I’m a Contributing Writer at My Trending Stories!

I was very honored to be contacted by the My Trending Stories team last week, asking me to be a contributing writer. They said they came across my blog and thought my writing style would be a good fit for their site.

Naturally, I accepted. Here’s my debut article, in the News section. Guess what it’s about?

If you have a minute, please go check it out and let me know what you think. Thanks so much!

Lavally Sunrise (L) edges past the competition on a curve during a daytime race at Romford greyhound track in Essex June 4, 2011. In 1947, 60,000 spectators were recorded at the Derby at White City, one of 21 greyhound tracks then operating in London. In 2011 the Derby was held at Wimbledon Stadium — now the only dog track left in London — and attendance was just 2,423. Picture taken June 4, 2011. REUTERS/Chris Helgren  (BRITAIN - Tags: ANIMALS SOCIETY) - RTR3ENL1

Lavally Sunrise (L) edges past the competition on a curve during a daytime race at Romford greyhound track in Essex June 4, 2011. In 1947, 60,000 spectators were recorded at the Derby at White City, one of 21 greyhound tracks then operating in London. In 2011 the Derby was held at Wimbledon Stadium — now the only dog track left in London — and attendance was just 2,423. Picture taken June 4, 2011. REUTERS/Chris Helgren (BRITAIN – Tags: ANIMALS SOCIETY) – RTR3ENL1

Notable Quotable: Insecurity

“If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” –Vincent Van Gogh

Ah, that was a push in the direction I needed. I’ve been saying for so long that I’m stalled in my writing, but guess what? I’m not writing! Maybe that’s why I’m so stalled. Gee, ya think?

I suffer a very common insecurity that writers often experience: I sit around and say “I can’t write.” Followed by those self-defeating thoughts like “Who am I kidding? Who’s going to want to read what I have to say?” and “I’m not good enough” and “I can’t compare to and will never be as good as (insert author name here).” It’s a vicious cycle and one that I need to get out of already.

So if we follow the logic here in this quote, whatever we say we can’t do, just start doing it and we’ll be proven wrong. I like it. I think I’ll take a page from Van Gogh’s book and just start writing dammit and silence that voice inside me once and for all!

What about you? What is it that you continue to say you are incapable of doing? What would happen if you just started doing it? Does this quote spark something in you?

Vincent Van Gogh, The Starry Night  (courtesy of Pixabay)

Vincent Van Gogh, The Starry Night
(courtesy of Pixabay)

Notable Quotable – Discipline

Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments.                  ~ Jim Rohn

Isn’t this sure the truth?! For without discipline, we may never achieve goals. Sometimes I find it hard to be disciplined, especially when it comes to my writing. I’m the least disciplined writer ever…which is why I’ve never finished my book. I don’t know why I shy away from it. Probably lack of confidence. But if I would only insist on some disciplined habits, I might just be able to leave that lack of confidence far behind me.

I shy away from discipline because it involves restraint…restraint from doing what I want to be doing instead of doing what I should be doing. I can’t say that I’m completely undisciplined. Obviously I have a good degree of discipline as I’ve been self-employed for over twenty years and a good portion of those years were spent in the advertising business. There is real discipline involved in that business because it revolves around hard and fast deadlines. So I know I have the ability to be disciplined. I just need to make myself be disciplined when it comes to writing.

When considering self-discipline, one has to persist at difficult or unpleasant tasks until they’re completed. Well, I did that with my garage a few months ago. I stuck at it until I got it all cleared and cleaned out. That was successful discipline. I’ve just succeeded in cleaning out two spare rooms over the last few weeks too.

But on the other hand, I am the queen of procrastination…even on projects that I very much want to complete (like my book). I need to work on developing some effective discipline habits.

How do you get disciplined? What has worked for you? Rewards? Incentives? If you are a writer, how do you make yourself sit down and write? What gets you motivated? What are your tricks of the trade?


Deja Vu Blogfest 2014 post: Body Image and Being Fat in America

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I’m participating in the Deja Vu Blogfest, founded by DL Hammons. It’s an opportunity to repost a past post (say that ten times real fast!) that you wished would’ve had more readership and more exposure. I’m taking this opportunity to re-post the most exciting thing that happened to me in 2014: that is, getting published in the Good Men Project online magazine with my article on Body Image and Being Fat in America. It’s a topic that I think needs to be discussed. I would love if people would read this and talk about it with people they know and love. My hope is that the article speaks to many and has long-lasting significance. I received an email from an old acquaintance that read my article when it first came out; he sent me a note that ended with “I’m sure you are impacting more folks than you can imagine.” And because of that, I wanted to repost the article, in case it might reach some folks who need to hear it and others who might benefit from reading it.

The article appeared in the magazine back on April 23rd and I blogged my news that same day. It is titled THE BEST AND WORST OF F WORDS. Below is the article in its entirety. Or if you’d like to see it as it appeared on the Good Men Project site, click here. And feel free to let me know what you think in the Comments section! Thanks in advance for reading it.

The Best and Worst of F Words


Michele Truhlik challenges our notions of beauty and says that being called FAT f*cks with men as much as it does women.

photo by Laura Lewis

One of my favorite words begin with F. I’m sure you know which one I’m talking about. That oft-thought crude four-letter word, to me, is an important communication tool. It’s a word I use when I want to place great emphasis on something that I’m saying. It also happens to be very effective when used in the passionate throes of hot steamy sex.

On the other hand, one of the ugliest F words is FAT. I hate that word! In our thin-obsessed society, the word has grown to be one that can throw a woman (or a man) into a downward spiral of crash dieting, eating disorders, body dysmorphia and even into a full-blown state of depression. It’s a bad word, fat.

Another F word that I have come to hate is FACE. Let me just state this on behalf of all the beautiful fat women in the world: The worst compliment you can give us is to say, “You have such a pretty face.” If I hear that one more time I’m going to scream and not stop screaming. God, this makes me crazy!

Why is this compliment so bothersome and so very uncool? Because if you are complimenting a thin woman, you say, “You’re so pretty” or “You’re beautiful.” But when you compliment a plus-size woman, you say “You have such a pretty face” or “You have a beautiful face.”

Do you know what that tells us? It tells us that although our face is pretty, the rest of us is garbage, and that everything below our necks is worthless. In other words, you’re telling us that ninety-five percent of our physical being is hideous. That truly is exactly what that compliment says to us. To use another F word, it’s so fucking insulting!


Though likely different in form, men experience the masked insults too. Their buddies rib them about their expanding “beer gut” and love handles or make comments about how they should hit the gym, all cloaked in the guise of good-natured kidding of course.

Once thought to only affect women, the obsession with body image and the development of eating disorders are striking men in alarming numbers. Though body ideals differ, as women are driven by an unrelenting pressure to be thin and men are obsessed with bulking up and achieving the coveted six-pack abs, the result is the same: an overall dissatisfaction with their bodies, the accompanying negative self-image and its detrimental aftereffects.

According to National Eating Disorders Association, in the United States alone, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer a clinically significant eating disorder at some point in their life. This includes anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorders. Gathered data on people in treatment suggests that as many as 25 percent of those struggling with anorexia or bulimia are men. When binge eating figures are examined, the number jumps to 40 percent.

An April report in Eating Disorder Magazine claims that nearly half (43%) of men are not satisfied with their own body. Body image issues are a key component in eating disorders. Most men who are in this category admit to being depressed and a large number claim to use fasting, purging (self-induced vomiting) and laxatives to manage their weight. Unlike anorexia, which involves starvation, the main method of disordered eating in men involves the vicious cycle of binge eating followed by excessive exercise.

Men may be especially vulnerable to muscle dysmorphia, a condition in which one obsesses about lacking muscle definition and mass, even if they have a muscular body. In a recent issue of the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health and Fitness Journal, Ball State University nutritionist Katherine A. Beals, PhD, RD, highlighted this trend among fitness buffs. “Millions of boys and men today harbor a secret obsession about their looks and are endangering their health by engaging in excessive exercise, bingeing and purging rituals, steroid abuse, and overuse of nutritional and dietary [products],” she writes.

This all boils down to body image. Brown University has a fabulous site devoted to Health Services and Health Education. Here they present a description and definition of Positive Body Image vs. Negative Body Image that really hits it home.

Taken from their page,

We have a positive body image when we have a realistic perception of our bodies AND we enjoy them just as they are. Positive body image involves understanding that healthy attractive bodies come in many shapes and sizes, and that physical appearance says very little about our character or value as a person. Healthy body image means that our assessment of our bodies is kept separate from our sense of self-esteem, and it ensures that we don’t spend an unreasonable amount of time worrying about food, weight and calories.

Negative body image can involve a distorted perception of size or shape, as well as more global feelings of shame, awkwardness, and anxiety about the body. People with negative body image tend to feel that their size or shape is a sign of personal failure, and that it is a very important indicator of worth. Poor body image has been linked to diminished mental performance, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, sexual dysfunction, dieting and eating disorders.

According to Brown’s Health Education discussion on Size Prejudice, “Intolerance of body diversity has a lot to do with the meaning of size and shape in our culture. Being thin and/or muscular has become associated with being “hard-working, successful, popular, beautiful, strong, and self-disciplined.” Being “fat” is associated with being “lazy, ignorant, hated, ugly, weak, and lacking in will-power.” As a result, “fat” isn’t a description like tall or redhead – it’s an indication of moral character: fat is bad.”


So just how do we deal when fat is a reality for many of us? Brown University’s Health Services has a list of tips and advice on how to boost our body image. Of those sage words of wisdom, these are my favorite:

  • De-emphasize numbers. Neither weight nor Body Mass Index tell us anything substantial about body composition and health. Eating habits, activity patterns, and other self-care choices are much more important. It’s really hard to cultivate an attitude of body acceptance and trust when you are basically climbing on the scale to ask if it’s OK to feel good about yourself that day. It is ALWAYS OK to feel good about yourself – don’t let a machine tell you any differently.
  • Realize that you cannot change your body type. Lightly muscled, bulky, or rounded, you need to appreciate your body and work with your genetic inheritance.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others. Your physiology is unique to you; you can’t get a sense of your body’s needs and abilities with someone else’s body as a reference point. And the research has shown that frequent comparing tends to increase negative body image.
  • Limit the “body checking” that you do throughout the day. Researchers have also found that negative body image is reinforced by lots of time in front of the mirror, or frequent checks of (perceived) body flaws. Instead, consider rearranging your living space so that you aren’t running into full-length mirrors every time you turn around.
  • Question the degree to which your self-esteem depends on your appearance. Although we are repeatedly told “Change Your Shape and Change Your Life,” basing your happiness on this foundation is likely to lead to failure and frustration, and may prevent you from exploring ways to truly enhance your life.
  • Broaden your perspective about health and beauty. Read books about body image, cultural pressures, or media literacy. Google some fine art images on the Web. Fine art collections show that a variety of bodies have been celebrated throughout the ages and in different cultures. Fine art doesn’t exist to create a need for a product (like advertising does), so it isn’t intended to leave you feeling inadequate or anxious.
  • Recognize that size prejudice is a form of discrimination similar to other forms of discrimination. Assumptions that shape and size are indicators of character, morality, intelligence, or success are incorrect and unjust. Celebrate people you know who defy these generalizations.

So if you’ve spent (wasted) years trying to be what you weren’t meant to be, take these tips to heart. No one should be made to feel bad for the way they look, the way they are. Remember, media images are NOT reality. Women don’t have to be a size 2 to be considered attractive and men don’t need to have rippling abs and bulging biceps to be considered hot.

We are all unique and valued individuals, worthy of being loved and applauded for who we are, AS WE ARE. Perfection is way overrated, and impossible to achieve anyway.

And speaking as a one who has spent decades being fat in America: I do believe that most people who use the compliment “You have such a pretty face” are coming from a place of love and don’t even realize the implication their phraseology has on the one being complimented. But, please, from now on, consider your words before you tell a fat woman that she’s beautiful. Don’t pinpoint her face. Just say, “You’re beautiful.” Period. Because that’s what we are.

Picasso painting

Nude Woman in a Red Armchair by Pablo Picasso (1932)

Follow Michele on Twitter: @greyzoned

Photo Credit: Flickr/Laura Lewis

– See more at: http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/best-worst-f-words-jnord/

The other bloggers participating in the Deja Vu Blogfest can be found with the “Click here” link below:

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The Deja Vu Blogfest is tomorrow!

Tomorrow, December 19th, is the 2014 Deja Vu Blogfest. And this will be my first time participating. I’m excited to be joining about 70 other bloggers in this blog hop! Created by DL Hammons a few years ago, this is a fantastic opportunity for bloggers to get a second chance with a blog post that they wish had had more readership. I’m working on my post for tomorrow right now.  Please visit my blog tomorrow and then be sure to check out the other bloggers’ Deja Vu posts. It is sure to be some fascinating and fun reading!

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Other bloggers participating can be found with the link “Click here” below:

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