Lights, Confidence, Action
by Jenn Carson
As I walked into the studio, I realized that everyone from the host to the producer to the hairdresser was impossibly thin. Instead of reviewing my notes before I went on the air, I stared down at my full thighs and sighed.
10 years and 20 media appearances later, I continue to battle the same insecurities as the only plus size woman on every set. Each time that I speak about serious issues on the Oxygen Network, Investigation Discovery Channel or other outlets, I feel conflicted. I am confident about what I say, but not about how I look.
Words come naturally to me. Looking television-ready does not. I wear dark clothing, bold necklaces, and high-heeled shoes. I beat my hair into submission and apply heavy contour makeup. I do this all with the intent to look thinner on camera.
I tell myself that I do not want my big body to take away from my big message. It never occurred to me until recently that my body is part of my message. As a trauma survivor (and as a plus size woman), my words matter. I matter.
Something changed before my last television shoot. I woke up with eczema on one side of my face, acne on the other side and grey roots sprouting from my head. I also couldn’t zip or button my too-small pantsuit. I sat slumped on the edge of my bed.
In the midst of my pity party, my thoughts were interrupted by a loud purring noise. I looked down at my cat and realized that her missing tooth, scarred ear and bowling ball body had never stopped her from cuddling, playing, or posing for endless Instagram pictures.
I decided then that I would be more like my radical self-loving fat cat. As I sat in front of the lights and camera that afternoon, I reconnected with my message. There is life after trauma. There can be joy after trauma. It can happen now – not when or if we become thin. Now.