Or, perhaps, are you content with being none of these things? Maybe you need a minute to think about it.
Traditionally, many plus-size people felt pressured to present themselves apologetically, wearing loose dark clothing and not daring to present themselves as vibrant, sexy or outgoing. Now? Things have certainly changed, and that’s great.
Occasionally, I’ve seen being plus-size equated with one or another personality traits. And it’s generally a positive thing. How many women have, just in the past few years, finally felt “permitted” to claim their space in the world?
But in some cases, we might make people feel they almost have an obligation to claim their fierceness.
I don’t feel it, personally. I am a plus-size woman, but that doesn’t have anything to do with how I feel about myself. I’m not a fierce badass just because of my eye color or my height or any other random physical attribute I happen to have, including my waist measurement.
I like to think I was just as badass many (many!) years ago when I was thin. Like most people, I feel powerful and forceful in some areas of life but shy and retiring in others. I will stand up and make my voice heard very determinedly when it comes to certain heartfelt beliefs; you will not be able to shut me up unless you physically overpower me. On the other hand, when it comes to dancing, I absolutely can’t bring myself to do it. I’d rather give a speech to a thousand people — something that I know a lot of people feel nervous about — than do any sort of dancing, which most people actually consider fun.
I love seeing other ladies of size rock yellow bikinis and colorful, midriff-baring outfits all over social media. You can tell by the smiles on their faces that they feel wonderful about themselves. Me? I really like to wear plain black dresses, and that’s been my signature look for many years, even as my weight has shifted up and down through the years. (An ex once asked me, when I returned from a shopping trip with several new black dresses, “Have you joined the occult?”) In the pool, I wear a plain black tankini that doesn’t show any tummy. That’s just my personal preference. I think black is my color, and I choose it nine times out of 10.
It might be because I read that black was slimming decades ago and internalized that message, or it might really look better on me than bright colors. Or maybe it’s because I’m not very good at putting together outfits and I know it. (It’s really hard to mess up a black dress, black shoes and plain silver jewelry.) But when I’m wearing all black and look in the mirror, I feel that all is right in the world. I feel like my look is pulled together and I can be me; whether it’s getting mouthy about something I’m passionate about or just sitting quietly in the corner reading a book.
You might feel different and that’s OK. You can feel however you want! Fierceness is optional. All you need to do is be you. Simple as that.
Michelle Mueller Teheux is a journalist and former newspaper editor and columnist. She frequently writes about health, family and lifestyle.
Are you a badass? How would you describe yourself? Share your opinion in the comments!