Maybe I could have modelled alongside Marilyn in the fifties.
Maybe I could have fit in a time when girls proudly wore their hair in curls and lipstick was always a necessity.
Maybe I could have fit in a time when round faces and figures were celebrated.
A time when a size 8 body wouldn’t be anything but beautiful.
There has never been a time when I could zip myself into a size 2 dress.
I don’t care about my stretchmarks or the way my stomach always hangs over my jeans just slightly.
I wouldn’t be myself if my body didn’t curve, even if it isn’t in all the best places.
I don’t fit in with either the tiny or the big girls, but my size 8 body still isn’t exactly what most people are dreaming of.
Men and women alike scoff at the rolls that appear on my belly when I don’t sit up straight.
They don’t understand why my thighs brush so much when I walk.
They raise their eyebrows at my nondescript jawline.
As if these are things I haven’t already noticed.
I see size 2 girls and love their flat bellies, boyish frames, and strong cheekbones.
I see size 14 girls and love their curves, mature frames, faces best appreciated by a much less modern era.
Then I see me, size 8, and I’m somewhere in-between.
It’s not such a bad thing, but I wish I didn’t look at them with jealousy.
There was a time in the fifth grade when I started calling myself fat, started pointing out my big thighs and chubby stomach simply because every other girl started to do it. Up until that point, no one seemed to notice. Or care. Then, sixth grade rolled around and I was known school-wide as the chubby girl, even to my best friends. Even as I lost weight over the years, they still saw me as that overweight sixth grader. Then, I was in high school and I started dating. Immediately after having my first kiss, the same boy told me, “If I just looked at your face, I’d assume you were fat, but you’re not really.” I never dated a skinny guy after that, because I selfishly liked that bigger guys never hesitated before calling me skinny, that they never commented on my chubby face.
I’m not going to sit here and cry about my weight as some way to fish for compliments because that’s not the point of all this. It has probably been the one thing I struggle with the most, and that’s not something I usually advertise. I may joke about my weight, quite often in fact, but I generally refrain from talking about it in-depth. That’s not what this post is about.
What this post is about, however, is celebrating the fact that there are so many different types of beauty. So many body types, so many variations on the same general set of features.
I saw this post the other day on Instagram or Tumblr or somewhere about how pretty and underappreciated round faces are and even though it may seem like such a small thing, it changed something in me. I haven’t seen anything like that before, thousands of people agreeing that one of my biggest insecurities is actually beautiful, and suddenly I felt like I didn’t have to worry so much about the things I can’t control.
So what if you don’t have high cheekbones or perfect hair or pretty hands or clear skin? Maybe you think you’re too lanky, too chubby, too this or that. I genuinely wish that everyone could feel what I felt in that moment; the sudden relief as you realize that the things you dislike about yourself, other people find endearing. I don’t want to get too cheesy, but seriously, everyone is their own kind of beautiful. We don’t need to worry so much. I guarantee that there are plenty of people out there who find you beautiful. You don’t need to be conventionally attractive in order to be beautiful.
I look at girls of literally all sizes and wonder why I can’t just look like them because they’re so pretty, but maybe they actually do the same with me too. I don’t know, but chances are that it’s happened at some point. Chances are that people have looked at you in the same way. Male or female, I guarantee there have been countless people who have seen you in passing and thought you are beautiful.
You can have your insecurities, we all do and they may never fully go away, but your insecurities can be attributes in someone else’s eyes.