Our environment isn't solely made up of geography, its the company you keep, it's the media you consume, its the conversations you hear and take part in. Is your environment setting you up for self-loathing or is it contributing to your growth?
I can now say my environment truly is watering my roots, but it wasn't always.
From a young age, weight or rather weight loss was always a topic of conversation. Not necessarily by me and my peers, just yet. More like conversations heard between grown women on Saturday's at the salon during the weekly hair appointment.
As a child it goes a little something like this: it's hot! Really hot, you're sitting under the "secadora con rolos" (hair dryer with rollers in your hair) trying desperately not to let a "pincho" (bobby pin) burn the side of your face, while merengue plays and the neighborhood bootlegger comes in with new merch.
This is when it happens.
The women start digging through the different blouses, dresses, and jeans. Telling each other how good what they've picked is going to look on them and what a great price it is. When one woman says while holding a pair of jeans, "this is going to look so good on me once I come back from DR (Dominican Republic)." This one statement is praised with gasps of excitement and suddenly the women are discussing what sounds like a lavish vacation.
What you're really hearing is the sound of women anxiously waiting to get cosmetic surgery. The women continue to speak about their previous nips and tucks, some are no stranger to cosmetic surgery, others planning to have more, and a few who have plans to have their first.
ALL OF THEM ENGAGING IN SELF-LOATHING.
The women I saw were beautiful but they saw their imperfections instead. Not only did they see them, they echoed that of the other women present with an enthusiasm that confused me. Instead of exchanging words of love they exchanged cosmetic surgeon contact information and pricing.
For a brief moment the room became grim, they began talking about their fears regarding the pain. While some women came off more scared than they cared to admit, others described the pain in a surprising way.
-"Ay que rico!"
"Ahhh so good!"
- "Y porque?"
-"Eso es un dolor rico porque despues uno queda bella."
"It's a good pain because then you end up beautiful."
These strong women were reaching for the ideals of beauty they were seeing every day, in the "novelas" (soap operas), on the news, and in their magazines. Unknowingly, passing on this feeling of inadequacy, this fear of being imperfect to their daughters.
These occasions often left me in a hyper-critical state with the object of my loathing being myself. I began to criticize the way I smiled and my prepubescent body down to the way I walked. That kind of damage took years to undo. That kind of damage made cosmetic surgery my first thought when my feelings about myself were less than positive.
A few years later, who would've thought I'd find myself at my first bariatric seminar.
I'm Macielle, (Mah-see-el) most people call me Macie. I'll be taking you through my journey to a healthier me and the problems I faced during that time. My story will be continued here for the next few weeks. Stay tuned!
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