Hi, I’m Maressa. I’m 26 years old. For about 21 of those years, I’ve been a writer and I’ve been body-conscious. Granted, at 5 years old, I was writing mostly picture books about princesses. And I wasn’t really fully aware of being chubby until peers in my 5th grade class nicknamed me after “the big fat lion, Mufasa” in Disney’s The Lion King. (I know, strange choice, right?) Now, I work for a national women’s magazine and am a Lifetime member of Weight Watchers. In between Then and Now, I composed crappy poetry and kissed up to air-brushed celebs for a scoop. At age 18, I wore a size 16, then at 21, I cried upon slipping into a size 2. Over the next 5 years, I gained back and re-lost some 10-15 stubborn lbs. The entire time, I’ve been a writer. And I’ve been struggling with my reflection in the mirror. As you might guess, those two prevailing themes in my life have made me incredibly fascinated by and vocal about body image, self-esteem and the definition of beauty. And no matter how much I’ve waged war on the scale, how many times I see the word “curvy” used disparagingly in a fashion magazine or how frequently I’ve quieted a self-deprecating inner monologue, I’ve always aimed to truly love myself and to feel 100% beautiful—inside and out. I passionately want my friends, mother, sister, my boyfriend’s teen cousin or the random woman in the Loehmann’s fitting room who kept calling herself fat to love themselves and to feel 100% beautiful. Sometimes, I think we’re on our way… But then I hear that four year-olds are saying, “Mommy, I’m fat,” and my dreamy, iridescent pink, Glinda-the-Good-Witch bubble pops.

I’ve gone from annoyed to angry and finally to fed up! with society, media (a club I’m a member of) and worst of all, other women idealizing and aspiring to unrealistic, often detrimental standards of beauty. (Exhibit A. My fellow self-critical-to-a-scary-fault Virgo, Heidi Montag…) So instead of roll my eyes, scoff and kvetch to myself and a few Facebook friends, I have to speak out and write about it. Hence, The Body Logic: A space where I can muse about and rail out on topics like Jennifer Love Hewitt: Vajazzler/Huge (and I don’t mean size-wise) Hypocrite or wearing uncomfortable platform heels to “dress skinny.” But I can’t just limit the scope of this space to my, or anyone else’s, relationship with the mirror. Beauty is more than that. It’s about preparing and eating healthy, delicious, occasionally decadent food; listening to music that makes me feel empowered and alive; enjoying relationships that foster creativity and love; moving my body to feel fit physically but also mentally and emotionally; trying various potions and lotions (an organic multivitamin, orange blossom body splash or a mineral powder foundation) that promote inner joy and an outer glow.

Most of all, beauty is being yourself. And that belief, my friends, is The Body Logic.

I admit, for awhile, I’ve put off writing in the first person, blogging and specifically, starting this blog. Why? Because I was afraid I had nothing to say. I was nervous that I couldn’t precisely put into words what I wanted to say. I wondered, “What will So-and-So think? What will She say? Am I capable of actually write something that They would want to read?” Now, I’m at the point where I feel like I have nothing to lose but myself. It’s time to just put it all out there. I loathe the expression, “It is what it is” (mostly because it’s overused and come on, what the heck does it even mean?), but I do see merit in “I am who I am.” So here I am. Writer, sister, foodie, friendpop culture critic & fan, reader, girlfriend, Weight Watcher, daughter, third-wave feminist, etc.—with a lot to say. Here goes.