(Other titles this post has had in drafts were: …Still Wanting a Perfect Body and We are Not on This Earth to Be Small)
Something has clicked in the past few weeks. I am happy to say that what I wanted: Better Body Acceptance, has started to happen, LEGIT.
It took me realizing how caged I still was by my beliefs and standards for myself, and re-realizing how unloving and self-destructive my beliefs were, before I was able to decide to go on this quest FULL FORCE.
Don’t get me wrong, I have had good intentions about all this stuff for a long time, but there have been so many buried layers of shame and perfectionism and fear and beliefs and beliefs and beliefs that I didn’t even have the emotional or mental frame of reference to get here until now. But now is the time.
I get a lot of comments and emails along the lines of “WHEN AM I GOING TO BE OK WITH MY BODY???”. And this is what I have to say:
I had the same problem with thinking “but this is ten pounds over what I used to think was too fat!”… Obviously the problem with this is that we are still using disordered and self-destructive parameters to define worth and beauty.
Here are some things that have really helped me (even just in the past few weeks):
Well first off, this all really kicked off when I made my “Lenten” sacrifice: Deciding to love my body “Like a Psycho” and “As Irrationally as Need Be until it is Rational”. So below I have listed how I went about loving my body like a psycho:
(Btw, loving your body is not psycho, it is very important and healthy, but it was so impossible and unacceptable for me for so many years, that I literally had to put those definers onto my Body Love Quest)
1. Realize that everything you are afraid of about being fat ….isn’t necessarily true. They are just beliefs. Beliefs that you took to be true, that are not necessarily true. (for instance being fat means I am ugly, I am worthless, I can’t do anything right, I am unlovable, I failed, I am uncontrollable, I failed again, nobody will take me seriously, nobody will think I am beautiful… and on and on) notice what beliefs about “what being fat means” are strongest for you, and then question them a million times until you can come up with some real reasons why they may not be true at all. Then replace the shit beliefs with some better beliefs.
2. Buy clothes that fit you NOW (and/or at your fattest) that are fun and beautiful and GET RID OF YOUR SKINNY CLOTHES. I have to say…I resisted this one for so long. Because even though I told myself I was over diets and body image shit, I still thought… “Yea… but I refuse to be fat. And obviously buying new clothes is a sign of sure failure”. So my old clothes were still a marker for how “well I was doing” and still stressed me out and reminded me of “success or failure “. Seriously, buy some amazing clothes that you love that fit perfectly NOW and get rid of the rest. If you ever are thinner again under natural, healthy circumstances, you’ll buy more clothes that fit then. It is not defeat. It is not saying “Well I guess I’m fat now. Close the blinds let’s stay in bed”. It is saying I DESERVE TO WEAR CLOTHES THAT DO NOT REPRESENT AN EATING DISORDER, THAT FIT AND CELEBRATE WHO I AM NOW.
3. Look at blogs or Pinterest boards that celebrate Health at Every Size and size diversity. I never had room for any other standards of beauty in my mind. But if you are like me, I invite you to challenge that. Look at pictures of people who are bigger than you who have decided to love themselves anyway. Desensitize yourself to the way people of every size look both naked, and with awesome, cute outfits on. Looking at these women, as well as beautiful plus size models, has really made me realize that the beauty standards in my mind have been conditioned. What I accepted as beautiful and successful and competent before was simply something that I learned by osmosis and accepted. And then I believed it and perpetuated it. Not only was I incredibly judgmental of myself, but I was judgmental of others. But it just doesn’t have to be that way. Anyone can be beautiful, and it REALLY DOES COME FROM THE INSIDE, and it shines through on the outside.
4. Notice all the people who are wonderful and attractive and who live great confident full lives who are not perfectly toned or skinny. Are they onto something? Also, notice all the people who you think are fabulous, but who don’t think they are good enough. Don’t you want to shake them and tell them how awesome they are!? What does THAT tell you?
5. We Are Not On This Earth to Be Small. Sometimes I hear that in the back of my mind, like someone is saying it to me. And it really resonates. Because for the longest time my sincerest goal and desire was to be small small small. The smaller the better! The smaller the more successful and competent and powerful and beautiful! It was like a fact in my life and I thought it was a fact in the world. A year ago when I started this journey, sometimes I would hear in the back of my mind “You are not on this earth to be small”. And it would inspire and uplift me, but I could not fully embrace it. Not yet.
Of course I am not telling you if you are a small person that you are not meant to be on this earth. But what I am saying is to really ask: Why am I trying to be as small as humanly possible? Really- Why? Why am I treating my time on earth like this? Why am I using up all my precious energy to value being as small as humanly possible? Why am I trying to control everything like this? Why am I trying to shrink away, to diminish myself, to fade into the corner? Why on earth is it sane to believe that my power comes from being a frail little thing who doesnt take up any space? What on earth am I trying to accomplish? And isn’t there another way? Wouldn’t it be better to be open and bold and brave, and take up space and celebrate who I am and what I’ve done and greet the world with a shining smile? Isn’t there more to my life than being small? I am not on this earth to be small!
This is getting at a deeper part of body image: spirituality. I really believe that trusting this world (life/”God”/whatever you believe) is the only true way to peace, with your body and everything else.
6. Speaking of spirituality. Accept that however your body is NOW is the way your body is supposed to be NOW. It’s true because it IS the way it is now. Your body isn’t meant to be another way now, because it isn’t. Get it? Your body is smart. It is either they way it is now because it’s perfect and exactly how you are always meant to look, or because you are healing, or because your body needs to be bigger for a while to teach you something about yourself. WHO KNOWS, but TRUST it. Trust it and love it and celebrate it and let it teach you, and live your life in your body NOW.
7. Girrlllll THROW OUT YOUR SCALE. Yes… I know…. sometimes I do weigh myself at my parent’s house out of curiosity. Which is how I know I am __ lbs over what I used to consider fat. But, you know, that number literally does nothing for you. ANNNNDDDD, your clothes are enough of an indicator/stressor. But you are going to buy beautiful clothes that fit you, right? And when you start to beat yourself up about being a size ___ and hooowww could i have let this happen, go back to #1, and ask yourself why it upsets you so much, and what are you believing about being a size ___ that may not be true at all.
I have to say that all of those things above would have not affected me if I read them 2 years ago. I would have been like,”sure… That is nice for some people…” I would have read it, but it only would have gotten in so deep.
It took time. It took a lot of time actually. It took me realizing….. “Woa , I have been trying to accept myself for a while, and I still am waiting to be thin… ” It took many many levels of realization to even start considering legitimately starting my life now, as opposed to judging myself constantly and waiting for that glorious day when I was the smallest EVER. Look at me! You can barely see me! I have arrived!