Saturday, November 24, 2012
I was the third born in a family of 3 women. First there was my mother who was often confused with an actress because of her hour-glass figure. She also had both the ability to eat anything she wanted without gaining weight AND an impeccable eye for fashion. In short, she looked like a million bucks whether she was shoveling snow, buying groceries or going out for the evening.
My sister was my mother’s dream child. Thin and pretty her whole life, she spent her babysitting money on Jantzen sweater sets and attracted football players like a magnet.
Then there was me who arrived 5 years after my sister did. Everyone said I looked like my slightly overweight father, had my German grandmother’s knees, and was “the chunky one.” My Dad liked to call me Toni Baloney, with great affection. In our times, this might be considered child abuse, but in the 50’s when I grew up it was just gentle teasing in what was otherwise a happy middle class childhood! But one day years later when I was looking through family photographs of myself as a little girl I realized that I was not a fat little girl at all. I was just an average girl born into a family where the roles for “attractive girl” were already taken. It was not until I went away to school and was part of a bigger world that I realized there are many ways to be attractive and that I’d even learned some of my mother and sister’s fashion sense well enough to know I was able to be “well dressed” when the occasion called for it!
I think what’s important about my story is that it was not me, or my body that changed so much, but my point of view. I now believe every body is beautiful in its own way and it is important to do the work to be healthy to protect that gift wherever we stand when compared with others.