As Editor-in-Chief of the leading plus size magazine in the industry, you would think that I’d be beaming with confidence every day, 24/7.
The truth is I’m a woman who has her good AND bad days. Raised in a Pentecostal home, I was taught that modesty was essential to my spiritual walk and that no woman should dress in a way that would entice a man’s mind to sin.
I remember going to the beach and watching the women in my family go into the water in skorts and skirts, and even as a child, I would have to wear shorts and a t-shirt.
Fast forward to many years later, where I found myself working in an industry that was just coming into its own. Plus size women who once hid behind baggy clothing were finding their comfort and confidence in trendy plus size fashion. I was excited to learn more and become a fashionista in my own right. Still, deep inside, I was dealing with my personal beliefs versus body confidence.
I had to ask myself, what is self confidence and what does it mean to me?
My personal belief is that self confidence is a personal journey and is not only seen but is something that comes from within. We often see many plus sized women on social media parading the beaches and resorts in swimwear; often in two-piece sets exuding 100% confidence.
So when I wasn’t able to do the same, I felt like I was being a fraud for not practicing what I preached. As an adult, I had always covered my body at beaches and was very aware of my surroundings. Did this mean that I was NOT as body confident as I thought?
I set out to the beautiful island of Jamaica alone for some peace and relaxation. Traveling alone is something I do from time to time to relax my mind and rest my body from my hectic schedule. This trip would be different. Along with dining alone and staying away from social media as much as possible, I decided to make this THE trip where I would step into a new level of self confidence.
Once I was checked in, I rushed to put on one of my favorite AlwaysForMe.com swimsuits and headed to the pool area. I did wear a cover-up as I headed to the pool, but it did not stay on all day.
Through beads of sweat, I left it behind with my bag when I went to the outdoor bar. That may not seem like a big thing to some people, but it was a HUGE deal to me.
The next day, I left my cover up in the room. I FELT NAKED!!!! But I pushed myself to embrace all of me without any apologies for the space my body takes.
What I learned on this trip was that confidence is different for all of us. For some, it may mean having the confidence to wear red lipstick or dine alone; basically stepping outside of their comfort zone. It’s very easy to say you have confidence but a much different story when you put yourself under the microscope.
Do I feel like I have been a fraud all these years? No. I think that this was a personal goal I set for myself and something I needed to face after years of conditioning during my childhood.
Whether I do it again or not, it doesn’t mean I am more or less confident in myself. I think that we often compare ourselves to others on social media and feel like if we can’t do the same then we can’t possibly be worthy of saying we are body confident or have self confidence.
Body confidence comes in many shapes and forms. I am confident when I walk into meetings, when I speak at panels and when I boldly stand in the face of opposition when our worth is questioned as plus size women.
Since then, I have been to the beach numerous times, focusing on having a good time and not so worried about who is watching.
Hope my experience inspires you to embrace yourself where you are in your journey.
All swimsuits courtesy of AlwaysForMe.com