Starting on Defense

Shirt: Eileens (great little boutique that closed a few years ago), Skirt: The Limited, Belt: Banana Republic, Tights: Target, Shoes: Aldo, Purse: lotus, Watch: Michael Kors, Pashmina: $6 dollar vendor (photos: Carrie Hawkins Foust)
I grew up with in the era of Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, and later…Kate Moss. Their faces and bodies were EVERYWHERE.  I never really had the desire to look like Kate Moss (someone force feed that woman a double cheeseburger, please). I did, however,  hope/wish/dream/pray to be 6 feet tall like Naomi with a shape that looked like it was carved from marble, and/or naturally, effortlessly stunning (not to mention curvy in all of the right places) like Cindy. My body, chubby in my pre-teen and teenage years (and VERY up and down in my 20’s) was however, a source of much chagrin for me (def: distress of mind caused by humiliation, disappointment, or failure). I have an upper body that would make some men jealous. Of course, I am not referring to my chest area. I am referring to my back and shoulders. Built like a linebacker. That is what I would always say when describing my build (in my younger, more self-deprecating days). These days I embrace my shoulders. They make me feel strong and proportional. They also allow me to rock one of my favorite recycled trends (without looking as if I am being eaten alive)….shoulder pads! Now, these are not your Mama’s shoulder pads (aka: ENORMOUS 1980’s era-Designing Women/Murphy Brown).  (That shoulder pad reference was for you, Meshion. ;) Today’s shoulder pads are a bit smaller, more subtle and can be a part of everything from your favorite blazer, flowy weekend top, or evening gown. I am sporting shoulder pads AND exaggerated puffy sleeves today. Talk about doing a 180 from my younger days of hunching over, trying to make it seem as if I were more petite. Why I ever thought that there was a better-looking alternative to standing tall is beyond me now. I ALSO used to be so embarrassed about the size of my forehead (8-head as I referred to it) that when I was in junior high I used to sit on front of my mirror furrowing my brow and scrunching up my forehead in an attempt to try to get it to look smaller. Obviously this was back in a time when 30-something seemed ancient and the idea of me ever having wrinkles was preposterous! Truth be told, I just overcame the fear of my forehead. I owe a lot of that to my boyfriend, who has repeatedly told me not to cover up my face with bangs. I was SO uncomfortable the first couple (well, 100) times that I wore my hair sans bangs that I had a bit of palpable anxiety. I was so terrified that I looked ridiculous and hideous that I would shy away from photographs and go to the bathroom every hour when we were out just to make sure my forehead didn’t look as monstrous as I feared it did. Having my forehead exposed literally put me in a bad mood. I hated when my BF suggested I looked better with a fully exposed face. I seriously contemplated that he was lying to me for some unknown reason. Being so concerned with something that you cannot change is not fun. It really detracts from your quality of life. I don’t wish it on anyone. 
Anyway, long story short, embrace what you’ve got. I’m not claiming to be so “granola” that I don’t believe in highlights, braces, shaping of eyebrows, the glow of a vacation tan, mani/pedis, and spanxs. I am just saying that when it comes to the things that you were born with (ie: broad shoulders and expansive forehead…thanks, Dad ;) TRY for your own sanity and self-esteem to love them, or at least not DESPISE them. Stop wasting time and energy “wishing” them away. You may not ever get to the point where you are highlighting your areas of anxiety (ie: showcasing  broad shoulders with pads and puffy sleeves)but you should at least stand up straight, walk tall, and try not to cover up your insecurities with loads of self deprecating humor (people see through that). If you aren’t ready for all of that though, start by just keeping your bangs out of your face. Trust me when I say that there is someone out there that would give anything to have what you hate about yourself. I am not a waif. I am not skinny-mini. I am not petite. I am broad. I am fairly tall. I have hair that has a mind of its own and it grows so fast that my eyebrows have a 5 o’clock shadow in a matter of minutes.  I wanted nothing more, for the vast majority of my life, than to be one of those petite girls that could be playfully picked up with ease by their boyfriend. Who had small feet, dainty features, and a flat chest (still wish for that every time I get dressed, but I am working on it). You know, the girl that was on the top of the cheerleading pyramid. Instead I am, and have always been a base; built like Xena, Warrior Princess…and although this is so cliché that is almost makes me throw up in my mouth to write. I wouldn’t change it now.

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