I’m talking directly to my curvy women right now.
It’s not something I really need to announce when you’re looking at me. Ha!
Buckle up, we’re about to get personal.
I’ve always been a tad more this or that, here and there. I was never ok with it until a few years ago. My mother was a gorgeous, *very* thin woman for most of her life. She was even a model at one point. Her definition of beauty was severely impaired. She didn’t think big could be beautiful- or should be. She actually hated heavy women. She’d mutter to me, “What slobs” , “I don’t know how anybody could love that” and “I hope you never get that big.” My mother never bothered to mask her repulsion. Her terms were “Heavy, huge, overweight, gross, slob, obese, and fat.” Curvy was too nice a term to bestow. In fact I’d never heard “curvy” referred to anything but a road until I was in highschool.
I was always tall, lanky with a tad extra. At the time I thought I was grossly overweight. My mom put me on every fad diet saying, “I want you to be pretty! I want you to have confidence!”
You name the diet that came out in the early 2000’s, I was on it. The Atkins diet, the Mediterranean, TOPS, WeightWatchers, Slimfast, South Beach, 100 Calorie, Zero Carb, Usana, meal replacement shakes. All before the age of 13, mind you. It wasn’t about health and wellbeing. It was how many pounds I could lose and how fast. My worth was related to the number next to my name on a piece of paper.
Working out was awful. I hated it. I still hate it. My mother was a Phys Ed teacher and played sports all her life. She loved exercise. She thought she was motivational. But she’d point out my body moving as I moved when we did our activities and I ended up humiliated and self conscious. She would have been a great drill sergeant, but never a good coach. I hated her yelling until she spit, I never felt motivated. I just wanted to curl up into a ball. Not only did everything hurt as we worked out, but now she was yelling at me in the same way she did when I messed up at home. It was awful. I hated it and her with a passion. I didn’t dislike physical activity. I loved gym class, I loved playing with the kids in my neighborhood, I loved riding my bike, I loved taking walks. None of it required someone screaming at me with a whistle in their teeth, spitting. If I stopped, she was in my face asking me if I wanted to be fat forever.
Delightful, no? Awesome motivator for a preteen girl.
Being curvy means…body shaming is a huge thing.
Threads were never easy for me either. My mom never took me to stores for curvy, taller girls and women. I had no idea clothes could be tailored to a woman’s body type.
I didn’t know curves were a good thing. I thought pencil thin was the answer. (That’s not to say it’s not, but if you’re not built that way don’t force it!) My mother must have thought that treating me and my body type as an abnormality would motivate me to work harder.
Instead I was left with a damaged self image, almost zero self esteem, and very little understanding of self-worth. If I wasn’t my mother’s cookie cutter image of what someone ought to look like, I wasn’t a good daughter.
I should be clear here, that wasn’t a general understanding of all people. It was just my mother’s love and affection. NORMAL people in my life didn’t suggest I should go on a diet at 9 years old, that I should go the gym, etc. This was understood to be limited to my mother’s influence. However, due to some of her shaming I began to shy away from physical touch. (But that’s another story for another time.) It took me a long time to understand I could be all three at the same time: pretty AND curvy AND confident.
I’ve never been shockingly heavy. I’ve never been in poor health because of my weight. Honestly, I was average with a tad more height, and more weight on top of that. No doctor has ever told me I needed to get myself under control.
When I expressed my displeasure of her choices of clothes for me she angrily told me “Her money, her choice.” I thought, “Fine. I’ll spend my money on my own clothes.” and since the age of 13, I’ve been buying my own clothes. If it meant the fitting room wouldn’t be dictated, I was all for it. I made an effort after that to build a better self-image because I could finally express myself and like what I was wearing.
She managed to tear that down and slow my growth a few more years by pulling me aside one day telling me that I needed to understand “No one would ever really be attracted to [me], [my] body type was just a fetish.” (Keep in mind, being fat is was what defined me in her eyes. )
And sure, splitting hairs, that is a thing for some people. But curvy (which is what I was and am) was a whole other ball game! Her intention was to tear me down and it worked.
Being curvy means… You have to love you before anyone else gives you permission.
Around the age of 19 it hit me that curvy was actually desirable to a growing population. That the ideal body image was in the eye of the beholder. That sexy takes all forms.
When I worked in that Chinese restaurant I’ve told y’all about a few times, the liberating knowledge that each culture has its own beauty standards blew me away. I was relieved and overjoyed to notice the differences and find them wonderful. I encountered the Chinese and the Hispanic cultures in this job. Learning from and about both about 20 odd hours a week, a few things were bound to become etched in my mind.
Working with several Mexican and Ecuadorian men I became used to my daily greeting of catcalls and wolf whistles and “Buenos Dias, Cosita!” and “Aye ya! Mamacita!” My curvy form was the pinacle of sexy to several of them. I wasn’t prepared for that at all. Their culture saw certain body types as more beautiful.
As time marched on for me I talked to a lot of my male friends who are constantly commenting on how much prettier a curvy woman is. At first I stared at them in disbelief. Surely they were just being polite?! Not so. Over the years I’ve seen this walked out in each and every one of them, on top of our 1-on-1 talks and group discussions.
They showed me there’s something extra about us. A confident curvy woman is sexy to a lot more people than I’d originally thought.
Rest assured, the curves are IN. They were in the early 1900s, they are now thanks to the Kardashians and others. (Granted the K family is half plastic anyways, but still the overall idea of poulariazing curves is great!)
Being curvy means… you still get attention. You aren’t undesirable.
True thrill came to me when I discovered women like Ashley Graham who, aside from so many great things she’s done for women, girls and body positivity- surprised me by being featured in the music video “Toothbrush” by DNCE
I watched that video over and over when it came out, amazed that it made a plus sized curvy woman desirable. It felt like Hollywood nodded at me and said “You’re human too.” (Let’s be honest that’s a long way off, but it’s a pipe dream) But truly! You don’t realise how absent curvy women are in media until you see one treated the same as a size 2 in a music video.
Precious Victoria Lee
That’s just the top ten. And God bless the internet, we can find just about anything in a plus size. What a time to be alive.
Dating as a plus size girl has never really been much of an issue with me either. But then again, I’ve detailed that in much of this blog. But let me summarize it:
I am me. I love me. Take it or leave it. I’m not going to force anyone to pick me. I want you in my life if you want to be here. If not, I’ll hold the door for you when you leave.
Being curvy doesn’t make me special. It’s an element of me. Granted, beyond the face, its the next thing people notice about me upon first impression. I’m not perfect. I’m a human with thoughts, doubts and feelings like the next.
You can bet I’m snapchatting my outfits to a couple friends before going out on the town. Initially before a date I do panic about what someone could say to me. But I shake it off, because I don’t need my mother in my ear whispering doubts. If someone is shallow enough to consider my body a character flaw, I’m perfectly capable of calling them out.
All that to say, the world hates what’s different. It’s human nature to hate what we don’t understand. But human nature is what we were put here to overcome. Our beauty is in our uniqueness, not in our mirror image of a celebrity.
Being curvy is different. It means standing out when you don’t always want to. It means learning to love some things the way they are. It means choosing to love something you don’t always want to. It means ignoring looks and comments. It means shrugging off careless statements. It means finding your beauty in your difference.
**Weight can almost always controlled. I’m an advocate for healthy bodies, curvy can be healthy and it can be unhealthy. Find your balance, ask about your possibilities and adjust your life as needed.
I’m expanding more on this next week. Promise.
The Mild Millennial