First off, let me say I like my body. My big butt, small boobs, wide hips (insert child-bearing joke here) and big thighs have been good to me, as I am healthy and happy, and am lucky to never have suffered any major health-related calamities. However, I will also say that going back to elementary school I have been battling my body in my mind, trying to figure out why I would never have svelte legs, grow taller, have bigger breasts, or generally look like anyone on TV.
I know this is an old story and that I’m not the only one to re-tell it, but I think it’s a discussion worth having. I didn’t really consider myself attractive until I graduated from college in the Silicon Valley (Where I was told more than once, “It’s okay Sara, at least you have a pretty face.”) and found myself along the border (Where I couldn’t run away fast enough from the wagging tongues waiting for my skirt to blow up in the wind). At this point in my life, along the border, I found that, whatever “it” was, I had it — and lots of it!
Perhaps it’s tragic and anti-feminist to say that, once I was in a place where men (and women, too) valued the way my body looked, I felt better about it myself. We shouldn’t be measuring our self-worth against the standards of others, right? But that’s the whole point. When you live in a society, your measures of self-worth are created in-part by your society’s values, and since I was a husky-non-slim-kid-turned-voluptuous-young-woman, it took me a long time to realize that just beneath the macro version of these values was a whole different world.
When I started boxing for the first time, I slimmed down beyond my wildest dreams into my abuelita telling me repeatedly I was too skinny territory. I look back at those photos and I realize how skinny I actually was. Yet, at the time the problem for me was that I wasn’t skinny enough — I just couldn’t get my butt to be any smaller, my thighs to be any thinner or my boobs to be any bigger. It was a hard nut to crack.
Finally, perhaps it was maturity or being fastidiada with so much drama, I have given up on trying to will my body to look differently. Now, I just accept the fact that I’m fine the way I am. It’s okay to walk around in a body that doesn’t resemble TV’s “American beauty” because I am healthy and beautiful in my voluptuousness. While I may never be “American skinny,” I do consider myself to be “Latina skinny.” And what’s more, as far as my family and friends are concerned, I look fine. Most importantly, when it comes to my potential mates, those big hips and thighs and butt are perfect — even if it would take lots of surgery to get to Pamela Anderson’s cup size.