I wasn’t bothered by the shape of my body until I entered high school, an all girls high school to be specific, where for the first three years you were always reminded of what your body looks like and what it should look like.
The size of my biceps and quads made me “the man” of my friend group. I was the short, muscular friend in my the group. Yet still, it wasn’t until I started to hang out with boys that I became insecure about my body.
"Yuh buff eee!*"
"I don’t want to talk to her; she looks like she can beat me up."
"Dawg, she too tough."
"I can’t be with a girl that has more muscles than me."
"YUH FAVA HULK!*"
Ha, that last one. That last won really took home the trophy. After that, the confidence that I had, the body that I loved, gone. Referring to me as “Hulk” was really a stretch but the funny thing was that I actually started to believe it; I looked like Hulk. From then on, I was very self-conscious with what I wore and how I would pose for pictures. I always chose the angles and poses that would hide my ridiculously wide shoulders and my hella big triceps. Needless to say, Facetune became my best friend. Before posting on any social media platform, I’d first have to open up Facetune and use the reshape tool to minimize my arm so that when people would view my photo they won’t see a girl with big muscles but just a pretty girl simply trying to look great.
“I’d first have to open up Facetune and use the reshape tool to minimize my arm so that when people would view my photo they won’t see a girl with big muscles but just a pretty girl simply trying to look great.”
My body became an object of curiosity. Guys specifically would only approach me so that I could flex my muscles for them to touch. I hated it but at the same time, that was the only way I was getting their attention.
It wasn’t until I was in tenth grade did I start to build back up my confidence that I once had. Being a Jamaican National Swimmer gave me the opportunity to travel around the world, train with very talented athletes and make incredible friendships. I had the privilege of being on a team with phenomenal women who also shared the same insecurities that I had. It wasn’t until I went to a swim meet in Bahamas did I realize the beauty of a swimmer’s body. We all had really broad shoulders and massive triceps but that’s what made us great at what we did. Seeing other girls with just as big shoulders, or even bigger, loving themselves and being confident was so empowering and made me want to love myself just as much.
How could I have let that boy who said “YUH FAVA HULK” dare define my beauty and how dare I believe that? It wasn’t until two weeks ago was I able to look in a mirror and say that I truly LOVE my body. I’ve come a far way when it comes to confidence and I’m still working on it.
My swimmer’s body is apart of what makes me…me.