With express’ fashion issue out on the streets, blogger Dee Morgan lets us in on a little secret – being comfortable in your own skin is always in vogue.
I am fat and I am beautiful. I love my body, how I move and feel and touch. And I love how my body looks as well: every curve and every roll, whether it’s gloriously naked or wearing sensuous fabrics, is a delight to my eye.
For many people, the notion of beauty and fat even being in the same postcode is a hard one to fathom. Surely fat is as far from beautiful as you can get? But ‘fat’ is only a descriptor. The word is perceived negatively because of all the horrid social and media stereotypes we’re fed about it every day. Truthfully, fat doesn’t equal unhealthy. Fat doesn’t equal ugly. Fat only equals, well, fat.
And me? I’m fat! I’m curvaceous, voluptuous, rotund, zaftig, fleshy and extremely lovely to hug. It’s obvious, just by looking at me, that my body is fat. I’m big-boned, so my flesh covers it amply and it does so naturally.
Beauty is a bit more in the eye of the beholder – but really, I couldn’t give two tosses what anyone else thinks of me or if they choose to call me beautiful (although plenty of people do, which is lovely). I think I’m beautiful and I worked a long time on my self-esteem to get to that point. For a long time I held onto a hurtful thing my mother had said to me as a young teenager. It was one of those well-meaning comments that had the completely opposite effect and it left a bruise for years. (Why a bruise, and not a scar? Because a bruise hurts every time you bump up against it, and that’s exactly what this was – a memory that hurt every time I thought of it.) My mother had said to me: “You’ll never be beautiful, only interesting-looking.”
That was a zinger! To not be thought beautiful by my own mother. I know, now, that she thought of ‘interesting-looking’ as a compliment – possibly even a better way to be than beautiful. But I believed what she said. I wasn’t beautiful. I wasn’t ideal. For many years, every time I was complimented or admired or people discussed the difference between aesthetics and beauty, a little voice in the back of my brain said to me in my mother’s tone: “You’re not beautiful, though.”
But I figured out, eventually, that beauty isn’t what my mother thinks it is. It’s what I think it is. I started with something small (well, comparatively): my lips. I always admired my lips – thought they were pretty damned perfect. I never could find anything to dislike about them.
But if my lips, why not other parts of my body? My toes were pretty awesome. My back rolls always made me smile – they were so much like my mothers. My cleavage was perpetually epic. My freckles pleased me. The more I examined myself, the more I saw to appreciate and admire.
This is what I eventually realised: Yes, I’m interesting-looking. But I’m also pretty. I’m beautiful and I’m gorgeous. I’m stunning, baby! There is no dichotomy, no either-or. I am all of those things, because I look at myself with love.
Whether I’m clothed or naked, made-up or fresh-faced, crying or smiling, muzzy with sleep or hyped on caffeine – I am beautiful. AND interesting-looking.
And you know what? So are all of you. Look at yourself. See yourself as more than a collection of body-parts you dislike (yes, those freckles, or chins, or cellulite or nipple-hairs or fat knees – and I have all of those). See yourself as a whole person, with a body that (mostly) works and a brain that spills out words and friends who love you for who you are. Look at yourself and see yourself as beautiful.
You are. And I am too. | Dee Morgan
Dee is an ambassador for Love Your Body Day, a worldwide movement that calls for body acceptance and health at any size. In New Zealand, Love Your Body Day is run by Eating Difficulties Education Network (EDEN). EDEN seeks to create a world which values body trust, body satisfaction, size acceptance and diversity and does this by providing personal and group counselling, as well as working at the level of public health promotion and eating issues prevention. If you have issues with eating, body image or self esteem, visit www.eden.org.nz to find out more about accessing EDEN’s services.