This time of the year I get so frustrated and often feel quite concerned for the health of many plus-size women. In the Australian climate it depends on your location as to how our temperatures affect us. For me here in Melbourne, summers are usually a few days of extreme heat followed by cooler days before the next heat wave. This year in particular our summer has been very changeable with extreme humidity and then intense dry air, a real roller coaster of weather. A few weeks ago during a particularly hot and humid day I was sitting at a local café enjoying some time with my son Zac. As we sat and chatted I watched a plus-size woman in a lovely dress collapse into a seat at the café, sweat dripping off her face. Her dress was lovely, clearly sleeveless as she had paired it with a long-sleeved cotton crop cardigan. Her back was wet with sweat too. She ordered a cold drink, and sat mopping her brow and pulling at her crop readjusting it and pulling it off her sweaty back. It was 36 degrees! I sat wondering how on earth she was still standing with so many layers on. If only she had felt comfortable enough to have just her lovely dress, baring her arms. Now I know this is my assumption, and I know she (like me, although sleeveless on this particular day) would still be sweating, but there is no doubt in my mind that she would have been a lot cooler than she was with that extra layer on.
I’m a big girl, a size 20-22 generally and I have BIG arms. I also have very white skin – (which I know for some is also a cause for concern and cover-up) and learnt a long time ago to ignore the pressure of tanning and maintain my white skin for the sake of my health, so for me wearing anything showing my lily white skin showing doesn’t bother me at all.
When it comes to my arms, I know the feeling of anxiety that comes from baring arms… I have wide shoulders, large upper arms, VERY white skin and freckles. I know that society doesn’t generally see that as attractive. I don’t care! I’m 44 years old and I don’t care what anyone else thinks. I will bare my arms! I will not torture myself wearing shrugs or cardigans trying to cover up my arms (yes I have done this in the past!). I will be comfortable.
This summer, and many before I have watched curvy women everywhere torturing themselves with heavy shrugs, cardigans or long sleeved shirts trying to cover their arms, but sweating and overheating themselves at the same time. This not only looks painful, it is quite seriously causing you harm. STOP! Let’s face it, even when you wear a garment to cover your arms, your arms are still your arms, if they’re big, they’re still big! Why are we telling ourselves we have to hide and be uncomfortable?
I understand that body confidence is not something that comes easily, but isn’t it time to just get over it and move on?! I know when I made the decision years ago to just stop caring about my arms, I did, I stopped worrying, and I started wearing what I wanted and more importantly what suited the weather of the day.
SOMETHING happened though when I stopped covering my arms – I felt cooler, more comfortable. Full stop.
Yep, that’s good right?!
Perhaps you expected that I was body shamed by others? Stopped by strangers in the street and scolded for daring to bare my arms?
If I reflect back on all the times I’ve been tempted to cover my arms, and have, only to be most uncomfortable, hotter than ever and really wishing I’d just stayed at home – sometimes in the past I’ve even chosen to not participate in something because I knew I wouldn’t be comfortable and feel too hot. I decided a long time ago it was time to stop that approach and just get over it and enjoy every second, because life’s just too short and my arms are my arms.
So you will see me out and about with my arms out, and moving on with life. You will also see me with some great options for covering my arms – BUT – this will only be if it suits the outfit – AND – the weather – NOT because I am covering my arms out of shame or fear.
You know, just looking back over the past few years, I would have missed out on so much had I enforced wearing something over my arms. Our family holiday to Northern Bali in 2014 for example, it was 34 degrees with 70%+ humidity every day. And then there was our trip to Cambodia last September, rainy season, horribly humid and there I was again arms out.
I enjoyed every day without my arms covered – my white large legs and arms on show for the world to see, no make-up (it just melts off your face anyways!), and no hair styling – just ME – enjoying life with my family. Just how it should be.
I know body confidence doesn’t come easily, it’s something you can’t buy but it’s something no-one can take away from you. I feel so much happier just making the MOST of who I am today, and everyday – at every size that my body is throughout my life.
Embrace life, embrace your body and live.
Love your shape!