I’ve dealt with self esteem issues for most of my life.  It’s not that I didn’t have solid reassurance from my family, because I did and still do, but it’s because of shallow and backhanded comments from those who don’t know me that ripped me to the core. I’ve faced a lifetime of ridicule for being too short.  For having an exceptionally large chest.  For my face being too round. I was once turned down for a job because as I was told, my face wasn’t “pretty enough to put on billboards.” 

While I’m working on conquering my own self esteem issues and trying not to let the words (and that’s just what they are-words) get to me, I’m also doing all that I can to assure other women that they’re beautiful in their own unique and special ways. I used to be so envious of pretty girls and thought that they had no idea how I felt inside. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Several years ago I worked in Cincinnati and one of my co-workers was a girl who was a cheerleader for the Cincinnati Bengals.  One day I was complaining about how hot and humid it was and how nasty I felt.  The cheerleader, who was gorgeous, had the perfect body and never a hair out of place started mentioning all of the things she hated about her body.  It was then that I realized that girls of all shapes and sizes have the same insecurities when it comes down to it.  And instead of tearing each other down, we really need to come together to build each other up because only we know what each other is feeling which is why I’m all for the Miss Big, Beautiful and Bold Pageant and what it stands for.

Ten beautiful plus-size women will compete for the title of “Miss Big, Beautiful & Bold” at the fifth annual pageant on Saturday July 12th at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, formally the River Walk in Binghamton.

According to pageant founder, Binghamton resident Elaine Green Luke:

I started this pageant because I know what it is like to not love yourself. I made a promise to a higher power that if he would help me to love and like myself that I would help other Sistas to start loving themselves. All women are wonderful, special, beautiful and unique but we have to learn to love and accept ourselves. If we don't how can we expect others to do the same? Love The Skin Your In!

Elaine says she created “Sista’s Uplifting Sista’s” as a place where women can get together and speak freely about what’s bumming them out and where they can get the support they need to bring them back up. From that group she formed the “Miss Big, Beautiful & Bold” Pageant.

Applications for participation are being accepted now through Monday April 14th. For more information on the pageant or for an application, contact Elaine Green-Luke by emailing sistasupliftingsistas@yahoo.com, calling 607-349-1527 or visiting the Miss Big, Beautiful and Bold Pageant Facebook page.

I say we all work on empowering each other instead of tearing each other down.  Let’s stand up for each other and speak out when nasty comments are made.  Let’s try to see the beauty that lies inside. Are you in?