A Story About Me
Raleigh, Durham Body Positive Boudoir - Body Love Is For All Women
Take a long hard look at that body pictured above. Make sure to take in all the rolls, dimples, sweet meat and curves. To some, this may be a picture of beauty, to others it may be a shame trigger that plays into their own fear and vulnerability. In my eyes, I see a woman sitting in her power, basking in the truth that she is enough. Yes, I know it’s me and that may be a biased opinion, but y’all, it has taken a long time to be able to show this side of me to the world. A. Long. Ass. Time. Body positivity is not easy nor for the faint of heart. Trust me, I used to be my biggest critic. I grew up as a larger than normal human and the concept of “body positive” missed me. The boat sailed on that journey and I didn’t even know where the dang harbor was to get on the ship. In my eyes, body positive was reserved for the people who actually had “nice bodies” that were worthy of love.
I’m going to be real honest and raw in this blog and it is going to rub some people wrong. I am ok with that. I have spent a lot of my days trying to make myself smaller to fit into the box that society says women should fit into. We all know that box, it looks so neat and clean from the outside. Just small enough to not be noticeable. Never a crazy color. And NEVER too loud. Well sis, let me tell you, to me that box has always felt like the Fat Guy in a Little Coat scene from the movie Tommy Boy. If I finally got myself in the box then the back blew out, or the side smooshed open, or the folds gave out. Until I started this journey, I spent a lot of time worried about how I was going to shrink my being to fit the box, when in reality I just needed to order a bigger damn box.
This story starts back in the days of elementary school when, in the 3rd grade, I wore a woman’s size 9 shoe and was shopping in the old lady section because all the cute little girl stuff was either too small or not long enough. I was a head taller than almost every boy in my grade and the next three grades above me. I towered over my best friends who were all so little and adorable. They could go to sleep overs and share clothes, play dress up with their life size Barbies and buy matching best friend shirts. When we finally did find those gross jelly shoes everyone wore in the 90’s in my size, it was like a rare gem stone. So much so that my mom nearly killed herself falling into Trinity Lake to save one, and no I can’t make this stuff up. Looking back as an adult, I know just how amazing my parents were through this weird time, but it didn’t matter. I was an outlier. Not one of the cool girls because I couldn’t physically fit myself into the mold….I was just too big.
Fast forward through the horrible days of junior high when we started to notice boys for the first time. I was the girl who played sports and rough housed with all the dudes, not someone they saw as an option to date. I will never forget the horrible feeling of getting up the nerve to ask Sean out and have it spread like fire through the school that he shot me down. Why? Well in my brain it was because I was a big fat ass who was too loud and sweat too much. At that age what did it matter what the real reason was? I was standing in my wilderness all alone and couldn’t see through the trees.
Skip to High School when I grew several inches over the summer and was playing travel ball. I went from the 180 pound undatable girl to a 5’10” stunner who was squeezing into a size 4 jean. Yep, I weighed in at 135 pounds and was nearly the same height I am today. My shirts were a medium and I could shop for jeans at the stores my friends did. Man I thought I was hot shit. In my brain I had figured out the secret formula to fit into the box. Eat less and work yourself to death. Literally. If I ate something bad during the day I would throw myself to the ground and do sit ups. I spent hours of my life with my shirt pulled up looking in the mirror to make sure you could still see my hip bones. I fit into the mold and it was all happening for me. Boys started to notice me. Girls in the hall would stop me and tell me how good I looked. Things like “on wow what did you do over the summer? You look amazing” were being thrown around and it fueled an unhealthy desire to stay the size I was. It got so bad that through my sophomore year I stopped having a period….but I fit in the box for the first time of my life.
Jump to the junior college years when I was playing basketball, living on my own and progressing the unhealthy habits I had started in high school. I was in the best shape of my life and still fell into a trap of feeling soooooo inadequate. It lead me to make horrible decisions about who I dated and things I did because I was just craving the high of fitting in. Same thing happened at my four year college. Physically, I couldn’t have been in a better place and it was never enough. I was eating the garbage that society was cramming down my throat and didn’t know any better. Looking back now my heart hurts for that girl. She was broken and sad and covered it all with a positive spin and a smile. Fake it till you make it. It was all I ever knew.
That brings me to the here and now. As dark as those days were, there was a lot of light that broke through the clouds. I had an amazing support system in my parents and never once did I feel pressure from them to look a certain way. That allowed me the opportunity to learn from a safe and comfortable place that no matter how you slice it, society has a messed up standard for what is expected of us. It’s not fair or right and I am here to tell you that as unhealthy as my journey was, I made it out the other side. Going through that has given me the opportunity to reach back and help women that are stuck in the quick sand spiral of body shaming….because until about a year and a half ago I was sitting in the same pool drinking the hate martini’s right with you. I get it sis.
The good news, the Body Positive movement has officially started and wahoo for that! Women are finally learning that they can give themselves the permission they never had to love themselves. The box that society hands you can be returned for a larger size, or shape, or color. If that doesn’t make you want to kick up your heals and put your sexy undies on I don’t know what will. It is our time and that is something more magical than Michael B Jordan in Creed (insert drooling unicorn emoji). Society does not have the right to dictate what your meter is for acceptance. That is something you can control and THAT is a powerful thing.
I want to wrap this up with a very clear and uplifting message. There is not just one type of body that is allowed the freedom to express body love or body positivity. By my definition this applies to all women who have experienced hatred for their being. Fat, skinny, tall, short, wide, broad, narrow, saggy, tight, this movement is for ALL women…ESPECIALLY those that have walked through a similar journey, stood in their wilderness and felt alone. Through my lens, you don’t have to be a certain size to hate your body, that hate is size blind, vicious and needs no help from us. So instead of fighting about who can or can’t be a part of this movement, let us take a moment and just encourage all women to love themselves unconditionally. Body positivity is for me, you and every woman in this word who is ready to buck the system. Stand tall pretty girl and bask in the power that comes from self acceptance. You are so worthy of this love.
Embrace ALL bodies, especially the one you are in!