Nowadays, whenever you scroll through your Facebook and Instagram feeds, it isn’t such an uncommon occurence anymore to see a thicker, plus-size person post about their recent trip to the beach, adventure, or outfit from last night without having to "cover up." Thanks to the role models of body positivity like Ashley Graham, Iskra, Lizzo, and all the other celebrities who champion body love, we now live in a society that’s slightly more accepting. One that almost always celebrates inclusivity and diversity.
This is definitely something to celebrate because this hasn’t always been the case. And as I would always put it: we’ve come a long way, but there’s still a lot that could be done. Because while putting the hashtags #BodyPositivity, #BeautyBeyondSize, and anything to that effect makes it clear that you are loud and proud about who you are, it’s not always the same case in the real world.
Growing up fat wasn’t a walk in the park. I could still remember clearly how I was made fun of for not having a prominent neck. How, even as early as six or seven years old, I was always told I had to lose weight. Occasionally, my size became the butt of the jokes when there was seemingly nothing better to talk about. Beach trips gave me anxiety because it’s an unspoken rule that I had to be fully covered so as not to cause lingering stares or snide remarks from bystanders. High school was especially tough because there was so much pressure to look a certain way. Not to mention, there was no way the cute guys would ever want to go out or be seen with the fat girl.
But this is not a sob story. I’m here to tell you that contrary to what you’ve been made to believe, there is more to you than the numbers on that weighing scale. That fat is merely an adjective—you are not, in any way, required to allow a single word be your end-all, be-all. Allow me to share four things growing up fat taught me:
You can’t keep pressing the pause button on your life.
Skinny or fat, being unhappy or insecure about your body shouldn’t be an excuse not to do the things you really want to do. You can’t and shouldn’t be postponing plans hoping that in the next couple of months, you’ll be more satisfied with how your body looks. You deserve to be happy now—regardless of what your body looks like. Life is too short to be putting a pin on things just because you’re scared of how you’re going to look or what other people are going to say.
Anyone who doesn’t accept you, doesn’t deserve you.
Anyone who constantly makes fun of you, makes you feel like you should be pressured into being something else—doesn’t deserve you. Enough said. And you're allowed to say goodbye to these people. That said...
Don’t let you bully yourself.
Hearing people talk about you in a not-so-nice way is one thing. But allowing your mind to bully your body—that’s even worse. If it’s not something you would say to a friend or someone you care about, don’t say it to yourself. How you treat yourself sets the precedent to how other people would treat you.
Changing your body because you hate it won’t make you happier.
At one point, you’ll be made to believe that by looking different, your life will be so much better. But it’s not going to be, until you choose to give yourself a chance. Loving your body for what it is will take you so much farther than hatred ever will. The first step to taking good care of yourself is accepting where you are. Self-love is a long, and sometimes, messy process and it’s never fully finished because it's a life-long journey to loving yourself. But it’s worth enduring because YOU are worth it.