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Anne Stolbowsky

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Let me bring you back in the past, the year 1998.
At that time, it was already hard for me to find clothes and I was just a 46 (18UK – 16US).

This was making me feel really bad about myself, like I was a loser, beucause you know, if I can’t even find clothes at my size, How can I be able to do anything good if I’m this inadequate.

My pants was from Taillissime, ex La Redoute Plus size, was the only place I could find pants.

Coats was from C&A, the sleeves where too short, it was a size 60… that was making me feel like I was even bigger.

This damage my self esteem so much at that time, was only 23 but I was sure I was the fattest woman in town !

So yes, it’s important for us big girl, whatever our size, to be able to find plus size clothing.
And yes, it’s important, for all of us, humans to be able to find clothes at our real size.

It’s well known that some shops are using “vanity size” to push us a little bit in the impulse of buying. Just go into, maybe an H&M, even I can get into an XL from the “classic” size section, and I’m a 52 (24UK).
In this world where number are so important, we all know that the feeling of finding something that feet well with on size less make most of us feel so so good.

So is that so stupid to think it could work in the other direction.

Can you imagine how a young girl who’s size is a 46, would feel when the only coat who she could finally get barely into was a size 60.
And this is still happening today, to so many of us, at any size, all around the world.
The worst part is that we are so full of shame when those things happened, we usually prefer to be silent, keep silent at any coast seems better than accepting the fact we might be fat, we might not fit the standard of the society.
It reminded me when I used to read comments saying “I’d better have a cancer than be fat”, can you imagine the violence of the rejection of “being fat” to be able to say such a thing.

A few years ago, in Europe and in France, the French Textile-Clothing Institute scanned people with a big machine all around the country, so we could have better and more accurate measurement for the fashion industry.
Sadly just a few shops decide to use those information, but at least we knew we were taller and bigger, and that the usual french woman is a size 44/46 (16/18UK – 14/16US).

And still, when if you try to by a pants, you won’t be able to get in the same size in all the shops.
But sure, no impact on self esteem or body image, as we don’t talk about it.
I can tell you, I read plenty of messages on internet of girls and womens who explained how down they were after shopping, as much as they didn’t want to go shopping again soon.
I remember crying after a full day looking for an outfit for a wedding when I was a teenager, when the only things more or less available in my size where thought for much older people.

Fashion industry as changed since I was a teenager, there’s much more option now.
So much that I received on the website I worked for the last 18 years angry messages of parents telling me to stop showing the option, as their daughters were loosing their motivation to loose weight, as they could find things now.

So yes, I maybe shouldn’t be so angry, but still I am, because it’s still hard to find clothes and I’m a 52 now (24UK – 22US), ans yes I’ve been doing shipping with friends not especially “plus size” and I can stil see how bad they felt with the flase sizing and the lack of option when for their morphologies.

When you think the woman size in fashion only existe since 1920, when ready-to-wear clothing really starting and slowly replace tailoring and self-sewn clothing.
Almost a century ago.
Just a thought, but maybe we should just get back to making our clothes our self, like people used to do for hundreds of years and take back that power we gave freely to the fashion industry.

I was naked, for the first time ever in front of someone who’s nor my lover or a doctor.
How could I end up in that situation, naked and touched by a man who have no love or medical interest with me ?

This was yesterday, it was my first ever photoshoot and body painting naked.
Everything started 6 months ago, when we decided with my associate to stop working together on Vivelesrondes. At that time I knew I wanted to continue my work with body positivism and not just by being behind the scene but also by taking action and putting myself in the first line.
In fact, it can look kind of easy to say to people they can change their life, do whatever they want, wear bikini with a fat body and have a beautiful body whatever the size, because what’s important is attitude and the light you bring around you.
But let’s be honest, words can sometimes be juste words, so I decided that it was time for me to get out of the shadow and show that my actions are true to my words !

This is a question a lot of people asked me lately : “What am I looking for in a relationship ? ”
Oh well, first news, being single doesn’t mean I have to look for a relationship.
You don’t need anyone to feel all !
In fact, you’d better be happy and feel complete by yourself before being with anyone else.
That said, we don’t have all the same stories and needs.
I’m 44, I had a relationship which last 14 years, I’ve been proposed in the past, I don’t feel that I have to prove anything to anyone anymore.

Let’s go back to the first question, so what could I be looking for in a relationship, because yes, if I do enjoy living by myself, being free with my time, my space and especially being able to sleep in the position I want … well it would be nice to have someone special to share all the good things.

Of course, there’s a lot I can share with friends, but we all know it’s not the same.

So let’s put in the light some simple things.

After a few years away, I just came back and took some time to be in my home country for the first time in 4 years (I came back a week-end in 4 years, but just up and back).
13 years of expatriation made me evolve and adapt a lot, so much that I passed from the need of always having a camembert or two in my fridge (hey I’m french(, up to almost not eating cheese at all.

But there’s still things I just miss, even if I can live on a daily base without it.

So here it comes, the list of the 10 things I miss the most about the place I grew up :

1 – Family

Of course the first thing I miss is family.
I decided to go away from the, I also think I needed this space between us and it’s clear our relation are much better since I moved to Barcelona.
But still, they are family, will always be, and I wish I could see them a little more.
The hardest thing was not being here with the little ones, my nephew.
When I lived in France, I was a part of my nephew life, seing them every week at least once.
Being away, I couldn’t see them grow and be there for them.
The first christmas, my sister send me a package and there was a recent picture of the 3 little monsters, it was really a sweet gesture, but suddenly I realise all I was missing with them, I cried during days.
So yes, even is distance can be life-saving, I do miss them.

2 – Friends

Obviously, I’ve got friends I knew most of my life, friends who knows so much about me, who can understand me with no words, who see always my bullshit and can send it back to my face, friends who knows all my story and I know them, friends with whom I shared so much.
Ok, there’s skype and whatsap etc etc … will you believe me If I told you my two best friends in France don’t use those things.
I still love them and miss them so much, but the good things is, even if we don’t see each other in years, every time we meet, it’s like we had a drink yesterday.
Love you girls ♥

 

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3 – Second hand market

Oh my god, I love those so much.
I used to find my clothes there when I was a teenager, but not only clothes, jewelry and accessories, but also so many vintage goodies, glasses, furnitures, art, books, bikes …
I bought my first armchair in a “brocante”, a bunch a vintage necklace so cheap in all kinds of “vide grenier”.
I was kind of a sport for the sunny week-end,also something we could do with all the family.
I never found anything at this level in Barcelona.
Flea market has evolved a lot in Barcelona since 2006 (time I moved here), but not yet there.

 

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4 – Theater

We all have our passion, mine was thearter.
I played during 10 years, use to go see a lot of show. With my bad Spanish and my non existent Catalan, was hard to see some Theater.
There was an option in French, but I didn’t feel I had my place in that group.
Now there is much more possibilities with Amalia, Les Turbulences, the festival Oui! and Impro
For the english speaking, you have a lot of possibilities, ask me if you don’t find, or come meet me at the story telling 😉
My nest trip in France, there will be a night of theater 😀

5 – Paris life

Whatever I will do, I will never pass for a catalan, I do feel I belong now in Barcelona but not always.
In Paris, it’s different, I can be there a lot, don’t come for years, whatever I do, once I put put a foot in Paris I know the code, how things are working, I make friends everywhere, it comes naturally.
It’s a strange feeling, like when you run into someone you really know well.
Finding my place in Barcelona was not easy, but I think even if it’s my home now, I will never understand it as well as Paris, futur will say …

 

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6 – Shopping

Shopping is great in Barcelona, but have you been to Paris
Glamour, moderne, with this little “je ne sais quoi”.
I don’t think about it usually, but when I come back in Paris it just slap me in the face everytime !

 

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7 – Service

A world of service is at your foot in France.
Ok, it’s not always paradise, especially with customer service when you want to return something.
But most of the things are clear, with contract, and they never going to make you wait 3 months or more to come see what’s happening with the water coming down from your ceiling, the hot water who’s just not working for months, the internet who is not yet installed… we all have stories
For me a paper sign used to have more value than a word. So it took me time to adapt to a culture when you don’t always sign contracts, and not just that.
Catalan and Spanish didn’t have the same expectation from a shop or a restaurant … French expect maybe always too much, love the decoration to be on point … especially in the capital.
With years, difference is not so big, or may I learn to love some simple with it’s little imperfection that make it so unique and nice.

8 – Oyster

1 oyster in Barcelona = 3/4€
1kg of oysters in France = 5€
Of you like this delicatecies, you understand.
Nothing else to had.

9 – Pastries

Croissant with “manteca”, covered in sugar in an heresy !
Éclair au chocolat, croissant aux amandes … 😛
Sugar is my weakness, sorry 😀

 

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10 – Cheese and charcuterie

Ok, I want it all, the incredible “jamon de jabugo” and goof old “jambon à l’os”, a little bit of “queso de Mahon” and a “chèvre à la cendre”.

 

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The list of food I like to have when I come back to France is in fact bigger, I miss wine, the Monaco at the bar, duck … but I don’t really miss them anymore.

With my expatriation, I made a choice conscious choice, won’t change it for the world, even if I could.
But we are human, we have heart, feelings, and yes we can miss what use to be our home, it’s natural.

What do you miss about your home ?

Do you think you see yourself as you really are ?
When I was a teenager and a young adult, I had no doubt about how huge and fat I was !
But oh god I was so wrong.
I found that picture yesterday at my mum’s, there’s not much picture of me at that time because I was too ashamed of myself and I couldn’t stand being on any picture.
Being “fat” was already killing me inside, looking at my body in a mirror or worst a picture, there was no fucking way.

So to take me in picture, you had to be smart, and my boyfriend at the time manage to take that one, I don’t know how it survived so long, but here I am at 20/21 years old.

What would I say to “young me” ?
If you have ever watched “Ru Paul Drag race”,  you saw him pop the question to the finalist in every season.
When you’re at a place like that, coming from so far away , it’s a good time to come back on what you did in your life, having a little reflexion before you go for your next great battle.
Now, I’m kind of a point like that. I’ve been with Vivelesrondes for the last 18 years, I’m changing my life now, this a special moment so maybe it’s time to look back to be even stonger for the future,

Here I am, young Anne, maybe 4 years old, running and enjoying the summer with total innocence.

This is what I would like to tell to the young me :

As girl, teenager, woman, we tend to feel insecure about our image and beauty, make up has easily became The instant fix, allowing us to fake something we considered as a pretty face, playing the game of apparences, never really facing our insecurities.

Make up as been a part of my life since I was maybe 13 or 14 years old. Even before for the danse show and carnaval.
But it really all started with a mascara, an easy way to open my eyes that I always found too small.
My love for make up was already there.
Maybe I loved too much carnaval ?Maybe I found it a good way to hide all my insecurities ?
Maybe I just saw a new way to express myself, some sort of art ?
Maybe I just wanted to look like the girl in the magazine.
Honestly, I think it really was a bit of everything, and it’s ok, as long as you can also live without makeup !
But it wasn’t always the case.

Hey nice people, I’m going back on stage for my second time doing story telling in english. It will be at Pub Limerick, this thursday 23 may at 21:30

The first time, I was so scared that I forget to record myself, but yes I’m still going to do it again, and yes I’m still scared.
So why ?
Well, first of all because the people who listen to me looked like they had a good time, the feedback at the break was really positif, it made me feel like I might have help people, and that’s the ultime goal for me !

So here I go again, with a all new story.
I will need your support so join, also the place is really nice and they have really good beers, included belgium beers.

The event : Poetry & Storytelling Barcelona Open mic
Where : Nuevo Pub Limerick – Carrer del Bruc, 55, 08009 Barcelona

Hello and welcome to my new blog Anne and Friends.

After 18 years, writing on Vivelesrondes.com, a French website about self esteem and plus size fashion, I created with my old friend David Stern, it’s time for me to go for a change.

Well a change, not completely…
On this new blog, I will talk in English and in French, I will talk about my life in Barcelona, about expatriation, body positivity and plus size fashion as well.
Oh and wait, that’s not all, I will also share some videos, some interviews with talented people from all around the world.

The blog still need some work, I need to get up to date with my video skills but it’s coming together.

See you soon on the blog, meanwhile you can follow me on Instagram here and here, on Facebook and soon subscribed to my newsletter, yes all of it, why not.



Once again welcome, so happy to start this new adventure 😀