I remember the first time I didn’t feel cute. 10-year-old me, hit puberty and over the summer I gained weight. I was adorably chubby but 10-year-old me didn’t think it was adorable. My mom was always dieting, and while she never pressured me to, I remember looking at her small frame and thinking “That’s what you’re supposed to be.”
And then I became a teenager and the angst really ramped up. I was constantly comparing myself to everybody around me. I covered myself up with long t-shirts and pants and I told myself it was because I was comfortable.
I was comfortable in the sense that I wasn’t showing my body but what I wasn’t comfortable with WAS my body.
My friend in high school was an artist. She asked if she could see my arms so she could reference them for something she was drawing. I remember socially anxious me being so honored that she would ask so I rolled up my sleeves. She gave them a long look and then said, “Sorry, they’re too big for what I’m drawing.”
How wild that 20 years later I remember that exact moment.
As I got older, my thoughts about my body eventually changed, but I was so set in my ways that what I was wearing wasn’t something that I usually put a lot of thought into. I’m a t-shirt and capris kind of girl. It’s like 90% of my “I’m wearing this out of the house” wardrobe.
This summer, I bought shorts for the first time in my adult life. And I’ve been wearing them!
Did my legs feel naked? Absolutely yes.
Did it feel good? Weird, but good.
And did I look cute? Absolutely.
I realized that even though I’ve gotten over my own body issues, I still worry about how other people feel about my body.
Social anxiety, am I right?
The definition of social anxiety is worrying that people are laughing at you, talking about you, or noticing you in a negative way. And that feels scary. So even while I love my body, getting over other people NOT loving my body ended up being the hard part.
But this summer I was like, I am approaching 40. What does it matter? (I said that way more bravely than I felt.) And I just wore the shorts. And I survived.
So I just wanted to give you this reminder: Wear what makes you feel cute.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
Someone with your body type is going to see you and think “OMG, they look so cute!” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out and seen someone with my body type and I stare (non-creepily I hope) in adoration with hearts in my eyes because I have the fashion sense of a potato. I love seeing people loving their bodies and just being their authentic selves. It makes me feel braver.
Most people are going to ignore you. However, existing in a bigger body does sometimes mean that some of them won’t. I was out walking one day and someone rolled down their window and called me a “pig”. I felt pretty devastated, not going to lie. But, the world is full of people who are going to be rude or mean for one reason or another. I don’t let meanness change the way I vote, who I love, or the kind of person I am, so I’m not going to let it change how I dress.
It’s totally okay if your mindset isn’t there yet, it takes some time to get there.
Focus on challenging your negative thoughts. If you catch yourself worrying about what others might think, challenge those thoughts. Remind yourself that everyone has insecurities. Those insecurities do not cancel out your cuteness!
Practice positive talk and affirmations. Talk yourself up. Be your biggest cheerleader. If you struggle with positive self-talk then listen to positive self-talk. Find songs that are all about empowerment and sing them loudly (those words sink in).
No matter where you are in your journey (to love your body or let go of other people’s thoughts about it) – wear what makes you feel cute. And I hope you have so many moments where you look in the mirror and think:
“I LOOK SO CUTE TODAY.”