Body Positivity

Here is an excerpt of something I wrote not too long ago.

I’m still wrapped in blankets, at nearly 4 pm, and I am finally ready to do something productive, which is this – writing. There are so many stories about today that I can run with, especially since it’s nearly dinner time and I have not moved an inch or done anything with my whole day. Our nasty “leaches” like to tell us that resting and recovering are not allowed for us, even when our illnesses debilitate us. But if we see someone else in the same boat, we would probably understand and recommend them to take the time they need to recover.

We are always so much harsher on ourselves than we are on others. I look at myself and want to claw out my skin and guts because I have what I deem a disgusting body. I pull and pinch and scratch at the skin under my chin, because my jawline isn’t as sharp as it used to be and now it seems like in my head that I now no longer have a chin – it’s just face rolling down to my neck. But when I stopped to think, I realised that if I saw an exact copy of myself in front of me, I would celebrate that person for the body they have. I would reassure them that they are beautiful.

I’ve always been a body positive person, but only for others. I know its not any of my business to judge others based on their appearance, and it’s not okay to assume someone’s heath. I think plus size people are absolutely gorgeous, along with any other body shape. I’ve always been attracted to body shapes like mine, or bigger or smaller. People argue that they look down on fat people because “it’s unhealthy.’ You can’t know someone’s health or background just based on their appearance, and even if they were, how is that any of your business? People that are happy and confident in their own body are not affecting you.

Even though I believe all these things, I started believing them when I was skinny. I’ve always been fairly slender growing up – my family nicknamed me ‘tweaka’ as a kid, because I had twiggy limbs. I have always been very body positive, but now that I am the heaviest weight I have ever been, I realised that maybe I am only positive towards other bodies, not mine.

4 or so years ago I had an eating disorder that involved not eating for days, throwing up as much as I could and doing exercise when I had no food or energy in my system. I had cold baths because shivering burns calories, I would subscribe to blogs that told you that you were a fat piece of shit as a way of “motivating” me, I counted the calories of everything I ate, even not allowing myself to eat fruit and vegetables sometimes, because they still had calories.

So I got to my lightest weight I’ve ever been as a teenager and still I felt fat, ugly and unsatisfied. That all was happening right before my suicide attempt, so to me, my unhappiness with my weight is connected to my suicidal tendencies. This meant that every time I put on a bit of weight since then, it played alarm bells that told me I needed to die.

So here I am, with my first stretch marks and a body that does not feel like mine. I want to tell myself that I’m beautiful just like I would tell a friend who weighed the same they are beautiful, but I can’t. I want to one day be able to be supportive of myself no matter how I look, but right now that feels a bit impossible. At least writing about this helps.

  • Looking back at this piece of writing, I have changed in certain areas and have stayed the same in others.

I recently went to Kmart and target, which are infamous for their mirrors that make you feel awful. The target dressing room had mirrors in every direction, so you could see yourself in every angle, which played alarm bells once again for me. I got so upset, but since then I have been trying to be kinder to myself.

I have been somewhat eating healthier and bike riding every second day with some walks, but it doesn’t feel the same as when I tried to “lose weight” in the past with my eating disorder. I want to be body positive, so I am learning to treat my “healthier lifestyle” as just that – a healthier lifestyle. I’m learning that the goal of me doing a bit of exercise is not to lose weight or be skinnier, but to do something that makes me feel good.

My worth is not equal to how healthy I am either – I am allowed to love my body in any state. Showing self-love when you don’t have the “ideal” body is not a criminal act, and in fact, I think it’s pretty bad-ass. I and I’m sure many others, will continue to be on our journey of self-acceptance of every part of who we are. I am happy and proud that I’m trying my best, despite the leaches and illnesses that try to tell me otherwise.

Everyone is going to have step-backs. Some days it might feel like you have gone backwards, but that’s okay. Be gentle, be understanding. We are allowed to take up space and fight for our right to love ourselves, however long it takes. You are doing a great job and perhaps I am too.

Thank you for reading.

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