#TheShameGame: Stories from a skinny girl..size, sexuality, and sisterhood
Maybe im too optimistic. Idk....but I think its very important for you to create a space to love yourself, outside of what you want other people to love about you. Because they won't always like you, they won't always accept you, and they won't always appreciate what you have to offer. Over time, I recognized the importance of surrounding myself with positive energy, and how to repackage my negative energy into a source of productivity. I think we’re all beautiful. And I think we all can make it. But, hey..who knows, maybe I am too optimistic. To me, It doesn't matter if you're an Ayesha Curry or if you're a Blac Chyna...what matters is that you're YOU. We all have our own morals, we all raise our kids differently, and we all have our own individual goals and standards. We are also all entitled to our own opinions, but you don't have to throw shade or make an extra effort to justify who you are to those who identify otherwise, and you don't have to tear something down in order to raise it up either. At the end of the day, wherever you stand, we should all try to contribute to making this world a little better than we found it in the first place. Which is why I admire women who unapologetically live in their truth. We all know I'm a huge Stan for Tracee Ellis Ross....but that also goes for Lisa Bonet, Persia White, Michelle Rodriguez, Lisa "Left-Eye" Lopez, Bree Newsome, PINK, Zendaya, Shonda Rhimes, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler (in no particular order, lol), and many more to count. But today, I want to talk about Zendaya. The kids choice awards were recently, and she won favorite female actress for her show K.C Undercover on the Disney Channel, a well earned award voted on by her fans, whom she was very thankful for in her acceptance speech, "This means so, so much to me. I've been doing this for a long time, and I do it for you guys. I just want you to know that doing and making positive programming for young people is so important to me, and I will keep doing it." She then went on to thank the parents, for allowing her to be a role model to their kids for all these years. Zendaya has always been very aware of her pedestal and her power to influence this millennium's youth, and she's one of the few teen superstars we have left who have been able to maintain a mostly drama free reputation, not over consumed with irresponsible access to drugs and alcohol. But, despite the countless positive examples she sets, the backlash still comes.. because remember boys and girls, not everyone will like you. After her win, some random C-List comedian named Julie Klausner then released a series of tweets mocking Zendaya for "starving herself down to her elbows" and being a “thinspo role model for impressionable tweens” because apparently “you don’t have to have an eating disorder to attend the kids choice awards….but it helps!” This is not the first time Zendaya’s faced criticism for her image, her size, or her hair...but shes never succumbed to the bull shit. She addressed the shots fired, and replied "Do you find this funny? Cause I'll write you another paragraph to educate you too......Now, everyone go look in the mirror at their beautiful body, and LOVE that shit!! #thickgirlswinning #skinnygirlswinning #weallwinning !!" ENOUGH SAID. Afterwards, not only did Julie “whats her face” say she wasn’t going to apologize, but she continued to say that she "..isn't concerned about Zendayas health or eating habits, but she will never stop calling out celebrities who perpetuate unhealthy lifestyles to young naive teenagers." First off, Jules…. you are clearly concerned about Zendaya and what she's doing. And, how is she perpetuating an unhealthy lifestyle, if that is naturally how she is built?? I’m speaking from the viewpoint of a 32 year old woman, who has never weighed over 120 lbs, aside from the 9 months i was pregnant…..which was 9 years ago. If you know me, then you know i’ve been tiny all my life. I wore my high school homecoming dress to my mom’s retirement party 4 years ago and im not ashamed about it. Now, listen...tiny doesn't always mean healthy, just like tiny doesn't always mean sick, but tiny doesn't necessarily mean happy either. As a kid, I was constantly made fun of for being super skinny, super light skinned, and with so much hair it weighed more than me. I went to predominantly black schools my entire life, and I was constantly compared to the girls with the big boobs and the big butts, and I always found myself coming up short. I then became a tomboy who played basketball and who would come home from school to hide in the closet with a flashlight, reading novels, and writing in notebooks. I created my own worlds because i didn’t quite fit in the world outside yet... boys weren’t too interested in me, so i wasn’t too interested in them, or at least i pretended i wasn’t. Being so “skinny”, I’ve been the butt of just as many weight jokes as the “fat” girl next to me...being so light skinned, I’ve been the butt of as many "black" jokes as the dark skinned girl across from me..my point is, everyone’s struggle is different so you shouldn’t undermine someone else’s just because you can’t directly identify with it yourself. You're not going to take the time to think carefully about possibly insulting someone, if you don't consider their trials and tribulations legitimate. I’ve often found myself in many uncomfortable conversations involving women, and they often stem from smart ass comments like "Girl! Are you hungry? You look like you need a hamburger!” ..My question is, WHY is that deemed appropriate?? or funny for that matter?? Why is that entertaining? Or humorous? Because if I were to say to a bigger girl, “Can i have your hamburger? Looks like you don’t need it.” THEN, all of a sudden it's a problem. All of a sudden I'm the rude one. I'm the insensitive one. I'm the bitch. Why do I have to make an extra effort to be sensitive to your size if you're not sensitive to mine? Why do people think that skinny girls are somehow totally unaffected by insults, but thick girls are directly hurt by the things people say about them? Why do we encourage thick women to feel sexy in their skin but don't encourage little skinny girls to do the same? Why is it ok for bigger girls to be confident in their size, but when smaller girls like myself, or Zendaya says things like, “Yeah, so what? I’m naturally a string bean, and I love it!” Its considered being insensitive to others. Yes…….I can eat a ½ rack of ribs, mashed potatoes, and 2 donuts at 10am and ill be starving again by 2pm, but there’s nothing i can do about that!! Yes, i had a son, and immediately after he was delivered, all my extra baby weight disappeared. Again, NOT..MY..FAULT. I wanted the weight to stay. Trust me, I tried. And yet I was constantly faced with sarcastic skinny jokes and some very mean and rude comments from other people, because they were salty with me that they never lost their baby weight from 5-6 years ago. Again, how is that my fault?? How am I throwing being thin in your face by finding ways to empower my damn self despite my own insecurities?? Maybe you should do the same and stop waiting for other people to validate you according to society's superficial standards. Thick girls matter, Skinny girls matter, and the fact that I even have to talk about this shit, matters. Someone isn't your competition unless you allow them to be, and contrary to popular belief, we ALL can make it.
"Skinny girls don't have image problems," they said. "Society has built them up to glamorize the image of skin and bones, they're worshipped by the media, why should I feel sorry for them? Being skinny isn't a struggle."...... LIES. All Lies. I’ve been in waaaay too many situations before where ive felt as if i should be apologizing for my size, or for anything beyond my control that made “bigger” women around me feel uncomfortable. I just stopped being around the type of people who try to make me feel guilty, for simply being me. No, I do not have a tapeworm. No I'm not bulimic. No I'm not anorexic. No I'm not sick. No, I don't jog 3 times a day, or juice every meal, and I honestly don't take vitamins as often as I should, but there's no medical condition to justify my size. This is it. Like it or not. Take it or leave it. I still have insecurities, no one is perfect, but after time, and with a lot of low points in between, (including several failed weight gain routines, proteins diets, and numerous self esteem meltdowns), i started to accept the fact that i am the way that i am for a reason, and that was when I began to flourish in my flaws and discover the beauty in using my resources. I have learned to love the process of loving myself, embracing myself, celebrating myself, exactly as I am, no apologies necessary. For instance, those skinny flamingo stick legs that i once would come home crying about in elementary school, now make me money in modeling. I never wanted to be a supermodel, but i soon learned that i could get people familiar with my face, and get them familiar with what i have to say, and what i write at the same time. Again I say.... Resources. Use what you have. I soon realized that I didn’t have to decide on just one. I could be a model, a writer, a friend, a woman, a lover, and most importantly, a mom…because, you don’t have to choose, you just have to prioritize.
I remember having a discussion with someone.. lets just say a "friend".. right around the time my son was almost two years old...there was a new park opening up downtown with lots of green space and a splash pad so we slapped on our swimsuits for a Sunday outside with the kids. Most of my swimsuits were bikini's, but being that I’d probably be walking around with a baby on my hip, i put on my one piece bathing suit...(which by the way was very much so still a one piece, just cut out a little bit by the tummy, ..ya know, for flare, LOL).. She took one look at me and said “You’re going like THAT?” I mean, my hair probably needed to be combed a little, but I responded with a confidently yet unsure “Um..yeah…?” After further discussion, she said she only meant what she said because we were going around “kids and other moms” so to speak...i was totally confused. Do i not have a kid? Am i not a mom too? Am i not a woman? Do i have to choose between being a mom and being a woman? What does a "mom" dress like? ..To this day I still have so many questions. But as stated before, part of my journey growing as a mother, and as woman, was falling in love with the many sides to being me, and realizing that i can be a mom, and a daughter, and an employee, and a wife, and still be sexy, and respectful, and passionate, and confident, and happy. You can too have all these things at once, the entire point of having the damn cake is being able to eat it too. Who said i have to stop being sexy just because i’m a mom. Being sexy doesn’t mean you’re a whore, tons of fathers are whores, lots of them unfortunately...so people should stop specifically associating a woman’s self sexual acceptance as hoe activity. What people fail to realize is there is a fine, but very clear, line between fashion and personal expression, comfort in sexuality, art, and pornography. The concept of "Slut Shaming" to me is only affective if you associate yourself with being a slut. Just because you embrace your sexuality doesn't make you a slut. However, what you do with that sexuality, CAN. Listen, I'm not here to drag the Kardashians through the mud, but I'm not the biggest fan. Once again, MY opinion. There are many men and women who unfortunately developed a name for themselves in the public eye for unflattering reasons. So my opinion isn't based on the sex tape, my opinion is based on the fact that we've seen Kim cry about always being linked to her sex tape, we've all heard her vow to never get naked again (in which we all screamed out loud in laughter, lol), and we've all watched her beg on countless occasions to be recognized for more than her sexuality.....however, every time we pop open our social media....there she is again, getting butt ass naked for the gram. If you want people to take you seriously, then stop attaching yourself to an image that you've begged people to disconnect you from. You can't ask to be given the chance to stray away from an over sexualized reputation, when every chance you get you're taking naked pictures for the public and telling people they should accept you for your sexuality. Pick your poison Kim. If you want to be naked, then dammit, be naked...you ain't gotta lie to kick it. The only people you have to explain yourself to is those two little babies than came sliding out of that primetime vagina of yours, and if you're ok with that, then so am i. Same thing with Ayesha Curry, if you want to be covered up, by all means boo boo......cover UP. But you don't have to step on the backs of the women who do show a little skin in order to complement yourself. I may not agree with the way Amber Rose lives her life, and it's not mine to agree with.....but I admire that she lives her truth. And at the very least, I can put some respek on that, LOL. We should all strive to create a space to love ourselves. A space that is comfortable, and welcoming. A space where we can undress ourselves away from our insecurities, and dance in our own reflections. A space where we don't find ourselves apologizing for our misfits. A place for you to be a thick girl, a skinny girl, a light girl, a dark girl, a sexy girl, and a shy girl, or whatever you are, at your core....a place of appreciating the diversity and the intersectionality of being a woman...a place where you can be Beyoncé' AND Sasha Fierce. Because we all are beautiful, and we all CAN make it <3