They arrived when I was 12 - one year before what my mother called "the curse" (or menstruation). They were the topic of discussion quite often...and I hated it. I barely noticed them until I acquired the nickname "hips" from close family members. I vividly remember staring at them in the reflection of my mother's car door. Ignoring the fact that the curvature in it created a fun house mirror effect, my disgust for them grew.
Through most of my teenage years, I did what I could to hide them. Baggy sweatpants and long shirts felt like a gift from God. I could cover up and not be ashamed of what lied underneath . A comment in passing from my childhood best friend while we were trying on dresses for our senior prom was the first clue that the "situation" wasn't as bad as I thought.
"You've been hiding all of THAT under those baggy clothes. You're shaped like a Coca-Cola bottle."
"Is that a good thing," I asked.
"Uh yeah. It's great. I wish I had a body like that."
Imagine that. What once made me feel awkward, and isolated - a body part that I loathed was actually a blessing. Life can be funny that way. It takes for someone else to share their perspective for us to appreciate what we have.
A common theme among many women that I've talked to over the years is a distaste for their body. Whether it be their tree trunk legs or 100 pounds they wanted to shed. Their expressions of discomfort ranging from a comment about plastic surgery in passing to constantly obsessing about how they wanted to change themselves. Don't get me wrong, I think we should all strive to be healthy. But society creates false expectations of what women should look like. At the end of the day, very few of us look as perfect as the photoshopped goddesses on the pages of magazines. Hell the goddesses themselves don't even live up to those expectations...which is why they're photoshopped.
As time went on, I grew to love those curves more and more. No longer ashamed that my measurements were 30-24-40 (once upon a time), I learned to embrace them and appreciate myself. Dancing naked in the mirror has become one of my favorite pastimes. Loving my imperfections increased my confidence which shined through in my interactions with others. The ultimate compliment came a couple of weeks ago when my guy lovingly compared my curves to the symbol for infinity:
I smiled. What was once a source of great embarrassment transformed into an infinite symbol of beauty. Or better yet, I was the one who transformed. And I couldn't be happier!
Pssssttt... Mothers - are you out there? Good. I want to share a tidbit of advice with you. Remember to celebrate your girls' entrance into womanhood. Adolescent years can be a turbulent time with a lot of change. Plant seeds of positivity and encouragement into your young women so that they can carry them with them for the rest of their days.