Friday, July 1, 2011

A Day at the Gym with Michelle!

*Click on the Picture to see the whole..uh...Picture.*

Well, I just got back from the gym. Yes. I did. Back from the gym. I think maybe the little "doo-dad" in my body that triggers the release of endorphins is busted. (Oh! Side note! I just looked up the work "endorphin" to make sure I spelled it right, and this is what it told me they were!-endogenous opioid peptides that function as neurotransmitters.
Wouldn't it be AMAZING to talk like that?)
Anyhow, I really don't get this amazing "high" after I work out. I always come home from the gym feeling worse that I could have possibly conceived imaginable! I believe there are a few shadowy culprits behind my misfiring, malfunctioning endorphins. Number one, I ALWAYS end up working out right next to a girl like the one above. The city where I live must be the "Land of the Free, Home of the Implants" because there is an alarming number of surgically altered in dames in my vicinity. Now, before some of my customers start sending me angry letters, I want to make it clear that your body is yours, and my body is mine, and my only really firm belief is that we should take care of our bodies and learn to love them, and whatever actions you take to reach that level are your own. Yet, here is a little piercing snapshot into my insecure subconscious. This is a sample dialog from my brain.

Angry nagging voice: "Michelle, look at that woman. THAT is the kind of woman you want to be. No body fat, completely flat stomach, long lean legs, big breasts, busting your rear at the gym like a maniac! Why don't you look that way?
Me:" Well....uh....I don't have the build to look that way. I'm built like a coffee table with a long body and short legs. I thought I looked sort of okay today.

Angry nagging voice: You look OKAY today? You look like hell! Look at those love handles! You could hang a beach bag off of the side of them! Why don't you look like THAT LADY? SHE doesn't have love handles.

Me: Well....uh...that lady must only eat celery. (remember, the voice that I use answer the ANGRY NAG is sort of like the voice I use to talk to angry customers: timid and trodden down with a hint of guilt and lack of self confidence.)

Angry Nagging Voice: "Then Why don't YOU eat celery? You'd be A LOT happier if you were thinner. Thousands of other women have beautiful thin bodies. If they can do it, why can't you?

Me: *faltering* "I...just....like brownies so much" *This voice comes out in a breathy, defeated rush of sound.*

Angry Nagging Voice: "You're pathetic."

Me: "I know."

The funny thing is that NO MATTER HOW HARD I TRY, I will never look like that woman unless I spend a lot more time at the gym, wear 5 inch heels every day, and get breast implants. I'm not even comparing myself to something that is achievable with hard work and sacrifice. I'm comparing myself to a woman that is an enhanced version of the human form. OH my heck, I'm going to get soooo many angry letters over this one. Oh, well, I'm voicing my opinion anyway! YOU ladies with surgically altered bodies get to look smoking hot every day, so don't step on me and make me feel worse than you already do. Your power over me is supreme, so just wallow in it. Yes, I'm insanely jealous. You got what you wanted.

Anyway, so at the gym, there's always the super hot girl working out in less clothing than I wear in the shower, and I'm sitting there looking like a swamp monster. That's another thing! Why do pretty girls NEVER sweat???? I know they're working out hard, or else how did they get those bodies?? However, there is no telltale sweat droplets in sight! What the devil???

I guess that's why I like corsets so much. It's still an "enhanced" version, but it REALLY is all ME. When I'm in a corset, I don't sit and compare myself to other women, which is OBVIOUSLY what I do every time I go out into public. I HATE the comparing and contrasting. I don't know why I do it. I should compare myself against a good version of myself. So, for instance, I could have a really attractive picture of myself hanging somewhere, and when I feel and look like poo, I could gaze upon the image and think, "I want to look like that." And then I would do it. And then I would feel good about it. It would be something that is personal, possible, and achievable. Heck, if all it takes is 15 more minutes of doing my hair and makeup, and throwing on a few more necklaces to look like the pretty version of me, then I'll DO IT! If all it takes is lacing on a corset, why not?

I think I'm going to start wearing corsets to the gym.


  1. "Me: *faltering* "I...just....like brownies so much""

    Michelle, you are so adorable! Now I'll admit that I'm blessed with a decent figure, but I do have more squish around the middle than I would like (especially since I'm a belly dancer, so I have to show off that area!). And I KNOW I could lose it easily if I gave up the carbs and did more shimmy drills. But you know what? I DO like brownies so much. And baked potatoes. And bread. And rice. And pasta. The idea of living without all of those foods is depressing.

    For what it's worth, I think you're gorgeous! And there's nothing wrong with some good, honest sweat. Isn't that the whole point of going to the gym, to work up a sweat and say "Damn! I did good today."?

  2. Pish, you're awesome and women, just like men, come in all shapes and sizes. You're perfect for YOU.

  3. Oh my goodness! This is EXACTLY how it is at my gym! I sweat my arse off the elliptical and there's a girl next to me texting on her phone, talking to other people, and going way faster than I am. It always makes me feel blah. But, what I do to keep myself from bad thoughts, I think about how far i've come. I started this journey 40 pounds heavier, and here i am!

  4. The perfectly timed post! I've been dealing with this all week! Finally started going back to the gym, and I have to put up with the same nagging voice.

    The ones that go the gym in perfect, complete makeup and it STAYS PUT get to me...I mean..why?..I thought the point of going to the gym was to feel and look better over time once you leave. Not show up and rub the fact that they look gorgeous 24/7 in everyone else's out-of-breath-noses.

  5. Without a doubt! I run, swing kettlebells, bust my butt as a firefighter and STILL feel the same way! My slogan is "body by Guinness and nachos." :-)

  6. GAWD I love you.

    A) Guarantee you the girl in said photo is not doing a "crunch"... she put on the clothes, lays down in front of the photographer, does the "move", poses, and click. DONE. Doesn't mean she's a fitness guru.

    B) You are BEAUTIFUL. However... your looks are not what make you beautiful. Your spirit, your unique quirkiness to brownies, your imagination, and your creativity... are ALL part of what make you beautiful.

    C) I am not one to talk about "losing weight"... but for some of us, working out means a longer life. You, IMHO, seem to be the average girl.... figure-wise. Not in the deadzone of "OBESITY" but not that skinny girl next to you.
    WHO CARES?!?? I bet if you spend a day in the life of that girl, you'll realize why you were given the goods you got! ;)

    Be proud and happy about who you are, and don't let society's "idea" of perfect make you feel inadequate or insecure!

  7. I so hear you. My endorphin trigger is broken too, cause I never get an endorphin rush by working out, especially not at a gym. And then those skinny-minis waltz in, looking fabulous in their sweat pants and sports bras.

    And then when you get home, you cant just pig out on chocolate either, cause their bodies haunt you. The "Why can't I naturally look like them?" thought process starts going though your head. Ugh.

    This is why corsets are amazing. 'Cause we can push everything we don't want to deal with up and out of the way, and look fabulous doing it.

  8. I NEVER get that endorphin high from the gym. I never feel better about myself when I leave, I never wake up the next day and appreciate my aches, I never look in the mirror and see little changes and think, "Look what I did at the gym last week!" I always leave disappointed in my lack of energy and strength and hating that skinny bitch on the end with her Ipod smiling at the boys that are staring.

    So, I quit going to the gym. Now, I take a mixed martial arts class. It's never about what I look like, or how many push-ups I can do. It's about strength and stamina and focus on the amazing things my body can do--and let me tell you, I may look like a fat kid, but I am a red belt who can kick some booty.

    I still have days when I hate all the skinny girls flouncing down the street in their sports bras and spandex pants, but most days, I look at them and think, "Why would you want to work out in that? Aren't those pants constricting? Do you know I can see your pantyline?" and then I go back to eating my snow cone.

  9. I truly believe that that endorphin thing is a myth perpetuated by skinny people who like to feel superior.
    I wish I could go to the gym and not feel the same way that your described. I compare myself to everyone I meet and can come across as shy or bitchy and does keep me from making friends. The smallest I have ever been was never thin and I only got there by not eating anything... not recommended.. Our society puts so much of a deal about being thin and abnormally "perfect" as the model in that picture and the clinically altered ones at your gym.
    I buy your corsets for many reasons.
    1: They are friggin sexy
    2: They are very well made and I don't have the patience to make my own anymore (mostly because they wouldn't be as good and would cost me more to make them then to buy them)
    3: I respect your company and the message you send that it doesn't matter if you are a size 2 or a size 28+ you too can look sexy and appealing and you truly are beautiful.

    You are a beautiful person Michelle and I'm jealous of you.

  10. omg shoosh! I met you at pirate fest and thought you were so cool and beautiful and how I wanted to look like you! You were so confident and have a wonderful shape! You're beautiful!

  11. Number one: you look fucking awesome WITHOUT a corset on, and even better with. And number two: I'm right there with you on the wanting to look real, not like I was put together by a team of surgeons. (granted I'm pretty big, but still....). That is one reason why I <3 your corsets so much, I can feel confident knowing that it is all me, and I look awesome.

    (lurker coming out of lurkdom)

  12. Michelle, I wish I looked like you and had half of your confidence! I wish I was sure enough of my self to walk around everyday in one of your beautiful corsets and not worry one bit about people looking at me. I wish I had your curves... I'm that girl you talked about a few posts ago, no curves what so ever and not much to squish around to make them, basically a walking bean pole. With out my long hair and earrings I look like a 12yr old boy. Tell that inner voice of yours to shut it's mouth and that it doesn't know what the heck it is talking about. *hugs* you are an amazing person and so beautiful on the inside and the out!

  13. I was just feeling like this last week, & then my lovely friend sent me this from Italian Vogue
    This photo spread made me feel better about myself than I have for a long time because with regular working out I look that good or better even at 36 with 2 kids under 6.

    The next day she sent me pics from this blog
    seriously awesome stylish women.

    Starting now I am going to stop torturing myself that I don't look like those girls & never will without surgery. I will eat better & workout in order to be healthy & develop my personal style & really try to enjoy my life.

  14. I don't go to a gym but I do get that feeling a lot. It's weird because generally I have an overwhelming amount of confidence and "I AM THE SH*T" attitude for a very over weight girl. LOL

    Your corsets are my weightloss inspiration. I think I've downloaded almost all the pictures you've uploaded of your corsets and I look through them when I am feeling bummed out and ugly. They are very inspirational!! I noticed when I stopped distracting myself with your beautiful corsets for a while.. I actually gained weight back! So it's back to corset oogling for me!

    I also like the idea of wearing a corset while working out. Haha! Maybe you could design a "workout" corset? Something that breathes while still being strong? hehe...And wouldn't the corset holding you in help encourage the stomach area to flatten out and firm up? I heard from somewhere holding it in was supposed to do that but I don't know for sure. ^_^;

    Anyway..I think you have a beautiful figure, Michelle! ;( I'd love to look like you. ;P You need to tell that naggy voice to hush up because you are AWESOOOME.

  15. Woah! Lady from Corsair's Boutique! I applaud you!

  16. If you were one of those celery girls without even trying, you would likely not make corsets for the rest of us. We have enough renfaire booths that stop at a 30" waist - we need you, okay? I guess you're just meant to be human ;-) but we all <3 you for it!

    As far as work out corsets... well, there did used to be versions women used in the few sports (and labor) they did... but I don't think you could mesh the differences with your style easily. I think they may tend to trade in a lot of the sexy for handling the support and sweat.

  17. Rina! By the way, your picture WAS AMAZING! I want you to do a cartoon of me!

  18. Marsina!!! Those women on the cover of Italian vogue were HOT! wHAT IS WRONG WITH AMERICA?

  19. You know, I was listening to NPR and they were doing an interview with Alan Rickman just before Sweeney Todd came out. Now, I love me some Alan Rickman, and I especially love listening to Alan Rickman. Just the idea of him coming over and reading all the ingredient labels on my cans is a turn on. Anyway, they were asking him about singing and mentioned his distinctive voice and he revealed that he had always been uncomfortable about his voice (whaaaaat?!?!?) and that at school, one of his theatre professors described it as sounding like he was "speaking out of the wrong end of a drainpipe" (SACRILEGE!) So... I was thinking, if Alan Rickman--the man with the SEXIEST VOICE IN THE ENTIRE WORLD--was uncomfortable about his voice.... what does that mean for the rest of us who are uncomfortable about one aspect of ourselves or another? What if my giant horrible schnozz is really the SEXIEST NOSE EVER??? WHAT IF?!?!

    Anyway... food for thought. :)

  20. oh, SPEAKING OF WHICH, one of my little pretty skinny mini customers came into my booth at the last festival and practically verbally bullied me into committing to using more plus size women in my modeling of the corsets! :)

  21. Snuggle~ Don't feel bad honey! Even the girls that get looked at by us look at other girls and go 'why don't I look that way?'

    I have been trying to go back to the gym lately too, and it is just... quite conflicting. I like working out because it makes me feel like I've actually tried to work off my own batch of brownies, but then I'm panting on the treadmill while three girls next to me are running 8 miles in fifteen minutes.

    I think I should wear some corsets to the gym too. Its one of the only times I really feel sexy is when I get into something you made me!

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  23. Curvy girls do everything sexier. It's a natural fact of life. I would rather see a curvy girl strolling on a treadmill than a female beacon of physical fitness at an all out run wearing next to nothing.

    The next time you decide to make a cameo at your fitness center, just be beautiful you. I'll bet you can ask the surgically corrected female sitting next to you for a good move to target an area you want to focus on. Think of her as a resource, not as a deterrent. Most of those gym mice are all too eager to share their knowledge anyway.

    That brunette represented in the picture doesn't eat celery (this is a common misnomer). She likes brownies too, and... greasy pizza sticks from a fast market, ice cream by the half gallon tub, and dips her original lays potato chips into a creamy, fully fattening ranch dip.

    So, keep going to the gym, if it's something you enjoy. Continue to enjoy brownies. Remember it's not about becoming a different you, it's about changing into a healthier, more energetic you.

  24. Belly dance. Belly dance. Belly dance. Belly dance.

    I've lost 100 lbs (its a start!) belly dancing. My body has morphed, it is leaner, firmer and I don't feel like a troll anymore.

    You feel SEXY. You feel like a woman. You feel like your graceful, you revel in your curves. I can give up my gym membership in a heart beat. I could never stop belly dancing.

    Give it a shot! Fuck the chick next to you. LOVE your body.

  25. Down with fat free-silicone enhanced women! Hand me one of those brownies and go ahead and feel wonderful about yourself! I'm carrying a bit too much and I need to exercise more so that I can be more healthy but I'm learning how to not hate myself for my extra pounds. I came by them honestly and until I get this whole "fitness" thing figured out, my husband gets to enjoy my "naturally enhanced" curves. Remember in another time and place, those of us who are curvy would have been considered the very image of the goddess. These fake-o stick women would have envied US!

  26. I'd love to draw you, Michelle!

    And I would love to see more plus size models! I was afraid I couldn't fit into a corset because I am such a large lady I thought they were only for skinny girls. So I would really be interested in seeing more plus girlies. And if I lived closer I would totally offer my services. :P <3

  27. Same thing at my gym. I've lost *almost all my baby weight-still don't have it all in the right spots, but I alway get by these people in my Zumba class. And I'm in a rich area of Atlanta so you know what that means, lots of nannys with bodies like these. One lady in front of me always takes off her tiny shirt to admire herself in the mirror as she works out, ugh! But I just keep trucking through and 50lbs later I'm almost there. Not there with fake body parts, but there as in, I look good for turning 30 this year and having two kids 11 months apart less than 3 years ago! Power to us!
    -Laura Fletcher

  28. Hey now, as a 'naturally thin' person I must say my feelings are a bit hurt. Not by your overall sentiment, but the idea that "you got what you want' and commentators words about "Curvy girls do everything sexier". I know I can only sympathize with your feelings and not fully understand how being larger effects you but bashing other women is not the way to feel better about yourself! All women are sexy in different ways! I don't want to hurt you by looking the way I do, it's just biology so don't put a mother-effing guilt trip on us! Hating on others will only ever make you feel worse.
    Maybe you should look into some fat-positive women-positive groups. Instead of comparing yourself to someone with tiny bones think of all the big busted, curvy legged goddess you admire and think are beautiful. Cause you are one of those goddesses to so many of your fans(yeah you have fans, what of it?)
    Here is a fat fashion site I enjoy http://fatfashion.tumblr.com/

    Please don't think I am hate'en on you, or trying to say your feelings aren't valid. They are. But remember you are beautiful because of who you are, a gorgeous women, not cause of who Hollywood or the advertising industry said you should be. And neither am I or any other woman. Look at all these fans who think you're lovely! And like others have said, if the gym isn't making you feel fabulous their are lots of other fitness alternatives.

  29. Zumba for Xbox Kinect. You don't have to share your party unless you want to, and the kids don't know it's excercise!

  30. In my not-so-very-humble opinion digital media manipulation programs (e.g. having a picture 'photoshopped') have done more harm to girls' and women's self-esteem than every batch of brownies ever baked.

  31. I’ve been working on this comment for a few days now: I started it as a comment to your PREVIOUS blog about hate mail, which I had to abandon as I was trying to write it at 3:00 in the morning and for some reason, my brain just doesn’t connect to my fingers for typing at that time. It is amazing how nicely what I wanted to say about that dovetails into your blog about the gym (which in my book is just further evidence for the existence of magic).

    What I was going to say about people who feel like it is okay to kick you around when the little piece of your soul they feel their money has entitled them to doesn’t live up to their idea of PERFECTION is that they are people who have forgotten that you are not a vending machine but artist. That sometimes happens during the course of commerce, particularly when the commerce is in service of creative vision, as it is with people who dress up.

    You are The Corset Goddess – a goddess of creation – and you help your customers to make manifest a version of themselves they create in their souls. Sometimes people who dress up forget to honor the creative process that you are both engaged in together. You are a light in the universe, and your light attracts women of all walks of life, ages, backgrounds, shapes and sizes who are bound in Corset Sisterhood by their common experience of looking at the girl next to them in the gym and wishing that inner, different self into being. Somewhere inside every woman – even inside the girl next to you in the gym-- is the Pretty Girl your art helps us to find. Bless you for wanting us all to feel beautiful. Thank you for creating an inner self that is brave enough to come to the outside and invite all ofl our Pretty Girls to come out and play. Thank you for having the courage to keep that inner self out here dreaming up more ways to help us create and make manifest OUR inner visions despite the difficult girls who have lost their ways.

    By the way, I received my oak leak courtier today – it’s divine, and when I put it on, the goddess inside me comes out and tells me that I am pretty. And when I feel pretty, I forget about the other girl at the gym and bake more cookies. Now THAT’S Magic.

  32. Eep, celery is so gross! Brownies are a much better choice... in moderation, of course. And you are smoking hot, so you must be behaving more often than not. *waps nagging voice with wand*

  33. First and foremost whowever said in their comment that the woman in the photo doesn't eat celery and she gorges (or just eats) on food that we all feel guilty about? It's crap. She does eat healthy. It's rare to find a woman in tip top shape like that who eats fattening food and can stay thin. It's a fact, not a misnomer. A fact. I work in nutrition. It's a fact. I can't handle when people say that you can eat whatever you want and still look like that. You can, IF you work off the calories. To burn off what you said that woman does eat would take three hours a day. She isn't working out three hours a day. It's a fantasy to tell people they can eat all the junk they want and still look like that, and not fair to women of the world to ever even have that junk spewed at them. Michelle was right, the woman eats healthy food, represented by celery in this context. Micheel was right. I say it again.

    Also to the skinny woman who was offended, did you even READ MIchelle's post? She never bashed anyone. And the comments about curvy girls do it better - there is nothing wrong with saying it. It's pride in ourselves, the same thing you said in your post we should have. She said over and over she didn't mean anything bad about it! She made every effort to make sure you didn't get offended! It's not ABOUT YOU. It was about Michelle! There was NO reason for you to be offended. You are entitled to your opinion, but let these women who have curves find a place like this to celebrate and gripe. It's rare to find, and your comments that our empowerment is making you feel bad is ridiculous. You can find skinny empowerment everywhere else. Leave us our space without trying to give a guilt trip. I see you did say some very nice things in the end, so don't think I'm bashin on ya. I'm not. It was lovely at the end. The beginning just..g.rated me the wrong way. So now we both said our piece. I love free speech. Don't be mad, just...this was a response.

    I just come here for curvy girl talk, most of us here are that. We don't bash on others to make ourselves feel better, as you accused Michelle of doing. These are natural things to talk about. The world perpetuates what is beautiful, so this is where we vent. It's healthy.

    Rock on Michelle. I feel your same pain. I was once in great shape, but I had to work out 2 hours a day and eat less than 1000 calories. I can't do that anymore. WHO can do that? Thank you for your corsets, with them, I feel like this curvy empowered goddess of amazing. I eat healthy now and work out. I'm not the stereotypical thing of beauty (thin or big boobs) in today's world, but I'm getting to love ME and YOU have been a huge help in that, whether you know it or not.

    Think of THAT impact. You've helped someone feel ok about themselves...feel GREAT about themselves.

    Now don't anyone get all upset about my post. I mean it with a smile, we can agree to disagree. But I don't think Michelle meant any bashing at all. It is her right to vent in her blog. It's wonderful and I look forward to the funny stuff that feels like MY life coming out of her typing fingers. Please don't stop.


  34. To the woman offended by "curvy girls do everything sexier" you should know, that is my opinion as a 5'9" 115 lb woman. I think the most beautiful women in the world have a curvy body. I think your post is more suited for craigslist "rants and raves."

  35. Sorry Michelle, but I'm going to have to debunk your entire blog (as most of the replies here seem to agree).
    1.)Remember when you are looking at the leggy thing with the purchased boobs next to you - you don't NEED purchased boobs! The girl next to you is probably thinking "look at that one that with the great boobs, and they're REAL, too!
    2.)Brownies are good. They contain good quantities of chocolate, which contain (among other desirable things) theobromine, an alkaloid that is a mild stimulant which at the same time triggers production of natural opioids in the body, producing a feeling of well-being or even euphoria. (Oh, yeah, I'm a nurse. And talking in medical/scientific terms where every word is generated from a dead language isn't really amazing - when you talk like this, you usually get a vacant stare, glazed eyes, and sometimes some drooling...rarely an expression of understanding!). Next time you go to the gym? Eat a brownie before you go, you'll feel better.
    3.) Your "enhanced" version knocks the snot out of ANY leggy-artificially-enhanced chick out there. Just my opinion, but I believe this is hands-down. I personally followed you through a crowd of people to your booth a few fairs back. While the leggy one may get a few appreciative glances going through a crowd, few will EVER create the rippling whiplash effect that YOU caused weaving through! I almost stopped to see if one man was okay, he looked rather stunned. See? You cause drooling too, just in a much more pleasant way.
    So next time you are sweating at the gym listening to that idiot angry voice, tell it that the chick NOT sweating next to you will NEVER have what you have. So there.

  36. I'm not a 'naturally skinny' person like Marzipanfuntime, and I don't see why she was jumped on. She didn't say that Michelle said that "curvy girls do everything sexier," she said the commentators did. Furthermore, there is a backlash against thin women. Skinny girls aren't "real," etc. Saying one body type is better than others is bad for the esteem of the others regardless of which is touted. If someone on here said something like "thin women are sexier," or "skinnier girls do it better," there would be a huge outcry.

  37. To the last anonymous poster, you were missing the point of those cries of "curvy women do it better." (Which if you read it, not everyone said). MOST of the posts, including Michelle's were talking about celebrating curvy bodies, celebrating ALL types, not just the kinds we see in magazines.

    -Average girl who has been in both shoes

    It was an uplifting message, you missed the mark m'dear.

  38. No matter our size, I firmly believe we all obsess to the point of making ourselves feel like crap (why is it so hard to remember that, though?). I'm pretty much tiny, but do I feel good about myself? Am I confident? Not really, no. We all obssess, and we all love to hear that we look good. Michelle, you are fabulous! We should all tell each other that more often. I look at you and go ”Why don't I look like that?!”.

  39. Mostly my friend spend many more time at the gym, wear 5 inch heels every day, and get breast implants. I'm not even likening myself to a thing that is achievable with hard work and sacrifice.

    Texas Hill Country Land For Sale

  40. Just so you know... I'm that girl on the treadmill next to you. And I worked my ass off to be able to run like that. Literally. Running never came easy for me, so I worked at it a lot. I dont sweat a lot. Many people don't. And while I myself dont have fake boobs, I'd kill for a set like yours. I'll always be thin, never curvy. Get over it. I did. The woe-is-me blogging is unbecoming on you.