birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Loving the Curves

Mine is a family of easy keepers—the kind of people who can grow fat on air. For that reason we all have to work hard at not gaining weight, a lifelong yo-yo struggle for each of us but one we usually win. We’re rarely svelte, but we’re also rarely more than pudgy because we tend to be mildly obsessed with controlling the yo-yo.

Unlike the rest of my family, which tends to gain weight in their bellies, my weight collects mostly in my hips and thighs. I am pretty sure neither my hips nor thighs are as big in reality as they are in my mind, but I am self-conscious about their ampleness. I’ve also always longed for straight little “boy” hips and skinny boy legs. Instead I have womanly ones, which in my Caucasian circles are not as appreciated as they may be in cultures that find beauty in curves.

I do see my hips as functionally lovely. Wide hipbones made childbirth so much easier for me than the labors of my narrow-hipped friends. The curves of my hips are always handy for carrying toddlers, laundry baskets, and other sundry items. But they do not feel attractive aesthetically. So how do I overcome my internalized image of beauty having to have straight lines and learn to love the curves? I’m not sure I ever will, but I am thrilled that the stigma of what were once considered imperfect bodies (and faces) is slowly being chipped away as more and more real people make it onto the runways and airwaves of our world.

"Eagle Beak! Eagle Beak!"

My Left Foot