Many of us don’t even know we’re doing it. In fact, we’ve probably done it all our lives. We’ve been living under the prevailing belief that there’s something wrong with us and that something or someone out there has the power and authority to tell us how to live our lives. Thus, we’re living bound to someone else’s ideas, someone else’s standards or judgments. We internalize these beliefs and play out our lives like we’re beggars, not worthy of the same love, acceptance, or respect as anyone else. We live with the ever-present, disabling belief that we’ve done something wrong, that there’s something innately wrong with us, something for which we need to apologize. So we take pains to fit-in, to be unobtrusive and to be largely invisible.
For me, learning to live unapologetically is a process that requires awareness, action and reinforcement. In order to know what negative beliefs I had operating below the radar, I first had to acknowledge the voices I’d had playing in my head from the time I was a young girl. I then had to open my ears to hearing the ways plus-sized women are put down in society. Relegated to only minor roles in the media, fashion, and the arts, we’re everywhere but hardly even present. When we do appear, we’re stereotyped as fallible, funny women, as best friends, as one-dimensional mothers. Rarely ever are we the masters and commanders of our own starship enterprise. But one must move into action. Giving credence to what the world has to say about my body, my lifestyle, my choices isn’t where I draw my strength. I am replacing negative words with words of love and compassion. I’m showing myself what I’m capable of every single day. For every negative word out there, I have ten positive words to shout out, saying I am worthy, I am somebody, I’m plus-sized and curvy and damn proud of it!
But these words of retaliation aren’t my only strength. I grow by nurturing and listening to my own internal compass, my inner guide which is fed by my deep faith. I surround myself with people who are supportive and who recognize me as the full, beautiful, and complicated person I am, and who steer me towards the positive in times of trouble. The more I listen and show up for myself, the stronger my inner guide grows, replacing the external noise with a truth so deep, so strong, there’s nothing that can take it away from me. Now knowing the truth within me, I become an agent of change for the world. I show up for me and for each and every fiery, plus-sized female to say, I see you, I hear you and Yes, Yes We Can!