Friday, June 19, 2009

Uncovering the Ugly Truth

I promised that I wouldn't hide behind my ego in this blog. I would be humble in my discovery of what it means to be a FunFitFoodie. So here goes...

I am currently dating a wonderful, skinny Chilean. Our bodies are a fantastic metaphor for how we interact with the world too--completely opposite. My body is soft, feminine, very womanly. His body is linear, angles, straight. Our bodies are opposite. How we deal with the world is too.

I am super sensitive. I cry at Finding Nemo. I don't watch scary movies. I have cried at work. Because I'm so sensitive, I've learned to be diplomatic with everyone, always. I don't want to hurt other people's feelings because I know how it hurts me.

Then there's my boyfriend. Straight and to the point. Honest without sugarcoating. He says things without thinking. How I ended up with this man, I have no idea.

Then add to this powderkeg our cultural differences. Latin American and South American cultures recognize the elephant in the room, which is refreshing and offensive. A fat person has a nickname Guaton, Gordo, Gordito. A skinny person is Flaco, Flaquito. A black person is Negro or Negra. My nickname is Gringa. So my honest boyfriend lives in a culture where people call it like they see it. There's no politically correct anything.

So, we were lying in bed together, my leg thrown across his torso and he grabs my leg with so much love and says "Que grandes jamones tienes!" Loosely translated as "what great hams you have." Or....he might have said "Que jamones grandes tienes!" Which would be "what big hams you have!" The position of the grande is super important but, all I heard was the grande and the jamon and both reminded me of what I would rather forget: that I have thick, womanly thighs, and I hate them. But because he said it with such love and adoration, I chalked it up to culture and forgot about it.

But some things aren't really forgotten, just merely stored up. So when the next day as we were joking around, he says to me, "We're going to work on your body, shape your legs a bit more, make them look even sexier," I just lost it. If he had said anything other body part, I might have let it go. But it was like unleashing a monster.

I know it was just one of those joking moments. He had no idea he had touched on something super sensitive, something secret, that I admit to no one.

This thigh-hatred goes so deep, it's a little ridiculous. But I can remember the horror of developing thick thighs. The horror of seeing my brother date women with skinny legs and fearing that no one would want me. The exhaustion of having to work expecially hard to win the approval of my ex-boyfriend: working out, eating or not eating, wearing my hair the way he liked it, trying to be sexy for him.

I wanted things to be drastically different with my new boyfriend. So, I consciously began to create a world of acceptance, working on my relationship the way I'm also working on all aspects of my life. I'm trying to walk a more accepting path.

I told my new boyfriend I loved his body, which I do. Even when he mentioned he wanted muscles, I would say that if he wanted muscles fine but that he was great as he was. I wouldn't tell him if I liked him with facial hair or not because I didn't want him to feel he had to look a certain way for me to love him. I have been treating him as I want to be treated. And he has responded. He's told me he loves my legs, my stomach, my breasts, my ass. He's told me wants me to return from the U.S. exactly as I am now.

But I ignored these lovely, ubiquitous compliments. Instead, when he said he wanted to "work on my legs" I told him he hurt my feelings and proceeded to cry (which is what happens when I'm super angry. I actually think this is improvement over how I used to be. I used to never say a word and hang on to the hurt forever. At least I said something, however inefficiently and emotionally it was said.)

His caring apology only made me cry harder. I felt sorry for the man. This man loved me, and though I value my mind, I still can't find my way to valuing my body. I hated that I had revealed to him what I wanted to keep from him of all people: that even though I have a BMI of frickin' 22 for godsakes, even though I workout every day and love dance, a part of me still thinks I'm fat. It's this part that has prevented me from getting a personal training certificate years' earlier. It's what has prevented me from properly marketing and giving my fitness book any credit. It's this part that makes my future precarious. Because I know what I want to be (a personal trainer, help others with body acceptance and living joyfully), but I will have to face my deepest and worse fears and put away forever the most hurtful critiques that I give myself.

I'm not sure how to do this but this argument with my boyfriend has made me realize more than anything that I must do something.

I wonder if you can perform an exorcism on bad body-self-esteem?

But it ends here. If I have to physically hold my legs and kiss them, I will. If I have to kick ass every time someone comments on my body, fine. But I'm going to wear a bathing suit this summer with pride (not the false kind). And I'm going to wear it now. Not after months of working out like a fool. Nope. I'm going to accept my legs. And anyone who doesn't like them or wants to "shape them" can shove it.

I'm going to love my body gosh darnit, even if it kills me!

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