My body and me
I have never really had much of an issue with my weight, although according to my mother, grandmother, society, and doctor, I should. The reason being is that I’m 5’6” tall and I weigh 211 pounds. This is not considered beautiful in our society, and not to mention I am also heavily tattooed. The issue with my grandmother I find kind of ironic though because when I was at a nice, “healthy” weight, I was too skinny and she would overfeed me. Now that I’m overweight, I’m too fat and she asks me on a daily basis if I’m dieting, if I’m doing something about this, what am I eating. It seems as if she’s never satisfied, and I also noticed that she never did the same with my brothers. Granted, I don’t eat anything but junk food all the time and I know it’s horrible for me, but frankly I don’t have the time or the money right now to eat any better. I know that sounds horrible, but if you really think about it the foods that are supposed to be good for you cost so much more than the foods that are bad for you, and they take time to prepare and right now with the demands of my job, my schooling, and my family, time is a luxury that I don’t have. I’m also not a big fan of starving myself or of denying my body food it craves, which is problem number one when it comes to my weight-I’m not in control of my body, my body is in control of my body.
But I have to wonder if this has always been a problem with me or if it’s progressively gotten worse as I aged. When I was in high school I was always really active. I was in softball, I was in cheerleading, I was in anything that would keep my attention for long enough and not treat me badly. The moment I felt these sports started treating me badly, I quit. With cheerleading it was when I kept getting told by my cheerleading coach that I was too fat and I needed to lose weight because they only made uniforms a certain size. Mind you, I fit into the uniform but the problem with the uniform was the skirt. These skirts were made for girls that were either way shorter than me or had no ass. I have an ass and I’m very proud of my ass. It was this ass that got the boys attention in school, it’s this same ass that cushioned me when I had to slid into bases in softball, or all the times I fell off my bike as a kid, it was there to make sure I didn’t really hurt myself. Not to mention trying to lose it would take a great amount of work because having a big ass runs in my family. No matter how fat or skinny you are all the women in my family have a big, Cuban ass. It’s not going to go away very easily, it would actually be going against nature if I tried, and these cheerleading skirts were so short that part of my ass would hang out the bottom. I’m also a pretty tall girl. Not extraordinarily tall, but taller than all the girls on the squad, so of course the skirt wasn’t going to cover me right, I was too freaking tall for it! Somehow the coach didn’t catch on that maybe what she was asking me to do was not a matter of me losing weight but a matter of my body shape and size, and that’s what the problem with the uniform was. She was asking me to go against what was given to me when I was created to suit her ideal of the perfect cheerleading body and how it was supposed to fit in these 5 year old, hand me down uniforms, and I was not about to put my body through all of that simply so that I could look petite in a uniform, when there was nothing petite about me.
I know in this society there are people who love tattoos, and people who will think I am just Cuban trash because of them. Frankly, I’ve gotten used to the stares and the comments as well as the praise and the curiosity. You’d swear though that walking around the streets in Miami showing off your tattoos that the side show circus has come to town with the way people stare as if there is something wrong with me. It gets annoying at times especially when it feels like it’s a thousand degrees outside and I have to cover up from head to toe for work because of my tattoos, but it’s a choice I made almost 13 years ago, and I’m not going to say I regret it-because I don’t-I just wish I wouldn’t be judged harshly over my decision.
I actually have a really funny story about this. There was one day that I was at the mall doing some shopping. I think it was around Christmas time, but I’m not entirely sure. As I was walking through the mall I noticed this little girl who was looking at me with all the curiosity of a little girl wondering what all the colors on my body are about. Most kids think that I took a crayon or a marker to my body and just painted myself like they do with markers. It was really cute how she was looking at me, and then all of a sudden her mother grabs her and puts her on the other side of her and glares at me as if I was going to eat her kid or something. If she only knew who I was she wouldn’t have done that. If she only knew that I was a college student, that I was educated, that I worked in a corporate job and have been entrusted to raise a child as well, she wouldn’t have done that. But the fact that there is this stigma in society about how people who get tattoos are bikers or gang members, she automatically assumed her daughter was in danger.
I see my tattoos as body modifications. They’re my adornment, just like women who decide to wear earrings, necklaces, and rings; I decided to adorn my body as well but with tattoos. I don’t sit there and judge women who have gotten plastic surgery to enlarge their breasts or to take the wrinkles out of their face, or have gotten a tummy tuck, even though I think they shouldn’t have because they need to be happy with what they were given, but I guess the same could be said about me. The thing is that I’m not putting my health and my life on the line simply so I could have bigger boobs, they are, and they are risking their lives for this version of what femininity is supposed look like and that’s scary. Yet somehow, I’m the one that’s judged in society as a freak because I have the tattoos, but these frankenwomen are perfectly acceptable because they’re making themselves more “feminine” by societal standards. I think that’s horrible and I’m glad that the media at least puts the message out there on occasions when someone does die on the table from plastic surgery. Not that I’m happy that they died, because I’m not, just that I’m happy it’s not covered up and swept under the rug as a normal consequence of what you’re putting yourself through and going on with their daily lives. What I’m referring to is Kanye West’s mother who decided to have surgery, and I forget for what, but ended up dying on the table. The worst part about it is that Kanye paid for the surgery and now he’s going to have to live with the guilt of helping to facilitate in his mothers’ death when it was something that could have been avoided, and all for what, to be more beautiful? She already was. I sympathize with him because I do know what it’s like to lose someone important, but I feel it was something that could have been avoided had she just realized that she was beautiful just the way she is.
I don’t agree with plastic surgery for vain reasons. I believe you should be happy with your body just the way it is because it is who you are and part of what has shaped you to become the person you are today. I have accepted the fact that I’m a big girl even though society says that I should be as thin as one of my thighs. I have accepted the repercussions that come with my tattoos, because that is the choice I made and I’m going to stick by it. I have accepted that there’s very little I can do to change my appearance except on occasions to wear make-up or change my hair style but I don’t make a point to go all out every day because that’s not who I am. I have a natural beauty, just like all women do, and I’m going to flaunt that for all it’s worth, because even as I’ve aged the parts that have changed have refined themselves and made me beautiful in different ways, and I swear that when I’m older and my hair has gone all white, I’m still going to tout my long hair as if it was the thing to have and I’m going to be proud of my wrinkles and my liver spots, because these are the battle scars for the war that I’ve lived through. They will be my trophies for overcoming all the obstacles life has thrown my way and I will wear them with honor and dignity just like any soldier does with their metals.