Yesterday’s conversation with my mother all started with an aerobics class.
Afterward I was flipping through a catalog as we had breakfast and I stopped on an ad for weight loss pills mentioned how nice it would be to have a magical pill that just melted the weight off those ‘trouble’ places. That’s when mom mentioned that when she saw me across the room during aerobics and it hit her how healthy I look. She said I’m not too big, and not too small, my hair has a lovely thickness and luster and I was doing all the moves with grace and ease.
I agree. I work out, I eat right and I value the strength and energy I feel on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the industry does not know where to slot me. They only seem to see the female form in extremes. Either you’re the fat girl, or you’re the thin one – there is no ‘in between.’
Therefore we are lacking proper representation of normal healthy females. The amount of times I’ve been told to either gain thirty pounds, or lose twenty, has left my head spinning.
Part of why I wanted to get into television and film was to give an alternative to the extremes. It hit me a few years ago when I was at the lake with my little sister. She didn’t want to go swimming because she’d have to take off her shirt and shorts. She was so young and beautiful but already had body issues.
I was standing there encouraging her to jump in with me, telling her not to care about how she looked, when it hit me. There I was, covering up my own body with shirt and shorts basically giving her a walking contradiction – “do as I say, not as I do.” At that moment I decided to lead by example. I shed the outer layers and stood loud and proud in nothing but my bathing suit.
It was the first time in years my upper thighs had seen the sun, and it felt good. It felt even better to look at Tia who now wore a huge smile on her face and had followed my lead.
Then, we took each others hand and ran, laughing, into the water together.
Body dysmorphia is alive and well and to think that anyone is invulnerable is ignorant and dangerous. It is time to take control over what we are teaching the next generation. Shed those inhibitions and be free.