My mother never told us her age. I was told to lie about how old I was even when I was ten. She was adamant to the point of obsessiveness about this. In camp, she put me in a group of 8 year olds instead of my age group of ten. This caused me a lot of problems starting when I spoke up when she told the camp administrator my wrong birthday. He looked at me funny, like I either was lying or a bit slow. The worse part though was being stared out for having breasts and butt at “8” and how this made me an outcast with the “little flowers” Ugh
I came to terms with maturing early later, well, much later. “Don’t let a boy touch you or you’ll get pregnant” was her only advice when I got my first period at nine. I would huddle in the cloakroom so afraid of getting pregnant if some snot nose boy would touch my shoulder. And one day an older neighbor boy I knew forever tried to kiss me when I let him in my house when he got locked out. I think I looked at my stomach for any swelling for a whole year, so scared he made me pregnant whatever that was. So much for sex education But I digress.
One day at gym class I looked down at my thighs and though I was slim then, wondered where the rolls of fat came from. I wasn’t so much disgusted as curious. I also had big hip bones and a quite a bit of butt too. My friends told me it was a good thing. I lived in a Puerto Rican neighborhood where big butts were revered but I was unsure if this thigh thing could be good. My legs are short with thin ankles and developed calves rising to chicken fat thighs. Since I was slim, it wasn’t noticeable unless I wore that hideous gym suit. I also noticed that even at a size 3 petite, (now with size deflation a 1) I had big hip bones and straight skirts made me look well- sexy. The whistles of the Puerto Rican men in Brooklyn told me that. (Hey mami psssssss)
This week, I am doing a Puerto folkloric dance after many years. This bomba dance (dancing with the drum) is Afro Caribbean and there is a lot of moves where you stick you butt out. I am taking my arthritic 62-year-old body and presenting it with relish to a small group of well wishers. I practiced in front of the mirror and admired my body. This body has taken me through a lot and there is no good or bad about my body. It’s mine and it’s fine. I love my body including my short fat thighs and my bigger than J’lo’s butt (not as big as Kim K’s though) and when I stick it out there it will be with pride. I once dated a 72 year- old man who told me about age. “It is was it is” That’s how I feel about my body and when I starting loving my body I started taking better care of it so whatever you think your flaws are, remember in some big or small country somewhere, you would be admired for advancing age and for the flaw that you are now gnashing your teeth over.. “Wepa” meaning Wow in Spanish
For more about my me there is a new interview I did on my memoir “From Agoraphobia to Zen” check it out.