Uh-oh. This one might ruffle some feathers. But we’re here to engage, right? So lezdoit! I recently asked readers what kinds of topics they wanted me to discuss in future posts. The resounding consensus…relationships. So here’s what I’ve been pondering lately.
FIRST–Let me be as clear as I possibly can. A woman’s worth/self-esteem is NOT inextricably tied to her outward appearance, body shape or size. We are intelligent, powerful, multi-faceted human beings with far more to offer than what we look like. Okay? So please re-direct any feminist tirades to a far more deserving outlet like the GOP. These are simply my personal experiences and observations.
Growing up overweight absolutely affected my self-esteem. The first time someone called me fat was in the first grade. I was 6 years old. I don’t remember all the circumstances surrounding the incident, but I remember that was the age that I became aware of my size and that it was “a problem.” That was also the age I got into my first physical fight. It was with a boy in my class named Dion who made fun of me for being heavy. Six years old or not, I was not about let some snot-nosed boy play me, (read: hurt me,) and get away with it. So, we squared up at recess, apparently far enough away that the teacher couldn’t see us and we fought. I lost. It wasn’t awful. It ended with him on top of me, shoving my face in the dirt. I had a few scrapes from rocks and sticks and my nose was a little sore from where he pushed it into the ground, but mostly I was just dirty and sad. I never told anyone. Not a teacher, not a parent, not a friend. I just got up, cleaned off as best I could and went back to class. I was teased about my weight from the age of 6 until around 18/19. I still remember my friend’s boyfriend in college called me fat to my face…like it was a totally acceptable descriptive. I was used to it at that point, but I promise you, it still stung.
All of this is just a long way of getting to a very simple point, my weight took a toll on my self-esteem. I was always insecure about my body, (still am, obvi,) so much so that I never expected to get attention from guys. Weird thing is though…I did. Not Rihanna at Crop Over Fest attention, but around the 8th grade, boys started to notice me a little, and they weren’t trying to pick fights anymore. High school, college, into my twenties–I wasn’t bringing all the boys to the yard or anything, but I was…good. Even between relationships, there were always guys around giving me attention. Go figure.
Fast-forward, though, after YEARS of self-awareness work and spiritual practice, I started to heal some of those old wounds from my childhood, (I’m still working on a few,) and really began to love myself. As it turned out, it had NOTHING to do with a man’s attention. WHAAAAAT?! (This is sarcasm in case that’s not clear, ’cause…no shit.)
I realized that my value in this world was not determined by a number on the scale, cellulite in my thighs, who thought I was cute, my job, my bank account, accolades, or even my residual jiggle factor, (shout out to my O.G. readers!) Sure I would still struggle with insecurities, but I finally started to accept that my dopeness was innate, God-given, and unfuckwitable!
Hello, more evolved, confident me….goodbye dates!
The irony would be hilarious if it wasn’t maddening. Since dealing with a lot of those self-esteem issues, the attention I get from men has gone from “respectable” to I went on three dates last year. Bruh! THREE!! In. A. Year! And no, I’m not conceited or high maintenance or “too picky” or any other trope that gets applied to women who have a hard time dating. I go out. I engage. I smile–all the sh*t somebody said we’re supposed to do. *longest eye roll ever* Doesn’t matter. I can be at a social function and not get so much as a head nod. *sniffs pits* All good there. *checks teeth in mirror* No spinach. *smiles to make self more approachable* Ooh, got one! *Guy walks up*
Me: *Smiling pleasantly* Hi.
Him: Hi. Could you pass me a napkin?
So finally, I asked one of my guy friends about it, and I’ll never forget what he said, “You know what it is, you just seem like…you’re good. Not, like, mean or anti-social but just… good. Like you don’t need anything.” To which I responded, “I don’t need anything. Isn’t that a good thing?” His reply: “It is, but it’s not. Not for a guy.”
After all these years of hearing men complain about women being needy or gold diggers or opportunistic or a myriad of other stereotypes perpetuated by strippers and reality T.V. stars, here I have this handsome, well educated, successful man telling me that I’m not needy enough. (And before you ask, yes I tried to get at him. He gave me no play. That’s why we’re friends. *Kanye shrug*)
Then came the questions. Is that what men were attracted to all those years, my need to be wanted, to be thought of as desirable, to be seen as something other than “the fat one”? In hindsight, I have to wonder if at least some of the guys weren’t somehow attracted to this deep, veiled wound that had been festering since I was kid. Maybe it was a vibe they picked up on, my body language, my genuine surprise at their interest in me. But now that I’ve stitched up the gaping hole and put some ‘Tussin on it, I’m…less desirable? Well ain’t that about a bih?!
Again, this is all theory, but one worth exploring I think. I used to call B.S. whenever I heard people say that confident women have a harder time dating. To an insecure girl, that sounded like Sean-Spicer-level-mumbo-jumbo. But now…Iowno. I floated this idea by a few guys on set last Friday, (ages 27-40,) and they agreed there was something to it.
So y’all tell me: Do you think a majority of men, (not ALL of course,) gravitate to women with low self-esteem, or am I reading way to much into this? I’d love to hear what you have to say on this one. And please, FELLAS, speak up. I want your feedback too! Let a girl know!
*** P.S.: Dates or no dates, ladies…stay dope! And don’t you dare dim your shine for nobody! Mmmkay?!
Former Fat Girl…Gone!