People, Pop Culture, women

Shopping for Wedding Dresses When You’re Fat


There are a lot of things I was concerned about when my mother told me we would be going wedding dress shopping on her next visit. I was afraid that she would say some part of my body was too fat and that comment would swish around in my brain like a spin cycle. I was worried she would find dresses I hated and we’d have to argue about why I didn’t want the traditional wedding dress. I was also really worried about ruining the dresses I would try on because I’m clumsy like that.

What I didn’t anticipate, was not being able to try on any of the dresses at all because they didn’t carry my size and this making of a nightmare turning out to be such a blessing.

The first store we went to boasted their, ironically, sizable collection and variety. We descended on the store like vultures and found a few dresses for me to try on. The largest being a 14. I have the back of linebacker and couldn’t close any of the dresses. I’ve spent a lot of time in the past year and half focusing on loving my body and thankfully, this was but a small deterrent for me. I was past the days of trying to have a quiet panic attack in the dressing room while simultaneously trying not to cry all over the clothes.

I walked out of the fitting room and unabashedly asked the attendant where her larger sizes were. She said they were on the other side of the store in the corner and that they would have a “Plus Size” sign. I skipped over there merrily with my already distraught mother in tow to find the magical “Plus Size” section.

Here’s where things could have really gone either way.

What we found was unlike the rest of the store. There were approximately two styles of dresses in various colors labeled “Plus Size.” The sizable collection and variety the store promised apparently didn’t apply if you weren’t “Regular Size.” The look on my mother’s face was pain. I wanted to join her in her disappointment and frustration. This was outrageous when the average women in America is 166 pounds. Not to mention the women’s size chart is at best, a bad joke.

But suddenly, I was off the hook! I didn’t have to worry about ruining dresses or arguing with my mother or being pressured into buying a ridiculously overpriced dress. I was ecstatic for myself, but also deeply sadden for all the women who want to look fabulous at prom or a special event and are reduced to two choices.

Nevertheless, we continued on to the next store which only carried sizes S-XXL. We managed to locate an XXL dress only to find XXL looked more like a medium.
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“Is this a store for ants???” I thought to myself and laughed while my mother mumbled how ridiculous this was and scurried out.

I don’t say this often, but I was downright giddy. All of my worries and concerns out the window all because I wasn’t “Regular Size” and society didn’t value my money the same. Huzzah! But anyone who knows my mother knows she is a determined woman especially when it comes to finding the perfect outfit for me. We made our way over to the Walmart of wedding dresses – David’s Bridal. They’d have to have something for me there.

David’s Bridal was everything I’ve seen in movies down to the unimpressed dress helpers. The first mistake we made was walking into the store like it was, well a store. We found some dresses for me to try on and went up to the receptionist (yes, this place has a receptionist) for assistance.

“Do you have an appointment?”

“No.”

“Did you check in when you came in?”

“No.”

Sigh….eye-roll.

We made an appointment for later that day and were assigned a helper. The first question she asked me was what size pants I wear. I chortled, because I really thought she understood the ridiculousness of the question, but looking her over I realized she probably was always a size 4.

I explained to her that I had pants in sizes ranging from 6 – 16 so maybe my waist size would make more sense. She shrugged me off and suggested I try an 8. This time, I laughed HARD. This person really had no sense of sizes or bodies for that matter. I knew it wasn’t her fault and she was just trying her best, but the least you can do is carry a size chart. I digress.

We found dresses and she prepared a fitting room for me.

“What size bra do you wear?”

“Oh I’m wearing one.”

“Yes, but you’ll need a strapless and a waist trainer, wait here.”

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She might as well have brought a plastic bag for me to wrap around my head because the contraption she brought me left me breathless, literally. I immediately forfeited, threw it in a corner, and started trying on dresses. I tried on a 10, 12 and 14 that all generally fit. So much for size charts.

Toward the end of the fitting there was one dress that I needed a bigger size in so I tracked down our helper.

“Are you sure you liked this dress enough to try it on again?”

If I wasn’t so tired of trying on wedding dresses I would have found 15 more!

I wasn’t sure what made me not worthy enough of full service. Maybe it was because I laughed at her size suggestions. Maybe it was because I refused to wear a death trap. Maybe it was because I was the only woman in there who hadn’t brought an entire entourage. Or maybe it was because I was a size 14 and so it didn’t really matter that I got a beautiful dress because look at me.

Thankfully, my self-love shelf life was still holding strong. I thanked the woman for her time as she shoved a catalog and toothpaste samples in my hand before rushing off to another appointment.

Although this venture worked out well for me, I still lament that this experience isn’t the same for many women out there. I lament that my self-love comes off as strident. I lament how I made my mother feel as if there was something wrong with her because she cared so much about how people were going to see me and I very vocally didn’t. It’s not her fault, it’s not the helper’s fault. It’s the world we grew up in where women are confined to a set of parameters. The same world that fear-mongers us into thinking we’re not worth as much if we don’t fit into these parameters, that we’re not worthy of being happy.

To everyone who has had this happen or who has these same fears, you are worth so much and you deserve happiness and a big, puffy, shiny, ridiculous dress if that’s what you want.

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People, Pop Culture, Technology

What it’s like when all your friends are on the internet


When you only communicate with most of your friends through the internet, you feel like what happened to Joaquin in Her is totally plausible.

Your writing skills are impeccable and you can translate the hieroglyphics coined emojis like an expert.

You think you’re more interesting because you can have long, thought out discussions but really you’re just reading Wikipedia faster than the other person.

There’s this unwritten rule about greeting each other after a certain amount of time. It’s like when you see someone in person again after 6 hours, you say hi again. But since you can always say hi to each other over the internet, when people ask you how you are, they really want to know.

Your significant other is always surprised at how many messages you receive. But they only know how many messages you receive because you don’t have any local friends and you don’t leave the house often.

Instead of inside jokes you have inside gifs.

You only share the parts of your lives you want to. But you get to see people’s lives through their eyes sometimes and that perspective can be really insightful.

Happy hour can be anywhere if you text a friend to have a drink too. Even if they’re in Sweden.

You can’t really introduce your friends to other friends by bringing them along. Instead, you reply all on group emails where you don’t know everyone. All it takes is one solid link to forge the beginnings of an internet friendship.

Internet friendships can make you more empathetic. It takes keen perception to notice when someone is being different through text.

When all of your friends are on the internet, you wish you could see them in person all the time. But you still go through things with them as if they were because they can always be there for you. They are literally in your pocket.

One day people will be collecting our emails and making them into a book as if they were letters from Socrates, Neruda or Virginia Woolf. A poem, a love letter, a touching note is still itself when it’s typed. Shakespeare asked if a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

I ask, would a word by another medium have such meaning?

And that’s what it’s like having all your friends on the internet.

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Music, Pop Culture

What it feels like when you stop enjoying a relationship


She would make everything easier when she was around. She would make the hours go by so quickly. She could put a smile on my face at the drop of a hat. But when I was sad, she let me cry it out. She said the things I wanted to say but couldn’t. She touched parts of my soul or wherever we store our feelings that I don’t think many humans have. She was my motivator. She was my rock. She was my joy.

And then something changed. Something terrible happened. She’s gone now. I don’t feel any of those things. Maybe the sadness.

I don’t yearn her. I don’t pine after her. I don’t think about her when I don’t have her near me. It breaks my heart.

I try to go back to her. I try to feel like I once felt. I’m just indifferent. She doesn’t do the things to my heart that she used to do.

Music and I were in a relationship. I think it’s over.

I used to listen to music almost constantly. With the graces of technology, I found a device to blast over the sounds of the shower. I was so proud the day I heard a Mumford’s song while vacuuming. It was truly enjoying the the advances of the 21st century in a first world country.

I was that annoying person who foolishly had a song set to play as a wake up alarm. You can be sure that every song I’ve ever had as an alarm is dead to me now. Although, that never stopped me from playing a new song I was addicted to on repeat for weeks.

Playing music at work was not only a necessity, but a must that had prerequisites. I would spend weekends compiling the perfect while working playlist, workout playlist, sad playlist, happy playlist, angry running playlist, can’t fall asleep playlist; you name it.

Tweet: Music to me was like an unexpected massage, by a beautiful person, while someone else hand fed me pizza. @jesspuente http://ctt.ec/2ec2b+Music to me was like an unexpected massage, by a beautiful person, while someone else hand fed me pizza. My music selection is generally seduced by my mood. At other times it lifts me up higher than Snoop Dogg on a Friday.

Yet, I have to confess, I feel it less than I used to. I don’t know why. I don’t know when it happened. I don’t know how long it will be.

This has happened in the past. There was always someone there to tell me it didn’t have to be this way. That I could truly feel and love again. Maybe it’s the lack of new music. Maybe it’s the level of stress that has completely overpowered any and all other emotions.

I figure I have two options. I can turn into a passionless, musically devoid, semi-human. Or, I can play music every day for as long as possible. I can drown out my fears, I can drown out my apathy, I can drown out my stress, I can dance instead of sit.

Recently, a very good friend suggested I listen to Nick Cave. Suggested isn’t the right word, enthusiastically and almost forcefully insisted is better. I’m so glad she did. I loved him. Perhaps, fondly remembering him from the Harry Potter series but this music paired perfectly with my mood. Like when you’ve had a hard day and you go to a new coffee shop and they get your order right on the first try.

I want music back in my life. If you have her in your life, send me your favorite songs. Not the catchy ones. The ones that make you feel. The ones you play on repeat. The ones that you couldn’t imagine a year without listening to. The ones you will never forget the lyrics to.

Send me those.

 

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People, Pop Culture

An open letter to Pharrell Williams


Dear Pharrell,

I’ve loved you since I saw that creepy red dog on the N.E.R.D album and the days when I couldn’t stop singing She Wants to Move in the shower. To this day, the word Mister makes me want to pop my shoulders in an awkwardly rhythmic way.

I have to be honest and say that aside from the time MTV actually played music videos, I never went out of my way to watch them. But you were really ahead of your time with visuals in your videos for N.E.R.D.

Your beats have always entranced me and your delicate voice has only added to the admiration I have for your inhuman amount of skills.

Your song with Snoop Dogg helped me discover his music and for that I am eternally grateful and indebted to you.

Even though you’re almost twice my age, your vampire-like agelessness has always made me feel like you were speaking to my generation.

It’s all these heartwarming memories of adolescent worship and music obsession that I feel qualify me to talk about my deep disappointment.

Yes, this is about Blurred Lines, but it’s also about your new album, GIRL, and what you said about it in one of my favorite magazines.

I’ve read statements from you saying the lyrics in blurred lines specifically state the opposite of the misogynistic view people claim it has. You and Robin pick out these lines:

OK now he was close, tried to domesticate you / But you’re an animal, baby, it’s in your nature

You don’t need no papers / That man is not your maker

I hear you.

And after listening to the song repeatedly and reading the lyrics until I could see them scrolling into space in my dreams, I’ve gotta say, you’re kind of reaching.

But I also don’t think it’s an outright call for rape. It’s just the same as every other song about wanting to fuck a hot girl.

The way you grab me / Must wanna get nasty / Go ahead, get at me

I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two

Now the video. That’s a completely different story.

This is what you said about video to Red Bull Magazine, “Film gives you two different senses. With music, some of it is left to your imagination. With film there’s a curated direction by the point of view of the director and the music that’s under it. Those two are working in concert to take you to a place that the director has intended.”

I get that the Blurred Lines video is supposed to be another fun, poppy, trendy song and it would be silly to uphold it to real scrutiny but you seem to place a lot of value on visuals.

After studying the lyrics to Blurred Lines and reading countless arguments for and against it, I can see how it’s potentially a song about a hot girl, having fun, guys wanting her, and her saying no. Maybe that’s what you see, too, because you’re so close to the music and production of it. But I don’t think I’m wrong to assume most people who just hear it and watch the video see a story about a goat and some strippers.

Now there’s nothing wrong with that. I like goats. And who doesn’t love beautiful women? I just don’t like you trying to pass it off as inoffensive.

In the end, it is still about how women’s beauty is what makes them most desirable and why they should sleep with guys who tell them that.

You guest edited for Red Bull Magazine this past month. When I saw the cover in my mail box I literally ran back to my apartment to read it. I usually read it cover to cover but I went to your interview first.

I didn’t know you had a new album coming out and when I read that I was pretty stoked. When asked about the new album, these are some of the comments you made that really got me,

“I think most of the time we hear songs that are written at women versus for.

“My thing is let’s start doing things with them truly in mind–truly in mind. That is not writing something at her. That is writing something intended for her.

“I just want to make music that ladies, the girls, listen to and they feel an escapism. That is my intention. “

I’ve never heard anyone say that and the fact that your first album in 8 years was going to be focused on this made me so excited.

Obviously, I immediately pulled up Spotify and started to listen.

I don’t want to sit here and pretend I know what you’re thinking and what your songs mean. All I know is what you said in that interview. I know you’re a husband and a father. I know you talk about how much you love music and how you want to make people feel with it.

So can you tell me something? Can you tell me what this song means? Can you tell me how I, as a woman, am supposed to escape in it?

It’s called Gush, number 4 on your new album.

Make the pussy just gush

Make the pussy just gush

Make the pussy just gush

Make it, make it, just gush

Make it, just gush

I make the pussy just gush

I make it, just gush

I could be the guy to treat you

To a nice movie, feed you

But I don’t wanna mislead you

Tonight I think I wanna be dirty, girl

Do you wanna get dirty, girl?

Come on Light that ass on fire

Do you wanna get dirty, girl? Let’s go

This isn’t a hate letter or a letter attacking you so I’m truly sorry if it comes off that way.

My main point is that you’re in a position of control in pop culture. You were just named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people this year. You have the power to shape our culture, to change it, to do whatever you want with it. There are plenty of artists out there that don’t give a fuck and will sing about bitches and money and drugs and I’m not saying they’re any better or worse. What gets me is that you talk about how you’re not that guy. How you want to do things differently. How you want to make music for women and music that makes people feel. And I think you failed. And I want to know what the fuck happened.

In this same interview, you say this about success in the music business, “If that is your main concern, being on top, then you should probably find another business. Because our business works off of emotion.”

I think you’re right. I felt a lot of emotions when I listened to that album, but I just don’t know that they’re the ones you wanted me to feel.

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