Meet Hilda

Hilda is a plus-size 50’s pin up girl. She’s quirky, she’s silly and she’s downright adorable. It’s no wonder the world went crazy when she resurfaced a few months ago after her creator, Luke Pearson, passed away.

Of course she’s prone to a few mishaps here and there, but that just endears her to me all the more. She’s gorgeous and she shows it. She lives her life. She is the perfect embodiment of what a woman should be – cheerful, bright and confident in herself.

I have personally struggled with body image issues for years. I had to listen to well-meaning advice about this diet or that exercise routine or that other comment about how pretty I would look if I was thinner… I’m not a size 2 and I never have been. I’m somewhere north of a size 20 and I’ve fought to accept myself all that time.

Hilda makes me feel good about myself and my body. She’s quirky and silly and I am too. But now I can look at myself without seeing flaws. I can face myself in the mirror and honestly say, I am beautiful. I don’t need anyone else to say it. I believe it.

I was glad when people started looking to plus-size models, healthy models to showcase their brands. Then I started seeing plus size actresses in non-demeaning roles. They are no longer the awkward girl almost always deemed as ugly. The heroine didn’t have to lose weight to be accepted. She just was – and people loved her.

Maybe two or so years ago I came to a realisation. I may not get over my self-esteem problems in a week, a month or a year. I may never be anything smaller than a size 18. I may never fully commit to an eating plan or an exercise regimen. I may never be able to sit on my legs or casually rise from a squat like the more limber and flexible humans can. But that’s okay.

I don’t have to be smaller to be beautiful. I am now. I don’t have to lose weight to be loved. My weight is not my worth. I don’t have to conform to a standard to be accepted. I can be accepted now. I won’t lose weight in a day. No matter how much I wish it, I can’t suddenly open my eyes and be my ideal size. The suggested short cuts to weight loss may never be the right choices to make. Nobody is going to hand confidence to me – I have had to findnit myself.

At any rate, capricious society is cruel to all women, no matter their size. They are either too small, too thin, too short, too tall, too fat, too headstrong, too bold, too timid, too outspoken, too temperamental, too emotional, too emotionless, too light, too dark, too sexy, too plain… It doesn’t really end.

In the end, acceptance seems to be the only way out of the rut that becomes the search for approval. We are learning that, I think. Finally, we are seeing that it doesn’t matter in the end.

Wrinkles and grey hair will come with age. Size changes as children come into the picture. There’s little we can do for height or skin colour.

And not to refute the miracles of dedicated dieters and exercisers, if you can change what makes you unhappy do – within reason. If it puts your life at risk, how important is the approval of others against your life?

All food for thought, no?

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