Positive body image, it just keeps coming up. It shows up in my social media news feeds, probably because I follow several body positive advocates. It shows up in conversations at my workplace, even with members of my family. I can’t escape the conversations, the truth is, I don’t know if I want to. When I decided to become more transparent with my writing, thus my life; I knew this subject would come up. How I am dealing with it is another story entirely.
An Emotional Roller Coaster
I grew up plus size in a not so plus size world. Looking back I wasn’t fat, I was chubby. I was, however, clearly headed down the road to being plus size. I can’t even remember the first time I had to go shopping for plus size clothing, it has been happening for so long. Then it didn’t happen for a while, then it did, then…. well, you can see the rollercoaster of fun I am talking about.
I am not here to talk about my childhood as an overweight teen, that is another post all together and one I am getting up the nerve to write. I am talking about the present, the now. Never have I seen a person’s body size become such a movement. To that end, I was told today that positive body image is my platform. I don’t think I felt it was so much until this morning when I was talking with someone close to me that was telling me about another avenue to increase my platform image. This person is very dear to me and coming from her, it meant the world. In that moment there was a level of support I never expected. To say I was moved is an understatement.
It isn’t easy speaking out for something that doesn’t fit the societal norm. If you are passionate about something you have to be so unapologetically. You have to believe it in your soul, want to scream it from the roof tops, you have to embrace it, all of it. I haven’t been doing that. I have blamed my plus size body on everything from a slow metabolism to autoimmune disease. While some of that is a factor, there are other destructive behaviors that lead to my size as well. The difference is, for years I acted like I wasn’t fat. I hope that word doesn’t make you uncomfortable, if it does, I am sorry. I can say overweight, chubby, plump, what ever you like. However that is just semantics.
The fact remains, I don’t think I ever had a clear picture of how my body looked. I did, though, have people remind me all the time. Friends, family, acquaintances, even some of the men in my life. It really is true, you attract your level of self esteem sometimes. I often wonder if I hadn’t had my family, and that includes extended family, then friends and so on to remind me of my body, I wonder if the outcome of my self esteem would be different. If not different, I wonder if I would have loved my body more. I blame no one but myself for allowing myself to believe all fo the negative comments.
The Body Positive Revolution
I think about the young girls growing up now, the college girls, even the forty somethings; they are growing up in a time when positive body image is being embraced. There is still a long way to go. How lucky they are, there are abundant companies making cute clothing beyond a size 14. They are not as subjected to the ridicule for being overweight by their peers. Don’t get me wrong, I still see the trolls and assholes out there that find nothing better to do than comb the pages of social media to tell these positive body image advocates how horrible they are. Rest assured there are plenty of plus size women to come at them, guns blazing.
So here I am, realizing more and more that I have an opportunity to do something I never thought I would. I have the chance to really come clean, be a true advocate for positive body image. Tell the trolls to eff off and be who I am. It isn’t easy, for the last forty something years I have had a certain idea about body image. The time has come to let go of the past, the hurts, the regrets; and move forward. Time to be unapologetically me. I am a plus size woman, and I am proud….well almost……