I just sent an email to two of the women at my church who are organizing a panel discussion called "Going Beyond Your Weight," offering to speak. now I am so jittery-nervous-eeeeeeeeeeek... especially since one of the women is the wife to the pastor.
Dear Pastor B___ and Pastor S_____,
This is [me] (the girl who lived with the Wynnes for a while). I saw that there is a Pearls event scheduled called "Going Beyond Your Weight," and I wanted to offer what I have learned on the subject. I don't like public speaking, in fact I'm shaking a little just sending this to you, but I know that self-image is a deeply painful subject for many women and if I can help even one, it's worth the sacrifice of comfort. I would like the opportunity to share with Liberty women.
About a year and a half ago, I started an online community called Curvygirls. Through maintaining this community, I've seen literally hundreds of lives changed -- girls come in hating themselves and feeling worthless, and after being a part of the community for a little while, they learn to see the beauty in themselves and the change in them is incredible. When you're drained by feeling judged and worthless, you don't have the energy to reach out in love -- but when you feel that you are as you were meant to be, you have so much more confidence. And if you think you have nothing worthwhile to give, you don't give, or give only a little; but if you learn to see yourself as a creation of God, as exactly the way you were meant to be, it's easy to give because you feel that you're giving something that other people really want. Because we've learned to see the beauty in ourselves and others, the community is the most accepting, generous, caring group of people I have ever met -- and that's saying a lot now that we have over a thousand members.
There are so many lies that the world tells us about beauty, but the main one is that there is a certain way to look, and all other looks are lesser. We are taught that we are supposed to be thin, tall, tan, blonde, and have large breasts. We are taught that we are all supposed to have flat bellies despite the fact that less than 10% actually have the genes for it (and that only during teens and twenties). And despite the fact that the vast majority of us were never designed to look that way, we feel as though we have to strive for it. We measure our worth in pounds and inches, and the ideal always moves further away. Even if we starve ourselves, work out constantly, get plastic surgery, etc., we will NEVER look like those airbrushed women in the magazines. Why? Partly because even the models don't look that way, but mainly because God made us to look UNIQUE. We aren't supposed to look like anything but ourselves.
Why do we believe that lie? because we are bombarded with images and words that tell us that that look IS beauty, and that it's attainable no matter what your body type. How do we break our belief in the lie? we block out the images by not watching TV and not reading so-called 'fashion magazines,' and when they force themselves into our line of view we do not passively agree, we look at them and say to ourselves 'you sell a lie.' And we change what we see. In the community, we often post photos of ourselves, and when someone posts, many of the other girls comment and compliment them. We look at the photo, see how uniquely beautiful the girl is, and compliment her -- maybe on her amazing hips, maybe on her radiant smile, her cute freckles, her muscular legs, or her pretty feet. We'll have a slender size 4 girl post, and people will compliment, and then a voluptuous size 20 will post, and the same girls will compliment her. We recognize that beauty doesn't exist in one shape, but in the VARIETY of shapes.
But you don't need to be part of the community to change what you see. Start looking around you, look for the beauty in that lady and that one. Don't compare, don't ever ever ever compare, it makes no sense because there is NO standard. Allow yourself to realize that she's every bit as beautiful as you are, and her beauty does not diminish yours. Instead of thinking, "oh she's so skinny I hate her, why can't I be like that" or "oh she could stand to lose a few, at least I'm not like that" think "what subtle curves, she's like a willow tree, delicate and graceful" or "what voluptuous curves, she's like the ocean, powerful and indomitable." And when you look in the mirror, don't criticize yourself -- that's insulting God's handiwork, and it's hurting you just as much as if someone else said it to you. Would you want to spend time with a friend who talked as badly about your body as you do?
I don't believe in 'body flaws.' To believe in them, you have to believe in one single ideal body, and I emphatically do not! I know what I am supposed to look like -- I'm supposed to look like ME. And since no one can look more like me than me, I'm as close to perfect as it gets. I don't need to look like anyone else OR any other version of myself. God wants me to be ME, not an imitation of someone else.
I don't have flaws -- and neither do you. What we have are differences, and they are what make us beautiful, what make us unique, what make us who we are. I have a rounded tummy, thick thighs, breasts that slant down, stretchmarks, freckles -- and those are beautiful parts of me that I wouldn't change. If you offered to pay me a billion dollars so that you could magically change my body to match a 'supermodel's,' no surgery, no pain, no side effects, I'd say NO WAY. Because I wouldn't be myself, and I like the way God made me. I like being a unique reflection of God that no one else can show.
^^^ That is not edited at all, just my thoughts off the top of my head. If you want me to speak, I will be happy to polish it up and submit it to you for approval. If you decide that you have time for me to speak, I can speak for as long or as little as you want. If you don't, I ask you to please pass my email on to the other panel speakers, so that they can read it and hopefully take whatever is good and pass it on to the women who come to the meeting. I realize it's only two weeks away, so whatever you decide I'm going to just take as God's will.
thanks for reading!
and in the jittery but body-positive spirit of the moment, a new curvygirls shirt design! Same quote as an older design, but more eye-catching.