I am not skinny.
You’d be surprised how quickly my friends protest when I say this, even though we all know that I’m not. But that isn’t meant to be an insult and I’m not looking for pity, I can say that and be okay.
I have never been a shy person but I think that sometimes people mistake confidence with good self-esteem. I can be outgoing and still have body issues and I’m sure many people can understand me on that one. It wasn’t until this year, at the lovely age of 24, that I started to love what I have rather than lust after what I wanted.
Don’t get me wrong, there are still days when I cringe in front of store mirrors and do a quick recount of how many times I didn’t go to the gym in a month, but you can’t expect to fully change how you think about yourself in overnight, especially when there are so many things that can take a toll on you.
That world inside your phone
Social media is tricky business.
Sure posting that selfie on Instagram can make you feel great, but you can’t tie the number of likes you get to your self-worth. It doesn’t work like that and if that’s what you feel, you need to take a step back from posting. But on the other hand if you feel amazing and you want to show it off, post it! It’s a fine line but one that needs to be recognized.
Social media has helped me in the way that it lets you see all beauty, not just what magazines choose to show. This year I posted a picture of myself in a crop top, a mirror selfie no less, and that’s not something I ever thought I would do a few years back.
There are so many campaigns out there with hashtags supporting body positivity and I think having that virtual support acts like a community, assuring those who don’t feel confident that it is possible to get over insecurities.
There was a long period of time that I was, more or less, in denial of being plus-sized, especially when it came to clothes.
I would continue to shop at stores that wouldn’t carry my size because my friends were and that only left me feeling horrible. I’ve never been a huge fan of shopping but this made me hate it, I was never able to find anything that fit me correctly.
I remember going into Victoria’s Secret for the first time. It was two years ago, and after finally having the courage to brave the store full of angels, I was disappointed that I couldn’t even buy a bra there. A sales-lady measured me and said I could fit into a bra, but the one I tried on was more than uncomfortable. It made the girls look bad from every angle and it cost more money than I could justify spending on a bra. I joked that Victoria’s “secret” was that they couldn’t make bras big enough for me and that was that. Defeated, I bought new bras at Pennington’s (now one of my favorite stores) fully convinced they were unattractive. I even remember lying to my best guy friend, saying I did shop at VS, because I was so embarrassed.
I can’t exactly recall when I started to embrace the plus-sized side of shopping, but I do know that this year (at 24) I’ve shed the embarrassment. If I’m shopping with friends and they ask why I’m not looking I merely mention that I don’t fit into the store’s apparel and that it’s okay with me. I take so many #OOTD pictures that are posted on Instagram and proudly march my way to the plus-size section of the store and go crazy.
Being plus-sized isn’t a fashion death sentence, and I’m glad I realize that now.
Who you’re surrounded by
When I was in university, I lived in a house of four girls, including myself. Two of these girls were obsessed with being thin and it started to get to me.
I was the biggest of all of us; I’m quite tall at 5’11”. I know that everyone has good and bad days, but constantly hearing my smaller friends tear apart their bodies was exhausting. They would draw on themselves with markers to see what they had to change, try every new fad to get an elusive thigh gap (huge craze at the time) and calorie count like no tomorrow. I even stopped going to the gym with them because it made me feel worse about myself, not better.
But something that one of them said to me I’ll never forget… “No guy will ever want to date me if I’m not skinny.” She assured me they may dance with me at a bar and everything but they won’t date me and that was “sad truth.”
This was put to the test when I had my first relationship this year. That played in the back of my head on repeat when he had doubts, when he wouldn’t stay the night and when he left.
I think it’s okay to say that while I feel good about myself and being plus-sized, I can have worries when to comes to other people. I’ve been trying to stick the thinking of if a guy can’t accept me he’s not worth it anyway, and even as I type that, I can hear the truth in it, which can be hard still. That’s part of the learning and growing though, still accepting that things can hurt.
Me, Myself & I
I can’t stress it enough – it’s all about you.
This goes either way: you can make yourself feel great, and you can make yourself feel horrible. Not only this, but you control how others affect you. That is the most important lesson that I have learned about myself – I am the one who controls the good days and the bad days.
The risk in letting someone provide your confidence is this: If that person leaves, will your confidence leave with them? You can let people help build up your confidence, but don’t let them take ownership of it. It is your body and you need to feel good about it when it’s just you there.
In reading this, I want you to try to relate on a few points. Maybe you won’t, but if you’re going to take anything away from this, it is that if you want to feel better about yourself you need to start the change. It won’t happen overnight and it won’t be easy, and this is fine as long as you’re doing it for all the right reasons.
A lot of people see being fat, chubby, plus-sized (whatever label you would prefer) as a bad thing, and I’ll admit, I was one of them. I used the word ‘was’ lightly because I am human and tomorrow I could be a mess about it. And that’s okay.
What isn’t okay is treating the word fat like a swear word or tearing yourself and others down because of their size, no matter what side of the scale they’re on. If you’re okay with how you look, better yet, if you love how you look, then I do too.
Brianne (or Bri, as she’s known in the city) is in her final year of college and can’t wait to spend her summer exploring Toronto and venturing off as a writer. When she’s not busy with school, she enjoys blogging, finding DIYs she will probably mess up on Pinterest, and watching too many episodes of Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix. See her adventures on Instagram or say hi on Twitter!