Last night I went to a ladies night to meet and mingle with the local ladies in the expat community. It was a lovely evening, lots of laughs and good conversations. When I returned home I looked at some pictures that were taken and I stood out, being so much bigger and taller than the rest of the women there. I had a bit of a moment looking at the photos and my old insecurities started to arise. That word ‘big’ it’s like a knife to my heart every time someone says it to me. It creates an immediate response of shame, like I have to apologise to the rest of the world for taking up more space than them.
I didn’t like the response I had to this word so I took some time for reflection. Some time to figure out what the word ‘big’ truly means to me.
Recently my father was speaking of the gorgeous plus sized model Ashley Graham and he said “oh that big girl!” I cringed and my response to him was that you should never, ever call a woman big! He didn’t seem to understand why big was so bad. After all he married my Mom. She is a gorgeous tall woman and he just adores her. So why then, can my father look at my mother and say “you’re a big, beautiful, brilliant woman” and mean every word with love and all my Mom and I hear is BIG?
I suppose I could start blaming the media, the fashion industry, movies and television but blame doesn’t solve anything. What I need, is to change my inner narrative. I want to hear the word big being used to describe a woman and think, that woman is powerful, she owns her space, she is BIG and she is exactly the way she is supposed to be.
I want to feel that way and I know that with some work it’s possible. There is great power to be had from affirmations and positive reinforcement. So although now it’s a struggle; I know that someday in the near future I will look at a picture of myself standing tall and owning my space and think, Catherine you’re a BIG woman, and I will smile.
Catherine is a 5’10 Canadian woman living in the Middle East as an expat with her husband and pup, Bennie the beagle. She has recently rediscovered her blog, The Happiest Housewife and is enjoying documenting her adventures aboard. Click here to head to over to her blog