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DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m going on vacation with some friends from my college later this month. We decided on this a long time ago, but COVID-19 delayed us. Everything is set. We are going to an island with the plan to lounge on the beach and chill. I love the idea, but I have gained a ton of weight and feel very self-conscious about how I look. I know my friends love me, but I do not want to be judged. I also cannot go to the beach and be completely covered up. What can I do? — Body Shamed
DEAR BODY SHAMED: Let’s start with gratitude that you get to go on this trip. It sounds amazing. Don’t forget that. Next, take a deep breath and trust that you are not the only friend who has put on extra weight. Nearly half of our country gained weight during the past year and a half. Many people are working to climb out of that right now.
Get your mind right before you go on your trip. You can do that by investing in one or two swimsuits that fit your body well. Also, get one or two cover-ups that act like a veil over your body, giving you more modesty, but not making you too hot. You may want to get a swim skirt or swim shorts that you can keep on when you get in the water.
Walk onto the beach with confidence, grateful that you are there with your friends. Do not focus on your imperfections. Instead, keep your mind connected to your friends and your wonderful experience. Do not draw attention to your body changes by talking about it — unless you want to do so. If the conversation naturally moves toward the challenges you all had during quarantine, you can talk about your weight sensitivities. Allow yourself to be in the moment and see what unfolds.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband was screaming about his grandfather the other day, describing what a bad man he was because he was an alcoholic. He talked about him harshly in front of my kids. I did not appreciate that, especially given the fact that my husband behaves almost identically to his grandfather. He gets drunk and loud. He yells and curses at me and the kids when he is drunk, and it’s quite embarrassing. He won’t hear it when I point this out to him. I want him to curb his drinking, and I want him to stop bad-mouthing his dead grandfather. Any ideas on how to accomplish that? — Hypocrite
DEAR HYPOCRITE: It can seem almost impossible for people to see themselves, especially when they are intoxicated. Keep your camera or phone at the ready. Next time your husband goes into a rant, record him discreetly. Later, when he is sober, tell him you have something you want to show him. Preface it by saying that you realize that he doesn’t see himself sometimes when he is acting out. Point out that you are worried about the negative impression he is having on your children. Show him the video and see how he reacts. Remind him of how he often maligns his grandfather’s name and how he is doing almost the identical thing. Beg him to stop.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.