Why Body Positivity Is Challenging and Difficult to Achieve

And other confusing thoughts about my body

I’ve wanted to share my thoughts regarding my body for more than a year now and haven’t been able to.

This was one of the first topics I wanted to cover, even before I started writing on this platform. I wanted to talk about things that no one talks about, and although body positivity has been a massive movement in the recent past, there was still stuff that I wanted to get off my chest.

At first, I believed that I didn’t get to writing this piece because I wasn’t ready for it. That I wasn’t brave enough. Later, I realized that it was just a part of the problem, and the real issue was that I wasn’t sure enough.

Whether a body-positive individual or a fitness enthusiast, one needs to be very confident of where they stand on this spectrum, and I am not.

Somedays, I feel like Ashley Graham when I gaze at myself in the mirror, and on other days I yearn for the moment we can transfer our consciousness to a robot body. The latter is not just about being fat but also about getting rid of the ailments that this body suffers.

It would be nice to not bleed heavily for five days every month. It would be great to be able to eat whatever I want or rather not eat at all. And I could definitely do without the constant stress-induced neck and shoulder aches.

Even though I am inconvenienced by it, I can’t ignore the existence of my body. It’s a big part of me and is integral to how I view myself.

Through the past 30 years of my life, I feel like I’ve seen it all. I’ve lived through constant fat-shaming at home and also seen Lizzo rise to fame.

Through the much-needed changes and inspirational journeys of people accepting and celebrating their body, the one thing that has not changed is others telling me how I should feel about my body.

One day I was supposed to be embarrassed for myself and do everything I can to change it, and the other day I was supposed to own it like a queen.

I don’t know about you, but this is too much pressure for me.

I admire Lizzo and all the other women who have the confidence to be themselves, but the truth is I don’t. Most days, I like to cover myself in slightly baggy, long, comfortable clothes. I want people to stop looking at me for good reasons or bad, and I wish to not have any conversations about my body.

Some days all I want is to enter a room wearing a fabulous ensemble, with a peppy soundtrack in the background, turning heads wherever I go.

Am I Body Positive, Neutral, or Negative?
The answer is D: None of the above and also all of the above.

I can’t feel it, the thing that I should be feeling.

Whether it’s grateful for all that my body does for me or a strong motivation to go on a diet and exercise rampage until I fit the conventional standards of beauty. Maybe this is strange and unique to me, but I can’t choose sides.

Neither option makes life easier for me. When I walk into a store and am told by the perky sales assistant that they don’t carry anything in my size or when I look up a pair of cute jeans online only to find out that their size range ends at 14, there’s only one feeling in my mind, and that is anger.

When I see wrongful representation in popular media of women with perfect bodies who eat what they want and barely exercise, the same feeling returns.

The anger doesn’t motivate me to do anything though, I simply return from it to my messy, vague, and mixed bag of feelings. I see success stories all around me, of people sporting their ripped abs or those who have completed their journey of acceptance, and I can’t help feeling like a complete failure.

I have had my fair share of struggles with my body and its connection with my self-worth, but they haven’t led me anywhere. I am still here, figuring stuff out, walking around in circles. I so badly wish that I could somehow hop on to the latest bandwagon and call myself neutral. But I can’t.

One of the fundamental reasons I haven’t been able to write an article on this topic is because I never had anything specific to say. My head’s a mess, and I am not sure what useful advice I am supposed to line up for you to take away.

The truth is that I simply haven’t grown much in this area to reach somewhere substantial. I am not yet ready to share my innermost struggles and my traumatic experiences with body shaming which started when I was a baby.

I haven’t been able to publically own up to my past mistakes, where before this whole positivity thing, I being fat myself, have given advice to (few) others about how they can attempt to lose weight.

I’ve made far more self-deprecating jokes, though, so maybe that balances it out. But, in reality, I need to apologize to myself and to others who have discussed their vulnerabilities and weight problems with me.

I didn’t know any better, that’s true, but I cannot forgive myself for not choosing kindness every single time when it came to supporting other women regarding our collective and individual body image issues.

Can I come back from this?
Can I erase the past and become a body-positive motivational-inspirational fabulous human now? I don’t think so.

I firmly believe that there will be a day when I will be ready to share all of these stories — many of my own and some from others.

I will have enough material to write a hundred articles, and I will unabashedly tell the world the truth — my truth. I will own up to my journey, the good, bad, and the intense suffering, and share it with you. But today is not that day.

Today is the day to share how I feel now and admit that I’m confused.

I can’t speak for younger folks, but anybody who is my age and older grew up thinking that fat is ugly. This message was hardcoded into our brains, and it’s going to take plenty of time to unlearn this. Too skinny was also a problem, by the way, and we were all advised continuously to chase perfection.

If that led us into a hole of depression or to develop an eating disorder, then so be it, at least we’ll look pretty, and that’s what is most important.

I am not being extra harsh; it was really this bad for me and others around me while growing up. I feel the jump and shift to body positivity (albeit much needed), too sudden, too high, and too hard.

I am, personally, not ready to make it yet. I have too much stuff to process.

There is a giant journey waiting for me in the future, and I recognize that. Today, I don’t have much for you or for me. All I have is the confidence to say that it’s okay to be confused, to not be able to pick sides and accept that things right now are quite messy.

There’s a lot of information out there (which is a good thing), but don’t lose yourself in the process of absorbing it all. Recognize the pressure to reach a destination. If you ask me, this is a long and tedious journey for everyone, and I don’t think it can ever really be over.

Don’t let that discourage you; just try to see this for what it is.

I admit that I don’t have much to contribute to this discussion right now. At the same time, I also feel a severe lack of real, vulnerable stories that talk about the struggle and not the end, whatever that may be. So I’m putting mine out there, and admitting exactly where I am.

I am confused about my thoughts about my body, and I feel differently on different days — often vastly so.

I am a foodie and am incapable of depriving myself of the pleasure of eating tasty food. Still, I try to cook my meals, learn more about nutrition, and am always on the lookout for tasty-healthy recipes.

I am not a physical/sporty person and hate — absolutely hate working out. I am trying out Yoga, dance workouts, and other milder stuff that is more aligned with my interests and abilities.

I cannot love myself always, exactly as I am, and I cannot become a diet-fitness enthusiast who will have a wonderfully inspirational story to tell one year from now. I am not a neutral, balanced, or mature person who doesn’t tie her self-worth to her appearance. And that’s my truth.

I don’t know where I am going right now, but I definitely want to reach a place of self-love, as I have with my mind. And for now, this is enough.

It needs to be enough.

For 27 years, I lived somebody else’s life. Now reclaiming what is rightfully mine, one story at a time. Support me: https://ko-fi.com/debduttapal90

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store