Yesterday Facebook told me about a memory from a year ago. It was the image you see above. It was November 23 and I was finishing the editing on Winter's Rain, which would release in February of 2015. The words that went with the image is why I'm here writing about it today.
"I’m trying to figure out who I am, Rain. I’m looking at thirty and I still can’t accept who I am.”
“What’s to accept? You’re a big, beautiful woman with a resilient heart that you share with the world without them even knowing it.” He soothed, rubbing my back.
I sighed and pulled away from him. “Why do I have to be big and beautiful? Why can’t I just be beautiful? Why does the first thing that defines me always have to be big? That’s why I can’t accept who I am, because I’m repeatedly told by society that the most important thing, the very first thing they see, is that I’m big. The beauty will always be second fiddle to that. People tell me not to be so hard on myself all the time, because it’s okay to be a big beautiful woman. It’s like a constant assault on my psyche that says, “All we see is that you’re big, but it’s okay because you’re still beautiful in a big kind of way”. It’s incredibly frustrating.”
He sat there quietly for a long time. I could see him working through what I said. The reality as it sits is I am a big woman. I always have been and always will be. That part I’ve accepted. What I haven’t accepted is why society needs to have a tagline to continually point it out. No one says, “small, beautiful woman” when describing a Calvin Klein model. It’s a backhanded compliment put there to make their disdain less obvious and more palatable.
I remember thinking a lot about that excerpt. Do I put it in the book or not? Do I offend someone if I do? I kept chewing it over and over in my mind, but the answer was actually very simple. It wasn't me speaking, it was Winter speaking, and I couldn't mute her thoughts and words because someone might be offended by them. So, I left it in the story and now a year later, I'm really glad I did. That scene was a pivotal turning point for Winter and Rain, and for me.
|Left Calvin Klein Model Right: Lane Bryant Models|
I had a few people say to me, wait Calvin Klein doesn't have female models. The fact is they do. The one on the left is a Calvin Klein model and the two models on the right are from the Lane Bryant website, modeling their intimate apparel. Are they all beautiful? Yup! Because beauty is subjective, intimate, and personal not just for women, but for the men who love them. Our society has left men floundering around in the subjective beauty department. We have put these taglines on our bodies that leaves them wondering if they will say the wrong thing that will automatically turn us against them.
I know a lot of men who would call the woman on the left beautiful and perfect, but also a lot who would call her beautiful but stick thin. I know a lot of men who would call the models on the right beautiful and perfect, and some who would call them beautiful, but too thick. So, who's in the wrong?
Neither! Because we should all get to define beauty by our own personal subjective intimacy without feeling like we have to be politically incorrect.
It took me a long time to be able to look in the mirror and see someone beautiful. Some of Winter's body issues and beliefs mirrored my own, as a matter of fact, and writing her story helped me every day I looked in the mirror. The biggest person who helped me with my own body image is my husband, because he never judged me no matter how many times the scale went up or down. He loves me through it and in the end, he's the only one who gets to judge my beauty in his own personal subjective way.
|Winter's Rain on Amazon 0.99 through Sunday!|
“This book is dedicated to a boy who believed in me with all his heart for all his life. He saw something in me even I didn’t, beauty. He saw Winter all year round and he loved what Winter had in store for him, even if he had to wait many years to finally feel the snow on his face. When he could have forgotten about his first best friend, he searched for her. When he could have turned his back on her, he gathered her to him. When they struggled through the snow he didn’t bow to it, he carried her through it, protecting her, healing her, loving her when she couldn’t love herself. When the snow melted and the rain came, he held her hand and ran with her, their laughter echoing through the hills as they searched for the end of the rainbow. They were the beginning, middle and end of childhood. They were the beginning, middle and end of strife. They were the beginning, middle and love everlasting."
"And then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free."