MY THUNDER THIGHS COME WITH A SIDE OF ROLLS @BreannaChanelle
On an average day, if you were to ask me how I feel about my physical appearance my response may without a doubt, leave you with the impression of me being a narcissist. After speaking about the way I love to rub coconut oil all over the thickness of my thunder thighs and round booty, I would then move on to describe my beautiful brown eyes and full lips – and if you give me the opportunity to proceed I would let you know why my stellar personality and sense of humour matched with these incredulous physical traits make me a well-rounded beautiful human being.
Nonetheless, on an average night you can catch me creeping the pages of Instagram models with the fattest booties, widest hips and flattest stomachs, looking at myself and wondering what I did so wrong that my physique is nowhere near as attractive as theirs.
In my high-school years I had what most people today would consider #BodyGoals, I had a flat stomach, thick thighs and a round booty – I didn’t have much to offer in the chest region, but that didn’t matter because I had enough booty to make up for it. As I transitioned to university, late nights, early mornings, stress and a slower metabolism began to transform my body. I received more booty, more thighs and I now had breasts (I praised God for that one)! Along with these embellished assets came an embellished mid-section, and I quickly realized that based on society’s standards, the thick woman is only beautiful when her thickness does not include side rolls, back fat and a stomach bulge.
Though my new body at times made me feel less attractive, it wasn’t until I looked back at some pictures from an event I hosted in November of 2016 that I really realized how much weight I had gained.
I remember being so excited to see the pictures! I loved my outfit and I couldn’t wait to see how it translated in the pictures, plus anyone who knows me knows that I’m a serial Instagram poster so I was ready to annoy everyone on my timeline with all my hot pictures – then I saw them. I laid on my bed in darkness and cried for 30 minutes that night, because all I could see was a double chin, a bulging stomach and arms that were much larger than I had ever seen them. After turning to a few friends for comforting words I decided that I was going to make a change. I was going to spend my Christmas break shrinking this waist by any means necessary!
I started working out, cut out bread and rice, stopped eating fast food every day and within a month I was down 12 pounds! I was absolutely loving the results, my face no longer looked swollen and my side rolls were melting away. Then second semester started, my schedule got hectic again, I was stressed, money got tight because my school schedule only allowed me to work a couple days a week, so I was unable to keep up with purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables weekly – long story short I fell off.
Lately I’ve really been thinking about the effects that my weight gain has had on my esteem. While I know that I’m still beautiful, when I’m in a room with other women I question how my beauty compares to theirs. It’s extremely embarrassing to admit, but I even at times compare myself to my sisters and girlfriends and though my booty, thighs and hips always pass the test of comparison, my bulging stomach, side rolls and fat face always make me feel less sexy.
Self-love rhetoric has become quite popular in recent years. Everywhere we look we can find quotes, videos or memes reminding women of all colors, shapes and sizes to be comfortable in their skin and embrace every inch of their being. We all nod our heads and re-post, but many of us are addicted to negative self-thought and even in the very moments that we declare self-love we’re doubting the validity of our aesthetic beauty.
People often try to comfort individuals dealing with negative body image by letting them know that, “beauty isn’t skin deep”. For many years I recited that sentiment, and while I agree that beauty exists far beyond the confines of aesthetics I don’t think it’s fair to wave off a person’s negative perception of their physicality by simply telling them that “it’s okay to be physically ugly, because they can still win with a beautiful soul”.
Instead I believe that we should use those moments of insecurity to examine exactly what we define as physical beauty, and where exactly those ideas of beauty come from.
The reality is, our self image rarely has anything to do with us, and everything to do with how we believe other people view us. We adapt their perceptions of beauty, and then when we don’t fit into their mould we call ourselves ugly and truly begin to see and feel ugly when we look in the mirror.
But what if we decided to own our definitions of physical beauty? What if we could examine every beauty doctrine that has been fed to us and create our own definition of beauty that we don’t have to squeeze into? What if our definitions of beauty included us?
Though some of us may disguise our insecurities better than others the reality is, we’re all in this together. I know I can’t be the only one who stays up at devilish hours of the night scrolling through pictures on Instagram and squeezing in my belly to see how I can possibly come close to all the Insta-model bodies I see.
My challenge to us is this: Write down your definition of physical beauty, and beside it write down all of the ways your body doesn’t match that definition. Examine it really well and try to think about what factors contributed to your ideals about what is beautiful and what is not.
After that throw that stupid definition away and create a new one, but this time shape your definition to match your appearance and not the other way around, because you should always be your own standard of beauty. Stop trying to fit into boxes, humans were not made to be packaged.
And lastly, as I always say, “My body has been through way too much for me to ever hate her”. Think of all of the things your body has had to endure just to allow you to be here in this moment: surgeries, long working hours, abuse, child birth, puberty… the list is never ending.
How could something so powerful not be beautiful?
(Poet / Spoken Word Artist)
A life without stories is a life without truth.