I am a size 14. On a good day, a size 12.
It took me at least a year to say that comfortably without feeling bad about it. When I hit double-digits a lot of negative experiences came alongside it. So much that it damaged my confidence and self-esteem… like the time a girlfriend asked if I was pregnant because my face was fuller and my tummy was rounder or when my aunties snicker from across the room about why I’m not as thin as I used to be.
On a personal level, trying on a pair of jeans was always a drag, chub rub is… well. Interesting. And I use to hate what I saw when I looked into the mirror.
For most of my childhood, I was a high-performance athlete. My body was lean, muscular and often celebrated. I was a competitive swimmer. My toned arms cut through the water, my powerful legs helped me stir to the finish line – many times in 1st place. It was a time in my life when the pressure was on and I did everything to maintain what I thought was the perfect figure.
But then life happened. I gave up my Olympic dream and launched my first (real) business in my early twenties. I found a new passion to pursue and stepped away from strict diets, 3-hour workouts in the gym and living up to everyone else’s expectations. For the first time in a long time, I was happy.
..and putting on weight quickly.
Averaging 7-10 pounds a year, it added up over time and the scale soon tipped over 120 then crawled above 140 then settled around 150 and change. Coincidencidently, some of the people around me also changed their attitudes too. The years I was glorified for my triumphs and gold medals were gone and as my new body emerged so did the whispers and comments.
The girl with new curves was not going to be celebrated. It was evident.
I used to sit back and take it – with my head down, my crown would fall and I never bothered picking it up. Instead, I’d forget about my queendom and settle. I developed a bad habit of comparing myself to my past and other people. I was constantly thinking about why I let myself go. But no matter what you are going through at some point you will see the light if you just open your eyes. Some of the obstacles we face are self-created. Many times we block our blessings. After feeling so poorly about myself for so long, I realized in order to keep a clear head, I had to change my perspective. If you go into any situation with a negative outlook, you can not be surprised when you receive a negative outcome.
Small steps lead to bigger blessings.
I had to get out of my own way. Sometimes we clutter our head and our lives with so much junk and negativity that we leave no room for God to do His work. Girl, create some space. Let go so you can grow and remove anything that is preventing you from success immediately. For me, it meant standing up for myself and the best way I know how to deal with this is to build boundaries. I may not be able to control what people say, but I can control how I react to it.
And also learn to dress and love my new body.
Because as long as I’m healthy and happy who the hell cares. I can’t believe I actually gave up my power and let people get the best of me. So I’ve really tried to put some things in place to show off the best parts of me. Like looking up to beautiful curvy girls like Tanesha Awasthi, Hayet Rida or GabiFresh, and my latest muses Ashley Graham and Nadia Aboulhosn.
Like Gary Vee always says, make positivity louder (than the noise) and his advice has been helping me every step of this journey. I used to be a size 6 and now I’m a size 14. Deal with it and if you have something mean to say, shut it. I’m finally in a place where my love life (with myself) is the best it can possibly be. I’m trying to stay healthy. I’m trying to just do me. I started eating cleaner and working out a few times a week at my own pace, with a personal trainer. “The goal is not to be skinny, but to be healthy.” I literally have to say that out loud.
Some days are harder than others, but at this point, there is no use hating my gifts. I’m going to pick up my crown and confidently rock what I’m working with. Unapologetically and unashamed.
Peace & Love,