By Mary-Pat Hector
“Phat,” “Chubby,” “Thick,” “Plus Size,” these are words that were indirectly written on my forehead from the day I started grade school. These names not only haunted me as a young girl, constantly engrained in my memories as they sometimes even haunt me presently. Being considered over weight in a size 2 society has enslaved many men and women. Leaving anyone who isn’t a models size left to believe they aren’t beautiful, they’ll never be considered a perfect 10 or they aren’t allowed to have high standards when looking for a significant other. It’s hard to explain how individuals receive different social treatment based on their jean size, but sadly that is the society we live in.
I experienced it every time boys overlooked my intelligence and personality because of my weight. Every time I was told “you’re pretty for a big girl” or I was not pretty because of my bigger appearance. I have always been aware of the definition of beauty; because of the world’s opinion I never thought I fit that description. I will admit the mirror had become my oppressor. The more I doubted myself for my weight the more I ate. By the time I eleven my confidence had gone completely out the window. My size had an impact on me both personally and emotionally. It made me second guess my worth, my confidence, my attractiveness; all the happiness I once had was held captive due to my ongoing battle with my oppressor “ public opinion”. I did everything I could possibly do to fix who I was on the outside to match what I was on the inside; a beautiful person.
I always had petite friends; because I was around so many smaller people I felt I had to do something to be as small as them. I hid my body in baggy clothes; I tried every diet known to man. I wanted nothing more than for society to see plus size girls as beautiful. All I wanted was to be seen as I see myself, which is curvy and beautifully built.
When I was 15 I looked in the mirror I mean I really looked. I realized I was speaking negativity in my life. It’s powerful to recognize that the self-hatred is so damaging to young people, and as a leader I must lead by example. I mean just think how motivated would you feel if your parent’s teachers and people that loved you talked down to you? Now imagine your family and friends supporting you, encouraging, and nurturing you: how motivated would you be then?
Our own mind hears the self-hate and responds to it in a similar way, so make sure your self-talk is loving, inspiring, nurturing, and forgiving. Look in the mirror every day and repeat the phrase “I am wonderfully made. I am deserving and worthy of all good things, and accept myself unconditionally. “It may take some time to believe it, but in time you will and no one will be able to say otherwise. When a negative thought about yourself enters your head, stop breath, release it, and repeat your positive affirmation in its place. So now I do just that. I no longer have self-doubt about the image looking back at me. I don’t hide behind giant clothing and I wouldn’t be afraid to look at myself in pictures. I realized I had to embrace who I was and had to be bold enough to believe I was beautiful despite what society definition of beauty. My weight doesn’t define my beauty or my worth. It was my chance to be happy with whom I am; how am I going to expect the world to believe I am attractive if I do not? I have traded in my oppressor, I actually go on dates; I wear clothes that slightly showed my curves, I began to exercise to stay fit not thin. Though the mirror had been my oppressor it also allowed me to fully embrace the attractive confident young woman I have become.