I had an uncomfortable epiphany on my path to body love. I was near the beginning of my journey and I was working on getting to a place of gratitude for all the things my body did for me, instead of focusing on hating it for not looking like a Photoshopped picture of someone else.
The more I appreciated things my body was doing – from breathing, blinking and heartbeat to smiling, waving and moving around – the more dissonance it created with the messages that I was getting from society about my body, and the way that I had always bought into those messages
It seemed like everywhere I turned I was told that my body was ugly, worthless, morally corrupt. In the past I had agreed that a fat body was ugly, insisted that it might be worthless now but that I was “working on it,” and insisted that despite my fat body I was still a good person.
The more appreciation I had for my body, the more I was seeing my body as a friend. The more I thought of my body as a friend, the more trouble I had continuing to participate in putting my own body down, whether it was self-deprecating jokes, or apologies for my size, buying into the idea that manipulating my body’s size would improve it, or agreeing that my body deserved to be constantly stereotyped and stigmatized.
I realized that if anybody treated my friends the way that they treated my body, I would never stand for it – I would flip out, not join in. My body deserved better. My body, that does so much for me every single day, deserves the same respect and support and complete intolerance for mistreatment that I would have for any friend. My body deserves nothing less than my full-throated support.
So I stopped putting myself down. It wasn’t easy – when it came to beliefs about my fat body, I had had been shopping at shitmart and paying full retail price. I had employed the “beat everyone to the fat joke by making it about myself” technique for a long time so when I not only stopped making the jokes, talking badly about fat bodies, and engaging in the Good Fatty/Bad Fatty dichotomy, but also made it clear that I wasn’t going to stand for others making jokes, talking badly about fat bodies, or engaging in the Good Fatty/Bad Fatty Dichotomy it was a struggle not just for me, but for a lot of the people I interacted with. I was a little shocked by how many interactions depended on both of us buying into the idea that a fat body was a bad body.
Now I know the truth – my fat body is amazing and beautiful, my body is worthy of love and respect, and I am a good fat person, not a good person despite my fat. Viewing my body as a friend has helped me to deal with injury and illness by conceptualizing them as me and my body against a problem rather than me against my body, it has helped me to treat my body better, and demand better treatment for my body. My body and I are much better as friends than we were as enemies, and I’m never going back.
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