I was a tween at a friend’s house for dinner. It was my first time there. I was painfully shy and always relied on the good manners that my Mom had instilled in me. We were having dinner around an actual dinner table, which we never did at my house. So I was already feeling awkward.
I can’t remember all of the dinner, except for this one point. The meatloaf was so dry and terrible that I was drinking soda to choke it down. I didn’t want to insult the Mom by not eating it, so I forced it down my throat.
Then the problem of seconds came up.
She leaned over with the pan and her spatula ready, “You want some more, right?”
“No thank you,” I said, flashing a smile, having put my flatware down on the plate like I’d been taught.
“What do you mean you don’t want more? Just take more.” Her voice was sharp and I felt it cut into me. Everyone had stopped talking and was watching this unfold.
“No thank you,” I said again, looking down at my plate, hoping that a sinkhole would just appear underneath me.
“Well look at you, I know you eat way more than that,” she snapped and plunked more food on my plate. “Now eat it.” I felt so ashamed and embarrassed. I was overweight and therefore equivalent to a human garbage disposal. I never went back to that house.
I’ve always been a bigger girl, having a growth spurt before everyone and then I just kept growing (up and out). I’ve grown used to my curves, even learning to love them. I’m more comfortable as a 30- something-year old woman than I ever was as a teen, which is generally the way it is, right?
The trend of being disrespected or assumptions made about me and my eating habits didn’t stop there. I’ve noticed throughout the years that women were more likely to tell me negative things about my body. Always the first ones to pass judgment.
Should you really be wearing a skirt? Your thighs are so big.
You would be so cute if you would just lose some weight.
If you can find a boyfriend…then I should definitely be able to find one!
It’s so brave of you to go to the beach in that. I’d never be able to if I…you know…look like…you…
I even had someone leave a comment on a Facebook pic from my birthday. I was wearing my new favorite dress, I was with my favorite man, and we were going out for dinner. My b-day cleavage was out and about like they were dessert. My grin was shining. The comment was, “You know there’s a time and place for everything…” apparently pointing out my breasts. I don’t think she would’ve left that prudish comment on a slimmer girl’s photo. It would’ve been more on the lines of, “You go girl!” What bothered me the most, was that put a pall to my evening. I felt like the 12 year old being forced to eat more food. And it made me a little sad…and pissed me off. Then I shook myself and reminded myself that I like this tig ole bitties and not to let someone else’s words ruin my night.
The worse is of all of these is the “You have such a pretty face,” which is usually accompanied by a sad smile and even a sympathetic cluck of the tongue.
I also have a huge ass. When I sit down, you can almost rest a beer can on it. It is unapologetic as it shimmies and shakes behind me, threatening to brush up against everything that stands in our way. My thighs complete my hour glass and unapologetically display the curves of the divine. My hair is a thick and lustrous thing of gravity defying beauty. The bigger the hair, the closer to God. So we must be next door neighbors. My lips have made grown men cry and whisper pleas for ecstasy that I can bring. My stomach is soft and round, reminding me of Gaia. The world lives there. My hands can soothe, stimulate and gives me access to my life’s love: the written word.
And it’s ok the some people will never see that beauty. To them, I’m a slobbering mound of gelatin-like flesh, little more than Jabba the Hut and a reminder for them to not eat carbs. Fine.
Just shut up about it.
I’m tired of women trying to tear me down, and make me feel bad about myself. Do not try to candy-coat your disdain for my perceived bad life choices with some ill-conceived effort to help me to “snap out of it” and lose weight tomorrow.
My fat is here. It’s a part of me. I’m not just someone who is “unfortunate” to be saddled with a pretty face and has nothing else going for me. I’m a woman who doesn’t have to change to suit anyone else’s expectation. This isn’t a post about nutrition. This is a post about loving myself where I am today. If I lose weight in the future, then I hope to still love myself then. This is about acceptance, and self-love.
I’ve never understood this tendency for women to tear each other down. We should stay by each other, pillars lending strength to keep moving forward. Every time I’ve befriended big-bootied women in the past, I’ve tried my damnest to get them to love that big ass. To find clothes that fit and make them feel beautiful.
Why spend time hating; yourself, a body part, your voice, your hair (and the list goes one.)? Accept it. Find peace with it and then find the beauty in it. In yourself. Your body is amazing. You are a thing of wonderful. Own that inner power and run with it. Be body positive. It feels good to be free.
Tamara Woods was raised (fairly happily) in West Virginia, where she began writing poetry at the age of 12. Her first poetry collection is available at Sakura Publishing and Amazon. She has previous experience as a newspaper journalist, an event organizer, volunteer with AmeriCorps and VISTA, in addition to work with people with disabilities. She has used her writing background to capture emotions and moments in time for anthologies such as Empirical Magazine, her blog PenPaperPad, as a contributing writer for the online ‘zine Lefty Pop, and writing articles as a full-time freelance writer. She is a hillbilly hermit in Honolulu living with her Mathmagician.
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