I come from a family, like most of you, where there’s an immense amount of pressure to look a certain way. It’s not just household talk. I read about it online. I hear about it on social media. I listen to it each time one my friends makes a passing comment about a mutual acquaintance’s weight gain. And I’m here to tell you something you already know: it’s all crap.
I fluctuate in the awkward state of plus size, but not plus size. Too thin to fit into plus size clothes properly (usually at the very smallest end of the scale), but much too curvy to fit into sizes made ideally for a US size 4. Now, I’m about to tell you something more scandalous than my size. It’s scandalous because a) nobody talks about it, b) when people do talk about it, it’s talked about like a tragedy instead of something normal, and c) we like to vehemently pretend like this sort of scandal isn’t a thing that we’ve ever personally encountered.
Well, here it is guys: I’ve gained weight since high school. I’ve “filled out”. I’m no longer a size 4, but somewhere between a size 8 to a size 12 in most stores. And, not only that, I wear WOMENS, not “misses”. The horror! The sheer tragedy of not being the same size, bone structure, and weight of a 16-year old, but instead fitting into the shoes (metaphorically speaking) of an adult woman nearing her mid-20s.
I eat my greens. I exercise and keep a routine of cardio and strength training. I love salads, quinoa, and having big helpings of broccoli. Even though I post a lot of comfort food recipes, sweets are few and far between. Yet, here I am, all “fat” and not a size 4. Why? Because I’m shaped that way.
When I was a size 4, I starved myself. I lived the miserable life of counting (way too little) calories and spending a meticulous 2.5 hours at the gym. I compulsively measured myself. I had a long list of “bad” foods and a meager list of acceptable things to eat. My hair fell out. I couldn’t really sleep. My skin was constantly lacking color and dry. But as long as I could squeeze into the size 4 jeans at the end of the day, then it was all good.
That life sucked. As in, it sucked the life out of me. It sucked the joy out of me. It sucked the health out of me. Literally. I had to consult an endocrinologist because years of not eating and over-exercising led to me destroying my thyroid and wrecking my hormone levels.
And, now? Yep, I gained weight. Most likely, weight that my body has been craving to gain for years of not allowing it an inch. What happened after I gained weight? Well, the media says we essentially will be hideous and no one will love us. WRONG. I got engaged. I found a beautiful (plus size) wedding dress that I get to wear while marrying a wonderful and caring man. I can actually workout and feel energized afterward instead of exhausted. I eat what I want without a list. I can enjoy myself in the moment instead of focusing on whether or not I have “love handles”.
Will I stay this size? Who knows. As time goes on, I may lose or I may gain. The point isn’t the jean size. The point is living a life that makes you feel good, not to make everyone else feel good. No one else gets to live in your body. So, who are they to tell you what to look like? Confidence doesn’t happen at a certain size. Confidence happens when you believe you are worthy. And, you are worthy.
JUST WEAR IT.
Do you know how many times I passed up an amazing outfit because I didn’t think I could “pull it off”? Pull it off for who? The fashion “rules” of “wear this if you’re curvy” or “wear this if you’re straight as a board” are trash. Wear what you want. Wear what makes you feel like Beyonce. Wear heels even when you’re not going anywhere. Do the “indecent” thing and wear flats to work. Wear the short shorts. Wear the dress that hugs you in the middle. Wear the top that makes it seem like your boobs “disappear”. Wear it because you want to wear it, not because you think somebody else would approve of you wearing it.
STOP READING THE MAGAZINES.
It’s like the body positivity movement is on an invisible train track sometimes. So many magazines are feeding us ways to get a slimmer waist, bigger tush, and miraculously grow a perky bust overnight. Here’s news: most of us are not physically designed that way. Most of us will have a butt and also a pooch. Most of us will have the long legs, but still debate shopping in the “juniors” section. Most of us will have the bust with a whole bunch of back rolls. This is super, duper normal. Photoshopped and airbrushed versions of models, who are genetically engineered with a model body, are not the norm. So, stop reading the magazines.
DON’T FEED THE PIGEON.
Pigeons are pesky. You want to feed the pigeon to make it go away. It just keeps hovering and you want to live your life. So, you toss it a bit of your bread. It gladly and gratefully takes it and leaves you alone for a few minutes. Then, instead of one pigeon, you have five. Because it told all it’s pesky pigeon friends that if they bug you enough, you feed them. Your logic of feeding it to make it go away backfired big time.
That’s what it’s like every time you allow body negativity to sneak in. You listen to someone make a backhanded comment on your weight because it’s easier to let it slide. You nod your head when your friend makes a comment on someone else’s cellulite because you don’t want to cause a tiff. Girl. Don’t pretend. You’re not helping anyone by remaining passive. Stand up for yourself. Stand up for other people. The more you make your stance clear, the less pigeons you have to deal with.
FIND PEOPLE LIKE YOU.
Everyone thinks their body is so weird and different compared to everyone else’s. That’s because you’re in it all of the time. You notice the little things that other people probably never think about on you. For example, I’m horrible at tweezing my eyebrows. So, then I go out feeling like the Bushman, even if my eyebrows technically look fantastic. It’s easy for me to get sucked into my mind and think that people are just staring at my eyebrows for the whole conversation. Obviously, that’s not true. And if it is, then I really need new friends and a safer environment because that’s just creepy.
Long-story-short, take notice and appreciate other people like you. Find them on Instagram. Pay attention when you’re out in the “real world”. You’re far from the only one with insecurities and flaws. Take a moment to appreciation the “imperfections” of others. Try to adjust your brain to the notion of every day people instead of the airbrushed, perfectly posed folk.
MY OUTFIT PIECES
I have two different shopping options for you all. There is a straight size option, which doesn’t explicitly include plus size. However, most of the clothes listed do have plus size sizing; they’re just not explicitly listed as such. There’s also a plus size option from some of my favorite stores!