Thursday, September 2, 2010

I'm Bethany. I'm chubby. I don't hate myself.

Don't get me wrong, there are certainly days when I wonder why on earth no matter how big my pants are, I still struggle with "muffin top," and I absolutely wake up some mornings thinking to myself, "sweats and hoody, sweats and hoody, sweats and hoody."  I'm given to understand, though, that everyone has days where they wish there was something different about their body, so I don't hold that against myself.  Overall though, I rather like me.  I think I'm pretty cute most days, I'm intelligent, and I'm strong.  I'm never going to be thin or perfect, so why hate myself for being who I am?

When I was in college, I worked at Lane Bryant (aka: chubby girl heaven).  I'm kind of loud, and kind of opinionated, so I quickly became pretty comfortable talking to my customers about their body issues (which, of course, were my body issues as well).  After my first few months there, I slowly began to realize that so many of these women HATED their bodies... because no one had told them it was okay not to.  From the teen girls trying to find something hip and trendy at the only plus size shop on the Central Coast to the more seasoned ladies who spent their shopping time cursing the junk food they ate in their youth, each one of them gave me the same shocked and awkward look when I would begin openly talking about the dirty truth... that we were f-a-t.  In a matter of seconds though, they would realize that I wasn't being offensive, but that I was simply stating the obvious.   Let's face it ladies... it's not like if we don't mention it, no one will notice.  So why not open up in the comfort of those who understand?  I loved knowing that being open about my body allowed others to gain a little acceptance of theirs.  One time in particular, a younger woman (late 20's - early 30's, perhaps?) was talking about how self-conscious she was about the weight and stretch marks left behind from her pregnancy.  I laughingly assured her that stretch marks weren't the end of the world, and added that I (only 21-22 at the time) looked like a bear had mauled my stomach, and I didn't even have a baby to show for it!  A minute later, this complete stranger shyly asked if I would show her my stretch marks.  She hadn't met many young people that had them (or at least that admitted having them) and she wanted to see that she wasn't the only one.  Without hesitation, I walked her back to the fitting rooms, and showed her the hated purple lines that cursed my tummy.  I swear, I watched a 100 pound weight lift from this gal's shoulders.  For a split second, my coworker looked at me like I was crazy... until she saw the smile on the girl's face.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I want to put a little more of that into the world; a little more of the "Yeah, being fat sucks, but that's no reason to hate yourself or stop living your life like the beautiful person you are!"

That being said, I am also trying to lose a few pounds.  There are two primary reasons: 1.)  Matthew and I have started talking about a wedding in the next couple years, and, honestly, plus size wedding dresses are hard to find and are often... well... ugly.  2.)  Future health.  Sure, I'm pretty healthy and active now, but you never know how things can progress.  I want to make sure I can keep up with the kids when that time comes.  Again though, I will never be a thin person, and I'm okay with that.  People often tell me that I "could be thin if I wanted to."  Aside from making me want to slap them (seriously, who wakes up in the morning and says, "I wanna be fat today!"?), this statement is mostly untrue.  A bout of bulimia when I was a preteen (to be discussed in a later post) rendered me pretty thin for my body type, but I looked awkward and disproportionate, and I have no desire to return to that.  Also, I hate cardio.  I hate running.  I hate the elliptical.  I'm not going to pretend otherwise.  I swear, I read 50 FB status updates every day that say something like "I just got back from my favorite place on earth... the GYM!!!  and I feel so AMAZING!!!  I can't wait to go back tomorrow!!!  I may be fat, but I'm now in love with the treadmill!!!!!"  Ok, maybe that's a little exaggerated, but you get the idea.  No offense to anyone; if that's how you hype yourself up then more power to ya.  But I'm gonna be honest and say that when I get back from my morning workout, it takes a good half hour before I stop wanting to kill something and can actually enjoy the post-workout endorphins.

So, in conclusion........... I'm Bethany.  I'm chubby.  And I don't hate myself.  Feel free to join me. =)

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