Deborah

Being beautiful meant being skinny,“good” hair, and having the typical“womanly” hour glass curve. Being beautiful was everything that I am not. I am not skinny, my hair is not silky, nor am I hour glass figured. I lost a lot of weight  and in this time  my mother was not complaining as much about my appearance. She was the trigger to the conformity of my body. If ever someone brought up my weight she would be embarrassed for me, and being that she is my mom – I wanted nothing more than to make her happy. I was willing to change if it meant I wouldn’t have to be in this constant battle between my body and her words.

I lived in the Dominican Republic for five years before my immediate family separated and began their own lives in different places. My parents were no longer together, my older brother had moved to America, and all that was left was my mother, middle brother, and I. The separation of my family and the constant moving from America to D.R. forced me to learn how to manage on my own. Here is where I learned how to be strong, where I also learned the beauty of letting go of the things you can not handle. This is what you may consider my Beautype

     My mother is first and foremost a provider, she took care of me when I was sick, bought me the essentials needed, and always made sure that food was on the table. So do not mistake her to be anything less than the woman whom I respect.

I come from a generation of women who were not encouraged by neither the society they lived in nor their families, to be expressive. My Mother is amongst the many women in my lineage who were given no choice but to be emotionally stoic through the Dominican culture. So the view of beauty in my home was the total opposite of what I am.

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Growing up I learned  to love myself despite my mothers lack of emotional comfort. I have come to realize that with time I accept that this is who I’m going to be for the rest of my life. The weight can change, my hair will grow, things will look different as I continue to live – but  this is who I am. Every girl has something that makes her feel like she’s not beautiful. The female figures in my life I’ve come to understand, do not know how to appreciate themselves and in turn reflect that self hatred upon the woman they birth. I don’t think my mother loved  herself enough. She’ll make little comments like

     “Oh you know what? I have a big nose, but when I was younger I used to be skinny.”

In her mind being skinny compensated or distracted people from the sight of her big nose. That told me a lot about my mothers insecurities and that even though society can have a big influence on you – a lot of self hatred stems from what you’re taught at home. Throughout my childhood , I don’t remember a time where I wasn’t told that my hair was to rough. My grandmother would brush my curls and I would cry out in pain asking for her to be more gentle.

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     “ Its because your hair is hard.” 

 “ Its because you look like THOSE people.”

She would be referring to my fathers side of the family, who they did not associate kindly too but were polite when needed. It came to a point where  I would feel weird in my own family, as if I was a completely different species. When I was fully  aware of what beauty was as a young girl, I had just turned eight or nine years old. My mother had started to compare me to the other girls in my family when we found out that two of my cousins and brother were invited to be in the wedding, where as I was just invited to witness it.

     “ You see, you weren’t invited to participate because you’re fat. Nobody wants a fat girl in their wedding.”

Translating this into English sounds so much more harsh than what I remember in Spanish, but I’d like to believe that she didn’t think before saying those things to me. But as a child, to hear the person you most love in this world tell you exactly why you aren’t good enough, hurts.

In 2015 I had traveled to India and opened myself up to be vulnerable to a culture that I was unfamiliar with. Here I learned how to love every type of human being and how they were structured. Sometimes I sat and looked at peoples faces and tried to find the smallest details that other people wouldn’t take the time to appreciate. Even the smallest acts of kindness were greatly appreciated here.

“Come into my house, I will cook for you! ”
or
“ I have tea in the shop, come sit and talk.” 

they’d be open armed for an outsider like me, and where I was from hospitality was hard to come by.  One day as I traveled to the slums, I met a young beautiful Indian girl. I had complimented her appearance and she was quick to deny it and reflect the compliment to her sister. Traditionally girls from the slums are not seen to be beautiful, and they are so brainwashed by this that even the smallest compliment isn’t accepted. American and Indian beauty are not so far from each other. I had asked her why she didn’t think she was beautiful and her response was because she was dark in color while her sister was light. It broke my heart to hear such a young girl believe so whole heartedly that she wasn’t beautiful.SONY DSC

   I have come to a point in my life where I am well aware of my need to help young girls who don’t have the emotional stability to be comforted by family or who have conformed to the idea that they are not beautiful.  Society wants to keep you from feeling confident when you don’t meet its standards. I’ve come to a mirror plenty of times and said

“oh girl you are looking great today!”

and have people wonder why I have so much confidence in the body I am in, especially women of this generation. We spend more time breaking each other down instead of empowering each other to be great. We compete to be better than one another, but I’ve learned you can’t win a war if you don’t stand together

amy

5 Comments

  1. Steve

    Honestly…I loved it because I not only agree with what was said but I can also relate. As a kid I often times would get attacked, (sometimes maliciously) for looking simply like myself, hence the rise of insecurities that to this day I try to put down. And for the most part I’ve gained much self love and confidence I have not had in the past, which was recently, but I’m still trying to love myself more, I especially relate to the Indian girl in the slums, I also do not take compliments well. I’m normally just silent, I don’t know what to say and often times I want to change the subject and reflect the compliment back at the person complimenting me. When people kept saying I should be a model I was shocked! The message was very grounding and there needs to be a significant increase in love on this planet and I hope those who read your blog takes from it as much, if not more as I did. This is something major for anyone who is on the path to their greatest versions and I’m privileged to have read and relate to someone like me, thank you.

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    1. Debora

      Hey Steve, thanks for your lovely comment. I’m glad I neglected my fear of not doing this interview with Amy because it excites me to read comments like yours. Loving ourselves is a daily battle we must fight against this society and our biggest enemy, our minds. It’s not an easy battle but trust me it gets easier with time. Steve!!!(in my most stern voice) lol You better believe those positive compliments! What has helped me is always having positive comments to tell myself. It’s not being conceited, it’s just knowing that your an amazing human being on this earth with a purpose. I find that the best answer is thank you, or if you’re a clown like me, in a jokingly manner say “I know” and smile. I obviously never forget to say thank you though. What’s wrong with you that you can’t be a model?!?! Nothing, if that’s something you want to pursue then go ahead! Remember beauty is defined by our society, start making your own definition. Forget people, what do you think about yourself? And then start from there.
      Thanks for reading I’m ovejoyed to feel like I’m not alone in this journey of learning how to love myself.
      You’re awesome!

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  2. Debora

    *you’re
    *overjoyed

    Typos ugh! 😝😝😊😊

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  3. Amber Raine

    Ugh! I cried and cried reading this. I can relate on more than one level and Debora I give you a standing ovation for this article. It spoke to me and in many ways inspired me to stay focus and true to myself in finding comfort in my identity. And the light you shine on the importance of encouraging other girls is SO important. That line about “we cannot win the war if we don’t stand together” brought it all together so beautifully. Girls are so often taught to hate on each other and to compete to diminish one another and I LOVE that you are showing that we can all shine bright. People like you and blogs like this are so desperately needed. Keep your head up love.

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  4. I love this so much! I’ve seen how much you have flourished and grown into this beautiful, smart, & determined young lady!!! We met years ago and your transformation, not necessarily physically but MENTALLY is remarkable! I love your confidence!!! You better WORKKKK Debora! Lol!

    Like

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