It’s easy to look at each other and say, “Wow, I wish I had a bootie like Julie” or “I wish I had abs like Allen”. It wasn’t until this week that I realized how much I find myself making these comparisons. My friend and I finished working out and she turned to me and asked, “What did you do to get abs? Or is it just genetic?”. At first, I thought she was trying to say I didn’t earn my stomach. Like maybe God looked down on me and said, “This Malone girl will have wild ginger hair, blonde eyebrows and let’s at least give her some abs to make it through puberty”. I knew my friend didn’t mean it like that. She genuinely wanted to know if abs were something that I had to work at or if it was simply genetics.
The truth is, I did the same damn thing. I even asked her if her perfect peach bootie was from heavy lifting or eating a certain way. She laughed, “No, no, it all just goes to my bootie”. Little did she know, I couldn’t stop thinking about these comparisons for the next few days.
I’m 6’1” with a naturally semi-thin frame. I never was considered skinny or athletically built. Growing up, I never had abs, my fat went straight to my thighs and not even messing with you, my calves, but I never carried weight in my stomach. It doesn’t take much ab exercises or healthy eating for my abs to “pop”. For my friend, I know she doesn’t have to lift a bunch of weights to get an instagram model ass, naturally she’s gifted. However, for me, it will take a shit load of squats and protein to have half the amount of bootie my friend has. That’s not an exaggeration that’s just the truth.
Everyone’s body is different and everyone carries fat in different locations. That’s the harm when we start to compare ourselves. We sometimes build a false idea of what it takes to achieve certain goals from exercising and dieting. We conjure up ideas in our head of what our “dream” body will look like instead of just focusing on being stronger and healthier versions of ourselves. For some people, having a six pack might take getting your body fat percentage down to 15% before you ever see any formation. It also might not be sustainable in the long run. Does that mean you shouldn’t work out? Hell nah. It just means it might take extra work and YEARS before you get that Peach Bootie and Trey Songz worthy abs. The importance is in the small changes you make everyday to be a healthier version of you. Those skinnyme teas, and body wraps aren’t going to make a difference in the long run. Making comparisons to your friends and instagram models who have it easier or sometimes harder than you isn’t healthy. What’s healthy is falling in love with the “problem areas” because they’re really not problem areas at all. They’re the place that your body likes to store your favorite late night taco bell run with your drunk best friends and post pregnancy baby weight. You have to love the good with the chubby before you can truly be healthy. I promise you, if don’t learn this process, your entire life will be spent nit picking your body and constantly making comparisons on what your body should look like.
Love yourself, overweight calf muscles (Please make jeans with stretchier leg material, mama’s calves need to breathe) and all,
That tall redhead.
Imagine waking up every morning, looking in the mirror, to not recognize the person staring back at you. Can you fathom feeling that inner turmoil your entire life? Your frustration grows as you feel trapped in the wrong body. A few years ago, Aiden Mann was a strong, athletic-woman, the face and staring player of the women’s basketball team at Charleston Southern, a historically baptist school. Aiden knew from an early age that he was always meant to be man. I interviewed Aiden to shed light on what it means to be an openly trans-gendered in America. It’s imperative to continue to educate and spread awareness and understanding of the trans community.
Before transitioning, Aiden would get out of the shower, stare into the mirror, and cry. He felt ashamed of his feminine figure, he hated the sound of his voice, he hated being told he was “pretty”. His only saving grace was the gym where he felt the strongest and most carefree. For the longest time he wasn’t able to do anything about it, he simply masked his emotions. After college he finally was able to cut his hair. A year after chopping off his hair he began taking testosterone (known as T). His voice started dropping, his facial hair started to grow and for the first time in his life, he felt relief, this was how it was always supposed to be.
From the age of five, Aiden has always felt like he was supposed to be a boy. Growing up with his older brother, people often thought they were twin boys. His mother let him keep his hair short and when they’d play baseball, someone came up to him and said, “You guys are such cute twin boys!”. Aiden’s six year old face beamed at the comment. “I always wanted to be one of the guys and not just hanging around them, but physically be a guy” Aiden thought a lot of lesbian’s felt this way. He had no idea that there was a community or possibility of being trans gendered.
Being the face of the women’s basketball team he knew that he couldn’t start his transition while he was playing sports in college. He confided in a few friends about his realization of being trans and was quickly hit with discouraging words of, “You’re too pretty to be a guy. You’d make an ugly man”. There’s huge anxiety that comes with transitioning, especially not knowing what you’ll look like as a man or woman. These words weren’t meant with malicious intent but heightened Aiden’s anxiety about transitioning. As mentioned before, Aiden’s face appeared on every banner, flyer and poster related to Charleston Southern’s women’s basketball team. Charleston Southern has always been a historically baptist school. He wasn’t allowed to have short hair, he was strongly discouraged to bring attention to his appearance. He also wasn’t allowed to wear bow ties to the sports banquet. He was often asked why he felt the need to dress gay.
Majority of people have a lack of knowledge on how to approach someone who’s trans gendered. It’s never and I repeat, never okay to ask someone that’s trans:
I asked Aiden, what’s the hardest thing that you’ve had to go through being trans? He explained that although he had an easier process than most in changing his name and gender on his I.D, he’d run into awkward situations purchasing alcohol, at the doctor’s office and going to the bars before those changes were finalized. He was questioned because his I.D had his dead name and female gender. Luckily, Aiden has support from his family and friends and a large community of love that pours in from social media (minus the small amount of bible humping trolls that write outlandish comments under his photos). He’s never cared about the judgement he’s received from his decisions. The fact of the matter is, how could you judge someone who’s being their true authentic self?
That Tall Redhead
Really sound advice coming from a girl who posed in lingerie for Maxim’s cover girl contest last year, am I right? I completely understand why you’d disregard the advice I’m about to give you, but just hear me out…
The world has sexualized the woman’s body for far too long. Women are made to feel ashamed of their bodies. We’re either too skinny, or too curvy, the comments are always the same, “She looks anorexic, she’s gained so much weight… I can’t believe she’d post that”. Sure, the average person doesn’t deal with comments from trolls because no one’s mean enough to actually post it. However, I’ve heard the comments in the real world. I’ve had friends tell me that they couldn’t deal with the swimwear photos anymore (w.e that means) and I’ve had family members say slick comments at a BBQ about how thin they thought I’ve gotten, as if my body was a topic for conversation. I’ve also been told that I was getting fat, and maybe I should switch to board shorts this year…
I’ll admit these blows hurt when I was an un-confident young teen. Now, these comments roll off my broad shoulders with ease and they should roll off yours too. With more confident, self-loving women like Lizzo, and Camille Kostek coming to the spotlight, you should feel inspired to post that banging, click-bate-selfie in your swimsuit this summer, regardless of what “shape” you’re in. Camille Kostek was told she wasn’t fit for the modeling industry and that she’d never make it. Well, if Camille read into every shameless troll’s fat shaming comments, she wouldn’t be on the cover of Sports Illustrated, now would she?
You’re great just the way you are, now! If you can’t learn to love every inch of rolls, stretch marks, poking out rib cages or violin hips when will you? Don’t feel like you can’t post a photo in your bikini until you’ve lost some weight, or gotten a peach bootie, and if you want to keep your swimwear body hidden, that’s your right, and I respect that. I just want you to know that there’s no reason to be afraid of what people think anymore. The only thing that matters is your inner positivity towards your body.
Here’s Lizzo’s interview with Paper Magazine, where she explains her struggle with unlearning societies view on “Big Women” and growing to love herself.
Post it, you look hot,
That Tall Redhead