Some folks gain weight after entering adulthood, some after they have babies. Some folks get really comfortable in their marriage and “let them selves go” (cue side eye here). And some of us have been plus size since childhood, in to adulthood, and beyond. And you know what?… We’re all worthy. Worthy of love; from outside sources and within. Worthy of adventures. Worthy of success. Worthy of enjoyable lives.
Last Sunday, 9/4/16, I had the ultimate pleasure of joining my good friend, and TRUE Sister, Veronica Pome’e’s launch party of her hashtag: #GrowingUpPlus. A movement I fully support. Veronica describes her platform’s purpose as,
To instill a sense of confidence in the plus youth by breaking down the fundamentals in understanding inner beauty and self worth.
It was a beautiful celebration, complete with red carpet + step and repeat, DJ, Bar, vendors (Yatir Clothing & Renee Olivia), free tarot card readings, a henna artist, and more! She some great sponsors in YONA NY, SLINK Jeans, TRUE Model Management and other national companies. Not to mention we were surrounded by beautiful graffiti art which set the tone for this fun, event full of free spirits.
In attendance: a bountiful of plus models, plus size bloggers, designers, and other supporters of Veronica’s movement. The energy was buzzing with folks dedicated to creating a world full of self love and body positivity, starting with our youth.
Click HERE to see more pictures from the event!
Leading up to the event, I couldn’t help but reflect on my own experiences #GrowingUpPlus…
I’ve always been bigger than the other kids my age; I always towered over them, but I was thicker too. I can remember having to shop in the “husky” kids section, and beating myself up when I could no longer fit in the kids sizes that my fellow classmates still donned. It was heart breaking. I never saw girls that looked like me on the TV shows I watched, and if I did they were often the butt of jokes or were the mean bully’s. But that wasn’t me. Kids didn’t make fun of me, and I got along with mostly everyone. Hell, I cried when someone said they didn’t want to be my friend any more – how could I be a bully? And yet I still didn’t feel I was enough.
It didn’t help that I would go home to a mom obsessed with every latest diet craze, constantly rubbing the idea on to me that having excess weight was something to be ashamed of. And let’s not even get in to my father who constantly monitored how much I ate, and sat me down – multiple times – to tell me I needed to be more conscientious of my weight. Honestly, there were so many other things he could’ve [read: should’ve] done to strengthen our relationship, that the memories of these meetings drive me crazy. Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents, but I can see that society framed their body image opinions, and in doing so were starting to frame mine as I grew up absorbing their habits and listening to them.
So how did I manage #GrowingUpPlus… Fashion. I’m forever grateful for a sense of style which became my distraction from weight and size ideals. If I could look good with my outfits, then I felt good. This allowed me to be creative, bond with my peers over my choices, and it distracted from the body underneath which, as a child, shouldn’t be a priority. I know that it’s not this easy for everyone, and that’s why movements like #GrowingUpPlus are so important.
Overtime I’ve come to love the body underneath,I understand the importance of eating healthy, especially as a diabetic, and working out, but also I now understand that my body is unique to me and I should love it as such. It’s important for kids to understand these things without feeling the pressure to do them in order to look a certain way, particularly like that of their smaller peers. It’s hard enough #GrowingUpPlus with the media telling people of all ages they need to look a certain way in order to feel worthy/valid/normal, it shouldn’t be hard at home too.
In reflecting on my experiences, and attending Veronica’s event last weekend, I feel confident in the direction our society is going in. There are so many beautiful hearts and spirits moving & shaking to change how we view our bodies. I hope we can all be more kind to ourselves, and too each other moving forward.