Representation Matters

TW: body image

No doubt, you have seen many of these posts and you are rolling your eyes right now. It’s ok. I get it. You can leave.

For those of you staying… *ahem*

Caveat 1: I have a lot of privilege and I have no idea how it feels to wake up every day and be told my skin color is wrong or that my gender identity is offensive or that my desire to represent myself according to my beliefs means people have the right to treat me badly. There are so many people out there suffering because society hates who they are. My self image issues are small in comparison.

As you may have previously read, I am on the fatter side of things. I also have problems with anxiety and depression and sometimes these diseases manifest themselves in a particular hyper-fixation on my body and how it looks. Or how much I weigh. Or if my lower belly pooch looks particularly large today. Or if my dress is too obscene because i have beast (from Beauty and the Beast) legs. Why is it that if I wear a dress and heels I feel particularly scandalous?? Is my face getting fatter? Do my arms look too much like sausages? Am I gaining weight? Did I really need to eat that bag of m&ms? Did I walk or run for one hour today? Are people noticing that I eat a lot? Are people noticing that I eat really fast and clear my plate? Are my shorts too tight? Can I feel my pelvis bones when I lay down or is it layered with fat?

That’s about 50% of the things that I think. I am 20 pounds heavier than I was 4 years ago. At the end of 2012, I was massively depressed and suffering from PTSD. And while I relished the one time the scale said 129, it wasn’t healthy.

Circa 2013

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This was at (almost) my lowest weight. At the time, I thought I looked awful and bigger. I probably only gained 3-5 pounds. I used to weigh myself every day and feel bad all day if I weighed more. I wasn’t starving myself, but I would torture myself.

Fast forward to five years later and 20 pounds more (approximately because I don’t weigh myself right now).

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Note: Not actually that tall. Heels.

Note 2: I know I used a wedding picture. We are making progress but I’m not at full fledged bad picture level of sharing.

So, here I am. Five years later. Still working on accepting myself and trying to be healthy. I’m a lot stronger now which I remind myself is important. I try to eat right even though I get pickle cravings. Intense pickle cravings. But I also try not to restrict myself from good food that I want to eat.  Which brings me to my point as to why representation matters.

I shop online and I look at social media. I see all the fabulous people with their beautiful bodies and both admire them and look at myself like I’m disgusting. Which brings me to my point:

Being able to see different bodies, races, sexes, beliefs is so important to being able to figure out self-love. There is nothing that makes me feel better than to see someone feeling beautiful being who they are and rocking it.

Nothing makes me feel worse than to see those same people being told they don’t deserve to feel good about themselves because they don’t fit a mold.

I love going onto websites and seeing different models rocking clothes. I love seeing people walking down the street with all kinds of swag and rocking their bodies.

I hate when the general public sees someone in wearing clothes and being happy and tells that person they can’t/shouldn’t feel good in their bodies.

So if no one tells you today, I want to tell you this:

1. You are worthy.

2. Your body is beautiful and it is like no one else.

3. I hope if you try a new style or wear something you were afraid to wear out in public that you think of me cheering you on.

4. Your body deserves to grow, exist, and change.

5. Please don’t torture yourself to look a certain way.

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