Body Party

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First, can I just say that whenever you see something in all capital letters you know it’s going to be some ignorance. But this hit one of my sore spots and I felt the need to address it.

Growing up I was called fat, and to be honest it scarred me for life. Looking back, I realize that while I was what qualifies as medically overweight, it was just baby fat that I would grow out of it. And in high school, I finally did. But having spent my formative years being teased, and a doctor who lectured my mom about watching my portions at every yearly checkup, the damage was done. I was a perfectly normal size, and in decent shape thanks to that godawful Presidential fitness test we had to do in PE every year. But looking in the mirror all I ever saw was fat.

It took me until I was an adult, and legitimately plus-sized, to realize how wrong my thinking was and do something about it. It’s only now, at 28 years old that I can look at myself and say, “yeah, you’re bigger than you would like to be- but you’re still beautiful and have nothing to be ashamed of.” I was embarrassed by my body for so long that I never wanted to do anything that would call attention to it. So I shied away from sports, and even though I would have loved to take dance classes, the thought of squeezing my (roly-poly, I thought) body into a leotard was TERRIFYING.

It may seem like one of those hippy-dippy, touchy-feely, politically correct things but the plus-size and HAES (health at every size)  movements against body shaming have roots in the type of ignorance displayed above. You can’t change your body overnight. And even with living the ideal lifestyle of 100% clean eating and a tailored exercise routine, there are limits to how much you can realistically change your size and shape. For example, I’m never going to have one of those perch a tray on it booties. I can definitely build it up, but  absent a commitment to  surgical intervention, it’s just not going to be a bubble butt. But to take it even further, the demands of our careers, significant others, and family prevent us from being able to live that ideal lifestyle.

The judgment from others is unnecessary. Overweight people know they’re overweight. They can’t forget because we idolize certain body types and mock those who don’t meet the standard. For example, the Playboy model who filmed a woman changing in the gym locker room.  For all we know that woman has already lost 25 lbs. But she was made a mockery of because she didn’t have the “perfect” body.

I love myself, rolls and all. I’m strong enough now not to let anyone discourage me. I haven’t met my goals yet, but I have more energy. I look forward to moving my body. I’m getting more flexible and discovering muscles I didn’t know I had. I’m saving money by cooking more and eating out less. I’m craving more fresh foods and less sugar. Whether or not anyone else can see the changes on my body, I’m happier with myself. I’d like to lose 50lbs, but even if I only lose half that, at least now I know that I’ve done everything I can for my body to perform optimally.  I’ll end up wherever I end up and have fun doing it.

 

I’m Every Woman

You know, when I turned 25 last week, the day didn’t really feel that significant. But nonetheless, something shifted in my mind. At 25, I will have completed two degrees and enter the workforce. In short- I can now say, without any qualifications, that I am a grown woman. It feels good. *cues Tony, Toni, Tone*

I’m fast approaching the end of my scripted life. From here on out, there is no predetermined path- it’s just me, doing what feels good and growing as a person. And all of a sudden, I find myself caring less and less and sometimes, not at all about what other people think, or about what disasters could potentially occur. Eff it. I’m going to do the best I can and let the chips fall where they may. In keeping with my new outlook on life, I’m doing a makeover of sorts. I’m out of the stage where jeans, fly sneakers, and cute t-shirts are all I need to get by in life. It’s time for me to start dressing like an adult. But what does that mean for me? I want to look powerful, elegant, sexy. I’m tired of being cute just being cute. I went to a potluck-turned-houseparty last week and danced like I was at home alone. In front of other people. I never do that! I guess I just have my own way of doing things. Up until this point, my goal was to graduate, get a job, and hopefully have a worthy male companion to share it with. Clubbing, drinking, worrying about looking sexy- they were all things that could deter me from my primary focus on academics. I come from a working class family, so I literally can’t afford to leech off my parents until I’m 35. I just don’t have that luxury.

Except now, I do. At this point in my life, all I have to do is not screw it up! So the pressure’s off. As long as I don’t slack off with my classes, I’ll graduate. As long as I continue to network and stay on my job search, I will find a position. And I’m with a man who loves me unconditionally and wants to spend the rest of his life with me, so what do I have to be scared of? I’m far away from the humiliation-laden hallways of middle school. I’m no longer a naive, insecure high schooler. I can let it all hang out, so to speak. Sexiness and sensuality are not reserved for the skinny girls, or the perfectly hourglass shaped Beyonces of the world. It’s truly a state of mind. When I lost weight my senior year of HS, I thought it would make me feel totally different but I had the same insecurities as before. And I don’t have to wait to lose 10, 20, 30 pounds to love myself and enjoy the body I have. Lately I’ve found that I can work out or not, eat a salad or not, without a crippling sense of guilt or obligation. I do it because it makes me feel good, and if sometimes what feels good is having a cheeseburger then dammit I’ll have one.

Let go and let flow.

Dying to be beautiful

Yesterday I came across an article detailing yet another butt-injection related death. In case you didn’t know, butt injections (yeah, that donk on Nicki Minaj? Not real) have become increasingly popular. So much so that people are letting themselves be hoodwinked into letting folks with no credentials, licenses, or medical expertise inject them with God knows what. So far I’ve heard of cement, pig fat, petroleum, caulking, and industrial grade silicone being pumped into people’s behinds. It’s just crazy to me!

First of all, it should be common knowledge by now that you get what you pay for when it comes to medical care. Cosmetic procedures have been woefully underregulated for years now. Since these procedures are elective, the medical (and legal) community don’t take them as seriously as they should. It’s true that licensed plastic surgeons have done residencies in their field. However, things like Botox and butt injections can be performed by any medical doctor. I don’t know about you, but I don’t trust a chiropractor whose seen a couple of Botox demos to inject poison into MY face. No thank you! Still, even those circumstances are rarely fatal because it’s taking place in a sterile environment, with the proper equipment, by a medical professional who will follow up with the appropriate after-care. The problem is that since the standards are lower, people think that just anybody can perform these procedures. Even LaKeisha down the block. -_-

But what really saddens me is the lengths that women go to to prove that they’re beautiful. Ladies, we are literally killing ourselves trying to achieve an ever-evolving standard of beauty that almost no one can reach without limitless time and money to spend on perfecting their appearance. And maybe not even then. The money we spend on all these lotions and potions to erase the wrinkles, define the curls, smooth the jiggle, etc is unfathomable. It’s not enough to put chemicals on our faces and hair, now we’ve got to put it in our bodies just to think that we’re presentable! There was a study done saying that looking at thin models and plus size models makes women feel bad about themselves, which tells me that a lot of us are just downright uncomfortable with our bodies. Which is sad because it’s supposed to be a temple that we cherish and celebrate.

I like to consider myself low maintenance, but Lord knows I’ve fallen prey to the Beauty Industrial Complex too. When it comes to hair products? You name it, I’ve probably tried it. And even though I’m not a spendthrift, I’m going on a shopping fast because I honestly don’t need anymore clothes or shoes right now. I just want all of us to realize that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. There’s nothing wrong with the body you were born with it as long as you take good care of it.