Growing up, I had a lot of body image issues. I was teased for being the fat kid, my mother (out of misguided love) let me know how beautiful I would be if I “lost a few pounds,” and I was surrounded by what beauty was supposed to be in the media.
When I was in middle and high school, I did not have any sense of fashion. I wore whatever we could find that fit me and I was mildly comfortable in it. I went through a “goth” phase in ninth grade, where I wore mostly black t-shirts and those Tripp pants with chains and shit on them (hard to imagine, I know). The summer between ninth and tenth grade, my aunt took me shopping at Fashion Bug and got me clothes with actual form and color. After that one summer, I decided I’d like to try and put effort into my everyday look. So I did. And everyone told me how pretty I was. Some people told me how pretty I could be, but most were shocked just at my boost in confidence that a wardrobe change made.
I decided I wanted to be a plus-size model. I had long, blonde hair, gorgeous blue eyes, and was mildly attractive, for a fat girl. After talking to people and doing a lot of Google searching, I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t be a model. I just wasn’t cut out for it. I wasn’t the right fat or the right blonde. I was all wrong and everyone was able to convince me to give up.
But guess what? I have learned, through all of that heartache, to tell all of the people who say I can’t be a model to fuck off.
Because I am a model.
I am a model citizen: I volunteer regularly and try my hardest to benefit my local and global communities. I donate much of my time to others and making sure that their basic human needs are met. I model how to share love through volunteering my time or anything else that I’m able to donate.
I am a model student: I openly participate in the classroom that is the world. I share my curiosity with others around me and attempt to instill a similar curiosity in them. I teach my students every day that education is precious and priceless and that they must actively participate in both their education and their lives in order to gain all they can.
I am a model friend: I am honest and loyal. I treat everyone, even the people who I find truly awful, the way I want to be treated. I throw kindness into the world like candy at a parade, and I do it without hoping for anything but tolerance in return. I don’t want gifts or thank-yous or anything (although they’re always awesome when they happen), I just really enjoy brightening peoples’ days. I try my hardest to convey to friends and acquaintances that they matter to me and that I think about them often.
I am a model woman: I choose what to do with my body and with whom I do it. I do not let others define me. I define myself every day when I wake up and I do it happily. I choose my emotions, my style, and my confidence. I choose the people who I surround myself with, and I edit that list often. I keep as much negativity out of my life as possible, because those things do not define me. I own my sexuality, my body, and my happiness. It is up to me, and absolutely nobody else, what to do with those.
I am a model me, and that’s the best model I could ever hope to be.