Beauty: Diary of a Curvy Girl (or how I learned to give myself a break)

What happens when a former, life-long "tiny girl" is suddenly dubbed "plus sized" by her own industry? Welcome to my personal journey...

Curvy goes in and out of style. Marilyn wore it well.

I am the girl that was skin and bones until puberty, and then I was pretty much skin and bones, but with curves. I ate whatever I wanted, and I was active. 

The thing about our society is that we are hyper-focused on how we look. This has been the case since I was young. Not every woman is obsessed with her body, or feels societal pressures, but it is definitely more common than not.

Total Body Shaming - an Internet Trend

Ladies, how many of you can relate to this? When I was in my early 20s, I felt fat. I'd look back at my teenage body and wish I looked like that. When I was in my early 30s, I looked back at my 20 yr old self and realize how awesome I looked. The same thing occurs now that I am into my 40s. My life has been a continual struggle of trying to be perfect on the outside, trying to live up to the ideal...always trying.

More of the same. The girl on the left looks great, and she is by no means too thin, but the girl on the right is adorable. She is not fat. 

I have always been a petite girl. Throughout my life, the weight loss struggles were in my head. I never got any bigger than a size 4 - small by anyone's definition.

Here I am at age 23, on the left. I thought I needed to lose weight.

My body is different now. I am over 40. I started menopause. I had surgery on my knee last year and lost 6 months of working out. I am a single mom who works and goes to school. I am exhausted. Yet I still allow myself to feel that none of these are excuses to have put on weight. I allow the number on the scale to dictate how I feel about myself, forgetting that I am a great mom; that I am smart, funny and a good friend; forgetting that I am a family person, and would do anything for those I love.

What I do think about, all the time, hourly, is what I weigh. How I look. I think about it as often as I think about my children, which is always.

This is me, about five years ago. I remember wishing I had the body I did when I was 20. 

While I am not about to confess what I weigh or the size I am now, I will say this: in my industry, being around models and cameras all the time, I am considered plus sized. The worst part of it is that I am reminded by people all the time. That I am not "myself" (thin); that I cannot possibly be happy with the body I have now; that I look huge in certain outfits. These things are all true, but I am on a journey to a body type that I feel comfortable with, not what society tells me I should be.

Here I am at work last year. You can clearly see the aging and the weight on my back and arms. 

I for one have had enough body shaming to last me a lifetime. I think it sets a horrible example for the young girls of today, and I wish that people could focus on something else, anything else. I have no control over what others say and do, but I can begin with myself. For the last few weeks, I have begun, finally, to give myself a break. I don't weigh myself obsessively every single morning. I eat healthy most days, and I exercise when I can. I am slowly losing weight, and I will get to my goal in my time.

Finally, this is me now, age 43. I was happy to be with one of my best friends that night, but I cropped the pic when we took it, to hide my stomach and legs.

I will add one caveat for those who say to do it for my health. I go to the doctor every year, and have all my labs done. They are always good, healthy, normal numbers.

I recently spoke with a male friend about my struggles, and he was surprised by what we girls go through. He exclaimed, "I love a curvy girl's body! It's beautiful." It was then that I realized that it was time to ease up on myself, and remember who and what I am. Those things will never be defined by a number on a scale.

I challenge every girl and woman to do the same. Be comfortable, be confident, be healthy - but don't be defined by what's on the outside. In the end, it will only get you so far.


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