I’m the kind of person who is happiest being their truest self. I can’t fake much for any extended period of time. If you follow the enneagram at all, I am a 4 through & through. In 2019 I did a lot of internal work. The result of which was an intense sense of self, fierce self love & literally slamming the door on anything & everyone who doesn’t feed positive vibes into my life. After doing all of the work & living life this way I have come to realize that the love you most deserve, is your own.
I spent the majority of my life (20+ years) skinny. It was only in the last 8 or so years that I started to put on all of my weight putting me now at my heaviest weight. The last year taught me that weight + the ability to be happy/love yourself are not actually related at all. Despite what diet culture, society and mainstream media would like you to believe.
The truth is when I was at my skinniest, I felt the most insecure. When I started putting on weight, I didn’t like a single picture of me that was taken. It wasn’t until I started posting on Instagram that I was able to see myself in a different light. More to come on that.
When I was growing up we didn’t have social media (thank God)! What we did have was magazines featuring only skinny celebrities on the cover. We had before/after weight loss commercials being played on the regular. We had a constant stream of various streams of media shoving a “you can only be happy/loved/accepted if you look like this after picture, or this celebrity” (who had been airbrushed & photoshopped to hell and back). Toxic.
Enter the age of social media. In 2017 I decided I wanted to start posting on Instagram regularly to see if I could make something of it. I quickly learned that strangers on Insta are SO MUCH NICER than people in your real life, “friends” on Facebook, & even family in some cases. In September of 2018 I posted the first of what would end up being many pictures of me in a crop top. The feedback I got nearly knocked me out. I was overwhelmed and ridiculously empowered. I quickly made friend after friend on this little app. Friendships I still have to this day, some of which I have taken off the app and have met in real life!
I learned the power it gives you to follow girls whose bodies look like yours on social media. I learned that fat girls don’t have to hide in the corner. I learned that there are trendy clothes for every size. I learned that every person deserves to take up the space they take up. I learned that no one has a right to comment on anyone else’s body. I learned that I already possessed the power to live my life happy.
In addition to all of the good I learned, I would be doing you a disservice to act as if I didn’t learn some not so great things as well. I learned about fat phobia. I learned about the dangers of diet culture and it’s affects on eating disorders. I learned how saying things at Thanksgiving (or really anytime) like “I’ve been bad I should stop”,”Are you sure you want to eat that?”, or “I’m gonna have to run tomorrow!” etc. can affect people’s relationships with food for years. I learned about thin privilege. Something I had the majority of my life without a second thought for marginalized bodies mostly because I was so insecure I thought my body WAS marginalized. Oy.
Being someone who is happy in the skin they are in is an ongoing fight. I don’t feel the same level of confidence at all times everyday, but I do feel it most of the time and it has been life changing. I will also say, that becoming the truest version of yourself, the one that knows exactly what they want, what they believe, what they will/won’t stand for won’t always be an easy road. It can be intimidating for other people to be around. Just because you have become comfortable in your skin and love the hell out of your body, doesn’t suddenly mean the people around you will feel the same. People who aren’t on that level will feel threatened and a lot of the time will project that onto you in one way or another. The good news is, you are able to see that for what it is, brush it off & move on with your life.
As we approach Valentine’s Day next week, I’d like to encourage you to take a really hard look at the love you have for yourself. The love you deserve most of all.