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Dear Virgie,

I recently went through a breakup. I kind of want to go on a date soon, but I can’t believe how little confidence I have in myself right now. My ex and I had sex a lot, which makes this feeling even weirder. I know my ex found my curvy body attractive, but I’m having a really hard time feeling like anyone else will. I know feeling attractive is not the most important thing in life, but it’s just been a long month. Do you have any suggestions? 

Hey girl!

Oh I know all about those days/weeks/months of feeling less than cute. I mean, I know it’s not necessarily the greatest consolation but every single person goes through this at least some of the time.

Trying to feel worthy — let alone attractive — in this culture is really hard. Why? Because we get messages every day that signal to us that we aren’t good enough … no matter what we look like.

I also know about that weird feeling between relationships. In my last relationship my boyfriend worshipped me and made me feel super hot all the time, but when we broke up I experienced just the feeling you’re describing. I think a lot of it had to do with how insulated we had become. We kind of had our own little world, and so once I didn’t have that anymore it was hard to re-adjust to the reality of dating again. Our feelings don’t need to make sense all the time. Also I feel very confident that this feeling will pass. But in the meantime, here’s what I suggest:

1. Make an “I’m Hot Because” list.

I love me a good list and few things feel better than reminding myself what a smarty pants babe I am. So get out some cute paper (or that note taking app on your phone, AKA Gmail). On this list include not only physical traits but also personality traits, outlook and talents like intelligence, compassion, resiliency, ability to apply eyeliner perfectly, etc. Hotness is a holistic state so leave no part of your badassery behind.

Related: Don’t Let Your Breakup Break You: A Self-Care Guide

2. Find bodies like yours represented in a hot way.

Social media has changed the face of representation. Four years ago I don’t think I could have actually given you this advice, but it’s the dawn of a new day! One of my favorite things to do is to find women whose bodies look a little (or, hey, a lot) like mine represented in a hot way. My go-to is April Flores because we have a similar looking tummy and she’s got a round face. It’s not hard to look at April getting hers and feel like I should be getting mine too. I know feeling attractive isn’t necessarily about feeling sexy, but I just googled “BBW porn stars” and am feeling like I’ve got about three hours worth of “work” after I finish writing you. If you’re not in the mood for nudity, then maybe keyword hashtags like “#EffYourBeautyStandards” or “#HonorMyCurves” or “#plussize” on platforms like Instagram.

3. Do some witchy self-massage.

This is one of my favorite things to do when I’m feeling alienated from my body. I light a candle and get some oil — you can use olive oil from the kitchen, essential oil or massage oil. I just bought some frangipane scented oil that I lurve. Take five to 15 minutes to rub yourself with oil, taking extra time on the parts of your body that you’re having a hard time with. For example, my upper arms are a source of vulnerability for me, so I would take an extra minute or two to rub every inch of those. As you touch each part of yourself say to yourself (or aloud if you can!): “This part of me is beautiful. This part of me makes me whole.”

Related: 6 Steps to Finding Self-Love After Heartbreak

4. Take yourself out on a date.

Let your first post-breakup date be with yourself. Put together a look that makes you feel like a megababe and take yourself out on a date. If you’re on a budget, it can be as simple as going to get a cup of fancy coffee that you lazily sip while you read or people-watch. When I’m not feeling cute I like to go to a beautiful location like the beach or a park, or if I’m in the mood to peep on DILFs I go to Target (primo cruising spot). Before leaving, I condition my hair, like, three times so it’s extra shiny, then I get one of my super short dresses, fluff the cleave, add my strappy wedge sandals and my big sunglasses. Also, for some reason chewing watermelon flavored Bubblicious gum makes me feel like a teenage beauty queen. It might be worth a shot?

I have no doubt you’ll get your groove back. <3

Hope this helps!

xoox,

Virgie

before-social-media-there-was-little-meaningful-representation-of-fat-people

Dear Virgie is a weekly advice column by Virgie Tovar, MA, author, activist and one of the nation’s leading experts and lecturers on fat discrimination and body image. She is the founder of Babecamp and the editor of Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion (Seal Press, November 2012) and the mastermind behind #LoseHateNotWeight. She holds a Master’s degree in Human Sexuality with a focus on the intersections of body size, race, and gender. Virgie has been featured by the New York Times, MTV, Al Jazeera, the San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan Magazine Online, and Bust Magazine. Find her at www.virgietovar.com.

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