If you were to ask me to describe my body I would spend no time describing all the things I absolutely find wrong with it, what’s wrong with me. I’m to short. My thighs are two close together. I workout as much as the next person but I’m always heavy set. My cheeks are always chubby. I feel like Velma from Scooby Doo, “Cause I can’t see a thing without my glasses!” I’m also flat foot, nor can I wink or make my eyebrows move. I’ve been dieting my entire life, which is to say my body has pushed me to the front lines of bullying, teasing my entire life. I’m not sure when I began to apologize for my size yet I have. I began apologizing to my mom about out my hips growing to wide for the brand new jeans she bought me. I started collecting every style of cardigans, jackets or sweaters you can imagine to help hide my arms. Some where between believing I could do anything and actually being able to do anything I began believing my body was holding me back. At least that’s what I thought until I read a book. I didn’t know much about the book expect it had a wide hip figure wearing a red dress arms open wide with a tiara hovering over her head.
I came to Romantic Times Book Loves Convention by myself, which is a pretty big step for a girl suffering from social anxiety. One thing I love about RT is that you are not going to be a stranger for long. Also, the lines… The lines at RT are legendarily long. Meaning you are going to make quick friends with the people behind you, in front of you and of course three head besides you, since the line curves around the hall like a three year old ball python trying to get cozy in a two gallon tank. Impatiently waiting I took a quick glimpse to see how the line behind us grew to only the most confident figure walking in the hall. I’m sure confident might probably aren’t the words she might have heard others called her but confident she stood. I went to ask myself the question but before I could stop myself I whispered . . .
Is. . .is that Julie Murphy?
I’m not sure how the women behind me heard my whisper, though she her answer was just as soft. Yes, with a knowing look in their eyes they told me to go say “Hi”. When I said no they only encouraged me to go even more.I don’t remember running out of line although I must have since I was standing in front of the Julie Murphy.
I felt the blood, courage, and whatever bravery within me start to slip away. All I could mange at first was an apology of
“Hi, I’m really sorry to bother you. I have social anxiety but the ladies in line said I should talk to you because. . .
My husband gifted me with a book blog. No one really goes on it expect me, my husband, and my cat but you’re book Dumplin’ was one of the first books I posted. I though my account got hacked because I had more than 100 comments praising my review and your book and I can’t tell you how happy I am.
I can run five miles may it be for cheesecake or for exercise but I can’t seem to lose the weight. Weight is a constant conversation in my house since I live on a military base where even my husband has his waist measured during PT. My hips are always to wide, my arms are always chunky. I’ve always been 200 pounds no matter how hard I try not to, so when I read Dumplin’ I felt like this book was written just for me. I know it’s a YA book. I’m to old to read it but I felt like it was a book that I waited for my entire life yet didn’t know it. I felt that Dumplin’ was written just for me. “
The moment last word left my lips I felt oddly exposed. There I said it, I have body issues. I’ve always had body issues. Honestly, who hasn’t had body issues in their life? Yet here I am standing in the center of the Rio Convention Center standing in front of Julie Murphy, stating not just to myself but to the universe that I am not prefect.
To my heart delight Murphy told me that said she wrote Dumplin’ for everyone, with that simple statement my eyes unleashed the tears. I tried so hard to hold back my tears especially in front of Julie Murphy but they just kept pouring out like a Celine Dion vocal ballot.
Not only did I cry from the sheer joy of meeting Julie Murphy. I cried for all the years wasted on stupid diets.
I cried for the years of buying clothes with the hopes, that maybe the weight would vanish so I could fit the dress, jeans, shirt in time to wear it.
I cried for my daughter whose to young to know how to know what body image or body positivity means, yet she will grow into the understanding of being confident in all the realm of herself.
I cried. I cried in front of Julie Murphy. I cried for all the reasons I stated above and all the reasons listed in my heart. I cried because I found closure to an issue I didn’t realize I was still struggling with even at the age of 26 year old. I cried not because I was sad I cried because I was happy to let it all go. Yes I’m 200 pounds. Yes my stomach will always be fluffy and my arms will always be chunky. Don’t even get me started on my wide hips or thick thighs since those are gifts from my family tree. My body is no where near prefect nor am I or anyone else perfect but I’m here. I’m happy and I’m crying on Julie Murphy’s jean jacket. I’m crying on Julie Murphy’s Jean Jacket! Holy sage, I can’t believe I’m crying on Julie Murphy’s jean jacket. I owe her one jean jacket freshly washed from tears but, I owe RT, RT goers all my love and support for this amazing experiences I would have never been able to have anywhere else.
Steeling myself on the way back to my place in line I was meet with the cheerful waiting smiles of the two eager ladies in line wanting to know what happen. During the entire walk back I tried everything for them not to flow again. I bite the inside of my cheek. I closed my hands into fist so hard I knew my fingers where probably making crescent moon shape imprints on my inner palm. I even attempted to think about series issues on the political side to ensure my face read my steely reaction. I was not going to cry in front of any more people! Yet as soon as the women in line as me how it went I could not stop the tears from following again. All I managed to say between thick heavy sobs was
“ I cried on Julie Murphy’s jean jacket!”
Now if you were to ask me to describe my body I would only have to words for you.