLY (I might add) that when I think about my problems and what I don't want...I literally feed them. I grow them. I snuggle them and make sure they're all safe and warm inside  my comfort zone, along with my indulgent negative thoughts about myself and others.  For instance, when I think, "Oh my gosh, running a company is so hard because there is SOOO much to do, and I've got my family and my employee's families to feed and take care of, and this one lady said this one negative thing online and my whole world is going to crumble and my corset company will be a thing of the past because it's all so hard and I just need to lose that damn 20 pounds"   I PERPETUATE all of those realities, and because they're in my brain constantly, I don't allow myself to experience other realities! For instance, instead of focusing on one lady who was super rude to me that day, I could focus on all of the people in the whole wide world who WEREN'T having a poopy experience that they needed to take out on someone else. Holy night, I could even focus on how BLESSED I am, and how I'm in a situation to HELP this lady have a less crappy day by the way that I speak with her, and how I focus on fixing her needs.
          Instead, I'm in a habit loop of waking up in the morning and just feeling this sudden dread hit me. I'm honest-to-goodness SCARED of all of these negative thoughts that seem to come from nowhere.  Once again....I don't think I need advice. I have an awesome support group, people who love me, a thirst for knowledge and self-healing......I really wonder if I'm just like everyone else....scared to love myself......because a "me" who loves me and doesn't listen to fear and negativity is SUCH A VIOLENT FORCE that there is no stopping me. I'm endlessly powerful and capable of greatness. Truly.
          However, it's so much EASIER and more gooey, fudgy, yummy to be pissed off at myself, my perceived problems (really, Michelle....REALLY, you're like every other woman in America and you "need to lose weight" because you're flawed how you are? Wow....real original. At least go for something non-conformist!!! ;)  and especially other people. I actively create my own problems.  It's so much more fun to create corsets, but instead I'll log onto facebook to see what crazy junk is happening.
          Holy crap, this was a downer. Uh.....let me draw something happy for people to be happy.
         Moral of the story? We truly do create our own lives, realities, perspectives, and "ups" and "downs".  I'm creating this one....and oddly enough, I'm giving it a CRAPLOAD of power by putting it on the internet! Doh! (I do enjoy a good irony.)  By focusing on what we DO want, instead of all of the things that we DON'T want, we can create a much more pleasant, love-filled, joyous life. I keep reminding myself (gently, this time), "Michelle, the more you focus on the events, situations and people that you don't like, the MORE OF THEM YOU'LL GET!  That is simply how it works. I notice it everywhere.  
        One good note? I WAS telling myself that I should just quit my blog because I spend do much time guilt-tripping myself for not keeping it up better.....but guess what? Today, I focused all of my mental energy on how much I LOVE writing, and how it is for myself, and not for anyone else..and guess what? Here I am...writing and doing what I love!!!!!!  I feel better already.  Now to go and get some of that "make you thinner" chocolate happening in my life. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Work It

When I cut new, un-tested patterns, they usually get cut out of ugly fabric, but I was taking a risk here. 


      If you have an artist's brain, or happen to know someone who is plagued with this mindset, you might understand what I'm talking about here.   The thing is-I'm ALWAYS making, constructing, and revising things in  my head. I could be sitting there reading "Fifty Shades of Gray", but REALLY, I would be figuring out if you could cut an octopus shaped hole into the back of a corset and not have it stretch the wrong way when you moved....or something to that effect.  
     It doesn't stop either. I am absolutely exhausted at night, but I'll still be figuring out if we could do a "Narwhal Collection" of corsetry.  ;) I'm happy for this gift, because it makes me good at my job, but I honestly think there is a heavy burden carried along with it. Ever notice how the most talented poets and painters throughout history are bat-sheep CRAY-Z?   Ever wonder why there can't be a mega-music star that leads a simple, clean life? I've wondered the same dang thing.  Does the art make the crazy, or does the crazy make the art?
Sleeve Number One. Holy Night...it actually worked out on the first try, and I ACTUALLY remembered to cut a DOUBLE of the sleeve! (*traditionally, I'll cut a pattern, sew it up, and think, "Woah....I'm a rock star of pattern making!" and then realize that I didn't make a "pattern" of the piece I just sewed, thus I have to carefully cut it all back apart, stretching the seams, and jacking up the base pattern. 
        Lately, I've been endeavoring to focus very clearly on things that CHARGE me full of energy and zest, rather than draining my life force. I was able to pinpoint SEVERAL things that started me rolling down a hideous cliff, and then turn them around.  This goes for people as well. If I interact with someone, and I'm angry and bent out of shape for days afterward, in my opinion, this is my body telling me to get the heck away from that person and stop letting them take up valuable brain space.   I made some BIG changes in my company (whereby I received more disappointed emails than I've ever gotten in my life) and I spent so much time just wallowing in uncertainty and self-pity that I physically and mentally couldn't do my job.  The energy was gone. I wasn't trusting myself and my inner voice to guide me. I had a little bit of a breakdown.
       I'm still not sure how I pulled out of the haze, but suddenly, I want to CREATE again! I wrote down about a HUNDRED ideas during my last trip, and I'm so excited for my life that I'm sitting here working on a Saturday afternoon, even though I've worked a ton of ridiculously long hours this week.  The thing is.....when I have my LIFE FORCE and natural flow back, I'm not "working."  I'm playing. I'm having fun. I'm loving every second of my life. I'm not living according to someone else's rules or limitations on me.  I'm creating the things that I want to create and not freaking out about the money aspect or focusing on how much "I need to make" to do XYZ.  I'm not living my life according to what  others think I should do.
       If there was one single thing I want to pass onto my kids, it's this idea-DO NOT GIVE YOUR POWER TO LIVE  YOUR LIFE TO SOMEONE ELSE. It doesn't matter if it's your spouse, your parents, your boss, your children......you have a very specific purpose here on earth, and no one can do it except you. We all spend so much time walking on the "sidewalks" of our true path. We can sort of see the road, but we feel we need to stay where it's safe, instead of getting in the freaking car, taking the wheel, and DRIVING.
        That is all my musing for today. I will get back to "playing" now. ;)

Friday, February 6, 2015

How Life is sort of like Sauerkraut.

       Yes, that's what I was thinking about this morning as I ate freaking sauerkraut.   It REALLY is sort of like life. Stay with me here. Not that life is all cabbage-y and fermenty, BUT it can seem to be exceptionally...uh.....hard to swallow at first. But that's just the beginning.
     
       Anyone who knows me personally knows  that I'm an avid reader. I plow through non-fiction and fiction books like an enraged lawnmower. I ardently adore self help books, and ESPECIALLY love learning about one of my favorite things. Food. I could read dang diet books all the live long day. I counted how many I've read through on my kindle in the past month....yes, 11.  See, since my brain is always working on my business, even though I'm completely exhausted from the idiotic 16 hour days that I find myself working, I still can't get to sleep at night. I HAVE to read to re-focus my brain. Otherwise, every negative thing that any customer has ever said to me ever just cycles (Yes, this is a serious problem. Rest assured, if you have ever said anything unkind to me, I can zealously confirm that your target hit the mark, and I probably obsessed over it and frantically tried to think of ways that I could still somehow make you happy or make you feel like you were "heard" or "validated". I have this broken brain where I truly believe that I can solve every woman's problem with a good corset. *sigh*)

         Anyhow, in the midst of my adventures, I've learning about the hip-new thing on the market. Probiotics. I think it's simply fascinating that you have this crazy colony living inside of you, and everything you drink, eat, breathe, and think affects it, which affects your whole body, and your whole picture of health. Bad gut health is linked to....pretty much everything from depression to weight loss and all of the things forever.

         I am currently learning how to make my own fermented foods and beverages (sorry, friends, not talking about a whiskey still in my backyard. Just watery, sub-par kombucha so far.) because I would much rather have a healthy happy colony of organisms where they enjoy freedom and prosperity. Maybe with my help, the bacteria down there can gain more self worth, and start setting out to start new businesses and doing entrepreneurial things! They can power through awesome feats and create..uh....bacteria facebook and google? Sorry, super weird tangeant. 

        So, Sauerkraut. This is my experience. Every single time I taste it, I think it's wretched....at first. Then, I keep chewing....pushing on.....getting used to the experience....then I sort of like it. Yeah. This ain't bad. I can TOTALLY do this! 

        The great thing is that it goes down into my body (the properly fermented stuff, not the cheaper junk from the grocery store.) and it gets to work HEALING me, from the inside out.   Yes, YES! This is totally like life!!    Life will throw these experiences at you that are like rotten cabbage water, and you're like, "Really, life....REALLY?" and then Life is like, "Oh, just you wait. It will all turn out for your ultimate good."   And even though the taste of the new, difficult, or downright crappy experience is NOT GOOD at first, because your current brain perceives  it that way, your insides start to change. The experience evolves.  You become different. You become more robust. You're better able to handle the NEXT bite of sauerkraut (rest assured, it will still taste nasty at first.). 

      I guess I like a lot of foods that have this quality. For me, the moldier the cheese, the better. And kombucha? Hecks yes. The only reason I've been better about exercising is because they put a dang health food store right  next to my gym, and so I tell myself-"Michelle, if you work out, you can go and buy some lavender kombucha that will make your eyes burn and put hair on your chest."  Yes, please. 

       Thus, the takeaway lesson? Eat more veggies. Especially if they've been sitting in a glass jar in a dark closet for days. OOoh, yeah. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Vision Board

           This is a little screen shot from the pinterest board that I'm tying to create for my "Vision Board".   If you've never heard of them, this is a motivational tool to help you to reach your goals. If you choose images that strike an emotional chord in you, and you visualize yourself having, being, and doing those things that are on your board, then the natural opportunities for you to achieve these dreams will come to pass.....after all, you already accepted it as reality in your mind, so the fears that block you won't be as strong....presumably. The issue is, I got seriously STUCK emotionally in a few places whilst trying to build said board.
        I read a book by the ripped lady in the picture above. Her name is Carol Whitaker (book is "Ridiculously Happy-The Secret to Manifesting the Life and Body of your Dreams") and she said that when she was working on manifesting the way she wanted to look, she found some inspirational pictures of other women that had the same coloring, and the shape she wanted, and then she used those to visualize. 
        I tried that, and I got stuck on all sorts of nit-picky, beat-myself-up, cower in the corner sucking my thumb-type of details.  But, I'm a stocky girl! But...I don't want to look like someone ELSE's version of perfection, I want to look like my own! I don't want to steal....or something like that. 
       Holy Face, I'm even feeling stuck trying to write this blog. The vision board scares the crap out of me.  How do you do a vision board without nearly wetting yourself with fear and anxiety!? Am I doing it wrong? Help me, Damselite ladies. You're my only hope. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Hypocrite

      Yesterday, I was justifying to my friend why I didn't want to buy myself new clothing. These were my very reasonable sounding reasons:
-"You shouldn't buy more clothing until you lose more weight? I mean, you ARE losing, AREN'T YOU?"
-"Nobody makes clothing that looks good on my body"
-"These styles don't flatter me."
-"I'll buy myself new things when I've reached my goals" (in all reality, this means, when I'm perfect.)
-"I don't go anywhere outside of work. I just sit and sew everyday, all day long. I don't NEED nice clothes...I guess unless I want to wear high heels and a fancy blouse to the gym!"

         Then, I realized, to my utter HORROR, that these are the exact same reasons that people give when they're talking themselves out of a corset! Now, mind you, it actually doesn't happen very often, but generally, this is how the exchange goes. Woman comes into booth. Michelle is excited to meet new person, tries to get to know them. Michelle laces woman into corset that will enhance her coloring, body shape, and personality. Woman looks into mirror and DOESN'T automatically criticize what she sees! Praise the Lord!  Then, the excuses start coming. "Well...I really shouldn't until I lose more weight" (I DO hope you all realize that I do alterations all the dang time. I'm up to altering about 10-15 corsets a WEEK for the customers that have lost weight!), "I don't have anywhere I could possibly wear this" (I'm standing in front of you, wearing a corset at a renaissance festival. You came to the festival to have fun. You know what could enhance your experience?),  "I'm going to wait until.....*insert thing here*."

       I know this is coming off as me being critical, and I promise, the tone of this blog is for me to say, "Holy face!! These women are coming into my life so that they can help ME see MYSELF more clearly, and hopefully, in turn, I can help them!"  What a blessed gift!!!  And you know, it's so easy for me to look at this woman making these excuses and think, "What in the potty words is she talking about? She is SO beautiful, and SO vibrant, and has SO many possibilities and SO much potential!  Why would she settle for any less that epic? Why would she put conditions on when she will be able to be kind to herself? What???"

       I promise, I'm learning to say the same things to myself. It's re-programming 29 years of mental habit, so I hope you will be patient, and I, in turn, will be more patient and loving to you....because that's what we all need. Love and acceptance.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Smashing the A.N.T.S.!

      I heard something recently that absolutely delighted me!  I was listening to a podcast, and the guy was giving advice about how to change your life, and he said that you had to great REALLY good at smashing the "A.N.T.s" in your life....or rather Automatic-Negative-Thoughts.  Brilliant, BRILLIANT!

       Just this morning, I thought,  "Okay, I'm going to write in my journal, like I've been promising myself for years" and then I AUTOMATICALLY thought, "Yeah, but you don't have enough time. You've got to get to work sewing corsets."  And then I thought, "I'm going to smash that thought into oblivion with this EVEN BETTER THOUGHT!  My even better thought was, "Michelle, do you live in a scarcity mindset or an abundance mindset? Is there truly not enough time for you to take care of yourself and gain more self respect by keeping promises you made to yourself? "
 
        This was a much better thought because it INSPIRED ME, and it MADE ME THINK, and it OPENED UP MY MIND TO NEW IDEAS!  The automatic negative thought would have done this domino effect, most likely, if I had let it. Michelle thinks there's not enough time. Michelle doesn't pause to reflect on her life and how she could be better by journaling. Instead, she just gets to work, head down, brain frustrated. That frustrated brain is living in a world where there is not enough time, and that creates stress. That stress gets sewn into the corsets, and then there are more customer problems down the road, because of that negative energy. Michelle thinks that if there's not enough time, there's also not enough money, and by thinking that, she automatically steers energy AWAY from her company and her products.  (I truly believe people can feel the environment in which a product is created. In handmade products, there is generally LIFE, and LOVE, and VITALITY, and a STORY!  In mass-produced, cheaply manufactured, products that are only sewn to get gain, and not to serve, there is an absence of life,  love, and vitality. There is deadness. There is disrespect. There is no reason to hold onto, or treasure these things. They just get thrown away and you replace them with another. Who the heck cares?  Yuck.)  And the negativity spreads like wildfire from there.
         An ABUNDANCE mindset says this.  There is enough time for ME. There is enough money in this world for everyone to be successful, at their own comfort level, if they are taught to train their brain to reach out and grab a hold of it! There is enough HEALTH for everyone, if we can educate ourselves about food that will nourish our mind, body, and soul. If we can learn that food is our medicine, and medicine can be our food. There is enough POSITIVE THOUGHTS for everyone in the world to have them, and there is more that can be created.    There is enough LOVE for all of us, both to share with others and with ourselves.  There is enough compassion. There is enough potential. There is not only "enough".....there is an ABUNDANCE!
   
         I read through a meditation that told you to do something like this- Breathe deeply, relax, close your eyes, and imagine the ocean with the crashing waves and the millions of grains of sand. Here is abundance.  You can take your bucket and go and reach into the ocean and get some water....immediately, more water fills up that space. There could be a never ending PILE of people, our brothers and sisters on this world, going and reaching their pails into the water, and it wouldn't diminish......there is enough for everyone. There is so much.  So, so much for all of us!

         I am grateful for my customers that teach me about abundance. They tell their friends about our products and our company culture. They tell their family. There are more people that come in and feel the love that I want to share with my corsets.  All of these people feel more love for their bodies when they're wearing a beautiful, handmade garment, and then they spread that love and generosity onto more people.

         There is an abundance of all the good things you want in your life.

          The A.N.T.s come from a scarcity mindset.  Listen carefully to your negative thoughts......are they telling you that there is enough good and love?  No, they always speak of a lack, no matter what the thought is or where it's coming from.  Scarcity is hideous, and it creates more and more of itself.  I strongly urge you to smash it, along with me, and together, we can live in abundance!