Mama, am I beautiful?

Alice through the looking mirror

I never leave the house without my trusted little notebook. No fancy apps for me, thank you very much. I like it old school when it comes to jotting down thoughts, ideas, and lists. I carry the little notebook everywhere because I never know when I’m going to be inspired by something I see, smell, taste, touch, or hear. But I digress.

This morning, whilst standing in a line at the supermarket, I found myself digging through my purse. My fingers swiftly searching for its weathered spine and bent corners. I say swiftly because inspiration is a fickle lady who arrives unexpectedly in the unlikeliest of places and dances out as quickly as she dances in. The scene in front of me continued to unfold.

“Mama, am I beautiful?” asked the girl for the second time. Irritated, the mother replied, “Stop being so vain and hand me the milk.” I swiftly jotted down an idea for a post.

Stop being so vain.
Four words that regress me in time. I am 14 years old and standing in front of a mirror, silently contemplating my reflection.

“Bella, stop being so vain and finish your chores,” I hear my grandmother say.
“Don’t waste your time, mamá,” replies my mother. “Bella will learn soon enough that God punishes vanity.”

“Ma’am, are you ready to pay for your items?” The cashier’s question brings me out of my reverie. Walking home, all I can think about is why the mother thought her daughter’s question was prompted by vanity.

On the one hand, I admit there is such a thing as a narcissistic personality. After all, we’ve all come across individuals so conceited, they believe themselves to be better than others. On the other hand, I wonder if there is anything wrong with thinking one is beautiful.

I am beautiful.
Something I think all women should say to themselves every day.

Are these words spoken in vanity or are they an affirmation of self love?

Had nana been right in thinking I was vain for looking in the mirror, or was it acceptable for me to be mesmerized by the reflection that stared back at me and whispered, “You are perfect just the way you are”?

Does a woman suffer from a Narcissus complex when she chants the words, “I am beautiful,” or do these simply reaffirm her self worth?

Was my mother right in thinking vanity is a sin or am I right in believing pride in one’s appearance is a sign of healthy self esteem?

My mind wanders back to the young girl and her question. Had she asked me, my answer would have been, “Yes, yes you are.”

While vanity may reside in many who are fixated with their physical appearance, I find that in moderation, it can also help us believe in ourselves and our abilities. In other words, vanity can be used as a means for self love and acceptance.

In a world where society, culture, and the media dictate the standards of beauty, I’m under the impression vanity may be the only tool we have left to battle false ideals. After all, who better to tell us we’re beautiful than ourselves?

What’s your take on vanity?

XOXO,

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Why exactly are we calling a bikini a fatkini?

I love fashion blogs.

I know this may surprise you, considering how much I say I love pajama pants.

But the truth is, I love fashion.

Not in the “Sex in the City” kind of way, but more like in the “fashion is self expression” kind of way.

Because to me, that’s what fashion is: the ability to express who you are in a personal and meaningful way.

Reading fashion blogs allows me to envision myself dressed in the styles of the lovely ladies whose fashion sense I admire.

I’m inspired to try fashion trends like floral jeans, peplum tops, and neon colors.

And when I spot a fashion trend I don’t have the courage to try, I live vicariously through the daring women who step out in style and blog about it.

Now that summer is here, I’m delighted to see many of my favorite fashion bloggers sporting bikinis.

I am especially pleased to see many women showing off their curves, undaunted by the fact that they don’t have what society deems a “bikini ready body.”

These women, confident in their skin and convinced they are beautiful, are my heroes.

They are who I look up to as I continue on the journey to lose my insecurities and feel comfortable in the body I am in.

Gabi Gregg is one of the fashion bloggers I admire.

She has recently been making waves with a bikini post that has gone viral.

Fearless, beautiful, and self confident, she is truly a sister worth emulating.

When I first saw Gabi’s bikini post, I cheered.

But not before I swooned when I saw her gorgeous vintage inspired two piece.

For the first time in twenty one years after giving birth to the Son, I envisioned myself wearing something similar to Gabi’s two piece.

However, there was something in Gabi’s post that burst my bubble: the fact that she called her bikini a “fatkini.”

A fatkini?

Really?

I was disappointed at what appeared to be another example of labeling.

Fatkini.

The term alone implies that it’s a two piece for fat women.

It would appear that “bikini” as in, a two piece suit, seems insufficient for full figured women, and thus, it is necessary to create a more literal term.

This makes me wonder why some women feel the need to adopt terms like “fatshion,” or “fatkini.”

Is it because we find that it sets us apart from the skinny girls; that it award us our own little club or clique?

If you ask me, terms like these only serve to make a distinction between those who are fat and those who aren’t.

In her recent post, Gabi promotes a clip of her appearance on the Today show.

In the interview, she’s asked if she thinks she’s promoting obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle.

Gabi replies, “I’m not promoting obesity or a healthy lifestyle. I think people should be aware of what they’re putting in their bodies and be more active. The truth is be happy with your bodies we have right now.”

While I found Gabi’s answer to be acceptable, I wanted to hear a different reply.

I wanted to hear her question why it is that when fat women wear a bikini, it’s seen as way to promote obesity, but when thin, emaciated women grace the covers of fashion magazines, it’s not seen as a way of promoting eating disorders.

I wanted to hear that being fat doesn’t necessarily equate being unhealthy, the same way that being thin doesn’t automatically signify being healthy.

I wanted to hear that women wearing bikinis, regardless of their size, are just that, women in bikinis.

I find that if we really want to empower women and promote self confidence, we have to lose the labels.

The word fat used to induce fear.

Anyone daring to use it was crossing the line, being offensive, being politically incorrect.

Fortunately, many fat people are battling the word’s negative stigma saying, “We’re fat and so what?”

Nevertheless, is it really necessary to label ourselves fat?

After all, it’s not like skinny people walk around saying, “My name is so and so and I’m skinny.”

The way I see it, any woman, regardless of her size or shape, should feel free to wear whatever she wants and feels comfortable in.

Without having to rename a bikini a “fatkini.”

And surely without having to affirm, “I’m a fat girl in a bikini.”

It should simply be enough to say, “I’m a woman in a bikini.”

Enough said.

How do you feel about the term “fatkini”?

Is it bathing suit time already?

In less than a month and a half, I’ll be headed for Spain.

I should be jumping for joy, but I’m too busy fretting over the fact that soon, my outfit du jour will be a bathing suit.

Because ladies, lets face it.

We all talk a good talk about being and feeling beautiful, but it’s not till you’re stripped down to nothing but a “stuck to your body like glue” one piece, that insecurities rise to the surface.

And stay there.

The entire summer long.

Thankfully, this year I’ve been spared the mood altering, “I’m-going-to-pass-out-where’s-the-panic-button-get-me-an-oxygen-mask-STAT” moment, brought on every time I have to buy a swimsuit.

My sister, brave soul that she is, courageously purchased what she claims are “no-nonsense, one size fits most” black one piece suits for my mom, herself, and me.

“So, are we all wearing the same swimsuit?”

“More or less. Mom’s has thicker straps, yours has criss cross straps, and mine looks like a turtleneck.”

“Criss cross straps? Seriously? You know I hate tan lines.”

“Like anyone’s going to be looking at tan lines on your back. Besides, they were on sale.”

“What? Three for the price of one?”

“Close. Buy one, get the second one half price.”

“So who gets the fourth suit?”

“I do. After all, who had to drink three cups of valerian tea, pop a Xanax, and assume the child pose for thirty minutes on the dirty floor of a brightly lit dressing room, to keep from hyperventilating?”

“And they’re all black?”

“No. They’re neon green. What do you think?”

“Great. We’ll look like three Italian widows gone to the beach to dip their toes.”

“Would you rather I had bought them in orange and have swimmers mistake us for buoys?”

“Three black mice. See how they run. I can hear the kids on the beach mocking us already.”

“More like three fat crows. See how they peck you to death. Look, the swimsuits have been purchased. No refunds. Next year you can get us some in bubblegum pink.”

“At least then they can call us the Pink Ladies.”

“Or the Three Little Pigs.”

“Bite me.”

“Ingrate.”

Click.

Equipped with the knowledge that soon I’ll be strutting my stuff on a sandy Spanish beach, today I took action.

Armed with a fitness routine I got from Pinterest, a yoga mat that hasn’t been used in six years, and cross trainers that haven’t been worn in ten, I felt ready.

To be continued…