When I was around nine, a family member made a comment about me being a model when I got older. I had never expressed interest in being a model, but because I was tall, people would often make comments like that to me. After that family member noted my height and said I’d be a model, another family member quickly followed up with, “she can’t be a model. She has no waist”. Nobody had ever commented on my body that way before. Since then, I’ve been painfully aware that I have no waist.
A few years later, when I was about 14, I was minding my business when I walked into my mama's bedroom looking for something when my aunt said, “God, look how dark your elbows are.” New insecurity unlocked. I got my first job few years later, and one of the first things I bought was fade cream for my elbows. I’m notoriously impatient, so I grew tired of waiting to see if there would be a noticeable difference. I was self-conscious about my elbows until my 20s. I figured it was silly to worry about elbows, of all things.
When I was 19, I was in bed with the guy I was seeing at the time. We were talking and laughing, enjoying each others company. Then he says, “jeez, your arms are bigger than mine.” I like to think he didn’t mean any harm, but I put nothing past him, so who knows. He did, though, try to make me feel better after he noticed the change in my demeanour. But it was too late. Another insecurity unlocked. I never wore a sleeveless top again after that.
My relationship with my body has always been complicated. I’ve never loved it; at the most, I grudgingly tolerated it. There would be days when I’d look in the mirror and cry because I was disappointed. Most days, I didn’t like what I saw, and it kept me feeling like crap. I still don’t love my body, and I’m not sure if I ever will. But I have learned to accept it and here's how.