Body Positivity. I don’t know much about it as a culturally popular topic. I can tell you that I’ve adopted it. Over the last four or five years I have moved from responding “no” to events and gatherings because I thought I was too fat to go, to going; timidly, almost fully masking everything from the neck down, red faced, and so self conscious the whole time that I may as well not have been there, to wholeheartedly responding “yes” and -literally- not thinking about my body or whether I should be embarrassed about what I was eating in front of people.
I don’t think about my bulges or belly anymore. I don’t think about if she is staring at me from the view that makes me look fattest. I don’t wonder if he’s thinking about what a fat lazy slob I am. I literally don’t think about this anymore.
I don’t know if this is Body Positivity. I know I’m learning my worth. I know I’m bringing a lot to the table and none of it depends on the shape of my body, or anybody else’s.
I can’t yet articulate how Body Positivity has changed my life- I’m working on it. I can tell you that I’m present and learning when I am out in the world. I can tell you that I smile more often and fully. I can tell you that I look at the beautiful scenery and window dressings when I walk by them, instead of staring at my fat stomach. I can tell you that it’s made my life better- fuller, richer, happier.
I can’t imagine wasting a second more thinking about what my body looks like instead of doing all these wonderful things like playing with my children, writing, talking to women about how they work, and connecting with strangers out in the world.
I know a lot of people (both men and women) obsess about how their bodies look. My wish is that everyone has the opportunity to feel what it’s like to not. To feel how much space opens up. To feel the strength that comes with not defining our worth by the number on a scale or the size on a clothing tag. Not just in theory or imagination, but as a fully realized understanding.
How Do We Adopt Body Positivity?
As much as people want to sell us one, there is no ten step plan to discovering that our worth is not tied to our size or weight. It is an individual process. Each of our stories are different. The beliefs that were forced on us or that we subconsciously adopted are not the same. There is no one-size-fits-all plan that anyone can offer for adopting Body Positivity.
It is up to each of us to start digging- to start reading, looking to those who have suggestions, considering how we want to spend the rest of our days. We live in a good time. There are many women who are willingly sharing their truths and experiences. It’s powerful what can happen when we understand there is an alternative.
As far as the rest of my days, I do not want another one of my meaningful contributions withheld because I think I am too fat to share it. I have developed enough self worth to know the world will be worse off if I continue to keep myself hidden.
Are scales defining our worth? I think we can all confidently say the answer is yes. What do we do about it? Start digging in. Start figuring out why we believe what we do. Decide that the world has been robbed of enough of our meaningful contributions and that we are worthy of being seen, just as we are. Start contributing unapologetically and in a wholehearted way.
In my experience, once we start doing this the things we see change. Sometimes without realizing it, we are seeing the beautiful window dressings as we walk by, instead of our stomachs. We find hours of space in our day to use for things we love, instead of self-degradation.
Sustainable and seismic change takes time and effort. We are worth it. The world needs our contributions. Instead of letting scales determine our worth, let’s determine it ourselves and contribute to the world accordingly. Our time has come. Your time has come.