*note: this post is an edited version of a previous post a made about a year ago on my separate personal blog*
At the age nine I was a naturally athletic kid who loved sports, particularly basketball. Although I was chubby, I didn’t hate my body then. I was nine. At the age of nine nobody hates their body until they are told they should.
By age twelve I was petrified that my tummy would jiggle when I ran up and down the courts when I played basketball so I stopped playing.
My ongoing insecurity and self-hate affected me negatively until I was 21. At that age I created a personal blog and discovered plus size fashion and body positive blogs along the way. Seeing photos of happy beautiful women my size who looked stunning and amazingly confident in everything fat girls weren’t “supposed” to wear (crop tops, body cons without shapewear, horizontal stripes, white, bright colors, bikinis, etc) opened up this new world for me. When I started seeing plus size women celebrating their bodies rather than wanting to change them, I started perceiving my body a different way. It was only then I had grown enough confidence to post my own fashion photos.
I was 22 when I started watching My Mad Fat Diary. The main character Rae was somebody I could relate to–the body image issues, her relationship with her family, her love for music, her anxiety, her humor, her boy-crazed mind. There were so many scenes and lines that gutted me and scenes that made me cringe because it reminded me so much of myself. There were scenes that made me bawl because it reminded me so much of myself. There were lines with her therapist Dr. Kester that I wish I would’ve heard when I was younger. This show is important because it approached mental illnesses realistically.
This show is important because it didn’t revolve soley around Rae’s weight. Yes, Rae is fat. She is also funny, she is a music lover, she is a daughter, she is a sister, she is a lover, she is a friend, she is a survivor. This show is important because it showed that you can go through hell and survive.
That year I also had gained about 2,000 followers on my personal blog and countless messages from other women. I received messages ranging from lovely compliments to advice on how to be confident to personal stories. It was messages like the ones I received that really inspired me to create a body posi/plus size fashion blog.
22 was big for me because it was also the year I opened myself up to dating. Although I was at my heaviest at this point, I was more confident than ever because I learned how to embrace me and my body fully. Along the way, I met a wonderful boy that I now call my boyfriend who loves my body and reminds me that I’m beautiful every time I say something even remotely negative about myself.
At 23, I decided that I was beautiful. A beautiful heart, a beautiful mind, a beautiful soul, and a beautiful body full of happiness and love. At 23, I also decided I wanted to become stronger and faster. I started my fitness journey that year and it’s been a journey that has also opened my mind and soul up. (I have a whole separate post about this journey coming soon!)
I’m the happiest I’ve felt in a long time because I changed my perspective. I’m happy because I’m not letting my body stop me from things I want to do. I’m happy because I realize what I deserve and it’s so much more than I thought it was when I was 14. I wish I could’ve shown my 14 year old self My Mad Fat Diary. I wish I could’ve shown my 14 year old self that I was beautiful then and that things will be ok and self-worth isn’t equal to how beautiful everyone else saw me.
Being at peace with your body is freeing. It doesn’t start with new clothes, a new lover, or losing weight–it starts with your mind. You could buy a bunch of new clothes to look and feel beautiful for 10 minutes before you catch a glimpse of yourself in a mirror and hate yourself all over again. Your lover can tell you that you are beautiful 10 times a day but you’d still disagree and hide your naked body underneath the sheets. You can exercise and drop weight but you can still step on the scale and convince yourself that you need to lose 10 more and only then you’ll be completely happy.
Cut that shit out.
Self-love starts with your mind first and foremost. Surround yourself with positivity to drown out the negative. Being at peace with your mind, body, and soul is a difficult journey and we fall off our path sometimes, but I swear to god it’s so fucking worth it. Our days are numbered in this physical form…please don’t waste your days hating your body or worrying what everybody thinks of you. Realize that anyone spreading negativity is miles and miles behind you on their own path of self-love. All you can do is wish them luck on their long journey ahead to catch up to your level.
I know this: I’m not going be in my deathbed wishing, “damn I wish I had a thigh gap” or “I really wish I was 10 pounds lighter“. All my regrets would be all the opportunities I turned down because I was too self conscious about myself. All my regrets would be that I didn’t live enough and do things that made me happy because I was boxing myself in with all the lines that I have drawn.
All the fat visible babes out there who demand to take up space in a world where it seems like thinness and beauty go hand-in-hand: thank you. You are one of the reasons why my perceptions of beauty and self-worth has changed. To all the girls out there who are still on the journey to love themselves, thank you too. Even your first fearless step towards self love and acceptance will speak volumes for others girls who have yet to realize that there is absolutely no wrong way to have a body. I wish I knew this when I was 9.
So now at 24, I’m telling myself now that I still have beautiful things to look forward to. I’m 24 and I’m still growing as a person. I’m 24 and I still have days where I hate myself. But I’m 24 and I’m beautiful. I’m 24 and I’m gonna be okay.