More than two years ago now, I posted my thoughts on looking good as a plus-sized woman. A couple of social media-related happenings, combined with a conversation with a friend about body image, are now prompting more musings on this topic.
This past week, I received Lane Bryant's latest catalog, with a cover image of five topless models in their new T3 jeans. Other than these models being somewhat curvier than straight-size models, it didn't look much different to me than a lot of other advertising or magazine layouts. However, I've noticed a lot of criticism on LB's Twitter feed and Facebook page. From the laughable comment that the image is "pornographic", to statements that "my husband doesn't need to see that" and "it's too titillating", the ones that really struck me were women who began to lament that they don't see women who look like that shopping or working at LB, and that they wish they themselves looked like the models.
I understand the urge to be discouraged when you don't look like the ads or the magazines. I can tell you every single one of my physical flaws - too busty, wide shoulders, short-waisted, too much belly, flatter-than-flat rear end, pointy elbows, big feet, heavy thighs, round face, huge pores, too many freckles...and on and on and on. But I don't use those as a means to beat myself up. Instead, that list is a catalogue of the things I have to work WITH when I dress myself or choose hair or makeup styles. It's who I am, as much as the stuff I can tell you are physical assets - long legs, graceful hands, clear brown eyes, nicely-shaped toes, well-shaped brows that require only minimal grooming, a genuine smile. I don't expect to look like the women in ads or magazines, because I'M NOT THEM. I'M ME. There's no use comparing my bigger waistline or their curvier rears - there is no way for me to ever be them. But there's an easy way to be me. A very long time ago, I made a choice. I choose to be confident in who I am and what I look like, because, well, plastic surgery is expensive and painful, and at the end, I'd still have a list of flaws anyway. Right at the top would be "insecure", which is a vastly less attractive quality than a flabby belly, no?
Which brings me to the second item making the rounds of social media: Waking Up Full of Awesome. I love this post. It puts into words that conscious choice I made - I choose to be happy, and to like myself, and to do things that make my mind and body both stronger and healthier.
I have my moments of self-doubt, of self-pity, of negative self-talk; I'm not even remotely perfect. But I don't let those moments rule me. I've made my choice. I'm awesome.