Over the past weekend, I attended a workshop on leadership training. One of the many areas where we receive feedback is on physical presentation. This is my second time through this six month long course, and each course has four workshops, so it was my sixth time at the blocks.
My first weekend, I got a 6 out of 10. Imagine my horror – me with my rag trade background and a complete style know all! They obviously just didn't know what they were on about, I decided. But I did manage to buy a pair of shoes exactly like the programme leader. Just in case it had something to do with that.
My second weekend, I wore my new shoes, and all of my flashest new clothes. And, bingo, another 6. WHAT??? 6??!! It's discrimination, I decided, and cornered the programme leader about it. She changed it to a 7. Whoopee. It's still discrimination, skinny tart, I thought, but I got some bigger earrings, because she said mine were too small.
Weekend three and WOW, they have laid on a style consultant for free. I demanded a chance to work with her, and got it. After I contradicted every suggestion she made for five minutes, she told me to shut up and listen, or get out. I shut up and listened. Unfortunately, I had already been given a 6 that weekend, and so I went all out for the fourth, only to find they didn't give ratings on the fourth. Is there any justice in the world??? So, here I am second time around, and the first weekend, I got another 6. Now 6 is a good mark, it means that the way I present myself is perfectly competent. It just isn't skilful or masterful, and I have turned myself inside out over this darn business in the past two years. Must be discrimination, I decided.
This weekend I finally got the 10. My life will never be the same again! I had decided that it just wasn't possible to be a size 30 and get a 10 for physical presentation and that was just how it was. Shocked? This from me, who expounds self-acceptance with every breath? Well hey, I'm human too and things get to me.
The thing is, it is so easy for me to get into the habit of thinking that there are limitations on me because I am larger than life – it is hard to get smart looking clothes that sit and fit well, and to stay looking immaculate, and even if I do, people will still think "not bad…for a fat chick." But this past weekend I got to see what a load of baloney that is, that I was just as capable as getting a 10 as anyone else, once I gave up believing that it wasn't fair and feeling got at. Often I am aware that a lifetime of being a fat person has resulted in me seeing myself as separate or different, and occasionally even discriminated against. It is a convenient 'out' when I don't get what I want, like the magic '10' in this case, but the cost is equally high. Sure ten years ago, I would have walked out at the first sign of a '6', so I have come a long way, but while I still see myself as different, there will always be self imposed limitations on me.
So, I am breaking out, being a '10' all the time, and willing to own that the only real limitations I have to deal with are those I put in place myself.
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