Writing In Bed

Pretty Like That

I’ve never been a small girl and I don’t have any immediate plans to be one. It’s already taken me many years to get past the discomfort of how I am built just to reach a place in life where no matter how much weight I gain or lose, I love what I have and I mean it.

When the opportunity to pose for a calendar came up and I said yes, I surprised myself. What business did I have posing for a calendar? Why would anyone want to see my face for more than 30 days out of the year?

A friend on Twitter put together this calendar project and several girls volunteered. A lot went through my mind because first off, I didn’t have that much of a Twitter following. She said not to let that discourage me. Most importantly, I know that I’m not a bad looking girl, but pretty enough to be on a huge calendar page? That was a stretch. Talk about a self-esteem check.

I borrowed a big button up shirt from one of my Big & Tall friends. I figured I could go for a look that said, “Ooh, I’m wearing my man’s shirt and look how sexy this is!” I did my own hair and makeup and my friend Mike Petralia came over with his fancy camera and lights and despite a lot of my own insecurities and discomforts, he took several pictures and churned out a few good ones from the shoot.

I currently have the finished product and have spent time looking at every month on the calendar and taking stock of how different all the girls are. From big boobs to big butts, curvy girls to thin ones, we all took a risk and put ourselves out there for anyone to praise or admonish. I still had many doubts as to whether I could represent my body type as sexy.

Then, on Tumblr, I saw a picture of this woman:

French Model Tara Lynn

It was the first time I had ever seen Tara Lynn and my mouth was hanging open for a good five minutes. I stared at her and realized that I was giving far too much attention to the parts of her that match the ones I most scrutinize on my own body. This showed me that I have a lot of work to do when it comes to my attitude about what beauty is supposed to mean to me.

I’m not necessarily angry with the way women have been portrayed in print and television in terms of what is considered attractive. That’s something that has always been in the hands of the audience. I’ve just realized that body image issues have a lot to do with whether I have a full appreciation of who I am. It is true that you are the most attractive when you are happy and you make those around you feel comfortable and happy as well. When you’re mean and uninvinting in your demeanor, it doesn’t matter how shiny your hair is or how tiny your dress size. People won’t want to spend time with you if you’re generally unpleasant.

I know I’ve gained some weight since high school, but I don’t even feel that horrible about it. In fact, it’s a shame that I didn’t appreciate myself back then as much as I do now. I always tortured myself for not having a certain body type but in recent years, I’ve challenged my own fears and insecurities and put on miniskirts (with leggings because come on, chub rub). Regardless of the clothes I can buy now that suit my body type which I could never find before, I still need to make sure I have the kind of attitude that makes people want to be around me. I can lose the weight, obviously, but if my personality sucks, there’s nothing about me anyone will find attractive.

I’m not saying anything you don’t already know. I guess I’m saying that after seeing the pictures of Tara Lynn, I was shocked that I had to sit for so long comparing myself to her and letting questions run through my head like, Am I pretty like that? If by pretty we mean finally understanding that confidence isn’t just faking it, then I’m almost that pretty. I’m still working on smiling more and not hiding so much under my cardigans.

Featured Image via SkinnyCurvy.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/robin.epley Robin Epley

    Pretty is what you are, Beauty is what you do with it <3 I have the same problems babe, but trust me, there's always going to be someone out there who you think is "prettier" than yourself, and you know what? For a lot of people, I bet that person is you :)

    On a side note, it really bugs me to see a trend among "skinny" women to say that "fat girls have no self-respect." I had a roommate like that once who constantly told me that no one could ever love me if I continued to look the way I do, and I'm not even fat. (a little curvy, yes, but far from grotesquely large.) the thing is, it took me a long time (far too long, really) to see that it was she who had the problem. Why are girls so harsh on each other? This question really haunts me.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Wowzerz Kyle Mikula

      wow your roommate sounds horrible. I hope you got a different roommate as soon as you could.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=636500587 Emalie Soderback
  • http://www.facebook.com/mnicolassanchez Mireia Nicolas Sánchez

    Oh my God, who is this Tara Lynn girl? She is gorgeous! I think that no woman should ever feel ashamed of their body type, and we should never strive to lose weight other than for health issues. We need more confidence in ourselves, and the media need to sort themselves out and stop portraying unrealistic women. I mean, how many female characters are there who are not rail thin and gorgeous, compared to male characters? They are a big part of the problem. I’m pretty, it’s their problem if they think I’m not!

  • http://www.facebook.com/isthatyourdrama Heather Banks

    I love that you wrote this post. I hate that after looking up all the photos I can of her and models like her, I still hate my own body. Working on progress, I guess.

    • http://www.facebook.com/WritingInBed Marianna Tabares

      I don’t think I’ll always, consistently, be happy with my figure. But I will hopefully not punish myself for not being at an ideal weight or whatever. I used to know a boy who would say, “If you lost weight, you’d look even better.” I don’t think I have any interest in dating the kind of men who would be drawn to me if I weighed less. I’d hate for them to tolerate a horrible personality just because of good looks. I need to be right with myself, first and foremost. But winter is coming and let me just say, I can really keep warm. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=596046458 Sarah Kirk

    Really enjoyed reading this article this morning especially after how I’ve been feeling. Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=527036919 Brenna Laginess

    I’m very happy to see a fat acceptance post up on HG! I’ve been waiting on one for ages! Great piece. One thing – “I’m not necessarily angry with the way women have been portrayed in print and television in terms of what is considered attractive. That’s something that has always been in the hands of the audience.” This is not true. How women are portrayed in the media is entirely in the greedy hands of marketers. I’d suggest watching that documentary called Miss Representation, because it blew my mind completely about how the media works and women are treated so wretchedly on TV and in movies.

    • Marianna

      You’re right. After re-reading that, I meant to say that it’s the choice of the audience whether to accept those portrayals. Not that it’s easy at all given how easy it is to feel misrepresented.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eellison Eric Ellison

    Just so that you have a guy’s perspective on this, and I may not be in the majority…my wife tells me I’m the only man she knows that is honest, loving, sincere and likes to shop more than she does. :)

    My point though, is that your story struck a cord for me and I felt compelled to tell you that I think women look more natural with curves. You are beautiful, both as a person from what I can tell and from your pictures as well. We as men (and women too) spend way too much time worrying about what a person looks like and not enough time getting to know who they are. I’m not a perfect 10 with a washboard stomach and rippling abs, but I’ve learned to love myself because my wife sees something there that others do not and it honestly hurts her and my daughter, when I cut myself down.

    I consider myself a lucky guy because my wife is beautiful inside and out and while she’s trimmed down, she hasn’t always been slim and fit. But I love her because of “her”, not the body.

    It’s OK to not be happy with your weight, because it’s good to try and get to a healthy point that is less stressful on your body. But it should never be because of trying to please someone else. You have to find peace with you first, then work on getting healthier “for you”. Not all of us are built to be tiny and we shouldn’t try to be something we can never be. You’re beautiful already. Accept that and start living your life.

    • Marianna

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting! I blogged your response :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/itslikemusic Melody Calvert

    I’m one of those girls that used to be really curvy in high school, but I was semi-small. I couldn’t wear anything smaller than a size-13 because my hips were wide; however, when I wore A-line dresses or anything that used my waist, I was a size 4. Talk about curvy. Anyways, I hated how I looked in high school. I couldn’t wear the things so-and-so wore, I never got the guys like so-and-so did, it must have been because I was “fat.” Ahem, *bullsh*t*… I was not fat, especially not, now knowing what happens to me when I find super-duper happiness. Honestly, I’ve never been more happy in my life, and I really haven’t been too much bigger. When I met my husband, I was 123lbs. The first year of being married, I literally gained 100lbs. Then I went through a mini-depression because we were having a hard time getting pregnant, so I gained a little more weight. I finally lost maybe 60lbs, we found out *why* we weren’t getting pregnant (not “me” issues), fixed it, and then I was pregnant! Guess how much weight I gained then? Oh, 50ish lbs… I may not be all happy with how I look, personally, but my husband is. He always has been. I can sit here and tear myself down because my legs look like this, my arms are like this, don’t even get my started on my stretch marks from pregnancy that will just never go away… when I undress to take a shower or change my clothes, my husband doesn’t “see” any of that. He doesn’t share my complaints. He sees what he says is gorgeous and beautiful and every other word sharing the same definition of attractive… and he means it. And really, he’s the only one who matters, who “has to look at me”… I may not be totally happy with myself, but when he gets home from work at the end of the day, and I haven’t put any makeup on, he walks in, happy to see me, gives me a kiss and says I look beautiful today….. he’s my self-esteem boost, and he keeps me happy in every way possible. And it’s all because I am so happy with him, our toddler, and our second on the way. And I guess I wouldn’t change a thing.

    • Marianna

      Thanks for sharing that. It’s a very personal thing that not a lot of people would feel so open to sharing so I appreciate your story. <3 These are things I think about when it comes to anticipating the changes that will come when I start having kids. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/kareniinaa Karen Del Angel Kaligaris

    Love this. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/llumpkin2 Lisa Lumpkin

    Thank you so much for this. I haven’t gained any weight recently, but my perspective has changed. I am not a small girl, but for about a year, I’d made complete peace with myself and I believed I was beautiful. I started going through a difficult time recently and everything fell. I look in the mirror and I know, logically, it is completely distorted in my mind. I have to change how I’m thinking. This was what I needed today. Thank you.

    (My boyfriend thinks I’m gorgeous and tells me all of the time. I need to start believing him and not just saying. “no I’m not” as a reflex.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/acabeyta Angela Abeyta

    Skinny girl here chiming in. Just wanted to let you know that your words are so true-weight has nothing to do with happiness. I am naturally small/petite, but I often catch myself worrying about an imaginary tummy roll. If we as women don’t love ourselves for our accomplishments, personality, intelligence (qualities that don’t fade over time) then we will never be happy with ourselves. And that model is gorgeous because she believes that she is.

    • Marianna

      And skinny girls are real women too! I hate hearing the whole “real women have curves” and I believe Molls has touched on this topic before. Ooooh boy that’s a whole other article, but Molls nailed it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mrlanier Meaghan Lanier

    I was very unhappy with my body and my weight in high-school. Then I gained 100lbs throughout college. Since July 11th, I’ve been working on losing weight and I am currently a half pound away from losing 30lbs. What I’ve been thinking lately is a combination of two things: (1) Although I definitely was overweight in high-school, I didn’t look nearly as horrible as I thought I looked by then. I mean, I thought I was a whale. After gaining 100lbs, I know now that, while not necessarily at a healthy weight, I certainly wasn’t as huge as I thought. (2) If I had only dedicated myself to fitness and health back then, I would already be at my goal weight (my goal weight is 30lbs less than my high-school weight). That frustrates me beyond belief. Most importantly, I’ve learned that, no matter how much weight I lose (if I don’t make it to my goal weight, if I do, or if I surpass it), I am always going to have wide hips, a big butt, etc. And I’m okay with that. In fact, I’m happy about it. I think curves are beautiful. The important thing is to be healthy, happy, and love yourself.

    • Marianna

      Meaghan thanks for sharing that! I really connected to that. <3

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=506545878 Kristie Forzese Bringhurst

    Whenever I see an commercial or billboard that makes me feel bad about myself for not being pretty or skinny enough (which is a lot) I go to the Beauty Redefined website and realize that it’s all a lie. There’s a reason when I go shopping that the shirt I love is sold out in my size. I’m more the norm than I sometimes let myself believe.


  • http://www.facebook.com/dancerLiz88 Elizabeth Michelle

    Thanks for this article! I’m 4’11 and about 128 pounds, which is considered overweight because of how short I am! It’s a continual struggle to lose weight and frustrating sometimes. I’m a dancer, too, but luckily my weight has never been an issue in that regard. (I’m not a professional, by any means). I’d like to lose some weight, but I’ve also been trying to accept myself for the way I am.

  • http://www.facebook.com/MaryJoe28 MJ Rojas

    I’ve always been under body scrutiny because I used to be an athlete when I was little (artistic gymnastics and ballet) and I vividly remember that when I was 7 years old, the World Health Organization working with the Sports Ministry did a huge program where they would calculate one’s body mass and such. I remember that by athlete standards, I was “overweight” and I really wasn’t! I was about 4 feet tall and 26 kilograms, which is not bad at all, I was thin, just not skinny.

    That totally scarred me for life.I’ve always been self aware of it,specially because I was the “fat one” of my friends circle,my bff is super skinny by nature so by comparison I look “fat” next to her. I live in a country where looks are pretty high on the society ranks (Venezuela) and people here are obsessed with being thin.I went to England for a summer camp when I was 14 and back then there was the mad cow desease so all I ate was chicken and potatoes in all possible ways of cooking it,so when I came back I was a little chubby. Then I got braces and I lost like 20 pounds in 4 months. I looked thing and ragged and everyone kept asking if I was sick. I have very high cheekbones so I looked even MORE sick than most.I was like “seriously? First I’m too fat and now I’m too skinny? Make up your mind!”

    Anyway, my point is that people will always have an opinion about how you should look and how much you should weight, but in the end, it’s one’s opinion about ourselves that matter. I’ve recently become more comfortable with myself and I notice that if you believe you’re attractive and pretty, people will too. :)

    Thanks for another great post girl!

    • http://www.facebook.com/WritingInBed Marianna Tabares

      You know you foooyne tho, right?

  • Anonymous

    My mother recently lost a lot of weight- going from a size 26 to a size 8. It didn’t make her a happier person. She tells me that I would be happy if I were thin. I actually feel very happy most of the time. I am trying to eat better and work out, but for me, not for anyone else. I think on my frame, a size 14 is perfect. Sometimes talking to my mom can be really discouraging though. It’s sad that all she thinks of is body image. There is something else missing for her.

    • http://www.facebook.com/WritingInBed Marianna Tabares

      Man that hurts to hear, mainly because my mom often says I’d look better if I lost some weight. I’m still gonna be me on the inside. And I would LOVE to be a size 14. It’s dangerous tho. Things get too sexy when I hit 14/16.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1427220065 Kelly Marie

    Thank you for this article, it really made me think as well as want to be nicer to myself. I really appreciate it : )

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=15612242 Sarai Garnett

    Be your own best friend because you’re going to be stuck with you a very long time. :o) Enjoy your shapes and sizes girls-life is way too short not to!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=15612242 Sarai Garnett

    :) oops!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1300236674 Melanie Mccauley

    This article (and comments) have really made me feel so much better about who I am and how I look. I’ve always been a heavier girl, but it runs in my family. I always knew that I wasn’t ‘skinny’, but that wasn’t really an issue. But, in my JR year of High School, my parents split, I was taking all AP classes, nothing was going right, and food was there. I gained almost 40 lbs in two years, and didn’t even realize what I was doing to my body. I have really thin skin, and suddenly my stomach was covered in stretch marks. Then it was my legs. Then my arms. And, suddenly, I was a senior who couldn’t even wear a T-shirt, because I felt disfigured. Now, I’m in my first year of college,and working on getting healthy again. I don’t want to be skinny, I just want to be the person I used to be. It really helps to know that there are other people out there who are dealing with the same issues. Thank you.

    • Marianna

      Hey Melanie. Thanks for sharing this. I think that beyond just looks, people don’t realize that our bodies affect us because they’re all we have and we have them for the rest of our lives. And after seeing how much praise is given to other women’s figures, we start to dislike our own so much that we lose sight of what’s good about what we have. The effort you are putting into your health will pay off greatly because the reward is a healthier, more comfortable life. Weight loss, at least in my perspective, will be a pleasant side effect of your efforts. If that makes any sense?

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