Fat Shame from Two Sides of the Scale

A lot can happen in 10 years. Physically, 10 years ago, I had a very fit body when I was a gypsy professional actress/singer/dancer. Mind you, I was a size 8 and I felt a lot of pressure to get back to a size 4, which I was a few years before then. To stay that size 4, I had to work out endlessly and deny myself real meals. I recall a lot of protein bars and salads.

My focus changed over the next couple of years from performing to teaching, and the weight crept on slowly to a size 10. After a car accident in 2012, my ability to work out the way I usually did diminished and now I am a size 14. According to most statistics, I am considered to be an average size of most American women.  So if I am considered “average,” why is my size not available in most retail outlets? Or if it is, why is it in a plus size department?

When I go to shop, if it is a store that does not specifically cater to a curvier woman, I notice two things: the clerks ignore me, or, there is a pitiful selection of “plus size” in a far corner of the store. What I do find in that little corner are big smocks, oversized t shirts, and maybe some jeans. Nothing cool for this fashionista.

On the other side, sometimes when I go into a plus department or plus size specialty store, the clerks give me a basic greeting and then go away, and as I pull through the racks hoping to score a great find, I feel glares from other customers. One lady said to me as I browsed, “you’re too skinny to wear these clothes.” I’m too skinny?!!! Tell that to the “straight size” stores!

I have entered what it appears to be “No Woman’s Land,” the gray area of the size 14. Too big for most fashion designers, but too small to belong to the Plus Size club (even though I technically am a plus). I didn’t like feeling pressure as a size 8 to be smaller for casting directors, and I don’t like having the pressure to change to be accepted in fashion.

I began this blog, CURVES RULE! as a way to deflect those feelings of pressure and to accept myself for who I am, at any size. As I continue to heal from my injury, I look forward to becoming more active and feel better. However, when I do lose weight, it will be because I’m being more active, not because I have to see a certain number on my scale. Photos of myself at a heavier weight will not be burned or hidden away, nor will I scorn myself. No matter my size, I am still me and deserve to be respected.

Statistics claim I’m “average,” but I think I’m pretty exceptional. Here’s to all you “averages” out there!

Dress, Forever 21 Plus. Shoes, "Something Blue" Manolo Blahnik.

Dress, Forever 21 Plus. Shoes, “Something Blue” Manolo Blahnik.

 

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