You don’t have to love your body.
*record screech* wait what??
You heard me! You don’t have to love your body! There are days when I fricking hate how I look, how I feel, how I exist. There are times when I am angry at my body and brain and soul for how they react and respond to trauma and mental illness. The truth is that there isn’t enough love for my body to “fix” those problems.
To me, this illustrates in part why body “positivity” can fail. Sometimes, we can’t fake positivity about our bodies, no mater how hard we try. Also, let’s be honest. I’m an average height. I wear a size 6-12, depending on the brand and my time of the month. I can find my size in every article of clothing. I have a lot of thin/straight sized privilege. On top of being white and cisgendered. So, I can post all day about how when I lean or slouch, I have stomach rolls, but the truth is that there are people who have to fight fatphobia every moment.
Body positivity is a feel good state of mind for me. It is not a way to survive fatphobia.
And when you search #bodypositivity on social media, you will see a bunch of thin, white, able-bodied, FIT people. You might even see weight loss advertisements or disordered eating tips wrapped up in a lovely “healthy” bow.
Body Positivity has been taken away from fat activists and co-opted by white yogis.
So, I’ve been trying to shift my language from Body Positivity to Body Liberation.
I want to liberate myself from harming my body through diet culture. I want to liberate myself from fatphobia. I want to liberate my body from the shame of growing and changing.
And news flash, you will -N E V E R- be able to do that through diet culture. You can’t restrict your way to mental health and a good relationship with your body. You can’t hide behind diet fads like Keto or Whole 30 or Intermittant Fasting. You can’t liberate your mind when you are chaining yourself to calorie counters and the scale.
Does this mean if you stop dieting or participating in diet culture, you will suddenly love your body and everything will be roses and dimples?
But you can get to a point where you allow yourself to exist as you are.
So I acknowledge my body. I don’t use hateful or fatphobic language. But I allow myself to use adjectives to describe myself. And I tell myself to think these adjectives positively. I release the anger I am holding towards my body. I remind myself that I am a living, breathing, fluid creature. I bloat on my period. It’s my body’s way of sheltering me as I shed what no longer serves me.
Do I like my body today? No. Do I acknowledge it and how it is my home? Heck yes.
Treat yourself softly babes. We are our only true home.