Big is one of those adjectives I try to avoid if at all possible. What does it mean really? A big serving of ice cream....a big house...a big idea...it could mean anything, everything, and nothing at all...and it means so many different things to so many different people. Everyone has their own perspective...And if you are a girl that is 5'10 and not Giselle-weight worthy or build, well...big, feels...well, big...& shitty...big girl, big bones, big in stature, big muscles...and for some reason, that doesn't translate to being pretty in a big girl's head.
When I was growing up & going through the painful awkwardness of puberty, I"m pretty sure none of my friends and I dreamed of being "big"...big boobs maybe, still waiting on that one...but that just wasn't something we aspired to be. I know I thought I would be happier if I just blended in...maybe not so tall, not so skinny (at the time), & definitely not so flat-chested....I didn't dream of broad shoulders and strong quads...
So why didn't I dream of big thighs that could carry me 26.2 miles in a race? Or a core that could challenge at least a few guys in a kettlebell workout? What distorted my view of myself so much back then, and how do I avoid it with my own girls?
We have slowly made improvements at celebrating bodies of all shapes..a step up from the 80s and 90s...partially thanks to the American fascination with professional athletes. We've made some progress with some of the pictures of health on magazine covers...in college, for me, it was Gabrielle Reece (standing in at 6'2-6'3 with strong beach volleyball thighs & broad "big" girl shoulders)...though I still ended up a little scarred & had my own issues at one point (but that's for another blog entry)...she was also a model...and probably the first of her kind with an athletic build after a post-Kate Moss hangover. And, let's not forget the fascination with Jennifer Lopez' ass...girls with big asses and strong athletic asses are still thanking her for paving that path.
My own girls today have an amazing variety of "women" other than their mom that they can look to for what healthy looks like...some of them even are friends of mine who do come in all kinds of healthy shapes and sizes, and some are of professional sport stature...Julia Mancuso, Mikaela Schriffin, Lindsay Vonn (yes, all skiers)...but in my family it works. There's also a good chance, they will have to embrace their strong thighs and broad shoulders based on their gentics and their intense love for sport.
Maybe the whole problem with the word big is not the word itself but our warped view on it?
Sometimes it can mean a good thing, and sometimes it's heartbreaking. Certainly, we as a whole could probably be more articulate when we choose our adjectives to describe someone's living space, an overly generous portion of dessert or someone's strong and fit physique...or maybe we should get over it and stop being so sensitive about a silly little word. Either way, I know in my household, I choose to speak more descriptive and specific with my children in regards to portions and proportions because I would hate to have them label themselves or someone else and thus, pass on the trait of spending an adulthood battling a three letter word....
- What started as a little experiment in blogging has evolved into my renewed love for writing the raw, gritty truth. Running has always had so many parallels to life's ups and downs. As a new cancer survivor/fighter, running and writing has continued to be there for me in my quest to always move forward, always try to be better than yesterday. Find me: http://www.curetoday.com/community/kate or on facebook: running, cancer, and everything in between or on twitter: runliftbreathe