There are a lot of words I’d use to describe myself. Short. Dark haired. Smart. Quirky. Loud. But there’s one word I’ve never used to describe myself, out loud that is, I’ve said it plenty of times in my head. And I think it’s time I said it, or rather, wrote it.
My name is Sydelle Barreto and I am a chubby girl.
I’ve always been chubby, since I can remember. It never bothered me until middle school, when I suddenly became self conscious, looking at the way my thighs spread out when I sat down, the jutting collarbones and hipbones of other girls as we got changed in the locker room. I wasn’t the only one that noticed.
I remember one night a friend said to me, “So I have this story about my fat friend”, and then quickly added “Oh not you, my other fat friend.” She went on to tell a story I can’t recall because I was willing myself to not start crying then and there.
I remember my father once said to me, “Do you want boys to have a crush on your or do you want to crush boys?” (For the record, it’s currently a mix of both)
That’s just a sampling of the words I carry around that bite into my flesh, that never really let me forget that I am a brown, overweight woman, and society does not love a girl that looks like this.
I’ve always encouraged the women around me to love themselves fully, and I think it’s time I did the same. In the next year, I am promising myself to treat my body with care, with love. Exercise and eating well are part of it, but it’s also going to be a journey to look in the mirror and maybe say, “hey, not bad.”