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Dear Gabourey (Sidibe),

gabbySidibe03

Dear Gabourey,

Welcome to the 30-Club!

I feel like we’re old friends…so can I call you Gaby?

The world can be a hard scene to navigate as we’re often reminded. Making the playing field in which we critique others razor sharp and laced with if only just a tinge of our own insecurities. We are so hard on ourselves, so to no surprise we’re equally hard on others which makes it difficult to see the great truth that rests in the belief that we’re much more alike than we are different. It is the similarities from the mirror reflection that scares us to deny the truth.

Not too long ago at only 5’3″ [and a half], I was one of the curviest plumpest chicks this side of the globe, carrying the weight of the world in my derriere. My platform in society – significantly smaller than yours, but where there are people there are daggers of opinions. Regardless of any other thing happening in my life at the time, my weight was the only focus. When the wise counsel whose main players changed to some degree on a daily basis, realized that mild insults which switched to well wishes disguised by “I’m concerned about your health” was falling on deaf ears (due mostly to my perfect medical record), the messages intensified by statements such as “what a waste of a face”, “such a pretty girl, but not with that body”, and the like.

Our daily lives and outer covering may be completely different but in the world’s struggle to find acceptance where the subject of body image is concerned, we are one and the same. In a time when physical prejudices are rich, our stigma as a society drives people to ‘fit in’. Crash dieting, unhealthy quick fixes, must-have surgeries are done mostly in the name of being accepted and feeling like you’ve met the ‘standard’. The weight-loss industry has probably never been more flourishing, and our world never this obese. Where’s the disconnect? In the meantime I do the fierce Gabby shrug and dive a little deeper beneath surface thinking…

I once had an accident which left half of my face skinless. The healing process went much further and deeper than the procedures. My hearts take-away was how fragile our outer shell is, making our seldom acknowledged soul the more powerful force. Though judged at all times by how our exterior matches up to the status quo of “what beauty is” or what’s trending, it does adhere to the promise of change constantly. The scars healed and I learned firsthand that on any given day I’m much more than my face or body parts. My core is on the inside of my body and functions regardless of its bruised covering.

I decided to shed pounds only when I got to the point when I started feeling exhausted more often than not. With high blood pressure and diabetes rampant in my family, I wanted another future for myself. I had and still have a picture in my mind of the level of fitness I want to achieve and BMI number I want to attain. Ironically, the moment the pounds were lost, not once did the concerned ask about my health. So I have to wonder, was it my health or appearance you were most concerned with? I’ve met some of the slimmest people as you probably have, with poor health and vice versa.

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As I read the comments pertaining to you at the Golden Globes, I couldn’t help but think what is it that we’re so unhappy with about ourselves that we’ve chosen to project, by way of hailing insults on a young lady on a red carpet who we don’t [really] know? We struggle with believing that your self-esteem exuding great confidence is indeed intact. But is that because we are so trapped in our own inability to fully accept ourselves – perceived flaws and all that we can’t fathom it possible for someone else?

We see others as we see ourselves, this I do know to be true. If I am unable to see you beyond your weight or your clothes and judge you, what ‘weighty’ issues am I carrying of my own? When I can quickly pick out another’s faults or zoom in to magnify their moment of opportunity by way of tasteless side swipes, am I failing to make the connection that I’m attracted to things that I myself am wrestling with in my own life due to my own pre-occupation with my fault finding in another. Where am I failing? What are my insecurities and self-perceived flaws? And how can I grow into accepting myself fully so as to be able to see the good in others and speak from that place?

Life to some degree can become a regurgitation of our past, our hurts, our fears, the times we didn’t feel accepted by others or ourselves, what someone else did/said/didn’t do in our lives and most powerfully the recycling of our own negative thoughts towards ourselves. Left uncontrolled therein lies the danger. But we’re always given the choice to grow from our experiences versus dragging them with us through life. So this really isn’t about you, your dress selection or your weight. This is about each of us confronting whatever it is that we’re not happy with in our own sphere.

So Gabs, between us girls this is my current situation…I wish I could tuck my butt in when I walk while battling the 20 pounds I’ve been wanting to lose in that area, decreasing the jiggle, but tucking in is just not possible, and wrapping cardigans around my waist has only proven to draw more attention to the jiggle, bounce and shake. I at times retake as many photos as I feel necessary to ensure they show my good-side: muffin-top free and limiting the east to west spread of my hips. I look forward to the day when I can display my Michelle O. arms, jiggle-free, and somehow find the right answer for my ham thighs as running, spin and kick-boxing aren’t helping. I don’t always nail it in my wardrobe choices, but I live. My goals and dreams are endless and possible because whereas I once may have thought it possible for my butt to get in the way, age and life has shown me that I am a beautifully flawed human; yet perfect as we all are wherever we are.

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To fall in love with our bodies, our shape and our size is a somewhat muted message by the constant rejection of any frame outside ‘the box’. But there’s a change in the current, however slight it may be, that hopes we will love ourselves fully, as we journey on to becoming the person we’ve envisioned as our best self aligned with our best health. I look forward to the day I have my daughter and I can show her through my own stride the joy in unconditional love of self first then of others. I will tell her she’s loved beyond a number on the scale, the structure of her frame or how light or dark her hue. One day Gabs, I’ll reference your tweet, and your story. I’ll ask her what she wants to be when she grows up and through the years I’ll remind her how beautiful she is because of her inner core not only her outer shell. She’ll be equipped as you are, to walk confidently through this world unruffled by the voices that try to dim her shine.

Though I did not watch the Golden Globes and only caught the clips and on-line chatter which you dominated (high-fiving your Publicist as I write this), you reminded me to not get caught up in what others think or say about me. The message could not be any clearer: what people think of you, has to do with them. All you truly need is you on your own side living your dreams out loud, so loud, that it mutes the voice of others. As kids of today say, “that gives me life”.

Wishing you many many more successes, the tough skin needed to withstand the beauty that comes with fame and a prosperous life filled with joy, peace and perfect health.

xo
-Another Curvy Girl

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Comments (6)

  1. Wow, originally thought I was going to be reading a, “I’ve been there, and lived that, but I’ve now seen the light and let me show you how you can too” screeds I’ve become far too familiar with. I was also deciding whether or not I was ready to go into battle again (so tired, so very, very tired) for a lovely young lady who has already publically shown she has the weapons and the attitude to deal with said comments, or if I should just not bother reading and move onto the next item on my news feed.

    I’m so glad I persevered. I’ve never been the same size as Gabourey. But I’ve certainly felt societal pressure to conform and wilted under it’s oppressive weight. The greatest gift we can give our future children is to realise that a) being healthy is a good thing and giving them the tools to make healthy decisions is never going to lead them astray, but also, b) one cannot judge anothers healthiness by looking at their size. Nor can they judge their worthiness, their intelligence, their capacity to love or inspire love or, indeed, anything but their actual dimensions. Everybody is worthy of love. everybody is entitled to decided what entitles themselves to self-esteem. And never neglect development of your mind or your ability to be sympathetic or empathetic while you worship your “temple” if you choose to (and don’t judge somebody who doesn’t choose to worship their “temple” in the way you, or society, think they should).

  2. I like the way she was styled here compared to that purple drape someone put on her. Gorgeous!

  3. Love your post. I can sympathize since I too am a big gal and had a bout of facial shingles that at one point had half my face covered in a scab and my eye swollen shut. The pictures you linked to of Gabby are some of the best pictures of her I have ever seen. Thanks for sharing them!

  4. I’m sorry but I love G but she looks unhealthy and is over weight. To carry that much weight is limiting her in doing more roles and it just isn’t attractive. I know since I have put on an extra 65lbs, I hate it. Nothing looks or feels better than to be in good shape and health for your body type and size. This is my truth but being as large as she is not healthy nor is it attractive and I know that her being around women who practically live in a gym we will see a slimmer G in the near future getting off her private jet. Curvy is one thing, obese is another!

  5. Well Darlene, I see you missed the WHOLE point of the story! Don’t you THINK she KNOWS that!? She lives with criticism everyday of her life n she is probably her harshest critic (I would hope not) due to critics focusing on her with a microscope! I’m sure she doesn’t want to be overweight, talked about or ridiculed but remember how EASY it was for YOU to put on your 65 lbs and how HARD it is/was to take it off?! #dontjudgelestyoubejudged #focusonyaself

  6. Amen well said u don’t know how she feels or if she does have any health issues small ppls have them 2 you would be surprised very judge not I’m sorry you’re not happy and being judge but she is and getting PAID.

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