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Our bodies, our BFFs

February 12, 2016

Our bodies, our BFFs

I wanted to share the story behind our SS16 Naked Doll pieces. It's primarily a lighthearted homage to Mark Ryden's 1994 oil on panel titled "Saint Barbie", which is a truly stunning and deep piece of contemporary art. But it's more than that really. It's a satire of the ideal female form that we as women are exposed to and almost indoctrinated, from such an early age. And it symbolizes a personal journey that I have conquered, not unlike many other women.

We're not born insecure. I see my daughter running around without her diaper, in total bliss with the experience of her body, loving its functionality, it's challenges and how she looks. She screams "gorgeous!" when she looks at herself in the mirror. And she reminds me of a time when my body was my best friend too.

I've come a long way from where I was 10 years ago, and even more before that. Having grown up very slender I enjoyed my figure and absolutely relished in it, never really comparing myself to others or feeling insecure. But sadly it invited a few negative side effects. On one end my family was always warning me to cover up, never wear anything tight and not show my body, and on the other hand I was exposed to the horrid experience of envy, one of humanity's darkest expressions. When a friend of mine confessed that she envied my weight, I was so hurt. I was no better than her in any possible way, yet she believed I was, and that completely crushed me.

After I ended my modeling career and sadly entered into a verbally and emotionally abusive relationship, I had my first miscarriage. And less than 5 months later I gained 80 pounds. And over the course of the next two years I gained another 60 pounds. And the negativity got worse. My friend made another confession: that she was happy that I gained weight so I could experience what she had been through her whole life (it did not hurt any less than the first  confession). And my Dad expressed his beliefs, even though he himself was obese, in a brief conversation we had about how proud he was of my professional accomplishments, ending it with "but it's too bad that you're fat because no man will ever want to marry you".

Weight is such a bizzare thing because we often place, or at least I did, so much value of how worthy we are as humans walking this earth, on how slim or how large we are. Especially in a latino culture like mine, women are supposed to maintain their almost trophy-wife appearance no matter what, or else they are not attractive. Deep down all those years I felt so upset at myself mostly, for allowing someone to hurt me, for not being able to resist the trap of the insecurities that we are bombarded with on a daily basis, from the media, our friends and our families. I had succumbed to the darkness of self-hate around me and internalized it. I say that because as my daughter shows me now, we are not born with hatred towards ourselves and our bodies, we adopt it from others rather, and make it own. And that is so, so sad.

It took me ages to figure out that I still loved myself deep down, that my loving and magical initial BFF relationship with my body was still there, hidden underneath all that pain and shame and guilt. And after eons of trying every diet imaginable, and gaining the weight back countless times, I realized that the core healing for me was not being slim or large or any specific weight, but just loving my body fully. Loving what it does for me every second, loving the life that flows through my veins, loving the patience and compassion that it's had with me as I've mistreated it for so long, loving the soft, curvy, life-giving force-of-nature that it is.

I now take care of my body, not with the intention of losing weight, but with the intention of giving it as much love as I possibly can. And the weight has been dropping off as a side effect. 

This skinny yet curvy ideal that we are all told we should be, is not ours. Let's reconnect with our god-given right of saying NO to those outside beliefs and rekindling the love that we were born with. That's the beauty of growing older. You place greater emphasis on your beliefs and less on the beliefs of others, and you learn to tell the difference. 

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