Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Struggling with Body Image: Part 4

Dove "real" women campaign 
I have two guests for today's post. Two women who, when approached by the concept I was working with, felt compelled to provide more than what I had asked for. While I'd asked for just a picture and a line about what they loved about their bodies...they took it upon themselves to give me more. In honor of that, I'd like to turn this post over to the two of them. 

First up, is Jess. Welcome and thank you for helping me!

First off, I want to thank Kyla for including me in the discussion of such an important topic.  I think it is such a great idea and I just love her to pieces for thinking of it and putting this all together.  That being said I have struggled with confidence and body image since high school.  The strange thing is that I had loving and supportive parents at home who told me how beautiful I was only to hear me say, “yeah whatever” or “no, I’m not!”  At over 5’ 7" in high school, I was 130 lbs and thought I was fat.  If I could go back in time I would smack myself for ever thinking such a thing.  It was when I went to college and joined a sorority and made Taco Bell my favorite place to eat that I actually had an issue with weight.  I didn’t put on the freshman fifteen, I put on the freshman thirty five!!  So that, coupled with "choose what you want to do for the rest of your life", only made me really self-conscious and miserable.  My weight and body image was something I struggled with until I hit my thirties.  It’s as if some switch kicked-off and instead of looking in the mirror and thinking “ugh, I have a pooch and my thighs are too big and damn that beer I drank has left me with love handles”,  I started to think "I really like my smile and my dimples.  I have an awesome rack that women pay big bucks to have.  My eyes are an unusual shade of brown and I love that and man, those squats I’ve been doing have really started to define my quads."  Do I still have days where I look in the mirror and blow raspberries at myself, sure.  For the most part, I have taken on the attitude of “This is me!  If you don’t like it, don’t look!"

Thank you, Jess! It's nice to hear from someone who's come out on the other side of that dreadful tunnel of self-loathing. Actually...it's nice to know that other side exists at all. See, ladies? It's not a myth!

Next up is Isalys. Think women who are thin with a great rack don't have body image issues?? Pay attention. Isa?

As someone who has struggled with body image for most of my life, I encourage girls and women to find the self-confidence to combat the unrealistic standards set by society.  You get teased if you're fat, you get teased if you're skinny...well, I'm damn tired of it!
 I have always been skinny!  It's not something I work at.  It's purely genetic from my father's side of the family. Sometimes I feel lucky, but most of the time I don't.  I am constantly reminded "OMG, you're so tiny!"  Well, no shit!  I was mercilessly teased all through middle school and high school (my formative years).  Being told things like, "have you reached three-digit numbers yet?", "does it hurt to be so skinny?" and my favorite, "I'm going to call you A for Anorexic" has a way of scarring a young girl.  Even at nearly 32 years old, people still feel the need to comment on my weight as if I was some sort of circus freak!
 Since I was 12, I've been to doctors, had shots, done muscle-building exercises, even taken medications in an attempt to gain weight.  It has taken me a very long time to accept that this is who I am, whether society thinks it's great or not!
 When I was 19, I met the man that would become my husband.  He was charming & good looking.  I honestly didn't think I stood a chance in hell because I wasn't "pretty enough" to be with someone like him.  He surprised me by asking me out within a month of meeting.  We have now been together for 11 years and he is hands out, my best accessory!  It was with his help that I found the courage to "fix" the things about myself that bothered me most and finally start respecting myself.  It still stings when people make cruel comments about my weight and I suppose it always will but I finally found the strength to not let it cripple me like it used to.
To be honest, there are still a lot of things I would change if I could!  My booty could use a bit of stuffing, my thighs don't touch and I have noodles for arms.  I do love my cleavage, but I had outside help with that ;-) Seriously though, I've always loved my lips and my smile which I got from my mom.  Overall, I know I'm not perfect but I'm finally at peace with myself.  Even though, I have occasional bouts of frustration when I can't find jeans that fit right or everything on a rack is size: large.
 I think the key to finding happiness with your own body really is just accepting it for what it is and more importantly, respectingyourself by taking care of yourself.  Whether stick thin, voluptuous, or heavy we all need to eat right, do some sort of exercise, and dress appropriately for our body type.  (For ex: If you weigh 200+ lbs, please do not go to Walmart wearing a sports bra and Juicy sweats because you're just asking for it...lol.)
  I am woman, hear me roar!
And, adding a little more to the fire, Laurielu and Janice are my final women to add their pictures and blurbs.

 Body image is a difficult subject for many women to discuss about themselves. I know that it makes me uncomfortable. And I think the degree of discomfort comes from the idea that if you like something about yourself and are not afraid to admit it or show it off, you are conceited, bragging, arrogant, phony, narcissistic, etc. Plus, why is it easier to wax poetic about our shortcomings when it comes to how we feel about our bodies? I don't know. I am trying to overcome that, because being proud of your body is healthy and it does not mean you are conceited. I will take a deep breath and tell you that I like my smile, my neck, my breasts and my ass. There. That felt good. @

You ladies are wonderful! Thank you for taking the time to share with us, to share with me. You are inspirational to me. And, to continue with the theme we've had going...

I love my shoulder. No, not both of them. I love my right shoulder. My right shoulder bears my one and only (for the moment) tattoo, the Chinese characters for mother (top) and daughter (bottom). I got the tattoo to represent the bond between me and my daughters. It is always there. No matter how I feel about my body that day, I always feel like that shoulder is sexy. Not just because it's inked. But because of how significant it is to me. The deep-rooted significance of it is tattooed on my soul, the shoulder is just easier for people to see. ~Kyla
You women are gorgeous. Stare at yourself in the mirror and work at seeing the positive parts. In fact, there is a fantastic article at Our Bodies Ourselves by Sarai Walker that you can read about how to help you improve your body image. 

My favorite line from that article, by far: 
Kill your inner supermodel.  If you have an image of perfection in your head to which you’re constantly comparing yourself, get rid of it. You think your nose is too big? Compared to whose? You consider your stretch marks “flaws”? Where is it written that our bodies should be free of lines or marks or scars? Such bodies do not exist in real life.
If you would like to read more, please take a moment and hop over to the first three posts. The final segment, Part 5, will be posted Wednesday, January 11, 2012. Thank you to everyone who has read, commented and spread the word. 


  1. I love you!! You are amazing, strong, kind and beautiful inside and out! #thatisall!! *muah*


  2. Thank you sooooo much for including me in this awesome feature!! I love you to pieces for it :)

    It's so refreshing to read about women who are strong and beautiful just as they are!

    Huggles you hard!

  3. I have a beautiful daughter, and I tell her every day she's perfect. Thank you for asking me to contribute.



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