What Size Is Beautiful?

In a society that praises thin, you have to wonder: is there a magic size or weight that gains you entrance in the hallowed club of beautiful and if so, what is it? In thinking of this, I think of this quote from Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “This above all: to thine own self be true.”

Now what does this really mean? How can one be able to be true to himself/herself? My interpretation of that quote would be to embrace what makes me ME. I have a quirky, off-beat sense of humor that can be a little dead-pan and biting. I use humor, wit, and sometimes sarcasm to make up for what I feel are my shortcomings, especially my biggest one, my weight. I’ve been many sizes over the years and have had different views of myself at those sizes. When I was a size 6, I felt flirty; I was more likely to buy short skirts to show off my legs and felt powerful and sexy. When I was a size 8, I felt a little more womanly, I had more curves and got a lot of attention on two specific areas: my chest and my butt. Now, let me tell you, I felt conflicted about how exactly to feel about the extra attention on these areas. For one thing, I’m a black female; I don’t want a big butt, a nice firm curve is great, but a big bubble butt is something I’ve never wanted. Secondly, I’m a black female with female family members who tend to have large chests; I thank God daily that I missed the hereditary butt; however, I didn’t escape my family genetics scott-free, I got the family breasts. I’m a 25-year-old female with no kids and natural size 38D breasts. I will admit that I’m not necessarily complaining about having my assets appreciated, but I’m not blind or deaf to the common conception that a woman who might be no more than a size 6 with my breast size tends to be more the ideal.

I have seen in my journey to MY ideal beautiful size that what I see in the mirror does weight heavily my decision on who I’ll consider dating as well as the clothes I buy. When I’m at my “skinny weight”, I tend to lean more towards the cocky bad boys who were made for quick flings. When I got more curvy, I tended to lean more towards the “nice guys” who were made for long-term relationships in which I felt secure in the knowledge that in their eyes, I was always beautiful even if I wasn’t model skinny. When it came to my clothing, I would dress more girly when I was “thin”, but when I was “fat”, I did the cardinal sin of “big girl fashion” and dressed to hide the lumps with baggy clothes and essentially dressed like I hated my body rather than make the best of how I was in that present moment and give myself the courage and honesty to work my way to a size and body I could love and felt that “yes, this is the true me”.

A few months ago, I got to my heaviest weight ever and was a solid size 12. Now at 5’10, this wasn’t a complete and utter travesty; but when I stood in front of the mirror with my naked body staring back at me, I realized that I had let things go too far and I didn’t feel beautiful anymore. In the past couple of months, I’ve lost nearly 30 pounds and have started to see the “old me”, the me that wanted to stand out and be fearless in how I presented myself. And let me tell you, it felt damn good. I realized that part of my decision-making process in concern with who I chose to date had less to do with certain winning attributes and more with those that wouldn’t make me feel fat because to society, they like myself were less than perfect physically and in the eyes of that same society, I was “the hot one” in the relationship. Sad, but honest and that is what I have based my blog on and my new journey in life, honesty.

So in answer to the title question, the size that is beautiful isn’t what society tells you is beautiful; it is the point at which you know without a doubt that you are being true to yourself. Don’t be a follower of the “should be”, be your own leader and step out of the shadows and embrace the true you.

Confessions of an Avid Purger

Purging, good for the soul AND heart? New staff writer Rachel Brownjohn gives a good argument for this in her first post for the blog. Enjoy and if you can relate, comment on the post!

Purging is the best. Like, the BEST.

And no, not the kind you’re thinking.
The purging that comes from cleaning out your closet, or finally sorting through the contents of your neglected refrigerator, or organizing your pencil

bag (you guys remember elementary school), or my FAVORITE, getting rid of the artifacts of a failed relationship.

When I was in second grade my mom and I lived in a duplex with another single mom/kid super duo. That mom dated…. All the time. And she was a regular pro at getting rid of ex’s stuff. She would regularly (about once every 2 months) dispel a box of items, which presumably belonged to the most recent former beaux, from her second story window and onto her side of the lawn. Sometimes those clothes would stay there for a few days. Sometimes they would be gone by the morning. My favorite time, they were gathered by an underwear clad fellow with a cardboard box as he alternatingly offered beseeching apologies and creative slights.

She was a rock star of purging.

I’ve never reached her level of commitment when it comes to ex-boyfriend paraphernalia removal. I tend to keep my irrational actions isolated to late night text messages or boy bashing nights with my girlfriends. When it comes to returning items I’m like Martha Stewart. I package their items attractively and smelling fresh and clean!

It’s a ritual:  Break up. Sort out a time to return items, and go to TOWN! Laundering and folding neatly, being very careful to ensure that all items are returned in PEAK condition, and (depending on the extent of our relationship and the method of return) possibly writing a well thought out note to seem extra graceful. Or dramatic. Depends on the occasion (Once my note read, “I’m sorry, I just can’t keep them, they deserve to be loved”…. It was in reference to sweatshirts, DRAMA!).

Do you remember the musical South Pacific? Or more specifically that catchy old tune that went, “I’m gonna wash that man right out of my hair, and send him on his way!”. This is the break up mantra I follow, and for me, those neatly packed boxes of laundered clothes are my shampoo and water. “I’m gonna pack that box all full of his shirts, and send him on his way!.”

Does getting rid of their stuff erase the heartache? No. Does it erase the memories we shared together? Of course not. But it’s starting fresh, cleaning out the closet, and making room for a new tooth-brush and pair of athletic shorts, a new too-big-T-shirt to fall asleep in, and a new hand to hold.

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Label or Individual

We are all well aware that “what’s in” and “what’s not” are determined by society; but these things are mostly decided by a select few that tried something and made it work. And as a result, gained a following that showed the public how it should be. Two areas in which this is heavily shown is fashion and body image; more times than not, these areas coincide and merge to become the same issue.

With fashion, we are told that to be sexy, edgy, elegant, or professional we have to have a certain look, a certain designer brand, even certain hairstyles. While there are instances in which following a trend can be a game changer for us, it shouldn’t be at the expense of erasing everything that makes us stand out from the crowd. A person’s worth shouldn’t be determined by how many designer labels are in a person’s closet, but should be determined by what that person brings to the table.

There’s a saying by Mark Twain: “Clothes make the man.” This quote has almost been made into a religion. The fashion industry has become a ruling force in society in more ways than the quest in maintaining sartorial perfection. It also affects us mentally and emotionally by making us relive our fears and insecurities about acceptance. We’d like to think that we’re above the need to fit it; after all, we’re adults. We have jobs, responsibilities, and other adult rites of passage. We have friends; we’re well liked at work and have a good life. Logically, we KNOW this; but let’s face it, the junior high/high school experience never ends. The only difference in adulthood is that your parents and teachers can’t help you. The field is wider, there are no real rules, and the gloves are off. It’s truly a matter of who has the stronger mind and personality. So in this final thought, are you a label or a person?

 

 

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