“You have such a pretty face.” Thank you?…I never know exactly how to respond to that statement. I am never sure if that means I am pretty or if just my face is pretty. Peter Paul Ruebens was a famous painter and considered the most notable of all French Baroque artists. He WAS what captured beauty. He painted beautiful full figured women. THAT was what was considered beautiful. Somewhere along the line straight silhouettes became prefered over curves. Firmness was adopted as the sanctioned body texture of a woman over the softness. Muscled stomachs and thighs are preferred over fleshy arms and backs.
Who is it that decides what is beautiful? How does the standard change? I grew up in the 80’s. I was a chubby girl. To be honest, I was a super tomboy!
Yeah, that little girl with the football and jean jacket, that is me (I had already started my jean jacket obsession…but that is another post.) Looking at my body though, I already had broad shoulders, thick thighs and a tummy. People were starting to tell me what I should and shouldn’t do, say and eat so the boys would like like me. The boys already liked me though because I was awesome!
The older I got the more I heard that I wasn’t beautiful. That smile faded. I covered my body in layers and layers of clothes. I was ashamed of my thick thighs and broad shoulders. That tummy I had…that tummy I once so proudly begged to poke out of a bikini (I was denied because nobody wants to see a chubby girl in a bikini) never wore a swimsuit in public. I never wore shorts in public. It would be 90 degrees outside and I would be in jeans. It didn’t matter how hot I was. Somehow, I went from a carefree girl to a girl who was so ashamed of my body because of three letters. F.A.T.
WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK?!?!? I let those three letters ruin my life. I let myself be tortured by the expectations of others. I was in high school during the time of “heroin chic.” Go back and look at that picture of my childhood. I expected myself to look like Kate Moss. I was literally starving myself at graduation time. I graduated in a size 11. I was 179. I drank 6 Mt. Dew a day and would only eat the crusts of bread.
I thought I could look like this. No matter what I did, I couldn’t. This was an unreal expectation. My body, my bone structure couldn’t look like this. However, I was being told in order to be beautiful, THIS is what I needed to look like.
Recently, I’ve been learning to love my body. My body, all 200+ pounds of it has held strong through multiple offender sexual assaults, depression, anxiety, severe autoimmune diseases, fibromyalgia, myalgic encephalomyelitis, two bouts of cancer, PTSD, 17 surgeries, MOTHERHOOD, miscarriages, being a caretaker of a disabled child…and the list goes on. I need to LOVE this body. THIS IS AN EXCEPTIONAL BODY.
I’m learning to be okay with my scars. My curves…and yes, even my F.A.T. My pretty face belongs to my fat and pretty body. My body is pretty remarkable and I need to give it credit. We are so busy worrying what everyone else looks like that we fail to look at ourselves and be thankful for the amazingness that we are. So in my summer of self-acceptance. I am going to accept, be thankful for and love THIS body. Lump, bumps, fat and all. This cute tummy is coming out again!