five things i learned from not straightening my hair for 40 days.

Well. I did it! I successfully fasted my flat iron for Lent. In case you missed it, my reasoning behind this fast was to attempt to fall in love with the wavy hair God gave me and finally be rid of the compulsion to flatten it out with a burning hot iron before being seen in public.

Courtesy: Ashley Poole Photography |

So. What did I learn?

1. Curly hair garners rave reviews from pretty much everyone. Straight hair doesn’t.
No one has ever complimented my hair when it has been straightened. But when I wore it curly throughout Lent, even complete strangers raved about my hair. This completely baffled me! My hair is naturally so wild and crazy, I assumed people would think I looked a hot mess 24/7. Rather than people saying, “Wow, do you not own a hairbrush or do you just refuse to use one?” people would say things like, “Wow, your hair is so pretty! The curls are incredible!” I even polled my friends about it. 100% of people I surveyed preferred my naturally curly hair over my straightened hair.

2. Flat-ironing my hair is NOT easier than wearing it curly.
Even though I started straightening my hair because I absolutely hated the way it was naturally, I usually lied when people would ask me why I spent the time to do it. “It’s just easier,” I’d shrug off. This wasn’t a total lie, though. I honestly thought it was easier to flat-iron my hair than it is to wear it curly. Since my hair tends to dry out easily, I only wash it about every three days. So, every three days I go through the following ritual: I wash my hair, blow dry it, and then straighten it. That whole process takes me about an hour. Then, each morning in the following three-day cycle, I need to run my straightener over the parts I slept on funny before I head out the door. The re-straightening process takes about 10 minutes. I thought that wasn’t so bad in the scheme of a woman getting ready in the morning. An hour one day, then ten minutes for three subsequent days. An hour and a half. However, this ordeal is so much more complicated than wearing my hair curly. (Shocking, I know.) Throughout Lent, my ritual looked like this: I would wash my hair the first day, then work some product through it, scrunch it for about a minute, and let it air dry. That would last about 20 minutes. The following three days I would just re-wet my hair and re-scrunch it. Total run time for that: about 4 minutes and thirty seconds. I saved so much time! How did I not see this before?

2a. Sleep is way more fun than doing my hair.
I guess this goes without saying. If I wear my hair curly, I don’t need to get out of bed until about 30 minutes before I need to be at work. It’s incredible.

Courtesy: Ashley Poole Photography |

3. Straight hair shrinks heads.
After straightening my hair on Easter my head looked incredibly strange to me. After 40 days of curls I wasn’t used to seeing my hair down so flat and, in my opinion, it made me look like I had a shrunken head. Who knew that my Chi doubled as a witch doctor? (My husband disagrees with this idea but I’m pretty sure that’s just because he doesn’t want to admit that he’s slept with a woman with a shrunken head. I wouldn’t want to either.)

4. Curly hair is perpetually shoulder length.
This was super frustrating for me. When I was 18, I had a really bad short hair cut that has traumatized me. So now, I must have long hair. MUST. And, thanks to my bad haircut, I now suffer from hair length dysmorphia (self-diagnosed) which makes me feel like my hair is only as long as its shortest layer. At the time of writing, my shortest layer falls right at my chin. That means that right now, in my mind, all of my hair only comes down to about my chin. EEEK. (Anyone know of any hair length dysmorphia support groups?) So, I straighten my hair to remember that my hair is actually pretty long. When straight, my hair falls to the middle of my back. But when it’s curly, like it was all throughout Lent, it’s shoulder-length. (Or, in my distorted mind, a buzz cut. Ugh. Whatever.)

5. Curly hair disguises grease really well.
Remember how I said that I wash my hair every three days? Well. I only need to do that when my hair is straight because on the third day I look like a grease ball.  But when my hair is curly, you can’t even tell! I could have gone a whole week without washing my hair if I wanted to! (I didn’t, though, because I didn’t want to tempt the hair gods.)

So did I get there? Did I come out of these 40 days completely in love with my curly hair?

Not exactly. But! I’m not afraid or ashamed of my natural hair anymore.

I washed my hair last night and this morning I woke up and ran my straightener over it just to tame some of the crazy spots. I didn’t iron my entire head and I went out into civilization and wasn’t self-conscious about it. Because I didn’t flat iron all of my hair, I still maintained most of my hair’s body and volume (and, therefore, avoided the shrunken head phenomenon.) And, even if I wouldn’t have run a flat iron over my hair this morning, everything would have been okay. I wouldn’t have been freaking out all day, feeling ugly and unkempt, because I don’t hate my natural hair anymore. I don’t love it, but I certainly don’t hate it. That counts for something, right?

What natural part of your body are you slowly but surely learning to love?

in defense of celebrities.

On weeks where I don’t particularly love my appearance it’s most likely because I’m comparing it to that of Scarlett Johansson. (Why Scarlett, you ask? Well, partly because my husband has mentioned how hot she is and partly because I feel like in the normal world, we’re in the same beauty pigeon-hole. That is, we’re both blonde-haired and blue-eyed with big boobs. She just somehow manages to do it way better than I do.)

BUT! We must remember that underneath stage makeup/Photoshop/personal stylists, celebrities are actually people. Take Scarlett Johansson, for instance. While I spend hours staring longingly Scarlett, wishing on every star that twinkles that one day I could wake up and look like her, she is a regular woman. Just like me. We’re on the same team. We probably both stress about random zits and menstrual cramps and unruly eyebrows and uncomfortable bras.

In fact, this golden-haired goddess probably has it a lot worse off than I do.

Some people (myself included) have been known to trash celebrities as if we went to high school with them and found them on Facebook and, after mindless stalking, concluded that they’ve “let themselves go” or “went off the deep end” and deserve to have people talk mad crap about them.

“Kim Kardashian? Ugh! Whatever! Why is she even famous? She’s fat and ugly and doesn’t have any talent!”
“Paris Hilton looks like a twiggy alien and she reeks of STDs and shame.”
“I’m so appalled and Disney should be, too! Lindsay Lohan TOTALLY got breast implants. I mean look at her! There is no way those are real!”

Et cetera.

Some could argue that celebrities choose to put themselves in the line of scrutiny, but I beg to differ. Just because someone chooses a certain career or lifestyle doesn’t make them any less of a person with any less feelings or emotions or personal struggles. While I’ve most definitely been bullied about my appearance, my abuse has only come from people I meet on a daily basis, usually in face-to-face encounters. Sure, comments like that sting like hell. I’m not trying to downplay it at all. But, unlike Scarlett Johansson and any other celebrity that ever was famous for even a second, when I Google myself, I don’t come across endless articles/pictures/blog posts/tweets/whateverthehellelseyoucanthinkof picking me apart.

I used to want to be famous when I was little. I dreamt of walking down the red carpet to the Oscars, a shoe-in for Best Actress for That Movie I Was In That One Time, wearing the prettiest (and most expensive) dress MostFamousDesignerName would offer up to only the prettiest (and skinniest!) actress out there (moi, of course.)

But as I got older and the gap between celebrity life and ordinary life began to be filled in due to tabloids, entertainment gossip websites, and social media I noticed some celebrities start to crack under the incessant scrutiny and I knew that there was no way in hell my skin was thick enough to make it out of that life unscathed.

My goodness. If cameras were forever in my face (like right when I left the gym or when I was shoving a big spoonful of Olive Garden into my face) and people were constantly publicly defaming me over my weight/lifestyle/face/personal choices/you name it, I’d probably shave my head as a metaphorical middle finger, too. (Team Brit Brit!)

Demi Lovato, a teenage product of Disney, recently went into rehab for “personal and physical issues.” When she ended her rehabilitation program, she opened up about her struggle with an eating disorder and the pressure on girls to be perfect. She fell victim to the scrutiny, but thankfully, she went into rehab to get better. Now, she’s spreading the word about her pain, hopefully opening up the dialogue with younger girls and letting them know that they aren’t alone and that perfection does not make them worthy of love.

Click here to check out Demi’s “Love is Louder” campaign.

I’m pleased to say that other celebrities have started using their popularity to spread a message of self-love and the bassackwards view society has about body image and self esteem.

Selena Gomez, another Disney diva, has released a self-love anthem for tweenagers. As sugary sweet and nauseating as the music is, I can’t think of any better words to hear young girls sing than, “Who says you’re not perfect? Who says you’re not worth it?”

Edgy pop singer P!nk’s latest single, “Perfect,” is about a young girl’s journey out of the darkness that is self-hatred. As played out as this song has become, I can’t think of a single woman in my close circle of friends who can’t relate to this even a little bit.

Even Stephen Colbert has recently attacked the ridiculous standards of society and the shameless tricks the beauty industry plays on women.

A model, Tyra Banks has been under the beauty microscope since she was a child. Some hateful tabloid comments of her in a swimsuit were the catalyst to her telling the world to “kiss [her] fat ass!” (This clip is freaking brilliant.)

Over the past few days I’ve been engrossed in Tina Fey’s new memoir, Bossypants. (That woman is my hero. Seriously. As a writer. As a wife. As a TV producer. Sigh. She is everything I want to be and more. Sorry. Getting sidetracked.) In it, Fey humorously documents her own personal account on the beauty standards for her as a celebrity and as a woman. She lists her top beauty tips for her readers. I would list them all here, but I want you to go out and buy her book. You’re in luck, though, because I will definitely post her number one beauty tip of all time. Fey writes:

If you retain nothing else always remember the most important rule of beauty, which is, who cares?!

when other people don’t get it.

Recently, someone found out through the grapevine (blogosphere?) that I struggle with body image issues. She immediately assumed I needed help losing weight and so without asking me how I felt, she ran up to me and started telling me about how I just need to eat less and it would solve all of my problems.

As pissed off as I was, I couldn’t get a word in edgewise to defend myself. I just had to stand there getting told over and over about how if I would stop eating, I’d be better. Happier. Sexier. A better wife. She even sought out my husband to tell him that she was so proud of the fact that she was going to save me from my own dastardly body! (He was furious, naturally.)

“LINDSAY I hear you deal with body image issues and let me just tell you I used to too and all you need to do is just stop eating so much and everything will be fine, I can teach you how! It’s sooooo easy to get skinny! You just have to cut out all carbs until you die and don’t eat anything solid on days that end in ‘DAY’ and you’ll be super skinny and you’ll finally be happy!”

[Might be a slight exaggeration. Might not. You decide.]

I let her spout off her “knowledge” on the subject, though she didn’t bother to ask me about how I actually feel about my body. I slowly breathed in and out.

“Well, I don’t think that me losing weight will solve the issue really, because I recently recovered from an eating disorder and I know what it’s like to not eat much and be really thin and I still wasn’t happy so I–”


Sensing she wasn’t going to hear anything I wanted to say about it, I just laid down and let her shoot me. “Okay. Cool. Sounds completely normal and doable. Days that end in ‘DAY,’ right? Cool. Sounds good.”

And I just had to let her keep going on and on until finally I could slip away and silently drown in the reality that other people assume that I need to lose weight to be happy.

Yep. That’s the key to my happiness, people. My weight. The number on the scale. And if I could just get my act together and go on a diet and lose weight, I’d be fine! It’s definitely not my mindset or anything else that actually will stay with me until I die. Nope, my happiness is obviously wrapped up in the weight of my body that was designed to fall apart.

Has this ever happened to you? </rant>


your body is your baby.

Guess what? Loving your body the way it is means you never have to make healthy decisions about what you eat/drink or exercise. The moment you decide to love your body is the first moment you can eat whatever you want, however much of it you want, and sit on your comfy booty until your heart’s content!

APRIL FOOLS! Oh man! I so got you!
(Whoa. Is that a scary picture or what? So sorry. I tend to underestimate my natural scare factor.)

I get questioned a lot on this subject as a self-love warrior. If I tell someone I’ll be late to something because I’m going for a run or that I can’t meet them for lunch at Burgers R Us because I packed something healthy, they might reply with, “Why bother? As a self-love warrior (is that what you call yourself?) you’re supposed to love yourself the way you are, right? What’s the point of diet and exercise? Here. Eat a burger and drink nine beers. You love yourself. Just do it.”

I can definitely see their point in this logic. (It’s quite easy to see their point when I’m half way through a five-mile run and want to barf all over myself or when I’m munching on a side salad whilst inhaling the intoxicating aroma of a giant and forbidden bowl of crispy, golden fries sitting ohhhhh 3.2 inches away from my face.) Your body is your body is your body, no matter how far away it is from society’s cookie-cutter beauty standard. And yes, I believe you should love it no matter what it looks like.

That said, I don’t think constantly eating junk food and leading a sedentary lifestyle is loving your body.

Sorry, fries and couch. I love you both but we need to stop hanging out so frequently. It’s not you — it’s me.

For several years in a row I gave up fried food for Lent. It was always quite the miserable 40 days; at each meal (especially those out at restaurants) I’d sit and silently curse myself for doing it. “Ugh. I’m SO not doing this next year. Fries are so delicious and, let’s be honest, every freaking thing comes fried now. If I want to avoid fried food, I should just eat grass and drink water because I’m certain that even Diet Coke comes deep fried now.”

(I can be a little over dramatic sometimes. I try to pass it off as endearing. Just go with it.)

At the end of Lent I’d always break my fast with a meal that looks something like this: a big ole’ order of fries with a side of burger (yep, I said that right) deep fried with fried donuts for dessert. (Am I exaggerating?)

And it would taste like it was deep fried in angel tears. And twenty minutes later I’d be doubled over in pain.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I eat crappy, over processed, generally-nutritionally-void food, I tend to feel weighed down and lethargic afterward. After eating out, the last thing I want to do is anything active. Or productive. Or useful. I just want to plop down on the couch, flip on the TV, and veg while my body expels every ounce of energy it has to digest the monstrosities I’ve just consumed. Until three hours later when I get a little hungrier (not enough so for an actual meal) and reach for something easy. Small but fun. A bag of Cheetos, perhaps. And then, the next morning, I feel a bit gloomy on top of feeling bloated and uncomfortable. And so I don’t feel like taking the time to fix a healthy breakfast or lunch. So I run through the Starbucks drive-thru and get a gigantic latte and a huge bagel with gobs of cream cheese. I promise myself I’ll have a salad for lunch. My body needs some vegetables, I can feel it. And I sit in my cube and stare at my computer screen until my eyeballs feel like they’re going to fall out. And then I realize it’s noon. So I get in my car and head out in search of said salad. I go to Subway, because I can get a salad there. But I can also get a sub. And really, isn’t that a better choice? And I’ll get mayo just this once.

Before I know what hit me, I’m crumpled on the floor of my room in tears because I’ve eaten crappy food for too many days in a row and haven’t exercised enough and my body is telling me that it is fed up the only way it knows how.

Crappy food begets lethargy begets more crappy food begets lethargy begets


Now, am I saying that eating out (even fried food) will lead you to depression? Absolutely not. No way no how. Most of my favorite memories with friends have happened over meals in fun restaurants. And, I could never give up fries forever, even if someone came out and told me that fries are actually fried in arsenic. I’d likely die eventually of arsenic poison.

But. Your body is your baby, and it’s the only one you have. You wouldn’t feed your baby crappy, fattening food 24/7 and let it sit in front of the TV all day, would you? (I have connections at DCF. Don’t make me call them on you!)

To truly love your body –your baby– you’ve got to feed it the things it needs to keep it healthy. You’ve got to keep it hydrated. You’ve got to exercise to make sure your muscles are strong and that your heart and lungs work properly. You’ve got to have regular check ups.

But you can do all of that and take it out for ice cream or a beer every now and again. Loving your body is not depriving it of fun and treats. Loving your body is simply that: