Yesterday, my grandma (an 83 year old, first generation Mexican-American), made a huge deal about this secret thing she had to give me THAT DAY.
“You have to stop by the house and grab this from me” she whispered from across the table.
I walk into the kitchen a few minutes later to hear my mom telling her mom:
“That’s not something people use these days”, or something along those lines is what I overheard.
My mom turned to me and said: “She wants to give you corsets…”
My immediate, out-loud response was:
“What do you think I need that for?”
Truthfully, my grandma probably *does* think I need it… because she doesn’t get it.
For her, and for many old-school women (Mexican or not) my body is not desirable- because it doesn’t fit the ideal mold of the type of body that women covet.
How do I know this? She didn’t offer my sister a corset (lolol) and my sister just naturally does have this long-limbed, thin body- it’s literally just her body type. And me?
Well- we all know what I *used* to look like:
and everyone knows what I look like now:
and I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: no fitness magazine will be calling me to be on their front cover- and you know what?
I am telling you, years ago- this would have broken me.
IN FACT- about 10 years ago, my OTHER grandma (70-something year old first generation Puerto Rican-American) made a comment in front of one of her friends who I had never met before, in front of my cousin, in front of my sister, and my dad, and straight to my face: “Jessica has a perfect body. Christina needs to lose weight.”
Which, at that time, was fairly accurate, but it embarassed the hell out of me.
Instances like these are exactly why I absolutely HATE when anyone makes a comment about someone else’s body- whether it’s good, bad, or indifferent.
Someone else’s body is actually none of your fucking business. And, for me to say the following takes A LOT: “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
I really, truly follow this rule the most closely when it comes to women’s bodies. Like, just keep your fucking mouth shut- but, I digress.
These days, the offering of my grandma’s corset didn’t leave me feeling broken, or self-conscious, or fat, or ugly, or undesirable.
Ten years ago, though? I went home, got straight into bed, and cried for hours.
Do I expect my grandmother’s to understand what a deadlift is?
In fact, both of my grandmothers have tried to tell me that lifting weights is going to:
-make me infertile
-“hurt my boobs” (direct quote)
-“make my uterus fall out” (also direct quote, lolol!!!!)
So, can I justify that my legs touch all day long and I have that weird flap of
lat muscle that spills over my sports bra because there’s muscle there? No, haha.
But you know what else? It doesn’t even matter!
I don’t have to justify anything to anyone.
For years, that’s all this was for me. I needed my body to somehow be this socially acceptable ornamental representation of who I was as a person.
Think about that! As if our bodies somehow represent who we are as people.
I could gain 20 pounds and still be exactly who I am.
I could lose multiple pants sizes (which I have), and still be exactly who I am.
Opinionated, loud, sarcastic, driven, educated, & foul-mouthed.
Ambitious, loving, adventurous, generous, too ballsy for my own good, and stubborn.
THE ONLY thing that’s changed has been my self-acceptance, my confidence, and my physical and mental strength. (Yes, physical strength begets mental strength- it just does.)
The whole elusive confidence thing comes as a by-product of falling in love with the intentional journey of becoming strong AF.
How do I know this?
Because, even so, my grandmas don’t look at me and say:
“WOW! YOU’RE SO SKINNY!”
And, truthfully, anyone with two eyeballs won’t ever do that either.
If you’ve followed me on this journey long enough, you’ll know that’s not a goal of mine.
It is far more important for me to feel strong (which also makes me feel badass, which also makes me feel confident) than it is for me to feel or be called skinny.
I didn’t feel strong when I was 4 sizes bigger than I am now because I wasn’t participating in any activities that helped me feel strong. Running for hours and pedaling away on an elliptical doesn’t help anyone feel strong. Being “skinny” actually doesn’t even correlate with feeling strong.
Not everyone is going to “get” or commend your journey, or understand or even value your quest for strength- and that’s OK.
Fortunately, we’ve got a community of women who DO get it!