This essay is part of the series, Accepting the Self: Latinas on Body Image. For links to the full series, please read the introduction.
By Maria Aquilino
Confessions of a recovering pastelito de guayaba addict! Growing up Cubexican had it’s challenges. I come from two cultures, Cuban and Mexican, where food is a major focus. What a surprise, I know.
Cubexicans eat if we are happy, anxious, sad, bored or sometimes just because. We were also taught that we must eat everything on our plates. Yes, even if we are full. To leave food on the plate would be offensive to the host or cook.
So, from a very young age I did as I was told, and I ate, and ate and ate. By the time was in third grade I was offically a gordita. One of my fathers’ nicknames for me was “Boliche.”
Thank goodness I didn’t know what it meant or I would have certainly ended up on El Show de Cristina seeking counseling.
Thus began my struggle with my body image and my weight. I didn’t wear sleeveless tops until I was in my early 20′s and only briefly had a bikini bod during that time.
I don’t believe in diets and, truth be told, I am a lazy ass and need serious motivation to do any cardio. The only running I do, mi hermana, is to the fridge! However having said that, me he mirado en el espejo de mis padres. I therefore remain vigilant about any hereditary healthcare issues.
Luckily with age comes wisdom. While I am still overweight today, I’m healthy and for that I live in gratitude everyday. I’ve come to embrace my curves, my rolls and my inner Boliche! I’ve “unlearned” bad habits and know that if I don’t eat everything on my plate, it will be okay. Nadie se va a cortar las venas!
I’ve also grown spiritually and have found other means of maintaining healthy both physically and spiritually, like yoga. My focus has shifted from what I look on the outside to who I am on the inside.
Maria was born and raised in New Jersey by her Cuban father and a Mexican mother. A Miami resident, she is a registered nurse who was ordained as a Lukumi Priestess, to Ochun in 1997. She does spiritual work and is currently pursuing Reiki, and Energy Medicine/Life Coach certifications.