I was a psychology major in college, which certainly plays a role in the work that I do now. However, I’m not sure that many of my classmates would remember me as being dedicated to running rats through mazes.
Instead, I was known as a dancer. Even the three professors who wrote letters of recommendation for my graduate school applications talked about my dance background.
Clearly, not only did I identify myself as a dancer at heart, but so did lots of other people. “Dancer-ness” must have oozed from my pores.
When my college dance company was invited to perform at another college, we looked forward to a fun opportunity.
The most striking thing about the other college’s company was that they were tall and willowy. Outwardly, they oozed more “dancer-ness” than we did.
If you called Central Casting because you needed people who telegraphed dancer in a millisecond, you would have cast the other school’s dance company, not us.
They were not actually better dancers. They just looked the part more.
To give credit where it’s due, the other school’s dance company was actually very good. But the outside packaging was not the best gauge of ability.
As we watched them in dress rehearsal, my fellow dancer and friend, Julie, leaned over to me and whispered her assessment.
“We’re fatter, but better.”
She summed it all up better than I ever could.
Fatter but better became our inside joke. Our mantra.
And don’t fall for the arbitrary cultural definitions of what your outer appearance signifies.
You might be saying, yeah, yeah, yeah. I know the adage, “beauty is only skin deep” and blah, blah, blah. But I still want to wear skinny jeans.
I understand that. It’s totally normal to want to look attractive.
Just be careful about trying to achieve someone else’s body.
Someone else may be skinnier, but that doesn’t mean they rock as much as you do.
What I know from working with lots of women is that someone’s size doesn’t actually give you much information about them as a person.
When you see someone smaller than yourself, she is probably looking with envy at someone else even smaller. Someone’s size is NO indication that she is happy with her body. Or that she has a healthy relationship with food.
For all I know, any one of the thinner, more ballerina-esque dancers from the other school went home from rehearsal and purged. After she berated herself for eating an extra slice of bread.
I have no way of knowing specifics, of course. But beating yourself up for not being perfect doesn’t kick in at a certain size or weight. It doesn’t stop at a certain size or weight, either.
The bigger picture is this: What are you putting off until you are the “right” size?
What brilliance are you hiding from the world?
Are you letting your ideas about outward appearance obscure your inner gifts?
Stop hiding. We need you in our world. We need your talents, your intelligence, and your amazing ability to cut through the BS/bake cakes/train dogs/__________________. (Fill in the blank with your superpowers.)
Not to mention your wicked sense of humor.
And we need all of that now.
Go be brilliant.
Be fatter, but better.
Or better yet… Just be your natural size – no matter what size that is – and fabulous.