Loving myself

Nesani Sabal, article author, headshot“WE WANT ‘THUNDER Thighs’ on our team,” shouted a classmate.

All the girls in gym class darted their eyes toward me. I had no words. And while most laughed, I ran to the bathroom.

I didn’t cry. I was mad.

I never showed this anger in front of others, but it did affect me. Why wouldn’t it? I was human.

When I got in the comfort of my room, I looked in the mirror constantly. Staring at my reflection, I became unhappy. I wasn’t just self-conscious about my large thighs yet, but my fat lips, giant nose and Nicki Minaj-like butt were some of the other things I started to examine closer than ever. It would be years of torture before I learned how to feel comfortable in my own skin again.

The development of my poor body image started in eighth grade. I began to watch “90210” and “Gossip Girl.” Both of these shows showed predominantly rich, white teenag­ers. One of the main characters in “90210” had the body that I wanted. She was a beautiful, white girl with blonde hair and big, blue eyes. She was petite with a thigh gap.

In “Gossip Girl,” one of the main actresses also was white, blonde and thin. Her thighs didn’t move when she walked and ran. Mine did. And I thought there was something wrong with that.

Social media didn’t help the situ­ation. I created a Tumblr in search of other body types. I didn’t see any. I saw the same cookie-cutter body: white, thin, blonde girl. I noticed many had huge blue eyes with lots of mascara.

The sad thing is that most of these images were of younger girls. They all looked like clones. I was so tired of not seeing anybody that reflected my body type or race. I couldn’t relate. It saddened me more and more.

With this desperate search, I ended up turning to magazines. “Seventeen” was the first teen maga­zine I picked up. And I was shocked. I thought that because so many teens talked about it, the magazine would be relatable. I, again, saw the same image.

The pretty girls in the magazines looked so happy, while I was the complete opposite.

However, I remember the exact day I broke out of my shell. This confidence literally grew over night. I woke up super happy. I went straight to my mirror and smiled. I smiled because I was truly proud. I finally had the courage to express myself through my clothes. I felt comfort­able. I wore shorts to ValleyFair. They were a pair of pink denim shorts with sparkles, that I hid (Target brand, but I loved them.).

My friends didn’t even care about my thighs. They were drawn to my trendy shorts. I felt so free, not only because no one said anything, but because I felt a lot happier.

Spoken word also was a great discovery.

“Thick thighs, big nose and juicy lips. All the things ‘they’ teach you to hate, I love,” wrote a poet.

I wrote this line everywhere. Notebooks. Pencil cases. I got in trouble a couple times for writing it on a desk. That line made me feel comfortable in my own skin. Even my “thunder thighs” were growing on me.

I felt all the freedom I was looking for, in one line. Who knew it would only take one line?