The Unconfident Preaching Confidence

The other day I was out shopping with my mom. It’s not even summer and the weather is scorching in Ohio. Of course it’s time to look for shorts and tank tops. Both of us being heavier it makes things quite difficult. We live in a society where, if you don’t have a tiny waist and small thighs, you should cover up. For months now I’ve been trying to lose weight and have lost over 30lbs so far. I’m not confident in myself even with this progress, but then again I can’t think of a time in my life where I was. While looking through racks and racks of summer clothes my mom got frustrated because the shorts were “too short”. I said “So? That’s how shorts are made nowadays unless you want something baggy/cargo.” She kept telling me that she couldn’t go out in shorts way above the knee and every time she kept saying “I can’t” my reply was “Says who?” I tried to explain to her as long as you’re happy with it, the outfit isn’t ill fitting, and it’s not breaking dress codes at work then who is to say you can’t wear them. All the while I’m telling her to buy whatever shorts she wants I pass up crop tops that I really really want because I don’t have a flat stomach as of yet. I kicked myself as I left the store because I couldn’t believe I let that voice in my head tell me that those tops weren’t for me. I hate that as women we feel this way. Meanwhile, as we left I continued to tell my mother not to let anyone tell her what she can and can’t wear based on her shape. She then told me how she can’t get rid over her extra weight. “It’s not easy,” I told her. “But you have to be willing to work at it and stay with it.”
From her point of view I can see why she has these body image issues. Not only is this how our society thinks, it’s how she was raised. Most women in her family have body image issues and, to be honest, it’s by their own doing for the most part. They focus a lot on image and tear down the appearance of others, even though on the inside they hate themselves. I never understood their mentality growing up (I guess that’s why I’m the black sheep). I have an aunt that, for as far back as I can remember, always had to have name brand clothing, obsessed over weight, diet, makeup, etc and if you weren’t up on her level image wise she’d turn her nose up at you… all while she battled bulimia. She was heaver as a teenager and while no one talks about it I assumed she turned to an eating disorder because of teasing from perhaps classmates as well as family. I have witnessed these women gossip about others weight and looks since birth, so naturally I do too. I try to catch myself, because whether I grew up with it or not I know what it feels like to be called ugly and fat and there’s no excuse for me to pass that type of negativity to someone else and make them feel horrible. Even to this day when I started losing weight I was almost brought to tears when my grandma told me she could tell I had lost a lot of weight. It made me tear up because from them all I would hear about is my weight gain or negativity about my appearance, not the positive or recognizing my progress. Even my own mother has not recognized my progress. When I tell her it’s almost as it she doesn’t want to hear it and I know it’s because she’s mad at herself that she hasn’t made this type of change for herself.
Growing up around bitter people or not I still tried to drill into my mother’s head that she should own her body. If she doesn’t like it do something about it, but for now to work with what she’s got and not to let anyone tell her she’s less than because she’s not a size 4. Now my next step is to stop looking in the mirror and seeing someone I hate, but to also own my body and love my body. It’s a work in progress.
By: Asia Aneka Anderson

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