my first (and only?) pinup contest

On Saturday, I competed in Kochanski’s Miss Polish Pinup Princess Pageant, part of the annual Polish Pile-Up car show. I’d actually registered for this competition last year only to wake up terribly ill the morning of the contest, so this was a long time coming. I finally decided to take the leap, after watching a number of contests at other car shows, and go for it myself.

Did all my pinup dreams come true? Well…not exactly.

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on body positivity

Apparently this is Body Positivity Week? I hadn’t heard of it before, and it’s not like I can contain my self acceptance feels to one week of the year, but I guess that’s as good a reason as any to write this post! We’re gonna get serious for a moment, friends. Hang in there with me, cuz it’s important.

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It shouldn’t be radical to choose not to hate yourself. It’s really that simple to me. Why should I hate my body, when it does everything that I’ve asked it to do? Like a lot of (most?) women, I have a hard time reminding a time that I wasn’t painfully aware of my body. But I have no memory of it as a child, because then I used to care about how high I could jump, how many monkey bars I could swing across. I didn’t think about how I looked.

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But I do care about how look now, and know what? I look good. I don’t hate myself anymore. Mostly. Self love and self acceptance is a process, and it’s an important one. It’s one that I’ve been able to undergo because of the inspiration of badass ladies who share their awesome outfits, killer looks, and important thoughts online. I really can’t say how much becoming used to seeing bodies like mine, bodies different from mine, bodies different from the narrow social “ideal” has made me able to see my own body as normal, good, and lovable. And hey – so is yours.

I never would have dared wear a bikini when I was smaller than I am now, but you know what? It’s a rad bikini, and no one ever died because they saw pasty Wisconsin girl flesh.The other thing that’s helped me pursue body positivity & love really is following my heart and finding my own style. The more and more my physical self reflects who I am in my heart, the more comfortable I am in that self. I try every day to stop looking at myself with a critical eye and use a loving one instead. I fight the instinct to delete any photo that I think shows too much neck fat. I make myself post pictures of myself smiling, even though I worry my cheeks look too round. I look to my own fashion icons, and I try to emulate them whenever I can. I hope that some girl somewhere will see an outfit or read a post, and start to think that maybe she’s okay too.

When you actually take a step back and look at how women are encouraged to hate themselves, the industries that chug away feeding off our self-hatred, the way communal shaming and self-flagellation has become the major method of female social bonding (“oh my god, I was so bad over the weekend”)…it’s kind of horrifying. I try really hard to refuse to participate in these cycles of body hatred, and I encourage you to do the same. Nothing positive ever came from shaming ourselves or each other, and you really never know what someone else is struggling with when you complain about how eating a single doughnut made you “feel fat” or joke about skipping meals.

If you’re not ready to love yourself yet, try starting with not hating yourself. Let’s all try to be decent and kind to each other and to ourselves. That’s a good first step. ❤︎