Self-confidence, what does it mean to you? The word itself can be overwhelming. Growing up we are instilled by unrealistic beauty standards through Barbie and Ken. As a brown and gordita Chicana, I could not achieve anywhere close to Barbie's look and let alone her body. Growing up it's easy to be told directly or indirectly that we have gained or lost weight or our hair is not the prettiest, or our hips are too big, our eyes are just brown and not pretty green or blue like the sky, and the list can go on. Which then results in us desiring the opposite of our own look. Without one realizing, one's words can stick to us like tape and paper and in some cases can leave its imprint.
It is bittersweet that it wasn't until college that I began to see my own body as a piece of art. Sweet because I was finally learning to be open-minded about my curves and “flaws” and not so sweet because it took 20 years of my life to begin looking at myself as a form of art. My former professor Rosanna Alvarez, assigned us a Chicanx film assignment that interconnected with art. I watched Real Women have Curves for the first time. I resonated with a woman on a film screen. Maria, the main character, a low-income student who desired to pursue higher education all while discovering herself and her body through self-empowerment while her family held the classic Mexican household values, traditions, and norms. She was a generational breaker, in which many of us may be and experience.
This film, class course, and the M.E.Ch.A club I was involved in helping me interconnect all of my learnings into one piece. I created a poem that is down below that helps me whenever I am not feeling myself. Being confident in your own skin is not an easy journey, at least for me it hasn't been. Even those who have gained confidence and carry it, have their days of overthinking and perhaps insecurity and that is completely normal. I feel that part of self-confidence is to continuously learn more about yourself and accept you will not always be feeling yourself 100% and not feel bad because you are not at your fullest self.
The reality is, self-confidence is the way YOU define it, not how others do. If you feel you are confident, then YOU are confident. Beware or at least keep in mind being confident ALL the time is unrealistic and normal. Begin to be kind to yourself, create affirmations, take your selfies and share or archive them, put on that accessory you love, and walk out your door with the best energy you can give yourself.
“Your Body is Resistance”
Loving yourself is resistance.
How can you be resistant when society believes thin is beautiful?
People and doctors look at me and label me big.
Even if I lose 20 pounds.
I turn to my mirror and voices flood through my head "BIG, GORDA, THICK, NALGONA, and COW".
I quickly stop myself. I take a moment to reflect.
Who is really insecure?
Me for being happily big or those worshipping the eurocentric standards?
I'm as curvaceous as a mountain.
I am as round as mother earth yet you cannot resist my gravitational pull.
My body grabs their attention.
They stare, I stare.
I remind myself to be kind.
Don't fall back into the cycle.
I am fucking beautiful.
If I believe I am big. I am no longer resistant.
I remind myself to be kind.
There is no such thing as a better body than yours.
Art comes in different shapes and forms. It is a continuous change.
Every BODY has the right to take space.
My Body. Your body is a form of art!
This is the time to change!
Be resistant! Be kind! Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others!
Tell yourself "I love myself"
I am a brown, beautiful, curvaceous, woman
I love myself!
I. am. resistant.
- Claudia Fabian-Garcia
About the Author
Claudia Fabian (She/Her)
Fabulous, first-generation student majoring in Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. While navigating such institutions, she carries her family and Oaxaqueña roots closely to remind her to push through! During the school year she is a full-time student, BUILD a literacy themtor, and occasionally makes videos on Youtube. Her challenging educational journey has instilled a drive to help others. She is interested in pursuing a career in Education and helping increase the route of higher education for marginalized groups. She aspires to be a community leader and help students see their full potential and capabilities while exposing students and families to resources.