I am fat. And most of the time I don’t consider this a condition that needs fixing. I love my body. It’s curvy and soft and feels really good. This fat body is capable of so much pleasure and I try to never apologize for my size or feel like I’m not enough because there is so much of me. Self-acceptance has been hard-won and sometimes feels tenuous. A couple of weeks ago I was chatting in bed with a lover and he said, “you’re a big girl”. This was in context of the conversation and referred to my height (5’10”) as much as my weight but the rest of the conversation has been forgotten and that phrase and accompanying feeling has stuck with me. I had just unselfconsciously stripped off my clothes and been well fucked without any issue of insecurity and then an off-hand comment about my size had me feeling like I was all of a sudden taking up too much space. I hate this feeling. I fight this feeling every single day. I tell myself that I am just right and that I am entitled to all of the space that I take up.
Lately things have been changing. I’m losing weight and my body is changing shape. It has been a slow process that started two years ago but when I joined an amazing gym two months ago my body has started transforming. This is really exciting. But it also stirs up my body image issues in a way that I hadn’t expected. As my body has changed over the past two years I have gotten lots of uninvited feedback about my progress. I regularly hear, ‘Wow, you are looking great!” which only makes me think that this person apparently didn’t think that I looked good at a larger size. As I get thinner and stronger and more physically fit, I also am finding that I am having to work three times as hard to love my generous body just the way that it is. I am not exercising to get thin. I am exercising to get strong and to test my limits and see just how much I am capable of. My increased strength and my newfound determination is empowering. I have never felt more physically capable but my self-love is being tested.
I intentionally fill my Facebook feed with body-positive messages and was grateful to see this post pop up today. It covers so many of the things that I have been feeling lately. I get so mad when someone at the gym says, “It’s all about what you eat”. Maybe she isn’t actually implying that the weight will just fall off if I could only change my diet… but that is what I hear. When someone says, “you look great”… I hear, “Fat makes you ugly”. Unless you know something about me and my personal journey and motivations I ask that you refrain from the compliments. They feel like attacks on who I have been and who I might be again. I love myself just as I am, and sometimes that takes a lot of hard work. Going to the gym and working out is simple in comparison.
Here is a recent article that highlights some of the most important plus-size models that are currently working. I can’t help but notice that most of them are not, in fact, plus-sized. The average American woman is size 14/16 and plus-size generally starts at size 14.
An article in Plus Model Magazine created a stir when Plus-size model, Katya Zharkova, was photographed with a standard runway model. She looks full and voluptuous at size 12. Which is still smaller than average and not technically plus-sized.
I love all different types of bodies and all different types of people. As my self-love has been temporarily challenged I have noticed more mental judgement popping up when I pass random strangers that don’t meet some internal ideal that I am still holding onto for myself. This is not ok with me. I firmly believe that the solution is NOT for everyone in the world to become thin but instead for us all to work on being more accepting and loving of our physical diversity. This starts with you. Love yourself. Love others. and celebrate ALL bodies!