Fitting In

“Please stand over here, sir.”

My son and I were in line at the Tower of Terror in Disneyworld. I looked up when I heard my son snort a little.

“Oh, I wasn’t talking to YOU,” the young ride attendant stammered to me. “I was talking to your son.”

“No,” I said, “I’m pretty sure you were talking to me.”

I was 6 feet tall at age 12. I never had a chance at fitting in to any standard beauty ideals. I’ve been size 14 since I was 14. A Barbie doll I am not. A GI Joe doll, maybe.  I never thought I was tall, though. I just thought the rest of the world didn’t grow enough. I love being tall. We were raised to stand tall and be proud. But most little girls don’t get that message. We all start out knowing we’re the  most gorgeous creatures on the planet but society has a way of showing us all the ways in which we are imperfect and eventually we get the message – there is always something wrong with us. We learn how to focus on those imperfections, hoping that by hating those bad parts of ourselves we can somehow transform ourselves into the perfect beings we are constantly told we can become, if…. If we can only lose weight, shrink 5 inches, change our eye color, have thinner calves, less freckles.

I love fashion. I love Louis Vuitton and Michael Kors. I love Hermes scarves and Mikkimoto pearls. So what’s a girl to do when she looks in the mirror and sees an Amazon looking back at her? How can she feel good about herself when an extra large is a size 8?  How can a size 14 girl fit into a size 2 world?

We hear people say that real beauty is on the inside, but it’s usually outwardly beautiful people that are telling us that. And that’s nice to hear, but do we ever believe it? I’ve been called handsome before but that’s not the same as being called beautiful. I ask you larger than life women, you older women, you taller women, you shorter women, do you feel beautiful, inside AND out? Do you dress nicely or have you given yourself over to the land of yoga pants and baggy t-shirts? Have you given up?

It is to you I speak. Who will show us our beauty when we may have never felt beautiful? It’s not about who has the biggest cleavage or the most-toned upper arms. It’s not about who has the smallest pores (give me a break) or about how long you can wear those 5 inch heels without crying.

It’s about looking in a mirror and seeing the way your gray hair shines. It’s about wearing that red dress and strutting a little bit. It’s about knowing, without a shadow of a doubt, that you are gorgeous. It has nothing to do with your outsides but everything to do about the way you see yourself. I hold up a mirror for you so you can see what I see. You are stunning. You are luminescent. You are gorgeous. Get set to pack those mom jeans away, girls, because there’s a whole world out there beyond elastic waists.

It’s true – you’re fabulously beautiful and I’m going to prove it to you. Dare me? You’re on.  It’s not about fashion. It’s about fitting in.

3 thoughts on “Fitting In

  1. I struggle with this as well. I was the same way; though bigger, a C cup in 4th grade, a head taller than most in my class, until I stopped growing at 5 foot 4, ha! A size 16 at 14, and growing larger with each passing year. Weigh can change, height cannot, and with that, I have had a life long quest to lose weight. I have given up “trying” and just try to eat healthy, eat when I’m hungry for the most part, and hope someday my body will catch on and figure it out that it does have to be this big.
    Despite the years of teasing I went through, as I’m sure you did, I have had glimpses of my own beauty, inside and out.

  2. But ya know, Susie, some of us actually “like” … “enjoy” baggy pants, over-sized shirts, no make-up and greying. uncoiffed/uncolored/unsaloned hair. It is not always about “giving up” but “giving in” to the comfort that life should be … not living up to a standard that one might feel is … oh, I don’t know … superficial … might be the word for which I search! :) Life, sadly, is not equally fulfilling for everyone … due to reasons galore! Choices alone do not dictate the destiny of a person’s life. Even then, choices made based on misinformation … what kind of choices are they?

    • I agree with you, Sydney (and it’s great to hear from you!). I love all of those things you mentioned, as well! But I think sometimes we DO give up in many ways, and actually the point of my column is to open up a discussion about beauty in all of its forms, and maybe blasting the lid off old stereotypes. My last line about “it’s not about fashion – it’s about fitting in” doesn’t mean I think we all should strive to fit in, but that’s what the discussion is about – what ‘fitting in’ means to us as individuals. I don’t think there is anything TO fit into beyond us being our 100% glorious selves as individuals. It sounds as if you may think I am saying we can’t wear mom jeans or elastic-waist pants or ever go without makeup or perfect hair. If you want to do that – great! But it’s fun to explore all options, I think…

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