Art. Why can we all walk into a museum and look at the same piece of art and feel different things about it and that is okay yet society tells us we are to look at a body and there is only one (type) that is okay to be qualified as beautiful. There are only certain physical attributes that are deemed acceptable in the world we live in. Why are the bodies that we live in so different from living breathing artwork?
Growing up, I was always the “chunky girl.” It isn’t social acceptable to call someone the fat girl and in the 80’s “plus size” wasn’t really yet a term. So, I was chunky. I was always the girl who liked to play football with the boys and ride my bike. I had shaggy hair and just wanted to have fun. When I asked for a bikini to run through the sprinkler, I was told no…my belly would show. Ummmm…okay. What was the matter with that? No one wants to see a “chunky” tummy. By the way, boys don’t really like “chunky girls.” Really? I’m hanging out with them all the time. They all like me. But those words started to burn into my brain.
As I started to get a little bit older, I wondered if Donny Wahlberg wouldn’t like me because I was a “chunky girl.” I was sure when I went to the New Kids On The Block concert, he was going to spot me and fall madly in love. (By the way…it hasn’t happened yet but I’m going again in July.) I started to cover up more and more. My thin strapped tanks became tshirts and my shorts became capris became jeans. I grew these enormous boobs way before everyone else. At that point, I was told the only reason boys were talking to me was because I had a great rack. Boys don’t like “chunky girls.” Boys like boobs. It wasn’t that I was smart or funny and fun to be around…damn it, I couldn’t be pretty because I was “chunky.” I had big boobs.
I noticed all the other girls around me as I aged. They would say things like “Ugh, I’m so fat” or “I wish I had (insert body part here)” or “I need to have (blank fixed.) Which leads me to believe we are just conditioned to believe we are not good enough. Even when we are the “ideal” of what society tells us to be; we are striving to be something more attainable. I personally have struggled with my weight issue my entire life. I look at pictures of myself in my late teens right before college when I was literally starving myself everyday. I had a BEAUTIFUL curvy figure. One that people are paying for right now. Yet it was the era of Kate Moss and heroine chic so I felt fat and ugly. At one point, I was 327 lbs. I never recognized it. I didn’t know I was heavier until I lost weight and looked back at pictures…because I felt good about myself and was in a healthy state.
I bought myself those bikinis last summer. Those bikinis I was told I couldn’t wear because no one wants to see a “chunky tummy.” I bought them because I wanted to. I want to wear them because I like the suits. I like how the sun feels on my body (with sunscreen of course.) I wore them (although terrified at first) with pride at the public pool. I wore them in front of teenage girls who seemed appalled at first then curious as to my confidence. I pray they will someday know they too can wear whatever they want as long as they feel good. I let the sun glow on the silver lines I carry. Silver lines that remind me of growth. Growth from babies carried and babies lost. Growth from growing up. Growth from late lights drinking wine and laughing with friends.
Our bodies are works of art. Each piece is different. We carry different lines and spots. We come in beautiful arrays of colors and sizes. Today, you will see art everywhere you look. Our world is a museum on display. Don’t be afraid to walk up to a piece of art and tell it how beautiful it is. It may be that crook in the nose that scares that person that you find beautiful. Telling them that may change their perspective and in that…It could change their life.