Balance, Wellness

Self-Love: How I Let Go of Body Shame in Japan

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They called me “White Guy.”

I was a 13-year old Latina of light complexion, with a developing, small bosom, and a propensity for wearing baggy clothes. White Guy.

Multiple kids teased me and the nickname caught on.

I’ve had dozens of nicknames over the years, but that one stung the most.  It planted a seed of shame at not being “womanly” or “brown” enough.  Both definitions, of course, were narrowly defined, but that didn’t stop the seeds from taking hold.

The shame grew through my teenaged years and well into adulthood.   And even when I came to terms with my light complexion and came to love it, I struggled with loving my figure.  I wanted so badly to change my bust, but I judged my desire to have it be different than it was. I hated my body and hated that I hated my body.

It wasn’t the best mental cycle to be involved in.

Four years ago, I realized that this circle of shame was keeping me from feeling worthy of a really great relationship.  At the time, I was on a purposeful journey to prepare me for a fabulous partnership, so ridding myself of at least some of the shame seemed immensely important.

For the first time, I questioned whether someone with my body-type had to hate themselves.  The answer, of course, was a resounding NO. In fact, I found lots of stories online of women loving their smaller-than-average busts, and men who loved those women.

It was a start. Just enough to wedge a bit of that shame off.  Just enough for me to start feeling worthy of a great relationship.

Some months later, after lots of self-loving, I entered this new fabulous relationship thinking I had this whole “loving my body” thing down. Nope, not quite.

The relationship, if anything, served to magnify the body image issues that I hadn’t dealt with already.  I did my best to cope with the insecurity, but it came up often.  It turns out even dating someone fabulous doesn’t cure one of all insecurities. Who knew!

Almost three years into this great, soulfully-challenging relationship, I decided to embark on an experiment.  I would  take time off from working and spend several months away from my partner, to focus on a few internal hot topics, like my self-esteem.

I had no idea just how great this would turn out for me.

The journey began in March, in LA, but really kicked off in April, in Tokyo, where I was able to find, for the first time in my life, gorgeous bras that fit me perfectly.  The glee emanating from me broke down language barriers left and right.  You don’t need common language to understand, “this is making me REALLY happy. THANK YOU.”

For the first time in my life, my breasts were the source of my feeling sexy. A big wall of shame crumbled.

What blew my mind was that all I had needed was a better-fitting garment to feel this sensation, this confidence.  I hadn’t needed to change my body at all.  Amazing!  I realized all those years of body-shaming arose from wanting to feel a certain way – this way!  This allowed some more shame to drop off as I accepted that there isn’t anything inherently wrong with wanting to look or feel a certain way; I just didn’t want shame to dictate my actions.

This new-found lightness led to my becoming more cognizant of my boobs (I’d largely tried to ignore them, previously).  I started to like them!  To enjoy feeling them as part of my body! What a difference!  What a pleasure!  I’ve spent the last couple of months slyly “feeling myself up” in growing appreciation and joy (which I encourage all women to do, solely for their own body-loving pleasure and journey!). It’s great fun.

I recently realized what a jump I’ve taken when I went for a massage last week and the massage therapist accidentally grabbed one my breasts (long story), and I didn’t feel shame.  What a victory!!  That lack of shame is a huge medal of honor.

I’m reveling in the increasing comfort I have with my breasts.  We’ve come a long way.  They’ve dealt with a lot of hate from me.  That I can now appreciate them is a journey I’m proud to have taken.

Now, they can stay the same or change in size. I’m happy either way.  They’re beautiful and a part of me, no matter what they look like.

Learning to love my body, one crumbling layer of shame at-a-time.

Peaceful Dumplings, is your body a temple of love?  Is there a part of you that needs some extra loving?

What can you do to start heading in that direction?

More self-love: 3 Ways to Feel Beautiful in Your Body

5 Ways to Remind Yourself You Are Enough

The Literacy of Self-Love

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Photo: Julia Caesar via UnSplash

Amparo Vazqwright

Amparo Vazqwright

Blogger at Happy Starfishes
Amparo I. Vazqwright is a California-native exploring life, love, and learning on the East Coast. She’s the author of www.happystarfishes.com and aspires to become the Mexican-American, Female “Paulo Coelho” in future years. Amparo is a lover of all things personal development, with an inquisitory mind that looks for patterns and breakthroughs in every challenge, and is excited to be able to put into writing all the wonderful things that life conspires to reveal to her. In the future, you can expect to see Amparo writing about anything from reshaping memories to the wisdom (or humor) of ants. She’s blessed and excited to work with Peaceful Dumpling. Follow Amparo on Pinterest @InspireStarfish.
Amparo Vazqwright
  • Juhea Kim

    I totally hear you about bra shopping being a life-changing experience. Only just this year I found out I’ve been wearing the wrong size all my life (not just a little wrong, huuuge difference).

    I struggled with body shame too, especially around my teens–but fortunately, I dated at least a few people who really appreciated my body, and that really lasted. (Guess I should thank them?) Now if anyone criticizes my body, I just shake that off like a duck! It does everything that a body should do and it’s comfortable and hard-working, and looks good in strategic outfits. That’s totally enough for me. 🙂

    • Amparo I. Vazquez

      Woo hoo! Congrats! 🙂 I think it’s such a victory to be able to treat our bodies with respect and love. And it makes the biggest difference in how we interact with the world. I’m definitely feeling the difference in myself. It feels nice to be consciously, lovingly aware of my body :).

  • Karah Raymond

    I’m curious what garment and what brand you are referring to? It is so hard to find a good AA bra!! 😞

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