I’m not exactly what our society considers “beautiful.” And if you’re thinking about saying “Awww… Don’t be so hard on yourself.” Don’t. I am perfectly aware of what society calls beautiful and I am equally aware that that does not, and has never, described me. Sugar-coating this issue doesn’t make it any less true, and I’m not the type of person who needs to be consoled when it comes to body image. For possibly the first time in my life I can say with absolute sincerity: I am perfectly comfortable in my own skin. And that’s a wonderful feeling.
I didn’t always feel this way. I used to have horrible self-esteem issues. I used to cry myself to sleep at night and dread going to school. I used to close my eyes when I washed my hands because I didn’t want to see myself in the mirror. And, if we’re being 100% honest… in Junior High I probably would have been bulimic if I hadn’t figured out in 7th grade that I don’t have a gag reflex. That’s how bad it got. That’s how much I hated myself.
Are we even aware how horrible and wicked a society has to be if it can make a teenage girl feel that badly about herself? It’s even worse when that society somehow leaks its way into your home… through TV, through magazines. From your own mother’s mouth. It’s horrendous and disgusting. But it is also something that can be overcome.
Nowadays, it doesn’t bother me when smaller women with tanned, uncovered arms and perky breasts look down at me like I’m worth less than them because I shop in plus-size parts of stores and have legs that you can see from space (seriously, they’re very white). It doesn’t bother me that most people might glance at me and move on, not bothering to see past the layered clothing and short stature that kind of make me look like a hobbit. Fat, pudgy, big-boned, thick, large, hefty… These are words that I’m sure have been used to describe me in the past by people who need not know so many synonyms to describe themselves, but that’s okay with me.
Because here’s the deal: At the end of the day I have a husband that loves me unconditionally. At the end of the day I’m surrounded by friends who would go to bat for me anytime, and filled with memories that are made of more laughter than sorrow. I have spent a lifetime depending on wit and personality while others needed only to bat their eyelashes and wear form-fitting shirts to get their way. And because of this I have cultivated a personality that I consider truly marvelous.
At the end of the day I love every part of myself, and because I love me and all my flaws, I am, oh, so aware of how much easier it is to love others because of (and in spite of) their own.
I don’t feel I need to be judged by women that use men like tissues and women like stepping stones. I am not hurt by the slings and arrows of women who love to look at themselves in the mirror because thank god for them it only shows physical features. I might look in the mirror sometimes and frown at that extra roll around my midsection that probably shouldn’t be there. I might, on rare occasions, idly wish that I was tall and tan and gorgeous. But then I go hug my husband and I am those things. I’m not sure that all the people who would call me ugly can say the same thing about their own lives.
As a last point, I ask those that tell me that losing weight will allow me to live longer: Why is quantity so much more important than quality? If I enjoy every single minute of my 80-year-existance, is that really worth trading out for 100 years of focusing on something that really doesn’t mean that much to me? I love walking—how do you have the right to turn that into a chore rather than a joy? I can’t remember the last time that I sat down and had a lovely meal with friends only to have it ruined by guilt over my choice of appetizer. In a world of self-esteem issues and self-loathing, I am truly free.
So please don’t judge me like I’m something less than perfect. I know I am. But it’s not your body or your life. Leave those things to me.
And leave cake. I fucking love cake.
Want to see another post on how I’ve developed and improved as a human being? Click here.