Brands of Truth
March 30, 2010 26 Comments
Good god. Firstly, I am blessed to have an amazing friend in Old Iron who kept me grounded throughout that whole process and allowed me to wallow in self-pity but not get stuck there. The side zipper on my pants broke where I had to hold my pants up while walking so that they wouldn’t fall to the ground, mooning everyone in sight. It was rather annoying. Apparently, South Beach doesn’t sell safety pins so I needed another piece of clothing and pronto. The problem wasn’t so much my inability to find something that fit from the waist down – the challenge was to find anything to get over my chest and cover up my chest. Most dresses sold in stores on Lincoln Blvd are designed for androgynous women with no breasts or very small breasts and limited curves but personally, I found many of them to be very sexy and wished I could find at least one dress that worked. But no. It wasn’t going to happen on Lincoln Blvd. Poor Old Iron came to several stores with me, watching my many attempts and failures, slowly seeing me fall into the pit of despair… until I gave him his “Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free” card when a restaurant hostess mentioned the most fitting words he heard all day: Happy Hour. He is indeed a wonderful friend for putting up with that. But yes – I wallowed for a bit afterwards at my failures – both in my attempts at finding a dress but also as a woman who doesn’t fit the mold of modern beauty & weight. However, I didn’t stay victimized by the afternoons events… snapping out of my self-pity and ended the night on a wonderful note. (I settled on two wonderful skirts instead of summer dresses, although one skirt could be converted into a dress, oddly enough!) Upon our return to the hotel, I updated my Facebook status with the above status. I didn’t want to concentrate on the negative aspect of my experience and truly reflect what has really happened.
When I woke up in the morning, I received this message from a supposed friend of several years, one with a Peter-Pan complex, who is going thru his mid-life crisis, in his early 40s engaged to a 21 yrs old wafer thin Goth-model. I have not once said anything to him or even questioned his actions as I figured he was working out some issues that are currently going on in his life… but his statuses and comments have become increasingly critical and very rude towards anyone that doesn’t fit his perceptions of beauty, which is anyone that doesn’t look like his fiancé. So he felt the enclosed message was necessary in response to my status from the day before, as though I was playing on some dishonest response to my previous day’s activities. (Now I did remove the full names for anonymity purposes) That took the wind out of my sails and once again, demoralized me to no end. Not only had I been beating myself up for my own perceived imperfections but here, a person whom I had once considered an important person in my life had to twist a very simple and honest status into something that was demeaning and rude, playing on my own perceived physical misgivings. It did make me cry.
Now, I fully admit to being a full-figured, robust, curvy, heavy chested woman. It would be ridiculous to believe or state otherwise. I am by no means obese but I still have a long ways to go with my battle of losing weight. Having lost nearly 25 lbs in the last 7 months and down 4 dress sizes, albeit is truly a wonderful feeling, I still carry with me the stigma of being ‘FAT’ or ‘BIG’ which translates psychologically within women as unattractive, ugly and undesirable. Now, I know why I am as I am and accept full responsibility for it… but also refuse to starve myself to fit into the perceived media driven concept of size and beauty or let anyone put me down for who I am, as I am. Life style changes are in progress and continue to be implemented. So while the weight is coming off ever so slowly, it is still coming off – and I am proud of the woman I am and becoming, with or without the weight. I have struggled with my image for a long time and, as the years go by, slowly coming into my own where I’m not defined by the number on a scale or the size of my clothes. Nonetheless, being a full-figured woman still has its challenges in a modern world.
Shopping is an ever more complicated and limiting process. Nothing ever fits properly. Either far too big or far too small, shapeless mumus and old fashioned. It is a feat to find anything that fits. Plus-sized stores offer very little in ways of fashionable and quality affordable clothing (at least here in Canada), but add in the challenge of being a really heavy chested woman, and it’s demoralizing. Even stores like Fredrick’s of Hollywood that carry very large bra sizes, still are too small. Thus further driving the psychological programming that bigger is NOT beautiful… therefore unworthy… therefore unlovable…. therefore – well you fill in the rest. I grew up with a father who still believes that bigger is beautiful but the world around me said and continues to say otherwise. It created a huge conflict within… that at times, resurfaces to rear its ugly head. Thus the ugly monster that almost ruined a wonderful weekend. Almost being the operative word.
What is even more challenging is when the media’s perception of beauty is that thin is sexy, beautiful, and desirable. It’s what makes it onto the magazine covers. Not HEALTHY. Thin. Nowhere does it say sexy, beautiful, desirable AND healthy. It’s a dangerous balance to weigh thin with healthy (all puns intended) and keep the psychological beliefs truthful and honest. There is great danger with what media is selling as beautiful and what we do believe. There is a lack of honesty and truthfulness, both in the media and with the individual thus creating an imbalance in self-image and identity. And for young ladies, that programming starts at a very young age: in our formative pre-teen years. That programming takes YEARS to change, if it ever does. Our perception of beauty is greatly impacted by media but also by circumstances we find ourselves in. Certainly, when things are going wonderfully well in our lives, our self-esteem is at an all time high… and on the flip side, when things are challenging, self-esteem takes a beating. I’m not sure why we, as women, place our beauty, personal worth and value in the hands of the men in our lives. This is not shuffling blame to the men in our lives. No. Not at all. Rather it’s an issue that many women have and must be figured out – it’s internal. Without that personal understanding of self, the self-esteem will always take a beating as it is in the hands of others rather than our own. It is not based on our own personal truths or core values.
At times, I believe it boils down to our formative years and relationship with our fathers, our first love with someone of the opposite sex, combined with our relationships and molding from our mothers. Add in social and media pressures and, well, we women are screwed up for the first 30 some odd years of our lives. Add in weight issues and dear god, have mercy!! PLUS being single… well all I can do is laugh at this. Dating brings out the worst in the battle with self-esteem, bringing out the most shallow aspects of our personalities further setting us back on the emotional and psychological scales of evolution.
Eventually women DO come into themselves and start forming beliefs of their own (rather than the ones taught as the truth) but we have our moments when some of that programming resurfaces as a result of a situation, circumstances and even people. I am in that transitionary stage in my life. While I can usually get over many circumstances by the graces of my own strength and smarts, at times, the loving support of friends is required. I needed the intervention of Old Iron and the validation of my friends to remind me that this so called friend is an ass of epic proportions. His brand of truth is not only unnecessarily demeaning but rude and self-serving, under the guise of love and friendship. He is a product of the times. I feel sorry for him. And yes, I did remove him from my friends list after I gave him my version of the truth, since we were both in the spirit of honesty, afterall. It is not a friendship I want to continue fostering.
There comes a time in everyone’s life where labels such as fat or thin, beautiful or ugly, unworthy or wanted… become simply just that: labels. Rarely accurate, full of misinformation, simply giving you a birds’ eye view of something that may or may not be the truth. And labels, well they come with all sorts of brands. Some fit. Many don’t. Its just about finding your own brand, the one that fits most truthfully and is most flattering. And for now, I am only remaining in the moment. That moment is: I am a full-figured woman. I am bigger than average… whatever average is. While I am not the typical version of beautiful, I am definitely unique – and that is NOT a bad thing. Because in my books: I would rather be unique than be what media deems as beautiful. Unique is far less forgettable than the same ol, same ol.
And should I ever have a child, especially a girl, I want him/her to know the above. I want them to understand that being an individual and unique is indeed truly BEAUTIFUL. That strength of character and values is what makes someone beautiful and desirable and they differ from person to person. That healthy and beauty comes in all sizes and shapes, not pre-determined by media, nor others can determine that for him/her. And that friends who choose to belittle you with comments as the ones I just got or abuse moments of weakness, well, turns out they aren’t friends at all. I would hate for them to have to waste 30 some odd years trying to figure it out, the hard way. Life presents enough challenges as it is… one less set of emotional baggage for them to carry around in life – well that would be beautiful opportunity, indeed.