Losing Weight, Losing a Life: Colombian-American Marie Southard Ospina

Photo Credit: Migg Mag
Photo Credit: Migg Mag

By Re

“Last summer, I lost my sister to suicide. She’d tackled an eating disorder from ages 13 to 28 on and off, and her body image was always sub-zero. There was a lot more that motivated her decision, of course. We didn’t come from a brilliant family life. She’d lost her fiancé in a motorcycle crash. She struggled with prescription drug abuse and I’m sure there is far more I will never know,” said 22-year-old Marie Southard Ospina. “My point with it all is that life’s too short and fleeting to waste your time worrying about not being thin enough, or pretty enough or good enough.”

Though Ospina, too, spent her years plagued by thoughts that she was neither thin nor pretty enough—until her sister’s death, when she made the choice to live the way she wants to live.  “Sometimes it takes something horrifically tragic to make you get your priorities in order, and I just don’t think living up to impossible weight and beauty standards should ever be prioritized. My sister was the closest person to me, especially in my family, and losing her changed everything.”

Ospina is a Colombian-American plus-size blogger and founder of Migg Mag. She said, “The problem isn’t that I’m too fat; it’s people’s reactions to it.” Her weight has been an issue since as long as she can remember. “Part of it is because my family is from Colombia and, in Colombia, there really aren’t that many bigger people—people tend to be smaller,” she explained. While Ospina’s father is American, she grew up primarily with her mother’s side of the family.

“I have a lot of half-siblings. My parents were both married several times before they met, so I have several siblings on my dad’s side…I have an older brother and sister in their 30’s and 40’s, and I didn’t ever get the chance to really know them that well,” she said. Instead, Ospina grew up with two sisters on her father’s side and a brother on her mother’s side, all of whom suffered with body image. “They all did. As an adult, my sisters were both very thin—much, much thinner than me because they never really got out of eating disorders, and out of body image. So they were always quite thin, and tall and blonde. I felt a bit like they were better in a way.”

Though Ospina said her parents never compared her to her siblings, she illustrated her body as conspicuously fuller-figured than those in her life and thus developed an eating disorder young. “I was bigger boned; I was taller; I was fatter than the normal person. It was the whole, you have such a pretty face, if only you were 20, 30 pounds, 50 pound lighter, you’d be so much better. Think of all the things you could do if you just lost the weight. When you grow up hearing that constantly, it stays with you, and you do think you need to fix yourself.”

By the age of 13, Ospina endured an illness that lasted four years, weighing as low as 120 pounds at 5”10. “But I was miserable,” she said. “I still didn’t feel right. People still said [I had] some baby fat to lose. [They] are never satisfied.”

Her mother put her through nutritional counseling with a therapist after recognizing the extremity of her weight loss. But it was not until Ospina moved out of her New Jersey home that she felt revived.

Ospina studied Journalism and Spanish Literature at New York University. She colored the diversity of New York City in detail—women of all sizes in all styles of shape-hugging dresses to over-sized boyfriend jeans—saturating the streets. “People are really quick to belittle fashion and say it’s shallow. It’s not really a profound industry. It’s all about looks. It’s all about money. But I don’t think it is. I think moving to New York really made me realize how much it shows a part of yourself, and how the way you dress really does radiate a bit of your personality and a bit of who you might be as a person.”

It was only then that Ospina first discovered fashion, noting that when she was in high school five years prior, she could not care less of her wardrobe—trends were seldom made in her size.

By her junior year at NYU, Ospina moved to Spain and the Czech Republic, where she was again exposed to another world in the realm of beauty. “I realized that there was more size-acceptance there from the start. One thing I noticed was that if a woman was fuller-figured, she wouldn’t hide her body. She’d wear clothes that everyone else was wearing—tight clothes, body-revealing clothes…And nobody looked at them; nobody made fun of them; it was just fine,” she explained.

“I started going out with my roommates and whenever we’d go out to a club, or a bar, or a restaurant, there were women of all sizes that you just wouldn’t see being that confident in New Jersey or New York—I’d at least never seen anyone that confident to that size in New Jersey or New York. Places are different…and that’s amazing.”

But there was another factor that enthused Ospina’s confidence. “I also met my boyfriend in Spain,” she said. “I met him the second day I was there. We didn’t start dating right away; it was just a happy coincidence that we met that quickly into my study abroad program. He’s been so helpful. I think he is someone who does appreciate the beauty in every size, and he does like women with curves, and I’d never really met too many guys…that had. I don’t want to make it seem like it’s only because of him, and my life changed because of a guy, but it did help, obviously. In correlation with the new atmosphere, and the new vibes of Madrid, it was just the perfect combination.”

In due course, Ospina began Big Beautiful Bold, which just recently became Migg Mag. “I sort of just really discovered plus-size blogging and plus-size spokespeople on cyberspace while I was abroad and while I was kind of becoming more confident, myself, after leaving the States,” she said, describing herself as having a renewed sense of oh it’s okay to be fuller-figured. “I just kind of started Big Beautiful Bold. It started less about fashion and more of giving a voice to plus-sized women and showing that weight and health aren’t necessarily as correlated as people think—to give a voice to bigger women.”

Opsina has become a vehicle of expression, particularly for American women. “I’ve never met an American teen girl, including myself, who didn’t suffer with body image…” she said. “No matter their size—even the girls who I looked at, when I was a chunky teenager, for being the prettiest and thinnest girls. They were miserable, too. They didn’t think that they were the right size either. You always want to be thinner growing up in the States because that is the image we are presented.”

Ospina’s sister is an example that body dysmorphia is not size-exclusive. “It plagues so many girls that are fine, that don’t have anything wrong with them, but are told that they do in one capacity or another.”

International travel unearthed alternative standards of beauty for Ospina. “[I got to] go to the places I want to go instead of staying in a place or following a routine that may’ve not been good for me mentally, psychologically or physically.” For others, she said, “I think we should always take the time to do the things we want to do, and the things that will make us happy, instead of focusing on the petty nonsense.”

39 thoughts

  1. I have been browsing online more than 4 hours today, yet I
    never found any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me.
    In my view, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet
    will be much more useful than ever before.

  2. I don’t even know how I stopped up here, however
    I believed this submit was great. I don’t recognize who you are but certainly you’re going to a well-known blogger when you
    are not already. Cheers!|

  3. Hi! I know this is kinda off topic but I’d figured I’d ask.
    Would you bee interested in exchanging links or maybe guest
    authoring a blog atticle or vice-versa? My site covers a lot of tthe same topics as yours and I
    feel we could greatly benefit from each other. If you’re interested feel frree to send mme an e-mail.
    I look forward to hearing from you! Awesome blog bby the
    way!

  4. I’m not certain where you are getting your info, however good topic.
    I needs to spend some time finding out more or understanding more.
    Thanks for magnificent info I was in search of this information for my mission.

  5. Canada chanel Bag
    Hi there! This article couldn’t be written much better!
    Going through this post reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He constantly kept preaching about this. I am going to send this information
    to him. Pretty sure he’s going to have a great read.

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. I’m impressed, I must say. Rarely do I come across a blog that’s equally educative
    and interesting, and without a doubt, you’ve hit thee nail on
    the head. The problem is an issue that too few people are speaking
    intdlligently about. Now i’m very happy that I stumbled across this during my hunt for something concerning this.

  7. Thanks for the marvelous posting! I genuinely enjoyed reading
    it, you’re a great author. I will ensure that I bookmark
    your blog and may come back later on. I want to encourage that you continue your
    great posts, have a nice morning!

  8. My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find most of
    your post’s to be exactly I’m loiking for. Do you offer guest writers to write content for you personally?
    Iwouldn’t ind publishing a post or elaborating on a lot of the subjects you write related
    to here. Again, awesome web site!

  9. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d most certainly donate to this excellent blog!
    I suppose for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.

    I look forward to fresh updates and will share this website with my Facebook group.

    Talk soon!

  10. Please let me know if you’re looking for a article writer
    for your site. You have some really great articles and I think I would be a good asset.

    If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d really like to write some articles for your blog in exchange
    for a link back to mine. Please shoot me an e-mail if interested.
    Thank you!

  11. Heya i am for the first time here. I found this board and I find It really useful & it helped me out much.
    I’m hoping to provide one thing again and help
    others like you aided me.

  12. Great blog you have here but I was wondering if you knew
    of any forums that cover the same topics discussed in this article?
    I’d really love to be a part of community where I can get feed-back from other knowledgeable people that share
    the same interest. If you have any suggestions,
    please let me know. Kudos!

  13. Have you ever thought about writing an e-book or guest authoring
    on other websites? I have a blog based upon on the same ideas you discuss and would really like to have you
    share some stories/information. I know my readers would value your work.
    If you are even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e-mail.

  14. Having read this I believed it was rather informative.
    I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this informative article together.
    I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and commenting.
    But so what, it was still worth it!

  15. Greetings! Very helpful advice within this article!
    It’s the little changes that will make the most important changes.
    Thanks a lot for sharing!

  16. I’m really impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your
    blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself?

    Anyway keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one today.

  17. I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme.
    Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to
    do it for you? Plz answer back as I’m looking to design my own blog and
    would like to find out where u got this from.

    appreciate it

  18. Having read this I believed it was rather informative.
    I appreciate you spending some time and energy to put this informative article
    together. I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and posting comments.
    But so what, it was still worth it!

  19. Hi there everyone, it’s my first visit at this web
    page, and post is in fact fruitful in favor of me, keep up
    posting these types of content.

  20. Aw, this was a very nice post. Taking the time and actual effort to generate a really good article… but
    what can I say… I procrastinate a lot and don’t
    manage to get nearly anything done.

  21. Generally I do not learn post on blogs, but I would like to say
    that this write-up very pressured me to check out and do so!

    Your writing style has been amazed me. Thanks, quite nice post.

  22. You can certainly see your expertise within the article you write.
    The world hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to say
    how they believe. At all times follow your heart.

  23. Can I simply say what a relief to discover a person that truly understands what
    they are discussing on the net. You actually know how to
    bring a problem to light and make it important. More and
    more people ought to read this and understand this side of your story.
    I was surprised you aren’t more popular since you certainly have the gift.

Leave a Reply