It's hard to admit that you're positive about your body and at the same time acknowledge that you want to lose weight. It's hard to admit that you firmly believe all your friends should see their own beauty but that you struggle with seeing yours. I have moments when I look in the mirror, and I'm enamored with my own curves. I might want them to be slightly smaller, but that I like the shape of my body - most of the time.
Being body positive doesn't exist in a vacuum. You can't just wake up one morning, look in the mirror and think, "I'm going to love my body from now on." Well, you can, but you'd have to be a person with an amazing will to accomplish it like that. For me, it's been a step by step process.
He made me say the words.
When I first met John Brownstone, it was clear I had almost zero self esteem - when it came to my physical appearance. I knew I was intelligent, hard working, funny, a decent mom. But I thought I was unloveable, easy to forget, easy to leave, and fat and grotesque. The idea of someone seeing me naked could throw me into a mental tailspin that resulted in tears, trembling, and near-hyperventilation.
One of the first tasks he ever gave me, long before we were sexual, long before I could admit my feelings for him, was a mantra to say to myself when I looked in the mirror. Every morning, I said the same words. In the beginning, I felt silly. I couldn't meet my eyes. I mumbled the words instead of saying them clearly. But I did it.
Over time...a long time, it became easier. I didn't believe the words in a literal sense, but I accepted them. Accepting these simple statements made it easier to look at myself in the mirror. I held my head up high. I gained confidence. I believe John Brownstone would say, "Mission accomplished."
I changed the scenery.
I've been on Tumblr for a couple of years. In the beginning, it helped me learn more about kink, BDSM, and Dominance and submission. But looking at all those perfect, air-brushed bodies was horrible for my self-esteem. I knew I would never look like those women, and it made the images hard to enjoy. So I changed the scenery. I purposefully followed blogs that shared images of larger women - erotic or not. I purposely reblog images of larger people that I find beautiful and that make me feel good.
I could bemoan my body images or I could do something about it. Changing the images I looked at changed how I viewed my body. If that's not proof that the media can warp and change our views, I don't know what is.
Embracing (imperfect) anthems.
I love, love, looooooooove Meghan Trainor's All About that Bass. Yes, it's receiving criticism for not "truly" being a feminist anthem. Even Trainor herself says she's not a feminist (which makes me a little sad for her, but whatevs). I'm a little tired of reading articles that pick this song apart when there are women of all ages and sizes who blast this one loudly, sing it from the top of their lungs, and shake their booty. This isn't us being brainwashed, this is an entire demographic of femininity finally hearing that we don't have to be a size 2, that (some) men want and like a little more booty to hold at night, and that we can happily and easily reject the ones who don't want us the way we are.
Yes, of course, we should love ourselves regardless of what a man (or woman) thinks of us. That's absolutely true. But the reality is that we're faced each and every day with Photoshopped images of women (and men) who can't actually be found in reality. Those bodies don't exist anywhere but on a computer. The vast majority of people who feel bad about their bodies think that no one will ever find them desirable because they're too round, too big, or too fat. What in the hell is wrong with finally having a song that throws that notion on it's ear and reminds people (especially women) that there are most definitely men who like women with curves? The bigger girls of the world get one song and we're told we shouldn't like it because it's not good enough. Fuck that. I love that song. It's my ringtone. It's my jam. It's my anthem.
Joining the conversation.
So, if you can't tell, I have an opinion, lol. I've been an observer in the conversation - happy to share what other people think, happy to "like" or give my online approval of what others say. But now it's time for my to join the conversation. And because body image is mostly about the visual, I've decided to do it over on Tumblr. The images in this post, and many others that I've found or created, will be shared under the tag 'Body Positive' - hopefully, others will find meaning in them. Hopefully, they'll be shared so that others can see they're not alone.
Yes, there will even be pictures of me...I'm not perfect. I want to be a bit smaller. But I'm learning to love myself at any size.
There's something empowering about accepting and embracing yourself.