15. Through New Eyes

15. Through New Eyes

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Curvy & Confident

Through New Eyes

Every woman that finally figured out her worth, has picked up her suitcases of pride and boarded a flight to freedom, which landed in the valley of change.

~Shannon L. Alder

Struggling to pull my favorite boot-cut jeans over my hips, I wiggled, took a deep breath and let out a sigh of frustration. The jeans had shrunk in the dryer and they barely fit.

“Why do I have to have such curvy hips?” I wailed, wishing for the umpteenth time to have a slimmer shape. But that had never been my lot in life. As soon as I started my growth spurt as a preteen, I’d had a love-hate relationship with my hips and chest. They were too big and unsightly and I blamed them for getting in the way while I was playing basketball, swimming, or running.

Despite assurances from family and friends that an hourglass shape was highly sought after, I tried unsuccessfully to alter my appearance. Dieting, fasting, baggy clothes, double bras — I tried anything and everything in an attempt to disguise my curves and minimize my shape.

I was a California girl, but there were no bikinis or spaghetti straps for me. I mastered tying a sarong over my hips while lying out at the beach. It was especially disheartening, as I had always loved being active outdoors. Slowly, I became withdrawn and increasingly avoided the beach.

Heading into my twenties, I got a lot of attention from the boys for my curves. I wish I could say that was a positive thing and made me appreciate my figure, but it didn’t. As an introvert I hated the attention and found myself cursing my curves for a new reason. Nothing I did would alter them, despite being at a healthy weight, exercising frequently, and watching what I ate. My hips and chest were here to stay.

It wasn’t until a visit with my mother in my early thirties that my relationship with my body changed. Due to a mental illness, my mother had been unable to raise me. I hadn’t seen her since I was a child, and now, seeing her for the first time in twenty-two years, I realized that we had the same shape.

The exact hips and figure that I had hated with such a passion looked great on my mother.

I was mesmerized by the graceful sway of her hips as I watched her walk across the room to retrieve some photos. I realized, surprisingly, that they were the same hips and the same sway as mine. The exact hips and figure that I had hated with such a passion looked great on my mother. It was at that moment that I realized we were delightfully connected. To deny my hips was to deny my ancestry and the mom I loved.

That was the day that things changed for me. It was a long overdue turning point. I couldn’t change the shape of my hips or chest, so instead, I changed the way I saw things.

I looked at my shape through new eyes. My hips were a link to my mom, and that link set me free. I started to walk taller and held my head higher with a newfound confidence, excited that I resembled my beautiful mother.

Hadn’t her hips given birth to my brother and me? Hadn’t my hips that so resembled hers carried me through life thus far? Through hikes, travels around the globe, down the graduation and wedding aisles and countless other places? What did it matter what size they were?

A spell was broken that day. The two aspects of my body I had disliked and tried to hide became the things I was most proud of. They were a connection to my mom, and they will carry me with confidence throughout the remainder of my life.

~Joanna Dylan

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