It has been surprising and wonderful for me to get to know fellow size acceptance activists. I have been educated, enlightened, lifted and delighted. I have seen and experienced things I wouldn’t trade for the world. Yet I am often shocked to hear the following phrase from the lips of quite a few who claim to love and accept themselves,
“I don’t want to be skinny. I just…”
…want to be healthy
…want to be a size 18
…want to be less than this *MakesSweepingGestureToTheirBody*
…want to feel beautiful
…want to stop struggling all of the time
…want to be comfortable
…want to be happy
What?! This is not acceptance. I usually feel the need to bite my tongue in such moments, but it depends on the person and my relationship with them. Sometimes I will call bullshit on the whole thing and tell them exactly what I think on the subject. It’s hard though. Who am I to tell someone that how they feel about their body is wrong? Well, I have been there and know what it’s like to live on the other side of that way of thinking. Also, I guess I just hate to see incredible and amazing people hold themselves back.
We could be doing so much more in our lives by simply letting go of this way of thinking. To believe that if you change your body that your life will magically be what you’ve always wanted it to be? Um…NO! I love me some fairy tales and magic and fantasy, but that’s not reality. I chose to live the life I do. I choose to love it and my body everyday. It is a conscious decision. It is a necessary one, too. It is one that allows me and all 325 lbs of my awesomesauce to go about this world in a way that I generally like and appreciate.
I also believe that you’re not only holding yourself back by hating your body, but you’re also allowing others to drag you down, too. You’re allowing them to influence and judge you. Fuck that! Especially when this comes from people who knows the facts, the science and the truth of living in a fat body. I know it’s hard. I know people are ignorant and mean. It doesn’t mean that we should relent or quit. The truth is the truth. You can’t change it. You can certainly choose to ignore it, but it’s still the truth. *Sigh*
I know that when I stopped wanting to change my body that my life improved greatly. When I stopped hating myself and my body I had more energy to focus on the things I love and enjoy. Go figure that soon I was making better choices for myself in my daily life. I’m not just talking about food and movement, here. I’m talking about the people in my life, the ways in which I chose to give attention or not, just everything, ya know?
It is a journey, not a destination. I still have bad days. I have days where there’s not an ounce of fight in me. But there is always love, even if it’s just a tiny bit. I will always find something in myself to love and appreciate. And I will always have it in me to keep going. It’s not easy, but I wouldn’t know easy if it slapped me across the face and introduced itself to me. Ha-ha! I just know that life is better for me this way. I get up in the morning with a sense of ownership I didn’t have before. That makes such a difference!
When you want to be something else, to change your body, you are dissociating and disconnecting from your body. You live in your body. It is your home. If you hate your home you’re never happy or comfortable. I lived this way for a long time both in the physical and mental sense of “home” and walking away from the abuse and choosing to love the body that survived it all was nothing short of the best thing I ever did! Had I not done that I never would have opened my own cafe or started Fatty Affair or any of the cool stuff I’ve done (and yes I often need to be reminded of what I’m capable of, it’s a journey, remember).
I often talk about my wonderful friends, but let me tell you, I wouldn’t have them if I still hated myself. Sometimes faking it to make it works. Sometimes just being as neutral as possible works. But actively harming, hurting, or talking negatively about yourself has repercussions. Just as what you put into your body, what you expose it to (your own words/thoughts, too) has an effect!
And in this we always have a choice! How we treat ourselves and talk to ourselves is a choice. I hope that one day this type of thing will no longer be an issue. I think it’s possible. Awareness is the first step in the right direction. Leading my example is the next step. I’m doing my best, for me. I hope that you can and will, too.