This is something that has been said to me on numerous occasions, and quite frankly, is NOT a compliment. My body type isn’t ‘normal’. I don’t have an hourglass figure, a pear figure, or even a round figure. I’m not shaped like a box, and I’m certainly not an apple. I can’t find jeans in a store under “tall” because I’m too small, but the petite and short jeans look as though I am preparing for a flood. Regular is never regular, and what the hell is “wide”? I’m more like the shape of a strange state and no- that’s not a fat joke. Some days I feel great, and sometimes I feel like a blimp. It’s just the way I am and I’m sure what I feel like at the moment is how I am perceived on the outside as well. Why is that we are own worst enemies when it comes to our appearance? Shouldn’t we be proud to have different body types, different skin colors and different textures in hair? Don’t we all strive to be unique with what we wear, what art we have on our bodies (permanent or otherwise), and how we speak? The truth is we don’t. We all want to feel beautiful and validated and while beauty is still always seen within the eyes of the beholder, society still tells us what is right and the funny thing is – our society doesn’t always have to be the TV, internet, or a magazine. Sometimes “society” is our friends and families, and sometimes it’s our label.
I grew up not knowing who my biological father was and while it wasn’t necessarily a problem in terms of my upbringing, it did raise questions about how I looked. My mother has a very light complexion and has often times been mistaken for being Asian. My sister and brother both took on her complexion and my olive undertones and naturally darker skin encouraged my friends to ask me questions about where I came from and even questions about my being adopted. I had thick, unruly, curly hair, and my mother and sister both had straighter, softer hair. My hair frizzed out and theirs would get oily. In places where their skin burned red, I turned darker. Why didn’t I look like them? When I realized that my sister and brother were leaner and more slender to my stockier, chubbier build and got made fun of at school, the issue and questions escalated and I found myself hiding in books and trying to use my sense of humor as a defense mechanism. When someone would make a joke about my hair, skin, or weight, I would respond with a witty and sarcastic remark and make fun of myself to move the attention away from my real feelings. I thought being funny and smart would deter from the obvious and eventually, I started hiding further behind sweaters in one hundred degree weather, and tied my unmanageable hair away in a small bun a top my head. I wasn’t embracing my body or my heritage. I wanted to get away from it.
It wasn’t until fairly recently that I began to accept who I am and how I look. After working some amazing women, and joining a sport that focused on the uniqueness, beauty and even NEED for every body type, I began to understand that being different was a good thing. Having women of all shapes, sizes, and ethnicities to look up to made me realize that we all deal with similar struggles in our own ways. For the first time in my life, my thunder thighs were complimented! “Your legs are strong, you’d make an amazing blocker” is to this day, one of the most amazing compliments I’ve ever received, and I still laugh when someone tells me that they would kill for big, curly hair like mine. It is truly amazing how we always want what we don’t have, and spend hours of our day trying to fake it. I’ve learned to use my build for strength, and I focus on a Buddhist religion that reminds me that my body is not my soul. By spending more time on working on my inner self, I was able to see the beauty in my outer self. Finding peace and happiness within myself has encouraged me to enjoy things I otherwise would have never tried, and thus, found a way to be sociable and meet new people further expanding my appreciation for the un-standard version of beauty. Living a healthier lifestyle, appreciating nature and the natural talents and skills that people bring to my life, and learning to love what I have and want for what I really need has enabled me to begin my path of true self love. If you don’t love who you are, how can you ever love anything or anyone else? Take a seat, and write down all of the amazing things you can think of about yourself. Keep the list close-by and when you feel like shit, take a look at it to remind yourself how amazing you are. It sounds cheesy, but I promise, it works.
Some days you might still see me wearing a sweater, and I might even have my hair tied and tucked away in a bun a top my head, but those days are father and fewer in between. My goals are continuing to change and my progress with self love is developing to the point where I can take a compliment when one is provided to me. “But you have a cute face” has turned into “you have a big heart and I love that you’re confident in your own skin.” We’re never really able to stop learning and as people, we’re constantly growing. As long as I’m okay with that, then I’m going to be okay with myself.
Vanity – $145
Vintage Black Tufted Swivel Chair – $135
Levis Sign – $120
Teak Nesting Table – $65
Multicolored Cube Lamp – $65
Day Bed (under levis sign) $350
Vinyl Love Seat $250
Traffic Light with Stand- $425
Vintage Pres. Kennedy Poster – $1500
Mid Century Danish Day Bed (under Kennedy Poster) – $1850