The topic of body positivity has come up A LOT in recent years. When people realized that not everyone was going to be a size 2, have clear skin or conform to their beauty standards, this conversation started happening.
When I was growing up, I never had the threat of social media or the internet in general to tell me what I should look like in order to be beautiful. However, I did have a very OUTSPOKEN family. If anyone reading this is West Indian/ Caribbean, then you all know, older adults see you and make remarks without a care in the world about how you feel. That is what I had to deal with here.
Let’s back track. I was a chubby baby, but not for long. Most of the weight stayed in my cheeks (I still have them and I don’t think they’ll go away anytime soon, but that’s besides the point). When I got older, 3 and 4 years old, I was so small. Skin and bones with a little booty thanks to genes from my mommy. My mom put me in dance when I was 4 and I swear the minute that I started dancing, my muscles started forming. The muscular build comes from both of my parents. My mom has the arms and abs and my dad is every other body part, especially the infamous Robinson Thunder Thighs. By the time I was 9, after 5 years of dance, I had a full 6-pack of abs, that I liked to show the boys on the school bus might I add), pretty defined arms and these massive quads. Never mind the fact that I was tall, my grandmother used to say I looked like a little woman.
The game changed when I went to junior high school. I thought I was grown. I hit puberty (if you know what I mean) and my body was changing dramatically, but I was still very much fit and in shape. This was the first time that I went to a public school, meaning, vending machines, free lunch and the parents used to sell snacks at the back of the cafeteria (I used to hate when my mom came because I couldn’t misbehave lol). Even though I was dancing almost every single day, those carbs were catching up to me.
The first time I was told I was gaining weight was in 7th grade. I was going out with my mom and my grandmother made a comment about my weight. It hurt me so bad that when my mom and I went to the pizza shop, and it was my favorite shop, I declined a slice and an Italian ice. That was the first time, of many, that I would starve myself because of a comment about my weight. Not soon after, a boy in the school yard told me that I was fat and dark skin, all because I wouldn’t give him my number (would you believe that asshole tried to talk to me at the 2016 breast cancer walk..I calmly walked away again.) Anyway, after that second time, I was really sad because if TWO people told me that I was fat then I must’ve really been fat. The final straw came at the doctors office when he told me that I was overweight for my height. By the way, I was healthy, save for high cholesterol which runs on my father’s side.
That was it, when my self esteem took a downward spiral. A 12-year-old with serious self-esteem issues and nobody to talk to is not a good look.
I stayed the same weight, 187, all the way up to my junior year of high school. I had since stopped dancing, picked up cheerleading, quit that, and had little to no exercise except walking around the city shopping and ..sex. I had lost the abs, but you could tell that at one point I was cut there, I had a pretty nice shape, but just a little fat here and there. But, I was in one of those “you’re not pretty enough so I’m going to keep telling you to lose weight, but we can have sex” relationships. And those make me gain weight. By the time senior year came I was huge, 202 pounds. And at the end of senior year when it was time for prom, I busted my dress open. There’s a blog post about it read it here.
I wasn’t happy with myself, but no matter what I tried nothing would help. I would gain weight like crazy.
Then college came, and lets just say, the freshman fifteen IS REAL. In my case, I gained 45 fucking pounds. At my heaviest, I weigh 247 pounds. I felt slow, my knees, which were already bad, were taking a toll, and my body no longer had that “shape”, I was just a blob of fat. I didn’t know how bad it was until I saw a picture of myself and cried at how “bad” I looked. No one did this to me BUT ME so I had to fix it. The summer before my junior year, I started to try to work out. I was in a cool ass relationship he was very supportive of my plans to lose weight he even made plans to help me when I got back to school, our ship didn’t last long enough for those plans to happen, but I was determined to work for it on my own.
I was in the gym almost everyday at my on campus apartment and I was able to cook for myself. I had a retail job where I had to lift boxes and fold clothes and walk around a lot so I was always on the move. When it was nice outside, I would walk from work to class and that along with my diet helped me to lose weight. By the end of my first semester I had lost 30 pounds, but there was one accident that changed everything. You can read about that here, and if you don’t want to read about it, I was hit by a car.
Getting hit put everything on hold. I was not fully mobile and I couldn’t exercise as hard as I was and I was depressed. I had to take time off from work, I turned to alcohol to get me through those rough times, I was basically a hermit. So of course, I gained 15 pounds. One day, I saw a fitness guru on Instagram and she sparked my interest in working out again as well as consistently going to physical therapy. By the end of junior year I lost the 15 pounds I gained and then some.
I took meat out of the equation, I meal prepped and I was in the gym almost every day that summer. Senior year came and I had a goal to fit into a size 10 dress for graduation. I worked super hard and I started to see my body changing. My shape was coming back, confidence was boosting and I was very happy with myself. I wasn’t 100 percent because years of telling myself I was not pretty or beautiful or good enough took a toll. I was wearing black every chance I had and I would wear bigger clothes to hide certain body parts.
I joined Dance Council again in my second semester so that I could have fun while keeping myself in shape. That’s where I met my girlfriend (shout out to her, hey boo.) Anyway, at the end of senior year I had gone down to a size 12, not too bad right.
I came home and continued to go to the gym and people were complimenting me saying how good I looked and all that, I didn’t see it yet, but I did feel it. Then I found myself in a relationship with someone who thought I was a “baddie” and that my body was flawless (I think she still thinks that), but that made me work even harder to keep myself in shape and the fact that I was looking good in clothes that hadn’t fit in years.
Fast forward to now, I am more confident about my body than I have ever been. I’m wearing brighter colors, my clothes aren’t all baggy, I don’t wear long sleeves and pants in the summer. Of course there are times that I compare myself to smaller people on social media. But to be honest, I LOOK DAMN GOOD. Slim thick looks good on me and it’s only getting better. So I thank my parents for those genes giving me the best of the best to build my body, thanks to Planet Fitness and Blink, thanks to baby Shi for always thinking I’m “da baddest bih” and thanks to myself for not giving up.
Thanks for listening.