As a child I was that adorably cute chubby kid. But it wasn't until elementary that I realized, I was fat (insert sarcastic gasp here). Well, as it goes, kids are cruel. And they did not hesitate to remind me just how "not normal" I was on a daily basis. So you add being dark skinned to that and I was picked on relentlessly. I was told on a daily basis that I was "fat and ugly" to the point that I sought out council in the form of my mother. I went to her and asked in all seriousness "Am I fat and ugly?" To which my mother replied with equal seriousness... "No, you are beautiful and anyone who tells you different doesn't know what beauty is..." So, for this I applaud my mother. She did this right. She handled this situation like a superstar and then she took it one step further... Everyday (and I do mean EVERY DAY) my mother would tell me at different parts of the day how beautiful I was. Be it in the morning before school, or the middle of the day while we ran errands, or as she tucked me into bed each night. She did not miss a day to remind me that I was beautifully and wonderfully made. Yeah... my mom is pretty awesome like that. And that is where I got my overinflated self esteem. Does it mean that I NEVER doubt myself or this body? No it does not but let me not get ahead of myself. After that day... elementary school was no longer a problem. If someone called me fat or ugly, I laughed it off. Why, because they were not in on the awesomeness that was me.
From that point on I was great until I hit 5th grade. And then the unthinkable happened... I got BOOBS. I got boobs before anyone else did. I actually got them in 4th grade but they weren't really noticible until 5th grade. And then started a whole other issue to get pass... mean girls. Of course, back then I didn't know that is what they were... to me they were my friends... and then one day, they weren't. They stopped speaking to me and eating lunch with me because I was the focus of all the 5th grade boys. To this day, I remember being really good friends with this guy named Waleed Robinson. We were both deformed, me with my boobs, and him with his... well... penis (back when I was a kid spandex was the thing to wear, and Waleed filled his out far more than the other boys - no socks). So he was my only friend and for a while I was okay with that... until the mean girls decided to spread rumors that Waleed and I were having sex (which we were NOT) but it was so hard to deal with that I just shut down. It was around this time that I stopped dressing like a girl. I mean I completely became a boy. I wore the biggest and baggiest shirts and jeans I could find. I stopped being the girly girl that my mother raised. My mother was so concerned that she put me in therapy. That is when they discovered I was manic depressive. But no amount of meds, therapy, or positive reinforcement could get me out of my funk.
So fast forward to my senior year. Yes I was still dressing like a 30 year old man with no job but I was still cute. So imagine EVERYONES surprise when I showed up to prom in a red dress to show that I had a tiny waist and gigantic boobs. Yeah... that is the highlight of my high school career. Everyone thought because all the clothes were shapeless that my shape was the shape that my clothes were... but I wasn't that big, I just dressed like I was. I was still plus size wearing a solid size 12, however, I had a flat stomach and thick hips and thighs. I could have been a plus size model had I not gotten pregnant at 19 (even though I do not regret my son in the least). I felt like I went into adulthood really knowing my body... but I was wrong.
And just so you know how important that advice from my mother was... I said the same and passed down that same knowledge to my girls.