Memories: Revisited

December. 2011.

I haven't born stopping by much lately, but today made me realize that I need to. 

It was something random I needed to find; some obscure reference to something I'd written or photographed - and I found it in my archives. What I also found was the reason I started this blog to begin with - a place to capture my words and images. A catch-all for the organized chaos of moments and things that mattered then, matter now, and maybe matter tomorrow. 

She was so little then. In the memories I tripped over in my rush to get back to to today. If no one else ever reads the words I write here, that's okay. I'd forgotten the reason I'd started. And then I found this post about our first trip to Williams, Arizona, for The Polar Express. We were living in Tucson at the time.

If I never do anything else right for the rest of my life, I did this. A memory preserved in small bits; to have and to treasure for always. 

The Polar Express
The Polar Express

“Think she’s old enough?”

Doesn’t matter.

“Think she’ll like it?”

Of course.

“Think she’ll…”

“DADDY!!! Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU!”

Yeah, she’ll appreciate it.

The Polar Express
The Polar Express

“Where are we going, Mama?”

“It’s a surprise.”

“But I don’t like surprises.”

“So we stay home.”

“That’s now that I said.”

“So it’s a surprise.”

“Where are we going, Mama?”

The Polar Express
The Polar Express

“I see snow!”

“Isn’t it pretty?”

“Can I make a snow angel, Mama?”

“Maybe later.”

“After we get to our surprise?”

“Yeah, baby. After we get to our surprise.”

“Daddy, Mama said I can make a snow angel after we get to our surprise.”

The Polar Express
The Polar Express

“We’re here!”

“Where’s here, Daddy?”

“Our surprise.”

“So I can make a snow angel now?”

The Polar Express
The Polar Express

“Enjoy your stay and your train ride to the North Pole.”

“The North Pole?”

“The North Pole.”

“Will Santa be there?”

“Of course. You may even see him on the train.”

“I GET TO SEE SANTA ON THE TRAIN?”

“Yes, you do.”

“I GET TO SEE SANTA ON THE TRAIN!”

The Polar Express
The Polar Express

“Mrs. Clause can see you now.”

“Are you a real elf?”

“Are you a real girl?”

“Your ears are pointy.”

“That’s because I’m a real elf. You’re cute.”

“That’s because I’m a real girl.”

The Polar Express
The Polar Express

“Would you like to be my honorary elf?”

“But I’m a girl.”

“Girls can be honorary elves.”

“What do I have to do?”

“Just hold my hand and wave the first train off. Think you can do that?”

The Polar Express
The Polar Express

“Smile and wave, sweetie.”

“I am.”

“Not at me, you silly goose. Smile at the passengers on the train!”

“I’ll wave at them. But I’ll smile at you.”

The Polar Express
The Polar Express

“We’re going to see Santa”

“Yes, baby. It’s our turn now.”

“Then I can make a snow angel?”

“You are adorable.”

“Can I be an adorable snow angel?”

The Polar Express
The Polar Express

“Hot! Hot! Ooh, we got it! Hot! Hot! Hey, we got it! Hot! Hot! Say, we got it! Hot chocolate!

The Polar Express
The Polar Express

“What would you like for Christmas?”

“A special doll that’s just for me!”

“Merry Christmas!”

“I love you, Santa!”

The Polar Express
The Polar Express

“Mama! It’s SNOWING!”

“I see that.”

“Now see me dancing in the snow!”

“I see that, too, baby.”

“Can we take the snow with us, Mama?”

“No, but I can take a picture of y0u dancing in the snow with us.”

“Take more, Mama. Take more!”

The Polar Express
The Polar Express

“Am I making  good snow angel, Daddy?”

“The best.”

“I want to make it smile.”

“I think it already is, baby.”

The Polar Express
The Polar Express

“There’s snow on my manos, Mama.”

“Yes, I know.”

“My butt is wet, Daddy.”

“I figured it would be.”

“My legs are cold, Mama.”

“Makes sense to me.”

“Can we stay here forever, Daddy?”

“Forever? No. For now? Yes.”

“For now is so pretty. Thank you for for now.”

December 5, 2011.

Never Stop Creating

My friend, August McLaughlin, asked a question on Facebook the other day. She wanted to to know what people were proud of. A thing we had accomplished that made us feel a real sense of accomplishment.  

I didn't have A Thing. Just a feeling...  

The same thing happens every time I'm on other side of making something happen. And it's the same thing that plays out in my head every single time... since I was a kid. 

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 My answer is abstract. But it's truth. And I don't think this truth is mine alone. 

Mom sureounded by creatives. Writers. Artists. As unique as we may be as individuals, there's something solid in the generalities attrituted to my crowd. We are confident in what we do. We are so full of doubt that we always end up questioning if we are good enough.  

It's the duality that fuels us. 

Right now, I'm trying to get my head back in the writing game. Until I do, I'm doodling. My art allows me to create when the words are stuck. My words do the same when the artistic steak has run dry.  

More duality. Which is probably a good thing.  

I created the image in this post on a blank journal for one of my writing coach clients. Just as I was finishing the digital edits on the imge for the Soneday when I manage to add it as a print on the Etsy shop, August's reply came through on my iPhone as a notification. That's when I realized the doodle I'd created - which I started right after replying to August's Facebook status - had been an extension of my reply to her question. 

This is what I wrote... 

I believed in myself. Once. And then twice. Every time I do something right, and take pride in what I accomplished, I slowly end up wondering how the hell I ever had the guts to do it to begin with. And I think I can never do it again.

And then one day, I do. 

BabyFat 2.0 (I'm Here)

Once upon a time, I used to log in on this little ol' blog of mine just to share something funny or blow off some steam or remind you (me) why you're (I'm) beautiful. And then Facebook happened and I started sharing my little bits there which eventually led to a lotta bits not being shared over here and then, eventually, I stopped showing up. Here. In my own space. I need to work on changing that. 

That's why I'm here right now. To share something I almost shared on Facebook. I totally get a cookie after I hit publish because I'm here right now. I'm here to tell you some of the biggest news of my literary career to date. I'm here to tell you that my publisher is closing. My book, along with every other book by every other author, will be pulled from circulation on May 31. 

But it's okay. The news broke a few weeks ago. I don't have time to speculate what went wrong or how things could have been different. Things just are, and that's that. I spent the better part of May freaking the hell out and pretty much convinced that the world was over. Dealing with this during one of my worst depressive phases really didn't help matters at all. And then I got my head out of my ass (sort of) and teamed up with a few incredible people to make sure the book I poured six years of myself into doesn't just quietly disappear. 

Sneak peek of the back cover! 

Sneak peek of the back cover! 

 

I'm here to tell you that BabyFat will be back. I'm here to tell you that BabyFat is being self-published and I am so fucking thrilled at all the possibilities and opportunities now available to me because I'm the one driving this boat. The Bloggess and her incredible blurb are still on that incredible front cover by Michelle Fairbanks of Fresh Design BC. I'm here to tell you that I'm calling the shots now and I'm getting BabyFat into bookstores and busting my ass for bookclubs and working on press releases for the media. I'm here to tell you that I'll be approaching hospitals and OB offices and honoring my efforts put into this book with equal efforts in promoting it and that the cover is new and improved and that it turns out Scary Mommy blurbed BabyFat twice and that the blurb in my email from 2010 is the one being used on the new cover because it's fucking perfect and I love it oh so very much and I hope that you do, too. 

I'm here.

 

Irrelevant

IMG_6250.JPG

I'm not an It-Girl.

I don't have legions of fans. I am not a household name. The Internet is not waiting with baited breath for my next witty social media update. I know all of this. Usually, I'm good with it. 

My blog comment section is made up of mostly crickets with a few (welcome) exchanges tossed in for good measure. My Latina Magazine column is widely read but I've yet to see a letter to the editor from anyone who has ever promised to send one in after stopping me in a public bathroom gushing about their favorite question and answer - I think the reigning champ is the on where I told the woman complaining about hating sex with the boyfriend who paid for her prescription medication that she needed to get a J.O.B. (For the record, I love that one, too.) My book cover is a thing of beauty with blurbs from authors I admire and still can't believe were happy to go on record in front of all creation as saying it's worth reading. Sales are decent -it's a slow build - but I'm nowhere near the literary sensation I had let The Husband's supportive cheerleading convince me I was going to become once the book launched. 

I'm not an It-Girl. In the grand-scheme of things, I think, I fall in to the irrelevant category. 

Before you stop me and tell me I'm being too hard on myself and tell me to believe in my ability as a writer, well-meaning reader, know this: I am not ... and I already do.

I wrote my first book when I was nine or 10 and have been looking beyond each No to the next horizon every day since.  Rejection is part of the profession and a tough skin is a requirement, but I don't think there's anything wrong with a little pity-party to get the and jou-jou tied directly to where we think we should be right now out of our systems before putting out big girl panties back on and getting back to work. 

I know I can write.

I know I am good at what I do and I take pride in my ability to craft a story that draws the reader in. If you're reading this as a writer yourself, you know damned well that no matter how panic-worthy each submission process may be that there's a little voice in your head talking all the smack because you are fucking fabulous and you KNOW it. 

Never stop believing that. That little bit of ego? That's what keeps us going when we've got nothing else with which to measure our success. 

I'm not an It-Girl. But I am a writer. Relevant or not, it's me against the blinking cursor and my words against the empty spaces waiting to be filled. I know this. And I'm good with it. 


When Deadline is King

Digging deep in the archives for this one tonight because my blog keeps crashing on me while I try to write new words and its this or I have to rob a bank to buy a new Macbook after I spike this one into the ground if I lose another post in the middle of trying to publish it. This post originally appeared on Aspiring Mama in July. Happy #NaBloPoMo. I've been publishing. To hell with linking up anywhere because it's a miracle I got this far. 

Resilience by Pauline Campos  

Resilience by Pauline Campos  

It's hard being the creative one in the relationship.

We are never not working. Even when we think we aren't we are. Vacations and conferences and business trips put us behind the behind we already were and then we stress and we try to balance family first and sometimes it works...

and sometimes it doesn't. 

It's hard being the creative one in the relationship.

But I think, if I'm being honest, it's harder being the one committed to the creative. Nights off are not always nights off. And time alone to celebrate being in the same house again after time apart are put off to meet deadlines missed because wifi on the train home was spotty at best. 

The deadline is always king. 

He took tonight off work to be with us. We got a few hours in watching a movie and eating dinner. And now he's in the room and I'm on the couch, laptop fired up, because it is what it is. 


I wish *it* came with the ability to freeze time and a personal assistant willing to work for smiling emojis.

Source: http://

Beautiful in Black & White: My Experience with the 4th Trimester Bodies Project

Photo credit: Pauline M. Campos

Photo credit: Pauline M. Campos

It started with a request to sign a copy of my book. She'd be in the same state, after all, and seeing as how I only live four hours north, maybe I could meet up and we could take a few selfies together to prove we'd inhabited the same physical space after years of conversations in 140 characters and status updates. 

"Of course," was my response. No matter that I would be the one driving the four hours. When you're this far north, hotel rooms and rest stops are just real life if you want to maintain contact with real life. Besides, Target and Starbucks don't exist where I live. If I want you to like me in person, I'm not about to ask you to make a first impression while navigating around Amish buggies and breaking for moose standing in the middle of the roadway. If I had stopped there, if nothing more had come out of my mouth, maybe signing a book and laughing over bad camera angles would be all that had happened. But I didn't. I kept talking. "Maybe I should get naked for you, too."

Photo credit: Pauline M. Campos/ Book by Ashlee Wells Jackson.  Click here to purchase.  

Photo credit: Pauline M. Campos/ Book by Ashlee Wells Jackson. Click here to purchase. 

There was a chuckle in response. Or, I think there was one. I'm a writer. I hear the rhythm of the voice writing the words that would be spoken if the conversation was a spoken one. I fill in the blanks with facial expressions, uuhhhmmm's and ahhhh's, and the blinks that take up the space around the words I hear in my mind. She chuckled when she read my sentence about getting naked; eyes twinkling, probably. She knows my sense of humor. We've known each other a few years now, at least. "Maybe not naked," she said. "Just down to your bra and panties." 

"Only if you buy me dinner first," I shot back. And she chuckled again and I laughed out loud because I actually did Laugh.Out. Loud. I detest the LOL acronym. I know for a fact my sister never LOL's even though every single text she sends indicates otherwise. When I Laugh.Out.Loud, I actually am. Otherwise, I am merely SWMWME (Smirking While Smiling with my Eyes) or LIMH (Laughing Inside My Head). LOL is like the push up bra of the Facebook world. We all know you're selling us more than you've actually got, so let's drop the act and just call it what it is, okay?

 

Photo credit: Pauline M. Campos

Photo credit: Pauline M. Campos

It was all in fun. No commitment. Just banter. But then she said "YES" and I knew the yes wasn't about the dinner joke but about the me getting down to my 'chonis thing because, it turns out, my friend, the famed Ashlee Wells Jackson of the 4th Trimester Bodies Project, had an opening for her Portland, Maine, shoot, and she was sending me a contract to sign and ... and ... 

Holy...

Shit. 

 

Photo credit: Pauline M. Campos

Photo credit: Pauline M. Campos

This is what happens when you make a habit of pushing your own boundaries using thinly-veiled sarcasm. There's really no commitment because a No in response to your Maybe I could can be brushed off as a joke and no one gets their feelings hurt. A Yes still comes with an automatic Out because I was Totally Kidding and can quip about how I never let a date get to third base before the third date, at least, because I have fucking STANDARDS. There's alway a moment of pause when the Yes happens. The window of opportunity to wrap my arms around the Thing I Probably Really Want to Do But am Totally Terrified Of is small. Generally, it's understood that I am verbally agreeing, all semblance of general smartassery lost, because Shit Just Got Serious, y'all. 

I'm signing the contract before I have had a chance to process the ramifications, not because I'm an idiot, mind you, but because posing for a shoot in your well-endowed bra and Lane Bryant panties is scary shit, indeed, even for an outspoken body image activist like myself. If I even stop to think, just for a moment, I'm going to Come to my Senses and say But I was Joking and tell the Ashlee's in my life that they'd better give that  open slot to someone else cuz I'm not about to put All of THIS on the internet -- not when my every day is Spanxed and layered and carefully pieced together so as to maintain some semblance of containment and purposeful form. 

Photo credit: Laura Weetzie Wilson

Photo credit: Laura Weetzie Wilson

 

Even after signing the contract, though, I toyed with the idea of backing out. Eliana didn't know it yet, because I needed to come to terms with the Actual Doing before I got her all jazzed up about a mother/daughter photo shoot with a famous and celebrated photographer, but she would be there, with me, celebrating herself as she is next to the mama hoping she was brave enough to do the same. I wrote a book about accepting the bodies we have right here and right now, the scale and Other People's Expectations be Damned. I have a website celebrating our bodies and ourselves in every possible way (which I suck at keeping updated because the aforementioned book takes a lot of time to write and edit and promote upon publication). I am outspoken about my struggles with mental illness - anxiety, depression, ADHD - and my eating disordered past and ever-present body image issues. Once it's a part of your story, it always will be. But until now, I've been able to hide myself behind words and stories that painted pictures for readers to relate to and see themselves in. 

I’m not important enough for media coverage. No need to find the most flattering dress for my shape to talk about my work on daytime TV. No magazine spreads to hope the PhotoShop Fairy I usually hate sprinkles her fairy dust over to maybe make a few bulges here and a few inches there smooth out and disappear. 

 

Photo credit: Pauline M. Campos

Photo credit: Pauline M. Campos

This is real. Black and white. No tummy-controlling undergaments. No bullshit. 

Period. 

It’s everything I stand for and nothing I’ve been brave enough to make happen. 

Until now.

Before packing up the overnight duffle and looking for a hotel, I told The Husband about the shoot and asked him to check out the 4th Trimester Bodies Project site, and waited for his response. I wasn’t looking for permission, mind you, but maybe I’d been hoping for an excuse to say no. “My Husband is being a giant asshole about this whole thing and I’d just rather not deal with the drama” is way easier to say than “Yeah, I know this is exactly what I stand for, but let’s pass on this round because I’m scared shitless that I won’t see myself as beautiful, okay?” But he only waited for me to tell him why I had directed him to the site to begin with because he knows me and simply nodded when I told him I had been invited to participate in the project. “You know I’d never stop you from doing something like this,” is what he said. So I was left with no way out but through my fear and self-judgement, booked the hotel room, gassed up the truck, told the excited little chingona-in-training what we were doing and why, and listened to her sing Eliana Mercedes Originals all the way to Portland about celebrating our bodies and loving who we are.

Photo credit: Pauline M. Campos

Photo credit: Pauline M. Campos

As we stood in the dressing room at Lane Bryant (because I’m not about to drop my pants for the world unless it’s in brand new undies, my friends), Eliana joked with me about third boobs and very solemnly pointed out the styles of panties and bras she thought fit best and so those are the ones I bought. I mentally patted myself on the back for taking the emotion out of the dressing room and replacing it with logic and reason. My audience was watching my every move and I wasn’t about to taint every future dressing room experience with tears and squished face disgust at what perceived flaws. My todays are building the foundation for her tomorrows, after all, and while I may be far from perfect, I’m working with what I’ve got. 

“Mama,” she asked me while trying on her black leotard at our last stop before we checked in for the night in Portland, “What’s so hard about celebrating our bodies? All we have to do is appreciate what we have.”

Photo credit: Pauline M. Campos

Photo credit: Pauline M. Campos

These are the words I remembered and held onto that night, because I didn't sleep. They are the words I remembered when I stood before Ashlee in nothing but a bra and panties the next day. The words I held onto when she pointed the camera at me and asked me why I was there during the pre-shoot interview. 

“What made you want to participate in this project?” she asked me.

I looked at Eliana, waiting patiently to join me for the session. She smiled at me because she knows I am not as brave as I say I am, and that’s okay. 

 

Photo credit: Ashlee Wells Jacskon

Photo credit: Ashlee Wells Jacskon

Looking into my daughter’s eyes, I responded. “Because perfection is photo-shopped. Because self-acceptance is reserved for the finish line. Because you can’t step on the winner’s podium until after you’ve proven your worth until after you’ve stepped on the scale. Every day, I wake up ready to teach myself love the me that I see again. Because this little girl is my reset button. 

Because there was no reason that wasn’t an excuse to say no and every reason that matters to say yes.”

And then we did it. We smiled and we laughed and we posed and celebrated our way through every shot and then again while working with Ashlee to select the image used for the 4th Trimester Bodies Project. There was a headshot. There was a safe image. And then there was the one where I wasn’t shielding myself with my daughter’s body because I’m the one that’s supposed to be on the frontline helping her find her way, dammit. That’s what you see. This is who I am.

Photo credit: Ashlee Wells Jackson

Photo credit: Ashlee Wells Jackson

We signed books for each other at the end, as planned. We hugged and smiled and selfies and hash-tagged because we don’t know when we will see each other again. I didn’t even make her buy me dinner. 

Later that night, after hours on the road in between errands on the way home, I saw the status update in my Facebook stream indicating that Ashlee had tagged me on her fan page. There were no tears. No self-deprecating tearing apart of the self I saw standing next to the future I am raising. “Look, Eliana! It’s us!”

“We’re beautiful, mama!” She squealed with pride. She beamed. She looked into my eyes, waiting for me to answer the question she would never dare to ask.

“Yes, baby,” I smiled back and met her eyes because I know this will be one of the moments she look back on as she grows and I need her to see that I believed the words I was saying are true. “Yes we are.” 

Cinderella: The Dust Destroyer

I'm sitting in my room at the Drury Inn & Suites in Columbus Ohio, taking a short break from repacking to blog. #NaBloPoMo is A Thing, and I'm trying like bloody hell to make this Thing happen, so that means blogging is back on the priority list...like it used to be when Twitter was for Actual Conversation and Feminist still was confused as a proper noun defined by the average person as One Who Burns Bras and Hates Men. 

You know, the good ol' days. 

Tomorrow marks the end for the second annual #365FeministSelfie #SelfieCon - my first, even though I've been an on-again, off-again participant in the ongoing photo project. And I've enjoyed myself immensely. I have words to share, stories to tell, and photos for the visual eye-candy we all like to see with the narratives we lose ourselves in, but my brain is fried, so the good stuff waits for after I get home and sleep for 30 ba-jillion hours while recovering from travel. But blog I must and blog I shall, so I'll share a little story about the little girl that inspires me daily to be and give the best of myself to and for myself and those I love. She's impressed the hell out of my newly adopted #365feministselfie family, and reminded me once again how incredibly lucky I am to be able to share these life experiences with her by my side. 

This is what happens when you tell her it's time for chores.

The fashion bandana she reserves for these occasions is a must.

The skater dress Not Bought On Clearance becomes her apron.

Cue cards are too cumbersome so she becomes both Star of the Show and Prompter...

..."and now you're re evil step-Mother and step-father"

and

"What am I supposed to do now?"

and

"No, mom, you have to tell me to vacuum more evily, because that was too nice. I'm not buying it"

and

"Are my wicked stepsisters at the spa again while I'm stuck here cleaning?"

And

"Of course, Dear Child, for we must stick to the story line, mustn't we?" 

It's all part of the dialogue. This is normal in our home and for this, I am grateful. 

And why not? Putting on your game face and becoming Cinderella the Dust Destroyer is the only way to clean. 

Pinktified: In Defense of Makeup

Our girls can't be bossy anymore because leadership skills don't sound bitchy

We can't let them play with barbies because they promote unhealthy body image and Princess culture is too pink. 

Pink? Yeah. About that. It's gender confirming and we are sending them straight to the therapist if we let them like it. 

We shouldn't tell them they are pretty because they'll grow up to think pretty is all they are and that their brains don't matter and their bodies are the It Factor for how they are and will be perceived physically. Pink will become the entire basis of their self-worth and we just can't have that now, can we?

Makeup is the new evil - which sounds way more sinister than Orange Being the New Black - because we are supposed to love ourselves as we are and Hello Bad Example for the Littles!

Dolls don't encourage critical thinking and are bad for self-esteem and will never be the reason a future engineer decided to pursue a fulfilling career.

High heels are sexist and only feed into the ideal that women dress for men and sex is the only thing that sells, so skip the plastic princess heels and hand her something - ANYTHING AND DO IT QUICK, DAMMIT - that isn't Pink, Frilly, Princessy, to steer her back in the "right" direction which, I might add, is NOT the girly pinkified toy section at Toys R Us. 

Ya know what? I'm sick of it. Tired of having to defend the pink my kid declared her favorite color when she was two even though her father and I painted her nursery a gender neutral shade of green. I'm done with Bossy/Bad Leadership Skils/Good because you guys? IT'S ALL BULLSHIT

Don't get your panties in a bunch, people. I tell her she's pretty AND smart because Jenni Chiu said to. I buy her the pink because she wants it and tell her she can go right on ahead wearing her frilly tutu over her riding pants and I don't get pissy it gets muddied up and smells like horse at the end of her lessons. And she plays with her dolls before she sits down to read fucking Shakespeare because she's almost 8 and she's fucking brilliant and she knows it and that's okay, too. 

Maybe for some girls, Barbie triggers feelings that need to be addressed and therefore should be avoided (and maybe it's not Barbie because Deflecting Barbie isn't A Thing yet). Maybe pink is too girly for the girls who are anything but. Maybe makeup is a disguise for the insecure and maybe that little girl running recess like a military training camp is perhaps being a total bitch and YES IT IS OKAY TO TELL HER TO STOP BEING SO DAMNED BOSSY. 

But you know what? Maybe Nicki from Nickie Tutorials is right. Her video, posted above, got me all riled up for the right reasons. Thing is, this brain-numbing mindset is not just limited to makeup. It's everything. The love of pink does not mean your girl will never aspire to be amazing. Wearing makeup isn't going to teach her that she's only worth YOUR approval when she's all glammed up unless that's how you feel and she picks up on that vibe. Our kids, and I mean both our girls and our boys, are brilliant little people who pick up on our inner workings and take a piece of that as part of the foundation of their future selves. 

If you think you're a fat ass and food is bad and skinny is good, we've got a problem. If you tell her it's okay to love her body as it is while polishing off a dozen cupcakes because your feelings taste like chocolate then her feelings will taste like chocolate, too, and emotional eating will rule her life like the cruel master that any and all eating disorders are. If you tell her to love her body and she grows up with a healthy self image and happens to not be a size zero as an adult, you are not promoting fatness and encouraging her to never strive for whatever healthy means for her and her body type. 

If you criticize yourself in front of them, even if you're just frowning at your reflection in the mirror while sucking in your gut, they are listening even when we think they are not and its that voice - OUR VOICE - that they hear in their heads telling them they aren't good enough now and probably won't be - not now and not ever - when they find themselves standing in front of a mirror ten years from now. 

And if we keep going this way, we are only circling right back to that place where pretty, skinny, perfect, and pink actually were words that meant out girls had to hide their smarts because no boy would want them; where dolls were for girls because they were considered too delicate and fragile to run wild through the grass barefoot with the boys, and where her future as a doctor would have been traded for her future as the pregnant house wife with no aspirations other than to make more babies and have dinner in the table when her husband arrives home from his day at the office. 

We need to stop, you guys. We need to stop limiting this celebrating of ourselves to not include anything we may think does not fit our personal description. We need to stop criminalizing what we think is holding us back because in doing so, we are telling the Girly Girl that she's not as fabulous as the Sporty Girl and the Princess Girl that she can't be a Super Hero Princess and Tutu Lover that Tutus are Bad because she loves tutus and that must mean SHE is bad when she's not and... they aren't and you aren't and I'm not because OHMYFUCKINGGAWD!!! 

I'm the mother of a pink-loving, tutu-wearing, always bossy/sometimes bitchy, Chingona Princessy Future CEO of whatever the hell she wants to be and I'm proud. And guess what? So is she.

You can go right on ahead telling your Jock Girl that she doesn't have to wear pink if she doesn't want to. Because she doesn't have to. You can skip the makeup of it makes you feel like you aren't you with it on. Because you are the best you when you feel comfortable with the face looking you back in the mirror. 

When my kid is putting on her best game face while posing in a super hero stance in her Wonder Woman bathing suit and positioning her head just so as to keep her sparkly tiara from falling to the floor, please leave your opinion out of the picture I'm taking, capturing the moment my little girl is every bit the person she is meant to be

BabyFat: Vote for the Cover Design!

For the new kids in class, let  me simply say I am the most indecisive woman in the world. New restaurants and menus are potential marriage wreckers, second guessing always means I made the wrong choice the second time, and asking the waitess to take back the meal I hated and bring me the one I said I wanted to try first instead mean that desiging the BabyFat: Adventures in Motherhood, Muffin Tops, & Trying to Stay Sane cover is like watching a tennis match between two crazed squirels.

I love my designer, Michelle from Fresh Design, and I think we need to be friends In Real Life. But before I ask for her address to exchange Christmas cards, I figure I'd better get her a final answer on the bool cover.

That's where YOU come in, Internet. Let's not pretend here. I suck at making decisions and you know it. The easisest way to resolve this situation is for you to help me make the final decision because narrowing down to the baby tush concept was hard enough and I can't make any more decisions this month or my brain may implode.

So you get to choose, Internet. 

Which cover do you think says New York Times Best Seller? 

Here's the deal, Internet: I will choose the cover that YOU choose. Each one shown here has its own appeal, ands while I do have a favorite or two, I'm not at all set on one over the rest. Considering my publisher's desire to get BabyFat actually published and in your hands -- a desire I fully support, by the way -- I figured I needed to own up to my lack of ability to make Actual Decisions to keep this train on track.

So vote! And if your're interested in joining my #BabyFat Street Team to help get the word out about my book, send me an email to aspiringmama@gmail.com (subject line: #BabyFat Street Team), friend me on Facebook, or tweet me with the hashtag so we can make All the Noise together! (Speaking of All Things BabyFat, did you submit your tweet to appear in the book yet???) 

I can't wait to see which you choose, y'all. Also? I'd been wondering when one stands on their probverbial mountain top to share with the world how she nearly fell down dead when Jenny Lawson agreed to blurb my book, but I guess that cat's outta the bag now. File this one under: It Never Hurts to Ask and Anybody Who Says Social Media Friends Aren't Real is An Asshole with No Friends on Social Media.