Let’s talk about body image

I received this in my inbox last week:

I just wanted to say that aside from how much I loved today’s episode, I thought your outfit was so adorable and I wish I had a better body to wear that. I weigh 280 and have been this large my entire life. I’m also really interested in sewing and watching you be so awesome on the LBD and elsewhere has inspired me to further lose weight so that I might be able to one day make the clothes I’ve seen from you (and the other lovely LBD ladies). I hope to be beautiful both inside and out like you.”

And it broke my heart. 

I am so tired of the standards of beauty imposed on women in our culture. I am so tired of women thinking and feeling that they are less than other women because of how they look. If anyone is going to look at me as some kind of body role model, I want the message to be one that celebrates confidence, health, and beauty in all shapes and sizes.

I have been on a long journey toward loving and accepting my body with all its flaws and quirks, and it’s not over. It’s something I work on every day. If I could spare women the obsession with appearance, the agony of scrutinizing imperfections, and the fear of being seen as unattractive, I would. Nothing has been added to my life by feeling unhappy with my body; a lot has been added to my life by appreciating and accepting it for what it is. 

To the person who wrote that message: If you have been inspired to be healthier, then I applaud and cheer you on, but it’s important that you know you are beautiful now. Until you believe that, you’ll never feel beautiful at any weight. You are not defined by a number on a scale, nor does a certain number equal beauty. There is room in this world for many kinds of beauty, and the most attractive things are confidence and self acceptance. I wish for you, and every girl, the ability to see yourself as the gorgeous, powerful, radiant being that you are. The world doesn’t have another you. Celebrate your uniqueness, and shine on.

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