I was never one of those skinny girls growing up. For a long time, this bothered me. I never wore a swimsuit, hated shorts even in ninety-degree weather, and I was generally down on myself. My poor body-image and lack of body positivity led to me not taking care of myself because I figured, “What’s the point? I’m going to be fat anyway.”
As I got older and more immersed into body-positive culture, I met a lot of people that were larger than me and sexy as hell. I was shocked how people flocked to them and they had—gasp—cellulite like me! But they didn’t care. They loved every part of themselves. Even if they had struggles at times, overall they were confident.
I wondered what was different about these people and why I couldn’t be more like them. So I started looking at the things they did and compared that to what I was doing.
The first thing I noticed was they all wore swimsuits and they certainly didn’t apologize for it.
They didn’t lean over and cover their bodies so no one would see. They stood tall and walked with elegance to the pool or hot tub.
I also noticed that they didn’t walk around in sweatpants and baggy t-shirts. They dressed nice. Groomed. Put effort into their appearance. They believed they were worth that time and effort, so I believed it too.
Developing body positivity
I started dressing nicer. Wearing makeup just for fun. I got contacts and stopped hiding my face with glasses. I even started wearing shorter skirts and swimsuits!
But I still wasn’t quite where I wanted to be with my confidence. While I was all for being healthy and losing weight, I knew that I needed to love myself as the ‘fat girl’ before making drastic changes in diet and exercise. Otherwise I’d find something else to pick apart. My teeth, my mom belly, my uneven eyes…
Learning to love my body as it was seemed like the best step.
Shortly after this realization, I opened my email to find a note asking if I’d be interested in posing as a figure model. Before I could talk myself out of it, I agreed. I was going to pose nude for a bunch of strangers! It was for a sex-positive/body-positive studio called Catalyst. So they were even looking for someone like me, with a curvier body.
Being a figure model
Of course, I was terrified to take off my robe once I got there, but I did it! Once I was in front of everyone, however, I stopped noticing the fact that I was naked. I was far more focused on the chill in the air and the nails not flush in the wall.
Once we were finished, I got to look at the drawings people made of me and I was surprised to find that they were beautiful.
I was so happy! People didn’t see me how I thought they did and that helped me see myself clearer. I even came home with an original drawing of me!
Loving myself and developing body positivity hasn’t been easy. It’s taken years and I do occasionally fall back into bad habits. But when that happens, I remember how others saw me. Then I take a deep breath and do something loving for myself.