Friday, October 16, 2015

being an average sized girl in a non-average sized online world

"Since you're an unconventional size in blogging, where do you find the confidence to post your outfits online?"

"I'm so glad you're not a twig!"

"She most definitely is not a size 8. I'm a size 8, and no way do my thighs look that big"

"She looks nice, despite that she's large"

These are all comments I've received or read over the last few months.

Some of you may have found my blog through a reddit thread looking for not skinny and not plus-sized bloggers - it's one of my highest referring sites since I started this blog almost four years ago. If you read through those comments, you may notice that there aren't a lot blogs with larger followings written by an average sized girl - girls size 6-14 who aren't basically fashion models, and aren't plus sized either. The in-betweeners is what a recent article called us.

I bet you could name ten bloggers off the top of your head who are a size 00-2, or who identify themselves as being plus sized. Both these categories in fashion and fashion blogging are popular, for different reasons.

On the one hand you have the model-sized girls. The ladies who look good in everything, the ones who get dozens of #goals comments every time they instagram their thigh gap, and the ones who sell off the shoulder top after off the shoulder top, because their readers want to look just like that, and maybe if they buy that top, they too will look good as the size 2 blogger. They are aspirational, they are what we want our bodies to look like, and it's how we want clothes to look on us. They are re-pinned, re-grammed, and re-tweeted. Companies want to work with them, readers want to be them.

On the other hand, you have the plus-sized community. They have a term, they have hashtags, they have whole clothing lines. There's a true sense of community and support, something that those without a label or a hashtag don't have. There are articles written about them, they get magazine covers, and the girls who are also plus sized identify with them.

And then you have the inbetweeners. We're average sized. We may struggle a bit more in finding clothes to look the way we want because they aren't always cut for shoulders/mid section/thighs. We are neither truly aspirational, nor have a set community that we are a part of. We just...exist.

I'm asked quite a bit about how I find confidence about feeling good about myself. And honestly, maybe I'm just good at pretending on the internet. In every picture I see of myself, I immediately look to see how chubby I look in the picture. Are my cheeks looking especially round today? Does my small mouth emphasize my larger face? How broad and round do my shoulders look? It's exhausting, and it's relentless. The other day, my friend Lizzi left me a comment saying that we probably are all harder on ourselves than others are, and that's totally true. In pictures where I see my small eyes and large cheeks, you may see a happy person loving the best vacation they've ever been on. I see round arms, you may see a dress you wish you also owned. I see a thicker waist, you see someone having a good hair day. Who knows. What I fixate on is probably not what you see, but it's a hard habit to un-learn. So yeah, I guess I don't really ever talk about having body issues, but it definitely doesn't mean they don't exist.

To be honest with you, it is hard sometimes to put myself out there. Clothes just don't look as good on a size 10 girl as they do on a size 2 (or so we are told!) Add the fact that I'm also several inches taller than the average height, and it sometimes just makes me think "good enough" about clothes instead of "good". I have clothes that I need to get rid of because they don't fit me the way they should - keeping and wear them is doing a disservice to both myself, and people who read and recommend my blog.

So. Why am I telling you all this? Because I want to let you know that if you too are an in-betweener, and don't always know how to dress or aren't always happy with your body, you aren't alone. While most of us probably don't air our dirty self-conscious laundry on the internet on a daily basis, I'm sure we all have an issue or two about the way we look, but it shouldn't constantly limit what we do, love, and wear.

It's also to get my ass in a gear and stop feeling sorry for myself. I want to see a picture of an outfit I adore (for example, this layered look on Kimberly the other day), and instead of my first thought being "of course it looks great on her small body, it would look ridiculous on me", I want my thought to be "I can't wait to recreate this and make it work on me!". Because what is stopping me from trying out a nice look I love besides my own stupid insecurities? I want to wear a big comfy sweater, and not have my first thought be "but will this draw attention to my chubby face?" or try on some amazing above the knee boots and not think "but what about my thicker thighs?".

I've never campaigned to the be poster girl for the larger average sized girl, but somehow I have become the one that is recommended that way across the internet. And you know, I feel like I have a certain responsibility to show that you can dress nice when you aren't sample sized. It's something I've been working on for years, and still need to work on. I feel a responsibility to find better fitting clothes, to find a way to layer without adding bulk, to show that the average sized girl wearing her average mall clothes can still look nice for her average middle America life.

Not "nice, despite being large", just "nice".