I came across this image to the right on my news feed on Facebook. And the longer I looked at it, the more I thought that it needed it’s definition expanded.
It’s not just about empowering women to be who and what they are with no fear and no shame. It needs to be about all people – men included.
Too often we see these memes with some perfect-bodied person behind the text. Very few people, including many celebrities, actually have a perfect body. But we get told again and again that with this diet or that exercise plan we CAN somehow have a perfect body, if we just want it hard enough.
Being content with who you are and how you look is not about lacking in ambition or discipline. It’s about being able to build on a firm, supportive foundation. Until you have a strong base, none of your other achievements will ever satisfy you, because you are simply trying to use outside validation to shore up your own personal self-worth.
Sadly, while it was fairly simple to find an image that showed a fit man with a plus sized woman (the second image is of ex-NFL player Ray Edwards, and plus-size model Tiffany Banks, done for a photo shoot by Allen Cooley, to be placed in the October 2013 issue of PlusModel Magazine), it was almost impossible to find a professional photo of a fit woman with a plus-sized male. Hell, I even searched Jack Black (who I consider to not actually be a “plus sized man” – just slightly pudgy) who has been a male romantic lead in a few films, and Lex Medlin (again, another man I only consider to be slightly pudgy). This is, frankly, disgusting to me. There should be just as many beautiful photographs of some of our larger men in the world as well. So I made one, using both those very attractive men. Yes I believe BOTH of these men are sexy as hell. And that comes from someone who married a man who supposedly had the perfect body.
But the point is STILL that NO ONE gets to define what YOU feel empowered by except for YOU.
It doesn’t matter if your body is perfect or not. It doesn’t even really matter if anyone else thinks you’re attractive or not. It’s about YOURSELF. Define yourself for yourself, and no one else can destroy what you have built. Allow the rest of the world to define you, and you will always be miserable.
As much as I’ve complained here on my blog about the people in my life and my perception of them (including my parents), there are some very good lessons that they taught me. I may have forgotten those lessons in my marriage, but I’m relearning them again. Standing up, being true to myself and my guiding principles, and learning to love myself are all lessons I have needed to relearn.
And even some of the negative lessons from my childhood have built strength of conviction in me. Being naturally stubborn, even with my entire family’s negative opinion of my weight, I learned eventually to appreciate myself for exactly who I am, including the weight. If you have never been fat, you may not understand how HUGE that lesson is (but, I don’t know, perhaps you have your own issues with how you look, regardless of how supposedly perfect your body looks), but if you do realize how huge that lesson is – I hope you can learn it for yourself if you have not yet done so.