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An adventurous, giggly 20-something-year-old woman who no longer believes that being skinny is the only way to be happy, healthy and beautiful.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Little Self-Esteem Can Make All the Difference

It's not easy to have self-esteem as a fat woman. Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad if it were just a matter of seeing fat portrayed as "disgusting" and "shameful" in the media. The TV can be turned off, but there's no off button for the disparaging words and glances of the people around you. As Not Blue At All discussed in a recent post, it takes a lot of courage to be a fat woman; to have to wake up every morning to the woman who avoids sitting next to you on the bus, to eyes staring at you in the grocery store, to the giggles of small children, to the complaints of friends about some "fat bitch" they know ... the shame of being fat can be a heavy cross to bear. How can you love yourself as you are when so many would rather you were different?

People say that you shouldn't need external validation to love yourself; that's bullshit. We are all social beings reacting to our environment, whether it be through the rebellion or acceptance of established social norms. But it's always hard to be the lone warrior fighting the good fight, even when that fight is for your own well-being. I truly believe that everyone needs at least someone to remind them that they, too, are worth loving and fighting for. No one can go it alone.

At least, all of this has been my personal experience. My own self-esteem, in its small and fragile form, has only very recently begun to be a part of my life again. I grew up in an abusive household. No, I wasn't beaten with chains or burned with cigarettes; the abuse was never physical. Nevertheless you'd be surprised how effective the tongue can be as a weapon in the glorious battle to shame a 12-year-old into completely changing her behavior and appearance. Of the many, many reasons I was a bad girl, my weight was easily at the top of the list. Through screaming, teasing, and even crying, I was taught to believe that as long as I remained fat, I would neither be pretty nor loved.

Looking back on photos of me and comparing them to the woman I see in the mirror today, you can easily see the physical markers of my low self-image. I wear clothes that either don't flatter me or are the wrong size; I don't even bother with my hair; and on the whole I dress rather "cutely"/"conservatively," not even bothering to show that I have a sexual side. For example, these two of my freshman and sophomore years of college:

Things got a bit better over time. I met some wonderful people my junior year who encouraged me try new things with regards to fashion; I got the very first inklings that I, with all my fat, could be considered a pretty person, too. But still, I was very much going for the shy, cute look.

Then senior/post-graduation stress caused me to revert back to my lazier ways. But even then I still feel like my appearance improved from my freshman/sophomore photos ... my confidence was still on the rise.

And then ... six months ago ... the beginnings of the real transformation! One day, with the encouragement of my man, I finally decided to fool around with sexy poses. And, much to my surprise, some of the pictures were actually kind of hot! It was the first time in my life that I realized that I could be sexy ... WITHOUT LOSING WEIGHT!

And then ... to today!!

And in all of these photos, from beginning to end, I was between a size 14 and a size 18. I became sexier, happier, and more beautiful because I had someone in my life to give me that nudge, that validation that I needed to finally be able to realize it myself. I AM BEAUTIFUL!

Things aren't perfect; I still have a long way to go and this blog is going to document the steps in that process. For instance, I'm hoping to leave the beauty sector for a post or two and talk about exercise and mental hygiene, both of which I could really use right now.

Ok ... it's 4 in the morning ... and I can't think of a better way to end this post than to say: I hope you continue to follow me on my journey to beautiful! *gag gag gag*

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