TW: Disordered eating, weight loss, mental health, unhealthy relationships, overexercising
I have always been captivated by the world of fashion and models in particular. I always wanted to be up on a cat walk showing off the latest trends in the fashion industry. Before I was even a teenager I was told that I should become a model (it doesn’t hurt that I’m the same height now that I was in seventh grade), and even though it was a dream of mine I never decided to pursue it. Meaningless excuses were always my reason for not following this dream; “I’m focusing on school”, “I’m not tall enough”, “I’m too fat”, “I want to lose some weight first”. Eventually I learned to reject these excuses and make the decision to take the first steps to becoming a model.
“I’m focusing on school.”This excuse was more of a lie than an excuse.
I think out of all the reasons I had told myself I couldn’t model this was the one that was blatantly a lie to myself. When I first started seriously considering modeling I was a Sophomore in college. The university that I went to put on a fashion show each year and I wanted to audition to go to be a model in the show. When considering on whether or not to audition I had told myself not to for one large reason, “I’m a student and this will get in the way of my academic studies”. Simply put, this was not true. I’ve always been a busy person with many things going on. In high school I was in musicals, marching band, the band for our show choir, I was editor in chief of the newspaper, started the poetry club, and many other things. Of course, I can’t say I did all these things well, but I did many of them well, and was able to balance a pretty hectic schedule. Deep down I knew if I wanted to model I could do it. I was a good student, and always had been. I had a lot of free time that I generally filled up with working many hours at work (when I didn’t need to at the time), and spending time with the then boyfriend (now ex- boyfriend). I could have easily cut back on hours at work, and that wasn’t the issue. I hesitated about auditioning because of my boyfriend at the time. I didn’t want to take away time with him because deep down I was afraid that if we didn’t spend every free second together I would lose him. Obviously, this is not the sign of a healthy mentality, but this belief was deep rooted in my concern for his fat phobic friends and my own complicated relationship with food, I thought that if these were the people that he wanted to spend time with and I didn’t fit in than the inevitable was going to happen, I would lose him. These are topics I will address in later posts. Eventually, I did end up auditioning and actually got into the show, but ended up not walking because the designer was not able to finish the garment on time. I again used the excuse of school and the show being the week before finals in attempt to brush off how heartbroken I was really feeling about the whole thing.
“I’m not tall enough.”To this day I’m not sure why I’ve always felt this way. I’m 5’10”.
I’m going to keep this paragraph short because even when I look deep down into myself, I’m not sure as to why I believed I was not tall enough for modeling. Part of it probably has something to do with there was a point in time where I hated every inch of my body from my hair down to my big toe. I could pick out a “flaw” in everything. I would tell myself “sure, I’m tall, but I’m not as tall as some models”. Not looking like many models out there was a big set back for me, and even though plus sized models have been around for decades, I never thought I looked like any of them. At the time I thought that meant I couldn’t model. Now I realize that models come in all heights, and with a variety of looks. Just because I’m not six feet tall, tan, with a perfectly toned body, does not mean that I cannot be successful as a model.
“I’m too fat.”Ahhh yes, the three words that I had used to keep myself from doing the many things I want to do.
Thinking you’re fat due to impossible societal standards is one thing, but I am actually fat. I have fat, squish, curves, junk in the trunk, whatever you want to call it, and I have used this part of my existence as an excuse to not be the person I want to be. I’m about to lay down a truth that I hope many of you already know; fat people can be happy, and many of us our happy. It’s amazing how much I had let society convince me that the reason for my own unhappiness was my fatness. Somewhere along the way I had convinced myself that taking up space was a bad thing. I had told myself that as a woman I needed to disappear. If as white, middle-class, young, in a heterosexual relationship cisgender woman, who doesn’t have a disability, I had felt like society didn’t want me here, than I can’t even begin to imagine how persons of color, persons who are poor, persons who are old, persons who are not in a heterosexual relationship, persons whose gender is not the same as what they were assigned at birth, and disabled persons feel. As much as I’m going to use this blog to write about myself, I want people within the communities listed above to know that I see you, and I am working to do better to support you. I have privilege and I’m going to use it to create a space in which all humans are represented and heard.
Later on I will write many blog posts better addressing my own experiences as a fat woman in today’s world, but I wanted to take a moment to let the people who do not look like me know that I’m limited to my own experiences and voice, but I know that things aren’t right in the world, and I want to support you how I can. Always feel free to reach out to me to educate me in your own experience, I’m here to learn.
“I want to lose weight first.”Who hasn’t said this in some form?
The idea of having to change our body in order to do the things we want to do seems to be a concept written in our DNA. Maybe it’s just me, and the people I surround myself with, but many of my friends who have engaged with me in a discussion about their bodies have told me how something in the way they look is keeping them from doing something they want to do. I’ve had people tell me that they don’t want to start training for a marathon because their legs are too short and they don’t look right in shorts, that they don’t want to start dating because their stomach is too big, that they don’t want to smile because they don’t like their teeth, the list could go on forever. I understand that sometimes ours bodies don’t allow us to do things, everyone functions in different ways, and we all have varying abilities, but I’m not talking about not doing something because you physically can’t, I’m talking about not doing something because you believe the way you physically look is preventing you from doing so. For me, I’ve told myself that I need to lose weight first in order to wear certain things, and do certain things such as dancing or modeling. Eventually I got sick of this idea. I’m not sure when I decided to reject what my mind had told me for so long. I think one day after having a meltdown about how I didn’t burn as many calories working out that day as I had eaten (I used to go onto the elliptical and force myself to stay on until I had burned around 1000 calories, and then I would make sure to only eat about 1000 calories), I decided that this wasn’t working for me. Working out for hours a day, being sore every day, surviving off of protein shakes and vegetables, trying to figure out if I felt terrible because of my mental health, sickness, or hormones, wasn’t working for me. I have a hard time believing it works for anyone. So, in true Gemini style, I decided to stick my finger into one more pie, and started out on a journey of self acceptance. I’m not going to lie to you and say that it’s been easy, I’m not going to lie and say that sometimes I don’t go back to the comfort of using my weight as an excuse to not be who I want to be, but what I will tell you is that my life has changed for the better since I’ve started out on this journey.
I’ve touched on many topics during this initial post, and I hope to dive in deeper to each of them as this blog grows. I hope that I will inspire some of you to do something you thought you could never do. I hope to continue to grow as a model and become a better person. And most of all, I hope you all enjoy reading about my journey and feel inspired to continue to accept yourself where you’re at.