Growing up in the south, I was surrounded by curvy black women. Well... I guess one could say that growing up black, I was surrounded by curvy black women. Being lanky, I dreamed about the day that I would get my "grown woman" body. This "grown woman" body would include full hips that I would supposedly get after having children... Thighs that would resemble that of a brick house...and the butt that Sir-Mix-Alot rapped about, way before Kim Kardashian became a household name, The magical "black woman" unicorn that I was supposed to transform into was mysterious and wonderful... It never came. I remember returning home to visit and being met with the occasional, 'Are you eating?'...'You need to eat some chicken, and put some meat on those bones'. These comments were made by family friends and family,.. all meaning well... but totally unaware of the effects of their words. Their words made me feel as if MY body wasn't good enough... woman enough. I would become low key annoyed when I would hear the term, "real women" to describe women with curves. What did that mean for me? Was I not "real" ? Was I some female, Pinnochio, begging with my maker to craft me into a "real woman" ?
I remember returning home to my husband and asking if I was too thin? Or should I be more this? Or more of that? Totally, missing that HE loved everything about me, and that perhaps I should begin to do the same. The truth is, the same people who were picking apart my body, were the same people who also picked it apart when I gained "the freshmen 15" many years prior. I quickly began to realize that the more I allowed people to have a say in the way that I viewed my body, my womanhood, the more I would begin (and had begun) to lose my power. It was up to me to take it back.
Why am I writing this? The purpose is not to be self deprecating or to lump body image into all that is wrong with the world... or to become one of those people who say "#AllBodiesMatter", because I definitely see the need to celebrate curves in a media driven by skinny airbrushed foolishness and body shaming. Curves Definitely Matter! This post is simply to say, You never know what your sister is wrestling with when she looks in the mirror. Be aware of your words... be kind.
ALL of our bodies are beautiful. They are different. They are all perfect in their imperfection. I may never be shaped like Serena Williams. I may never have a body that is deemed a brick house. Beyonce may never call me to appear in her newest work of art, to simply "look back at it" ..However, my body is mine. Even as a wife and mother...My body is mine. I embrace every dimple in my average sized booty... every stretch mark in my boyish chocolate frame. MY body is sexy... because I say so. My body is no longer up for discussion... unless I want it to be.