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Zamariah's words contain references to sexual assault.
Me and my body have been through it from the very beginning. I was sexually assaulted at the age of like four, by babysitters. And at that time, I didn't really understand what it was. And I didn't tell anyone for a long time because I just thought it was, you know, what everybody did.
Come to find out, [redacted], who was like a sister, also was sexually assaulted. And then [there] was a talk about it. And that's when I realized, okay, this is weird. And I remember my body still at a young age having those urges. And I was just very confused, like, why is my body doing this when my brain knows that this is wrong? And it was from that point that it was kind of me and my body against each other.
Growing up, I was the darkest person in my family. I was always the tallest and the thickest person. I come from a very tiny, light-skinned family. So I was always the odd one out. They're like, why can't you look like everyone? Why is your body so big? So around high school I started working to make my body what I thought it should look like. And I got really, really small, like everyone else. But I was still dark skinned and I still had a butt and I still had those curves everyone else didn't have. I just thought it was so bad and so wrong. Fast forward, I went to the military, and the same thing was kind of pushed on me; "Your curves are not good, they're not welcomed."
And it wasn't until about 2019, 2020 when I finally realized like… everything's okay. I saw more people that looked like me. And I began to realize that my body is exactly the way it should be. It's done everything right. It's really my mindset that was against it. So I started really becoming more and more comfortable. When I was in high school, I used to try really hard to have a thigh gap because everybody had a thigh gap. I was like, “This is what I need to be considered ‘in.’” My thighs began to tough at that time, and for the first time I wasn't repulsed by it. It was just like, okay, I have thick thighs, some people like thick thighs, you know, some people don't, and that's okay.
As a kid, I would always get, like, catcalled, you know, like, oh, like your body looks good. And I thought that that was kind of all I was good for, was like the sexualization of my body and not really my body being beautiful. I just wanted to feel beautiful in my body. And once I saw people that look like me and people dating people who look like me and marrying people who look like me, it was like, okay, this is cute, this is normal. I'm not weird, I'm not fat.
People who are plus size say “You're not plus size” and everybody else is like, “Well, you're not regular size.” So it was really hard. And then understanding that clothes are just clothes, they're just articles, they’re just pieces of fabric. It doesn't have a gender. Their sizes are not all the same. It doesn't matter. So I'm going to wear it.
I'm not really on social media because that, for me, is me working against my body, oftentimes because [social media] is not mainstream. My body is not really mainstream unless it's fake and bought and sometimes I can't get on social media, but I'm starting to get more into taking pictures. I used to hate taking pictures because I didn't like how I looked. I didn't like me being next to all these size zero, double zero people.
Just looking very bloated and just not flattering. But I'm trying to reclaim that. I want the memories to be there, good, bad, or indifferent. So, you know, I'm finding my angles and no one else can find them. I can find them and figure them out myself. So I'm doing that and I'm learning how to open my chest and lift my chin up and look confident. Because even if there are times when you don't believe it, if you fake it, your body feels it, feels that difference. And that's all that really matters to me right now.
The body keeps score.The body keeps score on things that you mentally don't want to. So it was another thing working with my body and not against, it because my body is going to remember every fucking thing, whether I want it to or not, whether I blocked it out or not.
So my body is a constant reminder that sometimes you just need to sit with things and sometimes things are just uncomfortable and sometimes things are just going to hurt and suck and can be really shitty. But we're going to get through it because we've made it this far, you know?
Learning how to slow down, learning how to listen to my body has been such a big thing this past year for me, and I feel like I'm finally in a place where I kind of got it. I feel like I got a hold of it. We're ready to step out.
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