Once I hit puberty, I noticed boys looked at me differently than they had before. In eighth grade, I heard some boys in my class mocking me because of the size of my booty in my jeans. While it embarrassed me, looking back now, it's probably the nicest thing those particular boys said to me during our three years in Catholic school together.
Yup, the times of freedom that came with a jean day came at the price of being leered at by boys who were only used to seeing girls in our ugly, long skirts every day. The leering and catcalling took off from there into high school, where it got even worse.
Yoga pants were everything, so naturally, I wore them as often as I could. This caught the attention of SO MANY BOYS. Getting leered at every day just walking the halls wasn't fun, on top of innocent freshman year me not realizing that when a guy asks you to pick things up for him that he "dropped" that it's not just by accident. I've had my booty grabbed walking out of a class and I've been dress-coded a million times because I'm not a size two and can get away with wearing whatever I want. That's just how it's always been. I was enjoying this attention to a degree because no one's ever looked at me like I'm attractive.
However, it's also upsetting when you know someone only likes you because of particular assets I had — instead of who I really was.
Flash forward to the summer before my senior year of college (aka now) and I'm still struggling. I gained some weight and went up a jean size. I'm not and never was "popular culture's" brand of curvy that they find and promote as attractive. Yes, I have a nice booty and boobs. But I also have thighs that rub together so much that it's painful just thinking of the word shorts. I have a pooch that was never this prominent a year ago. I'm sweaty and hairy and have chins and rolls on my back for days.
I'm the body type you almost never see online when you're shopping.
The media shows off women like Kylie Jenner, Kim and Khloe Kardashian, and Tammy Hembrow, who have amazing bodies, but they're so unnatural. The average woman is a size 16-18 yet we're praising plastic surgery and intense workouts and diets that only a celeb has the time to do. A fake, inflated behind paired with boobs to match and a face full of botox and fillers isn't what a real woman in 2019 is like.
Those women are setting such impossible standards for beauty that only money can achieve and I'm sick of it.
Embracing my real curves is such a struggle when I see them posting on social media and being praised by Cosmo and Daily Mail for their "curves."
I want to find real love one day and I hope that he loves me for more than just my booty.
I'm not Kim or Kylie. I'm Briana, and I have so much to offer. Millions of women struggle with loving their bodies because of what popular culture dictates as "perfection." Love us for the curves that aren't always seen as pretty. Love my love handles and the dimple on my right cheek. Don't love me just because I have a nice butt. I'm so much more than how I look.