Back in May,** Jessica and Margitte hosted a Body Positive Beach Day down in San Diego. Tasha and I drove down from LA to attend and I personally was excited but not quite knowing what to expect.
What I got was a group of extremely friendly people all sitting and swimming around loving their bodies. We had power that day, power in size, power in numbers. I’ve been to other fat activist events before and usually left feeling too small or like I didn’t fit in. Because we were all over the size spectrum in San Diego, I didn’t once question whether or not I belonged – I just did. I felt 100% comfortable in my body, in my tacky vintage 80′s swimsuit, at the beach. It wasn’t until after we’d left to return home that I realized that I didn’t once internally question if my body looked ok, if any flaws were showing, how much space I was taking up, etc. As someone who has struggled with her body and size and weight for her entire life, I never thought this was possible. For me, this was revolutionary.
And then I saw some of the photos.
And of course, I immediately went into self-hatred talk and over-criticizing my body. Despite that (and I wasn’t going to let that ruin how good I felt that day), one of the coolest things about seeing these photos is that I had never actually looked at my body from these candid angles. Yeah, I’ve identified as fat for years now but I only had my idea of my body in my head – the one I could see in the mirror, the one that was influenced by body-dysmorphic thoughts and my eating-disorder voice. I’m almost thirty and I didn’t have a clear idea of what my body actually looked like.
And looking at these photos today – I look absolutely fine. The fat that I know I have is there and that’s cool. I can see my self-abuse scars and that’s cool too. It is my history and my growth (figuratively and literally). This is my body. This is what it looks like. I won’t be apologizing for it to myself or anyone else anymore.