Praising My Body and Other Bad Words

If you’re not totally bananas, you’ve likely realized that this blog is about my Body Positive journey. One might think that at the ripe age of 25-years-old, I would be well into “not giving a f***” about what people think of my body but that is so far from the truth it hurts.

Until December of 2016, the thought of allowing myself to feel love for my body was out of the question. I was sure that I could hate myself into a size six. I was dedicated to that journey. I had no idea how much negative inner-dialogue was going on or that it was, most definitely, false and I needed to run away from it. I was a staunch believer in self-alteration and the approval of others.

Then one day, Ashley Graham happened. I would watch her YouTube videos, and well, she had cellulite. Which meant, I could have cellulite? Maybe? And then I googled “Body Positive Tumblr” and my life started to morph into a fat, colorful, gay world and It felt like a weight was lifted off of my shoulders. I started diving into the body positive hashtags on Instagram, YouTubing plus-size models, and watching various plus-size clothing campaigns unfold before my eyes. I had found my people. These women looked like me and they were sexy.

I started slowly unfollowing the ultra-thin Instagram models, and following my fellow curvy, round-bodied friends. I was in love with their bodies, I found them sexy, and I wanted to learn a thing or two about their confidence and where to find some of my own.

Not long after, I ran into the book Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls written by Jes Baker. That book changed everything. It was like the ultimate fountain of body acceptance and self-love. She told me about her journey but ever-so-beautifully told me how to discover my own. She swore like a sailor, was plus-sized, smart as hell, and she made room for me to love my body. She knew I was looking for permission, and she gave it to me. She is a pillar in my body positive journey and often times, a source of inspiration.

Recently, I went to the doctors and learned, amongst other bad news, that I had gained five pounds since I last saw my doctor. This meant that I was officially 20 pounds heavier than I wanted to be. As I walked to the doctor’s room to be examined, I could feel my face getting hot. The heavy feeling of shame weighed down my smile. I began to mentally berate myself for being five pounds heavier since I last saw my gynecologist. I equated this weight gain to my inability to succeed at anything. I felt unworthy, and after my examination, I felt no bigger than a bug on the sidewalk. I wanted to disappear. After being weighed, we discussed that I might have PCOS. We talked about weight gain and how it can aggravate symptoms and you can become more and more irregular as time goes on. It felt like I got hit with a big, fat bus. I didn’t want to have a disease and I certainly did not want to have a disease that made me grow facial hair and uncontrollably gain weight. I left my doctor’s office not knowing how to feel. I didn’t know what to do with all of this information. Was I going to start policing myself? Counting calories, restricting my diet, more cardio, less caffeine? What was I supposed to do?

After going home, reflecting, meditating, and struggling through some visualizing, I came to understand that this current situation was one that I had never encountered before. I was a different person now and I knew that I didn’t have to shame myself for weight gain, that I could happily reduce weight with a few small changes to my diet, and that I could now incorporate exercise that I loved. I didn’t have to be that girl that I once was. I didn’t have to be a victim to that inner-dialogue anymore. I didn’t have to be that girl that clamored to find solutions in phentermine, self-loathing, and drug use.

So, I ate a salad. I made sure to exclude the white flour today, and reminded myself that I could always have some if I wanted to later. Right now, my priority was finding balance in my body, eating intuitively, and exercising for happiness not for thinness. I had a new game plan now. I was going to take care of my body and love it to health. I made sure I was taking my multi-vitamin, drinking water, and checking the voice in my head that shames me for my “flaws.”

Later that day, as I was getting ready and leaning towards my mirror, I noticed that I actually looked really beautiful. My breasts looked really full and round. My curves were curving in some awesome ways, and maybe this could be attributed to those extra five pounds. I thought to myself, “The ultimate upswing to that inner dialogue would be to praise the body I have now.” So, I took a photo of that moment and shared my doctor’s visit with social media. I felt unsure, as I shared it. There was no doubt about that.

I was terrified of the reaction. Will people think I’m conceited? Will they think that I don’t really struggle with body issues because I can post a picture of myself? Will people think I’m trashy or slutty? Will this send the wrong message? What if I sound really dumb? But then I remembered that I was on a journey of self-discovery and that doing things I feared regularly meant that I was growing. So, I posted the picture. I didn’t allow myself to sit in shame for too long. I remembered that posting a selfie meant that I was willing to move past my mean, inner-dialogue and move towards body acceptance and self-praise.

In The Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls, Jes Baker encourages readers to take more selfies, to take photos of the things you perceive as flaws and to be real with the people in your life. Remember to fill the world with images of real women so that we can can choose the images that fill our social media feeds. This photo was still of the “flattering” variety but it was a step toward new things.

With all that being said, doing things that scare me are often when I feel most alive and loved. Those are the times I feel like I have entered into my “flow” and can move freely in my path. Praising my body is something I have rarely (if ever) done in the past. While I still struggle with the inner-dialogue moves towards body love and praise is slowly becoming a part of my every day life and it is making my life better. I highly suggest taking some chances.

With love,

-The Curvy Broke Girl

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