I really don’t use the term “body positive” very often. I’ll use the hashtag on my Instagram posts, because the people following that hashtag are probably the people who would most want to see my content, but you won’t find it in captions. You won’t hear me say it in stories. I feel lame when I use the term.
Maybe I feel like I don’t even deserve to use it.
Maybe, deep down, I will always feel like the struggles of fat people don’t deserve validity.
Or maybe I just think it’s cliche.
Maybe it’s all these things.
What I do know is that I have avoided it until now – the “body positivity” conversation. The truth is that I spent the majority of my life being very body negative. My relationship with my body, for the most part, has not been a positive one or a healthy one (read more about my struggle with depression in this post). I wish body positivity had been a thing when I was growing up…maybe I wouldn’t have hated myself so much.
But I don’t hate my body with the same fervor anymore. There are things I want to change, of course, but the little voice in my head that would unrelentingly chastise me and humiliate me and destroy my self-worth has quieted.
I wish I could say that I came to this tranquil headspace through therapy or Xanax or meditation or medical marijuana, but I only stopped completely hating my body when I lost weight.
Now that I’m 70 pounds lighter, I don’t tell myself how worthless I am. I don’t dream of cutting the fat from my thighs with a kitchen knife. I don’t tell my body I hate it.
But I don’t love it either. I have to actively work to give myself some positive attention. Most of the time, I don’t even like thinking about my body – the fact that I even have one at all. I feel completely detached from it, only remembering its existence when I catch my reflection or am editing photos of myself. I hate thinking about my weight and that there’s a number tied to my self-worth.
Because there’s still weight I want to lose.
And I know that every time the scale goes down a pound, I will love myself a little more – and how fucked up is that?
*While we’re on the subject, please don’t ask me if I’ve lost weight. I know you’re just being nice and complementary but it makes me want to shrivel up and hibernate for, like, a year.
So here’s the truth: I’m not an enlightened body positive crusader. The courage it takes to put yourself out there as a body positive influencer – to let yourself be seen by the world when it has repeatedly bashed into your brain that you are not attractive, worthy, or capable of being recognized for anything other than how your body looks – it’s a lot. I commend those influencers; I aspire to be like them one day. But on this day, at this particular point in my life, I’m just not there. And I don’t like pretending to be something I’m not. So I’m coming clean today, friends.
With all that said, I’m working on this. While I champion representation of bodies of all different shapes, sizes, and colors, I recognize that my relationship with my own body needs more – well – positivity. Practice what ya preach, right?
I’m reading books and following the Instagram accounts (you know the ones), but I would love any recommendations on your favorite resources. Please leave them in the comments, reach out to me on Instagram (here!), or email me! Any and all #bodypositivity inspiration/advice/information is greatly appreciated 🙂