hellorousseau

an eloquently warped point of view from the tongue of a cartoon character.

Tag: self love

Foxy Hockey Hullabaloo

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“‘One word: ‘Fight.’ Anyone can do it when it feels good. When you’re hurting, that’s when it makes a difference, so you have to keep fighting.” -Erin Cafaro, 2008 rowing Olympic gold medalist


When I graduated from high school, my class had its celebration at the Fairmont.

It was a Moulin Rouge themed, feather-laden, wine-fest, with an after-hours chicken finger bar, and one constipated parent who complained about the theme being too inappropriate and promiscuous.

Even though no one gave the Les Mis theme a chance.

Halfway through the night, I managed to successfully sneak into a few photo booth pictures, drink the leftover wine on most tables, and dance hard enough to make my feet gush blood while the DJ spun his sick beats.

It was nearing midnight, and I decided that I needed a few more decent memories before I trudged off to my eventual grave in the cemetery that was university.

I noticed my friend Amanda going into the photo booth with her boyfriend at the time, and as they kissed and canoodled for the camera’s timer, I poked my head in through the back panel.

Now, I honestly don’t know why it was so funny, but when the picture printed, I laughed so fucking hard that I peed my pants.

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All that table wine may have been a contributing factor.

I was wearing my favourite pair of neon orange, camera-covered panties, which I decided I needed to remove immediately, and so I left a ballroom of floor-length gowns and tuxedos to take off my underwear.

When I got into the bathroom, I wrapped them in a paper towel, washed my hands 4 times, then proceeded to figure out what to do with my favourite pair of underwear. After all, I couldn’t just throw them away.

They were lucky. They were the only reason I had passed my biology exam. They were the only reason I had the courage to go out and meet people after an exhausting breakup with my ex-boyfriend.

These underwear had magical powers, and whether they smelled like pee or not, I was NOT just going to abandon them in a hotel washroom trashcan.


I’m not even lying when I say that this would be a more appropriate send off.

After literally thirty seconds of thought, and realizing that sticking them in my purse would be a super gross idea, I decided I would stick them in the sick room, and get them just before the night was over (by the way, the sick room is a place that you go if you get too drunk and can’t function. Or if you get, like, sick, I guess. But no one catches a damn cold at grad, lemme tell ya’.)

When I was in the room, however, my plans were quickly thwarted, seeing as the only thing in the small space were two stripped down cots on thin metal framing. I shoved the underwear under the bed’s wiring, adjusted the mattress, and just as I was about to shut the door behind me, I noticed someone crying on the leather armchair outside.

She was in a royal blue dress similar to mine, with one strap going over a shoulder, the other bare (except hers wasn’t an eye-gouging shade of pink). Her makeup ran down both cheeks, and though her manicured hands were polished and prim, her fingers were spotted from wiping away tears.

When I asked her what was wrong, she let out a louder sob, people around us turning their heads to see the source of the noise. I hesitated momentarily before leading her into the sick room, shutting the door behind us.

Apparently a girl we graduated with had snubbed her in a cruel display of ostrich feathers and Mean Girls-esuqe cattiness.

I tried to comfort her, telling her that the girl was pretty much stuck in her ways like a Louboutin in wet grass, that she should ignore her behaviour that reeked like a middle school sock-hop, but the girl in the blue dress kept crying.

After about 20 minutes of talking, I stopped my feel-good ramble. The scent had hit my nostrils, and I was suddenly hyper-aware that my new friend was sitting on top of my pee-soaked underwear.

“I pissed my pants earlier. Then I shoved them under the bed you’re sitting on.”

I paused.

“I’m sorry.”

Cailey Hay looked up at me from between her fingers. She let out a loud laugh.
Then she told me she wished we could have been friends earlier in the year, which was a weird reaction to someone telling you they pissed themselves in public.

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Pictured: Head of Hockey Hotness

Cailey Hay is a 21-year-old hockey player from OakBank, Manitoba, but I met her when she came to the hallowed halls of kilts and cliques.

Although we weren’t close then, we reconnected after realizing my piss-pants antics were a pretty solid bonding mechanism. In my eyes, she has always been an outspoken, confident woman who dominates on the rink, and connects with just about everyone she meets.

And no matter where we find ourselves, Cailey Hay turns heads, whether it’s hitting up MAW’s beer garden, or going to Whiskey Dix with me and her ex-boyfriend’s mom. Part of it is because she’s a babe and a half, but the other part is because of the level of confidence she exudes.

Cailey Hay is the perfect example of a Manitoba-grown, hockey-playing beauty who has worked hard at loving herself, despite life’s crooked obstacles. Being a well-rounded teammate and athlete is just one side of her. Being a daring, fiery, fashionable smoke show, is another.

As she attempts to balance all areas of her life on the edge of her skate, and be body-confident on and off the ice, this University of British Columbia powerhouse does her best to take on all challenges headfirst.

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But at least she’s wearing her helmet.

I think that body positivity is having a healthy relationship between your brain and your body. It’s just like any other relationship that you would have with another human being, except the majority of the contact is done in your own mind.

This all kind of hit home when I was schmoozing the Internet and found a quote saying, “Don’t say things to yourself that you wouldn’t say to others.”

Everything clicked.

People think that it’s okay to constantly bash themselves, and end up defining themselves through the vision of others.

In reality, you would never EVER go to your friends, or significant others, and say, “hey, your cellulite makes me nauseous,” “you are truly the ugliest person I’ve ever seen,” or “you’re a cow” (and if you do, please stop, now).

And yet, people don’t hesitate for a second when saying these things to themselves. There is such a disconnect between sharing happiness and kindness with your friends and family, and sharing these same loving thoughts with yourself.

Beyonce, who I love so much, said in her song Pretty Hurts:

When you’re alone all by yourself,

And you’re lying in your bed,

Reflection stares right into you,

Are you happy with yourself?

You stripped away the masquerade,

The illusion has been shed,

Are you happy with yourself?

Are you happy with yourself?

(**CUE SCENE FROM MUSIC VIDEO WHERE SHE USES A TROPHY TO GO APE SHIT AND BREAK EVERYTHING**)

At the end of the day, all you have is yourself. No matter who comes and goes in your life, you are the only one that will be present for every second of every day.

Playing hockey is the main reason I have any confidence at all. As opposed to individual sports, hockey requires so many different types of players to create a successful team.

Unlike men’s hockey, where all players have a fairly generic body type (tall, muscular- but toned- and bordering on thin), female hockey players come in all different shapes and sizes.

If there’s a female body-type you can think of, you can literally find it in our dressing room. This kind of physical diversity reflects the diversity of skills that make up our team. 

Everyone brings different strengths (and weaknesses) to the table, and even though no individual is perfect, together we create this flawless mosaic.

Being permanently attached to a team of women who stick together through thick and thin, through defeat and success, is the greatest gift in the world. It’s because of this atmosphere that I have experienced support in its purest form.

With competition as the base, these relationships extend beyond our sport to our everyday lives. Meaning, at the end of the day, hockey or no hockey, I will always have a family to back me up, just as I will always be there for them.

My team IS my confidence. 

As for my favourite physical feature… I would have to say my eyes.

I think it’s because every time I look in a mirror, I see my parents. With my father having green eyes, and my mother having blue eyes, I was gifted this odd and and beautiful combination of the two.

I also like that the colour seems to change with the clothes I wear, or with the lighting of a room. It’s fun to be a chameleon of sorts, having a mysterious part of you that can’t be defined.

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At the end of the day, hockey is a sport that seriously EVERYONE can love.

So many people who have never played watch the NHL on television for literally fifteen minutes, and they’re like, ‘This is stupid. Shoes with blades on them? Nah, that isn’t really my cup of tea…’

Well let me tell you, it’s so much more then that.

There are so many leagues around, especially considering we live in Canada, that provide open ice and games for all skill levels.

Even my mother, at 50, plays hockey occasionally. Anyone can do it! My personal favourite thing to do is to wait until Christmas time, and hit the outdoors rinks with family and friends.

If you’re not so much into playing the actual game, and just want to strap the skates on, it’s a really amazing experience to skate the river at The Forks in Winnipeg (also in at Christmas time).”

This is how this head of hockey hotness stays body positive.

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Please Stop Talking: How to Deal with Negativity

A client asked for a moisturizing cream that was good for combination skin. The stuff she was using had stopped working, she said.

It was summertime, and it was blistering hot out, so I had opted for my tunic uniform and black tights. This wasn’t an unusual outfit choice for me; those who see me outside of the internet know that I typically always wear skirts and tights (paired with massive sweaters). I thank my years at private school for this obsession. Plus, skirts and dresses kinda make me feel like a princess.

Essentially my morning routine (but I use way more mascara.)

I lead the woman through the many make-up obstacles to the back of the store. On my way, I passed other smiling employees, freshly polished displays, the cheery chicks at cash, and a couple that was kneeling down by a shelf, taking a look at a product. Just as I passed the man who was crouched over, I heard a rather loud comment:

“Look how fat her legs are,” said the man to his girlfriend.

The comment stopped me in my tracks. Suddenly I was a robot rusted to the floor; a robin who had hit a clean glass window. I could feel my muscles cease, like someone had bunched them up in their fist, then tied a big fat elastic band around them. I loved wearing tights and showing off my legs even if they were bigger, but this man’s nasty comment left me completely baffled and embarrassed of my body.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time someone had decided to openly comment on my physical appearance.

While singing at Italian Folklorama a few years earlier, an older woman approached me as I balanced a slice of pizza and a cup of gelato in one hand. I had just blasted through a performance of O Mio Babbino Caroand was absolutely starving. After all three shows, I received nothing but thank you’s, handshakes, and smiles from audience members who said my singing had brought them to tears. One man even told me he had returned that night so he could hear me sing again. Just as I had picked up my dinner and dessert, I heard a rather loud comment:

“You should watch your calories with those,” said the woman to my face, tapping my hips. She puffed out her cheeks, imitating a fat person.

Then she smiled.

According to an article by Peter Bregman on Psychology Today, there are three correct steps in responding to negative people:
1. Understand how they feel and validate it.
2. Find a place to agree with them.
3. Find out what they are positive about and reinforce it.

According to my brain, there were three correct steps in responding to this woman:
1. If I was quick enough, I could slam the pizza slice AND the gelato into her face at the same time and really smoosh it right on in there.
2. I could slowly unhinge my jaw and allow a swarm of locusts to fly around the room, then watch them engulf her (kinda like that scene from The Mummy).
3. I could stop what I was doing and begin eating the food while staring at her. I wouldn’t break eye contact- I’d just move closer and closer with each bite until the bridges of our noses touched.

But in reality, I told her I would watch my calories. I smiled back at her.

Then I walked away.

The weeks after that incident were filled with bitterness. I constantly thought about how I should have responded to the woman; should I have told her to mind her own business? Should I have just ignored her? Should I have laughed in her face? What was the right way to respond to unwanted comments?

Responding to negativity about your physical appearance is hard no matter what size you are, what you choose to wear, or how you choose to present yourself. When people feel the need to share their opinion on how you choose to exist, talking back to them can be awkward and kind of scary. Suddenly you are in a position to defend yourself to the public, reassuring everyone that you’re doing the best you can to ‘fix’ and ‘improve’ the way you are (even if you’re completely happy with yourself).

It seemed like there were only two solutions to my problem: completely change how I dressed and acted to avoid negative attention, or reassure the commenter that I was trying to better myself in order to satisfy their opinion.

But why should I change myself in order to make people around me more comfortable? Why did I need to alter my existence so other people would keep their opinions to themselves? Why should I have to cover up my fat lil’ legs? Why, if it is not your body, do you care at all? Why should I have to defend my actions and choices to complete strangers? Why should I be apologetic for who I am?

YEAH, ALLIE: WHY?

I decided that there are four ways in dealing with negative comments about your physical appearance:
1. Completely ignore the person’s comment and continue what you were doing in the first place. Pretend as if they had never said it. If they repeat their comment, continue to ignore them.
2. Laugh. Laugh hard. Laugh so hard you make the moment awkward. When they try to talk, keep laughing. Don’t stop laughing until they’ve left the room. After they leave the room, keep laughing.
3. Make them feel as uncomfortable as they’ve made you feel. If you have no shame, make a heinous face and stare at them. Give yourself a ton of chins and curl back your lips, exposing your gums. Stare deep into their soul. Gurgle if you must.
4. If you’re feeling particularly bold, call them out on it. Tell them that what they said was rude. Tell them they should be embarrassed- and trust me, they will be. 

I try my best to execute one of these steps if faced with someone’s open opinion about my body. Sure, it can be scary to stand up for yourself, and hell, you may even look stupid, but why should you let someone else get away with cutting you down, even if it is just a passing comment? If you’re happy with yourself, why let other people break your confidence because they’re uncomfortable with your body?

Go out and wear a pair of shorts, even if you’re afraid your legs will look fat and jiggly. Think you’re too tall for an ultra-mini-skirt? Nope. Try on a crop-top and show off your stretch marks, scars, and lumpy bits. Think you’re too skinny for a peplum dress? Think again- you’ll probably look babely. Do you just absolutely hate wearing makeup? That’s cool too. Want to wear blue lipstick and a hot-pink onesie with a killer pair of 6-inch heels? Go for it. Are you comfortable in absolutely nothing but electrical tape? Wicked- go strut your stuff.

Sure, it’s not what I would choose to wear, but then again, it’s not my place to comment.

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RuPaul knows what’s up.

Oh, and the way I responded to the couple?
I picked number three.

It worked.

A Noblewoman and her Nails

The Ming Dynasty was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368-1644 (that’s 276 years for all my fellow math-not-liking CreCommers). This came after the fall of the Mongol Empire led Yuan Dynasty, but that’s neither here nor there.

It wasn’t long before specific cosmetic trends began emerging during the Ming Dynasty- many which still exist today. Tracing and filling in eyebrows, painting your lips bright red, colouring your cheeks, and applying powder foundation were all parts of a typical morning routine (according to the History of Skincare, Part 5).

It was around the same time that noblewomen began wearing long, artificial nails as a status symbol, indicating that they did not have to do manual labor like the commoners.

Actually, before that, around 600 B.C., Noblemen and women of China’s Chou Dynasty would sprinkle gold and silver dust on their fingernails. And before that, around 5000-3000 B.C., women in Egypt would take the time to dye their fingertips with henna. This was how they flaunted their social status, and amped up their sex appeal.

I read about the history of artificial nails while an esthetician took a dense sponge to the bottom of my feet. As I squirmed around, giggling like a stupid child at the tickling sensation, Cara Dveris sat on the opposite side of the nail studio. Her gels were chipped, and before dinner, she asked if we could get our nails done. I decided on obnoxiously neon coral for my toes.

Cara decided on bright red claws.

Cara Dveris is a 20-year-old University of Manitoba student that I met while in high school. She had made her way from Gray Academy to the whimsical world of Balmoral Hall, and was accepted into our clique with open kilts. The first conversation I had with Cara was about roadkill, and our relationship blossomed from there (anyone who knows me in real life knows my love of all things morbid. I mean that in the best way possible.)

Over the time I have known Cara, I’ve learned about her quirks, her likes and dislikes, her love of makeup, her enthusiasm for cars, her passion for Dexter, and her obsession with bunnies. Unfortunately, I also learned that Cara had struggled for years with body acceptance issues.

I learned that she was embarrassed of the skin she was in, that she was uncomfortable with her size, and that the support she received from her home life wasn’t always, well… Supportive.

Like many young women, Cara has tried for years to feel comfortable with her body. She tries her best, but is still working on herself day to day. With the help of friends, a little lipstick, and a lot of self reflection, she continues to try and love herself. This is how Cara Dveris tries to be body positive.

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Pictured: The Queen of Manicures.

“In one word, my childhood was complicated, but whose wasn’t? I dealt with a lot of things growing up that kids shouldn’t have to deal with. I became an adult when I was still wearing my mermaid outfit around the house.

Kids are really impressionable, and they notice what you do, and pick up on the little things. They don’t have an established personality yet, so they observe, and take tidbits from the people around them to form themselves. There are so many psychological theories out there about why people are a certain way. Everything from past experiences, the way that you were treated as a child, and even the way you sleep says something about you!

I don’t plan on being a parent myself (unless you count pets) because I am aware of the huge impact that a parent can have on their child. I can’t imagine being the root of a child’s shortcomings or sadness. I don’t want to mess up a kid the way I was messed up.

You start to feel comfortable as the victim after a while. I think that’s one of the biggest things that has stuck with me, and it changes everything. Work, school, friendships, relationships… I take everything personally, and I apologize for things that aren’t even my fault. I blame myself for things that I had no control over. I wish there had been someone to stand up for me as a kid. I didn’t know I was allowed to stand up for myself; especially to a parent.

I don’t have family values or morals. I never have. My friends are my family, and I am perfectly okay with that. You have to find people to love and support you for who you are, and if you can’t find those people within family, then you have to find those people elsewhere.

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Body positivity to me means changing the way you view yourself and others. Making your own definition of what it is to be beautiful, and being comfortable in your own skin instead of trying to crawl out of it.

I think confidence is something that has to be worked on every second of every day… It’s a state of mind that is sometimes a struggle to achieve. I do little things to help myself stay confident. I wear makeup, I like to have my nails perfectly painted, my hair perfectly done, and to feel comfortable in what I’m wearing. I like to define it as feeling stable. If I were to go out with my hair in a bun, wearing sweat pants on, with no make up, I wouldn’t feel stable. I would feel nervous, self-conscious, and judged by everyone… Even if absolutely no one is judging me. That’s just the way I am, and I have learned to accept it.

I don’t like wearing my hair up, I like wearing black, I like to wear mismatched socks to counterbalance my colour-matched outfits and accessories, and I like when my bra and underwear are the same colour. I think you get to a point where you stop caring about what other people think of your routines and “isms”. I like doing certain things to make me happy, and that’s just how I am. It helps me get through my day. I don’t think this makes me a shallow person. I feel like my “beauty” routines are not done to impress others, but to impress myself, to accept myself, and to feel confident.

Friends are another huge part of my confidence, and having a positive support system around you can change everything. I’m lucky enough to have some of the most supportive and best friends in the world.

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“If I had to pick a favourite feature, well, I really like my eye colour, my boobs, legs, and most of my face in general. It’s like a snowball effect, really. You tell yourself, “Hey! My eyes are really pretty… Oh, wait, my nose is pretty awesome too…” and it goes from there. Positivity breeds positivity.”

How do I overcome negativity? I don’t. It surrounds me. I always come home to it. My motto has always been to appreciate the little things. I really like pens. When I’m writing with a good pen, it honestly makes me feel good. People at work think I’m a crazy pen hoarder, but it makes me happy: so who the hell cares?

Pets also help. They are the greatest investment in the world. They don’t judge you, they look at you with love, they’re loyal, and they don’t know  how hard life can be sometimes; they just kiss you, and expect nothing in return except attention, food, and to be pet. Seeing my bunny look up and run to the front of his cage when I come into my room instantly puts a smile on my face. He loves me for me, even if when I’m wearing sweat pants.  

Friends also help negativity. Having a friend that offers to bring you soup when you’re sick, or to come over when you’re having a bad day, or even to just listen to you when you need to talk about something is the most amazing thing. I think that people forget how much they influence others; how one act of kindness, one text message, or even one smile can make a world of difference.

TIPS TIPS TIPS:
If I could offer some tips for girls with small eyes, wearing mascara without eye liner opens up your eyes a lot more, black makes things appear smaller, so try a lighter eye shadow and just mascara. If you wear chapstick with beeswax under your lipstick/lipgloss, it will stay on longer. Oh, and use primer.  

But I think a smile is the best make up.”

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Despite the roadblocks she’s faced and her body image issues, Cara still looks for ways to be the happiest version of herself. Whether it’s having full makeup, the perfect outfit, a pocket full of pens, or bright red royal claws, Cara continues to search for what will make her happy and body positive.