By TC Currie, Fattitude guest blogger
Seven years ago, a recent widow and trying to figure out who I was without my husband, I signed up for a program called Ladies Who Launch. It was an intensive 4-week set of classes for women launching something new in their life. Through that network I met Chrystal Bougon, who was launching her pleasure party business, Bliss Connection. I was immediately impressed by her generous spirit in sharing what she knew and her strong sense of who she was. And a bit awed by her complete lack of self-consciousness regarding her sex toys business (which is what you need if you’re going to run a business talking about sexual pleasure and how to get it). We kept in vague touch, as one does with other women in large networking groups, and I followed her success on the LWL website until the economic downturn hit me hard and I was unable to renew my subscription.
Fast forward to two years ago. I had pulled my life back together, moved back the Bay Area with my BF, and discovered Chrystal had opened a brick-and-mortar lingerie shop for plus size women. I FB friended her immediately. An entire store devoted to lingerie and pleasure toys for women OVER size 14? “It’s soft,” Chrystal promised. “No scratchy lace. You will look amazing.” Because I knew Chrystal and trusted her integrity, I believed her. I was gobsmacked.
I had only worn lingerie a few times in my adult life. Once a friend gave me a maxi nightgown in mauve, but the lace was really scratchy. She told me it was the best she could do and I should wear it because it was the only thing available (she was probably right about that). The two times I put it on, it made me feel … horrible. Less than, not worthy. The complete opposite of what sexy lingerie is supposed to do for you. I walked into a Victoria’s Secret a couple of times over the years, accompanying friends, always with the same effect. Not in your size, are you kidding? Why would you even want to look sexy. It’s not possible.
But then I visited the Curvy Girl Lingerie web site (http://curvygirlinc.com). There was page after page after page of sexy babydolls, corsets, chemises, robes, sexy, sexy, sexy stuff ALL IN MY SIZE. I was overwhelmed and not sure what to do next, so I called in the BF. Together we browsed the website and I took note of his preferences (pink, not black, this, not that) and he thought he’d fallen into a fantasy. He really thought that a few weeks later when I came out in a pink lace number (not scratchy, very soft, hugging every curve, my ass peaking out the back). The pink chemise didn’t stay on long, but the feeling of sexiness and empowerment stayed with me for a very long time.
Chrystal’s FB feed is not just pictures of her fabulous lingerie, it’s a place where Curvy Girls can ask questions, get real feedback from other Curvy Girls, and get hot doses of positivity. It was through the FB feed that I found out about her fashion show.
I was really excited because I’ve harbored a secret dream to be a model. But there were no plus sized models (except Emme), and my brother ground that dream under his heel when I shared it with him. And now! Here was my chance! I’ve never felt all that nervous about my body. I go to clothing optional resorts and don’t wear clothes around the house unless it’s cold or we have company. So I thought I could manage walking around a room full of women in lingerie (no men are allowed at the fashion show).
The day before the show, I found I was really anxious, but an email showed up from Chrystal to all 25 models. She said she knew we were all nervous, but that what we were doing was really important because women from all over the country were going to see pictures from the show and for many of them it would be the first time that they ever saw a curvy women in lingerie. “Think,” she said, “of the women in Iowa, or Arkansas, or Australia where there are no stores where they can buy lingerie and all the catalogs use models that are size 2 so they have no real idea how they would look in the lingerie. Think of how empowering it will be for them to see women living happy lives, rocking their curves, daring to be sexy.” Think indeed. I had tears in my eyes and renewed resolve.
That first fashion show was a life-changing experience for me. I fulfilled a resurrected dream to be a model. The event is filled with support and love from the other models, from the audience, and from the vendors. Last year after walking the runway, I walked around the vendors in my pink babydoll and fedora and everyone was so positive and encouraging. In spite of being nervous and not talking much before the show, I met some wonderful women. I now have a mermaid and a pin-up model appearing magically in my FB feed. Other people told me how brave I was. I felt strong, exhilarated, empowered and alive.
That show also brought me to the Body Positive movement. I discovered there are people out there who are working on changing society’s perception of fat people. Calling out fat discrimination in all its ugly forms. People working to re-write the rules and reclaim our personhood and right to be fat AND happy AND successful AND loved AND sexy. People providing support for those suffering. Women are on the forefront of this movement! I found Virgie Tovar, Jes Baker, Whitney Way-Thorne (before her TV show), The Body Is Not An Apology, Tess Holiday (before her huge contract), and, of course, Fattitude.
I jumped at the chance to be a model again this year, rocking the runway in purple, meeting some of the women I’ve been admiring from afar, and making new friends. Chrystal is now working on a TV show called #PlusLife, and I recorded a segment about how I found the BF on Craigslist, and reading a poem about becoming empowered.
And am now joining this community as a vocal participant after watching on the sidelines. I’ve written New Rules for getting healthy, incorporating the Body Positive principles I’ve learned combined with my considerable experience with failure in this arena. I’ll be sharing the New Rules, and my journey towards health with you here.
Watch out world!
* This blog post includes the opinion of a Fattitude guest blogger – and does not necessarily reflect the position of Fattitude, Inc.
TC Currie is a poet, writer, workshop leader, body positive activist, and occasional lingerie model. She is passionate about helping people finding their voice on their journey to becoming their authentic selves. TC started #100HealthyDays to connect to others on her journey to health. Find Transformational Poetry, workshop schedules and more at tccurrie.com.