I used to live under the cover of darkness...my entire wardrobe was black. And I honestly thought that was my style, very New York, very chic, very MAC, but I think it was just a way to cover up what I didn't like about my body. It's true what they say about black being slimming, but come on...how svelte can you look at 292 pounds? On Saturday, I wasn't wearng a stitch of black...in fact, the only black that I had on was my eyeliner and mascara. It made me wonder, how many people are out there running around, as I had been, hiding themselves under clothes that don't really do anything for them...clothes that don't express their style or personality? Clothes that expound shame, self-loathing, and fear.
It is true that plus-size clothing leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to fit, colours, patterns, availability, cut, and cost, but they should never make you feel hopeless, unworthy, and depressed. In the past, when I would get a new piece or an outfit even, I don't think I ever felt sexy or good about it, I was just thrilled that it bloody well fit. And, that's a terrible way to live. They are only clothes after all! They shouldn't dictate you mood or demeanor. But, I couldn't have been the only one who yelled at their husband for throwing that extra, extra, extra large chemise that it took me years to find and went perfectly with all of my extra, extra, extra large dresses in the dryer. I put so much stock into that one piece of clothing, that when it was shrunk beyond all recognition my life, for a few minutes, was over. How horrible is that?
The other day I stumbled upon a page on social media called Big Hips and Red Lips - "A celebration of life, love, laughter, lust, and learning to love your body." This page helped me see things slightly differently, it embraced beauty at all sizes, and made me think maybe I should have started this love affair with myself much, much sooner. Don't get me wrong, I don't think I hated myself all the time....but I certainly embraced a lot of negative self-talk. "If only I could lose some weight, then I'd be happy. If only my thighs were smaller, if only my boobs were perkier, if only my gut didn't jiggle so much," I said a lot of mean things to myself, and I started to believe them. And, don't be fooled, this isn't just a fat chick thing...this is universal. I know plenty of girls and guys of all shapes and sizes who want to change this and that...and my point is...LOVE YOURSELF THE WAY YOU ARE! Don't be afraid to accept yourself and rock out what you've got.
This is such an important message, because I've been there, and I know how it feels. I have experienced thin, fat, toned, lumpy, fit, flabby, and everything in between. If I had loved myself the way I was, whatever I was and taken care of the important things like my health, I wouldn't be posting this...but I didn't, so here I am pleading with my audience to accept themselves. It's much easier to change the things you don't like if you know yourself and love yourself no matter what. I now have the extreme pleasure of changing my life. A change spurred on by the Times Colonist Health Challenge, but also a change spurred on by the triumph of the human spirit, and the knowledge that healthy and hopeful is much better, mentally and physically, than unhealthy and hopeless.
I am still going through this process of practicing radical self-love and body acceptance. There are still times when I feel amazing, sexy, and powerful, and then I see a picture that someone has taken of me and posted online, and I think, wow, do I ever have a long way to go. But, that doesn't get me down any more...that simply gets me even more motivated do everything I can to reach my health and fitness goals.
In the words of the saucy redhead behind the front desk of the Crystal Pool & Fitness Centre, "People see you how you see yourself."
So I conclude: Confidence is always sexy...no matter what size you are.