Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sexy is a Mindset

Saturday morning found me waiting for the gym to open so I could squeeze 30 minutes of interval running in before going to work. It turns out that the only other people working out at 7am on a weekend fall into two categories, a) insanely physically fit and b) soccer moms using the workout as social hour before their busy day of team sports and suburban insanity.

After my workout I showered and got ready for work in the locker room. I am not shy at all in a locker room situation. If I'm getting dressed and a boob is showing, so what -you've got them, too. I'm not going out of my way to stare at other women, and I'm not going out of my way to hide my body while I'm in the process of dressing it.

So there I was, in my work trousers and a bra, blow drying my hair. Nothing remotely sexual was showing. There wasn't even a hint of an areola to worry about. But over and over women from the above two categories would come into the shower/bathroom side of the locker room, see me, and make this "ew, cover that up" face. I wanted to punch every single one of them.

I'm a plus sized woman. I live in a body that, while pregnant, saw the scale top out at 278 pounds. I cried that day, two days before giving birth to my firstborn, because I thought that I would never ever love my body again. Five years later, I love my body even more now than I did before I got pregnant.
I love the way my hip curves into my backside. I love that despite being rather large and pendulous, my breasts are firm and pleasing to behold. I love that my skin is soft and my hair is shiny. I love my smile, my laugh, my eyes.

So to see these women - these skinny, "average" women - glaring at my naked torso and my satin-clad bosom as though I was disgusting made me irate. What right did they have to decide what beauty is? What right did they have to judge? Sure, I was at the gym, where people go to become skinny - but that's not why I go there. I go there to feel healthier, to breathe better, and to increase my endurance for my other (ahem) physical activities.

I tweeted about my experience, and The Hippy Chick 33 (@TheHippyChick33) pointed out that perhaps these women were simply unhappy with themselves for not being as confident in their bodies as I am in mine. I'm sure that to some extent that is true, and that makes me sad. Every woman should have the ability to feel beautiful in their body. Every woman should be able to feel sexy and desirable.

I don't spend time looking in the mirror and telling myself I'm beautiful. But I do make it a point to do something for myself every day, whether that be painting my nails or going for a run, or making myself a cup of tea and sitting by myself for 20 minutes. I wasn't able to project this confidence until I was able to truly love who I am, from top to bottom. Yes, there are parts of me that I would like to change, and I'm working on them. But overall, the person that I am and the way that I look? I earned that, I've been to hell and back, I made it, and I love it.

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