Everyone has different ways of dealing with things, and subsequently, everyone's "journey" (for lack of a less cheesy word) when it comes to body positivity will be different. It's never easy, but it's also never the same.
Since Unique Vintage launched its #IAmUnique campaign, I've been thinking heavily on not only the things that make me unique, but also the things I've yet to accept and love for their own uniqueness. Because here is my confession: Although I consider myself a confident, proud, body positive fat woman, I still have my off days. You know the ones — when something just doesn't feel quite right. It's not so much about hating or disliking parts of yourself; it's more about just not feeling like you fit well into your body.
I, like all humans, have those days. There's no shame in them. And they don't make you any less body positive overall. But I'd be lying if I said such off days are never related to past insecurities or weird body hangups. Although I can appreciate the softness of my tummy and the ferocity with which my thighs touch and the squishiness of my double chin, I've always felt a little weird about, well, my arms.
It seems silly written about. And when it comes to deep woes and things that keep me up at night, I can assure you that my arms aren't one of them. But that being said, I've always had this nagging little notion that my arms are disproportional — not "too big," but not quite coordinated with my shape elsewhere. I still remember being a teenager and young adult, and refusing to wear spaghetti straps or strapless dresses unless I could pair them with a bolero or shrug. Back then, I'd think, "Thanks for the buff arms, dad," only to hide them away in "shame."
Fast forwarding the clock to now, well, any notion of "having to hide my body" is long gone. Except when it comes to my arms. No longer do I feel like society is going to personally come after me if I don't (because, you know, in my head, "society" used to be this a metaphysical being with the ability to come after me). But I sometimes do catch myself thinking, "These babies just aren't in line with the rest of my body." Or, "They're just not as cute as the rest of my body." And that's just no way to live, guys!
So in an effort to do away with some of these personal hangups, I thought I'd try on Unique Vintage's Satin & Tulle Swing Dress. Not only is it evocative of Grease's Pink Ladies or Betty Draper circa Mad Men Season 1 (which is obviously a swell combination), but it's also outside my comfort zone. I'm obviously a fan of anything princess-y and ethereal, but strapless? Not often.
And you know what? You know how I felt wearing it? I felt pretty splendid. Like I could take on the world, kitsch baby pink dress in tow. I found that the universe didn't crumble. It didn't suddenly metamorphose into some post-apocalyptic sci-fi nightmare. Everything was fine. I was fine. I felt amazing, and in turn, I was reminded that although no one is ever going to be 100 percent happy and confident and at ease in their skin (because we're not robots, and social conditioning runs too deep), we can do plenty of things to feel better. In taking risks and pushing myself to show off a body part I've never fully embraced, I saw that body part's individuality. No, I don't think my arms have souls or minds of their own (not really, anyway). But I do think they have a presence. It's one I'd never allowed myself the joy of embracing. But now I think I might start.
P.S. If you're wondering who's responsible for the incredible leather collar I'm wearing — something straight out of a mermaid daydream — that would, of course, be the lovely Freyia of Flimsymoon. She's currently in London working on designing her collection, and this gem is sure to feature.