Body Talk: Loving the Outside

There is a new weekly show on Facebook by Jada Pinkett-Smith called Red Table Talk and it is amazing! Each week, she sits down with her mother and her daughter or special guests and talk for twenty minutes or less about an array of different issues that really touch the soul.  Last week, the trio talked about Body Confessions and Body Shame.  It was a beautiful discussion about self-acceptance, self-love, and pushing thru negative connotations about body types that society portray.  It was an amazing discussion and will be marked as one of my favorite episodes!

I talked about this a bit on Facebook when the episode first dropped, but growing up, I was not always so confident about my body.  I am a tall and #foreverlean gal.  While I love my frame now, I always wanted bigger boobs, a more voluptuous ass, and thicker thighs.  I actually used to HATE being tall (I am 5’9”) so much so that when walked with friends, I used to walk with a bit of a slump because of shame I carried over being so tall. I’ve also got full lips, which I was shamed for having throughout much of my life. The list goes on.

I wasn’t just shamed by my peers, either.  Growing up, while I was shamed for being so slim amongst my peers, I was shamed for my height and lips by my parents. I am the tallest woman in my family (on both sides), and though I’d been this height since age 16, my height was always a topic of discussion within my family. For some, I was put on a pedestal for being so lean and tall and was encouraged to model.  However, in other cases, I was made fun of because I stood at 5’9” at the age of 15, while my paternal aunts were all just five feet tall. Because of my full lips, I was called Soup Coolers and other such names “in jest” and was encouraged to do “lip exercises” to “make them smaller and more shapely”.  It wasn’t until I got older that I started to see how abusive this type of treatment was.  It wasn’t until I was older that I started to love myself more on the outside as well.

very antiquated photo of me on a runway…..

I am a lot more confident and proud of my body now. Growing up, we were only taught that body shaming is wrong to engage in for larger built people, but it was considered “jokes” and “just fun” to shame those that are smaller in built.  In the black community, being skinny was/is not valued in the ways that we believe they are when we consider the society as a whole (in white society, being thin is in, however being curvaceous with “more body” is heavily revered and appreciated in our community). All of this to say – body shaming anyone and for any reason is wrong.  It is incredibly important for us to have a high self-worth and love our physical selves.  We should be encouraged and motivated and it should be told to us how beautiful we are, no matter our shapes and “imperfections”.  We should be taught to love ourselves way before someone else does.

These days, sure, I would still love to have a larger backside and bigger boobs.  I think deep down, many of us wish we had more or less of something on ourselves physically.  But even though I’d love to have a heavier ass and bigger boobs, I am in love with my present self!  I was heavily made fun of for my height which caused me to hate it for a long time.  Now? I absolutely love being tall. Love it!  I was made fun of for having full lips. Now? I couldn’t imagine a “me” with thin lips and I love my pucker. I love my entire face! My boobs are small but I am okay with that.  It’s fine.  I’m still a slim bean and I absolutely appreciate it!

at the BlogHer conference last year in Orlando, Florida

Self-love is truly at the very cornerstone of overall acceptance.  In society, if we want to be accepted and loved by others authentically, we must love and accept ourselves first and foremost.  We must encourage and teach this self-love to children when they are very small as well.

To watch the Red Table Talk episode on Body Confessions, click HERE!

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