Why Do We Have To Be Pretty All The Time?

I let myself be raw. I told my truth . . . I summoned a strength I never knew I had.

When I wake up in the morning, one of the first things I do before getting out of bed is decide what I’m going to wear that day. I scan my overflowing closet in my mind’s eye, carefully matching (or in my case, not matching) the pieces I think will work together. Next, my thoughts wander to the perfect lipstick color and how best to style my unwieldy mane.

Yes, admittedly, my first few thoughts upon waking are about how I look. And I’m kinda over it.

So why do I do it?

The simple answer: habit. The complicated answer: I have been brainwashed by a media largely motivated by the money they make from making me feel ugly. Like so many of you reading this, I get frustrated by the constant pressure to be pretty just to go to the grocery store, or to work, or out to socialize.

And let me also say that I love having fun in fashion. But in my heart of hearts, I know that sometimes I’m doing it so I can feel like I’m enough.

And I’m pretty sure I’ve been sold a heaping load of bullshit.

As a society, we have decided that pretty is the thing we should be, but never really can be. It’s a total setup. And, in order to combat that pervasive idea, you will need to be absolutely vigilant about the kinds of messages you allow yourself to hear. I know, you’re probably thinking, “Well, Pia, tell us how to do that so we can go and fucking do it.”

First, a teeny bit about my experience. My rocky road to healing only really started when I began making the kinds of environmental changes that created a safe space in which I could begin to experience worth beyond my appearance. And, as I always say, I have not yet arrived. The journey is in the healing, and the healing is in the journey.

body  positive affirmations

Social media was the turning point in my recovery. Suddenly, I had access to resources and support for how to move past my eating disorder and begin accepting my exhausted self. I met fierce activists, proud fatties, plus-size designers, chubby bloggers, thin allies, and dear friends — all of whom have had an impact on my healing.

I let myself be raw. I told my truth, and the collective energy from these relationships began to kindle my spirit. I summoned a strength I never knew I had. I allowed my thick, light-deprived thighs to bask in the sun’s warmth, aware that no one at all gave me a second glance.

Instead of reading mainstream magazines, I began to read blogs that celebrated larger bodies. Rather than hold on to old jeans that no longer fit me, I embraced the amazing options in plus-size clothing and found a style that took into account my fluffy proportions and my personal style. I made a conscious choice to surround myself with images, words, and relationships that supported my work towards self-acceptance.

I became part of a revolution to take back my life, my choices, and my dignity. And in the process I became me — a mixed fat chick who fights for justice whilst eating gluten-free donuts. Because I’m allergic to gluten. Not because I give a fuck about carbs.

You know, I really want to not be writing about this in five years. I hope there won’t be a need.

In the meantime, bombard yourself  with positive messages with the same energy you were using to beat yourself up. It takes effort and planning to make fundamental changes in your thinking and your behaviors. Don’t worry, there is no race to the finish line. Take all the time you need, and celebrate the victories — big and small — along the way.

Sending much love, light, and healing to you!

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