From Wallflower to Plus Size Model

“Reflection” by Mulan

Who is that girl I see

Staring straight back at me?

Why is my reflection someone I don’t know?

Somehow, I cannot hide

Who I am though I’ve tried.

When will my reflection show

Who I am inside?

Who is that woman, indeed?

Most of my younger life, I was the girl who held up the walls while I watched my friends dance.  Always on the fringe of the crowd, I was your classic nerd: quiet, painfully shy, the one who always had her nose buried in a book. I had thick, unruly, chestnut-colored hair, glasses and freckles. We didn’t have much money and I often wore my older sisters’ hand-me-downs (though I think my mother would rain down hailstones on me from heaven if I didn’t acknowledge that I had some new clothes as well.)  I was the ultimate wallflower.

For so many years, I stared into the mirror looking at my reflection with a variety of reactions: distaste, a cringe, occasional satisfaction, but mainly… a great many sighs.  Like many plus size women, I was always ashamed of my body and weight.  I often felt that somehow it was my weight that held me back from good jobs, happy relationships and even a better life.  I avoided mirrors, unless I was trying on clothes in a dressing room.  Most of the time, I would stare into the mirror, feeling utterly unattractive.  It was a rare occasion when I found pleasure looking at my reflection.

Fortunately, over the passing years and with the aid of family and friends, I began to discover small slivers of confidence. The first petals of the flower began to unfold. First it was my intelligence, then my style, and finally, I began to embrace my beauty….both the inner and the outer.

With the encouragement of several men and women, I’ve just recently embarked on the journey of becoming a plus size model.  Finally, in my 41st year, I am celebrating the life of a courageous woman. Though I have much life yet to learn and to live, I am finally at peace with who I am and who I still have yet to become. There are trials still yet to be conquered, old negative fears that must still be hushed, and challenges that have yet to be faced. But with each step, the petals continue to unfold and the wallflower is blossoming.

Who is that woman indeed?  This is a question I’m still answering, but with each passing day, the answers are becoming clearer.