To the Beautiful Mom Who Doesn’t Love Her Body

A couple of days ago, I saw a meme trending on Facebook. “What were you teased about when you were a kid?”

Many of my friends and family were discussing and laughing about the issue all while I felt a sense of insecurity and shame because I had let what I was teased about as a child still impact me as an adult…

My size has always been the major insecurity due to the teasing I endured as a child. Growing up as the tallest, widest, and “heaviest” girl in the class brought so many anxieties.

I couldn’t shop at the same stores as my friends.
I couldn’t wear the same cool outfits because of my physique.
I always had to be mindful of the way I looked in pictures.
I had to wear girdles, Spanx, bras, and other forms of support at a much earlier age.

There was so much that went into me being a plus size adolescent who only wanted to be viewed as normal. This thought process had a major impact on my confidence and led to many of the insecurities that I had when it came to the way I looked and felt about my beauty. When other kids refer to you as “fat” and “big”, it begins to trigger emotions that affect the way you see yourself.

Although I come from a family of beautiful plus size women, I felt like I was so unattractive compared to those gorgeous ladies. I didn’t have my mom’s coke bottle shape, or my aunt’s slim model face and beautiful smile, or my grandma’s perfect wide hips. I just saw myself as Joy, the girl in the family who was built like a block. This way of seeing my beauty impacted the way I spoke of myself, the way I carried myself, and the way I spoke about other women… I became a “hater”. I hated anyone who thought of themselves as beautiful and to me they were “conceited”, “stuck up”, or “thought they were all that”. But in reality, I longed to have that feeling. I longed to feel and believe that I was beautiful, and it wasn’t until I went to therapy that I realized this.

My therapist advised me to follow some plus size role models on social media. I found Chante Burkett & Essie Golden as my initial role models. Following these ladies and seeing their ability to embrace every bit of their size made me long to be like them.

Like them.

— But really, I just needed to be like myself and have the confidence they have. Essie’s #GoldenConfidence movement helped me learn about being #bodypositive. I started learning about women like Tess Holiday, Ashley Graham, and Tabria Majors who were breaking the stereotype of what size is deemed beautiful.

As a woman with a promising career in healthcare, I do not promote obesity because I know it’s a huge risk for almost every chronic disease, but I truly believe #bodypositive is a way to continue to love yourself through that weight loss process. Because I embraced body positivity, I now understand that I am beautiful no matter my weight, my shape, or my height; and to love my body unconditionally.

I am learning to love my stretchmarks.
I am learning to love how you can barely see my eyes when I smile.
I am learning to love that belly pouch when I tuck my shirt in.
I am learning to love these big arms that allow me to hug those I care so much about!

I write this to encourage you to be #bodypositive and love yourself every single day. You can be on a weight loss journey, or a weight gain journey, or simply trying to contour that face in an amazing way. Whatever transformation that you are experiencing, make sure you are loving your body and maintaining your confidence through the entire process!

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