The Women We Are
Exhibitions and Press
“As a kid, I really wanted to be a ballerina. And my mother simply thought I was too chubby and clumsy...she never said those words, but that is how it came off to me and so that was always my impression of myself ”
Though Amy’s mother was afraid of horses and attempted to dissuade her from the sport, Amy began taking horseback riding lessons and eventually fell deeply in love with it. As Amy’s dedicated passion became evident, so did her mother’s support.
“It’s the one place [horseback riding] where I felt like not only did I have power, but I felt graceful and small in comparison.”
During her adolescence, Amy had reasonably good self confidence and although both of her parents were ultimately supportive, Amy’s mother always had issues with her own weight and with Amy’s weight.
“I remember her joy when I hit puberty and she said to me ‘You finally have a waist!’, and her sadness when she saw I had gained a ‘Freshman 40’ in my first year of college.”
Then, the summer after Amy’s sophomore year of college, she was raped.
“It [the rape] has affected how I view my judgment of people and my confidence in other ways but strangely enough it has never affected how I view my body. The things that have most affected me were being bullied in school for being the fat girl and my mother who always made comments about how I’d be pretty, if I just lost a little weight. ”
Amy consistently remembers the comments her mother would make, not as mean or hurtful, but rather as the sort of comments a mother makes out of worry for her child. In fact, she hadn’t even realized the sort of impact those comments made until being interviewed for this project.
At a family reunion a few years ago when Amy posed with all the women in her family for a photograph, her perspective on her body shifted drastically.
“I saw that picture posted later and every single one of those women had the big butt, and the fat thighs, and the cankles. No matter what size they were, we were all shaped the same. I realized then, that no matter how much weight I lost, I was always going to have those parts of my body that I didn’t like and that I just needed to make peace with my body.”