Sometimes I say chubby or curvy but today I’m going to say it. Fat.
There are so many assumptions that come with that word, or when people see fat bodies.
That you don’t take care of yourself.
That you don’t love yourself.
That you are ashamed.
That you are not healthy.
That fact doesn’t mean that I don’t love myself, that I don’t take care of my body or that I am not worthy.
You see, I’m slowly learning how to not ashamed of it.
I’ve spent 15 years of my life bullying myself in the mirror and I’m done. I’m not playing that game anymore.
It seems like this week we are not contented to stay silent.
Because it is my body, one that I feel blessed to get to adventure this world in.
And I believe that each and every one of our bodies is beautiful.
In the exact size it is at this moment.
I know it is not easy to try to walk the world feeling totally empowered in the body you are in at this moment.
Sometimes that mission gets derailed though, without intention (or sometimes with) by others’ words.
Barely a day goes by when I don’t hear or read someone make a comment about their own or someone else’s body size in a derogatory way.
“My back fat is so disgusting. No one likes back fat”
“No one should be wearing jeans that give you a muffin top”
These were two that I heard this week alone.
I wanted to write about body shaming and fat positivity this week because October is Anti-Bullying month and Fat Shaming of others and ourselves, well… it too is bullying.
But I think the worst bully is the one closest to home. The one in the mirror.
Luckily, that is also the one that we can change.
Shall we start with Ourselves?
Truth be told, many of us would never even think of bullying someone else, but then we look in the mirror and speak incredibly negative words to ourselves.
So many of us have been trained to bully ourselves and think that it is okay.
It’s time, and it is possible to unlearn this self-bullying behavior.
Here a few more unconventional ways that have been helpful to me:
• Find beauty mentors. Now, by this I don’t mean find people who you want to become or emulate. What I do mean is to find people online or in images that share similarities with you in the ways that you want to heal. For me it might be body size, but for others it might be something quite different. Seeing someone else as beautiful who looks like you helps us mirror it back onto ourselves.
• Take Photos of Yourself! This has been the biggest tool for me. Whether you get someone to take photos of you that help you see yourself with kindness. Take control of your self-image by taking charge of the camera or hire a photographer who’s work you love to help you see your unique self mirrored back at you.
• Don’t go it alone. You aren’t alone. Connect with friends and talk about body positivity.
This self-bullying can spread like wildfire too. I think often we unintentionally are spreading a web of negative reinforcement (aka fat shaming) to those around us who may be trying their darnedest to build up positive body image by speaking derogatory things about our bodies or the bodies of others. One way we can not only help ourselves, but help others is to check ourselves and the way we speak about the bodies of others.
I’m just a woman healing, like you, so I don’t have all the answers either.
But I do know if I do look back at this time and regret being the size I am, it will be minimal compared to the regret I would have if I don’t start loving myself.
Here and now.
Let’s stop bullying ourselves. Today. Now.
Let’s cultivate body love,
The It Gets Fatter Project created by Fat Queer People of Colour but oh so fabulous for all to explore.
|Vivienne McMaster is a photographer, visual storyteller and workshop leader with a playful and rule free approach to getting creative with taking photos. She has a big love for helping people find the photographer within themselves. She believes, and knows from experience, that self-portraits can be incredibly healing (and also so much fun). You can find her blogging about self-portraiture and photo adventuring over at her website!|