Do you remember that old game on Sesame Street? They’d display four images on the screen while they played the sang, “One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just doesn’t belong.” I loved that game as a child. And no wonder, even as an adult I like finding patterns and organizing.
Wanna play? “Three of these things belong together. Three of these things are kind of the same. But one of these things just doesn’t belong here! And now it’s time to play our game!”
“Take a guess at what just doesn’t belong here.”
That’s right. Me. I don’t belong among fashion models- among beautiful women. I just don’t fit. At least that’s what I always believed.
What we surround ourselves with matters. What we surround ourselves with can alter our point of view, shift our frame of reference, and redefine normal.
Let’s take the time I spotted zombies on Pinterest.
What I found on Pinterest were hundreds of beautiful well-dressed women who looked like me. There were thousands of pictures of gorgeous fat women sporting sweet styles.
Like this chic chick…
And this daring diva…
And this femme fatale…
I pinned and I pinned and I pinned. I may have even gotten a little obsessed; there were just so many beautiful clothes. In my size! And so many inspiring women. Women my size, only lovely and confident and fierce! I saved hundreds of stunning photos, merely searching for wardrobe inspiration. I only wanted to finally learn to dress my size 20 frame. Without meaning to, I also began shifting my perspective. All those curvy divas were influencing my perception of beautiful and I didn’t even notice.
That is, until I spotted the zombies. There I was one day, happily scrolling through Pinterest, pausing to pin any gorgeous fashionistas who caught my eye. I had been saving picture after picture, when I gave a little start. In the corner of my screen, sticking out like a sore thumb among all the suggested plus sized fashion pins, was what looked like a row of zombie women. The glaring contrast of the photo caught my attention and I stopped scrolling long enough to get a long look.
Those weren’t zombies.
They were models. Fashion models. The runway models for the Alexander Wang 2013 collection to be specific.
I laughed out loud. I cheered. I may have even cried a bit. Because right then, I began to realize, perhaps it wasn’t me all this time who didn’t fit among beautiful women. Perhaps I had been surrounding myself with the wrong things. So I pinned those zombie ladies to My Curvy Style board with the caption, “Alexander Wang Spring ’13….I am only pinning this because at first glance I thought it was a picture of zombies. Then, I realized…o, that is supposed to be beautiful. Apparently my obsession with plus size fashion is beginning to change my perception of what a “normal” woman looks like.”
And they’re still jarring, those zombie ladies. Whenever I thumb through “My Curvy Style” board looking for a certain pin or a bit of fashion inspiration, that photo catches my eye and arrests my scrolling. Even when I’m nowhere near my computer, I often remember them.
They remind me not to swallow the fashion industry’s version of normal.
They point out that perception matters.
They convince me that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.
Most of all, they reassure me, that among beautiful women, I belong.