My Bathroom Scale Ban

I used to hate the mall.

On the surface, it was just another way to separate myself from other teenage girls (I watch Die Hard! I wear shorts! I watch hockey! I can pretend to be funny!  [please love me?]).   My high school mall hatred was different, though.  It was more passionate.  Yes, I could find joy in Christmas lists and record store bargain bins. But “clothes shopping”?  The mall rat scene? The bad music, the money, the lights, the mirrors, mirrors, mirrors.

Even the idea made me kind of queasy.

I hated the mall because it was the home of destructive analysis.  In middle school, I learned it was a place for measuring yourself. The food court featured conversations about calories.  Conversations which eventually turned to numbers and sizes, then to vomiting techniques.  I sat and listened.  I ate more Taco Bell, silently trying to compensate for my friends who (proudly) weren’t eating.

Then I weighed myself, because that’s what they were doing.

I put an abhorrent amount of value in those numbers.  I cried when I saw them rise.  I didn’t know that growing teenagers gain weight, that it’s normal.  I didn’t know that girls with eating disorders were sick, that I shouldn’t measure myself against their reality.  That “being skinny” and “being fat” were stupid over-simplifications.

I didn’t know that.  I was thirteen.  But man, I hated that mall.

I don’t think much about my body anymore, not like that. My own personal body image just sorta…is, unless I have something to compare it to.  I’m pretty sure I look bloated when I feel bloated, and I look healthy when I feel healthy. I love the mirror some days, I hate it other days. Sometimes I care more than usual.  I have bad hair days and good hair days, wish-I-were-a-little-more moments, this-outfit-is-cute moments, and (this just in) I-am-way-too-busy-to-care moments.

But I have banned bathroom scales from my home.

There aren’t many rules in this apartment, but that one has stuck.

Let’s talk.
Body Image is the next Taboo Tab topic, by very popular demand.

Submit your story here:

New to the Taboo Tab?  Read other stories on subjects society skips over at: https://shaunanagins.com/the-taboo-tab/

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This is My Reality: Financial Futures and Fears

Whenever we talk about money, the people involved immediately become either spoiled brats or charity cases.  It’s ridiculous, really.  Read any article on student debt, homelessness, mortgage woes, or minimum wage. Read the comments. In the end, the conversation about anyone who struggles financially comes down to this: Are they spoiled brats, or charity cases?

…actually, they’re people. Just people. Thanks for playing, though.

When it comes to money, folks get defensive, critical, and oh-so-secretive…mostly because we’re terrified. There’s a lot to be scared of. And there’s a lot to talk about.  But we never, ever do it in real terms.  Not unless we want to illicit pity or judgment.

In her article C.R.E.A.M., Nicole C. explains how this difficulty translates in her personal life:

Friends either empathize because they’re struggling, too, or they squirm whenever the subject of money is brought up, which tends to happen in the form of complaints after a few drinks. Parents try to help out, but how can you truly offer advice when you’re in a bad financial situation as well? And that’s what people don’t see: When I complain about money, I don’t want sympathy. I want someone to tell me what to do.

So, sure, for every overtime shift you’ve worked, maybe I’ve worked two. Or for every tuition fee keeping me up at night, maybe you have double the bill—and are raising a kid. Say Johnny moved back in with his parents, while the Janey moved deeper into debt.

And say we actually talked about people as individuals with options and futures, instead of as spoiled brats and charity cases.

The fact is, we need to be truly willing to discuss the reality of these situations.  Click the four pictures below to discover four writers who have started the conversation. It’s up to us to keep it going.

Because honestly?  At this point, we can’t afford the alternative.

C.R.E.A.M.
In Debt Up To My Eyeballs
In Debt Up To My Eyeballs
Arrancado
Feeling Ripped Off
See the Conundrum?

New Taboo Tab: Sex, Lies and Storytime

The Taboo Tab is a a community of writers and readers bravely putting faces and stories to subjects society seems to skip over.

This month, that subject is sexuality. Whew. Not exactly a small topic. And it’s a serious one, too–just look at what has been in the news this week.

This is a powerful group of stories that together show the complexity and diversity of a notoriously challenging area. There are stories about judgement, outlooks, and experiences. Slut. Prude. Abstinence. Rape. Conversation. Diversity.

As Alex Crane writes in “The Zombie Effect“:

I live and work in a world where sex seems to be both capitalized and whispered at the same time. “Look out, the SEX is coming!” (pun? maybe.)

These twelve writers are moving the conversation into the real world.

Slut.
Slut.
Prude.
Prude.

 

 

 

 

 

An Obligation to Divulge
An Obligation to Divulge
The Zombie Effect
The Zombie Effect

 

 

 

 

 

I Am Not Broken.
I Am Not Broken.
I am Jane Doe
I am Jane Doe.

 

 

 

 

 

.

The Pain.
The Pain
I Didn't Say No.
I Didn’t Say No

 

 

 

 

 

Being a Minister's Son.
Being a Minister’s Son
The Abstinent Man
The Abstinent Man

 

 

 

 

 

Confessions of an Empowered Submissive.
Confessions of an Empowered Submissive.
The Myth of Fabglitter
The Myth of Fabglitter

 

 

 

 

 

.

/.

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(Note: you can read my own “Sex, Lies, and Storytime” article here)

Contributors: Alex Crane, Alicia Bridget, Alexandria (Ali) Prescott, B., Caitlin Corbett, Lucy Bee, Mark Corbett, Kate Booner, Michelle K., Rosie, and Sam McManus.

Want to contribute to the Taboo Tab? Drop me a line.

 

Taboo Tab Preview: “The Zombie Effect”

ShaunanaginsThumbnail

From “The Zombie Effect” by Alex Crane:

I guess no one ever tells you babies can come from being tied down and whipped by a leather clad mistress and loving it.
Or that sex can involve more than two people and not be a fling.
Or that being a guy that doesn’t like sex doesn’t mean you’re gay.
Or that being a girl who does like sex doesn’t make you a whore.
No one ever tells you because for some reason this big ass part of who we are as human beings has been suppressed and made to feel…well, mostly just that we’re doing it wrong.
“What do you mean you’ve slept with that many people? Do you just give it away?”;
“What do you mean you haven’t slept with that many people? Is there something wrong with you?”;
“You like what? Good God, who does that?!”
And so the judgement rages on.

Today is the last day to submit YOUR story about the diversity, judgement, and reality of sexuality for the Taboo Tab‘s release.

You can read Alex’s whole article, and more stories about Sex, Lies, and Storytime when the next  Taboo Tab launches on Friday, March 22nd.

In Which I Ask You For Help (and may I say, you are looking LOVELY today).

Alright everyone, I need your help.

Whew. Well.  There’s something I don’t say every day (though I really, really ought to. Who doesn’t need a little help sometimes/always?).

I have a goal for this blog. I do.  I have an agenda, like anyone else. It’s written at the very top, full disclosure style, and it’s pretty straight forward: Keep it real.

Leave the judgement at the door; Keep those brainwaves flowing; Express yourself before you wreck yourself.

A lot of you agree with this goal (or you just like to read, or you’re interested in seeing the world through someone else’s eyes). I am even more convinced of this after seeing the overwhelming response to the Taboo Tab:  over 100 Facebook shares and interactions.  Thousands of hits.  Emails in my inbox confirming just how many people felt/cried/laughed alongside the contributors, and had that same profound response: “Wow, that’s so me,” or “Wow, that’s so someone else. And I get them now.

We ought to keep this going, don’t you think?  Keep it going for the people who need to know they aren’t alone. For the teachers bringing the Taboo Tab into their classrooms, showing the next generation what happens when creative writing meets community meets compassion.  Ministers sharing the series with their affiliates, and considering it as they provide guidance during life’s most pivotal moments.

This is working. The Taboo Tab is working. We are learning about each other. We are hearing each other. Finally, finally, finally.

To keep it going, however, I need your help (and no, I am not asking for money. Just a couple minutes of your time &  talent.):

This is what me needing your help looks like.  Click the picture to support!
This is what me needing your help looks like. Yes, all I need is for you to click a button. Easy, right?

Firstly, I am seeking contributors for the next Taboo Tab.  The subject is “Sex, Lies, and, Storytime.”  I want to hear your story, if you’re willing to share. I can’t publish everything, but I am looking for a diverse and powerful group of stories that together show the complexity, diversity, and experiences of judgement in the challenging area of sexuality.

Why does this fit on the Taboo Tab?  Admittedly, sex is everywhere. We talk about it all the time. The problem is that we rarely discuss it in real, human terms. Conversations about sexuality aren’t always sensitive to the diversity of emotionally loaded experiences, of decisions made, of confusion felt.  And how can they be, if we never hear stories which differ from our own?

I know this resonates with people, and am excited to go all out in addressing it.  We’ll do it together, just as we did with Death and Grieving a few weeks ago.

Submit to the Taboo Tab here: https://shaunanagins.com/the-taboo-tab/

Secondly, I really need your vote for my Community Achievement Award/scholarship nomination.  This award recognizes Canadian young people who use media to support and bring together their communities in a creative way.  If that sounds like what you see happening here, I urge you to take a minute to show your support: sign on, and click “Support this Nomination” on the CampusPerks website: http://awards.campusperks.ca/en/entries/czr6u . Leave a note about your personal experience of the project if you would like.

The minute you take to lend your support means so, so much to me.

Okay. I did it. I asked for help.  The Taboo Tab and shaunanagins.com is a big project, and I am forever grateful for your readership, you comments, your contributions, your emails, and your openness.

And yes, I have a real-deal post coming for you tomorrow. Much love.

The Taboo Tab is Finally Here!

The Taboo Tab is live! 4 storytellers, 10 pieces, one mission: To talk about something that needs talked about.

This month, we will address the topic of “Death and Grieving.”

WhyDidn'tI

We don’t talk about death and grieving much, do we?

Spoiler alert #1: Everyone dies, eventually. And most leave loved ones behind when they do.

Spoiler alert #2: Sometimes, things happen that we can’t explain, control, or “move on” from on command. Sometimes, the worst happens. Sometimes, it’s not okay right now. We need to be allowed to share that.

People die. People grieve. People break down at inopportune times. But, as they struggle their way back up, some people share their stories. These are some of those people.

As contributor Caitlin Corbett says in her article “Better“:

“We should not wallow in our sadness, but we should not deny it either. I know that I’m damaged and I make no secret of it, and by accepting this and moving on from it I understand that everyone is damaged in their own way. And that’s okay. It is my hope that I will always be open to accepting other peoples’ damage and that I can give them a safe space to be damaged. That is what we owe each other.”

Some of the most beautiful and insightful pieces on death and grieving I have ever read. Join the conversation.

Check it out today: https://shaunanagins.com/the-taboo-tab/death-grieving/

Taboo Tab Preview: “My Father Died, I Dyed My Hair Blue”

blue

 

From “My Father Died, I Dyed My Hair Blue” by Caitlin Corbett:

“When someone dies, neither the grieving or the well-wishers know what to do about it. We know we have to have a funeral, but after that it all falls apart.

We don’t wear black. We don’t shave our heads. We don’t go into seclusion. Nothing is different.

Except, of course, everything is different. We just have no way of showing it.”

 

Read the whole article, and more intimate stories on Death and Grieving when the  Taboo Tab launches on Friday, February 22nd.

The Taboo Tab

Hey all!

I want to take this opportunity to announce a new section coming to the shaunanagins[dot]com: “The Taboo Tab.”

Dun dun dun.

Launching February 22nd, the Taboo Tab will be a growing resource for stories and ideas on things WE REALLY DON’T TALK ABOUT and WE REALLY NEED TO TALK ABOUT.  I have a great and growing team of writers rearing up to address “Death/Grieving,” the first topic the Taboo Tab will take on.

February 22nd. Be there.  We’re going to have a REAL conversation about Death/Grieving (because it really needs to happen, that’s why).

In the meantime, be sure to follow the blog any way you fancy (email, Bloglovin, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress) for updates. For more information on the Taboo Tab, including how to contribute or how to stay informed, drop me a line through the Contact Page.

Much love!