I learned to swim at 2 years old without any sort of floaties, so my mom would watch me from outside of the pool. My mom tells me that one time I was wading around and when I climbed out of the pool, a woman nearby laughingly said out loud, “Oh my goodness, I thought that little girl was a fat baby, but she is so tiny.” The truth is that I have always had a very round face and since my little body was hidden under the chlorinated water, my “fat” face was all she could see.
I now find it interesting that a stranger felt the need to examine and even scrutinize the body of a 2 year old girl.
I did not become insecure about having a round face until peers started making fun of me when I was 13 years old. When I was in high school, a boy that hated me found a picture of me in which I had a double chin, made photocopies of it, and passed it all around the cafeteria. I was mortified. When the boys at school wanted to torture me, they themselves would make double chins by pressing downwards on their necks as they walked passed me.
The interesting thing is that I was considered popular in high school, almost always on homecoming and prom courts, dated the “hottest” guys and was named “cutest” in my senior yearbook; yet, I learned at a young age that something about my face was noticeably repulsive.
My double chin became the physical attribute I was most insecure about. Even when I was at 120 lbs, I still had a little bit of a double chin when I laughed or turned the wrong way. It’s just how God made me.
The women in my family are “apple shaped.” This means that we carry our weight in our stomachs and have thinner thighs and behinds. In high school, I grew to hate my stomach too. When all my girlfriends were getting their belly buttons pierced, I refused. At 125 lbs, I thought I was way too fat for that sort of thing.
Boys at school would call me fat when they were mad at me for whatever and I believed them.
When I went to college, I thought it would be a good idea to eat ice cream and cookies for lunch and take naps every day instead of exercise. I packed on my “freshman 15” and reached 140 lbs for the first time in my life. At 5’2, this was a lot for me and I had to buy all new clothes. In college, my best friend was naturally thin and gorgeous, so this did not help with my self-esteem.
In fact, I will never forget it. I was infatuated with this guy (who was my best guy friend in college). He loved God, but he was a “bad boy,” and of course I thought I could change him. One evening we were cuddling as “friends” and I was on cloud nine, thinking he liked me back.
He leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Do you think your best friend would ever date me?” My heart sunk. Was it my double chin? Was my stomach too fat? Was I not pretty enough? I mean, why not me? We are cuddling right now for goodness’ sakes. Who knows his reason. I mean, we were kids. But it devastated me in that moment and I convinced myself that it must have been my appearance that made him reject me.
My junior and senior year of college, I started cheerleading again and dropped down to 130 lbs where I stayed until I was about 23. Around 24 or 25, my body changed. I became more womanly. My breasts, hips and behind got bigger and I gained 5 to 10 lbs. I didn’t get chubbier, my body simply became fuller – more womanly. My normal weight became 135 lbs to 140 lbs (depending on the time of the month).
I had a hard time with this because 135 lbs is the most a female my height should ever weigh on those stupid health charts. In the back of my head, I always thought that I needed to lose 10 to 15 pounds to get back to my teenager/early twenties weight.
Around the age of 27, I became extremely sick with daily migraines. The pain was unreal and I barely moved. I was on at least 10 different medications, severely depressed, and reached up to 180 lbs. My small frame was under way too much pressure and my feet were starting to hurt just from walking normally.
Now, at 31, I still have chronic migraine, but I spent about 4 years getting this battle under control. I am still in the battle, but things are more under control. As I have gotten better, I lost most of the weight and now I am at 145 lbs.
I need to lose 10 more pounds to be at a healthy weight for my small frame, but I am not obsessed. Instead of focusing on food, I focus on things that make me happy that are not food. I love good food though, and I will never give up what I love to have the body of a teenager.
Not long ago I would have told you that I should be 125-130 lbs, but I now accept that this is not the weight of my “woman body.” My woman body is sexier than it has ever been and my husband loves it. It is not perfect, but I am learning to love it too. It has been hard, but I am also learning to accept my round face. As I get older, I notice that people with fatter faces look younger and have fewer wrinkles, so I guess there is a rainbow at the end of my double chin. 😉
In my opinion, there is nothing sexier than a woman who is confident in who she is and comfortable in her own skin no matter what size she is.
Tell me ladies…What do you need to learn to accept (and maybe someday love) about your woman bodies?
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