At the beginning of my freshman year, I lost 15 pounds. I thought that I had done the impossible: I beat the freshman 15. I was eating one meal a day and working out almost every day (and yes, I know that one meal a day is unhealthy, sue me). I was able to maintain my high school body. At the time, I thought I was fat, so I was constantly in pursuit of losing that last little pudge at the bottom of my stomach that no amount of ab work could make disappear. It wasn’t until the second semester rolled around that I learned the true meaning of hating my body.
I am a varsity athlete, and I am also an active club sports member. You would think that with softball practice and then two hours of dancing every day, I would have no problem keeping off weight. You would be wrong. At my heaviest, I was 168 pounds, and I hated it. I was no longer lifting every morning from sheer exhaustion, and I was eating more than ever: a regular diet of two meals a day and a whole container of Ben and Jerry’s. I didn’t fit into any of my clothing, and I turned to leggings and sweatpants, which truly went against my clothing moral code. I felt like Regina George after she ate all those Kalteen Bars.
Even in a time when “slim-thicc” is a trend, it’s hard when you’re just feeling thick, and while I was never obese or even overweight, I felt like a monstrous human being. But I was slowly pulled out of this state. Two of my closest friends at Kenyon are Art History majors, and it is kind of hard not to be exposed to art with them around. I went to a small art exhibit on campus with one of them and noticed a lot of aggressively pear-shaped women, and I asked her why they all looked like that. She told me that that was the body ideal for women at the time because it showed fertility, and while I certainly did not look exactly like that, it was comforting that at some point I was pretty close to the “ideal woman.”
I began looking at other art to find examples of my body type. Most popular, and my personal favorite, are depictions of Aphrodite/Venus. Not only was she the goddess of love and beauty, but she is no size 0. She isn’t even a size 6; she is tall and stately and beautiful, stomach rolls and muffin top and all. She was truly the ideal woman: she was a goddess after all, and if she can have an extra helping of ambrosia, then I can get another dessert from the servery.
Over the summer, I began working out again and I began to lose that weight I had gained during my second semester. Of course, I wasn’t magically cured of hating my body, but it did get easier to accept that I’m probably never going to be under 140 pounds again. Now, I’m hovering around 160, which probably would’ve horrified high school me, but I’m healthy, I work out every day, and I try to eat well. Plus, Kim Kardashian is paving the way for girls over size 6. At this point, I’ll probably never fulfill my childhood dream of being a model, but times are changing. I hope that someday soon, we’ll see even more gorgeous average-sized women rocking couture on the runway and making Aphrodite proud.