Growing up, I was never one of those skinny girls. For a long time, this bothered me. I never wore a swimsuit, hated shorts – even in 90-degree weather – and was generally down on myself. My poor body image and lack of body positivity led to me not taking care of myself because I figured, “What’s the point? I’m going to be fat anyway.”
As I got older and more immersed into body-positive culture, I met a lot of people that were larger than me and sexy as hell. I was shocked how people flocked to them and they had – gasp! — cellulite, just like I did. But they didn’t care. They loved every part of themselves. Even if they had struggles at times, overall they were confident.
I wondered what was different about these people and why I couldn’t be more like them. So I started looking at the things they did and compared that to what I was doing.
Love your body: whatever your shape or size, accept yourself
The first thing I noticed was they all wore swimsuits and they certainly didn’t apologize for it. They didn’t lean over and cover their bodies so no one would see. They stood tall and walked with elegance to the pool or hot tub.
I also noticed that they didn’t walk around in sweatpants and baggy t-shirts. They dressed nice. Groomed. Put effort into their appearance. They believed they were worth that time and effort, so I believed it too.
So, I started dressing nicer. Wearing make-up just for fun. I got contacts and stopped hiding my face with glasses. I even started wearing shorter skirts and swimsuits.
“As I got older and more immersed into body-positive culture, I met a lot of people that were larger than me and sexy as hell.”
But I still wasn’t quite where I wanted to be with my confidence. While I was all for being healthy and losing weight, I knew that I needed to love myself as the ‘fat girl’ before making drastic changes in diet and exercise. Otherwise I’d find something else to pick apart. My teeth, my mom belly, my uneven eyes… Learning to love my body as it was seemed like the best step.
Shortly after this realization, I opened my email to find a note asking if I’d be interested in posing as a figure model. Before I could talk myself out of it, I agreed. I was going to pose nude for a bunch of strangers! It was for a sex-positive/body-positive studio called Catalyst. So, they were even looking for someone like me, with a curvier body.
Of course, I was terrified to take off my robe once I got there, but I did it! Once I was in front of everyone, however, I stopped noticing the fact that I was naked. I was far more focused on the chill in the air and the nails not flush in the wall!
Go figure: becoming a model boosted Sienna's body confidence
Once we were finished, I got to look at the drawings people made of me and I was surprised to find that they were beautiful. I was so happy! People didn’t see me how I thought they did and that helped me see myself clearer. I even came home with an original drawing of me!
Loving myself and developing body positivity hasn’t been easy. It’s taken years and I do occasionally fall back into bad habits. But when that happens, I remember how others saw me. Then I take a deep breath and do something loving for myself. ●
Main image: Colourbox.com
Sienna Saint-Cyr is an author, advocate, and the founder of SinCyr Publishing. She speaks at conventions, workshops, and for private gatherings on the importance of having a healthy body image, understanding enthusiastic consent, using sexuality to promote healing, navigating diverse or non-traditional relationships, having Complex PTSD, and more. Sienna loves sharing her journey of healing and finding happiness with her readers. Along with writing erotica and romance, Sienna speaks at conventions, workshops, and for private gatherings on such sex-positive topics as a healthy body image, using sexuality to promote healing, and navigating diverse or non-traditional relationships. She writes for several websites. Find out more at https://siennasaintcyr.wordpress.com/.
Many of us dream of living by the sea, and science shows coastal living could be beneficial for both our mental and physical health. Calvin Holbrook
Meditation and mindfulness are becoming increasingly popular for kids, with schools incorporating them into classes. Meditation practitioner Ann
It's been described as a 'silent epidemic': the number of lonely men in the UK and US is on the rise, and so are male suicides. Calvin Holbrook asks