Wednesday, January 8, 2014

it's hard to love yourself

i've always been tall and skinny. i remember when i was little my Polish paternal grandma always heaped an extra helping of food on my plate with a wink and a quip about how i need some meat on those bones. when i was in middle school rumors circulated that i was anorexic. but that's all changed in the past few years. i grew a few inches in every direction. my breasts filled out to a double-D cup, my hips widened, i grew inches taller, and i developed a doughy cushion of pudge around my belly button. i am by no means fat, but i am no longer skinny.

my mother's side of the family is long and lanky - until my growth spurt everyone said i took after them. mom's high school nickname was totem pole. she weighed 110 lbs at her wedding. she didn't have any health issues, it was just her body type. it's become more and more evident that i have more of my dad's side in me than anyone thought. his family is full of sturdy, rotund Polish women who always smell of kielbasa sausage. it took me awhile to come to terms with my curves. growing up around old pictures of my rod-thin mother and grandmother and aunts made me very self-conscious when i realized that i didn't look like them. i struggled with the fact that i weighed 150 lbs at 15 when my mother didn't reach 100 til she was in college. 

i have finally become comfortable with the fact that my figure is actually pretty rad. but here's the thing. people still call me skinny. they say it like it's a bad word. i see other girls look at me and i know that they're seeing old me, prepubescent me. skinny me. but i'm not like that anymore. i ran into a lot of scrutiny from other girls when i was still struggling with accepting my physique. they saw me as skinny, and therefore thought that i didn't have a right to complain or feel uncomfortable with my body. though i weighed 10 lbs more than most of these girls, they chalked it up to my height and insisted that i was a stick, while they were a log. they would use me, a fellow log, to justify their deluded self-depreciation, and it made me quite uncomfortable. i don't stand for this anymore. when somebody compares my body to theirs i immediately shut them down. but it's confusing and upsetting how my peers can be so wrong about my body and theirs.

and then there are the people who call me fat. like my maternal grandmother. well, she doesn't say it explicitly, but i've taken the hint from her little jabs about my eating habits. on christmas she told me that if i ate another chocolate truffle i'd be the size of a house (with a "joking" chuckle, of course). the first time she met my boyfriend she commented on how i'd better cut back on the milkshakes or else she'd have to take me shopping for new jeans. i'd had my wisdom teeth out the week before. new years eve i wore a fitted velvet dress i'd found at a vintage store downtown. her comment? "good thing you're wearing it now, while it still fits." i love my grammy. she means well. i know that she's just concerned about my health. my dad's family has a history of weight problems that have led to high cholesterol, strokes, diabetes, and premature arthritis in many of my family members. i get that she's concerned. but calling me fat or warning that i'll get fat if i don't stop eating isn't constructive. it hurts so much to hear those comments from someone you love and respect. nobody deserves to cry themselves to sleep on christmas because of body shaming. and that's why it needs to stop.

i am happy with my shape. my body is beautiful, every curve and freckle and dyed-ginger curl. nothing that anyone says can convince me otherwise. i eat what i want because i enjoy it, and even though i might drink a lot of milkshakes and munch on a few too many hershey's special dark chocolate bars, and it may cause me to have a little extra padding, i don't think there's anything wrong with that. but when people are constantly questioning it, my confidence waivers. i feel weaker and more vulnerable. no matter how much i just want to thrust my middle finger in the air and declare my love for myself, the constant commentary on my weight and body type makes me second guess myself all the time. i want to love myself. i try. but it's hard. it's hard to love yourself.

3 comments:

  1. I feel you! I am tall and very skinny for a 15 year old, the figures I took after my dad. Although i can't fit too much food, I like eating and I think my body is normal. But it's harder to consider our body beautiful, since the society thinks that women's body is never beautiful (unless we get photoshopped to death or a dude thinks so!) and i really hate it when people point out my skinniness, although they really mean well but it kinda hurts. I'm glad someone finally said this!

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  2. I love body confidence posts, perfect!x
    www.whateveryazmine.blogspot.com.au

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  3. this is a beautiful text! and a very important message
    i know a lot of girls who have an eating disorder (around four or five of my acquaintances) and a lot more who struggle with their weight (i'd say, nearly everybody does). you name the problem: if you are one of the few humans who like their body, there always are other people - and, of course: the media - who make you feel less worthy. this is truly horrible.
    i mean, if there wasn't a specific bodytype considered the most beautiful one, nobody would even think about how to change their outer appearance just to look that specific way. because it is not realistic that all people look the same. but society pretends that it is.

    <3 rosalie

    oneiricimage.blogspot.de

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thanks for commenting, you wonderful person! i read every comment, and i can guarantee you just made me smile.