I talk a good game when it comes to loving and believing in yourself, but the truth is I have just as many insecurities as the next person about the way I look and the way I’m perceived. Opposite from the crap we’ve all see on the covers of beauty magazines, I found a post that coveted very curvy women and share it with my lovely wenches. And even though I didn’t realize it, until a few of my trusted wenches opened my eyes, I was regurgitating the same scripts we all grew up with to make me feel better about myself. But it’s not just plumper women, like me, who feel intimidated by the beauty industry standards we all see at the supermarket or on TV.
A little back story: I’m 5’9” and far from skinny. I grew up a tomboy, tallest in my class, and leaned toward a more athletic build with a booty. They used to call me thick. But when I look back at my high school pictures, I had a great body. It was mostly hid behind jeans or sport’s jerseys, but I wasn’t a size zero or two like my friends at school. I averaged between sizes nine and eleven. There were maybe two points in my adult life where I got back to a size eleven and I looked fabulous, but at the time, my self-image was so skewed, I didn’t even realize how amazing I looked. I have something like two or three pictures, and that’s pretty much it.
Do I think I’m ugly? No. I know there are times, when I put effort into it with makeup and all that, when I look beautiful. But there is always a constant voice in my head whispering, “Yeah, but you would look even better if you lost fifty pounds.”
Yesterday, I posted a picture I found on Facebook, privately amongst the wenches, that was a sketch of a curvy woman in a love embrace with a trim, yet muscled man. The picture portrayed the woman from the back and her hips blocked out all view of the guy’s lower half. I immediately thought of myself. My husband is slightly shorter than me and has a beautiful body, in my opinion, but when we embrace while facing a mirror, my lower half (the hips and booty) block him from view completely. The caption read, “Cuz nobody likes to snuggle a twig,” or something similar. I was thinking of myself. How good it made me feel to see someone posting a pic that glamorized curvy women. I didn’t realize, in the moment, it was also putting down thin women.
My point: Skinny women have self-image issues too. They have to deal with people questioning if they have an eating disorder. Naturally thin women, most of the time, are skinny everywhere, including the boob department. When all you see is women with the perfect sculpted abs, hourglass hips, strong lean legs, and size D boobs, as the ideal, it makes thin women feel just as inadequate as curvy women.
I grew up during a time when thin was in. My friends were all thin and petite and I was the only one who didn’t physically fit with the group. When the wenches and I were all talking yesterday, some had similar experiences as I did, others suffered because they didn’t have enough curves. I never stopped to think about it from their perspective. I thought it was only women on the plumper side that agonized over body image.
I was wrong. It opened my eyes. I was so concerned with my own insecurities, I never stopped to think that maybe the post would offend some of my wenches that are on the other side of the scale, so to speak. Because we are not all curvy. Some of us are tall, short, thin, fat, athletic, couch potatoes, older, younger, of different backgrounds, ethnicities, etc. And all my wenches are beautiful. How do I know? Because I know them. I’ve never met any of them in person because we are an online writing group. I hope we eventually get a wench retreat organized, but I digress. But I know who they are, their personalities. I talk to them every day. Every day. I don’t need to know what they look like to know with 100% clarity they are beautiful. And because they are beautiful, wonderful people, we were able to discuss the post from all angles.
As a society, we need to take back our beauty. Everyone’s beauty is unique. I am beautiful in my way. There are things I will never like about my body, but instead of picking apart all our flaws and comparing them to ridiculous standards of beauty, wouldn’t it be better to focus on the things about ourselves we do love? It’s not easy, but it shouldn’t be so damn hard to see the good stuff. So let’s start a self-love fest…Not that kind, cheeky monkeys… Please comment below.
I’ll start. I’m Jennifer Senhaji, and I love my slightly crooked nose and my laugh.
Jennifer Senhaji was born and raised in San Francisco, CA, and is married with two children. If she’s not singing along at the top of her lungs to whatever is playing on the radio, you can find her making music playlists at home on her laptop. She works full time and splits her spare time between family, reading, blogging, and writing. Other than English, Jennifer speaks Spanish, Moroccan, and a little French. She loves to travel, but doesn’t do enough of it and will weave places she has gone or wants to go into her stories. Reading has been a passion for most of her life and she loves to write. She calls herself Your Sweet and Spicy Romance Author because she loves the sweet nuances of new love, but also is a bit of a voyeur and wants to be in the bedroom when the characters finally come together. You can find Jennifer and all her book links and social media links on her website at www.jennifersenhajiauthor.com