I'm Not Like Them (Female Body Image), New New Americans, Tattoo Stories

October 9, 2013

A Triple Threat to Societies Norm.

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A Triple Threat to Societies Norm.

I am a 26 year old, fat, tattooed, and multi-racial female. I will never turn on the television or open the average magazine to find women like me. Took me years to realize that is societies problem, not mine. I’ve been fat my whole life. Yes, fat. Fat is a word people try so hard to cover up as if taboo. It’s simply an adjective that I refuse to let cause me pain as it did for most of my life and I hope more women accept it. This body is my home and I take pride in it. From the jiggle in my thighs and arms to the beautiful curvature of my tummy, breast, and ass. I know every time I eat in public it’s a protest, mentally shouting, “Riot, not diet!” Slowly, thanks to blogs on tumblr, and hashtags like #effyourbeautystandards and #honormycurves women are slowly learning to accept and love themselves. However there will always be those days that it is an uphill battle. Then you have to think of the great words of Elizabeth Taylor, “Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.” Becoming body positive took me 26 years and I’m still learning because the media is constantly telling me that being big is only acceptable when you’re the punch line of a joke.

This body I’m in is layered in caramel skin. My mom, may she rest in peace, would always joke that all she did was add cream to the coffee. I’m a mixture of many things, but the main product of a white mother and black father. My whole life, I doubt I’ve made it over a week without being asked, “What are you?” as they stare me up and down, usually guessing, “Mexican? Puerto Rican?” I eternally want to scream every time. Why does it even matter? However, I politely correct them. One day I believe we all will truly be one huge melting pot. I used to admire my mom’s milky white skin, green eyes, straight hair. Where I lived at the time, everyone looked like her, not me. When I was about 6 i remember asking my mom if I’d be white like her when I grew up. She stared in disbelief. Now that I’m older I love my full lips, tanned skin, nappy hair.

I was 19 when I got my first tattoo. Two tattered hearts saying “art saves”. After that, I couldn’t stop. Each tattoo telling a story of my fears, loves, and heartache. The sparrow with a pancreatic cancer ribbon in honor of my mom. A cupcake to celebrate my 2nd sobriety birthday. A few depicting my past pains. I’m often asked why i did them. Told that I’m too pretty and should stop. I’ve heard it all. Some people don’t understand that my body is MY home and I might as well decorate it. These pieces of art are a constant reminder of all I have done and wish to do. I love that I can look down at certain ones and be reminded to love myself when I see my cracked heart locket. My sugar skull girl reminds me to rejoice in the life of those who past, rather than mourn their death. I love that my skin will tell my story until the day I’m dead and gone.

You’re only given one body. Yes there will be days it frustrates you, but why not spend more time loving and honoring it that shaming it.

XoX-
Marilyn

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