By Lauren D.
I’ve become a girl obsessed with being comfortable in her own skin. A big part of that for me is owning every adjective that I am. For the last few years when I describe myself, “fat” is one of the first adjectives I reach for. People sometimes recoil and ask me why I said that or try to dissuade me from using that word. “Fat” is apparently one of the dirtiest words a girl can use. And this girl has used some dirty words in her day.
Being fat once held so much shame for me. When I said it, it would be a negative.
“Yeah, this dress is beautiful but I’m so fat.” When I call myself fat now, reclaiming the word, a lot of people still hear the aforementioned use. Responses I hear range from “no, you’re so pretty” to “you’re not even that big!” Fat used to be a modifier in describing myself, always prefaced with a big ole BUT- My face is pretty, but I’m fat. I’m cute for a fat girl. I may not sexy (’cause I’m fat), but at least I’m a good kisser. I couldn’t be anything more or less than that word. It was a big roadblock in my head on my path to self love.
For fat women specifically I feel there is this overwhelming urge to defend your fatness with health. I see a lot of posts from women in the body positive community saying “call me fat, but I exercise every day” or “you can say what you want, but my doctor told me I’m healthy.” Even Ashley Graham’s response to not wanting to be called plus size – “The things that I don’t necessarily like about it is all the negative stigmatisms that go with the word plus-size — you’re fat, you’re lazy, you have no drive, no determination, you’re constantly eating,” she explained. “Honey, I work out. I work out three days a week. I lift. I do barre. I do it all.” Well, I don’t have that defense. I am unhealthy and I still love my fat body.
I am not a healthy person. I have been healthier than I am right now. I am not telling you that because I am proud of it; It is a fact, just like the fact that I am fat. I am a fat unhealthy person who loves herself. As a fat woman this feels like a thing I should be ashamed about. I think to myself that if I were smaller, no one would mind if I was unhealthy because they wouldn’t be able to tell from the outside. I’d be “skinny fat” and not one fucking instagram troll would say anything to me if I only had rolls when I sat down. When you’re fat and you have an eating disorder people compliment you on your weight loss. No one asks how you lost it unless they’re looking for tips of their own. People expect you to be counting calories and working out three times a day when you’re fat. If you’re overweight, you should constantly be trying to not be. We’re taught that fatness isn’t supposed to be a permanent state.
Well, I’m here to tell you that my self love and body positivity are not determined by the status of my health. Unhealthy bodies are good bodies too. You do not have to be healthy in order to be considered worthy or beautiful. No matter what “body activist” Ashley Graham would have you believe. But that’s a whole different story, literally – clink the link. I’ve worked too damn hard to get to where I am mentally to be dissuaded out of loving myself because I can’t lift 200 lbs.
I feel like I always have to explain the other side when I talk about body positivity as well. Thanks trolls. Just because I am not healthy does not mean I don’t strive to be. It does not mean that I encourage those around me to binge eat or that I want everyone in the world to be fat like me. The point is that there’s no wrong way to have a body. You may be thin, thick, fat, flabby, firm, wobbly, jiggly, muscular, strong, heavy, light, solid. You are perfect. I do not care what you look like. I do not care if your skin is clear or your body svelt or where you buy your clothes. Self love to me is loving what you’ve got – all of it. At every stage, phase, and age – love yourself. Your body is such a glorious thing. It recharges you while you sleep, it carries you throughout the day, it pumps your blood, it keeps you alive even when you’re berating it and being cruel. Our bodies are such beautiful things.
“My body looks like yours!” – this is a comment I receive a lot. This is the most meaningful sentence to me because it’s what got me here – seeing people with bodies similar to mine loving themselves is a big factor as to why I love myself today. They gave me permission to feel not just okay, but at home in my fat body. I want to create a world where no where feels like they need permission to love themselves.
What can you do to start your body positive journey?
-Positive affirmations – Start each day by saying something you like about yourself. Any time you say/think something negative about yourself, stop and correct it. ANY time. The sillier it feels, the more good you’re probably doing.
-Delete, delete, delete – Surround yourself with as much positive energy as possible. Delete or unfollow accounts on social media that make you feel bad about yourself. Whether it be what they’re posting or if you’re simply finding yourself making comparisons – say goodbye! No good can come from comparing yourself to strangers on the internet.
-Create a self-care kit – This will be different for everyone. It could include a playlist, a funny movie, an inspiring poem, bath bombs, a soft blanket, sneakers to take yourself on a walk, your favorite snack, a giftcard for your favorite coffee, anything.
-Drink water – also make sure you’ve been getting enough sleep, eating properly/enough, taking your meds, and just in general treating yourself right. Your physical well being can affect your mood.
Know this – you are lovable even when you don’t feel that to be true. You do not have to love yourself fully in order to be loved. You can learn body positivity. You can grow your self love. You can love yourself before you’re body positive. You can love yourself while growing, learning, and changing. You can love yourself at this weight, 20 lbs gained or lost. Your journey to self love can include health. Your journey to self love does not have to include wearing bikinis or body con dresses. You do not have to post underwear pictures to inspire self love in others or yourself. You will have bad days. You do not have to explain your self love practices to anyone. This journey is personal and it is yours. This journey does not have an end, it is a constantly changing course that you will continue to navigate for the rest of your life. Make it a priority to be happy and self loving. Make yourself a priority in your life.
Follow Lauren on Instagram at @cupcakethighs and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/cupcakethighs.
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