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This summer, whilst shopping with my mother, sister-in-law and my niece, I was trying to squeeze in and out of dresses, and bathing suits, and bikini’s and well, the worst, jean shorts. You get the picture.

Sidenote: when I went to dress myself today, my hand fell upon jeans in my clean laundry basket, and I said out loud and to myself, “not today, not today.”

The hell with jeans anyways. I am pro-leggings. Pro-I don’t need jeans to surprise me with an extra pound today.

Anyway, at one point on this shopping adventure, I actually had my niece come in (who am I kidding, she was in the room with me the entire time hanging everything back up on hangers, haha, a job she liked, and hey, I paid her…that girl can negotiate) and anyways, I seriously told her with words of encouragement, “you can do this. You can zip it up. I believe in you. Here, let me get down on the floor.”

And I physically got down on the floor on all fours while she straddled my back, trying to do up this dress that I loved. And she got it done up. But I couldn’t breathe. And, well, that wasn’t good for anyone.

I laughed, and I cried, and I cursed my body.

Why can’t I be a size two, actually a size four, or a 6? Why God, why?

So, anyway, my sister in law, feeling me all the way, asked me, you know, if I knew plus-size supermodel, Ashley Graham. At the time, I didn’t. I knew Kate Upton, who is beautiful, and heavy chested, and looks a-freaking-mazing. But I hadn’t heard of Ashley.

I’ve heard of Upton, yep, I heard Kate Upton being criticized in Hollywood for being, “too fat.” Like, come on, give me a break already. Seriously? This woman is gorgeous.

FAT?! Nah, by.

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Kate Upton, according to what I’ve read, wears a size 8.

So, here’s a confession. I’m a size 12.

And being a size 12 means that I’m considered a large woman, with an extra-extra large chest.

It hasn’t always been easy to embrace being curvier than my classmates, or friends. In fact, it’s been insanely hard. And if I had a nickel for each and every time I asked my sister, “Do I look fat?” I seriously wouldn’t need a day job right now.

In fact, I’d be in St. Tropez sailing on a yacht wearing a cover up.

Being curvy also means that it’s next to freaking impossible to find anything that fits right. That fits my figure right.

I literally can, NO JOKE, wear my cup size as a ball hat, if I wanted too. In fact, you could too! One for me and one for you. We’d just need to go to the Jay’s game and sit close together..

Anyway, when you’re a size 2, it’s like, everything looks good on you. Or that’s what us size 12’s think. I know the struggle is real for you ladies too. I know we all struggle to accept our bodies. Too thin, too curvy, too large, too short, too tall…like the list goes on and on my friend!!!

So, I was sitting at my computer this morning, having my tea and toast, while scrolling through TIME Magazine when an article came up on this Ashley Graham person. And I was floored. This woman is incredibly beautiful. And she’s also incredibly successful. And she’s a size 16. And she wears her size 16 as good as anyone.

Low and behold, Ashley Graham.

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Ashley is this beautiful, curvy, voluptuous woman who makes being curvy, well, hot.

Seeing her and her shape, and seeing the confidence that she displays in herself, made a difference to my day. A real, genuine role model.

And so, I’m eating my toast and simultaneously wondering, like, where have you been all my life Ashley?

Where were you when I was 16 and running three times a day? When I was too scared to eat a burger or a steak? Where were you when I gained 15 pounds during my first year of college and every pound I’ve gained and lost since then?

The reality is, that it wasn’t all that long ago, in my lifetime, that there were no Upton’s, and fewer Ashley’s. What I saw in magazines and on the internet, was the unrealistic image of perfection that I didn’t meet. That no one met, that the women in the pictures didn’t meet themselves. We saw photoshopped images and we cried when we couldn’t attain what was on the cover.

But we couldn’t because it wasn’t possible. We were setting ourselves up for failure. For eating disorders, and depression, and anxiety. Beauty is on the inside, and beauty is on the outside too.

Beauty is being confident in who you are as a person, in the body that keeps you moving. Beauty is in loving yourself, all of yourself. Every inch of yourself. And no doubt, it’s important to be healthy too. It’s important to move, and exercise and eat right, and if you’re doing all of these things, and your body is a beautiful, strong size 8, 12 or 16. If it’s a size 2, 4, or 6. It really doesn’t matter.

If your healthy, be confident in who you are, because you are perfectly imperfect. And you were born to be.

In addition, the article that I read on TIME today was actually centered on how Ashley, herself, views white privilege as what has allowed her to be successful as a plus size model on the scale she is on (no pun intended).

She discusses the fact that Latina women and women of color do NOT have the same privilege as she has.

She actually states in the interview, “I’m getting a seat at the table we’ve never had before, and I’m also pulling up a couple of seats around me. I know this isn’t about me. Just one girl is not going to change the world.”

A true sister of this planet. Let’s lift each other up, not drag each other down. Let’s be real. And true and perfectly, imperfect.

Let’s wear whatever size, and wear it proudly.

And here’s the link for TIME:

http://time.com/4890516/ashley-graham-on-white-privilege/

 

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