Have just read another young mum depressed about not having her pre-baby body.
I’m saddened yet unsurprised by the amount of body shame many of my Facebook friends express about their own bodies. It’s generally all weight related – haven’t got my pre-baby shape, gotta workout to make up for last night, can’t wear a top because it doesn’t hide the flaws, etc.
I know what they’re feeling and it’s completely shitty. About five years ago I began the journey to give up feeling embarrassed by body. And it’s been gradual – doing some personal development work, reading fat activism and body positivity writing, one sistah taking me for a swim in the ocean WITHOUT a shirt covering me up, realising how much I love jewelry and a spot of fashion.
I’ve been only slightly heavier than I am now (when I was pregnant) so the choice to accept myself isn’t the result of some massive transformation or weight loss. I am me. I may be heavier in the future or I may be lighter. I may be fitter or I may find myself less able (arthritis runs in the family). Either way, I’m choosing to accept myself, dress how I want, and be content regardless. And holy crap it’s not easy to do.
I read the Facebook posts with sadness and anger – anger at the invasiveness of the fitness and wellness industry which, when combined with an individual responsibility ethos (it’s your fault you’re fat – you’re fat because your’e weak and have no willpower) is a recipe for complete body loathing. I want to say read Definatalie and the Fat Heffalump, and thousands of other amazing body positive writers. But I don’t because we’re all on our own journeys. I’ll share posts on my own timeline but I certainly don’t presume to comment on their posts. It’s something you have to discover for yourself.
This year I’ve started wearing singlets!! OMG bare arms. That’s nothing to someone else, but for me it’s huge. I’ll never fully accept myself because the body shame, like other forms of oppression (e.g., racial stereotypes and gender roles), is just too ingrained in me. But for me living has to be about taking small steps towards freedom. Whatever/however that might look.
I start with #nodiettalk #nobodyshame.
Image: Me (rocking the RBY) with two of my favourite Yidindji men.