As most people will tell you, being body-positive isn’t just a snap of the fingers, and it doesn’t just happen overnight. It’s a process. You can most definitely love your body but still not like it sometimes. For example, I am very self-conscious about my legs. My legs hold most of my weight, along with my stomach and my ass. After being told for 24 years that women’s legs are supposed to be long and lean, I can ease up and forgive myself for sometimes not liking my short and chubby legs. This picture, for example, kind of set me off awhile back.
I got super weird and quiet after I saw it. I tried to digest what was going on in my mind and in my heart. I went through breathing exercises. It triggered me in a weird way that I hadn’t been triggered before. I searched through my Facebook account to find old pictures from last October when my friends and I went to a pumpkin patch.. I looked for those pictures because I distinctly remember my legs being thinner. I thought about how I could get my legs looking how they used to look. I thought about whether or not that makes me a hypocrite. Would I still be body-positive if I wanted my legs to be smaller? Is that considered a hatred towards my body? Or, would my wanting to be happier with them be considered body-positive? You can see my dilemma and troubles, I’m sure.
Sometimes I’ll be at the mall or walking in the grocery store and I’ll get super paranoid. I’ll notice people looking at my legs. The ol’ up and down look will happen, and I’ll think that this stranger spent too much time looking at my legs, and then I’ll internally freak out and start to sweat. I want to just grab them and shake them and tell them that my legs are just fine, my legs are a-okay, and that if they don’t like them it’s just because of what we’re told is beautiful and that my legs don’t look like magazine lady legs and that’s perfectly okay with me
(even though sometimes it isn’t).
Now here I am, gabbing about how my legs are fat and how I sometimes don’t like them on a body-positive blog, which is ridiculous BUT this is all a part of our human, body-positive experience. That, my dearsies, is why I wanted to share this with you. So many images of people are normalized in our culture. This is why we have an idea of what beauty is, and why we consider other people ugly or whatever other oppressive, negative word you’d like to use. My body, like many of your bodies, is not shown in our media. When it is, it’s mocked. It isn’t a normal body, so people kind of don’t know what to do with it when they come across it. Oh my god, a fat girl in a movie? There’s no way she’d have a partner.. and oh my god she has to be funny because why else would anyone want to be around her?
Let me say that 90% of the time, I’m okay with my fat. I can internally be okay with my body, love my body, and cherish it. I can take my bubble baths, caress every soft plushy inch of my body, lotion my body. I can say nice things to it, I can treat it with respect, I can do whatever with it. But strangers don’t see that. Strangers assume that I have a health disorder or that I eat too much and never exercise. All because of my fat. That is what hurts more than the word ever could. I actually love the word fat. It’s so short and sweet, like me.
At Halloween, for example, I was dressed up with two of my friends as Mary Sanderson of the Sanderson sisters from Hocus Pocus. Too much fun, I know! We were at the club (where we won first place in a costume contest, by the way) and this stranger wanted our picture. He said a small comment to each of us, starting with my friend Matt, who was dressed in drag as Sarah. He said something like, oh you look gorgeous! And then he moved over to Melanie, who was dressed up as Winnie and said something about her being fabulous with her red hair and nails. Then he looked at me and said, yeah you got it spot on because you’re the fat one! Now, okay. I didn’t get upset. But it still haunts me. My friends made sure I was okay, saying the usual best friend things like ‘that guy was such an asshole!’ and ‘he’s not too small himself, ya know' and things.. which was very sweet because I knew they saw the look of confusion on my face when he said it. I stood there and I said, well yeah.. I’m fat so he got that right. Then we went on with our night.
But it’s the thought behind the comment. It isn’t the word, but it’s the meanness, the hate, and the shame. The thought-process. The hate. The fact that all that people seem to see when they see me is fat, and that I’m told I can’t be fabulous or gorgeous, because I’m fat. The only layer of my identity that truly matters to the stranger is my fat, because that’s what people seem to see. This doesn’t just go for me, this is for all of the fatties out there. That’s why it’s so hurtful when someone calls me fat, personally. It isn’t the word. I know I’m fucking fat. It’s the thought behind it. It’s the thought that this person has some sort of privilege to look down on me and call me fat. As if they have authority to say that. Which, of course they do, look at all of these movies making fun of fat people, television shows berating and shaming fat people into losing weight and commercials upon news stories upon commercials on losing weight and being your “happiest and best”!
So, why did I write this depressing post? That’s a good question. I’m writing it so that we can all recognize that this life isn’t an easy one. It’s not as simple as just being okay with our body or ignoring what assholes say. You have to recognize that thoughts that go through your head, but you also have to recognize thoughts that go through other people’s heads.. and think about why they’re there. Why is it that most of society has this power to hurt us and to bring us down.. all because of our fat? Why is it that these people can deem us as unhealthy, when many of us lead active healthy lives? And why do we even have to explain ourselves for that situation? Why do we have to explain what we eat while no one else has to?
I want all of us to love ourselves, and I want other people to love themselves so much that they no longer put others down. Here are some little tips for body-love. This is your homework! ps this goes for EVERYONE, not just the fatties!
- First, run a nice hot bubble bath. Get in, (please don’t burn yourself), and lay there. Close your eyes. Think about how the water makes you feel. Move your toes, legs, belly, whatever. Enjoy the moment.
- Second, get out and grab some lotion. I know some people don’t like lotion, and I have a strict history of hating lotion with all of my being, but just try it. Get a pump and start lotioning your body. While you’re running your hands over certain body parts, massage the lotion in while thinking about how grateful you are for that body part. If you’re thinking bad things, quickly turn it into a compliment. For example, if I’m lotioning my legs and thinking about how I might not like their thickness or I think JESUS CHRIST WHERE ARE MY ANKLES, I’ll rub the lotion in a little harder, then softer, and then think of how happy I am that I have the privilege of being able to walk.
- Third, look at yourself in the mirror. Really. Do it. Look at your body. This will get you used to it. It’s crazy how many of us have this idea of what we look like and it’s so completely skewed.. for many reasons. Look at yourself and cherish yourself. Check out those awesome wrinkles on your face, wiggle your arm fat, pet your soft belly and run your fingers along any stretch marks. Turn around and look at your back and your ass. Repeat the exercise in step two whenever you think something negative about a body part. Immediately counteract it with a positive action.
I hope this works, my friends. I love you all, and thanks for listening to me bitch. :)