“The real artistry of makeup is not how beautiful the individual looks, but how beautiful the individual feels wearing your work.”
-Adriana Garcia 6/7/16
Featuring Meli (insta: _meli.ac) as the beautiful model above.
The raccoon is you. The cotton candy is 2015, and the puddle of water is the Happy New Year, which came too soon, as usual. I don’t know about you, but I’m mourning the passing of 2015. 2016 has enormous shoes to fill. It was a good year for personal reasons, but also a pivotal point, and dare I say a year of triumph, for a heap of outgroups who in prior years have been deprived the visibility and recognition they deserve. Vogue declared 2015 “The Year of Trans Visibility.” The Daily Dot dubbed it “A Good Year for Body Positivity,” and Bustle identifies 2015 as “The Year the Movement Went Mainstream.” Similarly, 2015 was the first year a movement of women dared to publicly speak up about their abortions.
Reflecting back on last year, 2015 was a year of victory and courage. Those who were outcast to the margins in the past are finally shining in the spotlight. Last year, (some of) the disempowered were empowered. They were seen and heard louder, further and wider than ever. New and more diverse idols have pervaded entertainment. The spike in media appearances of these “other” categories starts the conversation. Social media spreads it.
Friends share stories. Spread ideas. Challenge norms. People who used to be primarily excluded from the conversation are now being exposed to bodies that resemble their own, people who suffer the same abuse, discrimination, exclusion, shame, and pain as they do. People are relating. We’re finally learning to see other people as people. Accepting them. Supporting them.
Not all of us, obviously, but a lot of us. Enough of us to change the context. The same large bodies that were formerly confined to before pictures are suddenly strutting down the runways, landing headlines and magazine covers. Succeeding. Transgender individuals, the former “freaks,” are now being cast as leading roles. Succeeding. The “others” now have an audience who love them.
And although the fight for equal acceptance continues and may never truly end, more and more battles for beauty are being won. More and more people are accepting, opening up and tuning in. These movements are gaining momentum with no sign of slowing down. Who knows how far 2016 might take us. We have the hashtag to thank for this.
The list goes on. Millions of individuals, united under one hashtag. Social media, as much as it distances us, also connects us. It shows us what we have in common. Just look at the progress it’s empowered, and how rapidly it’s spreading. We the people demand more diversity in our media feed, and we got it. Slowly but surely, it’s being supplied. Conventional beauties are making room on the stage for real bodies. Body-positive movements have spiked awareness, inspired acceptance and driven an undeniable societal shift, the very societal shift body-positive-activist Jes Baker predicted.
To me, this progress is validating, because it means my words might actually have some impact on the handful of people that actually read them. People have the power to change, and to be changed, and we have the body positive cause to prove it. So phasing out of body-love’s best year so far, at full speed, and with no sign of slowing down, all I can say is: Bring it, 2016. And make it beautiful.
Dear Dudes with Little Dicks,
I know it may seem like you drew the short straw regarding your dick. Indeed, you did. You may feel resentful of your less-than-average sized penis. You may fear your small cock handicaps your sex life. You might worry your dick will be inadequate, a disappointment, unable to satisfy. To some, it will be, but not to me. Whether your dick is a disappointment remains to be seen, just the same as any man with any dick of any size. All I want from your cock is a quality performance.
That is, assuming I want your cock at all. I may not, for reasons that have nothing to do with the size of your dick. But if I’m interested in you, and I’ve invested time getting to know you, and if I decide I want your dick, the dimensions of your dick won’t change my mind. Your small dick is not deal-breaker. How you use it might be. How you talk to me might be. How you treat me might be. Any number of things might be the reason I decide never to see you again, but your dick-size won’t be one of them.
Sure, it may kill your boner and ruin your night when you reveal your dick to someone new for the first time and they make some insensitive comment, like “Yours is so much more…manageable than the other guys I hook up with,” or they suddenly come up with some excuse and bail, never to be seen again. But ultimately that just means you dodged a bullet. Little dicks only scare the shallow ones away, and you don’t want them anyway. The world is full of dudes with little dicks, and full of chicks and dudes who “don’t do” little dicks. It’s also full of people who don’t give a fuck. Find those people, and fuck them. And fuck them well. If your dick is little and you suck at using it, you’re shit out of luck.
Ultimately, you won’t perform well with someone who makes you feel insecure and inadequate. Find someone who loves your little dick. Give them a reason to love it. You might think your little dick has a disadvantage, because it has big shoes to fill, quite literally. Big dicks stuff holes better. True. But there is such a thing as too big, too. And little dicks have more mobility. Little dicks can do tricks bigger dicks can’t do. Anyone who thinks they’re too good for your dick, who discriminates based on the size of your prize, who denies you the chance to prove your worth, doesn’t know what they’re missing and never will. As it should be. They don’t deserve it.
All I’m trying to say is you’re not a vehicle for your cock, and the size of your dick doesn’t determine your worth or potential. You are just as valuable and capable as any man, and your cock is just as capable as any cock. So next time you want to bitch and moan and criticize your dick, consider your dick’s perspective. Love your dick, and be thankful you have one at all. May your cock go places no big cock has gone before.
Smallest Tits in San Francisco
Audrey Hepburn was a lot of things, but mostly, we know her for her beauty. Beauty is something women consider themselves lucky to have, and unlucky not to. Beauty is something women are conditioned to strive for. Beauty is something any woman would be #blessed to have, but beauty is a burden of it’s own.
Physical beauty blinds people to the beauty that lies beneath. The beauty we wear on the outside only takes a moment to notice, but our accomplishments, intelligence and wit are hidden deep under our skin, and generally the investigation only extends as far as that first glance. Many women are shrugged off as just another bangin’ body, just another pretty face.
And sure I want to be beautiful too, but when the credits roll at the end of this show, I want to be remembered for a legacy of art and poetry and music and perspective, and this website, and contributions to my community, accomplishments, achievements that I leave behind, not a legacy of sexy images.
In its own way, beauty is just another brick in the wall standing between women and the recognition we deserve. Our external beauty steals all the thunder from the wonder underneath, and we, the women living in these bodies, remain invisible. Worse yet, women who aren’t considered obviously beautiful aren’t seen at all.
So next time you see a pretty woman, or any woman for that matter, take the time and make the effort to find out who that woman really is. She isn’t just a pretty face, she is a person, with passion and aspirations. When you describe a woman, don’t define her by her physical appearance, define her by her actions and beliefs.
Same goes for sexy gentlemen, and not-so-sexy gentlemen, and any other gender in between. Make sure you see beyond their skin. All of us have diamond minds trapped deep inside our bodies, and they take some digging to find, so damnit, dig.
Beauty isn’t an accomplishment, it’s a physical condition. Don’t let your beauty be the bars you hide behind.
Has someone told you that you’re beautiful today? A lover? A father / a mother? A sister / a brother? A creepy stranger? A not-so-creepy stranger? Try as we might and want as we do to be beautiful, and even to be seen at all, we don’t hear it enough because people don’t say it enough. But Shae Glover does—she told a heap of people at her high school how beautiful they are, and recorded their reactions in this video you’ve probably already seen.
I fucking love this because it shows 1) how easy it is to tell someone they’re beautiful without coming onto them in a nasty way, and 2) it shows how much you could be making someone’s day. It also shows how reluctant, embarrassed and even offended some people might be to accept your recognition of their beauty. Maybe this is due to our insecurities and doubts about our beauty. If we don’t believe we’re beautiful, then how can someone else? But they do, and we are. So tell someone how fucking beautiful they are (and don’t be creepy). Create the same moment Shae Glover captures in her video.
PS. You’re beautiful.
A lot of us are insecure about our bodies, even the ones with figures the rest of us consider perfect. Physical imperfection, as we perceive it, is universal to us all, and nobody’s immune to the resulting insecurities. We all have a voice that tells us we’re not beautiful enough, not toned enough, not tan enough, not defined enough, not tight enough. But the volume we give that voice varies from person to person, and rises and falls dramatically throughout our lives. Some days the voice is a whisper in the back of our minds, and other times, it rings so loud we’re deaf to any other noise. And maybe we can never mute that voice completely, but we can sure talk back to it. But what to say, you ask? Two words.
Let “fuck it” become your mirror-gazing mantra. Next time your shoulder demon takes the mic, you have every right to boo that little bitch back off the stage. You call the shots in your own mental open mic. So find your inner-child and cover your ears and scream, “La-la-la-la I can’t hear you,” or try the trending, “Look at all the fucks I give.” (Zero.) Your fucks are precious, and you only have so many to disperse, so don’t waste your fucks hating your body. Save your fucks for lovers, family and friends (not those kind of fucks, you nasty bastard), your education, your passion, the world you live on, the obstacles you conquer, the things you create and the thoughts you espress.
The best thing about “Fuck-it” is it instantaneously foils any argument. It’s foolproof. Whether the criticism comes from you or someone else, your refusal to give a fuck renders any such criticism irrelevant. Not applicable. “Fuck-it” allows you not to be affected by body-negativity, whether internal or external. So say it. “Fuck it. I don’t give a fuck.” Embrace it. Save your fucks for something worth your while.
And if you’re wondering what “Fuck it” looks like and how to apply it to your life, this brave young woman dares to show you how it’s done.
Since the birth of Espress Yourself one month ago, we’ve managed to acquire a whopping ten followers on Twitter, the most recent of which I’ve spent all morning stalking and obsessing over. VivaLaKatieJ epitomizes the confidence and body love Talk-Beauty-to-Me Tuesday’s all about, but even more than that, she is a woman who truly dares to espress herself.
Don’t be fooled by the pink, or continuous tossing of blonde hair, or the ums and likes because the spaces between those ums and likes are filled with profound honesty and wisdom. As if her British accent isn’t reason enough to watch her entire battery of Youtube videos in one sitting, on top of that, she has some worthy shit to say. KatieJ doesn’t shy away from the real shit.
The video that moved me the most was Katie’s Self Harm Story, which I’m sharing here today because so many people share her pain and never dare to talk about it. We bear our emotional burdens alone, secretly, and privately. We keep our pain inside. We don’t think other people share our struggle, but lots of people do, and they probably struggle silently too.
Katie learned to love a body she used to harm. That’s not to say self-harm is strictly body-image inflicted. Self-harm can be triggered by any emotional pain, for any reason. Maybe Katie used to hurt herself because she had no other way to express her pain, but she’s created a new outlet for herself, a safe place to speak up, and it’s a damn good thing she did, because she has powerful shit to say.
I think it’s key to have an outlet to express the things we feel instead of suppressing them. If you don’t have an outlet, create one. Katie has Youtube. I have this website. Find a place to #EspressYourself because you’re fucking worth it. And so much admiration and respect for Katie’s strength and willingness to open up, and share her story.
Hers will be a tough act to follow for our next Twitter follower.
To the Soul Who Occupies Me,
Give me a fucking break. Quit staring mournfully at your reflection as though I’ve failed you somehow. As if your rolls and muffin-tops and wrinkles somehow hinder your ability to live your life. As if I don’t give you enough—eyes to see, a tongue to taste, a voice to speak, two ears to listen, nerves to feel, lungs to breathe, a heart to beat, a brain to think, legs to carry you and feet to keep you standing, arms and hands to reach and hold and to create, even an ass to sit on when you need a break—and you’re complaining that your dick and/or tits aren’t big enough? Go fuck yourself.
Do you know how much work went into building this body? How many billions of years it took me to evolve? All the elements I’m made of? Where they came from? I bet you didn’t know (or maybe you did) that some of your ingredients wouldn’t exist if it hadn’t been for a distant supernova—the death of a massive star, combusting, heating, fusing and releasing all the elements your body is composed of—billions of years before the creation of our solar system and the birth of our own sun. The universe has had your body’s blueprints in the works longer than I think you realize. A lot of love and care and/or coincidence and chance went into your intricate design, and each human form is complex and exquisite and capable of things that other creatures couldn’t dream of, and yet, your boobs aren’t big enough / your belly isn’t tight enough / your muscles aren’t defined enough.
What do you think this is? A beauty pageant? I’m not something to be judged, I’m just a vessel to be lived in. I don’t appreciate your disappointment, and quite frankly I’m repeatedly insulted by your lack of gratitude. Get naked and go look in the mirror. Try to conceptualize how many cells you’re made of, and how lucky you are to be made of them.
“Makeup or no makeup, people will always give you more likes for your self confidence.” -Adriana Garcia 11/16/15
“I don’t consider myself an artist. I feel like I’m just another addict like everyone else, and I just want to share the excitement and love I have for makeup.
It’s like portal I use to get away sort of like therapy just having the choice of all the colors, textures, techniques, finishes, mixtures, blends, styles, looks, etc.—it’s endless.
I love how it’s always multifunctional like if it’s a lipstick it doesn’t mean it’s only for lips. I can use it as a blush or a base for an eyeshadow. If I make an error, there’s always a way to correct it.
And at the end of the day, it’s not permanent. So there’s no commitment.”
-Adriana Garcia-Ayala 11/16/15
Ultimately, Adriana believes the bottom line is there are no real rules, and comfort is all you need to radiate confidence.
There’s a lot of body-love / love-your-body talk buzzing around the media right now (for instance right here on this website, every Tuesday), and it’s awesome. People are showing due love and respect for their bodies and acceptance of themselves. People are conquering all kinds of insecurities about their physical appearance, and it’s fucking wonderful, but for the ones still suffering from insecurities, these words might frustrate us or even hurt us. Love this body? …How? How are we supposed to feel when we experience this pressure to love a body we’ve spent our whole lives learning to hate?
#LoveYourBody, #BodyLove, #LoveYourself, etcetera. A person with insecurities about their looks might see these words and vaguely recognize that they’re supposed to be somehow empowering. That person might laugh at these words and shrug them off. Love my body? Gotta be kidding. Or that person might honestly consider the meaning of these words. They might try desperately to follow these instructions: Love your body. But that’s like telling somebody who’s drowning to breathe. And no matter how many times we might repeat the words, they’re never any truer. Love isn’t a voluntary function. It isn’t something we command so easily. It takes more than #LoveYourBody to really love your body.
So for those of us still learning to love ours, let’s break this love-your-body business down into digestible pieces. Baby steps. For one thing, you can’t leap all the way to loving your body without first stopping to accept it. If you’re struggling to accept your body, you’ve probably spent a considerable portion of your life comparing all your body parts and facial features to the “perfect” ones you see on tv screens and magazines. You’ve probably composed a mental list of all the right ways for these features to appear, and all the ways that yours are wrong.
Sometimes we forget those body parts and facial features aren’t decorative. Each one serves a vital function. Sometimes it helps me to remember this. When I feel critical of some part of my body, I remind myself what that part of my body does for me, or enables me to do. Loving your body doesn’t just have to be about loving the way your body looks. You might find it easier to love your body for what it does for you. So I’ve composed a handy list of all the awesome shit our body parts make possible, and reasons to appreciate them.
Your Head: The thoughts you think.
Your Skin: The things you feel. And the exceptional job it does containing all your yucky guts and innards.
Your Eyebrows and Eyelashes: All that shit they keep out of your eyes that you probably never noticed, because it wasn’t in your eyes.
Your Eyes — The things you see.
Your Nose — The scents you smell. The air you breathe.
Your Lips — The lips you kiss.
Your Mouth — The food you eat. The words you speak.
Your Neck — The tenacity with which it holds your head up.
Your Arms — The distances you reach. The things you carry.
Your Hands — The things that you create.
Your Fingertips — The things you touch.
Your Hips — The love you make.
Your Legs — The strength with which they carry you.
Your Feet — The places that they takes you.