All of you… You are more than your exteriors. I am tired of fat shaming, skinny shaming, diet shaming, exercise shaming, etc… and/or just dissing on each other because you can.
What the fuck is wrong with us? Isn’t beauty in the eye of the beholder? Aren’t we the beholders? Why can’t we find beauty amongst ourselves, not the kind the media feeds us or that guys feed us, but us. We all know what I’m talking about, we all have that one friend we secretly think is pretty but because she doesn’t fit the social norms of pretty we never say she’s pretty.
And we will tear each other down over stupid beauty standards. And we will make each other miserable with them. Good lord. If you’re healthy, who cares if you are a size 0 or have perfect teeth or your eyes line up exactly or your eyebrows are plucked meticulously, which is about the most ridiculous beauty standard ever, just FYI. We remove our eyebrows to draw them back on with make-up, that’s insane.
I am mentally healthier at 180 pounds than I ever was 120 pounds and yes, I used to be that weight. I feel better about myself and less insecure, which seems counter-intuitive, but makes sense when you grow up like I did. As a 125 pound teen, I was overly blessed in the upstairs lady bits department. I mean way overly blessed. It was physically painful and I couldn’t hardly find a shirt that fit me because of that blessing.
So I had less self confidence at 125 pounds than I do at 180 pounds because they don’t make shirts for girls like me or bras or anything else for that matter. At 180 pounds they do and I’m just generally more comfortable in my own skin albeit still overly blessed in the upstairs lady bits department.
This past year, I took to wearing LuLaRoe leggings. Tastefully, of course, I’m not going to say I don’t have some areas that could use with some fat reduction and toning up because I definitely do. I wore long shirts over them so it wasn’t like my fat rolls were out and jiggling above the waistband of my leggings, but damn it, even if they had been, I would have been comfortable with it. Because I’m 37 and I don’t care anymore.
However, my leggings have become a fashion statement to be worn with my grunge jeans – holey jeans – I’m a product of the 1990s and I was into grunge and punk and industrial music, so I call them grunge jeans. Anyway, I digress. The reason they are now a fashion accessory is because 2 – twenty somethings decided to give me a fashion tip. It wasn’t about the shirts I was wearing, it was that I looked weird in my leggings because I have one leg and hip with permanent swelling. Well thank you very fucking much. That would be due to the CRPS and now I can’t stop thinking about it all the time. I only sorta noticed it before, you know when my butt cheek would swell and I’d sit at weird angles all the time as a result.
But now that it has been pointed out to me, my leggings sit on a shelf and only get worn under my tattered jeans and I am always aware of my right hip and thigh being twice the size as the left.
It was an unnecessary critique. I wasn’t clueless about the swelling. It wasn’t like they informed me of a problem I wasn’t aware of. But what they did do with that one little sentence was make me as self conscious about my body as I had been in high school. It’s a hard thing to get back. Weeks later when I confronted them about it, they said it wasn’t a big deal, my shirts usually hid it. So why the fuck did you tell me about it? Did you honestly think I didn’t know? No, they told me because they could tell me. They were annoyed that I was using my pain as an excuse to not play darts anymore. So they decided to poke me with a stick and see what happened.
What happened was the self esteem I had been carefully working on for three decades got a giant hole in it because I was already dealing with self-esteem issues thanks to the swelling.
Women literally seek out other women’s insecurities and repeatedly punch that button until something breaks. Mine broke that day, which has been a big problem for me and my husband. I don’t like what I see when I look in the mirror. I could smash all the mirrors, but that would just stop me from seeing my reflection in a mirror, it wouldn’t stop me from seeing myself when I undress or when I curl up next to my husband. Who is great and says he doesn’t notice the swelling, total lie, but I can live with those sorts of lies.
But then again, maybe it’s a not. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and here is a man that I have giggled with during intimacy for some pretty silly reasons, like Clerks 2. So maybe he doesn’t notice it. Maybe to him, the swelling is inconsequential and he looks at it and doesn’t see deformity like I see but the possibility of pain and discomfort. I don’t know. I haven’t really asked him because I’m afraid of the answers.
The point is women can do so much for each other. We should be singing each other’s praises not trying to tear each other down or shame each other into wishing we didn’t exist. I look at my wedding pictures and see fat arms and a little paunch at the waistline, but my best friends see them and tell me I looked beautiful that day, regardless of the arms and paunch. My SO didn’t run away refusing to marry me, that has to count for something. However, their repeated mantras that I was beautiful kept me from shying away from the camera because I know I’m heavy set and oddly shaped and not every man’s fantasy…
But I don’t need to be every man’s fantasy. Hell, I don’t even need to be my husband’s fantasy girl, that’s what pin-ups are for, I just need to be pretty for me. And if my friends think I’m pretty and tell me it, then it must be true because my bestfriend isn’t known for sugarcoating anything. She can be my harshest critic and my savior with a switch of attitudes.
We need more of that among women and less of the “you look fat and disgusting” because we get enough of that crap from social media, media, weird beauty standards, and men.
I was dating a guy when I put on my weight after high school, one night he looked at me and said he didn’t want to have sex with me because I had gotten fat. He didn’t care that I felt better about myself mentally or that I could buy clothes that fit without hours and hours of shopping, which also helped me mentally, or that I was still overly blessed in the upstairs lady bits department. He only cared that my thighs had gotten a little larger, my face wasn’t as thin, and my mid-section had a little extra poofiness to it. Nor did he care that all that stuff actually benefitted him. Not just because I was more confident, but because I was working out more and gaining muscle which meant we could try new things…. He was just disgusted that I had gotten fat. Thanks douche canoe, I’ll just go home and leave you to fester in your loneliness and self loathing. I wasn’t single long even though I was heavier.
So no, we don’t need other women tearing us down. The world does it enough. Shouldn’t we all have a right to be happy? I don’t expect you to go out and make friends with every heavy girl you meet, but maybe don’t whisper about them to your friends or make snide comments they might hear just to get a laugh… And it doesn’t just go for being overweight either. I use hair color because I am getting really grey and I refuse to concede that battle. Let me go an extra week or two and let the grey start showing through and some woman in my life will point it out. I’m good with it when it’s my mom, because that’s the BatSignal for “you should put color in your hair if you don’t want others to comment on it.” I don’t wear make up very often. I have hard to control acne thanks to hormones. Wearing makeup regularly leads to more break-outs regardless of cleanser. So I don’t do it. I don’t need people pointing out the bags under my eyes or telling me how pretty I’d be with make-up…. I’m also lazy as hell when it comes to make-up so it’s just easier if I don’t and I don’t care how many videos I watch on contouring, they don’t make sense. I need two different shades of make up, winter pales and summer not so pales. Who figures this shit out? I would need an Avon lady to come into my house and tell me exactly what I need to buy because frankly, Avon is about the only make I can wear without it irritating my skin. And it might as well be Aramaic, even with tutorials and things. Oh and thee groans when I cut off my hair this summer. I loved it. I need to get it redone, but it’s not in my budget. But people and by people I mean women, were really lamenting the loss of 8 inches of hair, but all I ever did with it was stick it in a ponytail holder and keep it out of my way.
We won’t even talk about my job which is another area for women to tear me down. I don’t write romance novels. I must not be a real writer because they haven’t heard of me. But I’m living my dream most days, so it’s all good on my end. One of my favorite insults was “don’t you have skills?” Yes, lots of them. Everything you spend $200 on at Bath & Body I can make you for less than $75. Everything. Sugar Scrubs, feet peels, bath bombs, lotions, oils, soaps, I can even make body wash… I make an awesome burn cream that I get asked about all the time even though I don’t do it anymore except for stuff for my dad, who has been on transplant meds for a decade for an artificial heart valve and has paper thin skin as a result. Oh and I write books…. I think they are pretty good, some others agree with me. So yeah, I have skills… They may not be skills you’re used to, but I have some. I considered going back into that business before I started selling Scentsy, but it’s so hard to make money off of it when you are one person trying to do it all and sell it at a profit, raw ingredients are not cheap and I’m pretty sure my family would have killed me.
So instead of tearing each other down with derogatory comments and hatefulness, be nice and supportive. Women have a hard enough time in this life…
Stepping off my soap box.