I am super positive about body positivity. On purpose. And very publicly. Because that’s what it’s called, and because that way, people can see how wonderful it really is to love yourself. But guess what we’re not saying? It’s hard as fuck.
Staying permanently positive about literally anything is a struggle, so think how that is amplified when directing those feelings to something as important as your body. Putting yourself out there, in front both of people who know you best and strangers on Instagram is bloody difficult. Desperately trying to grasp at the last threads of self love on days when you feel like complete shit are nigh-on impossible. Don’t ever feel like because you aren’t ‘positive’ about your body, you won’t get there. My body ‘positivity’ is not permanent, full time or 24/7. Like everyone else, even I have days where I don’t like the way my clothes sit or I feel uncomfortable in my bloat or my favourite dress no longer fits me, so I have a little cry. It’s so hard to love yourself in a world constantly trying to tell you not to. And, despite the vast growth of the bopo movement, there is still so much negative influence and misunderstanding (and therefore lack of support) about what it is to be fully immersed in self love and body positivity.
Arguably, the hardest part of finding comfort and happiness within and for yourself comes from external pressure. Predominantly, this is portrayed as being streamed through the media and online influencers, which we all know to be true, but often we forget to identify the sources closer to home. Before I go on, I want to make it clear that this is not a dig at anyone or anything. I don’t blame you at all. It’s not your fault, I promise. Quite simply, you are acting and conversing in a way that society has taught you to think is normal. But think how damaging it is to constantly be privy to conversations revolving around dieting and attempting to change or alter your body in any kind of way. I know for me, my boyfriend, mum, sister and best pals are always dieting or trying to lose weight.
And, again, I don’t blame them. That’s what they’ve been conditioned to do and think and believe that they are substandard, just the way they are. And I can’t tell them what to do. All I can (and do) do is ensure I talk positively about myself in their presence, and remove myself from conversations that I believe might have a toxic effect on my personal journey. I hope they learn to love themselves, I really do. But it has to be something that they learn for themselves. Saying this, I’m never going to stop bigging them up in every way I can. And I must say, they are wonderfully supportive of me and my cause, even if not of themselves.
I also know of a lot of folk who grew up, as little girls and boys in their most impressionable years, listening to their parents talk amongst themselves and friends or family members about their dislike for their tummy or bum or thighs or complaining about their postpartum body. It used to be even more of the norm to constantly diet, cut out certain food groups and romanticize ‘skinny’. Which is yet another fucking reason to change said norm now. The way you talk to yourself matters. It is not about your body. It was never about your body. Think about how much you wanted to be thinner when you were thinner, or how there’s always been something you yearned to change about your appearance. It’s your mind, and the way you’ve been conditioned to think about yourself.
I love those close to me more than I love almost anything else. I want them to be happy and love themselves and understand where I’m coming from when I question their weight loss motives, but I also don’t want to have to constantly fight to make my point heard and I don’t want to feel guilty for being the only one in the group not watching their weight or paying into patriarchal structures like SlimmingWorld. Like, I can no longer borrow clothes from the majority of my friends. Because the majority of my friends are either smaller than me, or believe they should be, and so are always on a mission to lose weight. That feels shitty. Trying your best not to feel like ‘the token fat friend’ feels shitty. But I am trying. But you ( and I) have to learn to take these things with a pinch of salt because, at the end of the fucking day, it’s all only a very small piece of finding true body acceptance, love and respect. And. It’s. Fucking. Hardcore. So hit me up if you’re feeling shitty or outcast or guilty for enjoying the space you inhabit. I’ve got your back, and we can eat pizza and talk about how cute our butts are anytime.