I remember the first time I thought there was something wrong with my body. I was about 12 years old, sitting on my bicycle at the top of the Kronshagen’s driveway, and everyone was talking about how much they weighed. I had just weighed myself that day – 100 lbs. Everyone weighed less than me. Something was wrong.
It was around that time that boys started to tease the girls they liked, but at that age you don’t realize it’s because they like you. Hippo Hips, Thunder Thighs, Bucky (my front teeth)… it all started to paint a picture within my own brain that my body was not night. My body was wrong.
Clothes shopping reinforced what everyone said about me – it was impossible t find pants that fit. If they fit my things and hips, they were gaping at the waist. There was definitely something wrong with my body.
By middle school I took to wearing shirts that always covered my ass. Always. Long, baggy shirts. I would skip lunch. By high school I had adopted the grungy trend of wearing a flannel shirt tied around my waist at all times. I bought my first diet pills and would try drinking apple cider vinegar in my water (which only lasted two days).
One day my boyfriend’s brother dedicated “Baby Got Back” to me on the radio and a piece of me died inside. Back then, a large behind was NOT cool. A large ANYTHING was not cool. I felt horrible, fat, large, too big, bizarre…
Jennifer Lopez started becoming a thing when I was in high school. My mother used to call me her Fly Girl. My mother always talked about how beautiful I was (of course, what else do mother’s do), but other people starting drawing the same comparison between me and Lopez’s Fly Girl gig on In Living Color. It didn’t do anything for me. I would continue to go on to college and skip meals, do strange exercise/diets, take pills like Herbalife or Metabolife, and eventually accept stolen phentermine from a friend.
The pentermine experience made me very sick, yet everyone complimented me on my thinner appearance.
There was something wrong with my body.
Of course I eventually filled back out to my normal size 12/14/16 at the time, I don’t remember which. I felt horrble. I never had a lack of male attention, though. I always had guys wanting to date me but I never understood why. Why did they like me? Don’t they know there’s something wrong with me?
About this time I started attracting attention for my “ghetto booty.” It did not feel good. Not one bit.
I would continue to try to change my body over the years. Nothing really ever worked. Then one year in my 20s I was working for the public schools and couldn’t find a summer job. I was very poor. I ate chese sandwhiches with mustard, waffles, and ramen. I found a gig painting scenery on a horse farm that did vegas style horse shows. Everyone was always riding around in golf carts, and I would get impatient waiting for a pickup so I just starting carrying my supplies around the farm. Eventually I took to running them around. When I had a bit of down time I would help the groundskeeper sweep the arena. I thought to myself “If I were to do this every day for a month, I bet I would fit in those jeans…”
And I did.
And I returned to the public school that fall with oohs and ahs.
“What’s your secret? What did you do? You look great?!”
It felt good to be told I looked great, but it only emphasized that I DIDN’T look great before. And no one wanted to hear how I did manual labor all summer while eating only cheese and mustard sandwhiches. Everyone wanted their own easy fix and it made me wonder if I was as crazy as all of them.
When I returned home for the holidays, my youngest brother asked me if I was on crack. I didn’t understand why he would ask me that. It took almost five years for me to look back at a picture of myself at the time to see that, oh my gosh YES I DO look like I was on crack!!
My face was gaunt, but I couldn’t see it then. My waist and wrists were tiny My hips, thighs, and buttocks were just beautifully curvaceous, as always, but I certainly didn’t think so back then. I was gorgeous, but possibly underweight according to my top half.
After looking at that picture, I went back and looked at all sorts of pictures of myself where I thought I was “fat” over the years. You know what? I was never fat. Ever. I was BEAUTIFUL!!
Even now it takes approximately six months for me to really see a photograph of myself. Six months. I guess you would say that I have a body dismorphia issue. I am now very overweight. I’m about 280 lbs, and I wear a size 22/24. My stomach is pretty swollen and I can’t even blame it on having a kid because my baby is 7 years old now. I have to constantly remind myself that what I see in the mirror may not be real, and that I looked AMAZING at a size 18 – which is only 3 sizes away from where I am now.
I continue to get a LOT of attention for my ass. Jennifer Lopez is an idol now, and there’s this Beyonce chick who pretty much rules the world and…oh yes…Ms. Kardashian’s ass broke the internet. Booty booty booty is rockin everywhwere, but I still can’t get a grasp on what I really look like and whether or not I am acceptable and therefore beautiful.
So what would I change about my body? Nothing. I’d like to change my mind and simply see myself without all the filters that started piling up in my head from age 12 onwards. I’d like to love myself at 100, 160, 180, 220, and 280. I’d like to squeal about my size 24s as much as I did about my size 16s. I’d like to see myself now how I’ll see that photograph in 6 months time.
I’d just like to change my mind.