Acne: Cassandra Bankson Shows You How To Have Flawless Skin


Many people suffer from acne. It really sucks.

I started noticing that I had adult acne when I was twenty. I remember the insecurity it caused me. I still deal with breakouts and use Clindamycin Phosphate to keep it under control.

Women have the benefit of make-up to help conceal the pimples and I found this amazing video from a very brave young woman, Cassandra Bankson, who also suffers from acne. She appears on camera barefaced and shows other women how she conceals her blemishes with make-up for a flawless finish.

One thing people who don’t suffer from acne must understand is that, despite what you may have heard, it’s not a result of poor eating habits or bad hygiene. It’s a combination of many things including hormones and allergies. I am allergic to dairy products and when I consume anything with milk that hasn’t been cooked, I will get cystic acne. Some people are allergic to citric acid. Everyone is different and anyone who deals with it knows the pain and shame associated with a face full of pimples.

Please have a look at this transformational video. Kudos to Cassandra Bankson for her bravery and desire to help others.


Stascia L. Horton: There Is More Beauty In Self-Confidence Than You Will Ever Find In A Tube Of Lipstick Or Mascara

Stascia L. Horton

I am a 40-year-old female. I have struggled with self-image since my toddler years. I have been a preschool teacher and seen other toddlers with the same struggle.

There are many things that impact a child’s self-image at such a tender age. It is often a child’s parents who hinder development of self-confidence. That was my case. My mother and stepfather used to actually tell me that I was fat and ugly. I have heard parents berate their small children over their appearance: if their hair was messy or they got dirty or if their clothes were not just so. I simply do not understand doing this to your child, but I do understand that a person who subjects a child to this has low self-esteem themselves. No self-respecting person would subject another person to such behavior. However, even small children have celebrity obsessions or a warped sense of what they should look like. We live in a world so focused on celebrities, beauty pageants and the need to be pristine. Gone are the shows with normal looking children, and in have marched cartoons where the girls and boys are fashionistas. The trend setters are the heroes and the fashion mishaps become the villains. 

I also was born with a spinal deformity on top of being subjected to dismally self-depressed role figures. This made me even more self-conscious. The kids at school made fun of me for the way I walked because of the deformity. This did at least motivate me to work really hard at camouflaging my deformity. It was a feeling of accomplishment when I was successful enough to abate the teasing. 

Despite the fact that I have modeled on occasion, which I did to confirm for myself that I could look every bit as good as a girl in a magazine, I still resent the fashion industry. Being in the industry allowed for enlightenment about the reality of this presumed beautiful array of women. Oh they are beautiful, and they were before all the touch-ups and makeup and posing and lighting. Most people don’t get that inside look to learn the tricks of the trade and aren’t able come to the realization that these people are very real and look like everyone else before all the adornments. Men and women both keep trying to strive to be model-perfect, when in reality most already are. 

Here I am at forty years old finally starting to accept that hey, maybe I can be beautiful just the way I am. I am an artist and I find everyday people to be beautiful. I find their imperfections to be unique. I find their personalities exude an appearance. I am enthralled by smiles and laughter and intelligence and find that people who attract me inwardly are attractive to me outwardly. It took me a long time to apply all of that to myself. 

Forty years old, a scar that runs almost the entire length of my spine from surgery to insert metal rods to keep me straighter, a pin in my right foot with its corresponding scar, crooked teeth from a car accident and stretch marks from having a child and I finally realized that I am more beautiful now than I was when I was younger. I am more beautiful because I am a survivor and a fighter. My story of struggle and achievement are more beautiful than any runway walk I have ever taken. 

The reason? I learned to smile. I cast off people who made me cry and made me doubt, and surrounded myself with people who loved me, believed in me and supported me. I began to smile and laugh again and I have realized that smiling and laughing are what made me beautiful to other people. I realized that I needed to see myself the way I saw others; from the inside out. For I truly can see someone who may look beautiful on a magazine cover but who lives in such negativity that I instantly, upon actual interaction, no longer find them attractive. Yet to me, someone a talent scout would cast off is more beautiful than anyone you’ll see on the cover of a magazine. No magazine cover will ever be able to capture the beauty of one’s heart. 

Something I said recently: There is more beauty in self-confidence than you will ever find in a tube of lipstick or mascara. 

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Copyright Ark Stories 2012

33 – African-American Curvy Woman

I am a 33 year-old African-American woman.
About me? Well my body type is “curvy” somewhere between a pear and an hourglass. But I also have some weight to lose and I am working on it. I joined one of those weight loss communities and I noticed, most of the other black women had higher weight goals than the white women with similar heights and starting weights. Actually even 30-40%more. And I am one of them. I blame my mom.
Growing up, my mom ALWAYS complimented me on my “big legs.” She was jealous. Growing up her nickname was Olive Oyl because of her skinny legs. My sister and I have bigger calves, so we were
constantly praised about it.
When I was young, I was never small. I was always a little larger than my peers. My aunt always called me “solid.” I don’t think my body is meant to be very skinny. I have muscular arms and legs. It just isn’t happening.
As I was growing up, when out with my mom, she would always comment on other people’s bodies. We could be watching TV or whatever. She would say things like “she has no butt” “his legs are too skinny” or “she has no shape.” She would also comment if she thought someone was too skinny. It never felt mean-spirited, but listening to my mom, she definitely passed on a message that it was good to have a butt, have shapely legs, and have hips. “Not too much, like the Williams sisters.” (according to my mom) and that skinny legs on a man was a sin. She also commented on when people had too much cleavage or their breasts were too big. If she commented on someone who was larger, it was focused on the fit of their clothing, and not the shape. i.e. if you have a big belly, you shouldn’t wear a midriff baring top and the importance of clothing fitting properly. She would comment if someone’s clothing wasn’t the right fit or too tight.
My mom never really commented much on my weight. There were a few times here and there where she worried if I gained too much it would cause health problems but there has never been any pressure to be “skinny.” Just small enough to retain my curvy shape and waist definition was the only important thing to her.
I think for her, in a way, I had what she didn’t — big legs and a big bust — and that is the shape she likes. The opposite of skinny. AND looking at my weight loss goals, I am looking for something not skinny. And still curvy. So I guess her message sunk in.
Editor’s Note: This story illustrates the impact a message, especially from a mom has on her child. We hear comments our parents make as we are growing up and those comments sink in and become part of how we see ourselves and others even if we don’t realize it.

Men And Plastic Surgery

More and more American and European men are seeking out plastic surgery.
People today have so many images thrown their way that have been altered. We compare ourselves to those impossible, air-brushed,  perfect images and feel we fall short. It’s largely thought of as only a woman’s issue but a growing number of men are paying to have face-lifts, liposuction, nose jobs and a number of other procedures.
Everyone wants to look their best but plastic surgery is still hit or miss. Eventually, procedures will be perfected and maybe the end result will be more natural but as you will see from the pictures below, we have a long way to go.
American Society Of Plastic Surgeons released this data on March 21, 2011
2010 Top Five Male Cosmetic Surgical Procedures
1. Nose Reshaping (64,000)
2. Eyelid Surgery (31,000)
3. Liposuction (24,000)
4. Breast Reduction in Men (18,000)
5. Hair Transplantation (13,000)
                                                   Arnold Schwarzenegger
                                                 Bruce Jenner
                                        Scott Thompson A.K.A  Carrot Top
                                                Mickey Rourke
                                                   Michael Jackson

Sunshine by Michelle Johnson







Michelle Johnson
My grandmother is ICU again, fighting the battle of her life. Perhaps she is fighting off the sepsis that has invaded her bloodstream and further weakened her already fragile 85 year-old body. Or, perhaps she is fighting to get to a place where there is no more fighting, the place where she can see my granddad again and paint kitchen walls with the greatest of ease and putter in her garden long past when her knees would have given out. No one is sure which of those fights she is waging at this point, perhaps not even Grandma. And so we wait.
Yesterday, as the family gathered in the ICU (honestly, more like took it over as Johnsons usually do), my grandmother’s lifelong best friend arrived to say goodbye. The two had shared so much over the years, more than just neighborly dinners and Easter celebrations with the kids and grandkids. They had shared hopes and dreams and adventures. I’m quite sure they shared secrets and disappointments and wounds too. The two of them sat together holding hands for quite a while. And, although I knew it was a private moment, I lingered for a bit – perhaps hoping for a glimpse into my grandmother’s life to which I had never before been privy.
My grandmother opened her eyes when Audrey took her hand. She smiled slightly and said she was glad Audrey had made it. I knew Grandma had been keeping track of who had come to say goodbye, and she was pleased she was able to see her best friend once more. And, then, cutting through the trite expressions or abundance of platitudes used so often during these times, my grandmother simply said, “We always said we would take another cruise together and we never did it. I guess we just ran out of time.”
Something changed in me when I witnessed that simple exchange between two lifelong friends, now at the end of their life path together. I realized I was seeing firsthand what we all post online, sing about and write on bumper stickers. “Dance like no one’s watching…sing like no one’s listening…love without fear of being hurt.” Maybe you can say you already live this way, but frankly, despite my penchant for bumper stickers, I haven’t been. Not fully anyway. I was reciting those things in my head but I didn’t comprehend the meaning. It isn’t about making grand overtures or taking extraordinary trips or having unparalleled adventures. It is about living every day as its own small miracle, no matter what the day may hold for you.
Of course a 10-hour work day with a two-hour commute and all the usual chores and responsibilities of life may not sound like a miracle. I am certainly guilty of bemoaning many a day. But, I realized yesterday – felt it to my core – that we really ARE all on a very short miracle ride on this earth that could end at any moment. No questions asked, no last hurrah, no preparation. Poof. Gone. And, what would you have to show for it?
I’ve heard people say, “Don’t save your good china for a special day – TODAY is special.” That’s an easy fix, I thought, so I started using my pretty dishes regularly. But, what I was missing is that in the end, when there is really nothing left but to say goodbye to this world, not a single person is going to be standing bedside whispering about your weight, or clothing style or what you drove thirty years ago. Hell, no one will care about your pretty china either. I was taking everything too literally (not shocking for those of you who know me well.)
I spend way too much time fixated on what size I am, what clothing trends I’m missing, what car I’m not driving. I think “when I lose twenty pounds, when I have kids, when I get a promotion.” Listening to my grandmother and Audrey yesterday, wishing they had taken one more cruise together, I finally realized THIS IS IT. THIS is my life. Size 6, Size 12, bangs, no bangs, fourteen year old Honda, brand-new SUV. It simply is what it is. And, bless anyone who already figured this out but it took me just shy of thirty-five years to actually put the pieces together.
We all “know” tomorrow is an unknown and definitely not guaranteed. But, yesterday is GONE and you can’t get it back. Do you want to think back on your yesterdays and wish you had cherished them a little more? I don’t! I do not. I will not. I want to look back on my yesterdays and feel confident that I hugged my loved ones as much as I could, that I appreciated the sunlight through my windows, that I squeezed as much joy as possible out of every moment, even the sad ones. Especially the sad ones.
Before I left the hospital yesterday afternoon, I went and said goodbye to my grandmother. Of course, we had no idea if we would see each other again in this life. But, I stood there and told her I loved her and that I hoped she could rest. Do you know her response? She said, “Go out and enjoy the sunshine.”
You know what? I’m going to.

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Copyright Ark Stories 2012



Demi’s Meltdown by Kimberley Johnson










Demi Moore has been in the news a lot lately. Her picture is splashed across every tabloid, stories of her meltdown and her broken heart are everywhere.

On Facebook, I saw a post from a woman who appeared to be 40 years old or older. She was ranting that Demi is whining about getting older and this woman had no patience or empathy for Demi. Her message was to get over it, we all age and if we are alive, we have something to be thankful for.

I agreed with this woman on Facebook. But after having a conversation with someone about Demi and my lack of empathy, it was pointed out that Demi lives in the Hollywood bubble. Her reality is different than those of us who do not make a living based on how we look. Youth is King in Hollywood. Maybe I didn’t see things from Demi’s point of view because for the last two and a half years, I’ve been living in Northern California. I’m not in the acting biz anymore and even though I have not acted since 2002, living in Los Angeles has its own set of unique pressures when it comes to age and looks.

It’s very easy to criticize someone when you haven’t walked in their shoes. One of the comments on the woman’s post was that Demi has never been compared to or talked about like Meryl Streep; that all she has are her looks. To a degree, this is true. Demi is not known as one of the greats. But she does hold her own and has turned out some pretty decent performances, save for a few flops. But she has been known for her looks. She’s gone to extremes with her physical image when preparing for such roles as GI Jane and Striptease. She has breast implants, lived on a raw food diet and God knows what else in order to keep up a youthful appearance. It’s exhausting for me to think about. I can’t imagine what it must be like for her to live it.

The way she looks not only determines her income but how she values herself. This is true for all of us to a degree but for someone like Demi, it’s magnified. She’s almost 50. In Hollywood years, that’s 110. It’s death to those who’ve relied primarily on their physical appearance.

I worked on Days Of Our Lives for seven years. My part was small but I understand the pressure. The women on the show are tiny in stature as well as very thin. An impossibility for me. I am six feet tall. My bones and frame are big. I can get too skinny but I can never compete with a woman who is 5’5 and weighs 100 pounds. It’s an awful feeling when your value is based on looks and even though I never became a big time actress, I had wanted to for many years. I had to be prepared for my “big break.” I was always consumed with my looks. When I think of Demi, I really cannot imagine how she must be feeling now. It must be horrid.

Demi married Ashton Kutcher who happens to be sixteen years younger than she is. This young man has enormous charisma. Sexy, smart, hysterical and poised to be one of those Hollywood actors that has an extremely long shelf life. George Clooney, Paul Newman and Clint Eastwood had that charisma when they were young. Even in their 60’s, Eastwood and Newman pulled it off, sexually speaking. It’s common among men but not for women. It’s the rare woman who can still have sex appeal after 60 and more often than not, most of it is due to a LOT of plastic surgery. That’s the sad truth and trust me, I hate it. But it is what it is. I don’t blame Demi or feel she got what she deserves but she did set herself up for this to happen. It’s my theory that part of her attraction for him was that he was much younger. It validated her desire to appear younger. Madonna went through a similar situation with her younger ex-husband Guy Ritchie.

It is my personal belief that no woman should EVER marry a man sixteen years her junior. Yes, there are exceptions but they are EXCEPTIONS and they are few and far between. When women are in their 40’s they can look great. But as they approach 50, the hormones start freaking out. Our bodies change, perimenopause rears its ugly head and there’s not much we can do. The aging process takes away our youthful allure. It’s scary to let go but it’s what we all go through. And though it’s a bit easier for men, they still have to deal with losing youth and sex appeal as well. No one likes it but when you take a look at Europe, they seem to have a better grasp on reality than the US. Their actresses don’t have to be Barbie Dolls. They can be real women and still be respected.

Demi’s personal life affects millions of women who have insecurities with body image. It continues to promote the idea that when a woman ages, she loses her value. This statement is only true for those who buy into it.

I don’t blame Ashton. He’s 33!!!! She’s almost 50. As much as we all want to believe that it’s not about age, it is A LOT about age. It’s not negative or ageism. It’s human nature. It goes both ways. I am 43. I am not attracted to men who are 60. I’m just not.

Sadly, Demi has fallen victim to the message that youth and looks are the most important thing a woman can have. It’s what’s been reported on over and over. This message is poison and slowly seeps into the minds of many women who pick up the magazines while in line at the supermarket or reading the online articles. We read about her woes, her use of drugs and her inability to accept the most recent movie offer that has now gone to another actress because Demi is unable to cope with her break-up.

On one hand, I feel for her. She lives in the bubble and has since a very young age. On the other hand, as humans, we always have a choice. It’s easy to compare yourself to another. There will always be someone who has something you covet whether it’s material success, love or looks. We can and must choose to be healthy, to be fit and to look good for our age whether in our 20’s, 30’s, 40’s 50’s and up! But by defining ourselves only by age and looks, we lose.

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Copyright Ark Stories 2012


Food Is For The Birds


Suraya 31. 
As far back as I can remember I have always thought of myself as being the “fat” one. I was born in Jamaica with three sisters, me being the youngest. My sister Mary and I were closest in age, only a year and half apart, and my mother had us together everyday. Practically raised us like twins but there was always a distinguishing fact between us: she was skinny and I was chubby. My mom would dress us alike and introduce us to others and the first thing people would say was “Mary is so pretty and Suraya is so chubby”. As I got older, I got taller and my weight increased. My sister on the other hand, got more beautiful and thinner. What I hadn’t realized was that my weight increased because of my height not because of an increase in body fat but I did not see that when I looked in the mirror. I saw someone who was morbidly obese compared to my tiny older sister. In high school I wore boy clothes three times larger than my actual size. I covered as much as I could and played the “ugly duckling” role for years.
My family migrated to South Florida, where we lived in a Jamaican populated area. The boys were attracted to girls who had large breasts and large derrieres. In high school I had neither and although my breasts were growing, I always had them covered. I was told many times by people around me that I was shaped like a white woman because I had no ass and my new nickname throughout high school, apart from nerd, was “nosatall”, which means “no ass at all”.  It was during high school that I realized I was different and would forever be different and accepted my “fate”.  At least the one I made for myself, which was I will always be the fat ugly chick.
I was always active in high school, as I played sports, but that only brought on more ridicule from my gorgeously thin sister who would call me thunder thighs because of my involvement in tennis. I would diet quite a bit, always trying something new to see what worked with my body and what didn’t. I went on a rice diet, an all meat diet, no meat diet, only water diet and then the worse of all, an all you can eat and vomit diet. I hadn’t realized how badly I feared getting any fatter until I got pregnant at 18. I was already fat but now I would get even fatter and disgusting by carrying a child. Most women abhor the thought of morning sickness but I embraced it and loved it, especially since it didn’t happen before breakfast but just after dinner, not-self induced. When the morning sickness went away I was devastated because that meant I would now hold in all that I shoved in my mouth. That is when I started my all fruit diet. During my pregnancy, which lasted only seven months, I gained fifteen pounds, five of which I lost at the very end because I was diagnosed with Preeclampsia and I started to not eat anything at all due to my sodium levels being so high.  
I believe the media has always influenced the way I viewed myself as well as others, but for me it was more of a “what I would never look like” type of thing. I know my bone structure and how my body is built and I know that I will never be a Victoria’s Secret model nor will I ever be as thin as my sister. I also know that I will never want to look like the actress from Precious because that would definitely bring on suicide. My cultural background also plays heavily in how I view myself. When visiting family back home the first thing that is said after hello is, “you put on weight eh?” I would cringe and will cringe at those words every time they are said by aunts, cousins and even grandparents. No one wants to be the fat one in the family and for those that are, they are the butt of every joke.
I haven’t really given much thought of how others see me. I just know how I see myself: tall and somewhat fat. I know that I am not obese but I could stand to lose some more weight or at least tone up. Have I overcome my negative self-image? Not sure I have because I have no clue what a positive self-image is. Will I wake up every morning and look in the mirror and not see something I would like to change? Probably not because I know I can never be as perfect as I would like to be. I have not and do not intend on seeing a therapist because Jamaicans do not see therapists. *smile* I cannot say the way I look has always determined how I feel but it does play a part at times. I have told myself in the last few years that it matters not what people think but what I believe about me that makes me great. Does that mean I will start stuffing food down my throat and allow myself to get bigger? No. It just means that I care what I look like when I look in the mirror. If I like me the way I am, then others will and I can only accept that.

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Copyright Ark Stories 2011

Mikaya Heart: Allowing Myself to Look Like Me





Mikaya Heart is an award-winning author and a coach in the art of being
fully alive.

I am a 59-year-old woman. As a teenager, growing up in Scotland, I wore make-up, dressed up, and worried constantly about looking good. Then when I was 19, in the seventies, I became a hippie and overnight I stopped spending so much energy on how I looked, wandering around happily in an old jacket and worn jeans. It was a great relief not to be spending so much time, energy and money on my appearance, particularly since it had generated a lot of attention from men, which was frequently difficult to handle. Interestingly, I found that men were still attracted to me when I ceased to obsess about my looks; and they were much more the kind of men I liked, men who were actually interested in me, rather than just wanting to have sex.

A few years later, I started making love with women and came out as a lesbian. I identified as a butch dyke, which meant I usually wore my hair very short, and never wore a skirt. Nowadays I sometimes feel like that is a dress code to which I don’t want to adhere but in the eighties it was great. Within the lesbian community I really claimed my body as my own and completely stopped worrying what other people thought of my looks. I just embraced myself the way I was, and I am really grateful I was able to do that. I escaped the beauty trap, accepting that beauty is an inside job. I don’t know that I would have been able to do any of this, though, if I were not naturally self-confident. I wouldn’t wish it to be any other way, but over the years it has certainly required courage to be so nakedly myself in a world that has a limited view of how women should look.

Strangers often assume (without thinking about it) that I am a man and although I really don’t care, it tends to be difficult because other people are so embarrassed by their mistake. Don’t get me wrong: I like being a woman, I just can’t see why it matters if I am not immediately recognized as female, and I don’t consider society’s obsession with gender as my problem. The severity of the issue and how much I am affected by it varies geographically. It’s easiest in the San Francisco Bay Area, where many women look like me. In other places, particularly in Brazil, I’ve been harassed going into women’s toilets and I’ve had very unpleasant experiences on public transport in Muslim countries where women are afraid of sitting next to someone whom they perceive as male.

In the US, my apparent age is more of an issue for me. My hair is gray and I have spent many years working outdoors, without taking good care of my skin, so my face is very wrinkled—‘weathered’ is what people say when they want to be polite. Since most women of my age are trying hard to look younger and I am not, people tend to assume I am in my sixties. It’s a problem when I am kitesurfing, which is my favorite pastime, because the other kitesurfers on the beach think that I’m going to be a liability. Once they see me out on the water, jumping higher than they can and making it look easy, they treat me very respectfully. I am always torn between wishing they had treated me respectfully to start with and delighting in the fact that I have blown their stereotypes to smithereens.

Although I am not into being traditionally attractive according to media standards, I do enjoy playing around with the way my body looks. I have tattoos—a dragon on my arm and a snake on my back—and I love to use henna to create red stripes in my gray hair, so those factors mitigate being seen as an older person (and therefore infirm, although of course no one would say that to my face and would certainly never say it if they knew me). When I am traveling alone, which I do a great deal, the tattoos and the hair say something like: here is an interesting and different woman who can take care of herself. The people who are intrigued are the kind I will probably get along with; those who dismiss me as weird are exactly the ones I don’t want to know. Nevertheless, although I can rarely be bothered to work at changing my appearance in order to ‘fit in,’ I am aware that how I look sometimes alarms people. But how we actually look is only one aspect of what we are projecting. There is the physical body and then there is the energetic body, which people pick up on without even realizing what they are doing. I am a peace-loving person, with benevolent energy, and that makes me acceptable in places where I might not otherwise be welcome. That is not just a matter of luck—it’s a character trait I have deliberately developed because life would be lonely if I scared everyone away.

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Copyright Ark Stories 2011

Shannon Mouton: Racially Ambiguous Woman???

Shannon Mouton

My name is Shannon and I’m Black. I have always known I am Black. My family and friends know I’m Black. At times there has confusion because I’m a fair-skinned Black woman. The confusion is usually with Latin men, who speak Spanish to me and I politely respond, “no hablo espanol.” Then they take a closer look at me, smile and move on. This has happened numerous times and is a regular occurrence in certain neighborhoods and countries. It was not until I began acting a few months ago that I even considered using this misidentification to my advantage.

I began putting my acting resume together and shared it with a fellow actor. She suggested, along with my actual race, I list the other ethnicities I can also play. It took me a minute to figure out exactly what she meant. I decided to stay true to myself and list only “African-American.” I am a Black woman and I want to play roles that are either Black or not-ethnically based. Much to my chagrin, it seems Hollywood has something different in mind.

I recently saw an advertisement looking for a “racially ambiguous” woman. What in the world? Who the heck is “racially ambiguous?” It hit me like a ton of bricks, I’m racially ambiguous…at least to some people. When Black folks see me, they see a sista; when Latinos see me, they see a senorita and I know I confuse the heck out of a lot of white folks. I can’t tell you the number of times a white person has asked, “What are you?

So, I revised my resume to read, “Ethnicity: Black (can play Hispanic, Middle Eastern or North African).” Has the pendulum swung so far that we are non-racial?

I may work as multi-ethnic, bi-racial or mixed, but I won’t live that way. It took me years to get over my hang-ups about being a fair-skinned, hiyella, redbone, light-bright Black woman. I am proud to be a Black woman, and while there is probably some white, American Indian and other in my ancestry, when I look in the mirror, I know who I am and I am wonderful.

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Copyright Ark Stories 2011

Aisha Martin: I’m Considered A Runt At 5’5” And 120 Pounds





Aisha Martin!/its_aishapr

I’m a 28-year-old African-American female and I’ve only recently become totally comfortable with my body image as a whole, loving and embracing my perfect imperfections! Being African-American and raised in Atlanta, the “norm” is the bigger the butt, thighs and hips, the better. Well it didn’t quite work that way for me. I’m considered a runt at 5’5” and 120 pounds. Now I do have SOME curves, just not very many. My extremely high metabolism didn’t help the cause much either.

I’m a foodie at heart and always have been. As a kid I would stuff myself with food. My cousins and I would have eating contests and I, being the only female cousin at the time, would be determined to win. You know how people eat to live? I would live to eat. Pastas, pizza, cakes, cookies, ANYTHING chocolate, roast and potatoes and any all-you-can-eat buffet were heaven to me. Even with all of this, I didn’t gain a single pound! Most would consider me to be lucky that I didn’t gain the weight but I didn’t feel that way. Even tried protein shakes. Nothing! My mom would tell me, “Oh don’t worry, when you start to have children all the weight will stick to you. That’s what happened to me.” Well mom was wrong. Two kids later and I’m still 120 pounds. I tried to hold on to the baby weight but that stayed on all of two months. Isn’t this twisted?!

It wasn’t until I turned 25 that I started to accept ME. Fearlessly made me—all of me. I started one of my businesses and threw caution to the wind. I accepted that I won’t have my grandmother’s butt or my mother’s hips but I’m fine with it. I still have quite the appetite but I try to make healthier choices. I also make sure I instill in my daughters that they are wonderfully made just as they are. I love me. Just as I am.

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Copyright Ark Stories 2011

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