For most of my adult life, while I’ve been generally comfortable with the way I look; I still have insecurities about my physical appearance. My forehead is large, so since I was 18, I have almost always had a fringe. I have a small chin, and my jawline all but disappears whenever I weigh more than 110 lbs, so I’m constantly aware of what side of my face I’m presenting when I’m at an event where cameras are present. I have stretch marks on my hips and backs of my legs from when I went through puberty, and seemingly overnight, went from being a gawky little girl with chicken legs; to having a woman’s shape. I have a long torso, and short legs with muscular calves. I carry my weight mostly on my lower half, so that no matter how much weight I lose, I still have thick thighs and a “ghetto booty.”
(Actually, I stopped minding that one so much, in the late ’90s, when Jennifer Lopez became famous. Thanks, J. Lo!)
I started being more diligent about incorporating a regular exercise routine a few years ago, after the summer when I became mysteriously ill. Prior to that, I would get these bursts of inspiration to “get in shape,” that would fizzle out after a couple of months or less. I got a gym membership a year ago, made permanent changes in my diet and learned to love what I used to think was a chore. The gym world is a funny one. Just like being a vegan, it’s almost like adopting a new religion. You start to live by a different set of rules, and others outside of your new “religion” can tend to perceive you as a little nutty. It’s a religion with various sects: The Bodybuildotholics, The Runnhists, The Cardiothans, The Anti-Carbologists, etc. I got in to lifting and Zumba, and learned I really enjoy things like hiking, swimming and even lifting.
There are so many advocates out there telling us to love ourselves no matter what shape, and to look beyond the surface. But it wasn’t until I started trying for an ideal and achieved it, that I realized that I could do that. And, I work out because I do love myself. Because I want to be the healthiest possible version of me. I had to overcome years of depression to realize that I even like myself, but that’s a story for another time.
And, of course, because I want to look good naked ;). I took my first set of nudes the week before my birthday, and posted one on Instagram the day of (censored, only so I wouldn’t get my account deleted!). While I could have airbrushed my stretch marks and thunder thighs out of the photos, I decided, fuck it. They’re a part of me, part of what makes me beautiful.
Below, are a set of photos I took yesterday, for St. Valentine’s Day. The pants are the lone pair of dress pants that I have, from Ricki’s. The suspenders (or braces), I’ve had since I was about 15 and I got the fedora from a thrift store when I was 17.
The lingerie I’m wearing is from She Apparel by Pleasure State, from their White Label. I almost didn’t get it, and actually walked out of the store without buying it. The saleslady told me, “But, it looks amazing on you!” And I insisted I wanted to get something less fancy, because I had no one to wear it for. Her response was, “So, get it for you!” After doing a lap around the mall and mulling on it, I decided to go back and get it, figuring that, even if she was just trying to make a sale; she was right. I have all these other clothes and lingerie pieces that I’ve gotten because I liked them, so why deny myself for such a stupid reason?
(Click to embiggen!)
“If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?” – RuPaul
Listening to: Metropole – The Lawrence Arms: Metropole