May is going to be all about bringing the sexy back for the fabulous ladies of MsIndependent. That means if it makes you feel good, look good, do good, we're doing it. Sexy is a very subjective concept but I think it's fair to say most of us think confidence is sexy, and for women that is an ongoing battle. You can't do anything without getting bombarded with images of the ideal woman. Businesses know that marketing is all about creating a story, and for most women that fairy tale is more appealing than real life. They keep setting that bar higher and higher, and we keep paying our way into happily ever after but never quite get there.
Plastic surgery, weight loss, cosmetics, and hair care, are just some of the billion dollar industries fueled mostly by women. We want to be confident, we claim to be independent, but how independent are we really? If we were stripped of everything from mascara to spanx, from weaves to Wonder bras, would we feel any less beautiful and confident, or would still go out and feel like the hottest thing out there since Magic Mike? I would love it if women could be recorded for a 24 hour period on any given day, and have played back to them everything they've said. We boast so much of loving ourselves and being strong, and yadda yadda, yadda, but the truth is that is the story we tell others because it sounds good, not the stories we tell ourselves every minute of every day.
Case and point- I work at a high end clothing retailer, and day in and day out women try on clothing and complain about the way they look. "This makes me look fat", "I'll buy this once I lose weight", " I have too much back fat for this top", I don't have the legs for this"...on and on and on. The worst part is I never see what the hell they are talking about. If that tape in our heads is stuck on replay and all we hear all day long is not enough, too fat, too this too that, are we really all that confident and independent? We would never let anyone get away with talking to us the way we talk to ourselves. We wear our lip gloss, stilettos and handbags like a cape, like a character in that fairy tale image of the ideal woman, but the second any of it comes off, and we are naked, figuratively or literally, where is our power then?
I have spent a majority of my life fighting to loss weight, sometimes winning sometimes losing. I've been a size 16 and I've been a size 4. I've done at home workout videos, Crossfit, yoga, Pilates, worked with a trainer, done a liquid diet, Slim Fast, low fat diet, low carb diet, Paleo, vegetarian, and every cleanse you can think of. You know what striving to achieve an unobtainable or short-lived version of beauty has taught me....much like love, beauty really doesn't hurt. I am most miserable when I am trying to squeeze into a mold that doesn't fit. I'm not tall, I'm not super thin, I have stretch marks around my boobs, and chubby fingers. So f***ing what? I'd rather be me, flaws and all than waste a lifetime borrowing identities and images wearing them like masks as if what's underneath is something to be ashamed of. I even wonder if the coffee dependency that we have in this country is fueled by our fatigue from fighting and pretending so hard to be everything but ourselves. We are never truly independent when our sense of self is conditional. As women, as people we all have our own insecurities, but if we decide the stories we tell ourselves, then we can rewrite the ending of who is the fairest of them all.