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Learning to Embrace Your Curves: Why Being “the Curvy One” Ain’t So Bad


Today’s Love Yo’Self guest post is by Anna Guest-Jelley. Anna is a bit of an anomaly: a curvy woman who practices and teaches yoga. Despite not dreaming of putting her leg behind her head (without going to the hospital, at least), she learns/practices/teaches yoga because of its transformative powers in her life. For more Curvy Yoga goodness, visit Anna’s website or connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

I grew up the oldest of two daughters. I was the MaryAnn to her Stacey (in a world ruled by characters in The Baby-Sitters Club). The Anne Shirley to her Diana Barry. The Harriet Welsch (aka Harriet the Spy) to her Beth Ellen. (And yes, you’ll soon realize why I’m using literary references.)

In other words, my sister and I were divided into that time-tested sister dichotomy: “the smart one” and “the pretty one.” I’m guessing you can figure out which role I was cast in—except that, just as often as not, I was told just before going on stage that my true role was as “the curvy one.”

And here’s the thing about being “the curvy one” (at least in high school): It can kind of suck. In high school, it seems like the worst thing that has ever happened to anyone around you, or in the world, is figuring out which gorgeous prom dress to wear next. Meanwhile, you’re scrounging up flannel shirts from your dad’s closet and hoping no one notices (not that this is an example from my life, of course).

So (not that I’m bitter or still have a chip on my shoulder), I obviously used to think that being “the curvy one” held me back—that I’d been dealt a major injustice in the card game of life. I felt like being the bigger (in more ways than one) sister was my burden to shoulder in life—that my sister had things so much easier because people didn’t automatically discount her from things just because of her size.

beautiful plus size woman posing in the pool

What I learned after my sister and I grew up and became friends (and, importantly, didn’t live in the same house anymore) pretty much rocked the foundations of my insecure world, though. She had her own stories to share. It turns out that (lo and behold!) being cast as “the pretty one” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, either. While I faced judgments about my size, she faced judgments about her looks, too, but in different ways. And when people expected me to be smart or to be the funny, supportive sidekick, they expected her to not care about school and to obsess about clothes.

Time, perspective, and a kick-ass plus-size wardrobe finally taught me a few things: (1) that we’re really all too limitless to be typecast, (2) that no one is fiercer than Anne of Green Gables, and (3) that being “the curvy one” is actually pretty f’ing cool. —Anna Guest-Jelley

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  1. Ivori says:

    Hi Anna !
    Wow, your post took me to the past 😉
    My 2 sisters and I stood out like neon aliens at our High School; my younger sister was 6’0 with double D’s, the oldest was labeled the curvy one and I had hips and a booty that was deserving of Beyonce !
    Oh, did I mention that every single girl there was stick thin and flat chested ? Yeah…

  2. Thanks for your comment and for sharing your story, Ivori!

  3. Joy says:

    Thank you so much for your work. It’s beautifully inspiring. I just linked to your site today (http://recoverybits.wordpress.com/). 🙂 Keep up the great work!

  4. Jeanne says:

    Great post! I was fortunate to take one of Anna’s classes when I lived in Nashville, and really enjoyed it. I was in a tough place in my life and my weight and inability to figure out where I wanted to be weighed (no pun intended) heavily on me. It was a very welcoming, gentle class and I felt more in tune with my body afterword. Keep up the good work!

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