We have finally made it to the Reunion and I am happy to say I survived my first season of Housewives. . .Well almost. Next week is Part 2 of the Reunion and I have to admit I pretty much left in tears. I am not a large part of this week’s reunion, but I would like to take this week’s blog and focus on female bullying and body image. As women, I think it is our job to build each other up. We are all mothers, sisters, and daughters. There are so many body image issues among young women and I write this blog for any woman who has had insecurities about her body. If it talks to any of you than it will not have been a waste of time.
I am sure everyone is aware of Tamra's nickname for me, "Kentucky Fried Titties." When I first heard her call me this I thought, "Nah, I won’t even give it energy." It really is trashy and frankly low-class. However, it was a trigger for me and it really touched on something that I had been self conscious of for my entire life. It sounded exactly like the pre-pubescent boys in my middle school P.E. class. "Hey Lizzie, can I get some fries with that shake." The girls would snicker, "Lizzie's sprouting!!" I grew up hearing a lot of derogatory names targeted at my large chest. I was the girl in fourth and fifth grade that cried when friends had pool parties and wore T-shirts over my swimsuit to cover up my chest. My mom's friends would laugh and say, "One day you will love your assets." But I was always self-conscious.
I grew up dancing and cheerleading and finding uniforms and dance recital costumes was always such a struggle for me. I literally thought about quitting just because of my boobs -- I was so self-conscious and embarrassed. Thank goodness I have such a loving mother that made me feel so much more important than that and didn't let me walk away from something I loved because of body image issues. Even when I started competing in beauty pageants the swimsuit competition was a big thing for me to over come. Some mothers assumed my mom bought me implants at 15. My boobs have always been "up for discussion." At Miss Teen USA, I had to have a special seamstress come in and sew cups in my BodyGlove competition suit because I was bouncing all over when I walked. When I competed in Miss USA, I also had to call in a special seamstress to alter my competition bikini top so it fit my little back and large chest. And, as many of you naturally larger chested women know; real boobs do not "stay put." After I moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career I found myself victim to my large chest yet again. I would only be called in for "Hot Girl #2" and roles like that. How could anyone take me seriously with these 34DDD natural boobs at age 21? I had a college degree. I graduated top of my class, I was so much more than "Hot Girl #2", or so I thought.
At age 23, I couldn’t take it anymore, I cried enough over being insecure about my body. It was time to do something about it. I talked to my mom and she took me for my first breast reduction. It was the best thing I ever did. I felt free! It felt so great to go swimsuit shopping and to buy dresses that I didn't have to wear a minimizing bra with! I can honestly say it was the best thing I could have done for myself. I am 5'7" and I always had boobs, so one thing I didn't want to do is get rid of them completely. I still wanted to feel like me and keep some of my natural curves. Perhaps going 34D wasn't small enough or maybe I just have incredible growing breast tissue. Whatever the case, my boobs were huge again six years later. I decided to have another breast reduction right before my wedding. I was the perfect size. Not too big and not too small. . .and then I had kids. So, now I have very large boobs again. I will probably get another reduction when I am done having children, but we want more kids so now is not the time. I guess God wants me to have big boobs! So, excuse me everyone for finally embracing my body.
I know some of you are probably thinking, "Oh poor Lizzie and her big boobs." But it was a real thing to me and I think as women we all struggle with insecurities. We have all struggled with body image issues at least one time in our lives. I have always been a big believer in beauty shining from within. Think about it. How many people do you know that have such beautiful personalities that it shines through and makes me them even more gorgeous human beings? How easy is it to overlook an attractive person who is mean and ugly inside? People start looking like their personalities sooner or later.
How does all this translate into adult female relationships? I think there are many similarities. I think it has a lot to do with self-esteem, acceptance, and respect for others.
I am sure there are tons of people that applaud Tamra for her name calling of me, or of Alexis when Tamra coined the term "Jesus Jugs." I see nothing more than a 47-year-old bully when I see Tamra. I see bullying. Tamra didn't just call me a name in a fit of anger. She made up the name and announced in her interview. Later, she announced on Watch What Happens Live. My question is why? Why is she so proud of this name? (Which, I have to be honest, I have heard before, it’s not even original.) What kind of message does this send to young women? I don't have girls, but I have nieces and I would never want to teach them to be "mean girls." This may seem trite, but I always felt sorry for the bully. Why do they act like that? It always seemed like bullies have a difficult time connecting with people in meaningful ways and thus use relationships for manipulation. Look, if we can put someone on TV and afford them fortune and fame for being a bully, we are exalting that poor behavior, and sadly we as a society give it life.