Proud2Bme | Embodied: I Am Not Your Accessory

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Embodied: I Am Not Your Accessory

By Debbie Salazar--Trends come and go. Some trends are annoying, while others are bearable. A few get old quickly and really grind my gears. One trend that has caught on fire is the tremendous desire to inject or go under the knife to obtain an overly dramatic derrière. What I want to focus on is the obsession of BIG BUTTS and BIG HIPS.

Though this is a staple for women, not every woman has exaggerated body parts, and anyone who does is not always fond of them. I am one of those women. There is a reason why, because there is always a reason. When I turned 12, I had the tremendous pleasure in becoming a young woman by acquiring a certain flow, that’s right, my period. From then on my body expanded, specifically around the hips and derrière. Instead of allowing myself to embrace my new body, I remember hating it as soon as I had the opportunity. For some reason, this gave people, mainly men, the assumption that I would enjoy being judged and sexually harassed.

There were a few incidents I can recall: one of the most traumatizing for me was when I was with my mother, walking and pushing a shopping cart to the laundromat. As we finally got closer to our destination, a man standing by himself decided that it would be appropriate to shout obscenities at a 12-year-old girl. First he whistled, then went on to call me endearing names such as “delicious little mama,” and what really put the icing on the cake, and I will translate it from Spanish to English, and I quote, “Hey lady your daughter looks really good to F***!” I was embarrassed and appalled, and my mother was livid and cussed him out, but it made no difference because the damage had been done. I felt guilty and I blamed myself for putting my mother in that mortifying situation.

That’s when I started to fully clothe myself, even wearing sweaters and baggy jeans in the summer to make sure the curves of my body could not be noticed. It screwed up my self-esteem before I knew what that was. At the same time, I desired to look like the women on television who were tall, blonde, blue eyed, and skinny with legs for days. This is who I aspired to be, but somehow I could not achieve it, no matter how much I tried. I quickly had a rude awakening that I would never achieve this body type.

Around my mid-twenties, I began to show some skin—usually my arms—and wore tight pants in order to fit in since I did get some pressure from my friends to show off my “assets.” As I observed how my friends, both male and female, interacted with the opposite sex, I didn’t quite understand the actions that occurred between them. I was the one watching from the sidelines, feeling very uncomfortable, and wondering what’s with all the commotion when the only thing that came out of it was a one-night unfulfilling hookup. The guys got all the praise and the girls were passed down the line. That was a turning point for me. I told myself I do not want to be like that. I might not have the best self-esteem but I will not give them the satisfaction to tear me down more than I already do myself.

I was done being treated like an accessory and vowed that men would no longer have the opportunity to disrespect me. I will respect my dignity and own it. When I tried to share this newfound glory with friends, they didn’t understand me or didn’t want anything to do with it. Their main goal was to get a man and keep him – that was never my life goal because I wanted more out of life. I was considered crazy, stupid, and weird, or sometimes an overachiever. I felt I was going crazy and I would never get out of this rut, but by the grace of God I was given the strength and clarity of mind to just continue and push forward, even if am alone.

Now, more than a decade after the encounter at the laundromat, I am still getting used to being comfortable with my body and in my own skin. I continue to find my place in this world as a woman and trying to fight my way to the top. I have to be my own best friend at times and my number one fan because no one else is going to love me the way I love me. I go on every day preserving this mindset and strengthening the positive image of myself, which is so hard. Trust me, there have been times when I want to throw in the towel and just jump on the bandwagon, but I know if I do I will regret it for the rest of my life, because that is not who I am.

I know I must be true to myself, even if it means standing out and not being like the rest. I always wonder how many young girls and grown women think the way I do and why they’re so scared to stand out. People are going to talk, whether you’re doing good or bad. So don't give in to the false #LifeGoals, and never forget to distinguish reality from illusion.

Image via Thick & Thrifty 

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Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

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