Tag Archives: Confidence is Complicated

Dating: Who Should Affirm Our Beauty?

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One of my recent guilty pleasures is this dating show where the participants meet, naked, on an island, and try to find love (does any of you watch Dating Naked on VH1?). Anyway, in one episode, a female contestant seemed to be hitching her self esteem to the compliments of the naked meathead with whom she was riding horses. “He told me I was beautiful, so that made me beautiful…” she said.

I wanted to throw a pillow at my television screen and yell, “NO! You’re beautiful, period!” The premise of the show is pretty ridiculous in and of itself, but what I found even more outrageous was this woman’s inability to feel beautiful without her guy’s assessment.

And yet, a lot of us are guilty of fishing for compliments or looking to partners for praise. I’m certainly not exempt from this. The fact is, it’s not easy to only look within ourselves to affirm our beauty. I often talk about how confidence is complicated. I know from experience that being confident is a journey, not a destination, and I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a tough road. While I try to be self-assured and poised, others’ opinions (men’s especially), have had an impact on how I feel about myself and my appearance.

My dad raised me to believe that I’m beautiful, inside and out — and I’m grateful for that. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay in that protective bubble forever. Growing up, if someone I was crushing on didn’t feel similarly about me, I questioned my attractiveness. But, if a boy asked me to a dance, I could feel my self-esteem sky-rocket. In college, when I was single, I wondered if it had something to do with how I looked. But, when I started dating a guy who told me I was beautiful, well, then it was easy to believe I was.

Eventually, I began to realize: I was doing myself a disservice by allowing the men I did (or didn’t date) determine how I felt about myself. I mean, they call it self esteem for a reason, you know? Wanting to get off this exhausting roller coaster (feeling good about myself one month, lousy the next) I decided to return to what my father had taught me so many years ago: I’m beautiful — period. 

Dating Who Should Affirm Our Beauty

The thing is, I can appreciate the boost I feel when a man compliments my appearance, but it’s far more important that I feel good about myself regardless. I don’t want my positive self-image to be defined by the way a man sees me. I was able to put this idea to the test about a month ago when I decided to take out my hair extensions and rock my short, natural hair (you can watch that process if you’re interested). As I went from hair that fell down my back to a short cut that hits just below my ears, I knew I loved it.

But, although I felt gorgeous and had a spring in my step when I walked out of the salon, I worried that if my boyfriend didn’t like it, my bright mood would dampen. More than that: I knew that I wanted him to be attracted to me with my new ‘do. Still, I also told myself that what mattered most was how I felt about it. And, I meant it. The minute my man saw me, though, I could tell by the look on his face that he loved it. That took me from cloud nine to cloud 10.

And, it hit me: When our partners make us feel beautiful, it’s not a bad thing — as long as we also feel beautiful on our own. It’s kind of like that pair of jeans that makes your @$$ look amazing. Those jeans aren’t magic, but they might just have the power to make you feel hotter than you already know you are.

…Thoughts??? Do you think its our partners job to make us feel beautiful?

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Shhh! You’re Interrupting my Body Confidence Party…

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Have you ever been at a party where everyone was in the zone, dancing the night away and then a neighbor knocks on the door with a noise complaint and kills the whole vibe?

Sharing the intimate details of how I’m learning to love myself at any size isn’t an easy thing to do. But when your comments roll in and I realize I’m not alone, the body confidence party begins! Of course, on each post there’s always one vibe killing comment that goes something like this:

“Great piece. But being overweight is really unhealthy…”

The comment is usually followed by a cautionary list of ailments that I will get if I don’t start taking care of myself (diabetes, heart disease, etc.).

*record screeches to a halt*

Its as if people think I don’t know the health stats they’re quoting. Or as if they don’t care that I’m on a healthy curves journey. I feel like they’re saying I’m not skinny right now, then I have no business writing anything positive about my body or how I look.

This is the Plus Size Princess struggle.

CeCe Olisa Body Confidence Party.jpg

How do I love myself, value myself, care for myself at any size and keep the Body Confidence Party going, when there are people jumping at the chance to remind me that none of this matters if I’m still fat?

Mental health is a major part of plus size fitness, for me. I choose not to respond to negative comments, but I do want to mention it here with you girls because I know we’re all trying to figure this out together.

Finding ways to feel good about myself no matter what the scale says is the thing that makes me want to do better by my body; eat well, work out, pray/meditate. I’m running my own race and for me, I’ve got to tackle this #PSPfit healthy living thing mind, body and spirit.

There will always be people who can’t fathom that a person at our size (whatever that may be) feels good about herself. Those people seem to feel that they have a responsibility to interrupt our body confidence party with a PSA on how being fat is awful and unhealthy.

But hating yourself is awful and unhealthy too… so please stop killing my vibe!

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Putting Insecurities in the Back Seat…

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Remember when I started this blog and I was anonymous?

So many of you knew every detail of my life and didn’t know what I looked like. I even had a twitter troll accuse me of not really being plus size because I didn’t show photos. A few bloggers had to vouch for me by tweeting that they had met me and I was indeed a plus size woman.

Many people found it odd that I didn’t post my photos, but being anonymous was a huge security blanket knitted out of fear. I felt like I could never openly discuss my weight AND have my picture attached to my inner most thoughts and insecurities.

CeCe Olisa Plus Size Fashion Blog

But over time something interesting happened. Talking about my insecurities openly with you girls gave my insecurities less power. I faced them head on and realized that I was giving my body image issues a front seat as I navigated through life. As I slowly pushed my insecurities to the back seat (and some to the trunk) they didn’t rule my life anymore and my life became more full of lovely people and experiences.

Those of you who read this blog have been instrumental in making me more comfortable in my own skin. I still have a lot of growing to do, but when I came across this YouTube video from January I had to laugh 1.) because my friends are funny and 2.) because two years ago I would have NEVER even made a video like this. Its a silly, fun video, not too deep but its a huge confidence accomplishment for me that I even made it.

Making YouTube videos… sharing outfit photos… not covering my arms… asking Robert if he liked me… these are all things I didn’t think I could/would ever do, but as I grow up I’m realizing that life is much more fun when I stop holding myself back with my fears and insecurities.

Do you ever have little things in your life that might seem mundane to someone else, but you know they are huge accomplishments for you?

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Size is Just a Number: Plus Size Shopping & Body Confidence

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The list of crazy things I’ve done to avoid people knowing what size I wear is pretty embarrassing (remember my cutting the tags off of my clothes post? *blush*) I’ve always been the “token big girl” amongst my friends, I can remember a skinny friend asking me what it meant when there were “xx” in front of the “L”… like seriously I had to stand in old navy and explain to her that there were sizes past large called xl, xxl, xxxl, etc. Yeah. Yesterday I posted a video of me in the dressing room trying on clothes… it was so liberating to discuss sizes without feeling ashamed.

Being in the dressing room with Amanda from Fashion Love & Martinis was soooo refreshing, it made me realize that shopping is something I do alone mostly because I feel my size makes the experience awkward with some people. I could say to Amanda, “hey can you grab me a 2x?” and not freak out because she knew my size.

So we came home and had a chat about what its like to be a big girl shopping for clothes:

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I’ve Lost Weight and Still Feel Like a “Big Girl” (Curvy Convo)

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Hey CeCe,

I’ve been reading your blog for quite awhile now. I recently made a decision to lose weight earlier this year. I did a complete diet change, and I have been working out constantly. As of now I have lost over a total of 60lbs.

I am fine with not being skinny. I am more concerned about being healthy. My problem is, I can’t adapt to the “new me.” I guess I shouldn’t say new me because I’ve always been the same person.  Family and Friends constantly compliment me over this major transformation.
Of course, I say thank you and tell them what I’ve been doing to lose the weight. However, In my mind I’m still that “big girl”. I can’t seem to shake her out my life. She’s like a shadow I can’t hide from. I can shop at new places, and my body is more womanly than ever.
How do I learn to let her go? What makes it so hard to say goodbye to the old you?
 
Signed- CL
Hi CL,
I know there are some girls reading this who have lost significant amounts of weight… I’m really hoping they’ll leave comments for you down below because they probably have some great advice for us.
You and I have been emailing a bit over the past week, thanks so much for being patient while I  learned how to work my camera and filmed a video response for you… The video is blurry (augh!) but I’m still learning…so, here you go!

From the emails you’ve sent, you seem like a cool and confident girl. Please remember that you haven’t changed and from one size to the next, who you are wont change. We often ask people to look past appearances and see the person inside… I think we have to remember to do the same for ourselves.
Like I said in the video, treating our former/heavier self like a horrible person discounts all of the amazing things we’ve accomplished at a larger size. Life doesn’t begin when we lose weight, so we have to remember to honor all the different stages of our lives that help us to become who we are.
You’re a valuable person at your current size and you were a valuable person 60 pounds ago.
Hope that helps (…anyone else have thoughts for CL?)
xoxo,
CeCe
CeCe@thebiggirlblog.com
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Confidence Is… Complicated: Public Displays of Affection

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Friday night, Robert and I were out having drinks with our co-workers after our company holiday party.

I pulled away from the crowd for a few minutes to check my phone. I guess I got lost on twitter or something, because after about 10 minutes I heard Robert calling me from across the bar.

I looked up and he waved me over to where he was sitting on a bar stool. I put my phone away and walked over to where he and a few others were listening to someone from our legal team telling a story about a deal he just closed.

“What’s up, honey?” I whispered.

“Nothing, you were just over there for a while…” he said, touching my hair.

Although we spent the night socializing separately, we had some sort of physical contact anytime we were within arms reach of each other. Me touching his arm or him kissing me as he walked by.

I’m big on PDA (hand holding and a quick kiss here and there works for me, nothing too crazy, I promise!). When we first started dating Robert was not very touchy-feely and it bothered me. Other guys I’d dated had reeled with the perfect PDA (remember Adrian?) so I had to have an awkward conversation with Robert where I told him that our lack of PDA sometimes made me feel disconnected and unwanted. He had never dated someone who saw physical touch as an important relation element outside of the bedroom, so for him this was new but he makes adjustments and that makes me feel better.

At first, I just thought that physical affection was my Love Language but the more I think about it. I’m pretty sure, its also a confidence thing for me too.

Dating as a Plus Size Princess, I always hear the stories about guys who are afraid to be with big girls in public. I think somewhere along the line, PDA became the way I gained confidence that a man wasn’t ashamed of our relationship. Meaning, if he’ll hug/kiss/hold my hand in public then he’s fine with people knowing he’s with me.

If I’m honest with myself 80% of my need for PDA is just how I am… but 20% of it is because I’m a big girl who needs reassurance.

I know for a fact that Robert is happy for people to know we’re together and we’re definitely not a secret at work. But the feeling I got when he initiated PDA in front of our coworkers, was a mix of love, happiness… and validation.

As I work on my own confidence levels, I try to take stock of what confidence boosters are coming from within and which ones are external. PDA is definitely an external confidence booster for me.

How does PDA make YOU feel?

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