57. Beauty at Every Size

57. Beauty at Every Size

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Curvy & Confident

Beauty at Every Size

The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.

~Audrey Hepburn

Feeling beautiful has always been very important to me. Yet through all the years that I hated my body, it didn’t matter what size I was, a part of me wasn’t willing to consider myself beautiful. The truth was I never saw a full-figured woman whose face showed confidence that she felt beautiful exactly as she was.

In early 2009, in the process of writing my book, Lovin’ the Skin You’re In, I stumbled upon a plus-size model magazine website. I was overjoyed to discover a whole other world of beauty. I scrolled through the online magazine and read article after article about fashion, movies, events, and many other wonderful things. It opened up my world, expanded my vision, increased my appreciation for my body, and made me feel beautiful inside and out.

I clicked through the pages and saw a sisterhood of beautiful women of all sizes and shapes. Suddenly, I didn’t feel like an outcast. Seeing my body through fresh eyes made my confidence soar. And that felt so good that I just had to spread the love and inspire other women to see their bodies as beautiful, too.

One day I was shopping in Lane Bryant for summer blouses. I buzzed through the store making my choices from the racks and plucking out an armload of clothes ranging in size from 14/16–18/20.

As I headed to the fitting room to try my clothes on, a lovely woman stopped to compliment me on the blouse I was wearing. It was a short-sleeved peasant blouse with a blue and green mosaic design.

When I dressed that morning, I had deliberately pulled down the elasticized neckline of the blouse to expose my neck and shoulders because I loved that look on me.

As I glanced at the woman who complimented my blouse, I noticed her eyes had a wistful expression. I wondered why. Then I smiled at her and said, “You know this same blouse would look incredible on you.” I pointed to the rack and told her, “I bought it here. It’s still available. What do you think of getting it?”

Suddenly, I didn’t feel like an outcast.

I watched as her lovely smile faded and the corners of her mouth turned down. She said, “Oh no, my arms are too fat. That type of blouse is not for me.”

I told her that those negative thoughts were probably coming from the screaming meanie critics inside her head, the ones that were holding her back from wearing these pretty blouses and doing the other things she really wanted to do.

I explained a little further about how we all have an internal voice that can make us doubt ourselves, that tells us to be afraid and believe we’re not good enough or pretty enough. Then I reminded her that she’s the one in charge, not that voice, and she could take back control anytime she wanted.

I had been through the same things myself. So many years lost to self-doubt. For years, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to bare my arms in public no matter what size I was. Reading that online magazine had changed things for me. I was tired of hating myself and feeling ashamed of my appearance. I was finally ready to accept myself as I was, with all my imperfections intact. No more sitting around and waiting for perfect. Not me.

Later as I stood at the counter paying for my purchases, I noticed the woman was also there. I asked if she bought the blouse. She shook her head and said, “No, I didn’t, but I got a very similar one. You inspired me. I feel better about myself now.”

I count that as a triumph over the meanies. My guess is that this lovely woman finally got a glimpse of herself through someone else’s eyes, in this case, mine. In the same way that seeing curvy women model beautiful clothes in a magazine inspired me to see myself as beautiful, this woman was inspired by seeing me. Just for a moment, she stepped outside the boundaries she had made for herself and saw what was possible.

~Andrea Amador

More stories from our partners