Learning to Love Myself Through Thick and Thin

I'm at a strange point in my life where the majority of my thoughts are centering around my body weight. For so many years, I was stuck at 85 pounds. In high school I was on the Varsity competitive cheer squad, and at 4'10" I had no choice other than to be a flyer. Working out twice a day to stay in shape for all of the jumping and tumbling that was required of me meant that I consistently stayed at that 85 pounds throughout high school. It seemed like my butt and breasts would never grow, and I always felt so far behind everyone else's development. My sisters and mother have always had shapely bodies, and I never felt like I fit in with them. 

Me, Senior Year of High School. Straight muscle. 

Me, Senior Year of High School. Straight muscle. 

Fast forward to now, and I have plenty of the booty and breasts that I was so anxious to have back then. And yet, on many days I don't find body as appealing anymore. I DEFINITELY don't want to be 85 pounds again, but it's discouraging to read that 124 pounds is considered "overweight" for my height. I went from TV abs of steel to a stomach that isn't really flat anymore. I don't go out as much as I used to when I was scrawnier. And I DO want to go out. I buy clothes all the time waiting to go have fun and be cute, but it never happens. I'm caught between wanting to work out to tone up and fearing that I'll end up doing too much and being 85 pounds again. 

Me, 19th birthday. I always say that I look tall in this pic despite being 4'10". Many days I want to trade in my thick legs for these "long" and leaner ones. But, I'm pushing myself to love me where I'm at and to take care of myself in healthy ways. 

Me, 19th birthday. I always say that I look tall in this pic despite being 4'10". Many days I want to trade in my thick legs for these "long" and leaner ones. But, I'm pushing myself to love me where I'm at and to take care of myself in healthy ways. 

It was so hard to be tiny and listen to comments about how small I was. I still can't win now that I have a woman's body either. I went home last month for my cousin's wedding (which was AMAZING!--Congrats again, Tia!), and was so nervous about the comments that I'd have to field. Whispers about how thick I am now. About how WELL I'm eating. It's frustrating and tiring at the same time, because no one is satisfied whether I'm skinny or thick but they feel compelled to share their opinions either way. I don't take full-body pics at all anymore, but I see that I'll have to start doing that as a resolution for the new year. Last year's resolution was to find new things I'm good at, and I was able to pick up jewelry-making and sewing as a result. I want to be happy with this body and any changes that might come with it in 2017. I want to start dressing up and going out on the town for MYSELF, and not waiting for someone to ask me. I won't continue to seek out validation, or beg for buddies to hold me accountable with staying healthy. 

Me, Summer '16. My boyfriend took this pic of me and Kayjay at Folly Beach, and I haven't taken a full body pic since. I'm sure my hips are even wider, and I'm learning that it's ok. 

Me, Summer '16. My boyfriend took this pic of me and Kayjay at Folly Beach, and I haven't taken a full body pic since. I'm sure my hips are even wider, and I'm learning that it's ok. 

I'd love to chat with some of you about the things you do daily that help you love your own bodies! Help a sister out in the comments! 

Your Lips are Fine! (As Long as They're Fake...)

Was that neutral lip bangin' or what? 

Was that neutral lip bangin' or what? 

There have been many times I’ve avoided wearing brighter shades of lipstick because I was afraid I’d call too much attention to my lips. I actually LOVE my lips, though. I feel like they’re perfect. So why was I afraid to whip out my hot pink liquid lipstick?

 

After some time, I realized that it had more to do with how my exact features were perceived as “sexy” and “exotic” when they were on someone else. Because cosmetic surgery is so rampant now, I’ve actually been approached by people asking if my butt is real.

For those of us who were blessed with shapely thighs, hips and lips, it can be difficult to exist in our natural bodies. We’re often labeled as everything from ‘inappropriate’(see the 4th grade teacher in ATL whose body went viral) to ‘thot’, even if there’s minimal skin showing. Why is it ok for my features to be chosen from a menu on a whim.

It goes beyond lips, and spills into other parts that make up who we are. I was so close to vomiting the first time I saw “boxer braids,” and the nastiness thrown at Zendaya for her faux locs said so much about how society rolls when a certain Jenner was praised for her “unique style choice” when she rocked the same style out in public prior to the Zendaya fiasco.

 

Basically, lots of times I feel like there’s absolutely nothing wrong with any part of me. I’M JUST NOT ALLOWED TO HAVE BODY CONFIDENCE. Black women are taught from a young age to be ashamed of their bodies. If a creepy older man approaches you in an inappropriate manner, it’s your fault for wearing “too tight” clothes. When that man who addresses you like a piece of meat as you walk down the street becomes aggressive because you showed no interest in his “aye girl!” 

“SKOOOO!”, or

“can I walk with you?” what then? 

You’ll be told that you shouldn’t show off your body and not expect those kinds of reactions. Where do we actually fit in? Who is willing to take up for us as we are?


Do you have certain features that you feel are more appreciated on others? Is there a part of your culture that you’ve recently seen popularized in the media? I want to know how it makes you feel!