I wear my pounds with PRIDE.
Society praises you. There are literally jobs you can get that I cannot (cough cough, model, cough cough). Most of the economic world caters to your every need, from clothing to airline seats, from narrow shoes to sizes XXS where there's no XL. From television to magazines, from novels to day dreams, the world is your oyster. You're accepted, fangirl-ed and, well ... normal.
At what point in my life did I become so hyper-aware of my body? Growing up in Jacksonville, Florida, where the weather ranges from 80 to 105 degrees for a solid nine months out of the year, I've flaunted my curvy body for the world to see since childhood, in my mom-required one piece because my body didn't "look its best" in a bikini.
My adoring parents did little to placate my mild body issues, as my mother grew up with similar curves and her own mother hinted (in the oh-so-sweet Southern way) that she could maybe "shed a few pounds."
I'm young, only 22 years old, with a lifetime battle between my curves and my stomach ahead of me. I have curves; I have a body that's uniquely my own. My hourglass figure draws attention at times, but never really blends in the way I would like.
I don't get to wear open, backless dresses for fear of putting on a show. Nor can I wear a cropped top with low-rise jeans. (But no one should, so I guess I'm #blessed.) But I can wear boyfriend jeans without looking like an actual boy ... and doctors tell me that my hips will make for easier child-bearing, which I guess one day is a good thing.
I'm at an odd stage between plus-size and "regular" size (whatever that means); I'm something uniquely my own. In this society of body equality, why am I finding myself constantly weary of my curves? (Maybe it has to do more with my own insecurities, and less to do with society's idea of beauty?)
My therapist say it has something to do with boys calling me fat during fourth grade art class. Or the fact that my older sister is basically a waif and makes me question every extra ounce of avocado on my salad.
I look back at pictures of myself from my senior year of high school, a solid four years ago. I'm smiling next to my first serious boyfriend, skinny and glowing from my bout of young love. Now, I see myself four years older, my face thinning out a bit, with a body boasting newfound curves and a fullness that can only be attributed to the freshman 15 that I'm still trying to shake.
These days, my extra pounds are a physical representation of the knowledge I've gained over the last four years. I wear them like a talisman of the good, the bad, the ugly and downright amazing times.
All photos: Cara Difabio
I still roll my eyes at my skinny older sister — and all the other girls who were born with fast metabolisms and choose salads over hamburgers —but I'd much rather be the girl that can appreciate a good meal than the hangry girl bitching out the barista in Starbucks, living off of their non-fat, skinny mocha lattes and counting down the minutes until her next cheese cube.
Not A Size Zero