When I was in the fifth grade, the school systems were still doing public measuring and weighing. I suppose they did it other years too, but I remember fifth grade, because I stepped on the scale, the dial spun around, and it was official! I weighed 105 pounds and the people doing the measuring identified me as the heaviest student in the class.
Before that, I didn’t think about body shape or size and after that, I spent a lot of time wishing I could be the size of the smallest girl in my class. It wasn’t until a long time after that when I finally realized that the smallest girl in my class, wished her body was bigger and stronger.
I was raised in an era when body shaming was done to make us strive for a more healthy body. “You shouldn’t eat so many potatoes, you will end up with a larger waistline.” I still remember the gym teacher who told me that at lunch one day. I still have to resist the urge to take my potatoes to the closet and eat them in the dark.
For years, I dieted and ate and dieted and ate, and dieted and ate. After it all, I ended up with the body I was going to have anyway…the body all the women in my family seem to attain. And in the end, I finally realized I am okay with that.
I don’t think that body shaming is going anyplace very soon, though. Any day you are on the Internet you can see “25 celebrity body blunders.” Or, even better would be, “Analyze your body shape to learn to disguise your body flaws.”
I applaud the women who were presented in this year’s Sports Illustrated this year who did not have the traditional model body, but modeled swimsuits with grace and elegance. I have come to accept my body, but I don’t think I’ll take the acceptance that far. I don’t think I would be easy modeling bathing suits, no matter what, because I not a bathing suit person.
I wear bright colors, snug-fitting clothes, and items that are not in keeping with my size and age. I keep in mind that the frame of my body is not what should define me, and I would love it if I could encourage other people to feel the same. Remember, pretty much every one believes that another body shape would look better on them, but we need to come to peace with our own bodies—while keeping them as healthy as we can.
When I think of body worship in the world, I always think of what my grandmother used to say about the human body. “I don’t want to see anyone else’s body, no matter what it looks like. If I want to see my body, I’ll look in the mirror—there won’t be any shocks when I see it and it won’t cost me anything.” I going to go with that, for now. And just maybe, I’m going to take a little pride in being the biggest girl in the fifth grade class!
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