On Monday, after I wrote the post on banning stretch-mark shaming, my friend Tanya wrote in the comments that she “loves my self-confidence.” (She also said her stretch marks are her tiger stripes — they make her look that much more awesome — which I love!)
But her comment about my self-confidence took me back for a second. That is not how I’d describe myself at all. In fact, I’d be more apt to say I’m a people-pleaser, insecure and often attention-seeking (there’s some honesty for ya!).
However, that may just be my “dark side” talking — and you’re welcome for that Star Wars reference. When I was younger, I distinctly remember feeling different from the other girls because I was bigger. Growing up in the ’80s, there was no acceptable way of describing a bigger girl except. “fat.” Even today, terms such as plus-size or curvy are trying to be more subtle about what they’re saying, but let’s face it: they’re still saying that you’re different. You are somehow not the “norm” — whatever that is.
Even with my own personal desire to be more comfortable in my own skin, and the body positive movement growing in popularity, I still feel different. I still feel pressure to lose weight, exercise more, eat less — just to conform. If I order something decadent at a restaurant, I wonder if the other patrons are judging me. If I skip a planned workout, I feel that nagging guilt.
Thankfully, though, my self-confidence has grown stronger since my teenage years. Today, even with lingering spurts of guilt or fear of judgment, I’m learning to like myself more and more. I’m learning to accept my body, and all its perceived “flaws,” and turn my back on society’s definition of what’s normal or beautiful and be content with my own definition.
That doesn’t mean I don’t still strive to make healthy changes — I just try to do them by my own parameters, rather than someone else’s.
The post I wrote on Monday about banning stretch-mark shaming was shared by the model who inspired it — Hunter McGrady.
I’m so glad the post was well received, and thank you to all you new readers who found me because of the post! Encouraging women — and men! — to love who they are and present themselves to the world proudly is a huge passion of mine. While I’m still working on my own self-confidence, I want to encourage others to do the same so we can grow and learn together.
Sometimes I may feel like I’m the embodiment of the phrase “fake it till you make it.” But over time, the more we talk about body positivity and learning to love ourselves, that message will sink in and take root.
I hope it will for you, too.
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