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Don’t Try To Fit Me Into A Box, Dammit!

Dec 14, 2012

I wonder if I’m always going to feel like the odd one out. Funny, as I wrote that sentence, I got a Tweet from @CurvesWeek that said, “You are amazing! Embrace your curves!” What a nice thing to see when I am feeling self-doubt.

When I was growing up, I was socially blocked and shut down. As early as I can remember, I wondered how anybody could like me. How twisted is that, for a small child to think this? That was even before I was fat. By the time I started gaining weight in excess of my peers (second grade), I associated my self-esteem with my body size. Like I said before, I was being shut-out and bullied by third or fourth grade, possibly even earlier. We had two very mean neighbor boys.

I went on my first diet at age 11, my second at age 12, my third at age 14, and at age 15 – 17, I was taking uppers to keep from being hungry. At eighteen, I said to hell with losing weight and went on an “I don’t care” eating frenzy where I gained about 200 pounds. My introduction to non-dieting groups came at age 21, and weight and food have been a focus in a “non-focus” way ever since. It feels different right now – like I’m older and wiser. But I hate self-doubt – like I have today.

In this “plus-sized fashion blogger world,” I feel like an odd one out, too. I look at some of the latest fashion clothes and think, “Hell NO, I will not wear that crap!” Yet I feel an internally-imposed pressure to fit in even in an “industry” that is purporting “be yourself and embrace you.” I knew that doing this would bring up stuff. So here it is – stuff. This is coming from me. This is my stuff.

The clothes I like the most are not the clothes that I see other bloggers wearing. I am afraid that I will be judged if I wear tunics, for example – that I will be perceived as someone who likes to “cover up” fat, curves, my body. I saw a post recently where Arched Eyebrow blogger Bethany Rutter has determined that there are three basic types of plus-sized women. I don’t fit into one of those three little boxes, and am not going to try. The sad part is that I kept reading the post to try to fit myself somewhere within those categories. I hate articles like that. In my opinion, they are not useful or helpful.

I get that one day I can wear polka-dots and the next day wear tie-dye; one day I can wear something tight and the next day something flowy; one day wear a geeky, $12 shirt.woot.com t-shirt and the next day an IGIGI $150 tunic.

I also get that I can love bluegrass music as well as Michael Franti; grew up watching “Hee Haw” but also loved The Jackson 5; live in a ranch because it’s good common sense but love old Victorians the best; love all animals but still eat meat; think women are hot but still be heterosexual; be okay with calling myself fat but hesitant about anybody else doing it.

A whole bunch of things make up who I am. I’m not going to wear black lipstick, but someday I may get my hair dyed shades of purple and pink. I may paint my nails gold, but you may never see them orange. I am unique, a mutant, an Aquarius. I was raised to be who I am and to not apologize for it. The irony is that I still doubt myself.

I have liked flowy, tunicky, Bohemian-like things ever since high school – back before they were labeled as such and back when hippies were still somewhat a part of the culture. I saw Walter Cronkite reporting on the Vietnam War and the moon landing, and my mother had an ERA button. My babysitter had hair down below her butt and wore bell-bottoms, and at one point in the 1990s, I had hair that long, too. My favorite rock band is Led Zeppelin, and when I listen to them, I feel like I am coming home. I write code for a living, but wish I could quit and do genealogy instead.

I’ve done searches for “boho” and “bohemian” on Pinterest and typically have gotten stick-figure models that I can’t relate to. I’ve searched for “boho plus size” on Google and gotten a handful of companies where I can get such clothes, or clothes that are Bohemian-style wannabes. They tend to be exorbitantly overpriced and limited in quantity. It’s just damned stupid.

I’m not going to lie and say that I don’t care if anyone reads or likes what I write. I do care, especially on days like this when I am having self-doubt. I’m just a person like everyone else. I’m just a Midwestern white girl who has spent time living in the South and Northeast. I’m not a model and have no interest in that. But if you ever catch me wearing animal print tops or pants, just kill me. Please. Kill me.

Here’s to me today. I need this, and I hope you can get something out of it too. I don’t fit into a box or a category or a type. I have self-doubt and I’m human. Doing this blog about being a plus-sized woman in my mid-40s who is coming to terms with myself and my body is HARD. But I think it’s worth it, even though others who have never been in my shoes try to make assumptions about my motivations.

~Liz

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