12 Ways To Boost Your Confidence

Confidence is one of those beautiful, elusive qualities we all seek but can never seem to attain. It's not surprising, considering the air brushed images we're surrounded by, rape culture we're immersed in, and fatphobia and bigotry being spewed by media, family, friends and doctors alike. 

But I'm proof that being confident is possible, no matter your shape, size or dis/ability. 

I have multiple chronic illnesses and use a cane to get around. I wear a size 26 (US) and have curves in all the "wrong" places. I have self harm and dermatillomania scars all over my body. 

Despite the fact that modern mainstream society sees me as ugly, I know I'm beautiful. I also know there's much more to me than my physical attributes. And I don't care if other people disagree. It's taken me a long time to get to this place, but I really don't care about the naysayers, the fat haters, the bigots who think disabled people are better off neither seen nor heard. I've done a lot of work, between therapy, changing the way I dress, the way I think, the media I consume, and the people I hang out with, and it's paid off.

Here are 12 ways you can become more confident, too:

1. Create a positive environment. Growing up with an abusive father who constantly belittled me for compulsively picking my skin or for being too heavy, I internalized these ideas and they became negative self-talk. For years, I berated myself for eating too much, not exercising enough, being stupid or being ugly. How could anyone feel good about themselves with an external or internal monologue like that? I've learned to surround myself with people who uplift me and who personify the confident, loving person I want to be.

2. Self care. I know it's become a bit of an irritating buzzword, but self care can't be overlooked. Push yourself to work toward your goals, but know when to rest. Have a hot bath. Set reminders so you never miss a vitamin. Invest in a class you're interested in. Paint your nails. Listen to your favourite song. No matter how small the act of self care, it's worth it. You are worth it.

3. Celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small. When I was about 18 and feeling particularly down on myself, my therapist told me to write a list of 5 things I should be proud of. It took me a good 15 minutes, but I managed. I learned to use my past accomplishments as motivation. If you've got a list of things you've done successfully staring you in the face, no new challenge can knock you down.

4. Perform random acts of kindness. As Audrey Hepburn said, "For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness...". Knowing your beauty is more than skin deep will boost your self esteem.

5. Take selfies. From above, from the side, full body, portrait, from "ugly" angles... Get used to how you look. The more you look at yourself, the more you desensitize yourself to your "flaws". After a while, you might even start to like how you look! (This tactic worked great with my nose, which I actually think is super cute, after years of hating it).

6. Follow body positive and fat positive blogs and Tumblr accounts. Representation matters. Studies show that being exposed to a larger variety of body types, sizes and colours increases our tolerance and appreciation of them. If you're having a hard time finding bodies like yours in the media (which most of us are!), purposely seek those bodies out. Seeing people who look like you will make you feel better.

7. Wear makeup... or don't. Do you feel good wearing a full face of makeup? Would you rather be bare-faced? Is a swipe of lipstick or a little mascara all you need? Prefer blue lipstick to vampy red, or natural makeup to bold looks? Forget your mom's or your boyfriend's or Allure's opinion about makeup, and wear what makes you feel like you.

8. Wear clothes that make you feel good. Try on every item of clothing you have, and make sure it fits comfortably. If you have to tug at it so it sits right, or if it's so oversized that you feel unattractive with it on, donate it.

9. Act as if. There's a reason "fake it 'til you make it" is such an ubiquitous saying: there's truth to it. Stand tall. Speak as though you know everyone is hanging onto your every word. And soon enough, they will.

10. Practice "Power Posing". Did you know changing your body language changes your body chemistry, thereby changing the way you interact with others and how they perceive you? As Professor Amy Cuddy explains in her TED Talk, this takes faking it 'til you make it a step further: fake it 'til you become it.

11. Don't read "health magazines". They aren't really about health, or they'd feature people of every size, and talk about ways to feel good about yourself, not how to make your stomach look flatter. Tl/dr: So-called health mags are bullshit.

12. Stop thinking of your body as something that needs work. Your body is beautiful and miraculous and resilient and perfect just the way it is.

Learning to be confident in who you are and how you look is a process, and no one is confident every moment of every day. But: Cultivate good habits, wear things that make you feel gorgeous, and hang out with the right people, and you'll be well on your way to loving yourself. And that's what matters.

My Bittersweet 25th Birthday

Birthdays are bittersweet for me. Another year means another 365 days of illness that no one understands, another 365 days without my father, another 365 days of falling short of everything I had planned for myself when I was 16, able bodied, and ready to take on the world.

But... I also love birthdays. Birthdays are a time of reflection, self care, spending time with people I love, dressing up just for fun. And this year my birthday coincides with Rosh Hashanah, which makes it all the more special.

I'm still getting used to celebrating special events as a spoonie. You'd think I'd have the hang of it by now, being sick for almost 10 years. But I don't. Does anyone ever really 'get used to' being sick?

I'm spending my birthday at the pain clinic with my mom, who's also a spoonie (my turn getting huge needles shoved into my head, neck and back is tomorrow) and then at the pharmacy, getting refills on my 1835892 medications. And I've had a migraine for over 30 hours, so that might add to the 'fun'.

I do get to eat my mom's homemade lasagna for dinner tonight and plan for our mini trip to Buffalo later this week, so it's definitely not a bad birthday. It just takes getting used to. I miss going to school and getting tons of 'happy birthdays', and hugs and presents from relatives who don't talk to me any more, and being able to afford an amazing cake, and not being in excruciating pain for the duration of my big day.

But spoonies can't be choosers, or something. Right?

My 25th birthday isn't what I expected it to be. But I'm not quite what 24 year-old me expected me to be, either.

Image: This gorgeous cake topper from EllaCelebration on Etsy.

Be an elephant.

Elephants prove that you can be goddamn majestic even if you're fat and have imperfect skin. Maybe even especially if you're fat and have imperfect skin. Be your wild, beautiful self, girl.

My Mom Is My Hero

It's Father's Day weekend, but since my dad's a deadbeat, I'd like to write a post honouring my other parent: the bravest, most beautiful person I know.

My mom is a warrior. She's survived so much: 

-abusive relationships
-getting an epidural that would fuck up her tailbone for decades
-being paid a fraction of what she's worth doing a job she loved too much to quit
-subsequently quitting that job because her Fibromyalgia became too severe
-starting a mental health coaching business inspired by the support group she started in 1999 to help anxious kids like me
-getting ropivacaine injections in her head and then holding my hand while I get the same shots down my spine
-pretty much being my 24/7 caregiver when my pain and fatigue are too much to handle
-doing everything with empathy and love.

The truth is, I've tried so many times to write about my mom and what she means to me, but when a person is so special, so multi-faceted, how could a few hundred words on the Internet do her justice?

I guess the main thing I want to say is that, I know parents don't get to choose which of their genes to pass on, and I know I got some shitty ones (predisposition to mental illness and high blood pressure, anyone?!), but I got some incredible gifts instilled in me thanks to my mom, too. Like passion and empathy and the ability to express myself through writing. And I know if she could have had a say in what genes to give me, these positive ones I see in her are all I'd have.

I'm the luckiest daughter in the world. I mean that. Love you, Maman.

It's okay!

As fat women, we're expected to put in 10 times as much effort as thin women, to be respected and accepted. Treated as human. 

Only Good Fatties are even marginally acceptable in our society; if you're not dressed to the nines, if you don't choose salad over fries every time, if you don't work out like you're on the Biggest Loser, if you don't condemn fat people who eschew the Good Fatty archetype, good luck getting a job, or dating, or getting adequate medical care, or even being able to post on Instagram without getting death threats.

I want you to know that it's okay...

It's okay if you want to wear yoga pants and a loose shirt and no make-up.
It's okay if you dress up every day.
It's okay if you work out every day.
It's okay if you don't.
It's okay if you eat salad every day.
It's okay if you eat salad occasionally.
It's okay if you choose fries over salad, every time. 
It's okay if you're not healthy. Lack of health is not a moral failing.
It's okay if you're pissed because the mall doesn't carry your size.
It's okay if you don't like being fat.
It's okay if you love being fat.

The bullies aren't the ones who have to live in your body day in and day out. What it comes down to, is that this is your body (this is your life!) and you get to choose what to do with it. Do what makes you feel healthy and happy-- however you define healthy and happy. There's nothing wrong with your size.
A photo posted by Rebecca Esther (@rebeccaesther) on

5 Must-Wear Spring Trends

Spring 2016 Style

Spring is finally here! And with warm weather, come fabulous warm weather trends. Check these out:

1. Crop tops are super popular again this year, and I couldn't be happier. Wearing a crop top, you can be totally on trend, flaunt your figure and (learn to) love your tummy. Win-win-win!

2. Shiny, futuristic and totally eye-catching, metallic shoes are in right now. From rhinestones and other small sparkly accents to all-out glam gold or silver, you're sure to find the pair for you.

3. Enamel pins are awesome: they're fun to collect, they look cool pinned to a dress or bag or jacket, and they're an affordable way to spice things up. What's not to love? Here are some especially fab pins.

4. Black lipstick is BIG this year. Not just for goth kids any more, it's being worn by every one from high fashion models to the girl next door. CoverGirl is even releasing their own version with Katy Perry, called "Perry Panther". I'm coveting Jeffree Star's "Weirdo" (currently sold out- boo!).

5. I talked about ruffles back in March, and have seen so many people rocking them since! (I'd like to think that was my doing ;). The timeless, feminine look of ruffles translates perfectly from summer to spring.

What are you most excited to wear this spring? (Click here for info on the items above).

The Ultimate Fad Diet

Trigger Warning: Emetophobia 

You know those crazy diets you see in the headlines of gossip magazines at the supermarket checkout? Or those wrap things all over Instagram?

Well, I didn't believe any fad weight loss plans worked. Not until I tried a brand new one. I lost 35 pounds! This revolutionary new lifestyle is called the Mysterious Undiagnosed Abdominal Disease, or MUAD for short.

The cool thing about MUAD is that you can eat whatever you want, and still drop pounds. I stick to a mostly healthy diet of veggies, fruit and whole grains, with the occasional venti white mocha or huge slice of cheesecake. 

Here's how it works: You eat 3 balanced meals a day, plus lots of water and a couple light snacks. And then... you throw up. Violently. Every single day, and sometimes more than once. You get the shakes, you feel hot and clammy, and you think you're going to die. Your abdomen is excruciatingly sore, 24/7. Even the slightest touch makes you flinch and tear up. You can't leave the house without a few thick plastic bags, a ton of Gravol and an intense fear of dying of embarrassment. 

But who cares, because you're losing weight! Right? 


The truth is, I don't believe in fad diets. I believe they're bullshit. They're expensive, they fuck with your self worth, and the majority of people who lose weight on them gain back all the weight, and then some. 

I do have a Mysterious Undiagnosed Abdominal Disease. And I did lose 35 pounds in 6 months. But it wasn't on purpose. And I wouldn't call this a revolution. More like a curse. 

I've cut down on caffeine, dairy and spicy foods. I drink tea and clear sodas to calm my nausea. I take Prevacid to keep my stomach acid at bay. I've had a colonoscopy, a gastroscopy, a stomach emptying test and multiple abdominal ultrasounds (all of which show absolutely nothing). 

I'm tired of being in pain. I'm tired of the way this illness has affected my career and social life. I'm tired of the impact this illness has on my other illnesses. 

But all my doctors see is that I've lost weight. And apparently that's a victory. Even when it's not the goal. Even when it comes at so high a cost.

I'd celebrate, I guess, but... I'd rather stick my head in a garbage can. Again.

Brawn: Celebrating Fat Men

Fat Is Not a Bad Word is all about empowering and celebrating fat women, but we love fat people of other genders, too. Today let's talk about some progress being made in visibility for men of size.

IMG Models is rolling out a new plus size men's division, Brawn. Brawn's first model is Zach Miko, an actor, comedian and writer known for modeling Target.com's Mossimo Supply Co. big and tall line.

Not only is Miko at the forefront of the men's plus size movement, he's damn cute, body positive and well-spoken.

“Women of all shapes and sizes are beautiful and confident and sexy,” he said. “The conversation has changed from ‘This is what beautiful is’ to ‘What is beautiful?’ I am humbled to be able to raise that question for the men’s industry.” [Source].

Looks like I have a new crush.

A photo posted by Zach Miko (@zachmiko) on

Wonderful Ruffles // Spring 2016 Fashion

Few trends are as timelessly feminine as ruffles. In my opinion, ruffles are always in. And they look amazing on every body. This spring, it looks like the world is catching up to me! ~wink.

I'm really excited that multiple plus size retailers have on-trend, ruffle-y pieces at a variety of prices this season. Plus, Etsy is awash with handmade accessories covered in ruffles. You'll also find that department stores like Nordstrom and The Bay have ruffled accessories, like the scarf (below), shoes, and more. (Click here for info on the products below).

Wonderful Ruffles (Plus Size)

How are you going to incorporate ruffles into your look this spring? I'm partial to the gorgeous pink swimsuit from Torrid. Share your choices in the comments below!

The MRI I Almost Had, And the Rape I Almost Didn't Mention

They weighed me at the hospital yesterday. I'm 283 pounds. The lightest I've been in a year, by at least 30 pounds.

The nurse congratulated me when I mentioned the weight loss. I said, "That's not worth celebrating. Relief of my symptoms would be worth celebrating".

"I'm sorry for snapping," I apologized. "It's just... Every medical professional I've seen has focused on my weight instead of how I feel. My weight is one of my symptoms, not the cause of my problems. I don't care how heavy I am. I like how I look. I hate how I feel".

He nodded, trying to avoid angering the fat lady any futher. 

After asking a few routine questions about whether I'd eaten in the last 10 hours, whether I was wearing anything metal, the usual, the nurse informed me that we'd have to do a "dry run" to make sure I wasn't too big for the MRI machine.

"I thought the weight limit for these was at least 400 pounds?"

"Your weight won't affect the machine. It's your size".

This hadn't occurred to me. I'd heard horror stories about people my size not being accomodated by medical equipment. I was almost, but not quite too big for a massage therapy table a couple times. But I didn't think utter disregard for fat peoples' health was this pervasive. 

"I'm the smallest I've been in a while. Let's try it".

I limped to the MRI machine (I had to leave my metal cane outside and hadn't been offerred a hand, which should have been a red flag) and swung my body onto the bed. It was narrow, but I fit okay, if I crossed my arms over my chest. 

Without warning, I heard a violent buzz and the bed was lifted multiple feet into the air, into the machine. The walls of the MRI pressed into my chest and stomach. I could barely breathe. 

"I don't fit. Let me out please," I said, trying to take a deep breath. But my body kept sliding back further into the tunnel, my stomach pressed hard against the machine. 

"Hey! Let me out now! I don't fit". I tried to bang on the walls, but my arms were pressed too tightly to my body. All I could do was yell until the technician finally relented and let me out. 

I rushed out of the room, grabbing my cane and trying not to cry. 

When I reached the waiting room, I shook my head and told my mom, "medical devices aren't built for people like me. People who are slightly larger than average. A huge percentage of the population... I could have cancer or something in my small intestine and they can't see it because their machines aren't made for people my size. I could die because society says I'm too big to recieve adequate medical care!"

My mom turned white and started to pat my back. "I'm sure it's not cancer. They'd have found it," she soothed. "We'll figure it out".

This whole time, the technician was blabbing, but I was tuning him out. I didn't care what he had to say. He wasn't sensitive to my damaged ankle, or my anxiety disorders (which I'd disclosed to him) or to my size. 

I kept ranting, a mixture of rage and fear and humiliation running through my veins: "And he--" I pointed at the technician, "kept trying to squeeze me into the machine. I kept saying no. And then shouting no. All I could think was that I'd die in that machine, and about how this is exactly how I felt when I was raped".

The room went silent.


I'm not the only person this has happened to.

I won't be the last fat person who was denied medical care because of their size. 

I won't be the last survivor of rape who's triggered by an idiotic man taking "no" as an invitation.

I won't be the last fat, disabled sexual assault survivor, either. (And that's a hell of a unique intersection). 

Something has to change. And until spoonies start advocating for ourselves, and fat people demand adequate care, and women start speaking the fuck up, the world will keep going, just the way it has been. 

And someone else will lay in bed at home in the fetal position, praying for a higher dose of Tramadol and to erase all the memories of abuse they've faced-- at the hands of lovers and medical professionals alike.

My Beauty Wishlist -- Spring 2016

Winter is slowly (very slowly, here in Toronto!) turning to spring, and fabulous new makeup products are catching my eye, making me dream of the colourful beauty looks I'm going to rock when it's warm out.

My Beauty Wishlist Spring 2016

Here are my top picks (Click the link above for more information about every product pictured!):

I can't resist a good hot pink, so Anastasia Beverly Hills' Liquid Lipstick in Party Pink has caught my eye. It was actually sold out at my local Sephora, last I checked, and Jeffree Star is a fan of Anastasia products. So they've gotta be good, right?

Speaking of Jeffree Star, have you tried his Velour Lip Scrubs? They come in five flavours, and I've read lots of positive reviews. I'm awfully tempted by the root beer one!

Sephora's Colorful Gloss Balm is moisturizing and is not sticky. And in Peek-a-Blue, it has a fabulous blue tint! I'd love to try other shades, like Adjust Your Tiara.

Tone Correcting or Color Correcting products is really popular lately. I'm new to this technique, so I plan to learn using ELF's Studio Tone Correcting Powder, because I'm on a budget and I prefer powder to liquid products. The pallette is only $4US and it comes in warm and cool tones.

I like fragrances that are portable, so I can reapply once or twice during the day, or spritz some scent on if I forgot to before leaving the house. Buying a rollerball is also a great way to experiment with fragrances, because they cost about $20-35-- far less than a full size bottle of perfume. Prada Candy smells delicious, so it's earned its spot on my wishlist.

I'm not quite a contouring master yet, so I'd love to get Sephora's MicroSmooth Sculpting Trio and some cute heart shaped cosmetic sponges to practice with.

What's on your beauty wishlist?

This post is not in any way sponsored by or affiliated with any of the brands mentioned here. I do not make any money from the links shared within. 

Dear Fatphobes: Eat Shit!

Actually, it's "supposed" to be the other way around: Elaine Yu, a researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital, is conducting a clinical trial to see whether swallowing pills made of thin people's freeze-dried fecal matter will make fat people thin.

You read that right. Fecal matter. Poop. Fatphobes have basically been telling fat people to "eat shit" for years, and now they want to make us literally eat shit. For science. For our own good.

I call bullshit. There's so much wrong with this. It's a joke!

For starters: There's a shit ton (sorry) of bacteria in feces. There's a reason we wash our hands after going to the bathroom. Can you imagine licking your hands after flushing the toilet? Ew. I hope you have health insurance.

And then there's the fact that long term weight loss is "almost impossible". If a risky crash diet or a deadly eating disorder or just not eating for a couple weeks probably has the same efficacy as swallowing a stranger's excrement, why not try one of the former? Less yucky, just as useless.

What concerns me most about this study, though, is that there are actually people who are invested in this. You can bet your ass (sorry again) Elaine Yu is being paid big bucks for this. Massachusetts General must be hoping for a miracle here. And countless women are wistfully daydreaming about how they'll actually be treated like human beings if they can just find a damn diet pill that works.

They're shit out of luck. 

I'm convinced that one day, we'll all come around and realize Health At Every Size is the way to go. Until then, let's enjoy this shit show.

Top 15 of 2015

2015 has been a memorable year, so I thought I'd take a cue from Blacksburg Belle and make a list of my favourite 15 things from 2015.

1. Travel. I was fortunate enough to visit Columbus, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Central Florida this year. I'm crossing my fingers that 2016 will include further travels.

2. Launching our first project at The Selectively Silent Child.

3. #hospitalglam. "Taking the shame out of being in treatment one selfie at a time". Check out a couple of my selfies here and here.

4. This bathing suit bottom. I foresee the fatkini movement living on well past 2015. (Psst. It's still available on Torrid's website).

5. Amazing food. Gingerbread from Richmond's Kosher Bakery (Toronto), hotdogs and chili cheese fries from Tony Packo's (Toledo), homemade matzoh brei, for example.

A photo posted by Rebecca Esther (@rebeccaesther) on

6. Crop tops. More specifically, seeing a huge variety of women rocking the style that used to be for white girls with perfect abs. This is my favourite.

8. My cane. I definitely couldn't have travelled, worked or enjoyed 2015 nearly as much as I did without my cane. No one wants to need a mobility device, especially in their early 20s, but if you need one, I say this: Use it. And make it pretty. It's so worth it.

9. Starting Project Zero.

10. Revival by Selena Gomez. It's a great album. And I like the conversation it started.

11. Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion. Oh my god. The change in my skin really is "dramatically different". Another skincare life saver (especially when I'm in Florida) is Evian Mineral Water Spray. It makes your skin feel cool and refreshed without messing up your makeup. Amazing.

12. Maple syrup scented candles.

13. Comparing my "double life" as a spoonie to Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus. It still makes me giggle.

14. Kacey. Musgraves. I love her music and everything she stands for.

15. Avocados.

Let's spend the new year together! Follow me on Instagram.
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