Walking the BlogHer Fashion Show: Anything Is Possible
By Erin Kotecki Vest on August 07, 2012
I will admit it: I’m a blog snob.
Those silly fashion blogs? Pfffft. So long as they don’t take over the political news of the day, or the REAL news (as I stand tall and like to remark) -- then fine, they can have a headline or two. But they aren’t important and are fluff and as far as I’m concerned have no place getting higher ratings or more coverage than what I consider to be more important -- real news.
So when the BlogHer team asked me to be a model in the first EVER BlogHer fashion show this year at BlogHer ’12 in New York, I had to laugh.
Not only was I being asked to participate in a space I had very little respect for, but I was struggling with coming to terms with a body that is not my own. One I have written about time and time again since I began steroid treatment for lupus. The dramatic shift from my 119-pound self to my steroid-induced, 219-pound self has been life changing. Nearly as life changing as the disease trying to kill me.
The truth of the matter is I have not felt beautiful, or even comfortable, in a long time. 18 months, to be exact. I’ve learned to shop in the plus-sized section, and cry when things even there didn’t fit.
I sobbed uncontrollably when all I wanted to hear from those I love was “you are beautiful no matter what” -- which was said early on, but after so long that sort of talk seems frivolous. OK, so I haven’t heard it in 15 months, to be exact. Not because they don’t love me, but because it seems unimportant in the sea of things going on. Treatment, medication, plans of action. My appearance should be the least of anyone’s worries, and it would be insulting to even bring it up. Vain maybe. And downright stupid.
But as it turns out, you notice and remember things when you don’t recognize the person looking back at you in the mirror. You crave to know you are still beautiful to those who love you -- if not in words, than in a kiss on the forehead or an arm around the waist. But that waist is now double in size. The forehead round and moon-shaped from the drugs, and I certainly wasn’t feeling worthy of a kiss.
That’s not the Erin I know. But I was cutting her some slack, considering the hell we were going through.
Everyone treats you differently as a big girl, too. Everyone. My kids love “Squishy Mommy." In fact they want to make sure I don’t lose ALL the weight I have gained as I diet because they insist some squish remain for cuddle time.
Then I realized how the outside world treats larger people. They aren’t nearly as nice to me as they used to be. At first I was angry. I wanted to wear a big sign that said “I AM ON A STEROID THAT SAVED MY LIFE THIS IS WHY I AM FAT.” And then I got even more angry, realizing that no one deserves to be treated differently simply based on looks and size -- from those of us here involuntarily to those beautiful women born with curves to people who just are who they are.
So I said yes to being a model. Because my self-esteem needed a boost, I knew I had to learn about other blog communities, and -- most important -- I wanted to show the world every size, shape, and sass of a woman is beautiful.
But could I really do it? Could I walk a runway in front of hundreds in New York, knowing full well I’d be in tears and hating the body I’m supposed to show off and love? Would it be a big lie?