“You have such a pretty face.”
“That’s so flattering for your body type.”
“I wish I could be as confident as you.”
This post is going to be a little less about plus size clothes and a little bit more just about my thoughts on being plus sized. I had an interesting conversation recently that I wanted to discuss. Because this is not about any one kind of fashion – I am going to just post some of my favorite pictures of outfits that I have. THE PICTURES WILL HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS POST AT ALL.
The winner of the giveaway will be posted at the bottom along with my next two weeks of blog posts! So stay tuned all the way until the end. As always – follow me on instagram for updates, giveaways, and to generally help my self esteem. You can follow me at @abby_hoy. I’m thinking when I hit 1,000 followers – I will do another giveaway!
Picture: Me in the “grown up Scooby Doo” – a play titled Mystery, Inc.
But, here’s the story morning glories.
I mentioned to a co-worker (this is a pretty new co-worker) that I wrote this blog after she continued to compliment my outfits! She, also being plus sized, said she was glad I was young (and like, spoiler alert – she’s in her 30’s and not old AT ALL!) and could pull off this young trendy stuff.
She said she mostly stuck to Lane Bryant to take advantage of their ‘Real Woman Dollars’. I, then, being who I am immediately offered up Torrid. (she didn’t strike me as a ModCloth type of gal. Not as whimsical.) I said that they had good coupons, good reward programs and a variety of items from graphic t’s to jeans to leggings to lingerie to blazers and work tops and everything in between. I pulled up the website on the work computer. She looked at some of the stuff and said maybe she would go to the one in our local mall over the weekend. She looked uncomfortable to be discussing plus sized clothes.
She turned to me and said, ‘I wish I could be as confident as you. I used to be so thin and athletic, but two kids and twelve years later and now I’m this size. I do Weight Watchers and have tried and failed so many different diets. I just can’t be as confident as you.”
And my immediate response was, “It’s not that I’m super confident, it’s just that the alternative is that I wake up every day and hate my body. And that doesn’t really seem healthy.” She then kind of shrugged it off and said she still thought I was still confident, we exchanged a few more awkward pleasantries about the weekend, and went back to our respective offices.
That conversation was just about a week ago and I haven’t really stopped thinking about it since.
Picture: Preston and I looking cute for our Christmas card photos this year.
Because what I said is true. I am plus sized. I am also fairly healthy. Preston and I go on walks on many evenings, I do musicals and do all kinds of choreography to get my heart rate up, I go to the gym sometimes, I hit my step goal on my pedometer almost every day, I mostly drink diet soda, have the sugar free/reduced sodium versions of things, try to do squats every day, drink 1% milk, eat a lot of fresh veggies and chicken that haven’t been preserved. I do have a huge sweet tooth for ice cream and I drink flavored coffee and feel no hesitation to coat the pan with butter instead of cooking spray. So it’s not completely healthy but I do make some good choices.
Picture: My dear friend Cathy being a good sport in the Adirondacks of upstate NY.
However, despite all that – I am still plus sized. Heavy. Overweight. And while making these lifestyle changes and continuing to add more to create an even healthier lifestyle – I still have to exist while they are kicking in.
My body is NOT a DIY that is a constant work in progress. It’s not a pinterest post. It’s literally all I have. I will always have blue eyes and a high instep and tan in the summer and my tattoos. And the alternative is to wake up every day with despair and hatred of my body. That seems equally as unhealthy and far more damaging of the mind.
Pictures: Promotional shots from my Circus show. I have literally never felt more beautiful than I did in these photos. I cherish how confident I felt!
I have always prided myself on my confidence. I AM pretty and charming. (it’s why I mostly work in Development. People are more keen on giving money to people they like.) People comment on my confidence frequently. But the real truth is – I worry about my body all the time. I worry when I have to jump up and down and my boobs smack me in the face and sitting on old rickety swings and getting costumed in matching outfits for a show and then they have to find costumes that will fit me also. Those things give me dreadful anxiety. But I can’t live in a world that every day I wake up and unhappy. I would hate to step out of the shower and cry looking at my naked body or only letting Preston touch me in the dark or hiding my body in ill fitting sacks until I could get home into sweatpants and have no one see me.
I also, as has been mentioned many times over, am an actor. Not only do I have to live in this body – I have to VERY publicly present it several times a year.
Pictures: Top Right: Me performing Crooked Braid in the Vagina Monologues, Top Left: Me as the Countess in Picasso at the Lapin Agile, and Bottom: Me & Joe in a play about the circus called “Cirque“.
So, while confidence is important….it’s also part of self preservation. Making healthy choices is what matters. If your healthy choice is getting weight loss surgery or getting a personal trainer or getting stricter about portion control or going vegan – whatever. Waking up with a despairing image of your body is NOT a healthy choice.
But for many of us, this has been a whole lifetime of backhand comments and compliments met with the best of intentions. I remember when I was in college I was taking a class about Gender (which sounds super feminist but it was actually a very analytic and scientific look at behavior differences in the relationships between men & women in various settings from romantic to parental to professional. I digress…). But in the class one day we were discussing how women are often first noticed for their appearance and not for their merit.
This somehow segued into a discussion about backhanded compliments. I made a comment that one of my least favorite things to hear was ‘You have such a pretty face’ because the implication is that the rest of me is an absolute trainwreck. (whether it was intended that way or not – that’s usually how I took it.) A male student in the class (also a friend of mine), respectfully disputed my chagrin and said, “It just sounds like you don’t like the way people compliment you and that they aren’t praising you right.” And my argument to that was “Do you think it is okay to call a girl a ‘butter face’?” (a Butter Face for anyone who may not know is a slang term when you see a woman with an unattractive face but a hot body causing the reaction of ‘look at her body…but her face…”) He said that of course he didn’t think that was right and that it was very disrespectful. My argument was that they were just saying the same thing but opposite. The class continued in a bantering discussion about this topic. This was about two years ago and I still think about that.
Pictures: Me & my mom, me & my older brother, me & my whole family. (Dad does NOT like having his picture taken.)
But I have been told my whole life that I can’t do things because I’m heavy. You’re too heavy to play the part of a romantic lead – who would love you? I was 13 the first time I started skipping meals. I was 14 when I had my first kiss with a boy who called me the next day to make sure he knew we weren’t dating because I was way too fat to date publicly. I was 15 and working in a local coffee shop when a customer told me I would be stunning if I just lost some weight and had I ever considered not eating white grains? I was 16 when I went to the doctor about having chronic sleep loss and instead got a two hour lecture about the importance of fruit and vegetables. I was 17 when I got offered a seat belt extender on a roller coaster – even though I had already buckled myself in. I was 18 when the boy who I thought was my soul mate told me the reason he hadn’t committed to me was that I was too fat.
But you know what I can do?
I can SLAAAY.
I have nearly a perfect hour glass. It just tells a lot of time.
I have awesome blonde curls that come naturally as my hair air dries.
I have a great smile.
I have GIGANTIC boobs. (that is sometimes a blessing and curse -where my other G-cup ladies at?)
I am a very caring friend and a doting girlfriend.
I always got good grades in school graduating with honors both times.
I’m always super nice to puppies and kitties.
I make awesome crab and asparagus bisque.
I am awesome at giving Christmas and birthday gifts.
I have surrounded myself with loving & supportive friends, family, and romantic partners. I have kept those close to me who can see and love all of me for who I am. The good & the bad. (and like most of us, there’s a fair amount of both.)
And so are you! That’s my point! You have wonderful qualities. Everyone does. We are all in this community of support and love and helping. We help support our goals but also try to make sure that we are confident and healthy and balanced along the way!
So to my co-worker who thinks that she needs to hide her body until she ‘can do something about it.’ Or to my 20 year old self that stopped eating and went to the gym twice a day. Or to the new mother who is self conscious about the ten pounds she put on TO GIVE BIRTH TO A NEW HUMAN PERSON (which is amazing!), to the women who aren’t the size x-small that they were in high school (you know, before you were done developing as a person), to the girl who wakes up hating her body – You are valid and you are beautiful. You matter. You should be confident about all the beautiful things you are and all of the people in your life who are lucky to know you.
Now before I get off my soap box of After-School-Special-About-Body-Postivity-And-Good-Self-Esteem train here, let me just finish with saying I am glad to know all of you.
Today – I want you to leave me comments on this post or on my Instagram post today that tells me something you love about yourself! Tell me that you make banging grilled cheese sandwiches, or look drop dead sexy in heels, or are especially kind to animals or are a great mom. Tell me something positive about you!
So here’s the “end of blog” spiel!
Follow me on Instagram: @Abby_Hoy – I will do another (and bigger!) giveaway when I reach 1,000 followers! Help me reach that goal!
Last week I had a giveaway for a $20 giftcard to the plus size store of your choosing. I read and loved all of your comments! The winner was randomly selected!
And the winner is….
*drum roll, please*
PM me on Instagram to claim your prize! Congrats!
Subscribe for updates! Comment for topics you would like to see me cover! Like to help my self esteem!
Please share this link on your page to help other lovely ladies who may be struggling with their confidence!
Love all you wonderful ladies (and gents!) out there!
Also, no big deal – but here’s me & Jonathan Groff (he was Kristoff in Frozen & Melchior in Spring Awakening & Jesse on Glee). I helped plan a large fundraising event at the theatre I used to work at and he was a performer and a really sweet guy!
Amen! Beautiful photos and a beautiful person inside and out 🙂
I just want to say that I love your blog, especially this post. It came at a really good time and it’s made this rainy Mississippi day so much better and has brought quite the smile to my face. I’ve been plus size, well since middle school (high-school senior now) and slowly learning to love myself. I got a lot of hell in school for my size, but eventually I moved to an arts school where I was accepted for who I was. Yet, I still wasn’t happy with my body. I do a lot of cosplaying and it’s a tough thing for someone who’s not smaller, or perfectly curved like the characters in movies and games, but I’m learning to be happy with myself. I’ve learned to love the dimples in my cheeks and my wide hips and the way I look in a corset and my legs, they’re not skinny but they’re long and strong. My body is sturdy enough to get me where I need to be and soft enough to give amazing hugs. I’m not there yet, but I’m learning to love myself.
I read this weeks column and felt that there was one thing that you missed. It seems to me you’ve always been a big girl, right? That makes a huge difference. Like me, your co-worker wasn’t always big. It’s incredibly hard looking in the mirror and seeing someone else, some fat girl that can’t possibly be you. So you diet and exercise and nothing happens and you despair that you will never be back to being YOU. I know what I look like at 100 lbs less and I was HOT. I used to be like that woman waking up and dreading getting dressed. My husband would tell me I needed to lose weight “for my health”. (My father would say, “No one will marry you if you’re fat.” Clearly that was wrong.) It all changed after my divorce. I met a handsome, charming and younger man who thought I was the most beautiful woman in the world, a man who loved my figure as it is and felt no shame being seen with me. And I learned that despite what I had been told, there are plenty of men who love my curves and want me. You are right that it isn’t healthy to be depressed about your weight all the time. But if you’ve never been thin, it doesn’t hurt quite as much.. Sort of like people who are blind from birth: they don’t know what they are missing. You are right about accepting yourself, holding your head up high, and not letting people hold you back because of your weight. But please remember when you’re dealing with this co-worker, that the image in her head doesn’t match the image she sees in the mirror. And that is so very painful.