For a long time I have avoided fashion. Or at least being fashionable. I was retro, I was vintage, I was a-line skirts and cute sweaters. If I couldn't be as attractive as the models and actors I saw every day, at least I could have nice clothes, and if I wasn't trendy - or hot - then I could blame it on my love of all things old.
And while that was true, it wasn't the whole truth.
In reality, I was afraid. Partly of what passes for fashion (really flourescent yellow?) but mostly that it would be super obvious that I looked nothing like those aforementioned models when I was dressing just like them. In my 50s gear I could blame the difference in the style, not the body underneath it.
But I've just had a baby. A daughter. And I don't want her growing up with my body shame. And I don't want to spend the rest of my life feeling like I have to wait to be thin to wear all the clothes. So this year I'm embracing skinny jeans and tucked in shirts, pencil skirts and wiggle dresses. And belts, alll the belts.
This year I'm embracing me.
The Curse of the Double Chin
This isn't the first time I've had a blog. But it is the first time I've included a picture of me.
I've never felt particularly comfortable around cameras, and even less so about sharing my appearance online. I've always been (or at least felt) fat and unattractive, so I liked the selective annonymity that the internet provides.
But inclusive behaviour is increasing and "fat shaming" (or any kind of body shaming, really) is being discouraged. The mainstream fashion industry has gotten behind this "every body is beautiful" movement - for the most part - and have increased their range to include "plus sizes".
This is what you see when you look at plus size fashion models in Australia.
Images are from a google search and include Bellecurve (Target's plus size range) Avella (Big W's plus size range), designs by Chrissie Swan for Big W and Autograph.
Did you notice? Coz I did. No double chins. Not a one.
Look, I get that the fashion industry has come a long way, and I think it's wonderful that we're recognising that women can, should and do come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but none of them seem to include "facial fatness". I see the same thing when I search for "haircuts to flatter a double chin":
Images screenshotted from a google search.
Nary a double chin to be seen.
Now I'm not blaming anyone for my weight - or my double chin - but it almost seems like this is the last frontier of thin/beauty standards to be broken.
Have a fat body if you must, but make sure your face is thin.
For me learning to accept and embrace my face has been the hardest part of this journey. It's possible to hide unwanted bumps and lumps on one's body (if one is so inclined), but virtually impossible to do with a face. This is exacerbated by photographs of special moments and memories - bottom halves can be left out, but it's awfully difficult to be in photo that doesn't include your face,
It didn't stop me trying, though, and there's many a photo of me dyring my teenage years doing my best to avoid the camera, as if I would somehow be less fat as long as noone records it. I know better now, of course, and so I'm determined to learn to accept - perhaps even love - that double chin, because it's part of me and who I am. And I'm embracing that.