Everywhere you turn, you see sexy, voluptuous women now.They vie for larger hips and curvier shapes. What they can't tone, they buy. But not long ago, curvaceous, 'bootylicious' bodies were anything but the norm. Even still, depending on who you're around, there's a special form of prejudice that awaits
There's something special about coming into your own. This blog is dedicated to the women out there like me who have an extra step to take before they fully achieve self-acceptance
How Much Does Size Really Matter?
I was always the thicker one, the taller one or the "chunkier" one out of my crew of friends. It never really mattered to me though. I was just "big-boned", they would say. Granted, there's a difference between bone density accounting for much of one's size versus actually being overweight because that's probably going to present health issues eventually. Again, I didn't care. I was more concerned with singing my favorite songs around the house and writing poems that only I would see. All very important to me...but one day, someone pointed out just how big of a deal my weight must have been. I was one of the few black girls in my grade school; at least one of the few tall, curvy ones and at that age, not much was acceptable among children. Don't get me wrong, I've always been very sociable and somewhat outgoing when I want to be so I had friends and I considered myself to "fit in". Until one day, a smaller boy my age who happened to be Caucasian and who happened to be someone I had a crush on at the time came to sit next to me on the swings. I thought this was my moment! I just knew he was coming over to ask me if I wanted to ride bikes with him some time or something along those lines. We chatted for a bit about something that I didn't care about and then he looks at me and innocently asks, "Aren't you scared you'll break your swing and fall?" I was always pretty good at laughing away awkward moments so although I don't remember exactly what I said, I'm sure it was a casual shrug brush-that-off-and-act-like-it-never-happened response covered in a pretty smile. He went about his day while mine stood still. As I surveyed the playground I noticed it was split right down the middle of black kids and white kids, little girls and the boys who like them & then it was cut in half again. Me against everyone else...
Trust & believe I never needed anyone's pity. I knew I was beautiful and I knew I was unique. I just didn't understand why these things had to be used against me. So by the time high school rolled around, I met new friends, went to a more diverse school and thought things would be different. I was involved in a few sports and watched my weight more. I grew into my weight and started to feel 'normal'. Or so I thought.
High school is always the place self-conscious, over-dramatic, irrationally emotional, hormone-filled teens go to learn about life and it's realities before being dumped into the world and thrown to the wolves. I guess I could have made that a bit less scary...either way, it's about exploration. What I learned about myself was that I had carried a deep-seeded insecurity because I didn't know where I belonged anymore. I began to believe that I couldn't belong anywhere. I couldn't identify with much of anyone because I didn't know what I looked like. There's a difference between looking in the mirror and seeing yourself versus looking in the mirror and seeing your face. Trust me, there is. This is what happens to everyone at some point I'm sure, but when you don't have the confidence to be exactly who you are, it kind of makes you crazy. I basically figured if I skipped a meal here and hardly ate a plate there, I'd see what I wish everyone else would see. A pretty, skinny girl. Not a curvy, cute one. I got down to a pretty nice weight, nothing too small but my curves were still there. And I was still very non-accepting of them...
I still have my moments where I look at myself and think, maybe I need to hit the gym crazy hard and come out someone I barely recognize just for the heck of it but I'll only make that change when I decide I truly want to. If there's anyone out there who might be feeling suffocated by the pressures you feel about your weight or appearance, don't make any changes for the sake of being insecure or bullied. Do it when you're ready because the only thing that matters is your happiness. Finding yourself is hard enough when there are layers of criticism burying you and bogging you down. For all the moments your weight was the bunt of a joke, or your insecurity took center stage and you were made to feel inadequate because your BMI didn't fall in the 'average' range of your doctor's chart, know that you're worth is not to be reduced to those experiences. Losing weight is an amazing journey that I encourage anyone to take but do it for the right reasons. Being a Big Girl is not what you should be known for...you should be known for just being You.
An Advocate for Change