My granddaughter Lola Skye Belis was recently crowned 2022’s Miss Pre-Teen Grand Canyon, Arizona. Her platform is “Body Positivity.” In an interview with Lola, we discussed her platform. Here is what we talked about:
Lyndia: Talk to my readers about your “Body Positivity” platform, give us your thoughts on it.
Lola: “Honestly, I believe we are all beautiful. Though we come in all shapes and sizes, we have different heights and colors, each of us is an original. Beauty comes from inside your heart — it isn’t something that you buy on Amazon.
When I was only 3 years old, I said something to Mom she never forgot. As she drove me home, I said to her, “God sent me to spread love, did you know that?” I don’t really remember saying that, but Mom said she will always remember, and I do still feel that way.
Lyndia: Lola, how did you come up with your topic?
Lola: Earlier this year I had an experience that helped me to choose my topic of Body Positivity. Allow me to share this story with you.
During the worldwide lockdown, my closest friend had gained weight. When it was time for 4th and 5th grade elementary school students to return to school in person, I was so happy to see everyone, especially my friends. It felt like we hadn’t seen each other in years. I was so happy to see her big smile in person instead of on Zoom! Since this article is going public, I won’t share her name.
As the school days went on, we all struggled to get used to leaving our homes, but my friend seemed to be sad, and I just couldn’t figure out why. We were all so tired of wearing masks — could that be why she seemed so down?
We had a three-day science camping trip, which we were all very excited about. This would be the last event of the 5th grade, and we had never been camping before. It was also scheduled for the day after my first pageant with The Arizona International Pageant. Guess what? I won the title of Miss Pre-Teen Grand Canyon! I was so proud of myself.
When we got on the bus heading to camp, along the way, on the ride up, I told the class how nervous I during the pageant, but it was so much fun!
Lyndia: Tell us about how your friend refused to do her assignment because of her weight gain.
Lola: On the second day of camp, we had to climb a rock wall and ride a zip line as our daily challenge. We all lined up but all of us were so nervous. My friends and I were excited but moved to the back of the line. My friend’s turn came first. We all cheered her on, [but] something was wrong. I couldn’t figure it out.
Lyndia: What happened?
Lola: Turns out she was embarrassed about the extra weight she gained during home schooling and Zoom sessions. She felt everyone was laughing at her. That was not true at all. She didn’t want to climb in front of everyone. She jumped down and started crying, hysterically and ran straight back to the cabin.
Once we all had a chance to relax, have dinner and have a party in our cabin, we talked about what happened. She explained how she felt about her recent weight. I think she is so beautiful. I could see how hurt she was, so I wanted to find out how other people felt about their bodies.
I wanted to know why everyone is expected to all be the same size! Thin does not equal healthy. Thin does not equal happiness. All heavy people are not unhealthy. Not all heavy people are unhappy with their bodies.
I started researching online about weight, health, exercise and what people consider beautiful in various countries. I asked Google, “What country has the heaviest people?” I couldn’t believe it!
Lyndia: So what did you find out?
Lola: The United States was #1. We have the strongest military, the most food, the most technology, the most freedom, but we also have the heaviest people. As my grandmother would say, I invite you to “think on these things”
Beauty comes from within. I challenge everyone to embrace your body, whatever size you are. The more you love yourself, the more it shows — it’s your own beauty. Thank your body for taking care of you. Speak to your body and thank it. Finally, find a walking partner and walk daily to get that blood circulating in your body.
Thank you, Grandma, for allowing me to share my message on your platform.
Lyndia Grant is a speaker/writer living in the D.C. area. Her radio show, “Think on These Things,” airs Fridays at 6 p.m. on 1340 AM (WYCB), a Radio One station. To reach Grant, visit her website, www.lyndiagrant.com, email email@example.com or call 240-602-6295. Follow her on Twitter @LyndiaGrant and on Facebook.