A guest article by Aby Deal, @curvychicchick  from the Bold Magazine Love Yourself Weekend Mini-Zine 

So, you want to go to a “Size Acceptance Event,” eh? A Bash? A Club Night? A Big Beautiful Weekend? Well, they aren’t for everyone. First, you have to decide if they are for you. There are so many stigmas surrounding what these weekends have become. Some of it is based in truth. And, some of it is hearsay.

There are so many Size Acceptance groups popping up all over the country. It can be daunting to figure out which you want to go to. The first thing you may want to do is decide what you want from your Size Acceptance Weekend. New friends? A romantic interest? Acceptance in a judgement free zone while you try out your first bikini?

No matter the intent, we’ve compiled five of the top things to remember when heading to a Size Acceptance Event (SAE):

What goes in comes back out – Don’t believe the hype or rumors! If you go into your SAE with a bad attitude and close yourself off to new experiences, then you’ll likely have that kind of experience.  It’s important to be open to meeting new people and step outside of your comfort zone. Otherwise, it’s easy to say or feel like the events can be “cliquish” when it is potentially your demeanor that is not welcoming.

Respect Others – We all know what assumptions do…They make an ass… you know the rest. This, coming from a women’s perspective from attending SAEs in the bash community… Just because I’m a young plus size women, does not mean that I’m single and looking for attention. And, I’m definitely not desperate for attention or looking for intimacy. While many people attend events to potentially make a love connection, many of us just go to see old friends, make new friends, drink and dance in a judgement free environment. 

Aby Deal at the Bold Magazine affiliated Body+ Love Weekend hosted by Sarah Sapora

Judge Less, Accept More – It’s important to remember that everyone is entitled to their comfort zone in their body at whatever stage they’re in.  While these events were created for men and women of size to feel comfortable in their bodies in a fun setting, all should be welcome to attend and feel comfortable. Many in the community have since made personal decisions to re-evaluate their health and have lost weight, and because of that, they may have already lost a bit of their identity. Size should not matter at a true SAE: size 2, 22, or 32, everyone should feel welcome.  Size shaming is not acceptable in any size acceptance environment.

Size Acceptance events are not for everyone– To that end, there are all different kinds of events, and they are not all created equal. You may attend a size acceptance event and realize that this kind of environment just isn’t for you.  I’ve had a great deal of positive experiences from attending my first size acceptance event last year, but I’ve attended a handful since and I know that every promoter provides a different vibe. If you’re looking to attend a wellness retreat that focuses on accepting your body in the various changes of your life, you’re more likely to feel comfortable at a Body Love Workshop with Sarah Sapora. If you’re looking to meet and greet with other plus size fashion influencers and to find a variety of plus vendors who cater to the plus universe, you would more likely be comfortable at a Bold Media Event. Whereas if you like a club setting, where you can dance with other plus singles, admirers, or just make new friends who are also plus sized, to dance and drink with, you may have more fun attending an Curves Events or Crave Las Vegas club night. Lastly, if you’re looking for a little bit of all of those things, you might attend a Living Large Chicago bash! Consider attending a variety of events to find the right vibe for you.

You Can’t Spell Fun without “U” – These events are created to provide an atmosphere that you may not be able to feel comfortable in, as a person of size, outside of the plus community. Size acceptance events are known to bring people together. Lifelong friendships are formed, business partnerships made, romantic relationships occur, and we’ve even seen proposals and marriages happen at them! These kind of events were exactly what I needed to help push me to step outside of my comfort zone. You may want to join a team of strangers for flip cup, participate in a fashion show, lounge by the pool, or tour the vendor halls for new plus clothing connections with your new friends.  If you’re a fan of Grey’s Anatomy you may be familiar with the terms, “my person.” I can genuinely say some of “my people” have come from attending these kind of events, and my own awakening and experience has been transformative as a result.  There’s a special kind of magic that occurs when immersing yourself in a group of beautiful men and women that radiate confidence and inspire you to do more. It might even light a fire for your own awakening! 

[Featured Image is of guests enjoying a Curves Event in Fairfield, New Jersey]

For more information on Aby’s Size Acceptance club, head to www.cravelv.com!