the truth of the matter

I can feel a physical brain shift happening. It’s been a decade in the making, but lately I feel like I’m on the cusp of something monumental.

It started with Jes’s Expose Project.

Because here’s the thing. You always, always hear “oh, everyone has stretch marks! Everyone has cellulite! Everyone’s boobs are different shapes!” And it’s good to hear that, and it’s good people say it, but YOU NEVER ACTUALLY SEE IT. So those good things people say turn into a kind of myth. And because we don’t see it, we start to question it. We start to doubt it and wonder about our own lines and dimples because, sure, you hear everyone has them, but the only bodies we see are photoshopped to perfection. And even though you KNOW they’re photoshopped and not real, it still starts to feel real because it’s all you see. And because it feels so real, you look for proof that you’re right–you ARE the only one with stretch marks and dimples and curves and floppy flim flam here and there and everywhere.

It’s called confirmation bias, and I have it.

Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s beliefs or hypotheses. People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs. People also tend to interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing position.

Confirmation biases contribute to overconfidence in personal beliefs and can maintain or strengthen beliefs in the face of contrary evidence.

Because you don’t see different body types, you start to believe your body is the odd one out. The outlier. It makes you feel less than, and you feel confused when you do everything the world tells you to do–eat right, exercise–but your body still doesn’t look like what they tell you it should look like. It’s confusing, and it’s frustrating, and you never stop feeling like you’ve done something horribly wrong somewhere, and if you knew what it was, you would fix it, but you can’t. You start to feel like your body owns you and you don’t own your body.

I got stretch marks when I was 12 years old. I cried in the shower when I first saw them. And then I was anorexic because I wanted them to go away, even though I knew they wouldn’t. And after rehab, when I got healthy again, they spread all over my body, which felt so cruel. I was doing what the world told me to do–eat healthy, exercise, not have an eating disorder–but they still happened. And because nobody ever talks about their stretch marks, I thought for sure it was my fault. I was damaged goods. I didn’t wear shorts or tank tops. I passed on pool parties. I dreaded beach vacations.

And then confirmation bias set in. I looked everywhere for them to validate my feelings. I started paying a disgruntling amount of attention to people’s thighs and arms, hoping SOMEONE would have them so I wouldn’t feel so alone. But I never saw any because I didn’t want to see any. Every woman I passed at the pool or the mall or anywhere was confirmation that I was a worthless bag of shit.

Which brings us back to Jes and the Expose Project. Which was the first time it actually hit me that different body types and marks and shapes were a real thing. I KNOW. It sounds stupid, and I’m so late to the game. But it was something that had to come with experience and time I think. My confirmation bias was so strong, and I was never ready to accept it until I saw those photos. And something clicked. A ‘ping!’ moment in my brain. Like maybe, just MAYBE, I could shift my thinking.

And then I found Love Your Lines. And there’s plenty of pregnancy stories, BUT there are also tons of people that just have them and have always had them. And they’re every size of the spectrum.

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80% of us have stretch marks. And like I said in my last post, over 90% of us have cellulite. I KNOW IT’S NOT BREAKING NEWS. And I’m not sure why I never saw photos of real bodies until now.

But I finally did see them, and the shift is happening. And I’m glad there are people like Jes and the Love Your Lines creators to break the confirmation bias. To bring a little smack of reality back to the surreal cesspool that we’ve created for ourselves.

So, challenge your confirmation bias today. Whatever that may be.

what would iggy azalea do?

She would probaly say, “fuck love gimme diamonds.” Which is basically what I’m saying right now to moving and packing and the logistical nightmare that entails. If I had a nickel for every time I said to Royal, “I really wish I was Harry Potter right now,” I would be a rich bitch. Like Iggy. Plus, when I listen to “Work,” I substitute with my own lyrics of “No money, no family, 27 in the middle of Seattle” because that’s how I feel with $1900 a month rent.

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Here’s the thing, though. Remember yesterday when I mentioned that I feel like I’ve been sleepwalking? That most days I get to work and have no idea how I got there? The entire walk there is a blur? Yep. That’s my MO. And this week, now that moving is really happening, I keep staring at the clock and the calendar and wishing away the next three weeks just so it can all be over and my new reality started. But here’s the other thing: I’ve been thinking that way since I was 8.

When I was 8, I couldn’t wait to be in middle school so I could go to school dances. (HAHA. Sucker. Little did I know I would never dance with a single boy. Puberty, man. The shits.)

When I was 12, I wanted to be 16 so I could drive.

When I was 16, I wanted to be 18 so I could go to college.

And when I was in college, I just wanted to be OUT of college. And when I got out of college, I wanted to be married. And then I was married and god only knows how many other things I’ve wished for. The “I’ll be happy when” trap. It’s happening again to me right this very second with me thinking, “I’ll be happy when I’m done packing shit and I’m eating multi-grain Cheerios and watching The Killing.”

I’ve always known I do this, and I’ve tried billions of times to fix it. To be present. It doesn’t work. But the other day I was listening to the NPR TED Radio Hour, as I so often do on my walks to work, and Carl Honore’s snippet came up. It kind of blew my mind. Just a teensy little bit:

But why is it so hard to slow down? I think there are various reasons. One is that speed is fun, you know. Speed is sexy, and all that adrenaline rush. It’s hard to give it up. Another reason, though, I think, perhaps even the most powerful reason why we find it hard to slow down is the cultural taboo against slowing down.

That slow is a dirty word in our culture. It’s a byword for lazy, slacker, for being somebody who gives up. You know, he’s a bit slow. It’s actually synonymous with being stupid. I think there’s a kind of metaphysical dimension that speed becomes a way of walling ourselves off from the bigger, deeper questions. We fill our heads with distraction, with busyness so that we don’t have to ask – am I well? Am I happy? Are my children growing up right?

Jeez, Carl. Way to really hit me in the feels. You’re right–I’m trying to speed through it all. Which is a bummer. And YEAH! You’re right! There’s totally a cultural taboo against being “slow.” And as someone that’s never been entirely fond of cultural taboos, I’m not stoked about it. And I’d like to challenge it. I’m going to move slowly this week, suckers! Which, for me, means working on ONE thing at at time. Because for some reason I’ve told myself that multi-tasking is absolutely necessary, but the truth is…multi-tasking gets me nowhere but a rat’s nest of tangled thoughts and anxiety.

One thing at a time. Move slowly. Work, work, work, work, workin on my shit. Who’s with me?

enter comfort zone cliche here

I don’t like feeling uncomfortable. And all of those cute prints you like to pin and buy on Etsy about life beginning at the end of your comfort zone–those can suck it. I like my comfort zone, and I like my life inside my comfort zone. It’s safe here, and it’s warm here, and it feels the way a toaster strudel tastes. Good. Fluffy and flaky and full of preservatives.

But here’s the thing. We are moving to Seattle. In like…three weeks.

It’s blowing my mind.

I’m a born and raised Utahan, which isn’t optimal, but it’s safe. I thought I wanted to move out of state for the last six years, and I bitched about it and complained and whined and moaned about how shitty Utah is. So Mitch applied for jobs in Seattle. Because we’ve always wanted to live in the Northwest. Always, always, always. But then he actually GOT the job, which was unexpected. It was awesome, but it was unexpected, and it blindsided me. And now we’re moving, and I feel crazy. All kinds of roller coaster feelings of YES! to omg to holy shit to what?? to no…..really? to ok to I’M TERRIFIED.

But here’s the real question here….HOW DO PEOPLE DO THIS ALL THE TIME? I know that moving out of state is totally normal, and I’m sure tons of you have done it. But how? The logistical pandemonium is enough to make me stay in tiny Utah forever and always because I can’t fathom working out these logistics. Moving vans and selling condos and finding new apartments and figuring out how to transport two finicky cats in a Vanagon. I don’t know how you guys do this.

And how do you dare move to a brand new city? Is it terrifying? I don’t understand how you just up and move somewhere and carry on like life is normal. Is it as hard as it sounds?

It’s not to say that I’m not excited. I’m wildly excited. But I’m also nervous. Utah is all I’ve ever known. WHICH IS CRAZY. I know there’s a big fat wide world out there. And I know I will love Seattle. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t scary. I’ve never done anything like it before.

But here’s the other thing. I think this just might be the giant jolt to my system I’ve been needing sorely for the last many moons. Since rehab, really. I’ve been in a life rut since 2006, which means I’ve been copping out to these two identities everyone here knows me by: Amy Morby Ex-Mormon and Amy Morby Recovering Anorexic. While it’s comforting to have people that know my past so well, it’s also exhausting sometimes. I kind of just want to know what it feels like to be JUST Amy Morby, you know? Maybe that’s not a thing, but I feel like I want it to be a thing. I just want to know if it’s a thing.

So, we’re moving to Seattle. I don’t have a job lined up. We maybe have a place lined up. And it’s all happening so quickly it’s like ripping off a cosmic-sized band-aid off of my universe-sized ass. But I kind of like it. It’s painful, and I cry once a day whenever I realize another thing I’m leaving behind, but it’s also making me feel alive if you want to get cliche about it. And I kind of do. Because I’ve been asleep for six years. Sometimes you don’t realize you’re hurrying through life until one day, you get to work but have no idea how you got there. And then you walk home from work and have no idea what you just did for the last 8 hours.

I’ve been asleep. I’ve been complacent in my cozy Utah bubble of familiarity. It’s probably time to get out of that. It may be temporary–it may be forever. Either way, I’m looking forward to getting to know Amy Morby and just Amy Morby. No suffixes attached. No expectations. Just Amy Morby.

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Any tips for moving out of state? I haven’t even started packing yet. I’m 110% in denial.