I’ve heard a lot of talk recently that some women feel part of the reason why women are encouraged to be thin is so that they are “diminished.” As Amy Schumer said in her recent interview in Glamour Magazine: “For women, we’re taught to eat less until we disappear. And trained to believe that if you don’t look like everyone else, then you’re unlovable.” Man, that’s harsh.
But sadly, so true. Growing up, I always felt I stood out as the chubby one. I shrank myself behind prettier, thinner friends, letting them shine in the spotlight because I didn’t think I was supposed to do so. I didn’t date much at all, honestly believing that guys wouldn’t be interested in me because of my size.
It took time, way too long, in fact, for me to realize that I am allowed to shine. I am lovable, no matter what I weigh. I had kind, supportive people in my life who helped show me that. And I learned a lot just by growing into my own skin and accepting myself for who I am.
It’s still a work in progress, don’t get me wrong. I am not always fearless or full of confidence, that’s for sure. In the past five or six years, working on my health has helped me become more confident. And it is not because I am trying to shrink myself or fade into the background. It’s not to succumb to society’s narrow definition of what is beautiful.
Instead I am finding strength in my own physical and mental strength. I am finding it in the motivation to work out, the energy I get from eating healthy foods and drinking a lot of water. I feel good when I can handle a hard spinning class or run 3 miles.
Working on my health has helped me feel good about myself, but strong women like Amy, Mindy Kaling, Tina Fey and many others have also helped me learn how I want to present myself to the world. I’m learning that you have to want to work on these things for yourself, not to meet someone else’s standards.
Getting healthy or maintaining your health isn’t about size. At least not for me. And it’s certainly not about being small so that I’m not a burden on anyone — God forbid my presence is a nuisance simply by being a woman and being a plus-size woman at that. To that, I emphatically say: Fuck you! (Amy inspires me to curse, too.)
Being comfortable in my own skin is all about me. It’s all about being the person I want to be for my husband, my family, my friends, and myself. And there’s a lot of boldness in recognizing that!