Don’t Wait Until You’re Thin to Be Beautiful
A large portion of my life has been spent on hold, just waiting for something to occur. I’m sure I’m not the only one. Sure, we wait in lines, wait for that upcoming vacation, or wait for a package in the mail, but that’s not quite the type of suspense I mean.
I’ve wasted too much time waiting to live.
Now some of it was time well spent; I’m actually really glad I waited so long to get that picture tattooed on my back. That one I carried around in my purse for a few years. You know, the one of a little stoned mushroom dude holding a pot leaf over his head. Yup, I waited just long enough to come to my senses on that one. No, that isn’t weighing me down at all.
Yet, most of it has been wasted time. I have blown years and years just waiting and wishing and hoping to be thin. I have put so much of life on hold based on the assumption that truly living is for the thin girls. The lovely willowy, reedy women. The ones who get to shop on the other side of the store. The NON-plus-size side.
When I was 19, I had more than your usual obsession with piercing. I had holes all up my ears and one in my nose. Another stud graced my tongue and a bright red jewel sparkled in my lip. That wasn’t enough for me though; I yearned for a belly button ring. As far as I was concerned a little bling on the belly was the height of metal fashion and I knew I needed one. Still, I waited. What was the point of a jewel where no one would ever see it? How could I ever sport a belly button ring on a belly that was anything less than flat? A belly as decidedly round as mine couldn’t ever be exposed to light. Obviously a piercing was out of the question- at least until I lost weight. And so I waited; I waited to get my navel pierced until I had abs to be proud of.
That was 15 years ago, and, yup, you guessed it: my belly’s still not flat. It’s also still not pierced. Don’t cry for me, though. In the grand scheme of things, that wasn’t that big of a deal. But that wasn’t the only thing I put on hold.
I have been waiting for the day when I could smile and make eye contact. Waiting until I was worthy. Now if you know me, you’re probably getting a little dubious here. I can hear your voices in my head, “Kate, you smile all the time. You even laugh. In fact, you’ve got a smile and laugh so infectious and booming you turn heads when you get going in public.” That’s true. At a joke, I’ll smile and laugh, sure, but at a person, particularly a male stranger, never.
I learned a lesson a long time ago. Fat girls aren’t allowed to smile at men. Fat girls should never make eye contact. Obesity is like a contagious disease. Apparently, the shame of it is transmitted through the simple act of maintaining eye contact and smiling. So, like a good fat girl who doesn’t want to contaminate the poor guy sitting next to me on the bus, or walking past me in the hall, or driving in the next lane, I’ve kept my eyes straight ahead and never, ever smiled. I’ve been waiting for that beautiful day, the day I’m skinny, that blessed day when I’ll be thin enough to smile.
Speaking of beauty, that’s the clincher, the thing I’ve really been waiting for. I’ve had my whole life on hold for the day that I’m thin enough to be beautiful. Beauty is an elusive thing, and I’ll admit that it’s not exactly equivalent to being skinny but obviously the two are related, right? The message of our culture, from the media to the playground, is “fat is NOT beautiful.” Sure, you can be thin without being beautiful but you can never ever be beautiful without being thin.
And as a NOT-beautiful woman, I’ve always known there were things I didn’t deserve. I didn’t deserve to dress in certain clothes: fashionable clothes, colorful ones, form-fitting frocks, and most especially, the dreaded horizontal stripe. Fat girls wear black, baggy and frumpy outfits. We cover our bellies and our legs and our wobbly upper arms. We try not to jiggle in public. It’s a public service really; we know it grosses people out.
This waiting has effected even my stride. I’ve never moved way a beautiful woman does. I’ve shuffled, slid, and clumped. Heaven forbid a plump girl should glide or, worse yet, sway. I’ve kept my chin down too, while I was at it, in proper chubby mortification. I’ve tried to take up as little space as possible, and believe me, in a 5’10”, 270 pound body, that means serious slumping, gut sucking, and corner hugging. Knowing I was way over my maximum allowed space in the world, I’ve wasted so much time trying to take up less of it. And I’m over it.
Did you hear me!? I AM OVER IT! I am so done with not being beautiful. I am completely through with waiting. I am going to be beautiful today.
Six months ago I decided I was going to behave as if I was beautiful. I just decided one day that I wasn’t going to wait until I was thin anymore. I was going to look, talk, and walk the part. The effect on my wardrobe was immediate. I became a shopper, a fashionista even. You could even go so far as to say I’m obsessed with style. That wasn’t the only outward change either. I’ve taken to wearing makeup and high heels. I’m (gasp!) blowing drying my hair and styling it. Not to mention, my Facebook friends are probably sick of my newly developed habit of posting “selfies.” I stand up straight now, and man, do I ever sway. Thankfully that’s just the outward signs of what’s finally beginning to be an inward change. I’m starting to believe it. The wait is over. Big-fat me, all 270 jiggling glorious pounds of me, is suddenly beautiful.
Because, you know what? It was a lie that I don’t deserve to be beautiful. I am beautiful. You are beautiful. I don’t care if you are a size 2 or a size 22. Tell yourself that you are lovely and behave as if it was true…even on the days when you doubt yourself…even on the days when the lie comes shouting back that you are unworthy. Don’t believe it,
Let’s not wait anymore! Let’s smile at the world.
Author’s Note: I copied this classic from the beginning of my journey from its original home on my Blogger site, Beauty for Ashes Style. It was originally posted on 9/25/13 and I’ve come a long way since then!