Love, Self

A Woman's Guide To Discovering Body Positivity & How To Be Confident

Photo: Elizeu Dias on Unsplash
What Is Body Positivity? A Woman's Guide To Discovering How To Be Confident In Your Own Body

You may not know this, but in April it was "Love Your Thighs" day. I had never actually heard of this day before, but I'll be honest; I needed this day when I was younger. 

At some point in my life, I had this sudden and odd realization that people looked at me. I don't remember exactly when or why I realized this, but I had grown up a tomboy who preferred to run and play in the dirt, and just sort of ignored appearances as a whole. And then, suddenly, I cared.

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By the age of 11, I was plucking my eyebrows and struggling to tame my unattractive, fluffy hair by straightening it on a regular basis. I was watching my older sister do her makeup, and I'd steal little pieces of her jewelry just to show people that I was beautiful. 

By the time I was 13 years old, the world had taught me a thing two about being a woman. You see, to be a woman, you have to wear a bra every day but never let anyone know you do. You can't say the word "bra" in public, and you certainly can't be seen looking at the pretty bras or skimpy underwear in Victoria's Secret. Wearing granny panties isn't an option, either, because that will give the girls in the locker room the giggles. Oh, and being sexy isn't a good thing, but you can't be a prude either. There's a fine line you have to walk as a "respectable woman". 

At 15 years old, I knew what pretty was, and I knew I wasn't it. To be pretty, you had to be "skinny". And I knew I wasn't. All I wanted was for my body to grow in the shape of the models I saw on magazine covers. 

During my freshman year of college, I bought my first pair of short shorts. They covered everything, and, by most standards, they were modest. They made my butt look NICE and I knew it.

I walked with my shoulders high and a little pep in my step. I felt so freaking good. I got compliments from my girlfriends and some of my guy friends. I wondered, "What's so wrong about this?"

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I visited some extended family that same year, and most of them had some things to say about my newfound sense of confidence: 

"Leave something to the imagination, girl, do you really value yourself that little?"

"Fashion is meant for skinny girls, honey, wear something flattering."

Suddenly, I learned something else about being a woman. Being sexy, feeling good about yourself? That means you don't value yourself. That means you don't see yourself as smart or capable. And having hips and thighs actually disqualifies you from being sexy in the first place.

Fashion is for those who deserve to wear pretty things (fat girls aren't qualified). I folded up my shorts, locking the thunder of my thighs away in a drawer...

Until one suffocating, hot, humid, sweaty day. It was probably about 90 degrees. I had gone on this hike and ripped a modest pair of capris I owned, and I couldn't stand the thought of wearing real pants. So I said, "F$#% this" and threw on my old pair of shorts.

I went to a nearby lake, and I hadn't been there long when a stranger approached me. This girl was close to me in age, about the same size, and she told me that I was slaying those shorts.

She told me I looked beautiful and confident, and she wished she could feel like that.

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That's when I learned the truth about being a woman. It shouldn't matter. If it's hot, I'm going to wear shorts like any other human being should. My thick thighs allow me to walk, do the things I love, go places. If they get stuck to a chair, who cares? If I have a thigh jiggle, it doesn't change who I am.

ANYONE should be able to own and display their body in the way they chose to.

When I put on an outfit I love, I feel powerful. If you look at me and see only my thick thighs, that says more about you than it does me. If my butt offends you, don't look. 

Wearing the clothes you like is allowed. Wearing things that make you feel good is AWESOME. Body positivity doesn't have a weight limit or size restriction. It means that you get to love your body no matter what. It means that you see your own value, you see your own style and you are allowed to own that.

And the thing about body positivity is that there are literally millions of ways this can manifest.

In accepting body hair, or having a subscription to razors because you love your smooth legs. Bra, no bra. Staying modest, keeping it sexy or flaunting your style somewhere in-between. Black or white. Curly or straight hair. Heels, boots, converse or vans. It doesn't matter.

It's all about loving and accepting yourself where you are right now. That body of yours is beautiful. Loving your thighs is a battle you'll fight forever, but it's SO worth it. 

In the wise words of that random naked guy dancing in the street with a sign that went viral a couple years ago, "Love yourself. Respect yourself. Accept yourself."

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Beth El Fattal is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture and relationships topics.