My body is a wonderland (as in I wonder…)
My body is the one thing that I have kept the longest. It’s no masterpiece like Michelangelo’s David (actually thank goodness for that) and it will never come close to Beyoncé’s bod, despite my numerous attempts in the past. But this short stack is mine and learning to love it has been and still I the hardest yet most rewarding experience that I have been through.
I have always been on the curvier (read as slightly round) and accepting/developing a positive body image as been no walk in the park for me.
As with all other girls I have bought into the ‘dreams’ sold to me about how ‘thin is in’ and that having any body other than the bodies that I saw o Victoria’s Secret models (and an unnamed girl from my high school who had all the boys and some girls after her, sigh, swimmer’s body) was a sin punishable by starvation, fad diets and a general mistrust akin to hate for all of my fabulous jelly.
My earliest memory of accepting my body is when I would force myself to stand in front of the mirror in my parent’s bedroom and actually stare at my naked form in all its awkward teenage glory-ish.
It was painful a first but I forced myself to study the curves, bumps and unpleasantries. I found that the longer I stood, the more critical I would become. That I would echo all the mean things that I had continuously been told about my body. MY BODY.
Now I get that it doesn’t seem to necessarily bode well for the self-acceptance that I was going on about but I carried on with this exercise, firstly once a week then once every few days. I was pushing myself to confront what I and others had deemed to be the ‘horrible awful’. And slowly I would try to find something good amongst all the perceived bad.
First my eyes, lips and such. Then I tried to move onto larger (pun intended) parts of myself. I felt like I was beginning to make some progress with the whole self-acceptance thing. Some real progress.
This is usually the part where the writer then tells you the reader that rays of approval shone down upon my face as I slowly realised what a hot siren I was and actually to be quite honest, always have been.
Well kids this isn’t that kind of story.
The truth is, I’ve relapsed into thinking that my body was something to be ashamed of, to be hidden away underneath layers of clothing and to be scorned at in my alone times.
I think that one of the main things that have helped me develop a more positive mind set with regards to my body is seeing how comfortable the older women in my family are with their bodies, my mother especially. Women of curvaceous ‘African’ proportions who do not apologise for how they look. Instead of cowering away behind the negativity and toxicity of what an ideal body is supposed to look like. These are women who embrace every cm of their skin.
I realise now that not every body is the same (cliché I know) and that I had no right to view one of the most amazing gifts that I have been given as a burden.
I’m proud of my jelly, it may not always be a love-love relationship but it is my jelly (read as awesome goddess bod) and slowly accepting it has opened me up to so much more joy and happiness.
I have decided that, as the women in my life have, I will celebrate my body in all its individuality and beauty. Simply because it is mine and it is wondrous.