As a young girl, I struggled with self-image issues, most of which stemmed from my very slender frame. While this may appear to be an ideal body shape to some, it was not the case for me as a Black girl growing up in a Black community. The message that thicker is better was everywhere I looked. I was often reminded of how skinny I was and as a young woman I wanted to be one of those women who had the “junk in the trunk” and a set of double D’s to match.
It’s funny to me now but, back then I would spend so many hours studying pictures of Tyra Banks, Melyssa Ford and others who had the hourglass figure I so desperately wanted. I tried stuffing myself around the clock with the unhealthiest foods you could think of and when that produced no results, I resigned myself to looking into surgical enhancements that might give me the shape I desired. My disdain for my body was starting to affect my interactions with others at school, home and in relationships. I would withdraw from people, many social events and activities for fear of someone thinking or even saying something negative about me.
After several bouts with depression, I decided that I wanted to change the view I had of myself. One day I woke up and just realized how ridiculous the whole situation was. My only issue with myself was that I was slim! I had no diseases, deformities or ailments to contend with. My body was perfectly healthy and normal. I had allowed a few people’s criticisms and unwarranted comments about my size to slowly wreak havoc on every aspect of my life.
Gradually, I took control of my self-confidence. I did my research and I knew that I was fighting against genetics. It was going to be very hard to put on the weight I wanted in a few concentrated areas and after I accepted this fact, everything changed. I talked to trainers and learned about nutrition. Through weight training, other resistance workouts and 900 calorie protein shakes, I have been able to make favorable changes in my body over the years. They are small changes but I am pleased nonetheless! Working out has also helped me to have a more healthy self-image and I can honestly say that I have grown to accept my body as it is.
I do have occasional moments where I still wish for more ( C cups would be nice!)but, they are far and few in between. Being healthy is most important and if God sees fit to have me stay at a size 4 then so be it! Just like some are not cut out to be a size two, I was clearly not made to be a thick girl. Finally, I’m okay with that.
What self-image issues did you struggle with growing up?