Saturday, December 29, 2018

About this photo

I've never been a good sleeper, although I could kick your ass at midday napping. As I get older my sleeping patterns and restfulness during the night are getting worse--I am mirroring my father. I was staring into the darkness last night thinking a myriad of thinky thoughts and finally resigned myself to getting up and wandering, eventually settling into the guest room to take this photo.

I'm trying to see the body that I currently have in new and honest ways. I follow a lot of body positive folks on social media and have found a lot of interesting and new perspectives on fatness, diet culture, and wellness. And the more bodies you see in the media that look different and diverse, the more accepting you can be of your own. At least that has been my experience. This book in particular has radically changed how I view myself and the world when it comes to physicality and body image. This is not to say that I don't have many days where I curse my jiggling flesh and want to cry when I catch my reflection or struggle to button my pants. But I have gotten so much better at pausing when I begin to hate on myself and being kind and remembering that those negative feelings are not warranted, they have been ingrained and taught to all of us by a culture that exudes consumerism and preys on our insecurities for monetary gain. And really, fuck all of the media, companies, and products that try to make us feel shitty and unworthy. Why do we let them do that? It's nothing less than brainwashing, really.

A post I ran across a couple of months ago really stuck with me....something to the effect of when we talk down to ourselves, when we criticize and beat ourselves up for what we have been taught are physical imperfections, who does that benefit? Certainly not the object of that criticism. We are worthy at every size. Beautiful at every size. And I have to say, as I've gained weight over the years, it has not been a barrier to finding sexual partners, I have no less sexual prowess in bed or out of it, and the friends I've slept with regularly for years are still into me. The only person giving me a hard time about extra me.

All of this has crossed over into the way I view photos of myself. This may be the hardest thing for me. Photos are forever. Photos are how you present yourself to the world online. Photos can be referenced. Photos can be scary. Even the one above, it's filtered and it shows a part of my body that I'm ok with, at a good angle and with good lighting. But, I still see the "flaws", or what I've been taught are flaws, the rolls of flesh that begin on my back, curve around to my stomach and torso, and then meet in an embrace to make up the mountains and valleys of my front. Mountains and valleys that I'm trying to learn to love and accept.

Health always comes up in these discussions. But just as the amount of space we physically take up in the world doesn't make us any more or less worthy of acceptance, respect, and love -- the state of our health follows the same construct. For me, a renewed focus on health and wellness takes the number on the scale and my pants size out of the equation. At my last doctor's appointment, my cholesterol and blood pressure were way up. That's a number I'm trying to get down by exercise and smarter eating. Should the scale go up or down in that endeavor, so be it. But that is not the sole focus of my journey anymore.

I see photos of fat* women rocking their big, beautiful bodies with confidence and I want that. I want to be able to post a photo of my belly, arms, thighs -- areas I am not as ok with but that are no less beautiful because they are me, soft, flowing, and comfortable. I want to get there. And I think I will. Eventually.


*So many more articles on this, I just ran across this one quickly. 
Reclaiming the word "fat" as a positive term.

1 comment:

  1. Cheers to those wonderful thoughts!

    I was in a beach town in California a long time ago and was struck by all the "overweight" women who were walking around comfortably in various degrees of revealing attire. It made me realize that it's what people are projecting that's attractive.

    Happy new year.