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Wonder Woman is the Super Hero I Need

Like so many others, I saw Wonder Woman last week and I loved it. I was fully expecting to like the movie, but even if I didn’t, I was 100% on board with my money going toward a movie starring a female action hero, that was directed by a woman. Which brings me back to my first statement, I was fully expecting to like this movie. After hearing friends talk about it, I had cautiously raised the bar of anticipation. Even so, this movie far exceeded my expectations. What came completely out of the blue though, was how profoundly it affected me. I’m 35 years old, I figured the days of getting pumped up and inspired by a super-hero movie were behind me. But then I sat and watched for two hours as a strong woman lead men and at no point was she referred to as a bitch, or a ball-buster, or was made fun of or told she was manly because of her strength. And amazingly, she was able to do all of this while still retaining her femininity. What?!?!?!?! How is that possible? That must be some Hollywood magic.

Whenever I’m in a group, I usually wind up leading it whether I want to or not. Trust me, there are times that I just want to kick back and go with the flow, but the next thing I know I’ve been nominated to take charge. People who know me, know that if I’m leading the group, shit will get done and it will get done well. I will lead the charge to the finish line and I prefer if you pull your weight, but we all know there will be at least one person per group who just wants to skate by doing nothing. I will drag that person kicking and screaming with me if that’s the only option left to me. This is why people ask me to lead, I pick up the slack of the weaker links.


What sucks, is that those very same people who want me in charge, are also the ones calling me a bitch. I have lost track of how many times I have heard someone whisper to their friend how huge of a bitch I am, and then turn around and ask me to lead them. It blows, but it’s something that I have always accepted as being the way of things. It was my price to pay. For what I don’t know? Having my personality? Who knows? I accepted that it was the way it would always be.

I’m sure what added to the “bitch persona,” is the fact that I am not a petite woman. There is nothing about me that is petite. My shoulders are so broad that I’ve hulked out the seams on more shirts and jackets than I care to admit . . . some of them in fitting rooms. But frankly, if the shirt isn’t actually an extra-large, they shouldn’t label it as an extra-large. That being said, I’m wearing an extra-large shirt right now, and the shoulder seams hit about an inch onto my shoulder. So really an extra-large doesn’t fit either.


My frame does not fit into the criteria of classic femininity. The way that I bulk on muscle, unless I’m excruciatingly careful about how I exercise, makes me look more like a body builder than a curvaceous woman. I can’t wear short sleeve shirts unless the arms are made of a material that can stretch, because my biceps are too big. I easily carried my forty pound dog up and down the stairs several times a day for four months when he tore his ACL. I am tall, I am broad, I am strong, and as if that weren’t enough I have a deep voice. I have been called a dude, butch, manly, one of the guys for so long that it takes me aback when a guy flirts with me. For an emergency, a deadline, hard advice, call Kat. For a good time or a hot date, call someone else.

Entertainment confirms this image. The big and strong girls are the comedic relief, or the ones that help carry the plot so the petite main character can live happily ever after. These are the roles for the non-feminine girls, and don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean ugly. You can be beautiful, but the second you’re the same size as 50% or more of the men in the room, you are no longer feminine enough to be a heroine or a love interest. The second you move from the girl being lifted in dance choreography to the girl doing the lifting because you don’t have enough guys, is the moment you lose the descriptor, feminine.

So imagine my amazement at watching these kick-ass fight scenes with bulked-out, strong AF women who exuded femininity. The Amazons were strong, fierce and had costumes that accentuated their strength more than their sex-appeal. And better yet, instead of being the ‘manly’ women, or the ones who take care of the other more petite women, they were just women. Even Wonder Woman’s classic uniform still paid tribute to its sexy forbearers, but it again shows her strength more than her curves. Compare the necklines and the waist size of the two women.

Old vs New WW

If I lost every ounce of fat on my body, I still couldn’t look like Lynda Carter. Gal Godot, that’s doable. I would still have to lose every ounce of fat on my body, but I could achieve that body shape. Broad shoulders, tall, discernible waist but not an hourglass. And most importantly, strong AF, and not apologizing for it or hiding it. Not apologizing for stepping out to take the lead, and not apologizing for breaking the classic mold of femininity. For the first time in my life, I left a movie loving the fact that I am strong and that I can put on muscle. I left a movie wanting to work out and get that muscle definition back. I left feeling that I can be just as feminine as my more petite counter-parts.

I was not expecting to get that kind of body-positive affirmations from a comic book super-hero movie. Consider my mind blown. Especially when I logged onto social media and saw this kind of reaction across the board. Petite women felt empowered. Larger women felt empowered. Average size women felt empowered. By treating a female super-hero like they would have treated a male super-hero, women across the country felt empowered. Feminism is not the desire to be treated better than men. It is the desire to be treated on an equal plane with men. The things we can learn from comic books. Go figure.

Me and My Snaggle Tooth

A little over a week ago, a filling in one of my front teeth fell out. Now this might sound like an odd thing to happen, but it actually happens to me on a regular basis. Despite the fact that I had braces as a teenager, my bite is so messed up that my lower front teeth smack into my upper front teeth every time I close my mouth. Which is why one of my upper front teeth is actually fractured in half, my fillings pop out on a regular basis and I’m getting braces again next week. Joyous! At any rate, I’ve become very accustomed to fillings popping out. I call up my dentist, she puts a new one in, I’m in and out in less than an hour. Well the problem this time around is that my dentist was out of town when it happened, so I had to wait over a week to get it fixed. Which meant a week of walking around with a gap-snaggle tooth. In my head it looked something like this.

Gap tooth dogs

I’d like to say that I am confident enough in myself that this didn’t bother me, and for the most part it didn’t. However, the couple of times that I had my picture taken I was very aware of it. I also met a writer/actor that I have a great deal of respect for and had a 45 minute conversation with him . . . flashing my snaggle tooth the entire time. I didn’t realize this until later, but when it hit me, I was mortified. I had to step back and remind myself, that if it didn’t bother, or even occur to me at the time, why should it bother me after the fact? Which really got me thinking. So the next day I pointed it out to someone that I was talking to. Guess what? She hadn’t noticed. I had to smile big and full on point it out before she was able to see what I was talking about.

This thing that in my mind was so incredibly obvious, was invisible to everyone else. I tested my theory, and started pointing it out to almost every new person I talked to, and trust me it was put on display. I have one of those smiles that shows off every damn tooth in my head. Not a single one of them had noticed, or were polite enough to lie about not noticing. In other words, nobody cared. They were too busy with their own lives and concerns to give a crap about some minor imperfection that I felt I had. Which got me thinking again, this time about how many times I have had friends bemoan cellulite, or wrinkles, or a pimple. Each time I would say something to the effect of, I don’t think other people are seeing what you’re seeing. Or if they are seeing what you’re seeing, they don’t care. I guess that’s my take away, people don’t care, and it’s fabulous. And sadly, I can’t show off my actual snaggle tooth, as I forgot to take a close-up picture before getting it fixed this morning. Ah well. Next time.

Crazy Train

I will be the first to admit that when it comes to relationships I am a bit of a commitment-phobe. Okay, I am very much a commitment-phobe. The reasons for that are long winded and a couple of different therapists have been paid good money to hear all about them. I’m working on it. Part of working on it, is identifying things that I do to sabotage relationships, like dwelling on every little thing that I might not like about a guy, instead of looking at the good things. Or not bringing it up when he does something that drives me nuts, instead letting my annoyance fester and then eventually breaking things off because he never fixed the behavior. I don’t do this with friends or acquaintances, only romantic (or potentially romantic) relationships. Crazy right! Totally crazy train. I’m much better than I used to be, but I still find myself slipping into old habits at times.

Crazy Train

So recently a guy came up to me while I was out walking my dogs in my neighborhood saying that he’s seen me around, thinks I’m very beautiful and interesting, etc., etc. Which to start with is not the best approach for a woman who has seen every Criminal Minds episode ever made – not that I’m paranoid or anything . . . okay I’m totally paranoid. So that first day I basically said thank you, then quickly headed home with my dogs. The next time I saw him, I decided that maybe I should give him a shot and at least talk with him. So I did, and he asked if we could exchange phone numbers so that we could text. So I did.

Which is all well and good, except that every time that he texts me, he always starts off with “Hey beautiful” or says things like, “Looking good today.” In fact the majority of everything he says is some sort of compliment about my appearance. Which is nice I guess, but to be completely honest, I’m starting to find it really annoying. Every now and then is fine, but every frickin time we talk is getting old! It’s as if he either doesn’t have any interest in anything other than my appearance, or he thinks all I want to hear is compliments. Or some other male reasoning that is beyond my understanding. Whatever the reason, I’m annoyed. I actually had the thought after the last text of, “I don’t give a crap if I look good when I’m out walking my dogs. I’m picking up dog shit for god’s sake!”


That’s when it occurred to me. I would so rather a guy compliment my personality, my creativity, or something along those lines. That’s great that you think that I’m beautiful, but if that’s all I am to you, then I’m not interested. Or if that’s just what he thinks that women want to hear, and he’s looking for a woman who wants to hear that, then again I’m not interested. So, instead of letting this fester, I finally asked him why he was so fixated on appearance. Thus began a whole different conversation. Apparently, I’m taking a break from the crazy train . . . and I learned something about myself. I don’t need somebody to tell me that I’m beautiful, because I already know that I am, and have decided that that isn’t one of the top criteria that I want to be known for. So the money I spent with therapists talking about that particular subject has also paid off. Good to know.

My Ideal Body Image

In part because it is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, but also because it has really been on mind lately, I’ve dedicated this week’s blog posts to body image. On Tuesday, I talked about Why Do We Hate Ourselves, and in that blog I talk quite a bit about how much it truly matters what words we use to describe ourselves. But really, I think it also matters what words we use to describe each other, and what words we use to describe our ideal. I don’t care how liberated, or free-thinking you are, I’m sure you have an image or a concept of what an ideal female body looks like. That could be skinny, fit, lean, curvy, flexible, resilient or any other number of adjectives. To be completely honest with you, none of those words hold any sway with me. I couldn’t care less which of those words would be best to describe my body. The only description that I care about, my ideal, comes down to one word – healthy.

Female Body Shapes

For almost a year now, I have hop-scotched from one minor illness to another, never quite getting back to 100% in between. I’m still not at 100% and have appointments with four specialists over the next two weeks. At this point, I don’t know how much longer my journey will be until I am at 100%, but through the journey thus far, I have learned two things to be absolutely true:

  1. You’re not a hypochondriac if there’s actually something wrong. Don’t ignore persistent symptoms, get them checked out. Better to be told that you’re fine and all is well, than let something minor build into something serious.
  2. I would choose to be healthy (whatever that happens to look like) over any other physical attribute every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Without a second’s hesitation.

Instead of focusing on being super-skinny, or applauding all of the curvy ladies or that thigh gap that was all the rage (have people finally figured out that that’s a genetic thing, and no amount of adductor exercises will give you one?) I say that we all start focusing on whether or not we are healthy. Instead of obsessing over the number on the scale, how about we obsess over our cholesterol levels or blood pressure. After having a baby, why don’t we strive to get back to our pre-baby 5K time instead of striving to get back into our pre-baby jeans? Instead of focusing on how we look in the mirror, let’s start focusing on how we look throughout the day.

Do you have enough energy and stamina for a full day of activities? Can you run around and play with kids, or easily take a flight or two of stairs if the elevator is out? In an emergency situation are you be able to run away from danger, or walk a mile or two if your car runs out of gas? Can you be on your feet for more than an hour or two (in good shoes) without joints hurting or getting a headache? Can you splurge at someone’s birthday party without worrying about your cholesterol, blood pressure or blood sugar spiking? (Or if the answer to that is no, are you taking active measures to regulate the issue?) Can you splurge and be happy at a birthday party without beating yourself up for the calorie intake? These are the questions that I care about. These are the questions that we should all care about. If you are healthy and happy, why should it matter what your butt looks like in a pair of yoga pants? Why should it matter if you have a “mom pooch,” stretch marks or a few extra pounds?


The smallest size that I have ever been in my life is a size 8, which for my 5’9”, very broad frame, was tiny. And I can tell you right now, both times that I reached that size I was far from healthy. Yes, I looked kickin’ in a mini-skirt, but internally my body was not functioning at its prime. My blood pressure was so low that more often than not I blacked out if I stood up too fast, I was anemic and from my limited food intake, was not getting all of the essential nutrients that I needed. I was also so stressed out I couldn’t see straight. That is most definitely not my ideal.

Right now, at a size 14-16, I’m not at my ideal either. I am however actively working to get there, and none of those actions involve extreme dieting, weighing myself on a regular basis, or constantly exercising. My focus is 100% on getting healthy. Which includes eating foods that are good for me, exercising, taking recommended supplements, and seeking out/following the advice of my healthcare professionals. I want to be healthy, and when I achieve that I figure everything else will have worked itself out to where it needs to be. Maybe it’s because it has been a while since I’ve been healthy, but when push comes to shove, I can’t think of anything else that is more important. So shouldn’t our ideal body type be healthy?


Why Do We Hate Ourselves?

I don’t know why, but I’ve been noticing a lot more than usual how negative women are about their bodies. I don’t think this is because I’ve started hanging around particularly negative people lately, I think it’s more to do with the fact that for whatever reason I have begun to notice it, where before I must have ignored it. After all, it’s endemic. If you stop and pay attention for that specifically you’ll start to hear women in the coffee shop, the elevator, the bathroom (especially the bathroom), etc. talk about how much they HATE some part of their body. Women hate their curly hair, their straight hair, their big noses, their small teeth, their fat ankles, their thick thighs, their non-existent butts, the wrinkles on their forehead, mouth, eyes, hands etc., etc., etc. I truly believe that if you listen long enough to enough women you will hear that there is at least one woman out there that hates every single part of the female body. I honestly don’t think there is a body part that will escape scrutiny, and that makes me sad.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve definitely complained about my own body. For example, my ears don’t match. Seriously, they look completely different, like they’re from two totally different people. How does that even happen? As far as I know, ears are supposed to be a matched set, emphasis on matched! (Also, side note, do you have any idea how hard it is to take pictures of your own ears?)

Right Ear

Left ear
















I also have insanely long and skinny toes. They’ve been called everything from prehensile to gross, thank you to my sister for that one. Not to mention my feet are so narrow it’s impossible to find shoes that fit, so I always have redness or some sort of blister on my pinky toes that is impossible to hide when wearing sandals and always draws notice.



That being said, I don’t hate those things about myself. They are part of what make-up the quirky package that is Kat Michels, so how can I hate a part without eventually hating the whole? Let me say that again. How can you hate a part of yourself, without it eventually creeping in and causing a hatred of your whole self? Hate is an insidious thing, and if you give it purchase anywhere, it will eventually have purchase everywhere. So every time I hear a woman say that she hates some aspect of her appearance, it breaks my heart a little bit, because each utterance and each thought is a hammer blow on the chisel lodged in that woman’s self-worth. We as women determine our own self-worth, it comes from inside us. So every time we disparage ourselves, it gets chipped away a little bit.

I know that a lot of people will argue that they don’t actually ‘hate’ whatever body part it was that they mentioned. To them I ask, why do you say you do then? What do you actually mean if you don’t ‘hate’ it? Do you not like it, or do you wish it was different? How is that better? Why do we spend so much time fixating on the things that we don’t like? Especially things about our physical body that can’t be changed! How can you hate the wrinkles on your forehead? They are proof that you have gotten to spend time out in the sun – some of it hopefully in leisure – they are often times proof that you have smiled, sometimes they are proof that you were gravely ill, but were able to pull through, and they are irrevocable proof that you have lived long enough to get wrinkles. That is a privilege that is denied to so many, that I can’t understand where the hate comes from.


A similar argument can be made for any other body part that women hate, but better yet, let’s stop justifying things based on other people’s misfortunes. Let’s turn the focus on ourselves. Each and every body part, each aspect of our appearance makes up part of who we are. Yes, the total is greater than the sum of its parts, but the parts matter too. Not only do they matter, but how we talk about them to ourselves and to others matters. I truly believe that we need to learn to not only be nicer, but be more positive to ourselves. Instead of fixating on what we hate, we should be fixating on what we love, no matter how small. I’m not saying that you have to love each and every part of your body. That is asking way too much. But I have a feeling that if you shift your focus to the parts of you that you love, you’ll soon discover that those other parts of you all of a sudden don’t matter so much anymore. Because like hate, if you give love a place to roost, it will take over the whole damn place. And to me, that doesn’t sound too bad.


**It was brought to my attention that I should mention that I have not always felt this way or had this kind of confidence when it comes to my body. I spent all of middle and high school wishing that I could walk around with a paper bag over my head because my acne made me feel like I was hideous and gross. Even when I got to college and the acne was gone, I still didn’t have anything nice or complimentary to say about myself or my appearance. It wasn’t until my mid-twenties, with the guidance of a therapist and several years of persistent work to change my inner monologue, that I made it to where I am today.