Shocking picture huh? I don't normally talk much about myself. And this is far from the norm of my usual blog posts. For me this is a topic of great importance, and I couldn't let this go without saying something. I still struggle with body image every day of my life. I've been looking at this post for a while, trying to find the courage to share it with you. It's tough since I find the topic a very painful and personal area in my life. I don't mind talking about my journey as an author, and let's face it. My books are much more fun to talk about right? There are also much safer emotionally speaking.
Then why write this blog post?
A good friend of mine and fellow writer Siobhan Muir had an article she shared on Facebook in regard to plus-sized models. The article talked on the way plus sized models manage the media. It caused a bit of stir and ever since I read the article, a slow burn began in my gut. Reading the article was painful, bringing out many memories I thought buried.
I come from a family where the women are at least five-foot seven and all have the typical model body. In fact, my mother and several of my cousins have done modeling gigs. Then here I come, 5'3" with a body like Marylyn Monroe instead of Twiggy. (For those who are too young to know, Twiggy was one of the first super models who became popular in the late 60s and was as skinny as a twig, hence the name.)Yeah, try getting clothes in the 70s and 80s that flattered that type of figure.
My hours spent in a dance studio didn't help things much since I developed quite a bit of muscle. I used to get teased when I wore shorts in school about how muscular my legs were and to this day can't wear shorts in public with any comfort.
So, to say I had a sucky body image of myself is putting it mildly. I spent my life in an endless cycle of starving and bingeing my body. Eating one meal a day and sometimes that meal only consisted of a bowl of veggies. Then after weeks going like that I would eat everything in sight, unable to stop.
I'm surprised I never tipped over into anorexia. I hate throwing up, so bulimia was never an issue with me. Then in my late forties I started forgetting things, stuttering, and the room would spin. Concentration on the simplest thing was impossible and my ability to communicate what I was thinking became so bad, co-workers thought I was high or drunk. Frustration and isolation were my constant companions.
What was wrong with me, why was this happening? It ate at any self-esteem I had. I ended up losing a job because of it, which made everything worse. Depression was a constant getting so bad I could barely think. I would spend whole days just crying, feeling sorry for myself. My husband worried since this was not like me. I've always been a fighter, never-say-die type of personality. It got so bad I finally went to the doctor and had a three-hour glucose test done and surprise! I found out I suffer from hypoglycemia. Oh goodie, I thought. Then they lowered the bomb on me. It turns out all the years I spent starving my body put me in this position. I also discovered I was straddling the edge of Diabetes, which runs on both sides of the family.
I've struggle with hypoglycemia and my body image even now, and the road is a rough one to recover from. It's so easy to say don't let the media sway you, ignore what people say about how large you are, and not let it get to you. Yeah, easy to say, hard to put into practice. Let's face it, words hurt and when you're vulnerable within yourself, they can haunt you for life.
I have always stood out because of the way I'm built, though I have never been considered obese, I've heard plump quite a bit. I have the build of Marilyn Monroe, which by today's standards is not what is considered beautiful. I'm sure as hell a far cry from Twiggy!
I can spout tons of statistics about what the average woman's real size is. There are millions of young girls out there who struggle like I do because of sharing an unrealistic body image. But I don't want to get stuck on numbers. Anyone can get onto the internet and get those. And frankly to go on and check those stats just makes me depressed as hell.
What is beauty anyway? That’s the true issue here. Because at the end of the day all you have is what God gave you. I'm finally seeing the light and realizing that I just may be alright at a size 12 instead of a 0. Not that I ever got THAT small Lol!
I wanted to share this pic here. I believe this is a more realistic of the body type I, and many other women are born with. If I could take back the years, I would do so many things different. I know for a fact I wouldn't be fighting with the health issues I am faced with now. Having to prick my finger whenever I feel even slightly off kilter-which happens at least several times a day, and worrying if I will pass out or worse go into convulsions before I can get a glucose tablet into my system. Great way to live huh?
When I look at this picture, I for one see a woman who is mature and beautiful. What do you see? I'm not putting down those born with what I call “skinny genes”. But, we need to advertise the beauty of all women, regardless of shape. And stop the ridicule. Instead of being weight conscious it would be wonderful if all that energy could be funneled into becoming health conscious.
If there is one thing sharing my story can do, I sincerely hope it's to keep another young woman from feeling like she is lacking simply due to the way she is built. If she can see past the media hype and look deeper to the beauty that is there, then my post would be worth it.
I'm still fighting to be comfortable in my skin, and it's a battle I live with every day. Maybe one day things will change. I can tell it is getting better, but I still have a way to go. My mother used to say, beauty comes from the inside and radiates outward. This is the mantra I say every day. Like a flower opening to the sun, let your curves show and embrace your body as the unique extension of who you are.