The Responsibility Between Us

by Brittany on May 1, 2013

in Self & Body

I am not a curvy girl.  Not even close.

Breasts?  Forget it. I don’t wear a bra with 99.9 percent of all articles of clothing.

Hips?  Not even mildly interesting unless you count that weird mole I had but it fell off ten years ago.

My weight – all 125 pounds of it on my 5’4 frame – falls in my thighs and ass like most women but its nothing to write home about.

And when you get right down to it, I’m not even close to being a girl anymore. At 41 and as the mother of three teenage boys, I’m well past the expiration date on that term.

And I know, and completely understand, that many women who see themselves as “curvy” stopped reading when I wrote 125 pounds.  I get it. But I am submitting this anyway because it is a sad but universal truth that the majority of women, whether “curvy girls” or not, spend to much time looking in or avoiding the mirror and feeling inadequate.

I had a shining moment, when I was 19 or so, where I tasted all too briefly my own power as a woman and the effect that power could have.  While I would like to say that I used that power for the good of all mankind (think Mother Theresa or Madame Curie or even Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde) in reality, I used it to finally, for the love-of-all-that-was-holy, cast off the chains of my virginity.

That confidence, a confidence I never had in middle and high school as mousy, nerdy, glasses-wearing font of awkwardness (my 9th grade yearbook picture is beyond description), was intoxicating but short-lived.  As most women know, there are too many things in life that present themselves, whether real or imagined, and shake our confidence in who we are and what we are worth.

Madeleine Albright (not Taylor Swift as it has been attributed of late) said there is a special place in hell reserved for women who refuse to help other women.  And while Ms. Albright was talking about the workplace,  this is true for all of life.  No one understands women like women and that creates a sacred responsibility between us.  I suppose that men might say no one understands men like men, but let’s get real – we understand them better than they understand themselves, too.

So that is why I am writing this, because in solidarity with all you “curvy girls” are the rest of us who also look in the mirror and instead of being heartened in sheer amazement at these bodies that can produce life and the means to sustain it, we find fault at every turn.  And because many of you are raising your own daughters who need to grow up understanding that their beauty is not quantifiable in their breasts, or their hips, or the numbers on scale, but in their presence on the planet.  And many of us, myself included, are raising sons that need to see those daughters as beautiful for the same reason.

BigHatNikki Jamison is a 41 years old wife and mother of three teenage boys (16, 17 and 19 – don’t judge, I started young).  I live in Fenton, Michigan and I am a fledgling business owner as of this year – Three Boy Bakery (check me out on Facebook) – and also work for a small marketing and consulting firm.  I am not highly educated or endowed with degrees, have a fairly sarcastic sense of humor, have refrained from drowning my children in the bathtub on several occasions and love, love, love my husband who does the best he can to make me feel gorgeous despite my natural inclination to see myself otherwise.

LouisianaMeredith May 1, 2013 at 8:19 am

LOVE THIS!!!

Elaine Iliff May 1, 2013 at 8:26 am

Perfectly said! I think I”ll tape it to my daughter’s bathroom mirror.

Additionally, loved the Madeline Albright quote…not Taylor Swift…..hell yes!

Ariana K May 1, 2013 at 8:34 am

Just awesome!!! As a size 6 people role their eyes if I complain about my body. I know I am not curvy but I am just as insecure about my thighs as every other woman in the room. I have been following this blog for about a year. It is refreshing to see someone come out and say “hey, I am not a Hollywood size 2, and I am awesome!” Keep up the amazing work Brittany!!!

Veronica May 1, 2013 at 8:54 am

Very well said. Thank you!

wendy May 1, 2013 at 8:57 am

Great post! Unfortunately, Insecurity comes in all sizes!

Donna May 1, 2013 at 9:53 am

Preach it loud sister…at almost 43 years old, 5’5″ and 110 pounds I have to wear my hair long or I look like a 12 year old boy…true story. The only diet I’ve ever been on was to try to GAIN weight so I could weight 100 pounds when I graduated high school…I failed. Puberty didn’t arrive until I was almost 18 years old. I eat like a horse, if I don’t I get all angry and shake-y. No one ever wants to hear me complain, everyone rolls their eyes. Most of my clothes are too small for my 11 year old daughter. All women have insecurities, all of us see things that aren’t there. Why are we so hard on ourselves and each other? You are dealt your gene card early on…embrace it, love it, respect it. It took me almost 40 years to come to this realization. Self love baby – curvy girls and skinny girls unite!

Cristy May 1, 2013 at 10:04 am

Nikki, thank you for sharing your perspective. My perspective. I often feel like I’m hiding in the crowd hoping no one notices I’m one of the skinny girls who just wants to cheer with and for my fellow sister girls without anyone rolling their eyes at me. We all have insecurities and could do a better job of encouraging one another, and Brittany is doing a helluva job setting the standard. Thanks to you both.

Nichole May 1, 2013 at 10:22 am

Absolutely LOVE this post!!! Our insecurities come in all shapes and sizes and I truly believe the only way we are going to overcome the majority of them is if we build each other up, support each other and love each each other instead of being snarky, hateful, spiteful, jealous women. Instead of tearing each other down…lets build each other up!!!

Jennifer May 1, 2013 at 10:31 am

As a girl who was proud to be your best friend through those awkward years, I am even more proud to be a friend to the amazing woman you have become (breasts or no breasts, I have enough for both of us.) You have always had a great talent for telling it the way it is, but in a very eloquent and funny manner. It’s a shame that neither of us had daughters to pass on our twisted wisdom too, but maybe it is more important that we pass it on to our sons. To teach them to love ‘real’ women and all their craziness and to see the beauty in that.

Maria May 1, 2013 at 10:40 am

This is lovely. Thank you.

Nikki Jamison May 1, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Just want to thank everyone for their responses so far…I am overwhelmed and grateful to Brittany for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts.

Blair May 1, 2013 at 2:51 pm

As a man, I was taught that every woman is beautiful in some way, my father saying that it is up to them to prove otherwise. As Jennifer’s husband, see comment, I’ve come to know a woman, that has yet to prove otherwise, with all of the ups and downs that has been our life, 24 years together, and 18 of them married, I still have the want for my wife as I did when I was younger, to me she is the epitome of beauty, flaws and all, I’d not have her any other way. Knowing Nikki, having been friends with the woman who my wife still calls best friend, I’ve had the privilege of sharing laughs, love and life with these two beautiful who share SOME of their stories with me, both of them and the all real women of the world should be celebrated regardless of their curves, or lack there of

Leslie May 1, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Loved this.

michelle burdick May 1, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Sigh. Very well written.

Susan May 1, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Well, dear friend, it has been quite the day, hell, quite the year for you and I couldn’t be more proud of you. Sigh, now I’m getting all sappy, forgive my moment of weakness and get back to work, someone, somewhere, needs a dose of your inspiring wit with a cupcake on top…love, love, love you…

alicia May 1, 2013 at 6:09 pm

so lovely. thank you for this :)

Cindy May 2, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Thank you for writing this post. Yes, insecurities plague every one of us no matter our size, shape, age, etc. Thanks for speaking up!

Bonnie in Va May 2, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Great ideas, nicely put. And, yes, keep those boys of yours aware of the wonders of all women — whatever the size, shape or even hair color. Insecurities hit us all at one time or another and weird, but true, about all sorts of different things.

Colleen May 3, 2013 at 11:40 am

Wonderfully said! Insecurity bothers every one of us. It is SO important to push good body image onto the children. I myself was subjected to hearing my mom forever not happy with herself hence it projected on to me. I have been up and down on many “diets”, weight loss, etc… When I am blessed with children I just want to them to be HEALTHY people. Also, love that you’re from Fenton (Me too!).

Nikki May 3, 2013 at 11:51 am

I can’t agree enough with your comment about learning from our mothers to be unhappy with our own bodies. It is hard to remember that so much of what we say about ourselves is reflected in how our children feel about their own bodies – or view the bodies of other women. That’s a whole other blog post!

Chelsey May 7, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Nikki, It’s obvious by your writing why you are a mother so loved and a wife so cherished. What you say here is so important. Each point you make drives home the need to not only love ourselves, but to let that love grow outward and rub off on others. (In a totally non pervy way of course.) What really struck home was your desire to teach your boys to love the heart of the woman, no matter the looks. And I think that can even be taught to daughters, hoping they grow into woman that build each other up and not look for ways to tear each other down. Anyhow, what you wrote here is so truly poignant and appreciated. Way to go.

Nikki May 8, 2013 at 11:33 am

Thanks Chelsey – that was beyond sweet. I appreciate your perspective about teaching daughters as well – it is so important that girls grow up to be women who support one another. Thanks for your support of this piece – it means a lot.

Tracy May 14, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Appreciate this post and the spirit of the Madeline Albright quote. As a mom of 3 sons; ages 25, 20 & 19, I’ve tried to raise them to see people beyond what they look like with regard to western cultural standards of beauty. Hasn’t always been easy however.

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