Don't Focus On Labels, Focus on Feelings
“Real women have curves”. It was supposed to be a message of acceptance that all women didn’t look like the rail thin models, so often seen in the pages of magazines and on movie posters. Yet for me, it was a taunt. I never dieted and I rarely even worked out. I was just naturally thin with a good metabolism. If real women had curves, where did that leave me? I was barely an A-cup and had narrow hips. I had no curves to speak of. Did that make me any less of a woman?
I can distinctly have a memory that sticks out. I had dressed up one day and was feeling really great. I was wearing a cute blouse tucked into a tight, black pencil skirt with a pair of velvet black pumps. My hair and make-up were done perfectly. I had gotten tons of compliments on how unusually put together I looked. I was strutting around feeling great. Then I heard a couple talking behind me. The woman commented on how dressed up I was.
“Look at her, those heels is high” she said.
“Man, look at her. She ain’t got no booty. She doesn’t have any boobs. Ugh, that’s nasty.”
Just like that, I could feel my confidence deflate. I didn’t have a booty. Standing with my feet together, there was a hole between my thighs. I decided that I wanted to be a woman; I was going to get myself some curves. Although I’d never dieted or worked out, I decided I couldn’t do anything that might lead to me losing weight. I stopped taking walks around my block or dancing for too long. I began to have seconds and thirds of my dinner. I would snack on unhealthy chocolates and fatty food. I was determined to gain some weight. I figured that if I added some fat to my frame, some of it had to end up in my boobs and butt. I’d finally have curves!
However, I didn’t notice any sort of change in my cup size. Instead, I merely got a beer gut. My stomach protruded from my body and I could feel an uncomfortable tension over my stomach. I felt groggy and my face began to break out. Rather than feeling better about myself, I felt worse. All I wanted was some boobs and I was turning in a hot mess.
Finally, after becoming ill for the eighth time in a two week period, I decided that continuing what I was doing, in the hopes of growing boobs, just wasn’t worth it. Real women may have curves, I thought, but I wanted to go a day without feeling like I was dying.
I began to eat healthier than I ever had in my entire life. Rather than taking seconds on pasta, I was taking 4 or 5 scoops of broccoli. I started running around my block a few times every week.
Within a month, my face began to clear up. I started to wake up feeling refreshed. The uncomfortable strain in my abdomen went away. I ended up being 2 pounds lighter than before I had started. My cup size was still, as it had always been, an A-cup. Yet, I no longer felt ashamed or envious of large breasted women.
I wasn’t meant to have large breasts. It’s not in my genetics. That’s something I have to accept. Now when I look in the mirror, I don’t see small breasts, I see a taut tummy. I realized that while I may never have curves, I’m still a real woman; just a smaller one.
For the longest time, there was an embrace of thin women. Then there was a backlash against thing women for being ‘too thin’. While I support the idea that women shouldn’t have to be thin, I dislike the idea they shouldn’t be. What’s important isn’t your weight, or even how you look in the mirror. What’s important is how you feel. Forget ‘thinspiration’ and ‘fat is the new skinny’. Those are just phrases that are telling some group of women that their bodies aren’t good enough.
When you’re being healthy (eating right, exercising, sleeping enough), you feel healthy. And when you feel healthy, there is an inner radiance inside of you that exudes out and makes you look fantastic. I like to tell myself a different mantra: Feeling fine looks sublime.