Goodbye 2020, Hello 2021!

Aymie Rondeau

Posted on January 01 2021

Happy New Year Curvy Girls!

 

I hope you all had a relaxing holiday season and are as excited as I am to put 2020 behind us.

 

It goes without saying that 2020 has been an interesting year! This definitely won’t be one of those New Year’s Resolutions blogs packed full of #humblebrags and all of the things I accomplished throughout the year. If your biggest achievement was making it through 2020, in one piece or not, THAT IS OK!

 

From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, something that has stood out to me has been the fear of getting fat and all of the body shaming language. There were the food and fitness challenges, encouragement to over-exercise for fear of getting fat, etc. These fears were stoked by (false) reports that people in larger bodies were more likely to get COVID-19. And the memes! Oh my lord, the memes. I’m sure you’ve seen them too. You know, the ones where the “How It Started” photo is generally a thin, white girl eating a chocolate and the “How It Ended” photo is Ursula rising from the sea when she gains her superpowers.

 

What was missing from all of these memes and challenges was this: The response to eat through this stressful time, or ANY stressful time, is a completely NORMAL response and coping mechanism. And that it is OK to eat food to nourish your body.

 

Christy Harrison shared a ton of excellent resources to help break through the diet culture B.S. in her Food Psych Podcast. She also interviewed a COVID-19 survivor in this episode with fat yoga instructor, Rachel Estapa, which you can listen to here if you have a moment over the holidays.

 

I found this episode particularly helpful as Rachel breaks down her experience with COVID-19, and how she was initially afraid to go to the hospital to get tested, despite experiencing symptoms, because she was afraid of not being taken seriously for being in a larger body. These fears are sadly all too common, leading to weight stigma that is certainly more harmful to one’s health and self-esteem.

 

If we’ve been a bit quiet on social media lately, it’s because I too tested positive for COVID-19 in early December. I think it’s important to share my experience, because there is a lot of fearmongering and fat-shaming when it comes to contracting this virus.

 

Disclaimer: I do not recommend actively trying to contract COVID-19. I believe in following all of the social distancing measures. I am not an anti-masker or anti-vaccinator.

 

I spent two weeks in Arizona with my mom in late November. We had travelled down together from Calgary and stuck pretty close to home as I was working remotely part of the time. When we did go out, we observed all the same practices we follow at home: wearing a mask, maintaining 6 feet from others, sanitizing our hands, etc.

 

When we returned to Canada, I was able to participate in the rapid-testing pilot in Alberta. I tested negative the day I got back to Canada, and then started to feel sick a couple of days later. At first, I thought I was getting a chest cold. I was a bit congested and had a cough. Then my symptoms started to change, and they seemed to change every day. One day I had aches, one day I was short of breath, etc. The one symptom that stuck around was the loss of taste and smell. And I am talking NO SMELL. Like could not smell a bowl of cut raw onions NO SMELL.

 

The one symptom that I did not experience was a fever. I know a lot of medical offices are doing temperature checks, and the airlines were doing the same before we boarded our flights. In a way, I feel like this is giving a false sense of security as people may be asymptomatic or not display all symptoms. While it adds another layer of inconvenience, I am supportive of presenting a negative test result before travelling to and from Canada.

 

I went for my second test a week after returning to Canada and got a positive result a couple of days later. From there, I was contacted by Public Health. I was asked questions about where I may have contracted the virus and Public Health was not able to come to any conclusions. I was reassured that my case seemed mild, and that most cases are mild.

 

Throughout this time, I remained self-isolated at home. I am very fortunate that I work for a company that has supported a work-from-home model throughout the pandemic, and I was able to keep working. I am also extremely grateful to the teams at Save-On-Foods, Instacart and Door Dash for keeping me fed with plenty of Wor Wonton Soup and helping my recovery with cold medication and plenty of eucalyptus bubble bath!

 

I had similar fears to a lot of other plus-sized people: I’m going to be judged for getting COVID-19. People are going to assume I got it because I’m fat. I’m not going to be taken seriously because I’m in a larger body. Those fears circled in my head despite the fact that I am an otherwise healthy individual.

 

In the face of COVID-19, the plus-size fashion industry has certainly faced its ups and downs as well. 2020 saw triumphs on the runway, with plus-sized models like Paloma Elsesser and Candice Huffine walking for brands including Ferragamo and Christian Siriano.

 

On the flip side, we saw the closure of several plus-size brands, including Addition-Elle stores across Canada. Their products are being sold through Penningtons, but it was still sad to see plus-sized women across the country lose an option for in-store shopping when we already have so few options.

 

2021 is upon us and I’m personally very much looking forward to starting a new year. At The Curvy Shop, we have a number of exciting projects in the works being launched soon. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter (there is a spot at the bottom of the page to sign up!) and follow us on all social channels at @shopthecurvy to stay in-the-know on all the latest in plus-size fashion!

 

Wishing you nothing but the best in 2021!

 

Aymie – Founder and CEO

The Curvy Shop

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