This is my 50th post (whaaaaaat?! that just seems crazy to me) and I couldn’t let this milestone go by without a bit of fanfare and celebration and glitter throwing, because I AM myself, after all – so cue the lights, because ASAS has a sexy new look, and more importantly, ALL OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMEN I KNOW ARE GETTING NAKED. … I know, not one of you fell for that, because this is most certainly NOT the place for that (you can click away now boys) but a place, I like to think anyway, of quite the opposite. Upon starting this blog, I originally just needed something to keep me writing, an accountability partner made up of everyone who has access to the internet slash nobody, since who the hell was actually going to read what I had to say, I thought. What’s amazing to me is the messages I have gotten, the comments and the phone calls, from people in my life who have been affected by what I’ve put on this little platform of mine – I’ve accidentally created a circle of trust, a safety net, a forum for my sisters (and brothers) to dig into some of more gritty parts of themselves, to reveal themselves and understand others, to be honest and to let me be honestly myself. I am rendered speechless and joyful and weepy all at the same time by the idea that I have helped, or at least made you laugh, along the way. And although you all have said ASAS has affected you, I have to honestly say that it has lifted me out of the deeper parts of my depression and helped me overcome my own self esteem issues in such a way that I can’t say it enough: thank you. Thank you, every one of you, for throwing your weight behind my (fine) ass, filling me with inspiration and pushing me forward, up and out, not unlike my favorite bra (DKNY, leopard print balconette that somehow minimizes and lifts and separates at the same time, which is magic). Seriously, though – I love you guys.
And since I love you all SO MUCH, I decided to hand the keys to the shiny new blog over to you! I asked some of the most ass-kickingly awesome, gorgeous, fucking FLAWLESS women that I know to share their biggest insecurities with me and, you know, the world, NBD. You see, I’d just read an old article on Gawker titled “Now You Have To Worry About Your Ugly Underarms”, a reaction to the ridiculous ad campaign by the ‘body positive’ (ha) Dove corporation (because that’s what it is, owned by Unilever and ultimately out to make money even if it means profiting off of peoples’ insecurities) for its Go Sleeveless deodorant, and got FIRED UP. My ARMPITS, NOW?! My thighs, stomach, and arms aren’t enough?!? I started thinking about the more ridiculous issues I have with parts of my body, ones that I’m less excited to share because I recognize how insane they are, but nevertheless there they are, pulling at my sleeve and nagging at me all of the damned time: ‘Ew, my little toe is SO gross, thanks a lot, pointe shoes’, ‘Why are my ears so TINY when I have the WORLD’S BIGGEST HEAD?!’, ‘This handful of fat on the inside of my knee HAUNTS my DREAMS’, and so forth, and this popped into my head:
And what’s funny/sad is that I think that my hips ARE huge, my calf muscles are monsters, I absolutely have man shoulders, my hairline is definitely weird, my pores are like craters, and that my nail beds suck (thank goodness I’m a manicurist). I mean good God, is there no end? I can’t even keep up with the weird black pubey hairs that randomly pop up around my nipples, amiright, ladies? Right?! Wait… nobody else gets those? Oh… neither do I… *ahem* ANYWAY, I asked the women/rockstars/warriors around me to talk about their insecurities, from the big (or not so big) complaints like boobs and butts to the infinitesmal complaints they have about their body parts, like armpits, ankles, thumbs, hair follicles, whateva, and how they dealt or are dealing with them and (eep, I know) a picture of the part in question. I got such a huge response that I’m going to have to spread these posts out over a few days, but they are SO GOOD, you guys. Super hot AND great writers?! Damn, ladies, you got it goin’ ON! Let’s DO this!
Sarah Wozniak – Fundraising & Events Associate at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, NYC
I have 9 fingers. Sorry, that was unnecessarily dramatic – I have 9 2/3 fingers. You won’t notice at first and contrary to my favorite line to use when someone does eventually notice, “you should see the other guy”, I didn’t lose it in an epic bar brawl over bacon (if only). The physical loss was small; a tiny gap in splay of phalanges, but the emotional loss was pretty big. Quite literally, I’m no longer my whole self and the initial impact of that reality, well, sucked. My sense of self-worth slipped – who could want a daughter/girlfriend/friend who (in my mind) was damaged, as a result of her own actions no less? I lost a lot of years and plenty of friends to that self-hate.
10 years later, it’s become a part of who I am, a quirk in my already quirky identity. It’s given me a better sense of humor (the finger-up-the-nostril party trick never gets old). It’s renewed my faith in myself. My stump is a daily reminder that if I can withstand the pain of surgery, healing, rehab and early retellings of the event every time someone asked, “what happened?” there is literally nothing life will throw my way that I can’t handle. Best of all, it’s given me perspective, compelling me to have patience and understanding, because everyone has scars (whether inside or out) that they’re dealing with and they may just be at the start of their journey to overcome.
You know, I don’t know what happened to the table saw that took my finger, so maybe you should see the other guy – I bet I’m in a way better place than him. 😉
P.S. The ring isn’t real but the mac and cheese is the TRUTH!
What’s funny is that I’d never had the guts to ask Sarah about her finger, and when I saw I had gotten her response in my inbox the last thing I was expecting it to be about was this! I honestly forget about it altogether, having known Sarah for such a long time – funny how things that are so impactful for you can be basically nonexistent for others. I guess that’s what we’re getting at with this post, though, huh? KUDOS to you for this, Sarah, and GIMME A BITE OF THAT MAC!
Patricia Ray – *very recently retired!* Account Specialist at Baldwin Wallace University, Brunswick, Ohio
In 64 years I’ve gotten pretty good at the photo shuffle: turn slightly to the left or right and you automatically look thinner. My body image has always revolved around the extra size in my hips. You know, size 6 on top, size 8 on the bottom. It always made it a little challenging finding clothes, but catalogs were the best. “Find the shape that best fits your body type – apple, pear, etc…” so no problem there: you should pick the “A” line dress or the “curvy girl pants”, NOT the pencil thin skirt. I used to be envious of the girls who could totally buy things right off the rack in five minutes… Still am a little, but I am okay with it now and I am loved!
To paraphrase a Beatles song, I am the pear… goo goo goo joob goo goo goo goo joob!
HOW COOL IS MY MOTHER IN LAW?!? From quoting I Am The Walrus to that head scarf and perfectly blended white eyeshadow, she is killing it. And if anyone knows the plight of the pear, it’s THIS GIRL. Is there a name for being 10 sizes bigger on the bottom half? Thank goodness I have man shoulders to balance it all out… I KNOW, I KNOW. I swear I’ll stop. But seriously, Mama Ray is one beautiful, hip chick!
Amanda Berichon – Legal Assistant, Cleveland, OH
Nothing has caused me more strife or low self-esteem than having psoriasis. When I was younger, I was afraid to let boys touch my head or behind my ears because I didn’t want them feeling gross, scaly skin, but I don’t wear bathing suits or shorts and I don’t use my meds as often as I should because they’re greasy and ruin bedsheets and clothing. It’s a conundrum I’ve lived with for as long as I can remember. HOWEVER, as I’ve grown older, I’ve become much less self-conscious about it. First of all, everyone has something. Remembering this is KEY. Secondly, when you’re a cute girl with badass tattoos and lots to say about the world, it turns out men will love you and want to bang you anyways, despite your rough patches.
It’s true. Amanda was so cool in college when I met her – a serious actress, all tattoos and spiky black hair and hotness – I didn’t get the guts to really talk to her until well after we were out of school. And her point that everybody’s got their something? TRUE TRUE TRUE. And the ‘perfect people’ (say, that evil Sofia Vergara who stole my boyfriend) have plenty of negative things about them, I am sure. I bet she has a chronic gas problem and her farts smell terrible… or something. EVERYBODY’S got their rough patches, for sure. Thanks for that, Amanda. You rule.
Sheena Suarez – General Manager, tenoverten Soho, Brooklyn, NY
When I moved to North Carolina with my family at 9 years old it was the first time I experienced the difficulties of being comfortable in my own skin. It didn’t help that I was a minority in a predominantly white town and that every Teen Beat, Tiger Beat and Sugar Magazine featured only pretty white girls. “Why is my nose so wide? Why can’t it be narrow and pointy like the girls in the magazines?” I’d ask myself this all the time. I would even put a clothespin on my nose for short periods of time thinking it would somehow change the shape of it. Looking back at that time in my life, I feel so silly knowing that I felt this way. Today, at 31 years old, I am perfectly happy with my nose. It is part of who I am, it’s a perfect combination of my mom’s nose and my dad’s nose, and I am truly grateful for it! Love yourself and all that you are. That is where true happiness begins.
Honestly, all that I think of when I look at Sheena is that that is EXACTLY what I wanted to look like as a little white girl in a sea of little white girls in small town Ohio, which once again points out just how different people’s idea of ‘perfection’ can be – her lovely nose fits perfectly on her lovely face! But as we all know, insecurities exist for tons of different reasons, and most of them don’t make much sense when you think about them. Sheena is also one of the sweetest, loveliest, most talented people I know, so that just adds to the fact that YOU CRAZY, baby Sheena! You’re (going to be) HOT!
Amy Anders Corcoran – Director & Choregrapher, Dallas, TX & NYC (and a billion other places across the country)
I have always hated my arms. Almost everyone in my life knows I call them “sausage arms” – even when I saw this picture of them, I thought “the sausage looks much better than my arm!”. It is inevitable that before even taking a picture of me, my husband will either say, “You don’t have sausage arms.” OR, as I do some odd pose to hide them, “Why are you doing that ridiculous thing with your arm?”. It’s stupid. I know this.
Earlier this year, two things happened that made me stop this sort of dialogue (no, I did NOT self-correct as you think I might as a normal, thoughtful human). The first being that one of my dear friends has a friend who developed sepsis and lost her arms and legs to an awful infection, and she is marching on with her life in spite of this. I am complaining about my arms when some people don’t even HAVE them? No good. The other thing that happened is that we recently decided to go through a surrogacy and we are having a little girl (any day now, actually) and I know I cannot continue that dialogue around or with her. I work out, I am strong, and my arms will cradle her, protect her, carry her, swing her, hug her, drive her to school, and pack her boxes when it is time for her to leave us for her own adventures in the world. Sausages can’t do any of those things, and my little girl will have enough obstacles in this life without worrying about whether her arms look like sausages in photos. I am not perfect, but I am getting better. And isn’t that the whole goal?