“I like big butts and I cannot lie…”
It’s not acceptable to call people fat, so why is it ok to call someone skinny (with a disgusted expression)? It’s not. But many do it anyway. Any comment about someone being too skinny or too fat, anything that hints at someone not being ok the way they are, here’s a radical idea – how about… we keep our opinion to ourselves? After all, it is only that. Our opinion. It’s about Us. Not the other person.
When I was young I was lucky enough not to suffer from anorexia or bulimia like many other girls in their teens, but I did suffer from anxiety and therefore burnt more calories standing still than most people do running a marathon. For those who want to lose weight this might sound like your dream. But I can assure you it isn’t. The self loathing you feel for your body is exactly the same as the body-shame I felt. I didn’t want to be skinny. I wanted to be voluptuous like Marylin Monroe. I wanted a full figure – “like a real woman” as everyone would say – but no matter how many chocolate bars or Maccers hamburgers I ate – my body refused to put on weight! It was, however, kind enough to give me good ol’ cellulite which triggered my all time favorite comment: “I wouldn’t have thought someone as skinny as you would have cellulite!”. Hmmm, not quite the look I was going for. In my late teens the contraceptive pill provided for me my first chance at curves – and I loved it! I’d go to the doctor and say “Give me the pill that puts on weight!”. I had boobs and a booty – I was shakin’ it like JLo and singin’ “Ma milkshake brings all the boys to the yard…”!
In my early 20’s I had a doctors appointment which should have burst my voluptuous bubble – I was told that I had cancerous cells in my cervix, that I had to have surgery to remove them and if I didn’t change my lifestyle these cells would continue to plague my uterus. The word cancer scared me, but obviously not enough because after the surgery I continued to smoke cigarettes and take the pill (the two main culprits according to the doctor) for another 7 years. It took for my anxiety to get so bad that I remember being perched on the edge of my bed like a hyena having an asthma attack and filling an A4 page with scrawled phone numbers for psychologists – determined to get an appointment that day – it felt like life or death and in a way it was.
]It was from that day that I was able to start making changes – she was a holistic, life-coach trained psychologist. She was results focussed, so I wasn’t wallowing in psychological mumbo jumbo, but understanding what had gotten me to that point and working out how to move forward in a more positive way. This approach worked perfectly for me. I started enjoying activities that I previously considered extremely “Booor-ring!” time wasters such as baths and yoga – activities that I now think of as luxurious indulgences. And eventually after 10 years of trashing my body with enough hormones to turn my butt into a hot air balloon, I was finally able to put my health first and learn to love and accept my body exactly as it is. Always. With no exception. So that meant going off the pill, it meant enjoying exercise properly for the first time in my life without the fear that I would lose too much weight. It meant loving my skinny, lanky, flat chested body if that was my destiny.
It wasn’t a straight road, it was a curvy, continuous one that I’m still traveling on. And it wasn’t just the psychologist work, but a consistent focus on changing my old patterns including personal development courses, cheesy self help books, yoga, meditation and various life altering experiences. Working on myself in this way allowed me to transform my mindset so that my external voluptuous body fixation was replaced by an inner self love and acceptance that is more fulfilling than a DD bra cup.
Don’t get me wrong, I still admire a voluptuous body and think “damn gurl, you got it goin’ on!”, but it’s no longer at the expense of my own self love. And although my weight fluctuates, my acceptance of it does not. I worked hard for years to like my body as it is – to like myself just as I am – and I smile when people try to tell me to put on weight or that I’m too skinny, or that men prefer women with more meat on them – with more curves – because I spent so long believing their words and now I see things differently.
I believe that real men (or women) like women who feel good about themselves no matter what shape or size their body is. Real men (or women) fall in love with your heart and your soul, not your booty or bra size. Real love is based on life-long friendship, not temporary desire. And the more we learn to love ourselves the better shot we have at finding that kind of love… the unconditional, unwavering kind.
“…Baby got back.”
By Sarah Waltonw