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:
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