I’m officially at the stage in my life where I prioritize comfort over cuteness. If you catch me looking cute, on any given day, it’s because I got lucky with some comfy, cute clothes. My plantar fasciitis dictates the kind of shoes I can wear, so you won’t find me dead in a pair of heels or flats. When I go for a walk in my neighborhood, I look like an old lady in Vegas. You know why? Because I’ve learned some valuable lessons about beauty.
Several months back I hosted a dinner party. A friend brought his girlfriend and she was a total hottie. Now, before I continue, I want to say that I’ve made it my mission in life to unsubscribe from the conditioning that made me feel that there was only one mold for physical beauty. I have had to make conscious decisions to override my programming and recognize that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. This has taken a lot of practice and positive self-talk, but I digress.
The woman walked in and my mind immediately started comparing my body to hers. I didn’t allow this to affect my interaction with her, but it poked at me nonetheless. I was kind to her, I complimented her outfit, I refilled her champagne, and I told the voice in my head to back the fuck off. But the mind is a battlefield, y’all. My inner critic was like “Did you see Ralph just check her out right now? Did you see him laugh at what she said?” And even though I checked her out and laughed at what she said, I couldn’t help the stew of insecurity that was bubbling inside of me.
She left that night and I felt so drained from the inner battle. I didn’t know how to make myself feel better. Ralph gave me all the reassurance in the world, but the problem was not with him, it was with myself. My therapist reminded me, a few days later, that my physical form is the least important thing about me. She told me to make a list of all the things that are great about me. The real me. Those are the things that stand the test of time. Not just the details of my curvaceous bod.
T’was a tough assignment, but I did it. I made the list and I realized that I do really bring a whole lot more to the table than my physique. My body is probably not considered “summer-ready,” but it’s ready for the summer, honey. It’s the 4th of July, I’m going to a pool party, I’m wearing a two-piece bathing suit, and I dare anybody to tell me that I shouldn’t. I don’t want to have any silly expectations of my body. I don’t want to hide my body because it doesn’t look like someone else’s. I don’t want to put on uncomfortable clothes to smash and tuck all of the parts of myself that are going to be there when the clothes come off. Wrinkles. Stretch marks. Cellulite. Tummy rolls. Beauty is a spectrum. Confidence is sexy. And don’t you forget it.