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

October 28, 2013

Leticia’s Story

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“If you see someone pass you by- and they look so put together. So complete, so flawless- you’ve been fooled- everyone has scars. We are not porcelain dolls. We are like putty- we bend and move to this pushing and pulling around us- in every which way. Sometimes we are pulled so far we think we might break, or pushed and squeezed until we fall through someone’s hands and are left on the ground- confused-defeated. We will never return to our initial form. never. You can’t go back, you can’t erase moments and tears and heartbreaks. But you can share your stories and you can learn for your tomorrow. Remember to treat everyone knowing they have scars. Remember to embrace your hardships and let them callus, let them make you stronger.

Here’s my story…

I was never a skinny girl. I remember being envious of other girls at the young age of 6- the age when most people think kids don’t care about anything but wearing their favorite little red shoes. This is just not true; kids soak up everything around them, including the differences between them and their friends. I was a chunky kid, I wore shorts and Disney t-shirts while my best friend wore beautiful dresses to school and ribbons in her hair. I wanted to be her so badly. I wanted to adopt her name. Imagine being so young- at an age when you are supposed to be fearless, I didn’t even want to be myself. And I was angry about it; I was not a pleasant child. And yet my mom would warn me “don’t eat that or you’ll get fat..” those words set off a fear in me that took me years to overcome. Mothers mean well, but I don’t think my mom knew how much those kinds of words would affect me.

YOU’LL GET FAT YOULL GET FAT YOU’LL GET FAT.

It still rings in my mind from time to time and what that taught me was that looking acceptable at whatever costs was my one priority. It wasn’t fair to me; I had to skip out on dinners and resort to other ways of keeping the fatty away, while other girls just lived their lives not caring and eating whatever they wanted. As I got older, especially in high school, I had problems with weight. I was still chunky and awkward and it seemed like there was nothing but skinny white girls around me. Looking a certain way began to rule my life. Even as a senior in high school I made excuses to not go out to dinner or to the movies with my friends in hopes that I wouldn’t eat anything I’d regret. Throwing up, refusing to eat at times, and hitting the treadmill in self-disgust. I had no one to impress- I suppose I just didn’t think I was enough for myself.

My beautiful sister, she went through the same thing growing up. She and I struggled together with self-image and worth. We still share moments when we don’t feel like enough, but the beauty of it is we have each other- and it makes our relationship that much stronger.

The thing that many people are afraid of, I embrace- solitude. I’ve always been better off keeping myself company; I was always really good at being a loner. Unlike most girls my age- I don’t want a relationship because It forces you to find your own strength. During a time when I hated what I saw in the mirror and I didn’t know who I was- solitude brought me peace.

Even in my college years I prefer to be single. I believe this is what helped me learn about my self and build confidence on my own- not for anyone but for MYSELF.

Solitude is a tool for growth and acceptance of the person that you are, acknowledging who you want to be.

I grew to love my time alone and to love myself…And then the best relationship I have ever been in happened- Roller derby happened. It was like the universe was saying- “you’re halfway out of this pit, let me give you a hand.” It’s a beautiful thing; to learn it’s not about fitting societies molds, but it’s about feeling strong within you and finding strength in others. Surrounding yourself with people that make you come alive and love you for exactly the person that you are.

I turned out fine, and I still have a ways to go with my confidence (though it might not be so much about body image anymore). I don’t resent my mom for the comments of my childhood- but I’m thankful because I had to fight for my confidence, I had to work for it. It makes me even stronger now as a woman. No one can take my strength away now- because I earned it. My physical strength, my emotional strength, they are medals of my past and I refuse to let them go.

When you come so far- and look back you realize you’re still not perfect. But fuck it! That’s the beauty of life, you make mistakes and you grow from them and you try to be a better person everyday; for yourself and for those around you that are worth a damn.”

Leticia

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