Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Confident While Plus Size: Part One

Image Credit: Custom-Lettering.blogspot.com

I've had several people ask me how I got my confidence. Trust me, it did NOT come overnight. Let me just say I wasn't always as confident as I am now. Don't get me wrong I have my insecure days and moments just like anyone else, but the majority of the time can't nobody tell me ish about how fabulous I am. I don't mean that in a cocky or arrogant way, I mean that in a I'm a good person and I feel that I am worthy and beautiful inside and out. In other words, why not me? I work hard every day to be the best human being I can possibly be and to do the right thing and THAT in itself makes me feel pretty awesome. But, even though I'm not at my goal weight, I am finally happy in my skin the large majority of the time. With that said, I wasn't always this confident. In fact, I had low self esteem all of my childhood and didn't start to feel OK with me until I was in my early 20s. I always thought I was a good person. I had strong morals and values and was a fun person to be around, but I HATED the way I looked. I want to share my story with you all in hopes that it will help someone get to their confident place.

Society is constantly telling us women we ain't shit. I mean really. We should crawl in a hole and die if we are overweight, have even one wrinkle, don't have make-up on, don't have long hair, and the list goes on. If you don't look like the chicks in the magazines you are hideous! At least that's the message we are bombarded with on the regular. But, chicks like me should have NO confidence at all because I am fat, Black AND dark skin. That's right, I'm what society says is the least desirable woman in the world. I have read study after the study, article after article over the years that say Black woman are last choice. Everyone else is more desirable and worthy than us. Men don't want us, I mean don't all of us have four baby daddy's, have bad attitudes, love to twerk and are on welfare? I mean, that's the message I see in the media ALL DAY EVERYDAY. Ratchet, ratchet, ratchet. And since colorism, especially in the Black community, is still alive and well, dark skin ain't in. If it ain't light it ain't right. So, I've been bombarded with the message all my life from society, the media and sadly people I know, that being a dark skin, overweight Black woman makes me on the bottom of the totem pole.
Senior Prom

Luckily I had an amazing mother who constantly told me I was worthy and I was beautiful. I had awesome family and friends who would tell me the same thing, but yet I still felt UGLY. I wanted to be light skin, I wanted to be thin, I wanted long flowing hair like my cousins, I wanted a more girly voice...I wanted to be everything I was not. And kids can be cruel. We lived in Philly in an all Black neighborhood until I was 8. There, I was ridiculed by the boys telling me I was too dark. All the light skinned girls got all the male attention while they constantly told me how ugly I was. When we moved to the all White suburb of Jenkintown I was ridiculed for being fat in the beginning. Plus, I had to deal with the culture shock and not fitting in. Ironically, the White kids at school would tell me how beautiful my skin tone was, but I still hated it. I didn't see anyone on TV or in magazines that looked like me. The closest was Queen Latifah, but when I was growing up she wasn't the fabulous fashion icon that she is now. The few Black women who were plus size on TV and in movies were usually the butt of the jokes. In addition, there weren't the plus size fashion choices that there are now, especially in juniors sizes. It was hard to be a fashion diva back then. Not feeling good in your clothes doesn't help ones self-esteem.
Me and my mom

I was always confident in who I was as a person, but who I was on the outside was a different story. I suffered from comparison syndrome, meaning I compared myself to all my girlfriends. Why do they get all the boys? Why can't I look like them? Why am I the ugly girl in the group? I'm not pretty enough. I'm too fat. I'm too dark. That's how I always felt. It didn't help that my best friend was a size 0; I think she is now a size 3 haha (love you Maxine!). But, I always compared myself to everyone else instead of realizing everyone comes in all shapes and sizes. Low self-esteem caused me to make cringe worthy choices when it came to men. I dated men I knew good and damn well weren't even close to worthy of me. I was an honor student in high school and college, was ambitious, career focused, goody-two-shoes, over achiever who had never been in trouble, never drank until I was 21, never touched a cigarette or a drug yet I was dating these guys who were the complete opposite. Why? Because in the back of my mind I didn't think I could do better. I didn't think anyone awesome would want me. After all, dark skin overweight Black women are at the bottom of the barrel we gotta take what we can get. That's how I felt.

Me and Maxine, mentioned above, getting ready for Junior prom
Then I had an epiphany in my early 20s. I started to actually believe everything my mom, family and close friends has always been telling me. Everyone is beautiful in their own way. I am just as worthy as anyone else and most importantly I. AM. ME. No one else can say they are me. I am unique and I am beautiful. I have what no one else has...I have ME.That's when my journey towards self-confidence began.

Part Two coming soon...

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