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Don't Let Society Dictate Your Worth

I saw this meme going around Facebook asking, “Why is every other girl my age 1000% prettier than me?” It broke my heart. As someone who has dealt with body image issues in the past, I just want to hug these girls that think this and say that you are just as beautiful as the other girls.

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Nope Nopety Nope Nope

With social media being so prevalent in our every day lives, more and more of us are subjected to this kind of bull shit every day. There are the stupid challenges, like the one where the perfect body size is dictated by whether or not you can touch fingers when you put them around your waist. We are inundated with fad diets and afraid that if we wear the wrong thing in public, we may end up on someone’s Tumblr account for being a beached whale.
The thing is that beauty is a relative term. The things I might find beautiful, others may not. When we let society dictate that only one type is beautiful…whether that be skinny, fat, or somewhere in between, we are telling everyone else that they are not. We are all beautiful. Each one of us is unique. Just because you do not fit into someone’s box of what beauty is doesn’t make you any less spectacular than you are.
It is high time that we as women start to remember this and fight back against society’s shaming. We need to stand up against the magazine articles and ugly media. We need to support our skinny sisters and our thick sisters. We need to stand together and tell society and the media to take their standards and shove them up their asses. It is so easy to criticize ones self. Next time, you start thinking you are not worthy, remind yourself that you are awesome and go flaunt your stuff. If someone doesn’t like it, well they are the ones that have their own issues to work out, not you.
Go out and be awesome. Spread the word, compliment one another, and let’s end this shit together!
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Don't wait to feel beautiful

Some years back, a friend of mine was telling me about her friend who did boudoir shoots. She made it sound luxurious and pampering. Naturally, at the time, my response was that when I lost the weight, I would do it. I lost some weight after that, but the idea of having myself photographed scared the shit out of me. Of course, I passed.
When I decided to do my first pin up shoot, there was an element of sexy in there that scared me. I only did it as something to give my husband for Valentine’s Day. I was having a hard time, and I was at my heaviest. I brought a modest wardrobe selection. By the end of it, I was in a shirt and fishnet tights. I hadn’t really planned on showing anyone the photos until the sneak peek by the photographer came out. Holy Crap, I was gorgeous! It was the spark that led to a lot of lifestyle changes. I started exercising again, dressed better (actually dressed the way I wanted), and looked forward to seeing my photo again.

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Just a shirt and some fishnets! Photo by Relentlessly Making Faces. MUAH by Making Faces Professional Make Up

When I finally decided to take the next step and create social media accounts for my pin up and alt photos, it was one of the scariest things for me to do. I knew I was opening my body up for criticism. However, I knew it was the right thing to do. I have a message to share about how we need to love ourselves as we are…tall or short, thick or thin, whatever we are.
One of the biggest objections I have had from women about doing the kinds of photos that I do is that they need to lose weight first or be different than what they are to make it work. You don’t. You are beautiful just as you are. You need to love yourself as you are right now because whether you lose the weight you want to lose or become the person you want to be, you aren’t going to be any better for it.
Yeah, I would like to drop a few sizes. I exercise. I eat healthy. It is slow goings. However, my body is this amazing thing. My body survived the torture of many years of an eating disorder. It survived being hit by a car. It survived childbirth. It survived miscarriage. It survived depression. It is freaking amazing. My body is a rockstar!
So I choose to love it. I choose to embrace myself for better for worse, and while I am at it, I want to share the message with others that it is okay to love yourself and think you are beautiful because you are!

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That time I got Fat-Shamed at my favorite place to buy produce

There is this cute little Mennonite store I like to buy produce near where we live. I go there because I love to shop local and support local business owners. I can also find dry goods and get good deals on produce, which is great because we go through a lot of fruits and veggies in this house.
Anyways, the other week I decided to go there on a Saturday with my kids in tow to get some apples and a few other things. I have never been there on a weekend and have never seen the place so packed. The only space left to park was partially taken up by another vehicle. I saw the driver was still in the car, so I rolled down my window to ask if he could straighten his vehicle so I could park too.
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Apparently the guy must have anticipated that I was going to ask him to straighten his car. He was double parked for goodness sake in a full parking lot! As soon as I rolled down the window to ask, he started yelling at me. He was yelling, “You better get your ice cream you fat f*ck! Go get your ice cream, you fat f*ck.” Over and over, he kept yelling that. Mind you, I had two kids in the car. I wasn’t being nasty when I tried asking him to move. I was taken aback and ended up yelling at him back. Maybe he thought I would be humiliated enough to drive away so he could stay double parked. I don’t know. I do know this though…
…He couldn’t possibly know what size I was. I was in an SUV and all he could really tell is that I have big boobs. Whooptie doo. The best he could come up with was calling me fat. All it proved to me and my kids was that he was a big jerk that can’t park. Also, I didn’t even know the place served ice cream until that day, and I have been going there for small groceries for a few years. Of course, now that I knew that, I just had to get ice cream. Man, was it good! I know that my kids thought he sounded ridiculous. I discovered sidewalk chalk in our car the other day, and they said it was so they can make a “special” parking spot for people like him in the future. Also, I know that he doesn’t define how I see me. I define how I see me, and I like me. I don’t remember what he looks like because his looks were so unimportant to me. However, I do remember his ugly attitude. I have dealt with ugly attitudes like that in the past. In the past, I may have hid afterwards and felt shame, but now, I just don’t. I am beautiful for who I am. Random strangers with ugly hearts cannot dictate what I am.
I think what made me sad about the whole thing is that being called fat could possibly be the worst thing he could think of. There are many things worse than being fat. I might be overweight, but I am losing weight. Even if I wasn’t, it’s not the worst thing in the world. However, people like that seldom change. They will almost always carry an ugly heart with them. I would much rather be fat than have an ugly heart.

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How Pin-Up Gave Me My Confidence Back

The first time I ever did Pin-Up, I didn’t really want to be there. I thought it would make a nice gift for my husband, but honestly I wasn’t feeling up for it. I brought mostly things that I could use to hide my body. I was ashamed of myself and the heaviest I had ever been. My husband and I had been trying for a baby for a while, and I got pregnant only to miscarry some months later. Something in me kinda snapped, and I had a hard time coping. I spent most days in my pajamas. I really just no longer cared about myself.
When I got to the place, I pretty much admitted that I didn’t want to show anything off. I laid my cards on the table straight off and just wanted to get the whole deal over with. Then Nicole started working her magic with the makeup, and when I saw the girl staring back at me in the mirror, it wasn’t the same girl that came through the door. This girl was HOT! I put on an outfit and let Kristina start shooting. I felt myself relax, and by the end of it, I was still in fish nets, and the pants I brought to hide my legs were still in my bag. I still didn’t think I would look great in photos, but I felt empowered. I felt so sexy that I went home and told my husband that we needed to go out because it would be a shame to waste my beautiful hair and makeup. By the next day, the photographer posted a teaser picture on her Facebook page of my shoot. I could hardly believe that it was me!

My first Pin-Up shoot Photo: Relentlessly Making Faces MUAH: Making Faces Professional Make Up
My first Pin-Up shoot
Photo: Relentlessly Making Faces
MUAH: Making Faces Professional Make Up

Something about these pictures made me see myself in a different light. When I saw myself, I didn’t see the depressed, fat girl that I thought I was. I saw someone who was hot, who totally owned it. I saw a beautiful woman that I wanted to be.
The next few months that followed were stressful. I ended up almost closing my business. I got pregnant again, only to lose that pregnancy too. However, I started caring about myself again. I started eating better. I started exercising. It helped me cope with the bad things that were going on. I changed my wardrobe. I started wearing things because I wanted to wear them, not because I thought it would cover my “flaws.” Not only did I wear shorts in public, I wore short shorts. I got cute rockabilly dresses. I bought form-fitting shirts.  I went on dates with my husband. I did another pin-up shoot. It was a mother-daughter theme. The designer of the dresses I wore for the shoot liked my photos. He used me as his cover model for his Facebook page. It made me feel super-awesome. Plus I got a free dress out of it, which was also cool.
I still have my flaws. Currently, I am still trying to work on my post-baby body as I had a baby at the end of last summer. I may never lose all the weight I have wanted to lose. I eat right. I exercise. I have come to terms with the fact that I may never be skinny. However, I love myself. I have my moments where I am hard on myself, but when I look in the mirror, I can always find something I love. I dress for myself these days and not for what I think society thinks I should dress like because in the end it doesn’t matter what society thinks of me. I am the one who has to live with myself, and I want to like me as I am. If I can’t like me right now, it won’t matter if I ever get to be that “perfect” size. I still won’t be happy.
I think as women we are all hard on ourselves and each other. We need to love ourselves as we are. We need to take care of ourselves, and we need to make peace with ourselves too.
What do you do to make yourself feel good and to give yourself confidence?