On beauty, backhanded compliments and being done

I'm done. Seriously done. You may have recently noticed or I might have actually told you to cut that shit out because I am so done. 

I'm done feeling like shit about myself. I'm done watching my beautiful friends feel like shit about themselves. I'm done listening to the body snark and the harsh judgments, which make everyone feel like shit about themselves.  I'm done with an industry that was built upon and profits from our self hatred. I'm especially done with conversations like this one:

Stranger: You're so brave to wear that outfit.

Me: Excuse me?

Stranger: You're so brave to wear that outfit.

Me: Oh, I heard you. I just don't understand. I'm going to need more information.

Stranger: You're brave to wear such an attention grabbing outfit... at your size.

Me: <deep breath> I bet you think that was a compliment but it wasn't. It was rude. Would you say that to someone 50 pounds lighter?

Stranger: Uh, I guess not. 

Me: Right, because it would just be a nice outfit. So say, "that's a nice outfit" - period, or don't say anything at all. Also, bravery is not getting dressed in the morning. It's fighting fires. 

Earlier that day, a woman told me my outfit was making her ten times happier than before she laid eyes on me. A nearby couple overheard her and also complimented me. Later that day, a few more people went out of their way to compliment me. None of them mentioned my size. Because most people understand that a compliment that involves body shaming is no compliment at all. 

When I was telling Shawn this story later, I realized just how done I am. He looked a little starry eyed and like he was ready to fist pump in solidarity with my doneness. It's been a long time coming and he's had a front row seat for the entire painful process. (Thanks, babe. I know it's not been easy.)

I realized while writing my last post that I've always focused on my style because I never thought I was that pretty. Style seemed attainable. Conventional beauty did not. Until a few years ago, I couldn't look in the mirror without tearing myself apart. There was a long and sad period of time that I couldn't even look in the mirror. I wanted to be thinner, have better skin, a smaller nose. I thought these things would bring happiness. They don't.

I bought into the idea that being thin and pretty would make my life better for so long I didn't notice how awesome my life actually was. I am surrounded by people who pay me compliments far more meaningful than "you're so pretty." 

For me, getting dressed in a great outfit that I feel good in can bring happiness. But more importantly, being kind to myself and others brings happiness. Sharing my life and work in meaningful ways brings happiness. Looking at everyone and seeing the beauty in their face, not just because of the symmetry of their parts but because of their very existence and experiences, brings me happiness. Going to bed every night knowing I've done the best I could to be good for the world makes me happy. 

So, I'm done and I will call you out nicely if you are shit talking yours or someone else's appearance. And honestly, if you keep it up, I'm probably done with you. Because it's bad for you, for me, for the world.