Growing up, one of my favorite things was when my Dad would send my mom and I on a shopping spree. Whether it was for back-to-school shopping, a special event or just because I was growing and needed more clothes, shopping excursions were so much fun for me.
Technically, my childhood shopping trips should have been awful. In elementary school I was 5’9 and a size 16 which made me both big and tall (yeah, it was rough). My ultimate goal was to navigate through the “grandma clothes” at Lane Bryant in the hopes that maybe I could find something like what Cher Horowitz wore in Clueless.
I did my best to make the plus size clothing designed for grown women work for me. I think I did a decent job, but the main reason I look back at those times with fondness is because of what would happen when I got home.
After dragging all of my shopping bags into my room, I would put on a fashion show for my Dad under my Moms direction. One by one, I would put on every outfit we had purchased, then I would prance around our living room “runway” so my Father could see my new clothes (and where all of his money went).
Getting my Dads approval on how cute I looked made the fact that I was wearing “grandma clothes” from Lane Bryant completely irrelevant. If my Dad said I was cute, I was cute.
Every Valentines Day my Dad sends my sisters and me presents; an over-sized teddy bear, candy, jewelry… I’ve gotten it all. Because of this, I have never sat around moping on Valentines Day. I’ve always had a Valentine!
I get a lot of emails from Plus Size Princesses about self esteem, self worth and loving yourself. 90% of the time, when women struggle to love themselves, our struggle is intertwined with our relationships with the opposite sex. Lets be honest, having a boyfriend is definitely an ego boost, if feels great! But not having a boyfriend shouldn’t make us feel bad about ourselves.
As I navigate through my first “grown-up” relationship, I often wonder how I avoided the emotional boobie-traps that so many PSP’s (and women in general) fall into. How do I know that I’m pretty, smart, attractive and valuable when I’m dating someone and when I’m single? How do I love myself no matter what?
I give props to my Dad for that, he nurtured me and gave me this invaluable sense of self without me even knowing it. But that’s my story… I soaked up every ounce of love that my Dad had to give and learned to channel it into self love.
Of course, not everyone is that lucky. There are many women who had Fathers growing up and still look to find their worth in a man. There are many more women who grew up without Fathers and find themselves… searching. There are also women who grew up without Fathers but still know who they are, what they’re worth and don’t wait for relationships to define them.
No matter what your situation was growing up, I’d like to remind you that self confidence and self love is something that comes from within. Hopefully, we have men and women in our lives who will plant positive seeds, but ultimately the choice to love ourselves is ours alone. Loving yourself can start as simply or as deeply as you want it to, but if you can, find a way love yourself today.
Happy Valentines Day!