Felicitations Newsletter #8
Random thoughts about ladies' bodies including mine
I dyed my hair strawberry blonde earlier this week and thought it would be the solution to all my problems. It was…not.
I should have known better. But, like a lot of ladies, I have a pattern of tying my appearance to my mental state. Like when I broke off a relationship, and immediately changed the color palette of my wardrobe, because that was CLEARLY the way I was gonna “move on”. Or when I looked in the mirror and though, “Aha, that’s why I’m depressed! My thighs are having a cuddle party down there!" For some reason, taking control of my OUTSIDES is the first thing I go to in order to solve whatever mental jam I’m in. And, to be honest, it does give a temporary boost. “I have the hair of Jessica Chastain now, how could things be WRONG anymore?! She’s doing great!!” But of course, none of it ever pays off long-term. Like, where did I get the dumb idea that I’m going to achieve better long-term mental health by doing stuff like plucking my eyebrows different? Also…DON’T PLUCK YOUR EYEBROWS DIFFERENT, FELICIA, THEY LOOK FINE AND IF YOU GO TOO FAR, THEY NEVER GROW BACK!
This week I got little insight by reading an interesting PhD dissertation on the internet about how, for women especially, the body is a proxy for themselves. (Just a little light Tuesday morning reading.) Our sense of self-worth is tied up with the state of our outsides because we’re taught that our role in life is to please other people with our appearances. That’s why when someone tells us, “I love you without makeup” it’s hard believe. Inside, WE struggle to love ourselves without makeup, because we’ve been told our whole lives that women are more beautiful with makeup. Our self-worth can’t be fooled by kind words! WE know eyeliner would up this six to an eight, JASON! (Note to Felicia: Who is Jason?)
This conditioning starts SO early. When I read fairy tales or stories to my 4-year-old, it’s rare that I encounter any description of a princess or woman or girl character that doesn’t lead with the adjective “beautiful”. I always add in “smart” and “hard-working” when I’m reading to my daughter because, hey, I’m trying to indoctrinate her too, but it’s pretty hopeless to fight the programming. Because when she watches Frozen 2 and sees Elsa getting all glammed up with purple eyeshadow as she achieves the peak of her character arc…my kid is picking up on that. “Happiness equals long flowing hair and big eyelashes, mama!” UGH. She’s subconsciously absorbing all the cues media is telling her about how the world works for women and internalizing it in the way she’s seeing herself — From the outside first. I hate it, but God knows, I can’t fault her. Because I’ve internalized the same thoughts. “Felicia, if you can ever fit back in those size 2 jeans, you will definitely stop feeling bad about yourself. Because size 2 jeans are what society TELLS you that happy, attractive people wear! Ergo, as soon as you lose weight, you’re gonna be a happy size-2-wearing hottie who will feel SO HAPPY inside, right! RIGHT?!?!”
It’s all so dumb. So tiring. And so real. I want to shout to the world — WE ARE NOT OUR BODIES! WE ARE MORE THAN OUR WARDROBE SIZES! SUCK IT, GEN-Z LOW-RISE JEANS!
So how can we get to a point where we can see ourselves as our INSIDES, first and foremost? Well, first we have to somehow divorce our sense of “self” with our outsides. Easy to say, but SO difficult to do, especially in this world where we post 10000 pictures of ourselves online and salivate for feedback. We don’t have X-ray, personality-appreciating INSIDE photos yet. (Someone work on that tech!) So for now, all we can do is just be aware of the world trying to pull us outside of our bodies constantly and fight it every day, every minute, every year. Declare that we are here and worthy! Regardless of our weight, our height, or clothes or face! Feel the sense of, “I could transform into a potato on the outside, and I’d still be as lovable because my INSIDES are what make Gratin taste good! When you soak me in butter I’m delicious BECAUSE OF WHAT’S INSIDE OF ME!”
Okay that analogy went off the rails, but you get what I mean. Hopefully.
It’s especially important because, as I looked at my nice new strawberry blonde hair in the mirror, I realized that as we get older, if we don’t figure out how to tie our INSIDES to our self-worth instead of our outsides, we’re gonna go down the road of lifting our face up to the top of our skulls and puffing it full of filler so we look like we were on a waaaay wild bender the night before. It’s not a good look! The State-Puff Marshallow man is NOT HOT. Worse, we’re teaching younger girls that THAT is the ideal “middle-aged woman” aesthetic. “THIS is the way you look beautiful at age 40 or 50, honey! Keep focusing on your outsides as long as you’re alive!” Nope. We can do better. We have to show ourselves, and the world, that we are worthy of loving exactly as we are. Outside and inside.
I stared in the mirror at my Covid-10 body this morning (10 pounds heavier than when it started) and I winced. I thought, “My stomach looks like there’s a layer of jelly under there! Where did you get this Mom Bod, DAY?!” I resolved to get on a diet immediately. But then I thought about the steps I’d need to take to ACTUALLY get rid of the weight. To stop baking cupcakes (I love baking cupcakes). To take time to exercise more (I should do that for my health, sure, but enough for fat-burning? Eew!). Of course, I’d need to spend time away from my kiddo in order to get “hott”. Ugh, how am I gonna make myself DO all that?!
In order to psych myself up I thought, “Well, why do you NEED this ten pounds off your body, Felicia?” Because I know full well if you don’t NEED something, you’re never gonna stick with trying to achieve it. And I immediately thought, “So I can look better in Instagram pics.” Then I I winced. Ugh. What a TERRIBLE reason.
Then I asked myself, “Why do YOU need this, Felicia?” And…I drew a blank. Because I DON’T need it. I’m not losing it for my health, and I have other things in my life I’d rather achieve right now. For ME, Felicia Day. The INSIDE me.
So…yeah. Screw it. I’m ok with my tummy. It’s here to stay. So are size 4-6 jeans. Here it is. Take it in. ‘CAUSE I LOVE MY CUPCAKE TUMMY.
What a feeling of freedom to show you all my weird-ass belly button! Just don’t make it creepy, okay?
Jason, you made it creepy. Sigh.
WEEKLY RECIPE: Kitchari is something I cook whenever my stomach feels off, or I get bad acid reflux or I just want to infuse some vegetarian entrees in my life.
Not sure if you played the game “The Room” puzzle game but this cool Lego creation inspired by the house surely might persuade you.
This article about cats sitting in boxes makes me want to become a cat scientist and do research like this.
Personal Links (Also Interesting):
My Twitch streaming schedule is HERE. Starting a Mass Effect Remastered play-though, SQUEE!
Now is a great time to dive into “Embrace Your Weird” my creativity book. With the world opening up again, take these self-help lessons into our new reality! I promise it will be fun! Super promise.
Undressing Bridgerton has wrapped up for a bit, so catch up now before season 2. We are now switching to Undressing Witcher! New feed will be up soon!
Lastly, please subscribe to this newsletter so you get it in your inbox every week.
See you in two weeks, and on my Discord channel in between for chatting and friendship! <3