Flaca till Death
This essay is part of the series, Accepting the Self: Latinas on Body Image. To enjoy the full series, please read the introduction.
Donning my over-sized GEM t-shirt and lime green tights, I skipped passed abuelo to show off my outfit. My clear gelly shoes were so pretty I wanted to show them off as well.
So I took a seat beside him and crossed my legs, making sure the sunlight hit them at the perfect angle. I watched him as he stared at the television. His natural frown deepening as the novela’s protagonist was fooled yet again. Suddenly, he turned to me, wrinkles inches away from my face, and grunted, “Pero tu te va morir de flaca!”
It’s been my nickname since before I knew how to say my name. It was also the cause of my teen-age insecurities. In high school, I was mostly bones and was often asked about my eating habits. Some even wondered if I was anorexic or bulimic. Till this day, I try not to use the rest room after I eat. Imagine their embarrassment when they dash into my toilet stall and catch me….brace yourselves…peeing!
The thing is I have always been thin. Aside from the baby fat when I was 3-months-old, I’ve always been petite and have had trouble gaining weight. Sure, I once hated food. I remember Mami holding my nose, waiting till I opened my mouth to take a breath so she could stuff my mouth with rice and beans. Sure, I flung tajadas de platanos out the kitchen window as a child, but that doesn’t mean I hate food now! Chef up some rice and chuletas. Buy me a Dominos pepperoni pizza pie (light cheese and extra sauce, please) and watch me chow down!
So I say to thee, flaca haters and worrywarts, don’t judge a book by its cover. You don’t know what I’ve been through as a flaca! You don’t even know if this Dominicana wants to be a flaca! As a matter a fact, I am elated when my ass gets bigger and I weep when my hips shrink. At 17-years-old, I went to my high school’s nutritionist so she could put me on a weight-gain diet. Now, would an anorexic or bulimic go and do that?
Bottom line, being a curvaceous Dominican woman is what I have strived to be.
Curves are revered in the Latino culture. Round asses and thick thighs are acknowledged with proud nods and a “Dios te bendiga, Mami.”
Who wouldn’t want their body to be blessed by God?! I certainly do and recently have.
Now, I am the size I have always wanted to be. I am curvy within my petite body frame and that’s all right with me.
So the next time my grouchy and judgmental abuelo flies in from the Dominican Republic and sits on my couch I’m going to do things a little differently. Donning my skinny jeans (aproposito!), red pumps, and transparent red shirt, I will sashay past him. I will sit down next to him, cross my legs – showing off my now thicker calves – and allow my tummy’s chichos loose. I’ll wait for a skinny girl comment about my imminent death. When he turns to me, frown lines sinking into skin like a sand dune, I will stop him mid-sentence, grabbing my chicho before uttering, “This is skinny girl body fat! Now there!”
Because this flaca takes proud ownership of her long limbs and boney bones. And there’s no shame in that.
Sujeiry Gonzalez is a professional writer/performer who relishes on all that is love. With vibrancy, honesty and a sassarific attitude, Sujeiry’s humorous love stories, relationship advice, and the power of the pepa™ connect with all women, warranting her the title of Sujeiry, 1st Lady of Love.