My Skin Part II

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As my body positivity journey continued, I’ve started to think more about how my body fits into the larger scheme of society.  I have started to think about how my body compares to others, especially in an age where it seems everyone is getting some type of body altering operation to achieve their desired body.

To pinpoint exactly where I started to see this would be difficult. I think it probably started with my watching ratchet tv such as Love and Hip Hop, and has continued through my consumption of media in general. It’s hard to navigate the internet without seeing some form of waist training advertisement or contouring video. A few months to a year ago I would have just assumed all of these people were only using waist trainers and exercise to get their desired look. It only recently occurred to me that these bodies all seem to look exactly the same and spring up overnight. Of course there is nothing wrong with plastic surgery, but I was, and still am, struggling with reconciling what I see on tv and on the internet with my own current reality.

We are all surrounded by images that tell us what we should look like, what we should aspire to be, etc. Though what is en vogue has always been largely influence by advertisements and propaganda, what is interesting is how quickly these ideals change. Just four years ago, I was being teased about being curvy, now curves are all the rage. Just up until recently, my lips where thought, by a large population, to be too big. Now, my mouth seems smaller than the desired look according to the various Kylie Jenner makeup tutorials. I had gotten comfortable with the fact that I was never going to have the ideal body, face, skin tone, etc. In my head, I was never going to be remotely what I saw in the media. Little did I know at the time how much things change. Now it seems what I look like is somewhat in the ballpark for what is fashionable.

I can’t deny that part of me accepting my body for what it is, has come from the new trends for bigger butts, lips, etc. Now more than ever, my body has aligned with the coveted Instagram model body type. A couple months in a waist trainer, some MAC money, and a good lace front and I would be set. I suppose there’s some comfort in knowing that my body type is now considered “normal.” Yet my uneasiness doesn’t go away.

For one I feel it is more of a “close but no cigar” situation. While I do align with the ideal body type, I will probably never look exactly like the ideal bodies without surgery or some serious working out. The second thing is that I, along with many people, have been trained to hate my body, but another big part of my anxiety is how impermanent it is. A few years ago I was teased for my curves. When I was a child everyone was wearing fit and flair jeans and fedoras. When I was a baby “heroin chic” was a thing. Eventually the scale will tip back and I’ll be back to being stared at for having a big butt and my lips will again be off-the- scale huge. You can take butt implants out, lip injections fade, waists left untrained will eventually fill out, but my butt will most likely always be big, my lips will stay the same, and I’ll probably always have the same hour glass shape. What is thought of as beautiful changes, but how we think of ourselves shouldn’t change with it.

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