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Old 06-29-2013, 08:42 AM   #1
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Default Body image & your experience growing up

This morning BB sent me a short article called:

"When your mother says she's fat"

http://www.rolereboot.org/life/detai...fEUQV5tQ.email

It's a woman writing of her experience as a young child hearing her mother describe herself as fat and consequently unworthy and how each generation of parents in her family impacts the next one in regard to beauty and body image.

It made me think about my own experiences growing up and also want to hear other people's experiences on this topic. Thus this thread is for one to share one's own story and memories about growing up and how your family and those around you taught you about beauty and body image.

(I'll write of my own experience too in a separate post from this one)
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Old 06-29-2013, 09:01 AM   #2
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Wow, great thread Jennifer! I'll be writing of my own experiences in another post as well...
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Old 06-29-2013, 09:52 AM   #3
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Here are some memories from my growing up years in relation to beauty and body image:

1) I was very young, maybe 6, and eating some peanut butter crackers (the little packaged kind), and my mom tried to stop me from eating them but I ignored it because I was hungry, and they tasted good so why not. My mom, becoming irritated, said, "If you want to be fat, keep eating them." I remember it froze me. I could tell she was threatening me with some ominous mother wisdom, and it scared me. I put down the crackers.

2) I was a little older (still a child), and my mom and I were in her bedroom talking about how we were too fat and how flawed each of our body parts looked. My brother, Dave, was sitting there too, bored and unable to change the conversation. He left, and when we came out I saw he had put a sign on the door that said, "Women complaining about their bodies. Enter at your own risk." Ha! I always appreciated his snark. I think it also points out how the boy in the family was not as concerned about his body and was not made to feel as concerned.

3) Some of the more disturbing memories: I was in junior high, and my dad took me out and bought me an expensive sexy dress that he told me not to tell my mom about. He said, "My buying this for you is a promise from you that you will make sure that you always stay a size 3." I stayed silent because it was all so weird, and it was clear a response was not wanted, that a strange directive was being issued. What a horrible thing he did! It stayed with me.

4) I remember my mom and I dressed up going out for dinner with my dad and my brother when I was in high school. My mom and I appeared at the same time in our dresses, and my dad looked only at me telling me how beautiful and thin I looked. My mom said sadly, like a small child, "What about me?" He just ignored it, as if she hadn't spoken. That panicky feeling that I always felt in my home growing up came on full force.

5) When I was high school age, my mom approached me on a weekend and told me angrily that one of her friends, H., saw me at the shopping center and could tell I wasn't wearing a bra. Oh, that burned me (bra burning pun intended). This same friend of my mom's at one point, when I was about 8 years old, saw me eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and let me know that I should never ever eat peanut butter because it is too high in fat. What is it with everyone torturing me about my love for peanut butter before I was even ten-years-old!

6) Teen years: My father always telling me I look like a slut; a night on the street a drunk man yelling out that I looked like a whore and my father yelling back that he agreed instead of protecting me. This instead became a funny story in our family.

7) In college I was borderline anorexic. I loved the care in my mother's voice when she'd say, "I'm worried about you. You're too thin." My father would yell at her for saying that, stating instead that I could never be too thin.

8) Then there was my mid-twenties when I moved to NYC, when my father left my mother for another woman and I was in the middle of an ugly divorce battle, when I suffered a brutal sexual assault, when I joined FLAB (Fat Lesbian Action Brigade), all while at the same time focusing on completing my master's degree and working as a social worker. That's when I ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, as much comfort food as I wanted, and became fat. My family backed away in shock, horrified. It was kind of satisfying. Since then I've gone up and down over the years and can't stand when people comment about it. I always feel, "My body, my business!"

9) For awhile all my mom could talk to me about was how fat I was and how awful that was. Finally, I confronted her about it in a real way, about feeling like all that mattered to her was my "flawed" body and not me. Our relationship had improved tons since she and my dad were no longer together, and she was able to hear it. To show me she heard me, she mailed me a very caring letter with a necklace with my birthstone. She wrote (paraphrasing), "This necklace is a symbol of a new beginning of accepting you as you are." Does she stick to that entirely? No, things are too ingrained, but the necklace and the care behind it means the world to me.

Nice to end on a positive note
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Old 06-29-2013, 10:21 AM   #4
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nycfembbw, thank you for sharing your experiences. They really struck a cord with me. I know I will eventually share my story too, but right now I'm just going to chew on it for awhile. Thank you for creating this wonderful thread.
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Old 11-03-2014, 07:35 PM   #5
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nycfem, thanks for being so open about your struggles. I am sure while freeing, there is still a sting. thanks.
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Old 11-03-2014, 07:50 PM   #6
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10 years ago, I would have never considered sharing anything personal about myself with anyone, let alone in a forum like this.

My experience with body-image growing up was a little twisted.

From the time I can remember food was a big deal in my family. Everything revolved around it. I am from the south, not saying everyone in the south is like this but my family is. Every holiday was over-indulgence, food pushers and shame if you did not partake in the tradition. "well gramma cut that pie just for you".

Now, the interesting part is that on one hand it was all about the food, on the other hand it was about those horrible noises from mom's bathroom after her indulgence. For years, I wondered why she was always ill, until I learned that what she was doing kept things "under control for her".

From that point on, I learned how to "keep things under control" for myself. The lines of healthy and unhealthy became insanely blurred. I could no longer look into a mirror and see what I really looked like, distortion was all I knew. It took many years to be able to learn to control things in a more healthy way. I still have my moments, but am thankful for the people and myself for giving me a chance and inspiring me to see things differently.
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Old 11-03-2014, 08:19 PM   #7
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Wow Nycfem! Thank you so much for creating this thread! Reading your experiences really hit home. I have so many moments in my life that have impacted my body image today.

1) My mother has always been very concerned with her weight. As a small child, I remember her following all the fad diets. One involved diet pills that led to my mother being hospitalized. At that time the doctor put it quite simply, he told her "Eat or die. You decide but you have 2 kids waiting at home."

2) I was in the sixth grade and was a size 9. My sister was in the 11th grade and a size 12. My father believed we were too over weight and he would tell us we would never be part of "the ball game" if we lose weight. One morning he told us to get dressed to run an errand with him. That day, he drove us to a workout gym (we had no idea) and left us there for the day This proceeded for the rest of the summer.

3) We grew up poor. My mother showed us she loved us through food. We didn't have much, but food was abundant. Emotional eating was the result.
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Old 11-03-2014, 08:26 PM   #8
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Food was everything growing up.

Friendship.
Entertainment.
Fuel.
Love.
Comfort.
Rage.

I ate to fill the holes that the people in my life created. Holes from abuse. Holes from emotion distance. Holes from being smothered. Holes from being forced to be the adult from age 5. Holes from being bounced around. Holes from public baths of sexism and misogyny.

I ate because I subconsciously thought that I would be unattractive and that unattractive would be good. I had no idea that proximity, circumstance and my age had everything to do with it and not my actual physical self.

Forced to view myself in others' eyes, the picture got distorted. My self worth and identity got snarled up in emotional knots that I covered with junk food and tears.

I think it's great that kids growing up have public figures like Meghan Trainor and Destiny's Child and Christina Aguilera and Mary Lambert and see programs like the Dove Self Esteem Project and umpteen others because it's damn hard being a human being nowadays, much less a female human being. The box we're put into gets smaller and smaller with every passing moment.
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Old 11-03-2014, 10:00 PM   #9
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This very subject has been on my mind recently. I had an EXTREMELY fucked up childhood when it came to body image and body shaming. It's interesting because tonight I was texting with my mom and when I asked her how she was doing and one of her responses was "I'm feeling fat." Which I haven't heard her say in a long time and it kind of just sucker punched me in the gut. "Feeling fat" in our family, from her, is pretty much code for covering up any actual feeling. Instead of feeling sad, or depressed, or angry, or whatever--you just "felt fat." We didn't talk about actual feelings. Here are some choice bits from my childhood:

1) My mom struggled with her weight and was constantly dieting throughout my childhood. I remember her doing weight watchers when I was very little and she lost a bunch of weight. I'm pretty sure she did this partially by starving herself, and we had lots of diet food in the house. Everything was diet. Food was "bad". Eating was "bad". My mom also struggled with mental illness and frequently we didn't even have meals. I used to steal food from the cabinets and eat in secret when I was little, and sometimes hoard food in my room. Eating was shameful to me, something to be done in secret.

2) I grew up in a neighborhood with lots of kids. For some crazy reason, all the girls in the neighborhood were obsessed with weight (probably because of their mothers) and it was a regular occurrence for someone to drag a scale out of their house and demand that we all weight ourselves. I was a good head taller than other kids my age, and also just built differently--so I was always the heaviest and severely shamed for this. I was told I was disgusting and was often called fat by the kids in my neighborhood. I remember specifically one time I was walking down the street and everyone was throwing rocks at me and calling me a fat cow.

3) I started developing at a young age. I needed a bra when I was in fourth grade, and had an ass and hips and thighs at a time when all the other girls in my class were still flat as boards. I got made fun of for needing a bra. I began to obsess even more about how much I weighed and what size I wore. I remember being SO ashamed that I wore an adult women's size 8 in fourth grade. I no longer fit into kids clothes, and I was still living in this neighborhood with these girls harping on about how fat they were, when they were far tinier than me. I tried to hide my body, hide what size I wore, I stopped stepping on their scale.

4) When I was in fourth grade there was a boy who was particularly mean to me. One day I wore a new outfit to school that I loved and felt really good in, which was unusual. It was a purple plaid button down shirt that had a bow at the neck and lavender corduroy overalls that went over it. Yeah, in the 80's that was the shit LOL. Anyway, this boy was totally harassing me on my way home from school and he was calling me fat and making fun of my outfit. He picked me up and threw me into the bushes, in some mud. It ruined my outfit and I also got scratches everywhere from the bushes.

5) In fifth grade, I broke my leg and had to wear a cast up to my hip. I was at my friend's house and her big cousin was there. He said he wanted to sign the back of my cast, so I was laying on my friend's bed on my stomach. He started bouncing up and down on the bed and laughed at how the back of my thighs and my butt jiggled. I cried and yelled at him to stop, and I couldn't get away from him because of my broken leg. My friend laughed with him and I remember feeling incredibly betrayed.

6) My mom's weight went up and down throughout my childhood, and she always "felt fat", or was criticizing her body in some way. I don't remember her or my dad ever saying much about my weight when I was fat, but I was always praised when I lost weight, which was always from starving myself. I just learned to criticize my body from my mother, but it was other kids who were the most cruel. I also remember doctors constantly saying I needed to lose weight when I was a kid.

7) When I was in junior high most of my friends, with the exception of one, were a size zero. I wore a size 10-12. I weighed 135 pounds. I constantly felt enormous and disgusting and hated even standing near them because I was so big in comparison. I hated clothes shopping with them. I was constantly aware of my size and weight. I stopped eating lunch at school--I didn't want anyone to know I actually ate. I didn't deserve food because everyone else was so small and I was huge and disgusting.

8) When I was in high school I went dress shopping with my mom and grandmother. I was going to a Christmas dance. I found this beautiful short sleeved, dark green velvet dress. It was a size 14 and fit me like a glove. It showed off every curve and I was INCREDIBLY self-conscious. Most girls I knew did not have curves like that. My mom and grandmother were actually very encouraging. My grandmother told me I had a beautiful shape, and my mom kept telling how great the dress looked and how I had a lovely body and some boy was going to like those curves. I couldn't see it. All I could see was that the dress was a size 14 and I was not supposed to be that big. I bought that dress and went to that dance but I did not feel pretty. When I look at pictures from that night I basically had Marilyn Monroe's body LOL. Too bad I couldn't enjoy that.

9) I never dated in high school. I think partially because there was a dearth of people I'd actually be interested in (namely butches)--but I was also terrified of anyone touching me. I was afraid some boy would feel me up and figure out my breasts were really lopsided and tell everyone. And how could I ever have sex with a boy smaller than me? (To me--EVERYONE was smaller than me.) I thought about my thighs and my hips and about how no one would ever want to see that. I failed gym because I refused to go swimming. All the girls wore long t-shirts to swim, even the skinny ones. But I just couldn't make myself do it.

10) In college I lost a LOT of weight by not eating. And also because I got really sick for a long time. I got ton of compliments about how I looked, even though my weight loss was incredibly unhealthy. I went home to get surgery at one point and my parents noticed how much weight I lost and told me how great I looked. Even though I was home so sick I needed surgery.

The saddest part of all this is I probably have like 100 more horrible examples of how I have been body shamed in my formative years. How I was called fat or had different parts of my body picked apart, had to listened to my mom talk about how much she hated her own body. And that's not even to talk about the myriad of ways my body was violently and sexually violated. I don't even know how to begin to love my body, honestly.

How are you doing tonight, mom? "I'm feeling fat."
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Old 11-04-2014, 12:24 AM   #10
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Default Thank you for bumping this thread.

These are just some discombobulated thoughts and observations so hopefully someone will be able to parse some meaning or common bond from them and realize they're not so alone.

Growing up, I always thought I was pretty homely. It wasn't until fairly recently that I started to question that belief.

Anyway... I was a somewhat chunky kid, but "proportionally" so, and always taller than my peers, so instead of being described as "fat," I'd euphemistically be described as "solid," "husky," "big boned," or "larger" (larger than what, exactly?). When I finally stopped growing at ten years old, I was already 5'8 and felt like a freak around the pretty, petite girls and scrawny, petite-for-now boys who were my friends.

I was jokingly called "Baby Huey" by my family for years.

I was always urged to play sports because of my relative size and hated basketball (that catch-all sport that all the tall girls are nudged into playing) but liked soccer... until the year at camp when I was 11 and accidentally broke the ankle of the sporty, also-husky dyke camp counsellor while skirmishing for the ball. She had to be carried off the field on a stretcher and wasn't able to return for a few days. When she did, she hobbled around on crutches and a cast and jokingly made the sign of the cross around me. That pretty much solidified any feelings I had about sports being not for me and I was frankly afraid of my body's size and strength and didn't know what to do with it.

For years I got the "oh, you'd have such a pretty figure/would be such a pretty girl if you just lost X amount of weight" or "oh, if you only dressed more feminine or hung out with the popular girls more, maybe they'd rub off on you."

I was never called pretty or cute or beautiful when I was a little girl and definitely not as a teenager. I was never the cute kid or the "future heartbreaker" or any of the very gendered stuff we describe little girls as. I did have nice hair though which, while thick and long and forming natural ringlets on its own, was also the cause of many tears and frustrating mornings before school trying to get out the knots before the bus came. We, along with my flat iron, have a bit of a love-hate relationship now. I never got the "oh, you have such a pretty face" comments that so many of the "bigger" girls patronizingly got (and still get) and over time I figured that people were just being nice by not stating (what was, to me) the obvious: that I was ugly and fat and monstrous and they were trying to mask their surprise that someone with such a beautiful mother could end up being such a disappointment.

I did have an eating disorder in high school and university which, though I suspect my family knew it was there, was encouraged and hailed as a sign of self-discipline and single-mindedness as I was getting results and shrinking pretty rapidly in front of them. I was starving myself, having greyouts, and exercising like a heart attack-begging fool, but hey, I took up less space and was easier to shop for on birthdays and holidays so it wasn't seen as a bad thing.

I remember very clearly one incident in high school which was seared into my brain when a family friend, late 40's and wistful about not having children of her own, was talking to me late one night about how my mother gave birth to such a beautiful daughter (singular... for the record, my mother has three, two of which share her genes, of which I am one)... and then went on to gush about how attractive my younger sister is. "She's so beautiful and so sweet! And those eyes! She looks just like a young Elizabeth Taylor!" I remember getting very quiet and I guess I must have given her a slightly sullen, stifled teenaged "what am I, chop liver?" look as she quickly backtracked after an awkward few moments and sheepishly added, "oh, and of course, you're a pretty girl, too..." followed by a rapid subject change...

Which brings me to my mother...

My mother was and still is a great beauty. She's like this beautiful, confident, fiery, feminine cross between Julianna Margulies from ER and Cher circa, say, 1989 in her leather phase. She was (is) gorgeous and everyone around her knew it. I grew up hearing how beautiful she was and seeing men of all stripes throwing themselves at her. She was never without a bevy of admirers, flowers, jewellery, gifts, dates... even as a single mother. I remember as a little girl, 3 or 4 years old, watching her sit in front of the mirror for an hour or more doing her makeup before she would ever think of going to the store to get milk or bread and thinking admiringly of how beautiful she was and then followed by a childlike thought of "oh, some day, I'm going to be just like that." And it never came for me. It was expected (by myself and also those around me) but it never happened. Family kept saying, "oh, just wait until you reach high school and you'll have to beat them off with a stick." Well, high school came and went and it never happened. Then it was "oh, just you wait until university where you'll meet educated, 'intelligent' people and not these silly little boys (girls...) you're dealing with and you'll see..." and it never happened. Then it was "oh, once you lose enough weight, then people will notice you." And yes, it happened slightly, but mostly from greasy, gross, creepy, predatory older men who I had no desire to talk to, much less date... so I was noticed, but not in a good way.

And now it's "oh, are you queer because men just didn't like you?"



Up until recently, like, say, the last two years or so, the only people who ever expressed any appreciation for my looks were those who were trying to get into my pants (or skirt, whatever). I'm not quite sure what changed in the past two years (maybe after many years I've finally mastered the winged eyeliner look? That must be it!) but now I'm being described in complimentary terms by people with no ulterior motives and it's completely thrown me off balance. I know how to deal with being ignored or whispered about or being the girl with the nice personality and big lady-brain but with a body completely lacking in sex appeal or any conventional beauty to speak of, but when a random stranger or someone who doesn't know me well describes me as pretty or beautiful, it feels foreign and shocking. When people first started telling me I was beautiful, I had a voice which instantly started screaming in my head "no, no, no, no, they're lying! What do they want? Why are they trying to trick you? They're being patronizing or phoney or conniving. Stay away from them! Go!" and it's fucked up and I know it. It's still there and it's something I have to push down and work around and get by without. It's caused me to stay in relationships I shouldn't have long past their expiration date because of that voice in my head which said that no one else would ever want me or think I was attractive enough to be with and if I broke up with this person who was treating me like shit, then I would be alone for years and years until someone else saw past my ugliness and thought I was a nice person with great hair and maybe that would be enough.

People now are saying I look just like my mother, which is a bit of a double edged sword for me now because of our very complicated relationship but also because that I can remember being that starry eyed little girl who wanted nothing more than to be like her and look like her. My grandmother recently saw my new passport photo and she quite seriously asked me why I had my mother's passport until she looked closer at the name and realized it was mine. So, there's that...

Maybe I was just an ugly duckling for a really long time.

And now to add "femme" to the mix... there's a certain pernicious nagging which wonders "am I entitled to claim this...? Am I pretty enough to carry out feminine without looking like a joke, making myself an object of fun, looking ridiculous? Am I "X" enough to do this?" We've all seen the women and girls who are described as those who just "didn't have it" who tried to look feminine or pretty or whatever and were met with derision and condescension and the "who does she think she is" comments if she was outwardly confident and outspoken and the "poor thing, I know she's trying..." headpats if she was quiet and unassuming. I still sometimes feel like a poseur or that the only person I'm fooling is myself. To reject your feminine side or a feminine aesthetic in response is one way to get around that ("well, if I'm not pretty or feminine, then at least I'm going to embrace that about myself and my style of dress and my entire life will be a big 'fuck you' to anyone who tries to make me feel bad about it")... but at what cost? At what point does the desire to protect yourself become a hindrance and take over who you really are? Does it deny or replace a very real part of you instead of protecting that part you're actually trying to keep intact?

I'm not sure I have an answer to that. It's something I think about often and I wonder how much of it is just me or how much of it is societal. Perhaps that's part of what's so disempowering about the whole thing - we internalize the political as purely personal and in so doing, feel alienated from the very people who are experiencing the same thing but expressing it differently or doing their damnedest to appear otherwise.

I think most women have stories like this to tell and part of the healing is in the telling of them... but I wonder, what then?

The feminist part of me chafes at the idea that women should place any value on being seen as attractive or beautiful at all (because, I mean, really, how many straight men do you think are losing sleep over this?) but when you have a culture at large that's set up for women to find their worth in how they look, it doesn't do anyone any favours to ignore it or just tell that individual woman to get over it and to stop being so vain, superficial, shallow, look-obsessed, petty, vacuous... or any number of other misogynist terms we have for women who are only reacting to the acidic, primordial mix they've been swimming in daily since the moment they were born.

Are we supposed to "just keep swimming" while desperately trying to keep our heads above water? I know this is a hard conversation and I sometimes feel emotionally drained after talking about it, but it's so important and I hope that others will come forward to share their stories too, however incomplete, messy, difficult, or disorganized their thoughts may be and whatever ID they may be speaking from. We need you all.
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Old 11-06-2014, 03:07 AM   #11
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My experiences sound sadly similar to much that has gone before. To focus on school days alone, I remember:
  • My first day at a new school, I was eight, I walked into the classroom and it went quiet. Then one voice piped up “she’s so fat”. I felt such shame.
  • A housemistress telling me “you could be pretty if you weren’t so <she puffed out her cheeks in lieu of a word>”
  • One evening there were a lot of biscuits left over. Nobody was around so I picked up a few, maybe five. Just as I was about to make off with my booty the housemistress came in. She looked from my hand to my face and just said “My God” with such horror it has never left me.
  • The adults watching me through meals because they had decided I had eating issues. There would be a huddle of two or three of them standing across the hall, constantly watching me and talking between themselves. It got to the point I would skip meals and hide under my bed. That only made the whole thing worse.
  • An insipid drip of messages of repulsion and rejection. Things like notes left in my text books or in electronic files on my computer disk saying things like “You’re so fat. Everyone hates you. We wish you were dead.” They used to watch for me to discover them and then struggle to maintain my composure in the middle of class.

I think that’s enough to give you the gist. In all honesty, I don’t think I’ll ever reach a wholly healthy state around food and body image. However, I’ve found a few books have really helped me. One in particular, Overcoming Overeating by Hirschmann and Munter, is one I’d recommend to anyone. It asks one particular question which I think about often. That was: “Imagine the atmosphere in the world suddenly changed and as a result nobody was ever able to gain or lose weight again. What would you do?” I couldn’t believe how freeing that was as a concept and by contrast it showed just how trapped I really was by my own thinking. Weight-wise I’m probably the heaviest I’ve ever been but actually, mental health-wise I am the strongest I’ve ever been. If it has to be one or the other then this is definitely the right thing for me.
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Old 11-06-2014, 04:40 PM   #12
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This isn't going to mess anyone up.

Nope.

Not at all.



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Old 11-06-2014, 08:54 PM   #13
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Default This may not fit in this thread but...

In reading some of the other posts, it got my thinking about my own body issues while I was growing up. I really didn't have too many until I became an adult.

I was always a small kid, short and skinny. I hated being shorter than the other kids especially my sisters.

In elementary school, when I was in the sixth grade, they were starting to screen for scoliosis. What does that mean exactly? Well that means, you take off your shirt in front of all the other girls in the locker room and bend forward so they could check your spine. Well, being small and thin, I had no breasts either. Hell it was only the sixth grade! But, my twin sister had them and had a bra and so did a lot of other girls. So I was stressing out about this big time. I got up enough nerve to ask my mom if I could wear a bra. Well the only thing that would sort of fit was a training bra. I was happy with that. What a silly name right? Anyway, so I went to school with this bra on, went to gym class and took off my shirt and waited in line. When it was my turn, I bent over and the bra went straight up past my non-existent breasts and everyone, including the teachers laughed at me. I was horrified! I was such a shy kid and to have that kind of attention was just not good for me at all. That's why I wanted to wear the damn bra in the first place!

When I went into Junior High, I shot up to the height I am now between seventh and eight grade. Thankfully! I loved/love being tall! I played basketball and was made to stay fit. Same with high school. I was a quiet kid for the most part. Luckily I didn't get picked on too much. I never dated anyone until I was past high school. Just never wanted to date nor do I think anyone ever asked. I would fantasize about girls and not boys and didn't think it was right or society made me think it wasn't right so never asked any girls out. I had longer hair but I'm sure still had a masculine appearance even if I didn't try to.

It wasn't until my twenties that I started gaining weight. I think back now and not sure why. I don't feel like I over ate and I was pretty active but I do know that I hated it. Remember those small breasts that I once had? Well they became huge and I hated them. They were always there. They were always in the way. They just didn't fit who I thought I was supposed to be. So like many others, I put on the baggy shirts to try to conceal them as much as possible. It was about that time too when I started really letting my masculinity come through. How could I be this masculine and yet have these larger than life breasts? Keep in mind these were my body image issues and not necessarily the correct way to think.

Anyway, I lost weight, gained it, lost weight, gained it... and yet those damn breasts still stayed the same! Finally, about 7 years ago now, I decided that I would get a breast reduction. It was a bit scary but I knew a really good surgeon. I went through with it and no longer have issues with my breasts. I actually love them now. My gf at the time actually loved them the way they were and didn't want me to have surgery but I just had to do it for myself. Not one regret.

Now in my older years, I'm dealing with the aging body image issues. I don't have as the muscle tone that I may have once had. It's harder to lose weight. The grey hair was really hard for me. I didn't want to look old because don't we equate grey hair with old people? (I know that's not the case.) I always thought that because I would look older, no one would be attracted to me anymore. It sill shocks me from time to time to look in the mirror and wonder how the hell that happened but for the most part, believe it or not, I'm going to live.

Well, that's my story from growing up until now because really.. .I still feel like I'm trying to grow up most days.
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Old 11-06-2014, 10:37 PM   #14
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My body has never matched who I was,as a kid,before age 12 I looked like one of the boy's in nearly every way.I ran around shirtless and bare foot swimming in the river,climbing trees and playing ball regular boy things.My grand folks let me be who I wanted to be and were glad I was healthy cause for a long time being a very small preemie they were glad to see me just be happy( for the most part) and healthy.Mom hated the boy I was and insisted I be more of the girl I should have been no matter how much I hated to wear the clothes she bought.Then puberty hit,I felt betrayed by the body I had.This wasn't spoken about in my family cause mom had a thing that sex was nasty,dirty and something only bad people did..yeah I know makes no sence.I wen't to a private school that except for the winter I wore the pleated skirt,white shirt with tie,vest and blazer along with black or dark blue saddle oxfords that wasn't to bad.Only under great provacation I wore a dressed as she insistied I do,but the boy stayed close to himself through hell and fire plus whatever mo could do to try to change me.Heck my body just never looked girly no mater what it is what it is.She sen't to a shrink once and she ask why I didn't wan't to wear girl clothes,I simply told her I look like a boy in drag when I do and besides I look just fine in boy clothes.It use to piss mom off real bad when people saw my baby pictures when I wasn't in boy clothes cause unless they were told I was a girl they thought I was a handsome little boy.I know I weigh more now that I ever have 258.I know I am loosing it as I go just eating healthy and staying active as I can...I don't wan't to be skinny I like being husky,ya know what they say about us big guys.. more to snuggle with on cold winter nights.
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Old 11-07-2014, 01:25 AM   #15
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I have been "husky" since i was 5 or so, but i had a different problem; my mother.

Oh she meant well, but i never had a real view of what i looked like because i was constantly praised for being beautiful, talented, smart etc etc etc. I always felt "special" and had friends, boyfriends and others echoing her statements because i am ok looking, smart...was very athletic, etc.....

By the age of 18 i was diabetic and still i was "special", by 40 i had my first heart attack, and...well maybe i wasn't ok with the extra weight. Years of yoyoing, and a second and third heart attack, bypass surgery and 3rd stage kidney failure...i fight that delusion of "special" every day of my life.

I have wonderful self-confidence, but i'll be lucky to see 60.
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Old 11-07-2014, 06:43 AM   #16
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I have wanted to post here but I just am not sure what to say.

As a child, I was pretty skinny and lanky. I did have the tendency toward a belly though. I didn't have issues when I was small. When my mother went into the hospital for the last time, she was there for the rest of her life. I went into my shell and found comfort in sugar and sweets. When I did good things, my mom would take me out for a treat.

My father remarried almost immediately. I had a really hard time with that. I threw myself into my studies and sports. I was very good at sports and I was fast. I realized at around middle school age I wasn't like the other girls. Being the new kid in a new place, I was targeted for teasing and such. We had to wear these ridiculous gym suits and change in the locker room. I was always a full head taller than most kids in my classes until high school. I was very awkward. "big boned" was always a term used for me. I'm built like a linebacker and my bone frame is bigger than my father's. It was during these locker room changing episodes that I found myself getting self conscious and the term "fat" was applied to me purely because I needed a really big sized gym suit.

In high school, I was called ugly but never fat. I played sports year round. I even ran in my off sport time......about 3-5 miles a day. I was 5'7" and weighed about 125lbs. and the smallest sized jeans I could wear were size 11 because of my pelvic bones not being able to fit a size 9. My younger step-brother would call me fat when he was mad at me. That hurt more than the kids at school. I remember there hardly being anything in the house to eat when I came home from sports practices and was ravenous. At one point, I missed my period for about 6 months. I never told my parents. I wasn't worried about it at all...I wasn't sexually active. My parents were always imposing portion control on me. I never understood why. They weren't that way with my step brother.

In college, I was very body conscious and started working out on a regular basis in addition to running 3-5 miles a day. I gained the freshman weight. But then my life took a huge turn. I became ill and was no longer able to attend to my studies. I was put in the hospital for being suicidal. I was put on psych meds. These meds ruin your metabolism. I have been fat ever since.

My weight fluctuated for years, as did my self esteem and confidence. At one point, I was so depressed I wasn't eating and got very skinny. My family and everyone was telling me how good I looked....no one knew how awful it felt inside to look "good".

As the years progressed, the weight came back. I have worked sedentary jobs and very physically demanding jobs. My body continued to change as I was stressing it at different times. The most body changing job I had was loading freight. I developed into a huge moose. I am very physically strong. But......the weight didn't seem to come off. I would step on the scale and be heavier than ever....although, my partner at the time told me how good I looked, I couldn't see the muscle tone vs. the numbers on the scale. I started dreading going to the Dr because of that damned scale. I still hate scales to this day and still dread stepping on them.

I went from a very active job to a very sedentary job and gained weight. The gf I had told me that she was no longer attracted to me because I got "fat". I have never in my life been petite. To this day I still struggle with my weight. But I have come to better terms with being "fat".

I hope this wasn't too scattered.....but I wanted to share......thanks for this thread.
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Old 11-07-2014, 08:26 AM   #17
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very slender growing up, called names like beanstalk, flagpole. bigger now as a grownup but still slim.

cannot change my body but lucky never worried about it either.

my buds tell me all the time how fortunate I am to be tall and slender but whatever. they say my cat eats more than I do. not into food at all.
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Old 11-07-2014, 11:55 PM   #18
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I was notably skinny from birth, and always had a fast metabolism. None of that has changed. I worked as a child model/performer for far too long, so during some really important formative years I was deeply immersed in the industry that created those damaging standards of feminine beauty that continue to plague us. You can imagine how damaging it was for me!

Since my natural body type is thin, and nothing I eat seems to change that, I haven't had to deal with the extreme fat shaming that others write about and that I see happening to my beautiful friends. BUT... in my family, voluptuousness was prized and I was considered hideously bony. My flat chest was considered a perfectly legitimate topic for family comment. Everyone joined in- my parents and siblings thought it was really fun and funny. My sister fit the model for voluptuous feminine beauty in my family, and amongst the other kids in the neighbourhood and at school. I was called 'flatsy' and 'little ones'. The Spanish boys called me Flaca. After we read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow in English class I was called Ichabod.

I've always been on the receiving end of an unusual amount of unwanted sexual attention from men. It was and is threatening and confusing. I'm thrilled to have finally aged out of the worst of it.
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Old 11-08-2014, 02:01 PM   #19
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What Would You Change?

Watch it! It's worth the time.
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Old 11-08-2014, 06:54 PM   #20
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She is so right; people tend to reflect their own bullshit onto others.
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