Actor Matt McGorry Does Some Serious Ally Work

Matt McGorryIf you’ve watched How To Get Away With Murder or Orange is the New Black, you’ve seen the work of actor Matt McGorry. If you follow him on Facebook you saw him do some serious ally work for Health at Every Size and Size Acceptance, even giving shouts out to people in HAES community:

This one is an important read. “Health At Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight” by Linda Bacon.
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I wish that all people, and especially health care providers, fitness industry professionals, and nutritionists would read this book.
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Like most people in our society, you’ve probably been on a diet aimed at losing weight. In fact, you’ve probably been on a diet MANY times. And when you inevitably “fall off” of the diet, you most likely blame yourself for not having enough willpower. You hope that next time will be different. But how many times has this happened? And should you really have to make yourself miserable with overly-restrictive eating and exercise plans in order to look a way that can make you feel worthy and valued? How is it that nearly everyone in our society constantly goes through this and yet we have grown to see it as “normal”?
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Health and body fat are not inextricably linked, despite what most of society believes and teaches us. This book breaks it down with studies and shows that the conflation of these 2 things is actually hugely damaging to health (mental and physical). It IS possible to be fat (or soft, or chubby, etc) and be healthy. Everyone deserves to live free of size-based discrimination.
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The more times and the more harshly we diet the more it makes our metabolism efficient at storing body fat as well as causing a host of health issues. Not the least of which is A WORLD WHERE JUST ABOUT EVERYONE IS CONSTANTLY DISSATISFIED WITH THE WAY THEIR BODY LOOKS. Many people hate the way their body looks. And women, of course, face greater pressures here than man due to societal expectations. For women of size, even more so.
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If you’re ready to accept (or at least learn about) how you didn’t fail your New Years resolution, but your New Years resolution (and societal expectations and lessons about weight) has failed YOU…then I highly recommend this book.
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This book and learning from many of the amazing people I follow (specifically women and folks such as @fyeahmfabello & @bodyposipanda who have personally helped me process ) in the Body Positivity movement has set me on my own journey to self acceptance and pursuing a happy and healthier life without obsessive eating and exercise tendencies. Moving from the extraordinarily restrictive behaviors of competitive powerlifting and bodybuilding to the pressures of the film and TV industry, and the current realization that my body is beautiful the way it is. Something that I know intellectually, but am on the continuous journey of working on accepting in my everyday life. It’s time to try something different.
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I have a great deal of privilege in regards to my body. I am a white, heterosexual, able-bodied, cis-gender, and famous man. And even in spite of these privileges that make my body much more accepted than others, I am often compelled to hide the way my body looks. Even if this is the norm… this shit ain’t normal!
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#LindaBacon #HealthAtEverySize
#McGReads

There’s a lot of great work that thin folks can do around HAES and Size Acceptance, and the good news is that a world without fatshaming helps people of all sizes.  If you want more ideas for how to be a thin ally, check out this post!

If you value my work, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time contribution or by becoming a member.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

 Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members)
Click here for all the details and to register!

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

Published in: on April 20, 2018 at 10:17 am  Comments (1)  

Drew Barrymore Illustrates Our Issues with Food and Weight

Drew BarrymoreLet’s start with the fact that I’m a fan of Drew Barrymore – I recently went on a kick and watched a bunch of her movies (the song from the end of The Wedding Singer is still in my head.)

I also want to acknowledge that she is not typically “Hollywood thin” and her weight has fluctuated throughout her career, which means that she’s had to deal with all kinds of body shaming nonsense, and that’s total bullshit. Based on a recent People Magazine interview, it seems that she may have bought into diet culture in a way that illustrates the problems that many of us have, or have had that I think are worth acknowledging. Discussing her eating habits around her show Santa Clarita Diet she says:

“Let’s face it, I hate it, I would much rather eat fettuccine alfredo all day long…When I first started the show [Santa Clarita Diet], I was 145 lbs. and my life was kind of falling apart,” she said. “And I said, ‘Victor [Fresco, the show’s executive producer], can I lose 20 lbs. over the course of the show, and change my eyebrows and the height of my shoes and the body language and attitude and go from someone who’s kind of naïve and unhappy to someone who’s empowered and alive?’ And he said yes, and so I got to make that transformation.”

We have to let go of this idea that becoming thinner is the same as becoming more empowered and alive. For that matter, we should let go of the ideas that performing femininity in a way that brings us closer to a stereotype of beauty that reinforces things like racism, sizeism, ableism, healthism, cissexism, and heteronormaitivity, is the same thing as being empowered and alive.

She continued:

“When I’m doing the show I’m a vegan and I barely eat anything, and I workout every day, and it’s so healthy,” she said. “It gets to be euphoric, and then it’s like food poisoning, you feel like you’ll never eat again, and then before you know it you’re pigging out with the feed bag strapped to your face. And I’m a foodie, and love food and I travel the world for food, so I get heavy again between the show.”

“I heard Denzel Washington does this and I don’t know because I just want to believe it, I don’t want to know it’s not true. But he just enjoys his life and then pulls himself back together when he’s doing movies and looks amazing,” Barrymore said. “So I’m giving it the full ‘Denzel,’ even if that exists or not, and I let myself go.”

Holy shitballs. I’ve never heard anything that so clearly and accurately described disordered eating. Of course Drew Barrymore is allowed to do whatever she wants with her body, but let’s be clear that any competent healthcare provider would see this as red flag behavior for an eating disorder. This doesn’t have to be what’s normal. We can have a relationship with food that takes into account hunger, satiety, enjoyment, the social aspect of food etc. and does not involve severe restriction of food types and amount. Talented actors should not have to put their bodies through this kind of dangerous starvation cycle just to do their jobs.

If we would stop equating thinness with attractiveness, talent, morality, and being empowered and alive, then we could choose our actors based on their ability to act rather than their ability to approximate an impossible standard of beauty, and the characters they play could be whatever size the actor happens to be (including if they are a zombie on a high protein diet, since there are fat people on high protein diets in real life.)

For now I hope that Drew Barrymore’s disordered eating doesn’t escalate, and I hope that her casual discussion of it doesn’t lead anyone else to try it. And I continue to be a fan of a very talented woman who, it would seem, has been deeply affected by an extremely toxic diet culture.

If you value my work, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time contribution or by becoming a member.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

 Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members)
Click here for all the details and to register!

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

 

Published in: on April 19, 2018 at 11:22 am  Comments (7)  

Plus This! Talks All Things Fat Positive

Plus This Show CoverLast week I got the chance to be on Plus This! A show created by Eva Tingley and Kathy Deitch, two powerful plus size women in entertainment. Kathy’s credits include the original Broadway casts of Footloose and Wicked, and Eva’s credits include Scandal and Community.

I met Kathy at the Fattitude screening in LA and she invited me to be on the show. They have a lot of seriously famous guests so I was feeling nervous, but of course I agreed.

As we walked into the Universal Broadcasting Network studio, they pointed out that it’s in the same building as Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder  – which didn’t help me feel any less intimidated, but did make me want to sneak on to the elevator to check things out.

Kathy and Eva are amazing, hilarious, brilliant, talented, and a total joy to be around so that put me at ease right away. Jarvis, the show’s producer was also amazing and incredibly kind despite doing roughly 1,000 things at once. I hung out through the first segment and then we were off to the races. You can check out the show below as well as the pictures I actually remembered to take this time! If the video below doesn’t work for you for some reason, you can check the episode out at https://www.facebook.com/PlusThisShow/videos/576581552718932/ While you’re at it, watch all the episodes, because they are awesome!

 

If you value my work, you can support my ability to do more of it with a  one-time contribution or by becoming a member.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

 Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members)
Click here for all the details and to register!

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

Published in: on April 18, 2018 at 9:44 am  Comments (4)  

Geneen Roth is Perpetuating Eating Disorders

NOIn case you are not familiar, Geneen Roth rose to prominence by writing about eating disorders. She has developed a sizable mailing list, to whom she sent the following e-mail (Trigger warning for fatphobia, eating disorder trigger.)

“It’s uncomfortable to walk around in a body that is uncomfortable. It’s hard to let innate brilliance or power express itself when you are schlepping around twenty or fifty extra pounds. It’s not impossible, just more difficult. And since there is already so much inherent difficulty in being alive, what with people getting sick, raising kids, dying, and the earth on the verge of destruction, why not make life easier on yourself? Why not make the effort to discover what enhances your aliveness and vitality? Because when you do, you become less and less fascinated with those foods, activities, and people that don’t. The only best reason to do this is that there, in that vast space, we find love itself, flagrant, unstinting, give-it-all-away love. Not just for our spouses or children or particular community, but for arms and legs and nights and fog, love for the mornings, floors, caterpillars, and trees. Love for the sounds your foot makes on the sidewalk, for traffic and honking horns, for the earth itself. Nothing is left out. Zen teachers call it discovering “your original face.” We do whatever it takes to keep the channel open because when we don’t, it hurts, and when we do, it doesn’t. Also, there is nothing better to do with a life. — This Messy Magnificent Life”
~Geneen Roth

Let’s start with the obvious fact that this is fatphobic bullshit. The belief that fat bodies are “uncomfortable” to live in rests on a foundation of weight-based oppression. It’s uncomfortable to live in a world where space isn’t made for you, where clothes aren’t made for you, where people are constantly comparing your body to other bodies and finding you lacking, where people are actually so brainwashed by sizeism that they believe that weight has anything to do with innate brilliance and power, where the government spends billions of dollars trying to recruit everyone you’ll ever meet to fight a war against you, and where the mailing list that you signed up for to support you in your eating disorder recovery sends you fatphobic drivel instead. I’m not “suffering from obesity,” but I am made to suffer by this kind of fatphobia.

The notion that some people’s entire body deserves to be “schlepped” around, but for others of us, only part of us is worthy of “schlepping” is patently ridiculous and offensive, Roth is one of these charlatans who sell the idea that “‘When people begin respecting themselves, and treating themselves well, it just so happens that weight loss becomes a side benefit.” That’s bullshit and Geneen doesn’t have any kind of evidence to back up the idea that she can help people produce long-term significant weight loss (she has this in common with literally everyone, because there is no method of weight loss that has been shown to work for more than a tiny fraction of people.)

She is also one of these dangerously misinformed so-called eating disorder experts who forwards the notion, despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary, that if someone is fat they are a compulsive eater who must be treated with paternalism and cannot be trusted as a witness to their own experience.”   (“…if someone weighs 22st…even though they will tell me outright that they are eating only for physical hunger – it’s safe to say there’s probably a reason for that compulsive eating.”) This alone should discredit her completely.

But it’s more than just fatphobic and misinformed paternalism, she is literally perpetuating eating disorders by trying to sell weight loss through sizeism. By telling people to be afraid of being heavier lest they have difficulty expressing their brilliance and power, (and, in an utterly ableist argument, have difficulty moving their body,) what Geneen is saying to everyone on her mailing list who may be developing, struggling with, or recovering from an eating disorder (especially those struggling with the accompanying weight gain) is: “the fears that perpetuated your eating disorder, and that help it keep its grip on you, are completely justified. Whatever you do, don’t get fat.”

Which says to someone with an eating disorder, that the (disordered) behaviors that are currently keeping them “thin” are a good idea. When she suggests that weight loss and maintaining thinness is a good idea, including and especially in eating disorder community, she supports the dangerous idea that we should recommend and prescribe to fat people that which we diagnose and treat in thin people.

Like so many before her, Geneen’s attempt to find ways to get a piece of the $60 Billion a year weight loss industry for herself is harming countless people of all sizes.

I recently had the honor of giving a keynote address at the MEDA (Multi-Service Eating Disorders Association) National Conference.  The organization’s leadership – including Beth Mayer, Rachel Monroe, Michelle Pierce and others – has been amazing in embracing intersectional social justice, including Size Acceptance and Health at Every Size as part of their work with eating disorders. (Sadly, that’ s not the case in all of eating disorder community.)

My talk was called Size Acceptance and Eating Disorders – A Critical, Crucial, Core Conversation. The premise was simple and obvious – if we truly want to prevent eating disorders, and allow those who suffer from them to experience complete recovery, then a Size Acceptance paradigm is the only option that makes sense.

Size Acceptance doesn’t just benefit fat people, it benefits people of all sizes, and especially those with body dysmorphia related to weight. The fear of being or becoming fat that drives so many eating disorders would be hard pressed to exist in a society where being fat wasn’t seen as a bad or negative thing.

It’s difficult to believe that your recovery is the most important thing when diet culture and a fatphobic world are telling you that the most important thing, by far, is being thin by any means necessary.

It’s difficult to let go of your fear of being fat/gaining weight/having an “imperfect” body if you can plainly see that you live in a culture where your fear is absolutely justified.

In a fatphobic world, rife with diet culture, where hating your body and being terrified of being or becoming fat or gaining weight is considered normal, preventing eating disorders, and making a full recovery can be completely impossible.

And that’s the kind of world that Geneen Roth is perpetuating with her ridiculous, harmful, irresponsible, blatantly fatphobic, ableist, and untrue e-mail. I call bullshit, and you should to.  She may not be intending to do harm, but harm is being done nonetheless. Here’s her contact page if you’d like to…a-hem…weigh in and help provide her with the education she needs to stop harming people. https://geneenroth.com/contact/

If you are looking for diverse eating disorder activists and providers, check out this list!

If you value my work, you can support my ability to do more of it with a  one-time contribution or by becoming a member.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

 Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members)
Click here for all the details and to register!

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

Published in: on April 17, 2018 at 10:42 am  Comments (11)  

I Don’t Have To Be Delusional To Feel Pretty

The premise is that a fat woman who can’t find clothes in her size, can’t get a bartender to serve her a drink, and frightens children with her visage alone, hits her head and suddenly sees herself as beautiful and capable. This newfound confidence leads to everything from entering a bikini contest to a love interest who seems to fall for her because of her newfound confidence.First, let’s talk about the way that Amy Schumer keeps trying to sell us this narrative that she is fat (and ugly, which she seems to think mistakenly are the same thing).

I’ll start by looking at her own words when she was included in Glamour’s plus-size issue’s “Women Who Inspire Us” feature.

“I think there’s nothing wrong with being plus size. Beautiful healthy women. Plus size is considered size 16 in America. I go between a size 6 and an 8. @glamourmag put me in their plus size only issue without asking or letting me know and it doesn’t feel right to me. Young girls seeing my body type thinking that is plus size? What are your thoughts? Mine are not cool glamour not glamourous.”

Setting aside the fact that there is nothing wrong with being fat regardless of health or perceived attractiveness, I think it’s pretty hard to believe Amy believes there’s “nothing wrong with being plus size” when she is so desperate to make sure that people know she isn’t. She thinks it’s a problem that young girls might think she is, and she claims it’s “not cool” and “not glamorous” that someone would suggest she is plus size. It makes me wonder how she would act if she did think there was something wrong with it?

I think it’s pretty apparent that Amy believes there’s something wrong with being plus size, but even if you disagree with that, she’s made it very clear that she doesn’t think she is plus sized — including shouting her dress size from the rafters. But suddenly, for this film, we’re all supposed to believe that she shares the plight of the plus size woman? What was the last store you were in that didn’t sell clothes in size six or eight? Even if we assume that she’s a size 12, which is what others seem to speculate, she’s still firmly in the realm of straight sizes, as she took the time to point out on Instagram.

To be clear, Amy is larger than the Hollywood ideal, and that has affected her career, and that’s bullshit. But the undeniable truth is that she’s relatively thin, as well as white, blonde, traditionally “pretty,” currently able-bodied, cisgender, heterosexual, and thus fulfilling most of the beauty stereotypes. Sure, she’s not a size zero, but that doesn’t make it okay for her to slip the identity of fatness on and off like a fatsuit in a way that suits her career goals.

But even if we pretend that Amy could pass for “fat” and/or “ugly” by some definition, we’re still left with a hot mess of fatphobic bullshit.

This entire movie is built on tropes that reinforce fatphobia, regardless of the intent. The “comedy” of this movie is based on the idea that it’s hilarious that a fat woman would have confidence…

You can read the rest of this piece here!

If you value my work, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time contribution or by becoming a member.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

 Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members)
Click here for all the details and to register!

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

Published in: on April 16, 2018 at 8:24 am  Comments (4)  

Dealing With A Fatphobic Coworker

Talking NonsenseRecently I asked folks on my Facebook wall what they would like me to blog about. Alison submitted the following:

Dealing with a coworker who is downright hostile towards fat women.. making comments, etc.. very triggering for someone who has suffered with body dysmorphia all my life and almost died from an eating disorder a while ago.. I just am not sure how to address it and feel like a wimp that I don’t.

First, as always, I want to remind you that the problem here is the fatphobic behavior, and not how anyone responds to it – especially those who are triggered by it. While I’m happy to give some options to deal with this, please also know that if you are dealing with this situation, you are allowed to make protecting yourself your first priority.

This is one of those situations where fatphobia compounds fatphobia since there is no guarantee that the person you complain to won’t share fatphobic beliefs, and (except in a few places) there are no legal protections.  If a co-worker was being inappropriate about a protected status, like race, disability and in some cases sexual orientation, there would be more clear cut options (obviously that doesn’t mean that the people you report to, or the structures underpinning your corporate management, wouldn’t be racist, ableist, or homophobic, there would at least be some legal precedent on your side.)

Here are some options (if you have other ideas please feel free to leave them in the comments!)

Deal directly with the offending co-worker:

When they something hostile you can say something general like “I wish we lived in a world where people respected all bodies,” or slightly more direct like “I wish people wouldn’t make inappropriate comments about other people’s bodies in my workspace,” or way more direct “That kind of talk isn’t appropriate. Please stop.” This can be even more effective if you can recruit other co-workers to do the same. You might not be able to cure their fatphobia, but you will likely be able to make them shut the hell up about it.

Talk to a Supervisor (or HR, if that exists in your workplace)

There are several paths you can take here. I would start by documenting some of the incidents (date, time, place, what was said etc.) but you can start with a complaint and see if they want you to document.

You can ask them for help directly, “My co-worker is making inappropriate comments about women’s bodies, I’d like you to tell them to stop.” If you don’t feel that the direct approach is best, you can try something less direct “There is a co-worker making inappropriate comments about women’s bodies and it’s making me uncomfortable – what are the options?”

You can also bring up the eating disorder issue “There is a co-working making inappropriate comments about women’s bodies in a way that makes me uncomfortable and can trigger eating disorder behavior, what can be done?” If you are comfortable, you can be clear that you have a history of eating disorder and that this behavior is a direct threat to your health. If you need to push farther, consider getting other co-workers to make similar complaints, or sign onto a letter that you turn in, to try to get more traction.

You also don’t have to make this about fatphobia – you can make it about demeaning women, commenting on women’s bodies, and/or creating a hostile work environment. As sad as it is, even among those who might be tolerant of fatphobia, those are things that tend to be taken more seriously.

This behavior is reprehensible. Nobody should have their body disparaged at work (or anywhere else for that matter.) Everyone who experiences this gets to decide how to deal with it, and every time we object to it we strike a victory for basic human decency and respect, and against fatphobia.

If you value my work, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time contribution or by becoming a member.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

 Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members)
Click here for all the details and to register!

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

Published in: on April 15, 2018 at 5:07 am  Comments (10)