This post is an entry in the 2nd Stratejoy Essay Contest. Throughout the next month, we will be featuring each finalist writing their answer to the question: What would your TED Talk Be? On September 13th, we will open the voting to YOU, our community, to select the winner of the $500 prize.”
*BIG BOLD BEAUTY*
You know that feeling when you’re tired but you can’t fall asleep and it’s already 3am on a work night? It’s not a case of insomnia. It was a case of my muse not taking the hint that she needs to come back later because I’m TIRED!
A few weeks ago, an accumulation of things past, present, and future came together in the form of one big idea. These are things I have wanted to do, am doing, and want to do more of- heightened into one incredibly frightening vision (as it will mean pushing myself beyond limits that I believe I’m capable of… )
The vision is body acceptance and genius acceptance.
Being incredibly stubborn as my muse is, I got out my journal and started writing the love story between me and… well, me… from the beginning- which is roughly, Kindergarten.
Guess what? It wasn’t a love story.
It was full of hate and disgust.
I was uncomfortable in my body. I was uncomfortable with my ambition. I was uncomfortable that even though I wanted to be a child prodigy, I wasn’t talented enough.
The further through my life I would write, the worse it would get. Like the time I duct taped my stomach to make my waist smaller or my bulimic phase.
Right up until present day where I’m actually courting myself in full-fledged love-birdery. A good example of this is “I wonder what I’m doing later and if I’m available for dinner…”
Just the other day, my Beau and I were driving around looking for a new place to live. I started giggling in our comfortable silence at one of the stop lights.
He asked what I was thinking about and I replied, “I was just thinking about how much I love myself.”
We started laughing at how ridiculous it sounded. For me, it was ridiculously awesome and euphoric.
It came out of the blue and for no real trigger of a reason. I wasn’t flexing my guns in the mirror or doing anything charitable. I was sitting in a car. At a stop light. And boom. I love that feeling and want more of it in my life.
How does a person go from taping fat to embracing every inch of her curvy body?
How about denying her talent to being paid to write and draw?
It’s all in our heads.
Body acceptance is a major obstacle in our society. Many forms of acceptance are! We downplay are ourselves to make others feel better about themselves because we’re selfless. It doesn’t mean that we’re “good people.” That is not how you measure your worth.
I haven’t met anyone who is completely happy with their body, heavy or thin, short or tall. I haven’t met anyone who is mighty enough to feel that there is nothing left to learn, no techniques to try out, no more ground to break.
I never noticed that connection between us! We are all the same, yet insanely, unique. Acceptance… yeah, that’s the ticket.
If there is a girl wearing a super tight small black cocktail dress at a reunion, instead of thinking “Ok… where’s the other half of your dress?”, why not be like, “Good for you! I know you kicked your own ass trying to look good in it! And doll, you’re killing it right now! Good job!”
If there is someone who knits a meaner afghan than you, ask how she did it and congratulate her on her skills. Dears, there is no reason to fret! There is enough world out there for all of us.
Jealousy is like poison. Whenever I sense myself with an ounce of jealousy, I think of something positive. If I’m looking at someone else’s artwork and suddenly feel inadequate, I remind myself that I’m still learning and I will never be the best. No one will! With everything in our creative fields, it is all based on the viewer who looks at it, reads it, even experiences it. It’s subjective. Annoying, sometimes, but it’s subjective.
We all are so different. We all have our good points and we all have our bad. Without those bad, we wouldn’t be human.
I have a hard time trusting that I am good enough for the experiences I have had or the people I have met. I have thought that I am not good enough for my dream job in Animation so therefore I have to read even more books on the subject and take all these classes to beef up my portfolio. There is a point, however, where you have taken that class, that workshop, and what you really need is to just jump in. You learn so much more when you’re struggling to stay afloat because it’s a fight or flight scenario.
Focus. I cannot tell you how many people have told me that my problem is lack of focus. I am a writer. I am also an artist. I will claim my writer-ness one week, but instantly feel lust after art the next. It’s this cycle and I just couldn’t choose. Renaissance souls are real and it is okay to be both.
Since I have modestly accepted my Genius, a weight has been lifted off my chest and subsequently seems to melting off of my frame. I can breathe. I can write when necessary, draw when necessary, and just be… well… Me.
I am finally becoming snug in what has always been my skin.
I have come to realize that Success looks different for each of us, as so does the importance that our roles hold for us. Photographer can be anything from Sports Snapshots to Weddings to Consumer Products. Artist can be from Modern Paint Thrashing to Cartooning to Cardboard Installation. It’s all what and how we see it to be.
During this faithful night in which my Muse came to visit, I discovered how far I have come in my journey and how far I still have yet to travel. It seemed overwhelming in that moment but then I was set free knowing that I am worth every inch of my effort and attention.
I summed up this Woman I wanted to be- ideas that I wanted to live by- into three words.
Big. Bold. Beauty.
I want to live big, be bold, and only then will beauty be abundant in my life.
If we accept our Genius, our Body, our Talents, our Brains, our Everything, we would be fully equipped to change the world and challenge societal norms. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has downplayed a personal accomplishment or breakthrough as to not offend someone else or make them feel bad for the rut they might be in at the moment. When someone else mentions that they “feel fat today”, I kindly offer up a “Really? Size 2? Look at me” only to make their insecure butt to feel better.
NO MORE, LADIES! Own your shit and own your ass! I’m not doing it anymore, baby!
If I am living big and being bold, I am being Me, uninhibited and unapologetically.
I want to be in love with my life.
I want to be in love with my body.
I am in love with the feeling of being in love.
Can you feel it? It’s love-ly and oh so contagious!
These three words are bigger than me and a little frightening. I’m out of my comfort zone. I am growing. This is what adventure feels like without having to know how to slay dragons. This is what life is about. Embracing the unknown with confidence as your weapon of choice.
So don’t fret about your size, the possible date you could have with that man wearing moccasins who ordered the iced black coffee , or your peer/arch nemesis next creative endeavor. Put that energy into yourself.
You are the only thing you will ever really possess. Take care of it, live big, be bold, and beauty is yours.
Cassie Soliday is a professional artist and writer living in beautiful Southern California. Some people say that to get rid of the ache in your back, you need a breast reduction, but maybe (just maybe) it’s a case of shedding old skin and thought processes for a new set that better serves us. She loves to dance, draw, write, and hold hands with strangers if she knows they washed their hands. Let’s party @cassiesoliday.
*This post is an entry in the 2nd Stratejoy Essay Contest. Throughout the next month, we will be featuring each finalist writing their answer to the question: What would your TED Talk Be? On September 13th, we will open the voting to YOU, our community, to select the winner of the $500 prize.*