“Wow, you got so fat!” are the words my aunt said to me as I walked into my grandmothers house on Thanksgiving, years ago. My then boyfriend and I were in a toxic relationship; he emotionally abusive and me, mentally exhausted. Depression took over, and so I cried, and ate…and cried, and ate. Gaining an extra twenty pounds on my small, five foot two frame. I tried to pretend I was unbothered for the rest of the night, and silently cried while staring out of the window in the car the entire way home. After pulling myself together, and kicking his cheating butt to the curb, I dropped the weight, but the mental toll it took, stuck with me. This is not the first time I’ve struggled with self acceptance, and it definitely wouldn’t be the last. My body and I have had an internal struggle most of our life. My Body…My Words.
As a kid things weren’t much better. “Look at your legs…you have thunder thighs!” Ryan, my fourth grade classmate yelled as we walked on the playground. I wore my new Bongo shorts and matching t-shirt my Mom bought me, and felt ready to conquer the world that morning on the drive to school. Everyone will love my outfit, and this will make them finally love me too was my internal hope. As one of the literal few black students in the entire school being made fun of was a daily part of my routine.
My thick thighs, kinky hair, and brown skin were the subject of many hate campaigns. I tried desperately to fit in and be liked, but I would always be considered an outsider, and my body, skin and hair would never let me in. I began to resent my brown skin, kinky hair, and strong thighs just like they did. For the rest of the year, no matter how hot the weather became, I’d wear my thick black New Kids on the Block jacket to school, and use it to cover my legs anytime I wore
a dress or shorts. Their words stuck.
“She hates me.” is what my body must think. Continue reading