Dear Booty, I dedicate this post to you...
I’ve always had some junk in the trunk, my whole life. I had a small waist, dark hair and a BOO-TAY! As a young girl, it baffled me and I spent a good portion of my childhood wishing for narrow boy-like hips, fair skin, blonde hair and a normal name like the rest of my playground companions.
Instead, I had dark hair, a weird “made-up” name and a big butt. At the age of ten I was one of the first to shave my legs because my hair was so dark and more visible than my schoolmates and I was self-conscious about it. My grandmother shaved my legs on the back porch with an Epilady, a modern torture device, which essentially ripped the virgin hair from my legs follicle by follicle. My grandmother thought I wanted to grow up too fast. I just didn't want to be different.
I can remember, too, cringing with awkward embarrassment every time my mother shouted my full name into the cul-de-sac at dinner time.
“Keia Calei Mastrianni!!” I hated that.
I was different. I was always different. Adopted from South America, I had Latina DNA coded for curves. I was born in Santiago, Chile not Ohio or Wisconsin or some other place that made cheese and Anglican girls. I was always disappointed on road trips when I couldn’t find my name on the touristy rack of plastic keychains that sold to girls with names like Katie, Susan and Sarah.
You know what I wanted my name to be? Elizabeth. Yes, Elizabeth. Today, it sounds so milky-white and boring but, at the time, it sounded so normal and nice and, in my pre-adolescent brain, it was a name fit for a princess.
As I grew older, I began to relate more with the Fly Girls on In Living Color and less with my Barbie dolls and the blonde girls that I admired in school. I can remember J. Lo bursting onto the scene wearing a gold-scripted necklace with her name on it and proudly sporting her big ol’ booty. I had a gold scripted necklace too. It was gift given to me by my godmother when I was born and it had my name on it.
At 23, I had an epiphany. I was 123 pounds, the thinnest I had ever been, a P.Y.T. going out to the club in low-rise jeans and midriff shirts and yet, my backside never changed shape or disappeared. My derriere was a permanent fixture and part of what made me, Me! I began to embrace my God-given curves.
These days, I’m proud to have a caboose. Two fine hams in the back of my pants. My lady lumps power me uphill when I’m training for a marathon and they are my ally during an intense Crossfit workout. It’s why Sir Mix-A Lot was like poetry back in the day and why I still love this song with all my heart.
My curves used to embarrass me as a child. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t made like all the other girls. Today, I wouldn’t have it any other way. My curves are my gold-scripted necklace with my name on it. It’s who I am. It’s funny too. The most common thing I hear when the catcalls come is, “Where are you from?” I’m guessing they know it’s not Ohio or Wisconsin or some other place that makes cheese and Anglican girls.
Do you have a feature or part of you that made you feel different growing up? What parts of you do you love today that you didn't in the past? Feelgood February is about embracing these parts of you and loving yo'self!