Even as a young child, I was "different" from the other kids. Elementary school was not so bad. High school was the worst! The teasing was unbearable sometimes. By the time I was 16, I just didn't want anyone to notice me anymore. I wanted to fade into the background. It was only at home in my room that I felt like it was okay to do the things I wanted to do, like cut out pictures by Rembrandt to put on my walls or to make silly pictures out of construction paper. I was never the girl with all the beefcake and music posters in her room.
This continued through college and most of my adult years. During college, though, I realized that I was a good person. I wasn't quite the freak everyone in high school made me out to be. It was okay to be different and unique and that helped a lot. I felt free to be my silly, colorful self with my friends but worked to blend when out and about. I ended up marrying a guy right out of college who... well... wasn't the right person for me. He was very controlling and emotionally/verbally abusive so I retreated again, and this time even more. In the first year we were married, I gained 150 lbs. Yep. 150 pounds in 12 months. Talk about stress eating!
Eventually, I found my voice and left him and ended up meeting a man who has loved me no matter what. He has seen me go through a lot of changes in our 12+ years together!
This is how I looked when I met him at age 25:
Yes, if you do the math, that means I am 37 right now. ;)
I still had a similar look when we got married 4 years later, in 2003:
We ended up moving to Georgia, away from all of our friends and family in Minnesota, in 2004. For the first 2 years, I just maintained a content but hermitish existence. Same look, same please-don't-notice-me sense of "style". After those 2 years, though, I realized I had no friends outside of work and it bothered me so I joined a few social sites and started going to events where I could meet new people. In one of these groups, several people kept mistaking me at first glance for a woman named "Rosie" who was 20+ years my senior and, honestly, looked it. Facially, we looked nothing alike but we had a similar build and a "comfortable" sense of "style." I was mortified, to say the least.
My first step was to change my hair. I went to the salon and said, "I want something that is flattering, something that is artsy, fun and funky. I don't care about length but it does need to be grabbable at the crown." (Hey, a girl likes what she likes! *winks*) The rest all fell into place after that.
As my external metamorphosis took place, so did my internal. I realized that the only person who could change the things I did not like about myself was me. I started to care less what other people thought about me and forced myself to be more extroverted. It's easier now than it was back then and most people I know would never believe how shy I am at the core. I do still have some issues that I am trying to work on but some are deep-seeded, like my mild ochlophobia.
Here is a short list of things that I have done that the "me" from even 5 years ago would be mortified by:
- I wear shirts that accent my cleavage
- When it's hot, I wear tank tops and capris
- At a particular adult camping event every summer, I go topless
- At ths same event, I went down the naked slip and slide... naked**
- I am not scared to talk to skinny girls (they have just as many hang-ups as the next person, if not more!)
- I hug everyone I meet in a social setting
- I host a munch called FLABB (Friends, Lovers, & Admirers of BBWs & BHMs) every month in Atlanta
- I openly use the word "fat" to describe myself
- I paint my fingernails black, get pedicures in the summer, and wear make-up (though not as often as I maybe should *grin*)
I wouldn't say I am a different person compared to what I was 5 or 6 years ago but I am definitely more "me" than I ever was and I really like me. I am still a work-in-progress as I feel people should always strive at self-improvement but Sashi 2011 is fat, friendly, creative, loving, and a pretty cool chick, I think. :)
**This was probably the most free and liberating thing I have *ever* done in my life. Imagine a 100-foot tarp going down the side of a hill with bumps that make you go air-borne. Imagine a group of people sitting and watching the naked people go down the hill. Imagine my big ol' white arse going up the hill for the whole world to see! On second thought, don't imagine that last part. (*laugh*) I did it, though. It was the first time I ever allowed myself to be completely nude in front of a group of spectators and it was SO MUCH FUN! I had several women come up to me afterward and tell how much of an inspiration it was for them to see me because they could never do it due to their own body issues.