This past December I attended the Chamber of Commerce Christmas Party. After mingling for a few minutes, I found my friends huddled around a small table laughing and having a grandiose time. The conversation had turned to what everyone was wearing to the bank Christmas party. Being very excited about my selection I began looking for the picture in my email that confirmed my purchase.
Once I found it I proudly displayed it to the group and I received the exact response I expected: “Ohhh,” “Wow,” and “You’ll look fabulous.” Mind you, this was an amazing dress going on an amazing woman and my friends would never make me feel anything less than beautiful. But, no matter how amazing you think you are you still appreciate that peer approval. Five years ago I would’ve never thought this about myself or my selection of clothing.
Naturally the next question that followed was, “Where did you find this?” The old, unrestored version of me would have lied. I would have told a falsehood out of shame. However, the new me told everyone that I found it on a Plus-Size website. As another person walked up I had to retell the story and show them my dress and answer the same question with the same response.
Once I had told the truth not once but twice my precious, 90-pound petite friend said, “Quit calling it Plus-Size, I don’t want you to feel bad about yourself!”
I could earnestly tell this statement was coming from a place of pure love for her “Plus-Size” friend. Not wanting to make my friend feel bad I jokingly said, “Anyone with eyeballs can tell you and I clearly do not shop on the same racks” (in my exaggerated southern belle accent).
For most of my adult life, especially post-children, I’ve been what society refers to as “Plus-Size.” Curvy, thick, big boned, stout, full figured, chunky, and pleasantly plump are a few of the adjectives one may use to describe a larger lady.
Until a few years ago I would’ve never used any of these words to describe myself. Frankly, I was in denial and had very low self-esteem until God placed people in my life to show me there is no shame in being who God made me to be. There is more to a person than the number on a scale.
I spent so many years dressing to cover myself and hide the way I looked. If you looked in my closet you would quickly learn I was prepared for a funeral on any given day.
There was so much shame and I tended to blame every bad thing that happened in my life on my weight. Marriage issues had to be because I was overweight. My children misbehaved because I was chubby. Sounds extreme but when you aren’t happy with yourself this is what happens.
I even struggled with the fact that I shopped at Lane Bryant, Torrid and other places that catered to Plus-Size women. I have literally stuffed my Lane Bryant bag into a Dillard’s bag walking through the mall so no one would know where I shopped.
As women we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to look a certain way and be accepted by others. We let society measure our self worth by our size and not the size of our heart and goodness of our soul. When we finally realize that it’s not what’s on the outside that counts we look at people in a whole different light.
I thank God every day that he blessed me with friends who help me see that I’m perfect the way God made me. I’m learning daily to rejoice in who I am. God made us in his image and likeness. If we aren’t happy with that then we’re telling God he didn’t do his job to our standards.
These are lessons that I will always teach my daughters. Love what you see in the mirror. We are God’s unique design.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” – Psalm 139:14