By Ashley Mott
Growing up there is this image of the perfect look that you should have. From the young ages of 5 and 6, girls everywhere are given barbie dolls with tiny waists, long blonde hair and big blue eyes to play with. That doll was their role model for years, and for years upon years that was acceptable.
Growing up, I remember that no doll ever looked like me. None of them had thick thighs, wide hips or broad shoulders. None of them looked like they could ever be a size 11 or 13 in jeans. They all had small petite bodies with small boobs, slim hips and thighs and a butt to match. That was the type of body I looked up to, and the one I will never have.
Now, I know that everyone always says that with a little hard work, motivation, and a gym membership anyone can look like that. But the fact of the matter is, that it’s simply not true. I’ve worked out, I’ve eaten healthy and done doctor recommended meal plans specific to my body, and do I get smaller: yes. However, that doesn’t change my shape, I still have thick hips, thick thighs and a butt to match. The only difference is they are just a tiny bit smaller than before. I know that there is this trend now, that it’s a good thing to be “thick” or how body positivity is spread everywhere.
I really wish that trend actually had an impact on society, because there are still people who will tear you down and tell you to go eat a salad because you are “unhealthy.” But you don’t know my journey and what I’ve gone through. You don’t know that I’ve lost 20lbs already and I’m just trying to stay positive about where I am on my journey to get back, and you don’t know that those snide comments make it harder everyday to continue to get healthy.
I’m glad though, that there are movies like “Dumplin” on Netflix, that are showing some of what really goes on in a girl’s head when she’s trying to be out going for the first time and doesn’t fit the social norm. Willowdean Dixon knows that she’s a big girl and she usually is okay with it, until her mom calls her “Dumplin.” It’s a trigger word for her that reminds her of how different she really is, and it sends her back to that dark place. Sometimes, that’s all it takes is one word to make someone’s outlook completely change.
I know for me that happens a lot. I try to forget about it and move on but sometimes it’s hard. It’s hard to look at pictures of me where I am surrounded by my smaller friends and not feel bad about myself. However, when I watched this movie for the first time it gave me a little hope. If Willowdean, a girl who went through some rough times, could learn to be okay with who she is as a person, then maybe I could too.
Some of her biggest moments, like standing on stage and owning it like the boss she is, are what gives me hope that one day I can do that too. Life has been tough on me lately, I’ve gained weight and I’ve tried (very unsuccessfully) to hide it and pretend it didn’t happen. The reality is though, I’m a big girl. However, I am learning step by step, like Willowdean, to cope with it and be okay with who I am.
It may take me awhile to reach the point where I am fully comfortable in my own skin and stop looking to men for validation of my beauty, but there will come a day where I am at that point and it will be glorious. In the meantime, I will settle for supporting Willowdean on her way to becoming a beauty queen, and work on my own goals in time.
I’ll get there. I know that I will, but it the while I’m waiting, someone pass me the donuts.