14 November 2012
Cute And Curvy And Confident
So here’s the thing: it is a thing that ten, even five years ago I wouldn’t have admitted. I would’ve been too shy, too embarrassed, too ashamed. I might not be a serial killer or have a closeted foot fetish. I might not have webbed feet or secretly be in love with Michael Cera. My secret is as follows: I’m curvy/voluptuous/heavyset, put it as you will – and I like it.
My weight has been in a constant state of flux since puberty. While my fellow teeny bopper peers were dealing with their unrequited passions for Aaron Carter or how to buy thongs without parental consent, I was battling how to be a size 12 at 12. The highs and lows of my weight rival those of Renee Zelweger, from her role as Bridget Jones to Mae Braddock, a 30-pound weight loss which she seems to have achieved in a matter of weeks.
Self-centeredness isn’t something I pride myself in, despite the fact that I am blogging under the assumption that someone somewhere gives a damn about me or finds my written banter witty. I know body issues plague most women – from adolescents to 20-somethings to middle-aged. I’m not special. The only thing that I find MIGHT distinguish me now is that I have no fear of confessing that I like my curves. I have no restraints about telling you that I range between a 14 and a 16 and that the last time I was in the single digits was probably when I was pre-pubescent. And guess what, I don’t want to be in the single digit sizes.
Back when people actually watched One Tree Hill, I remember the character Brooke becoming my instant personal idol when she launched her “Zero is Not a Size” campaign for her fashion line. It was the first time I felt some media outlet was acknowledging that being stick thin isn’t necessarily always the best. I have nothing against people who are skinny; not by any means. Frankly, they can pull off a far larger variety of ensembles than I. What I am saying is that I like being bigger. I like my hourglass shape and the femininity I feel arises from it. I like the fact that my waist goes in and my hips go out [a lot]. I have love handles and my belly isn’t remotely flat – in fact, it jiggles – and I happen to appreciate those facts. I think I’m beautiful, and though that took almost 22 years, it’s something people battle their whole lives, so I’m pretty frikin grateful to arrive here at all.
Perhaps it’s easy to come out and say all this now because I’m noticing more and more gorgeous, plus-size women embracing their bodies. Stores like Forever 21 have opened plus departments, modeling agencies like Wilhelmina have maintained a successful curve division, the BBW (big beautiful women) modeling industry has skyrocketed on the online community where women who not only love being big, but want to get bigger have achieved stardom (praise to Plump Princess and Sailor Rose who I happen to adore), and of course N.Y.U. freshman Stella Boonshoft’s self portrait of her beautiful, bikini-clad, plus-size bod was published on “Humans of New York” and proceeded to journey through vast outlets of cyberspace. It’s possible that slowly weight acceptance is happening. And I’d love nothing more than to contribute to its progress.
I know how difficult it can be to be big. When you’re in elementary school, your peers will always pick on the “fat kid.” When you’re in middle school, you probably won’t ever be the first choice for homecoming date. Once high school happens, you still notice the stares and snickers from the popular kids. But then life happens. Not to say pre-18 life isn’t valuable; it’s incredibly valuable. The lessons you learn while you’re growing up and things you experience are most definitely important. But something happens when you enter the supposed “real world.” People stop caring about what you look like (well, maybe not entirely, but more so than in high school) and they really do start caring more about who you are as a person. It’s such a cliché isn’t it – the kind of thing your parent would say to you when you come home crying after some cheerleader makes fun of your pudge. But it’s true. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed than no one cares if I’m a size 10 or a 20. No one cares if I put on weight over Christmas break. No one gives a damn if my sheer tights rip because my ass is too big. Those who are truly close to me now care about what I have to say, not what stores I can and cannot shop in because of my size.
It can be funny too. If you learn to love being voluptuous you can learn to laugh at the embarrassing moments – like when you can’t pull up those pants from Urban Outfitters to save your life, or you’re too big to share a bus seat with someone else without making them uncomfortable. When you learn to love every roll, every bulge, every stretch mark that makes you YOU, you learn to love everything that comes with that. And once you do, you realize other people are doing it too. Whitney Thompson probably loves that she has big thighs and a DD-cup, and that she’s a successful plus-size model because of them. Adele probably loves how many people in the world think she’s drop dead gorgeous even though she’s in the double-digit sizes. We may not be at the point when BBWs are freely running the streets screaming “I love being fat” but we’re getting to a point where if that did happen, a good chunk (no pun intended) of people might applaud loudly. Personally, my take is that if you want to live a certain way, you should be entitled to do so. You should be allowed to eat what you want and not feel bad about it, look how you want to look and not feel twinges of guilt. I’m not preaching childhood obesity or anything like that, but I am preaching the right to choose the life you want to lead. And I sure as hell am preaching being big, beautiful and bold.