To quote one of my favorite movie lines, “I’d like to start this off as if I’m chatting with an old friend. So hello old friend!” This is the first time I’ve ever created a blog, so if I get something wrong, then the worldwide web will have to forgive me. First off let me say if you’re reading this for the first time, then welcome to my lil’ world!
My name is Sol Rosa, which means Sun Rose and I live in Kansas City, KS. I’m a 36 year old single mother of two beautiful teenage boys and for the first time in my life, I’m learning to ballroom dance! Now as a plus size woman this has it’s challenges but I’m up for it and determined to prove that we big women (and men) can do anything we set our minds too! So lets start this journey with a lil’ explaining about my past, my love for dancing and how it shaped me into the person I am today…
While as a little girl I did the usual ballet and tap lessons. I was always told I was too fat to do either and I eventually stopped. I think that shaped my childhood greatly. My foster parents started trying to make me into the all American Latina barbie doll. Within two years I had bounced from ballet and tap to beauty pageants and finally PAL Cheerleading. The last two I hated the most, but during all that I hated that every single instructor told me one key thing… You’re too fat! Imagine how shattering that is to a child. To be told that the dreams you have for yourself are unattainable, simply because you’re a chunky kid. Now I wont sugar coat it, I was a little fat. Food was my coping mechanism with the stress of being torn away from the only family I loved.
See.. My dad was an ex-Marine, and an alcoholic, who was very abusive to my mother and my older siblings. He’d never hit me but I watched him brutally beat and almost kill my mother on a daily bases. On one occasion I’d witnessed him put my mother in a headlock with a revolver to her head. He said, “Scream and I’ll blow her brains out!” I was but five years old at the time. Now I have no clue why I did it, but, I looked that man in the face and I screamed bloody murder. By the grace of God he didn’t shoot, but, he did cock the hammer and take aim a different target….me. Now when you’re five years old you have no life to go before your eyes, you just know you’re about to lose your mom. I stared up the barrel of that gun and could see the loaded bullets in the chambers. Needless to say, he never fired. But I spent the rest of my childhood terrified of guns and men in general. But eventually my siblings and I were taken away from our parents and placed in the custody of the state. That’s where I learned to use food for comfort and the beginning of being told I was too fat to do anything correctly.
Now don’t get me wrong, I had two great foster mothers and one wonderful foster father.My first foster mother was a beautifully strong woman who was a first grade teacher. I loved her and her daughters greatly. She was such a soothing soul but I was not an easy child to raise. She even told me that she found hidden messages in my dresser drawers saying, “I wan my reel mom!” lol..needless to say I was in the first grade and my spelling was way off. I just knew I wanted my birth mother and I wanted to go home! Due to unforeseen circumstances I was bounced to a new foster family. I would miss my foster sisters and mother, but I knew I had to move. So off to my second family I went! They had an in ground pool (It was Florida, it seemed like all the good homes had pools) and I went from being just chubby and shy, to a chubby mermaid. They were an older couple and once I felt accepted they figured I needed hobbies to keep me occupied. That started my introduction to the cruel world of fat shaming.
I now know looking back that they just wanted me to be the well rounded American middle class girl. My foster mother asked me what I wanted to do the most and of course I said ballet. Every little girl dreams of being a dancing princess. I remember walking into my first class and my teacher being old school strict. I couldn’t stretch enough like the other lil’ skinny girls. They all looked like the perfect ivory dolls I loved and I was a chunky lil’ Mexican girl with dark skin and fat rolls. Needless to say, I didn’t last too long in that class. My foster mom being the ever persistent woman she is, took me to another location. The teacher was super nice and I loved being there, but yet again I was overshadowed by my lack of abilities to stretch like the rest and couldn’t keep up. Bless my teachers heart…she decided I should be part of her jazz and tap class. Looking back I guess they figured even fat girls could shack their legs and stomp. I was in one recital..I was a friggin’ bumble bee in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Yeah… You can laugh. Trust me, I laugh looking back at it! I was a short..stumpy..fat, bumble bee! That was the last time I danced.
Bless my foster parents, they refused to be told no. So I was next bounced to cheerleading and beauty pageants. Needless to say I only won first place once, though lord only knows how, and I hated cheerleading with a passion of a thousand fiery suns! Out of all this one thing kept being pounded into my head…I was too fat. Granted, looking back I can see while I was chunky..I was not morbidly obese. It didn’t help that I use to sleep walk and break into the fridge to eat anything I could find. My first foster parent had to barricade the fridge and my second believed in eating McDonald, Pizza, and KFC all the time. So yeah…I went from group activities to spending as much time as I could at the library and eating in secret. I became a fat book nerd by the third grade and by the age of 10 something I thought would be the cure all answer had finally come..I was going back to my real family!
In 1988 I finally went back home..sort of. My oldest sister was granted temporary guardianship of me and my other brother, he’s 5 years older than me. I honestly thought this was the best thing to ever happen to me. Till I finally got settled. I hadn’t been around my sister all that much while in foster care. She left at 18 to be with her high school sweetheart and they moved to Ohio. So my second to oldest sister was the one I was closest to. She came to visit me at least once a month from college and I looked up to her like a mother. At this point I hadn’t seen my real mom in several years. Her visitation privileges had been revoked by the state and I only saw my brothers twice after we were all split up. So while I knew they were my family, I wasn’t close to them. It was like being torn away from another life. While I knew my foster family didn’t love me like their own. It was the only family I had at the time. So once the rose colored glasses came off…I went right back to eating and having separation issues.
My sister and her hubby weren’t able to put me into any activities since we were now a Navy family. Other than school I really had nothing to do. No local library…no nothing. So I ate and I wore my sisters clothes. She was 21 and skinny…but my fat frame filled out her clothes. Even more so when I started puberty…that was my saving grace! I started shedding baby fat and reshaping my body into something boys noticed, especially in my sisters heels.. So here I was at 13 with a grown woman’s body. We’re talking 36-28-36…Yeah, I had a body to make people notice..even Navy men that shouldn’t have. But you know what happened? No matter the body I had…I was told I would be so much prettier…IF! That damned word followed me from the age of 13 till the age of 17… throughout my years when boys begged to touch me and my curves, to having grown married men begging me to be theirs. But the whole time I couldn’t figure out why they reacted that way…In my eyes, and in the eyes of my family I was pretty but needed to lose weight. I was always told I needed to lose 20 pounds and then I would be perfect.
Fast forward to the age of 21…I had my babies and the fat came back. By the time I had both of my boys , I was a size 20 and I never lost it. I married a physically and emotionally abusive man who told me all the time I was ugly and not good enough. When you’re told your whole life the same things, you believe them. So while I always dreamed of doing ballroom dancing and feeling like a princess….I always told myself I couldn’t do it. Cause who would teach a short fat woman, right?
Beyond all the abuse of my families and my husband…Beyond the freedom of my divorce and my great escape from Florida.. Past the repeated abuse done by myself and the revolving door of suitors I’ve had in my six years of living in Kansas. I am finally learning who I really am. I am Sol Rosa… I am 245lbs of pure sunshine who loves traveling, reading (especially Outlander!) and more than that….I am worthy of love and good enough to do anything I set my mind too!!
So this is my journey into ballroom dancing as a plus size woman, wont you take it with me?! I will write about my experiences and my passions. Some days it wont be much and others I will most likely pour my heart and soul into this blog. But until then…I’m so honored you chose to step into this journey with me and I look forward to your feedback! To wrap up my first blog I end it on another quote.
“The odd thing about this form of communication is that you’re more likely to talk about nothing than something. But I just want to say that all this nothing has meant more to me than so many somethings.”
Till next time…