A year ago today, I made my first post on Instagram as Palegingerpear. Crazy how fast a year has gone by. What a year it has been. This little IG that was born out of a joke has turned into more than I could ever have imagined. I started PGP with the mindset of #ootd post as I had been told that I dress well for my shape. The hate comments that started rolling in had me defending myself by explaining Lymphedema and Lipedema. Through that, I realized I needed to stop hiding that part of me and be open about it. Stop trying to hide the compression stockings from photos. So, thank-you to the troll that hit the right nerve at the right time that got me to realize I need to have more of a “fuck it” attitude to these conditions.
This year I’ve come to terms with who I am more than ever before. I am a pale, freckled, tattooed, naturally redheaded mother who HAPPENS to have both Lipedema and Lymphedema – but they do not define who I am. Yes, I might have the definition of a pear body type due to the “special fat” that is Lipedema collecting itself at the hips, thighs, and upper arms. And yes, I might have to wear compression stockings like an old lady. But my conditions don’t make me less of a mother, sister, girlfriend, friend or employee. Lipedema and Lymphedema don’t change how funny, caring, pretty, or sexy I am. But it also doesn’t change how much judgement hurts.
My roughest moment of judgement was when Shake My Beauty documentary for Barcroft TV (filmed by the amazing Nick Childers) was uploaded to Youtube on 11/28/18. I am beyond grateful at the chance to get the word out about these conditions that cause so many people to judge. I was lucky enough to have some of my best supporters with me during the filming . I was able to start the day off having a swim event with my Yinzbopo babes and ending it with fresh ink by Tyree @BigNerdTattoos. I fully expected to hate how I looked or sounded, after all, we tend to be our own worst critic. However, there was not one thing that I could nitpick… It portrays me pretty spot on and explains both conditions pretty well in the short amount of time. I expected negative comments, yet I was not truly prepared for the level of hate random strangers will freely spew. I was not prepared for the stupid things they would dwell on like “I was all supportive till I saw her eat a donut.” The mentality that fat people can never eat a treat like a donut is beyond dumb but what annoyed me, even more, was I didn’t eat a donut. They weren’t gluten free. I couldn’t even if I had wanted too. There was a lot of positive comments about my tattoos though so that made me happy.
The amount of loving, supportive and “your legs look like mine, I don’t feel so alone” messages I received still amazes me when I think about it. I wasn’t expecting it, hell I never expected to have followers. I also was not prepared for how my IRL friends, coworkers, and old classmates would embrace and support the documentary and palegingerpear. While I was boldly posting on IG, I was pretty quiet about it to a lot of people actually in my life. I think part of it was due to growing up and attending a Christian school. I wasn’t sure how some of my post would go over. I think another part was due to me being very aware that fat chicks aren’t for everyone and I don’t like forcing my bare thighs and stomach to people that might not want to see it. Posting it on IG was easy because my followers found me through one of the body/ fat positive hashtags I used. It was their choice to view.
This past year was about new… new hair colors, new ink, new adventures, new friends and creative types that bring joy to the day to day and spark a fire in my soul. (Some of which I’m lucky enough to have within driving distance… others I wish) New #lipedemafighters, #lymphedemawarriors, #lymphies and gorgeous #bbws in a variety of shapes and sizes. This year was pear-fection and I can’t wait to see what year two brings my way
Thank-you to everyone who has been on this journey with me. I truly appreciate it and if I manage to get one person to think before judging than all the hate has been worth it.
Hair: Stacy & Make Up: Mel @VivaLaDiva Hairpins: @KataBankoCouture Photography:@Michelemakesphotos