Last weekend I was enjoying a dinner date in New York City's West Village. As I was getting dressed for my date, I felt beautiful in an off-the-shoulder knee length dress, peep toe heels and flawless makeup/hair, but sitting across from my date, my confidence began to fade. I did my best to keep eye contact with the handsome, successful man with a baseball players build sitting across from me, but my mind was racing. Does my hair look okay? Are my arms jiggling too much? Are these Spanx even working?
I could not believe that my opinions of myself had changed just because I was sitting in front of a cute guy. Insecurity was rearing its ugly head and I knew that my date would be ruined if I didn't exhibit the kind of confidence that had drawn him to me in the first place. I had to remind myself that the guy sitting across from me wasn't thinking about how toned my arms were or how flat my stomach was. I mean… if my size 20 body was an issue for him, we probably wouldn't be on our second date.
Isn't it funny how the way we view ourselves can change depending on who else is looking at us?
When a fellow blogger sent me a MarieClaire.com link saying some pretty intense things about overweight people, I immediately tweeted that felt like I'd caught a good friend talking about me behind my back.
As a Plus Size Princess in New York City, I've given Marie Claire so much credit for embracing plus size fashion and making me feel included when I flipped through their pages. Maura Kelly's post changed everything. I was frustrated and hurt because I began to internalize what she wrote. She'd be "grossed out" seeing me kissing a man. Watching me walk across a room would be "aesthetically displeasing". The negativity in her words hovered over me like a dark cloud until I thought back to my date a few days earlier…
After dinner, my date and I walked up Thompson Street. He slipped his hand into mine and a shy smile spread over my face. As we passed an older woman walking her dog, (and guess what? She didn't yell Ew… what are you doing with that big girl!) she looked at us she said, "well aren't you two a nice couple!" My smiled widened and he gave my hand a little squeeze.
We can't control what people see when they look at us, but we can control what we know to be true about ourselves. I know that I am an attractive, smart, desirable girl. I know that I take yoga, I eat fruits and veggies and I drink water.
I know that I am loved.
I know that my weight does not define me.
And although sometimes I need to be reminded, deep down I know that nothing anyone says can change those things.
Check out more of what CeCe Olisa has to say on her blog at The Big Girl Blog.
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