Plus size me || bodies past, present and future

**TW: If you have issues with weight and/or body image or eating disorders there may be content in this article that you find distressing.** 

Hey guys!

Sorry I’ve been a little inconsistent with my blogging that past week or so, as you have may have seen on Twitter, I have a lot going on in my head at the moment, and I needed to take a brief step back for my Mental Health.

When I first started this blog, I had always intended for it to be purely lifestyle and beauty- but as time progressed I realised that in order to be authentic with my readership I couldn’t avoid talking about Mental Health. It’s something that affects so many of us, me included, and I have always been passionate and vocal about spreading awareness. My only downfall in this regard, has been my own pride. I have always been very supportive and try to be as nonjudgemental as possible of others when they come to me with Mental Health issues, but I’ve always struggled with taking my own advice. Since I’ve been particularly struggling this month, I thought I’d share with you what’s been going on.

Besides my decision to drop out of my MA, looking for jobs, considering a house move, and my husband being on nights, one of the biggest contributing factors I’ve always struggled with surrounding Mental Health is Body Image.


Past

I have always been, and probably always will be, a massive foodie. I love food, I love cooking, and I love the satisfaction that comes with making something great. I’m not throwing blame at all, but I wasn’t exactly brought up in a family full of healthy eating/active living role models. My Mum, a pescatarian (or as I like to call it, shitatarian) has neglected her own nutrition to make sacrifices for her kids for years. While she always cooked balanced meals, she definitely raised me with the “waste not want not” mentality, and sometimes I still feel guilty to leave food. My dad can easily eat enough to sate four men in one sitting, and when I moved in with my Grandparents, I learned to cook mostly because had I not I feel like we would have lived off M&S food that could just be thrown in a microwave or straight in the oven- Grandma is not fond of cooking!

When I was in Primary school I was bullied mercilessly until I had to change schools. I was the tallest in class, always seemed to have a coldsore on picture day, chubby, bespectacled and Mum waited far too long to introduce me to hair removal methods (I am still haunted by prepubescent photos that exhibit a rather glorious monobrow, lol)! Besides the bullying, I have very early memories of hearing the terms “big-boned” and “puppy fat” being thrown around.

Fortunately, as I reached high school and grew ever taller, eventually stopping at 5’10, I somewhat “grew into” my weight, (though unfortunately much before all the boys so I still stuck out like a sore thumb)! Also unfortunately, I also hit puberty early too. This meant that I went from being bullied to being one of the first girls to get breasts. Enter the dreaded male gaze. At around 13 I went from a B to DD in the space of two weeks. From then on they just never seemed to stop, and by the time I was 15 my body settled on a 30HH. This meant that while the measurements of my waist at the time suggested I should wear a size 8, my bust meant that I was a size 16. Looking back, I was a beautiful hourglass, but I always felt bigger than my friends. From ages 14-16 I remember skipping lunch at school, and refusing to eat breakfast, hoping that I could lose weight by only eating the one meal that Mum made at dinner time.

It worked somewhat, but at 16, with prom fast approaching, I started experiencing what I now recognise to be the first signs of anxiety. If I ever got particularly nervous or excited, I would feel nauseous and sometimes have to rush to the toilet to vomit. It was then that I started to experiment with purging. I was determined to lose weight, and mum wouldn’t let me live on those god awful SlimFast shakes. That was, until my Grandma heard me purging. My family finally accepted that I wanted to do this, and agreed. What I didn’t realise was how unhealthy this would make me. Recovering from Meningitis and on regular Codeine, I was feeling faint and lightheaded more than often. After all, I wasn’t eating proper meals. Not only this, but I have a (now very mild) intolerance to lactose, and also prone to tonsillitis, so I was living with an almost constant throat infection from the level of milk I was ingesting.

Fast forward to college, I was feeling a little more sure of myself and who I was. That was when things started escalating the other way. I remember eating my emotions each time a boy cheated on me, stress eating my way through all my exams/revision phases. I remember the look of shame and pity on my grandmas face when she caught me elbow deep in a bag of Doritios. “Ill lose weight when I’ve finished my exams”. Of course, there was always another exam. At least then, I was moderately active and had horse riding to look forward to.

This went on right into uni. On top of that I was going out clubbing and drinking at least 3-6 nights a week. I was awful in my first year, and really abused my body. My only exercise was making a fool of myself in clubs. I’d fill my body with crap and liquor. In second year it only got worse, when I had my first more “serious” wave of depression. Not only was I depressed, but in hindsight I was also agoraphobic. I hated myself so deeply I didn’t want others to see me. At one point this got so bad that I would hide in my room until I was sure my flatmates had gone to bed, and order takeaway food just so that I wouldn’t risk seeing anyone in the kitchen. I felt like I was eating to survive at this point, and my body didn’t matter. In final year I was better, refreshed and feeling right again. I signed up for Joe Wicks (the body coach) and lost 20lbs in a month, following a strict macro diet plan and HIIT exercise. Then, however, I met my now husband (who unfortunately is American with a lot of bad eating habits of his own, but rudely with the metabolism of Usain Bolt), and then was faced by my dissertation.


Present

Now, I find myself having put all that weight back on, plus a stone for good luck- I am bigger than I have ever been.

While I have always been an advocate for plus women and body positivity, I have struggled so hard with accepting my new reality. People treat me differently, I feel less likely to get jobs, afraid to do things where I’d “take up too much space”. I either obsess over or avoid mirrors at all costs, I never buy new clothes because I feel like everything looks awful, I can feel agoraphobia seeping in again, I feel like everyone is judging me, my family is ashamed of me and I haven’t felt “sexy” in about a year. I’ve always wanted a breast reduction because of my back pain, but they advise you not to get one until you’re “happy” with your weight, since if you gain or loose too much either way the shape will change. When I dream, I don’t appear the way I do in real life. I don’t even recognise who I am in the mirror, and honestly, I really don’t think I want to.

On top of the shallow reasons I have always wanted to lose weight, I am also now consumed with new symptoms and concerns about my health. I know if I don’t change my life soon I am going to eat myself to death. I’ve always had back pain due to the size of my bust, but now I can’t even stand for long enough to do the dishes without sitting down to avoid tears. I hadn’t realised how bad it had gotten until last year for our mini-honeymoon, merely walking around London I found myself clinging onto A’s arm with tears in my eyes because my back pain was so severe. Not only this, my resting heart rate is insanely high, I’m constantly fatigued and I’m beginning to see more and more symptoms of pre-diabetes, and it is making me insanely paranoid.

Honestly, I want to lose weight so that I can do the things I enjoy again. So I can feel confident in myself and wear the clothes I long to wear. So I can feel sexy and healthy and enjoy being active and going on adventures with my husband. I want to feel like myself again.


Future

My plans for the future are to take effect immediately. No more “I’ll start Monday”, or I’ll try harder next week. I need to make this commitment to myself and to the people who love me so that I don’t eat myself into an early grave. I miss doing the sports I loved so much but 4 years ago. I miss waking up and not worrying about being in pain every day. The worst part is, I know about nutrition and exercise, I just don’t do it, and while my mental health often causes my lack of desire, it’s often also the other way around. I need to force myself through the pain and the hard times to reach the size 10 jeans at the end of the tunnel.

I thought I would write this to let you all know, since you might be noticing some changes with my Instagram and other social media feeds. Of course I will still be doing beauty, but I’d love to start sharing my journey with you all, because I feel like through blogging I’ve found a space on the internet full of loving, supportive souls. Besides, there might even be a few recipes in it for you!

 

Love,

Frankii xx

 

 

 

 

I know this post was a little long and a little personal, but hopefully now I’ve worked through my emotional turmoil (lol I’m so dramatic) I’ll be back to regular posting. My next installation of discounted beauty is coming soon!! Xx

5 Tips for Freshers/Freshmen!


Since I’m starting my Master’s at a new University next month (UEA), I was thinking about how daunting facing a new academic adventure is. University (NTU) held some of the best (and worst) times of my life, and your life really is about to change forever. Living away from home and studying something (hopefully) you love will help you to really grow and find yourself. It sounds cliché but though it’s certainly not for everyone, your experience really will be an intensely valuable one, and hopefully will contain some of the best days of your life. I’m genuinely very jealous that you are getting to do it for the first time! 

 Though I am still jittery with nerves and excitement this time around, I know that I can cope. I remember how anxious I was in the weeks leading up to my first day, so as an old Uni veteran now, I thought that I would share with you guys some tips and tricks I picked up in my first year that helped me survive the transition, and some of the things I wish I’d done differently! 

 


 

Ditch that fuckboy!

Starting off with a semi-serious topic, having seen many relationships fall to bits here is my advice to you: If you are not one hundred percent certain that your relationship was built to last, I would seriously advise you to consider entering University single.

The fact is, it is extremely difficult to make a relationship work long distance as it is, without the added burden of being a new student added on. Unless you are very lucky, chances are you will not be able to afford a social life on top of train tickets/fuel to go see your SO every other week unless he is attending the same establishment as you.

Then, from my experience, everyone in Fresher’s week is like a dog in heat. For many singleton’s, it is the ultimate opportunity to meet and *ahem* ‘connect‘ with new people. Even if you don’t think you are a jealous person, if there is even the slightest part of you that is insecure, ‘adulterous’ or jealous, Fresher’s week will probably bring that out in you. Temptation is everywhere, when you aren’t drunk you are probably very hungover and fragile, meaning that emotions will be running extremely high. You quite possibly may find yourself crying in the club bathroom arguing over the fit flatmate you saw in his pictures, even if there is nothing going on. (You have no idea how many girls I had to step over on the bathroom floor!) Sometimes however, you are right to be jealous. I’ve seen both boys and girls sleeping with other people knowing full well they were in a relationship.

Unless you trust them implicitly, please think about whether it’s worth it. Fresher’s week is such an incredible and fun experience for most, and I hate to think that you might spend it sad or jealous over someone who won’t even matter in 5 years time. I know many people who severely regret wasting their time in fruitless relationships that prevented them from experiencing Fresher’s to the full with a clean slate. I’m not saying immediately set out and ditch your partner of 7 years, but definitely talk about it and ensure you’re both on the same page. If this lad/lass is probably not the father/mother of your children, rip the band aid off early and ditch them.

 

Embrace the anxiety

This may sound strange, but anxiety is good. If you weren’t a little nervous, you’d probably be a psychopath. For many, uni/college is the first time they’ve ever lived away from home, let alone with a group of complete strangers. If not, it’s still an entirely different situation. Fortunately, adrenaline is a great confidence booster, and since everyone is probably feeling the exact same way, you will find that conversation starts extremely easily. If your Rep’s do their jobs right, they will get you all together and gently force you to engage with other people outside of your flat, provide ice breakers and drinking games. (My fresher’s reps at NTU were totally amazing and went above and beyond the call of duty. Remember that if you are in trouble you should definitely seek out someone in a Rep shirt and ask them for help. That’s what they are there for!) You will find you have new friends almost immediately, with everyone clinging to everyone and finding great comradery in your new situation! (If you do suffer from anxiety, you can find tips for coping here)!

 

Brace yourself for hangovers!

If your religion or beliefs dictate that you can’t drink, I would definitely recommend joining a club or society for people within your church or at the very least one for people who share similar interests.

If not, brace for impact guys and gals. You will be not just allowed, but encouraged to drink all week long, and to go out every single night. This is because it really does help loosen people up and makes making friends loads easier! This is amazing, but if you’ve ever heard the term “Fresher’s Flu” and thought it was a myth you were wrong. It is very very real. Because you are either drunk or hungover consistently, you will find your voice strained, you’re covered in bruises and probably very emotional and fragile for afterwards. Here are my tried and true livesaver’s for hangovers:

  1. Before you begin your sesh: place a 2L bottle of water, a banana and a glass of water with salt and sugar in it next to your bed every night. Down the glass and eat your banana first thing when you wake up. This sounds insane and gross, but its science. You lose potassium, salt and sugars from being drunk and dehydrated. Putting this back into your system first thing might help you recover quicker. Google it, its a thing. I promise.
  2. After your sesh: if you can stomach it, try and have eggs for breakfast. If you’re vegan or otherwise dislike eggs, oats/porridge contain something called ‘Cysteine’ that helps your liver to break down the toxins.
  3. After your sesh: not trying to turn you all into pill poppers and addicts, but pro-plus or caffiene tablets/coffee could be your saving grace if you feel your energy flagging as the week goes on. See also vodka redbulls/jagerbombs.
  4. After your sesh:  Have a warm shower, then flash it cold to finish. Again, maybe I am mental, but there’s a reason a lot of entrepreneurs swear by a cold shower. Consider athelete’s having an ice bath too. It just really wakes you up and helps to get rid of the brain fog.
  5. After your sesh: make a round of tea and discuss all the hilarity and probable bad decisions you made the night before! Nothing makes a hangover worth it like story time with your new pals.

 

Don’t just stick to people in your flat

Make sure you remember there are people outside your flat that you probably have way more in common with than the weirdo in room 6. If you’re lucky your flatmates will be great, but after a few weeks they will probably get annoying and you will need friends who don’t steal your milk and don’t argue over dishes for 3 weeks straight. I really wish I’d joined a society while I was at uni, or in the very least not been ill all the time so I could have attended more. Make the most of your experience!

 

Leave your door open!

Get decent and open your door as soon as possible. It makes you way more approachable. At my uni we got told off for propping all the fire doors open but it meant that it became a bizarre sort of hippy community with the whole block of flats. We made friends with most of the block and ended up walking in and out of peoples rooms when we were bored or hungover needing a pal. Harry Potter marathons are necessary in that first week, I’m telling ya. We even ended up pre-drinking to GBBO. No regrets.

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you guys found this post helpful or at the very least entertaining! If you have any questions or want any advice, especially if you’ll be joining the Trent Army in September I would love to hear from you! Either reply in the comments or find me on twitter @quitefranklii ! Be sure to share this with anyone you think would find this useful and i’ll see you guys in my next post! 

Francesca x

 

Lets talk about marrying young…

If you’d have told me when I was 18 that I would be married in my early 20’s, I would have laughed in your face. After two abusive relationships and several bad breakups, I swore off dating seriously for the longest time. For me, at that point, I wasn’t ready to commit myself to anyone who would be anything less than Mr. Darcy himself. (lol!)
Eventually, I became the perpetually single friend, and actually- I came to terms with the idea that perhaps “true love” wasn’t on the cards for me. At the end of the day, it was never my ultimate goal in life. I have always been strong, independent and ambitious. From what I had seen from members of my generation, I wasn’t even sure a man could fit into that sphere, especially not one that was supportive, stable and not deterred by my intelligence and drive. The men I had dated casually had always told me how they loved that I was fierce and strong, and how they’d always dreamed of having a strong woman- but when it boiled down to it my success and independence made each and every single one feel insecure- and they would wind up with someone less driven. Honestly, I was ok with that. As I mentioned before, I wasn’t about to commit myself to someone who couldn’t at least support me and my big dreams. 
The fact is, I don’t need a man, and in my opinion, nor should anyone. I think if it gets to the stage where you become obsessed with having someone in your life, you need to do the exact opposite, and take some time to fall in love with yourself and access the void you’re trying to fill in your own life. 
>>>You should not rely on anyone else to fill in the holes in your own life and soul!<<<
Once at university during a drinking game, the group was asked to point to the person most likely to get divorced, and all but one pointed at me. The friend who I was closest to, who actually knew and understood me stood up and said how stupid that was, because he knew I would be the last to settle for anything less than a soulmate. He knew I would never marry someone who didn’t adore and support me, and vice versa. On another occasion, I was actually quite hurt by someone who told me they couldn’t imagine me being a mother. It was only on deeper reflection, I took it as a compliment, as it meant that it was apparent to others that there was more to me than just the immediate desire to breed. When I was feeling a bit down one day, I came across this article. This was something that stayed with me for a very long time, as it reiterated many points that I had always believed in.

In the 1950s, women were primarily housewives and getting married was typically the end goal. Back then, being a wife is what defined a woman, so I can understand why finding your special someone was considered an accomplishment. This is no longer the case, though. In today’s society, ladies are balancing much more than just finding a man.

Since getting married myself, especially considering I was only 21 at the time, people have assumed that my views have changed. I frequently get asked if I am pregnant, or when I plan to be, as though that is the only logical option for a married woman- As though I have already achieved my ‘end goal’. 
Although marriage/engagement/childbirth are happy times to be sure, anyone can get married to anyone, and that doesn’t mean to say it will last. Anyone with a working set of reproductive organs can get pregnant. Literal animals do that every day. The whole institution should be celebrated 100%, but what I’m saying is, no one would go up to my husband and start a conversation by asking about what he’s done/is planning to do with his genitals.
Before I go any further, I just want to make that point perfectly clear. If that’s all you want from your life, then great!! It’s exciting and its tough! Please please please don’t think I’m trying to undermine or devalue what it is to be a parent. My feminism is broad and all-encompassing enough to accept and applaud you for that. I know that when I have children, I too will probably want to stay home because I hate the thought of anyone else looking after my future cubs. But for me personally, I want to have achieved in my own life so that I can inspire and teach my offspring to achieve. It’s just that I see so many young girls who get pregnant at 16 and suddenly think they are the Virgin Mary because they brought life into the world- and that’s what I am aiming to combat with this post. I want to open up a dialogue where women from all walks of life are celebrated, but it should never be assumed that basic biology is the “ultimate achievement” for women, because we are so much more than that. It is no longer the 1950’s, and women have fought tirelessly all throughout their lives to create a world in which we have much more equal opportunity. Life is short, but it can be so rich if you work hard and just give it a chance. So why then, are people still more interested in the fact that I am married, than my academic/career/other achievements or goals? When I meet women, if they have babies then great. If they’re pregnant then great- congratulations! But I’m not going to degrade them by talking about parenthood as though It’s the only interesting thing about her. A mum has interests, hobbies, opinions and things that make her who she is outside of the realm of babies- and without that I think she’d go insane! 
The main reason I am even writing this blog is to forward it to people every. time. I get asked when I’m going to get pregnant. For the record, I do want children. I want 3. I love the idea of being 80, hosing dinner parties and BBQ’s and sitting outside in the sunshine surrounded by my kids and their kids and so forth. I think about it often, and can’t wait to become a mother because it is exciting. But even when I give birth myself, until I’ve raised a good human being I won’t classify basic biology as an achievement. I know that I wouldn’t be half the person I am today had I not had a mother who had experienced the world, achieved things of her own and had thousands of stories to tell me, wisdom gained outside the realm of relationships and childbirth. 
The real tea is, my sister is 10 years my Junior, so I have already seen/done enough ‘parenting’ to know the reality. Children are not just a cute hobby that you take on for a couple of years while they are cute and still cuddly. They are not a vessel to save a failing relationship. They are a 20+ year commitment of blood, sweat and tears and wanting to kill the rude spotty teenager you once held in your arms. It means stopping in your tracks and turning your whole life upside down in order to raise a (hopefully!) decent human being. Again, if your children get to 18 and they are healthy, kind, respectful individuals I do think that is an achievement, but finding love and getting pregnant is not. For me, to do this, I will need to have seen enough of the world to know myself, to have achieved enough on my own and to have enjoyed life, travelled and fallen even deeper in love with my life partner to even consider children. Some women aren’t that way, they are different and motherhood is their ultimate dream. That’s ok too! But don’t assume that parenthood is all there is to life for a woman, and don’t assume that a childless woman’s life is empty or less than your own. I hate it when people say to great women who have worked hard and achieved, CEO’s, Dr’s, PhD graduates, charity workers and politicians- “but when are you going to have babies?”, as though their lives are nothing without them, and that is the only thing a woman has to look forward to. 
Aside from the worlds obsession with pregnancy, I’ve lost a lot of friends through getting married. Oddly, the fact that I live with someone I love seems to have changed my relationships with many people. When I lived with 5 others at university, no one assumed I had become an entirely different person and avoided seeing me, so the fact that that’s happening now is bizarre to me. On the other hand, It’s shown me who my real friends are, because it’s shown that they are willing to grow with me, and just accept that I met my ‘forever friend’ a little bit earlier. No, I don’t really want to go out clubbing with you and doing all the stuff I used to do when I was single, because I just don’t find that appealing anymore. Honestly, I never really did, I was only doing it to be social. Since getting married i’ve realised the importance of actual meaningful conversations and transactions as a pose to that. I think some of my friends found this hard to comprehend. I can’t just tell my husband to f*ck off at the end of a 12 hour night shift because you want to hang out. Moreover, I won’t, because he’s more important than you. He’s not just some boyfriend I can pick up and drop whenever I feel like it, and I guess this offends some people, and if thats the case, then honestly, thats ok.

Another thing I also get is people looking quizzically when I talk about being strongly feminist, then also talking about my husband when I am ‘only’ 22 years old. I am a girl, who never aspired to get married, let alone at 21 years of age (now 22). However, when I met Austin, there was never a moment wherein he did not want to be on my team. He is not my ‘other half’, he is his own whole, and falling in love with him was not hard, stressful or full of nervous excitement. He never left me wondering where I stood, supported and vehemently encouraged all of my achievements. For those still confused, the definition of feminism is: “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes“. In other words, equality for both/all sexes. My husband too, is a feminist. He loves the parts of me that I refused to give up, despite many a moron before him deeming them unattractive.  While circumstances (military) meant we moved faster than I would have ever imagined, I realised it was never marriage that I was afraid of- I already knew he was going to be my teammate for life. I was afraid of the wedding, and the judgement and drama that it always undoubtedly brings. 
31.9.16 // Elopement
The only part of this I have struggled with so far, has been changing my name. Through getting married, for whatever reason I have lost several ‘friends’ who are seemingly intimidated by my circumstance. Also, by struggling in an abysmal graduate job market (Norfolk) that I can’t move away from, and being exceedingly proud of my lineage which could end with me- (my sister is Matthews-Allen), I felt for a short time as though I had left part of me behind. I felt hopeless, and depressed, as though I had “lost” Francesca Matthews. However, I understand now that this is natural, and was accelerated by my other struggles. Since then, this has become something that my incredible feminist husband!!! and I may review in the future, and perhaps we will become a “Matthews-Denney” household. While one day I would love to have a ‘party’, or a ‘vow renewal’ where I walk down an aisle wearing a white dress, for now, we eloped.
Because falling in love with Austin was natural, and right, like coming home in the winter to a fire roaring in the hearth.
On a less intense note, I’ve found myself suddenly interested in thing’s I thought I wouldn’t care about until I was a grandma. Gardening, HOMEWARE etc. I’ve always loved cooking, but cooking for someone who has different tastes in food is a challenge. In all, a lot of my interests have changed, but not the fundamentals of my personality. I’m still Frankii, I’ve just grown a bit, and will continue to grow alongside another person. I hate the term other half, because it infers that I would be a half without him, but i’m excited to build and grow together.

Another thing: You will argue about stupid stuff that you never thought possible to argue about. Dishes, housework, lack of attention. Living with someone is challenging enough, let alone when love/passion is involved. Prepare to have full scale arguments about toothbrushes not been left in the toothbrush cup! However, making up is also one of the best parts. You can argue about trivial stuff because you don’t have to worry that you are going to wind up single for doing so. Its surprisingly empowering!  

So yes, I married young. No, that does not make me anti-feminist. No, I am not pregnant. No, I do not plan to be any time soon. Yes, I have my own goals and life ambitions. No, that does not mean that I don’t love or support my husband, because he is not fragile and insecure enough for his value as a man to feel depleted by my success. In short, let’s stop starting conversations with women, by asking them about their relationships and babies. If I am pregnant (assuming I actually like you?) I will let you know. For now, I’ll be over here arguing over dirty dishes or planning my next holiday! 
As always please feel free to leave a comment, share your opinions, struggles and experiences with me regarding similar or different misogynistic/sexist assumptions, I love hearing from you, and I truly believe in the power of education through discussion and debate! 
Love and Light,
Francesca xx







disclaimer/TLDR: AGAIN If you are a young housewife/stay at home mummy reading this please know I am in no way seeking to undermine you or offend what it is that you do. I have the utmost respect for full time mums and/or women who don’t have the same desires and ambitions I do. It takes a lot of hard work and true grit to run a home/raise good, pleasant children and I know that. I am just talking about my personal experiences, and seeking to educate others not to assume that this is the only/end goal for all women because we are not all the same. When it comes to the time I do have children of my own I will probably not work either as I think I will be one of those mothers who couldn’t bare the idea of anyone else looking after my precious ones. This is why I am so adamant on achieving my own goals beforehand! But, from my past year of being unemployed post-university I found myself depressed and under-stimulated, though I know this is not true of ALL women, and that is OK. But I definitely think not all dialogue with women should begin with discussing these topics, as this would never happen when talking to a man. There is, (and should be) so much more to a woman than just her marriage and childbearing. xxxx