Big, defined as, ‘of considerable size, extent, or intensity’.
I am a Big girl in a seemingly large world. However, when I take a closer look at the world around me, it seems so small. Splashed across fashion magazines, television, and film, are images of women who are small. Small equals attractive. Big equals unattractive. That’s the message that I have always received.
However, this narrow-minded image of beauty has never really phased me. I have always been a big girl. As a child there were a few playground bullies that would pick on my weight, yet thankfully I am left with no emotional scars. I had some harsh uncles who would also say things about my weight. Once, my uncle even called me a walrus. I find the insult quite humorous now, when I was 13, not so much.
The most critical of the lot was probably my father. He would stoop as low as to use gifts or offer me money to bribe me to lose weight. I recall him making snide comments about everything I ate “That sure is a big helping.”
He would order for me when we would dine out and he constantly berated me for my cheese consumption.
The criticism made me resent him. I never wanted to eat around him. I’d try to eat before he got home from work or I’d take my meals to my room so that he wouldn’t harass me. I know he was concerned for my health and worried about bullies, but it still hurt my feelings. I hated that he couldn’t see that I was already beautiful as I was.
I knew I was attractive. I never had to fret over not having friends. Friends came to me like bees to a flower. I also never felt cast out by anyone. I was intelligent, good in school and often favored by my teachers. I never took the back seat. I always wanted to be in the spotlight. I was told I had a way with connecting to people that made my presence relatable even desirable. All of these things kept me strong against the attacks and criticism from the people around me.
But, I am Big. My body and my personality has never been small. How is this confidence possible when the odds are supposed to be against me?
My mother, father and sister were all gifted with natural beauty. Both of my parents tried their hand at modeling. They prided themselves in being small because they felt being small made them beautiful. One sister was often compared to Angelina Jolie or a Kardashian, however she is one of the most modest and sincere people I know. Despite the vanity of my parents and my sister’s own natural beauty, she never let it corrupt her pure soul. Although she did not use her beauty for success, she still believed small equals beautiful. My mom told me once that my sister’s beauty would get her far in life, but my charisma would take me to the top. At the time I felt like she meant I wasn’t beautiful but I know now that was not what she was saying. She was saying I was beautiful in a way that very few people are. I was Big, I was intense, I took up room and was impossible not to notice.
Have I had to fight adversity? Of course! Any women over a size 6 feels body shame at some point. In fact, women of any size are capable of feeling body shamed. One of the most embarrassing instances I have encountered was the horrifying moment someone assumed I was pregnant. Yes, that’s right, this woman broke the golden rule, never openly ask a woman if she is pregnant if you are not 100% sure. I’m sure there are plenty of you out there who can relate to this situation. I was coming into work one morning and happened to be wearing a dress that cinched underneath my breast, which left the dress flowy around my mid section. I was the manager of a retail store at the time and we had security issues the night before, so a female security guard had spent the night in our store. I began putting my belongings into my locker in the back office where the security woman was sitting. She greeted me politely and said,
“Gee, you’re about to pop, aren’t you?”
Immediately I knew what she was insinuating. I hoped she had meant that she could tell I was stuffed from my breakfast, which I was. I had just scarfed down an egg sandwich and a large coffee. However, I couldn’t help sounding surprised when I retorted,
I wanted to press my finger to her lips and stop the words from coming out of her mouth. The look on her face said it all. She knew she had f**ked up. Her face washed red with embarrassment.
“I’m so sorry. I….I assumed you were pregnant.”
I could hear her pride somewhere down in her stomach grumbling in pain. I wasn’t sure who I felt more embarrassed for, her or myself. I sarcastically assured her that I was not pregnant, just fat. She winced at the word fat as if I had hit her. I could tell she was mortified. She apologized again before quickly grabbing her belongings and rushing out of the store. I must admit it left a damper on my mood but who was she to ruin my day with her small minded assumptions? Not to mention, she didn’t call me ugly or really use any harsh or harmful words. She simply assumed I was growing a child in my belly, when really I was only growing a food baby. In fact pregnant women are often marked as glowing and beautiful. I suppose I could take it as a compliment, right?
I’ve also dealt with the “Mean Girls”.You know? The ones that cake on makeup and wear the least amount of clothes possible to get attention…yeah, those girls. I’ve heard whispers of, “How did she bag that guy? He’s so hot and she’s so fat?” or the backwards compliment, “You’d be really hot if you just worked on your body”. I always smile and say “Thanks” while thinking in my head, I already feel hot. I don’t need to be small to feel attractive.
The point I am trying to get to with all of this is, the views of the world will always change. It’s your view of yourself that truly matters. I don’t condone being unhealthy, but I do believe you have to love yourself even when you aren’t at your healthiest weight. I have my moments of insecurity but ultimately I know my strengths and that is what makes me feel beautiful. I can find humor in almost any situation. I make people laugh with my random rants. When I do my makeup I know it’s on fleek. I dress my body appropriately and keep up with styles that fit my personality. I can give a sexy stare like nobodies business and I have no problems attracting men. I am Big. Bigger than the adversity I face. Bigger than the close minded individuals who think it’s ok to judge and shame others’. My personality is of considerable size. I am intense and my beauty is extensive beyond my dress size. Could I improve my health by eating better and working out more frequently? Absolutely. I do desire to do right by my body. My temple deserves to be treated right and I have made steps to do so. Whether I lose weight or always stay thick, I will always hold the same confidence and love for myself. My view of who I am is not valued on my weight or size of my clothes.
Find a way to feel beautiful about yourself and once you do you can be Big too.