Tag Archives: Fat Girl Flashback

Body Policing The Twins

This post was inspired by the online debates I’ve seen about Beyonce showing her body, particularly the bottom of her breasts on the cover of GQ this month. I guess Body Policing can happen even if you have a perfect body!

When I was 13 my best friend Jennifer and I got matching pink/purple spaghetti strapped tank tops (this was right before she “stole my boyfriend” and I had to go all 90210 on her, but I digress). Matching outfits with my best friend was a huge deal for me because she was 5’1 and skinny and I was a 5’10 Plus Size Princess in puberty who already had D cup breasts. As you can imagine, finding a cute top that fit both of us was a pretty daunting task.

One day, we decided that we would wear our cute little tanks to dance class at our performing arts school. Intermediate Jazz was business as usual, a warm up… across the floor exercises and then choreography to our favorite songs. If you know anything about a good workout/dance class, the high you feel is amazing… by the end of class we were a bundle of happy energy and endorphins. Going to the School of the Arts meant that I was able to get that feeling in school twice a week with all my friends. This was heaven to me so, when my dance teacher asked to speak to me after class I bounced over to her almost giddily.

“Yes, Ms. V?” I said, pulling my duffel bag onto my shoulder.

“CeCe, I don’t want you wearing that tank top in my class anymore. You need to bring tops that cover your breasts.” Ms. V said, curtly.

Her comments brought my emotions down from a dancers high at a rate so fast it stung. I was mortified. I blinked, quickly… taking in not only what she said, but the way she said it. Ms. V had never been mean to me, but today her voice had a slight edge to it. Her request wasn’t terrible but it was almost like I had offended her.

All the girls wore tank tops to dance class, but according to Ms. V, I could not. Being a teenage PSP, I often felt boxed out of trends that my peers were rocking because they just didn’t make those things in my size. So that pink/purple tank top meant a lot to me. Now, I was feeling boxed out again… My skinny bff, was by no means flat chested but she wasn’t asked to cover her breasts. The tank was okay on her, but not on me. She was okay seeing the moderate size breasts in tank tops, but my full breasts were too much.

We’re okay if Beyonce shows traditional “top of breast” cleavage, but seeing the bottom of her breasts is over the line– how do we decide these things?

Looking back, could I have worn something less revealing to dance class? Sure! Was her request outrageous? Not really. It was a good teaching moment, because at that age I was still learning my body and what was appropriate (my Mom probably would have told me to pack a different top for dance class, had she seen what I had planned to wear).

I think the hardest part about that moment for me is that I felt judged.

When you have large breasts on a plus size body it’s almost as if your breasts become a punch line. An extension of a body that already takes up “too much space”. Suddenly, your body becomes public domain and everyone had an opinion on how your body is represented.

Body Policing comes in many different forms “you’re too big wear that”, “that’s not age-appropriate”, “you’re a mom now”… how often to we hear (or say) things like that? I know I do. But I’m starting to wonder if that’s a form of body policing… what do you think?

Should we judge how much skin people (of all sizes) show?

 

Fat Girl Flashback: If I Knew Then…

It was a May in California… Summer was getting into full swing and as far as I was concerned, life was pretty close to perfect. I was 12 going on 13, it was the last week of 8th grade and I was heading to a performing arts high school in the fall. To top it all off, Donnie (my crush since 7th grade) and I were finally making progress… and by “progress” I mean making out behind the band room.

I was the only girl in our class who really had a thing for Donnie, in fact my best friend Jennifer would tease me about him, telling me that she couldn’t believe I liked him so much because “he looks like a rat!”. But I didn’t care, with his buzzed haircut, olive skin and excessive Tommy Hilfiger cologne, I thought he was the hot.

Monday morning of the last week of school, Elena, my other best friend, came over and sat next to me on the bus. We recapped our weekends including a last-minute end of the year party at our friend Rosalind’s house. I had to miss the party because my family had plans, but Elena had all the details.

“It was fun,” she said, “we went swimming, ate pizza… Katie had on the same bikini as I did” she said with an eye roll. Then she paused, “Donnie was there too.”

“Oh, cool,” I said, feeling a slight pang of regret that I missed a chance to hang out with him.

“Yeah,” she continued, then she paused again. “I’m your best friend, right?”

“Of course… you and Jennifer” I replied.

“Well, I think you should know that Jennifer was making out with Donnie at the party.”

I was stunned silent, my face was burning with a mix of anger and embarrassment. I was only 12, but I knew that what Jennifer had done was wrong. Or was it? Donnie wasn’t my boyfriend, per se so I guess I didn’t have any real claim to him. But Jennifer had listened to me talk about how cute he was for 2 years and she knew about our make-out sessions after school. And wait– didn’t she think that Donnie looked like a rat?

Elena touched my leg gently, “are you okay?” she asked.

I told her I was… what else could I say? We got to school and I did all the things a token pre-teen girl would do when she found out her best friend had made out with her crush. I gave Jennifer the silent treatment all morning… when she asked me what was wrong I said “nothing”… then at lunch, with Elena by my side, I told her in the most aloof/dramatic way possible that I knew what she had done with Donnie and I thought it was gross and she was a bad friend. It was a great moment… Watching those reruns of 90210 really paid off!

Being with childhood friends at a wedding the other weekend brought back lots of memories and the CeCe/Jennifer/Donnie situation was definitely one of them!

Looking back on the situation, I remember feeling helpless. I was a young Plus Size Princess and Jennifer was skinny, so in my head there was no way Donnie would choose me over her. But the more I go over that situation, I see how much my 12 year old insecurities morphed the lens through which I looked at the situation.

The way I saw it back then, Donnie was into me until a skinnier option came along. The truth of the matter is, Donnie was a hormonal boy taking every chance he got to make out with girls (of any size!). Donnie didn’t ask me to be his girlfriend, but he didn’t ask Jennifer to be his girlfriend either. I thought Jennifer had this huge advantage over me because she was skinny, but in the end Donnie treated us both the same.

As they say, “hindsight is 20/20”, we see things with much more clarity as we look back. The helpful thing for someone with body image issues, like me, is that as I look back and see how silly I was as a kid– I can also see how silly I am as a pseudo-adult! Yes, I’m older, wiser and have dated more but I still carry my body image issues around with me. Often times the advice I want to give to my younger PSP self is advice that I still need today… which gives me an idea:

Tomorrow (September 5, 2012) on facebook and twitter, I’d like to host a live Curvy Conversations chat where we talk about what we wish we could have told ourselves as young Plus Size Princesses. Follow me on facebook and/or twitter and we’ll do it at 2pm EST (11am PST). I’ll even do some instant giveaways during the chat for those of you who participate. I’ll post the full details for the live chat early tomorrow morning, but in the meantime think about what you wish you had known as a young Plus Size Princess.

Full Details on the chat can be found here!

Are you down?

Fat Girl Flash Back: Back-to-School Fantasies

As many of you know, I’m in California for Christmas (hence the sparse blog posts and tweets… sorry about that!). This year, I was able to come home for a whooping 20 days! 20 days to spend with my parents, sisters and a few friends… more importantly, 20 days off from my day job! *cartwheel*

As I planned my trip and the things I wanted to do while I was home, I found myself focusing on how much time I would have to exercise. 20 days on vacation, I’d have no excuse not to hit the gym regularly while I was home. My train of thought went a little like this: 20 days of vacation… if I worked out every day… I could lose a good amount of weight… at least 5 pounds… maybe even 10… If I could lose 10 pounds, when I got back to work I could be noticeably smaller!

So I’ve been home now for eight days and I’ve worked out three times. Being home has also changed my eating patterns, I’m eating more rich holiday foods. Needless to say I have not lost 10 pounds… or 5 pounds.

But this post isn’t about beating myself up for choosing family and friends over the gym, this post is about patterns.

The fantasy I slipped into about being away for a long period of time and returning as a skinnier version of myself is one I think I’ve been having since I was 11 or 12. Every year on the last day of school, I would commit to starving myself everyday of summer vacation so that when I returned to school the next year, I’d be unrecognizably skinny.

In my junior high fantasies, my starvation would make me so thin that the kids would think I was “the new girl”. Boys who saw me as “just a friend” would suddenly find themselves crushing on me. Life would be… different.

Attending a performing arts high school, the fantasy changed a bit. I was constantly cast as someone’s mother or an old lady because, “the heavier you are the older you look”. But I was desperate to play a lead. Although, I had the singing voice– I knew that at my size, a lead role would never ever happen, so each year I would fantasize about walking into the auditions at the beginning of the year and causing an upset when I stole the leading part from the skinny girls who didn’t even see me as competition.

Every summer, I thwarted my own get skinny scheme one way or another. At that age, I didn’t understand the importance of exercise and starving myself while being on summer break was a plan that was destined to fail.

Oddly enough, I did lose a lot of weight in high school but it was accidentally and during the school year. I drove myself to the gym every day after school because it was the one place I could go without asking my parents permission. I did that every single day for nine months and lost 50 pounds. I didn’t even know I’d lost weight until a teacher complimented me on it.

Obviously my life experiences have shown me that the fantasy of losing a substantial amount of weight while on vacation is pretty ridiculous, but in the spirit of weight loss shows and teenage make-over movies, somehow I can’t stop hoping that one day I’ll pull it off. The better goal is to focus on maintaining my weight in the land of Mexican food and In-N-Out burgers… and with that– I’m off to the gym!

Did any of YOU have back-to-school weight loss fantasies growing up?

Fat Girl Flashback: You Can’t Play That Part

My script rattled gently in my hands while I stood on stage. My performing arts high school was debuting a new musical set in the 1950’s and I was auditioning for a leading role!

The character of Sheila had to be very funny and had to sing very well, out of all the girls in the drama department Mr. Bologe, our director, had narrowed it down to two; myself and Janie Rogers. While Janie was hilarious, her voice was pretty bad. I on the other hand had been singing since I could talk.

The final audition was pretty intense as we took turns reading the same lines and singing the same songs. I was a ball of nerves, but I was confident. As Janie struggled to stay on pitch, I hit all the notes effortlessly and still managed to make everyone laugh with my delivery. I left the audition feeling like the part was mine.

The next morning as I made my way to the call board where the cast decisions would be listed, I ran my fingers along the characters names looking for confirmation of my first leading role and there it was:

Sheila…….. Janie Rogers

I was devastated, I called my parents to let them know the results and they advised me to talk to Mr. Bologe and ask if there was anything I could do better for my next audition. During our lunch period I made my way to his classroom where he was munching on a salad and grading papers.

“Mr. Bologe?” I called out, standing in the doorway, “Can I speak to you?”

“Of course, CeCe… come in,” he said, pushing his salad to the side.

“I just wanted to stop by and ask if there was anything I– I could have done better in my audition yesterday,”

“Oh! No, No CeCe… you were PERFECT! Your comedic timing is impeccable and your voice is beautiful, you’re actually better for the part than Janie,”

“Okay…” I whispered, waiting for him to continue. Mr. Bologe leaned in with a smile on his face.

“The ONLY problem is that line in the second act. You know, when Sheila confesses that she ‘made love to Ben in the back of a Studdebacher’? I mean… at your size its not believable that you would FIT in the back of such a small car!”

My lips parted to say something, but I couldn’t. I could not believe that even though my talent had earned me the role of Sheila, he hadn’t given me the part because of one line in the play. It was high school theater, not Broadway. The smile on Mr. Bologe’s face said that he felt his logic was completely right and in no way offensive to a 16 year old girl who was struggling with her weight. There was nothing more to say, so I walked out of his classroom with tears stinging my eyes.

Two years later I moved to New York City to pursue a career on Broadway professionally (yup, I have other talents besides writing haha) and while being a plus size singer/actress has its challenges, no one has been so bluntly hurtful as that high school drama teacher.

Fat Girl Flashback: Stories From The Pool (Sponsored By SwimSuitsForAll.com)

I’ve been spending lots of time in my new tankini that I purchased for my Miami vacation. As a Plus Size Princess, I get excited when companies realize that we crave fun, flattering apparel and when a company like Swimsuits For All decides to provide swimwear I can feel fabulous in, its truly a gift.


I feel like we all have at least one summer story from the pool, so TBGB has teamed up with SwimSuitsForAll to host a “Stories From The Pool” Contest! The winner will receive a $100 gift card to SwimSuitsForAll!


Maybe your story is funny, awkward or just plain embarrassing! Either way, I’m sure we can all relate, so… lets share!

Here’s mine:

Growing up in California, my parents put us in swim lessons every summer. I started out as a “minnow” then a “guppy” and by the time I was 10 years old I was a “shark” the highest level in the entire swim program. Most of the other sharks were older than I was but of course, I was bigger. By this time my boobies were filling out my training bra, my tummy was quite round and my chunky inner thighs were eternally pressed together.

But in the water none of that mattered, because although I was the chubby 10 year old in the class full of thin 11 and 12 year olds, I was still the best swimmer in the class. This was mostly due to the fact that I had a pool in my backyard, so I was always in the water practicing my advanced strokes between lessons.

As Sharks, we had our lessons every Wednesday at the deep end of the pool, usually in an area right by the ladder that we used to climb in and out of the water. One day our class was moved to the middle of the pool. We all jumped in and our lesson went as usual… until it came time to get out of the pool for our diving drills.

Because the ladder that we normally used to exit the pool was so far away, everyone planted their hands on the edge of the pool and pushed themselves up out of the water and onto the concrete. I too swam to the edge of the pool, planted my hands firmly on the concrete, but when I pushed up with my arms, I barely moved. One by one the other Sharks propelled themselves out of the water, and every time I tried to do it, I could not. My arms were too weak to support my heavy frame. Over and over, I tried to get out of the water and before I knew it my entire class was standing on the edge of the pool looking down at me, waiting for me to get out.

I could feel my heart racing. I wanted to slip under the water and hold my breath until they all left, but that was not an option. Finally, my instructor reached her hand down and offered to pull me up from above, but I had a horrifying vision of pulling her down into the water with me. “Its okay,” I said and I swam over to the ladder, climbed out and walked back to join the Sharks who had already started diving.

As my Mom drove us home, she listened quietly as I told her what happened, “everyone could get out of the pool except for me!” I whined burying my face in my hands. I assumed my Mother would provide sympathy but instead she provided a solution. “Why don’t you practice getting out of the pool with your arms at home?” she asked, “You’ll have a whole week to build your strength.” Using our pool to my advantage for my swimming strokes was one thing, but the idea of practicing exiting the pool like the other kids had never crossed my mind.

I spent the rest of the week splashing around with my sisters, and then taking time by myself to push up and out of our pool, first from the shallow end where I could use my legs and then when I felt strong I moved to the deep end. Every day, I would practice and when Wednesday came, I hoped I was ready.

Once again our class was moved to the middle of the pool, but this time when it was time to climb out, I had something to prove. I knew I would only have one shot, or else I would risk repeating the embarrassing scene from the week prior. I’d been doing well at home, but with all the other Sharks around, I felt nervous. I swam to the edge of the pool, pressed my palms against the pavement, propelled myself out of the water and this time instead of splashing back down into the water, I felt my body land on the hot cement.

I did it!

On the inside I wanted to do a little dance, or give someone a high five… but on the outside I pretended like it was no big deal.


Okay, now its your turn… what’s your “Story From The Pool”?


Here’s How you Enter:


1.) Follow TBGB with Google Friend Connect (on the right side of this page →)
2.) Leave a comment with your “Story From The Pool”

3.) Include a link to your favorite Swim Suit from http:/www.swimsuitsforall.com/

A winner will be chosen in one week!

Fat Girl Flashback: Fourth Grade

When I was younger I would hear stories about kids being teased because of their weight.

When I would hear those stories, I would think about how awful it was for those kids who were made fun of, but I would also wonder what made me different because, although I was a big kid, those things didn’t really happen to me.

At age nine I was best friends with the most popular girls in the fourth grade. The leader of our group was Riley Baker. Riley was beautiful, all the boys were in love with her and she had the type of personality that made you want to do whatever she said. We called ourselves the Red Sisters because of a blood oath she convinced us to take one day after school.

If Riley was the queen of the fourth grade, recess was when she held court. Everyday after we shared our goldfish crackers, sandwiches and caprisuns we would roam the playground. We felt we were too old to play on the jungle gym like the 2nd and 3rd graders but we also knew we were too young to make our way over to the softball field where the 7th and 8th graders hung out.

So we walked… waiting for something to happen. When nothing did, Riley would make something happen. Sometimes it was flirting with boys, sometimes it was lying on the grass listening to Nirvana on her Walkman. Then there were the afternoons when Riley’s claws would come out. There were two girls that she hated and both were on the chubby side. If Riley crossed paths with either of these girls, the Red Sisters would stand in silence as Riley tore into them; criticizing their clothes, their bodies, their hair and anything else she could think of. The Red Sisters never added any insults, we were actually cool with both of the chubby girls when Riley wasn’t around, but our silence spoke volumes.

These girls had it rough because if they cried it would only bring them more negative attention. On the other hand, when one of the girls got fed up and told a teacher what Riley was doing to her, it was even worse. Riley was put into detention for 3 days and gave the Red Sisters strict orders to pretend the girl didn’t exist.

I can remember feeling bad for the girls but feeling relieved that Riley was my friend. I also remember feeling confused because I knew that I was actually bigger than both of these girls who were being teased about their weight. I knew it was twisted, but I was grateful that Riley and the other girls looked past my size and still allowed me to be a Red Sister.

When Riley returned from her stint in detention, we went back to sandwiches, goldfish crackers and caprisuns followed by walks, boys and Nirvana. Riley had a new boyfriend and hadn’t harassed anyone in a while so things felt pretty normal. One day, we decided to roam a little further across the school yard and found ourselves chatting in front of a brick wall outside of the 6th graders classrooms. We were waiting for something to happen, but as usual, nothing did.

The bell rang, signaling the end of recess. We all stood up to head back to class, the other Red Sisters turned the corner and Riley, who was in front of me, abruptly turned around. Suddenly it was just the two of us standing against the brick wall.

“You need to lose weight,” she said.

I felt like she had punched me in the stomach.

“I-I… I know,” I stammered.

I wanted to cry, but I couldn’t. I wanted to tell someone, but what was the point? I wasn’t sure if I was going to have to plead for my place as a Red Sister, but before I could think of anything to say, Riley turned on her heel and headed back to class.

I stood against the brick wall, alone.

“CeCe…”

I turned around and Mrs. Arcane the 6th grade history teacher had her head poked out of her door.

“Yes, Mrs. Arcane?” I said, nervously wondering if she’d overheard what Riley said to me.

She took a deep breath “You know, with friends like that… you don’t need enemies.”