Meet Jes: Body-Liberation Writer and Activist

During my early twenties, I was a full-time baker. Through this time in my life, I also blogged as “The Militant Baker.” I was doing it all. And eventually Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls came along—my first book. I was already working 80 hours a week, so I was like, something’s got to go. That book kind of took over and made me jump into writing full time. And now I’m fully employed doing a million different things. Whatever pops up, I try to say yes to, if I can. My whole life has just been really happy accidents. And when I love something, I do it. And here we are.

 

Blogger Beginnings

I originally had a blog about vintage kitchenware. And it just shifted, because I felt this huge change come on. I was in a really miserable relationship and I was trying to occupy myself. So I started reading lifestyle blogs, which at the time was very novel for me. And one night I found the now-defunct Nearsighted Owl, written by Rachele Cateyes. It was everything I loved: vintage decor and cats and great glasses and thrifting. She was fat and happy and unapologetic and it blew my mind.

I’m so sad that I was living my life in that constant area of shame. It sounds cheesy, but there literally was a moment when it occurred to me, “If Rachele can do this, maybe I can, too!” It was such a liberating moment. Once you have that thought, you can’t really ever go back to where you were. So I just pursued it. I’ve always written through my experiences, and this was just another way in.

 

On Writing Landwhale

My latest book is raw, and it’s stuff I haven’t bounced off anyone. There’s stuff in there that’s just mine, and that’s terrifying to put out into the world. I think vulnerability is bravery and power. And over the years, I’ve seen how necessary it is, and if you practice it more, the easier it becomes. It’s interesting—my being scared to write something is interpreted by others as strength. So it’s not necessarily that I’m the most badass person, it’s just interpreted that way. I have a lot of the insecurities that a lot of people do, still. I’m learning every day. So don’t get it twisted—I don’t have it all figured out. But I do like to share, because I know there is a solidarity in being seen, and not being the only one. It’s life-changing. It was for me, and it can be for others.

 

Self-Expression Through Style

When you can use clothing to explore, you end up having deeper conversations with yourself. The realization that changed it all for me is that fashion rules are just made up to make money. Once I realized that there were really no restrictions, then I felt free to try things out. I remember the first time I wore a crop top—it was terrifying. It was so uncomfortable. But when you do that, when you push yourself, you’re like, “Hey, I’m still alive, and nobody gouged their eyes out.” Some things you do like and some things you don’t. At least you have the freedom to figure it out.

I have always loved black-and-white horizontal stripes, and it’s a “no-no.” But I love it. 50% of the time, you can find me in black leggings and a black-and-white striped shirt with black ballet flats. And if I’m feeling fancy, I’ll wear red lipstick, and my cat eye glasses, and brush my hair. I rarely wear makeup, but when I do, I go all out. I love a good winged eye. So it’s kind of an all-or-nothing thing for me. If I want to put a lot of effort in, I will, if I don’t, I won’t. And they’re both okay. I still love a good wiggle dress. There’s something really fun about that. But I don’t feel I need to wear one to be okay. It’s a conscious choice I’m making for myself because I just love them. And I think that’s the important part. It’s the consciousness and the choice.

 

 


 

Excited to learn more about Landwhale? Head to the book website for updates, reviews, and tour info.