I know. Your body looks different. It has changed, and along with your life, your jeans fit a little more snugly than you had anticipated. Maybe more than you like. Maybe you hate it.
You were a size X for such a long time, you’d grown accustomed to the shape your skin had taken, and suddenly, you are 10, 20, 50 pounds heavier. Fatter. Sometimes, you might feel discomfort at the thought. Sometimes, it is really fucking hard to deal with. It’s okay to feel that way- I get it. I’ve been there, along with almost every person I know. But just in case you need a little extra push out of that rough spot, (because sometimes “rough” doesn’t cut it, sometimes it just feels impossible) this is for you.
I moved to California at my lowest weight. I reached my highest weight one year later. I was finally in a relationship that I felt comfortable in and I stopped worrying about what NOT to eat. I watched my body change and my partner found new ways of looking at me- as I grew, both figuratively and literally, so did he. I had many revelations that year, though upon reflection, they just feel like common sense I was denied. Some of them include:
Eating in public does not make you disgusting.
Wearing whatever you want does not make you worthy of negativity.
weighing more than your friends does not make you ugly.
Wearing a larger shirt size than your boyfriend or girlfriend does not make you unworthy of love.
And finally, most importantly,
FAT DOES NOT EQUAL UGLY.*
(*Why was this such a hard concept for me to grasp? Could it be the media telling me I will never be pretty, rich, or thin enough? Could it be my mother’s advice to never wear white/stripes/always suck in my stomach/never slouch since it makes you look “bigger?”
Could it be the fact that I belong to a group (women) that is treated more like a product that needs fixing [exhibit A, B, C, D, E, F, shall I go on?] than actual… You know… People?)
To those who have gained weight, think of the miles, and milestones, you have conquered with each pound. You’ve gotten through so much in that time, you’ve grown, you’ve lived. You are wiser now. Those stretch marks are roadmaps and diary entries, scrapbook memories. Your cellulite is no less beautiful than someone else’s smoother parts. Do you understand? Your dark inner thighs, your ingrown hairs, your bumps, lumps, rolls… They are you. Your body is proof of your life, and you’ve made it this far, so be proud. Most importantly, you are not the sum of your parts- your parts are a sum of you. Without the energy inhabiting that body, it would just be a few dozen pounds of flesh. You make your body everything that it is, and it is no less beautiful, miraculous, and magical than anyone else’s, despite what you have been taught.
The first step is taking ownership, learning to live in your body independently. Do not let others compromise the integrity of your being. Allow yourself room to grow, not only in your mind, but also in your jeans.
To those who are saying to themselves, “WHAT? This woman is GLORIFYING OBESITY?!” (which I imagine in a confused Hulk voice) I have a reminder for you, as well.
There is no glorifying obesity, as there is no glorifying any body in this society. I am, however, arguing that no body, fat, or rail-thin, or athletic, or super buff, or whatever, is worthy of any hatred, even from the person living inside it. Actually, it’s not an argument, so I suppose that just makes this a statement.
No person deserves to despair over the body they have. We are all exactly perfect human beings, with our varying shapes and sizes and ailments. This article has not a shred to do with the “health risks” you might try to scream at me when I tell women they are not imperfect. I’m not arguing about the health of body fat (though I will!), I’m simply pointing out a fact we all can’t help but ignore, thanks to major marketing campaigns. The fact is, you aren’t terrible for having whatever body type you have. You have the right to love yourself.
Be sure, though, not to confuse this with owing self-love to anyone. That shit is hard, and I’m not about to tell you that you have to feel beautiful to be a feminist, or whatever. You don’t owe me or anyone else, including yourself, that much.
But, if you feel that twinge, that exhaustion from the everyday torture, I want you to know that it’s okay to love yourself. It’s okay to insist on your worthiness. It’s okay to take up space, as much as you need, and then some. The stars, after all, never stop, and forgive me if I’m wrong, but aren’t you made of stardust?