Two posts in one week? Wow! While this blog is heavily focused on my Write Life (gotta get that tatted on my stomach like Pac), I thought it couldn’t hurt to share things about me/are important to me. I’ve blogged about my thoughts on feminism in the past and now I’d like to talk about something else that’s been on my mind for a while.
Over the couple of weeks or so, Twitter has been abuzz with talk about body shaming. As a person living on planet earth, I’ve encountered body shaming on a pretty regular basis. Maybe slightly more often since I’m a ~plus-sized~person. I actually laughed aloud typing that. Plus-sized is coded language for fat. I wear a size 16/18. I’m fat, y’all. And guess what? That’s cool.
As you can probably tell, this is going to be a rambly post about body image stuff. Yay!
I firmly believe in the statement on this graphic that features slight variations of one particular body type (sorry I couldn’t find a better one). Every body is beautiful but it seems as though society doesn’t want us to believe it.
Personal story time!
I’ve mentioned in passing that I was bullied growing up. While in elementary school, most of it centered around me being considered “smart” and being the teacher’s pet by my peers However, the bullying I experienced in middle school was a totally different beast. Starting in 6th grade, I was bullied about my weight. Looking back on the situation, I wondered why I was targeted since I honestly didn’t look too much different from my other classmates. But without asking the perpetrators why, I’ll probably never know. So it has become a “thing that happened for whatever reason” like how I’ve somehow become a vault for life stories that people should probably take to their grave instead of sharing with another leaving soul. The things I went through at school along with food policing and comments made by relatives that weren’t my parents at home tanked my self-esteem. Once again, in retrospect, I know those family members probably mean well but a lot of the comments made and telling me what I could and couldn’t eat were largely unnecessary. Especially when my cousins ate the same things + tons of junk food. But they weren’t chubby and I was :/. It’s a million years later and those comments pop up in my head during big family dinners and I still feel uncomfortable eating in the presence of those relatives. Overall middle school was
While it was pretty bad, my experiences during that time became a testament to my resilience. The summer between eighth and ninth grade was my “Started From The Bottom” period. I worked extremely hard building my self-esteem from the ground up on my own. I had many Stuart Smalley moments, staring at my reflection in the mirror stating self-affirmations, reminding myself that I matter and basking in my own awesomeness. It was a slow-going process but it worked. I began to see myself differently. I saw my value and everything else fell into place. As a result, I’ve become a twenty-something teetering on the edge of becoming the next Narcissus.
While I’m happy with myself, that doesn’t stop people from insisting that I shouldn’t be. A fat girl with high self-esteem who openly refers to herself as “fat” is almost superhuman. It blows people’s minds to say the word in reference to yourself because it seems to make people uneasy. Even if the statement is both actual and factual. The looks you get when you call yourself fat are hilarious to be honest. They don’t know how to react and it’s like:
To me, “fat” is not a synonym for “ugly.” When I say “I’m fat” it doesn’t mean “I feel ugly.” I don’t need anyone to try placate me or make me feel better by insisting that I’m not fat but [insert another word that’s a nice way to spin “fat” here]. I don’t feel bad about myself when I say I’m fat because fat isn’t a bad thing to me. Though some people may believe that fatties should spend all day feeling bad about themselves for being fat, I have better things to do than stew in poor self-esteem. Like, ya know live my life. I don’t need dieting tips (unless you’ve got some good vegetarian recipes for my veggie lifetstyle). I don’t need to know how to dress for my body (I got dis). And I don’t need workout routines–well, I should probably exercise but that would be toward achieving my goal of living a thousand years rather than losing weight. In short, mind ya own business, son.
As women, the standards of beauty for us are vastly different than they are for men. We’re always chasing after an ideal that’s a moving target. Once–or if–we achieve it, we’re hit with another goal to strive for that’s completely different. We’re constantly being inundated with messages that whatever body you’re in, it’s wrong. If you’re too thin, you’re constantly questioned about your eating habits and being told that you need to put on weight. If you’re too large, you’re constantly being questioned about your eating habits and being told you need to lose weight. Take it away, MJ….
Regardless of what you do, you can’t win. You’re not going to be able to appease everyone in terms of your appearance so you know what you should do? You. You gotta do you, boo. Learning to be comfortable in your own skin takes work but once you reach that place, it’s amazing.