Body Story #4: Love Story

Yo soy

Plus size.

What does that even mean?

Up and down

The scale.

But what does it measure?

My shame?

My acceptance?

There needs to be another scale.

That measures

My body.

My mind.

I am more than what you see,

And much more than what you don’t.

 

Accepting my body has been a long and perplexing process, a project that will always be in process. Some days I still have to chant to myself, or cheer myself on, about how much I love myself:

 

I love my body. I love my leg hair. I love my armpit hair. I love my mustache. I love my side burns. I love my arm hair. I love my bushy and unkempt eyebrows. I love my stomach pouch. I love my crooked toes. I love my aching and flat feet. I love my crooked fingers. I love my crooked teeth. I love my asymmetrical breasts. I love my light skin that used to bring me shame when I compared myself to my family, to my darker herman@s. I love my tongue that betrays me when I speak and slurs or stumbles or stutters my words. I love my hair, even when I have to justify coloring it as an exercise in freedom rather than an affront to nature or “professionalism.” I love my brain, even on the days when I feel I’ll never be prepared for graduate work.

 

I love my body.

 

I love myself.

 

-Nayely

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Body Story #3: Buff

Buff
 
I have always been big for my age. Big feet, big hands. I was strong for my age but it was never enough, I always thought of myself as weak, as unhealthy.
 
I found out later being strong and trim would never be for me, I was bullied a lot eventually I started lifting weights, at age 11 I could bench 50lbs that gave me a little confidence,Though at about age 15 I could bench press my body weight. At 5’5” and 135 lbs it did not seem like much to me at the time. I should have known then it was no longer an issue of confidence it was a self esteem issue..
 
Everyone said I was getting bulky, I thought I was scrawny so I would work out to the point of exhaustion,then to the point of injury. It became a cycle. Then with the help of therapy and friends I realized what I was dealing with Muscle dysmorphia aka Bigorexia
 
It took a little longer then it should have but in time I realized something…..
 
My worth is not measured in how much I can lift, how massive and defined my muscles are or how well you can defend myself and others.
 
Most of all I owe it to myself to not abuse my body or mind over things that I can not even see clearly. I learned to use people I could trust as a mirror cause obviously my point of view was askew. This did not happen overnight and it is something I am still dealing with and probably always will.
 
I see the images of MMA fighters and body builders and it still makes me feel a little bad about myself…. then I realize I have moved up from the person that would want to hit weights just because of that and feel a bit better.
 
If you look to others for how an example of who you want to be, you will never be yourself.
 
I look at every scar on my body every crease and they tell me I am stronger then everything that has tried to kill me and I am more powerful than any of the worries or troubles life given me. I am still here and they have passed.
 
With that in mind to everyone who has suffered the slings and arrows of life.
Be it age spots, scars,wrinkles ,worry lines and so on, 
if you want to see power and strength all you need do is look in the mirror.
 
-Anonymous

 

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Body Story #2: Hair

Have you ever noticed that hair not connected to anyone’s body is treated as diseased? Body hair that does not make us beautiful needs to be cut, ripped out, and removed, but once it’s off the body it is unbelievably nasty somehow, no one wants to touch it.

We are raised to hate body hair. It’s disgusting and needs to be removed. Even though it’s natural, it shouldn’t be there. I followed the ritual of shaving shown to me by society and the television; the commercials for razors direct us, they are the only blades that are acceptable to hold next to our skin.

I started shaving probably around middle school. If anyone saw you didn’t shave, you would be humiliated.

If I forgot to shave my legs or my armpits, I couldn’t wear anything that revealed them. I was too afraid of what people would think and say about me, and I knew, I knew that I should cover myself. I should never inflict that hair on the public, because remember the public’s feelings matter more than your own.

About two years ago I hated that fear that I had been taught for so long and decided to do something. That self hatred for what I look like. I despised that in order to feel okay about myself and my body, I have to conduct a ritual every day and be afraid if I didn’t. I don’t like to think of myself as ugly and disgusting. So I stopped shaving.

A friend of mine, a self entitled feminist, responded such to my decision to not shave, “You’re going over the top, that’s disgusting.” I recoiled from the idea for a while.

I’m a feminist, and I don’t shave my hair because of it. But not because feminists all don’t shave, because being a feminist gave me the strength to find my importance in areas other than my appearance. Being a feminist made me want to love and accept myself.

I don’t believe body hair is disgusting anymore, especially my own. I wouldn’t say it’s beautiful, but I like it. Unfortunately I’m afraid of everyone else and what they’ll think of me.

–Anonymous

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Body Story #1: My Body. Mine.

My Body. Mine.

My body. Mine. Some may tell me how it should look, how it should act, what space it is allowed to occupy, how much space it may take up. But it is mine and therefore not theirs to dictate. I am a 5 foot 4 inch woman, I weigh 255 pounds, I have large breasts and “Thunder Thighs,” I have very long blonde hair, blue/gray/green eyes, and I love myself just the way I am. Oh and I am a lesbian. Occasionally it is hard to remember that I like and love myself. I don’t want to conform to the image of the media. I don’t want to starve myself and workout continuously to become much too thin. Instead I want to work out some, enough to be a bit more active. If I lose weight fine, if not That is fine too. I don’t fit the stereotypical image of a lesbian, I don’t fit the stereotype of a white woman, and I like it that way. My body is mine and it is beautiful.

I am told by society that I am fat and ugly but, I have potential as a white blonde blue eyed woman. To that I say I am “fat” but not in the way society means, instead I am fat and that is beautiful. Society shows me their disdain for my body through the media, and worse for me through clothing. Try finding beautiful clothing that fits well in most stores, it is hard. However, I think that will change as we reclaim our bodies. Because My body is mine and it is beautiful.

Society has learned to control so efficiently that even my own family has tried to correct my body. My grandfather , before he died, told me again and again that I was fat and needed to lose weight. My brother has done the same. The worst of it though is not the people who openly tell me my body is not how they want it, the worst is those who try to defend me. In response to my grandfather and my brother my mother has repeatedly “defended” me but really she spent her time trying to make excuses for me rather than standing up for me. She said that it was not my fault, she said that I had been work out a lot, I had been eating healthier, and still I didn’t lose weight. It is true I had been working out, it is true that I had been eating more healthy foods, but not to lose weight, just for myself, to feel better, to work towards a bit healthier living. Because My body is mine and it is beautiful.

I hope that by declaring that I am happy with my body that I love my body, that I love myself, someone else will reevaluate what society says about them and they start to see themselves the way I see myself. Because My body is mine and it is beautiful.

With love, I write this for myself, and for others,

                  Emily T.

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Let’s Talk

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Welcome to Our Body Stories: A Project. This blog is going to house stories about our bodies, how we have been taught to see ourselves and how we are changing and challenging that teaching to love ourselves.

Here, with these stories, we are going to make our bodies our own.

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