I have not always loved my body. In fact, for a very, very long time I was disgusted by myself. Any compliment was deflected. Every second of every day was an opportunity for vocalizing my self-deprecation. I was fat. I was taught that “fat” wasn’t just a description, it was a negative character trait. I was taught that because I was fat that I was lazy, unhealthy, and gross. I was taught that my body made me wholly undesirable.
I don’t remember when I got fat. But from childhood photos it looks like it was when I was in the third grade. That’s at least when I first remember being bullied for it. Kids are cruel, man. I woke up every day knowing that I was fat, but it was a special kind of hurt when someone else pointed it out. Why is that? I still don’t know why. It might have to do with someone telling you that the way you looks makes you less of a person. You are unequal because you aren’t necessarily nice to look at. That’s an awful lesson to learn when you’re eight. The bullying continued all through high school- I was once pushed off my school bus and stepped on because the girl behind me apparently hated fat people that much. Instead of becoming rage-filled and hateful, I decided to just continue being a really cool freaking person. I got the idea in middle school- if I just stay smart, funny, and kind, then eventually the fat wouldn’t matter anymore. It pretty much worked.
My first real relationship started my junior year of high school. It was amazing to actually be loved for all of me- I felt like I was beautiful and wanted for the first time in my life. It was great. We didn’t end so well and she wasn’t always very kind about my body but neither was I so I couldn’t blame her. Blah blah college (lots of awesome friends there that helped make me feel awesome) blah blah Nicaragua. In Nica I realized how awesome I really am. That sounds so conceited, but really. I was spending my summer, my money, and my time and effort to better the lives of incredible children. I fell in love with all of them and the love that was returned to me was tenfold. Being surrounded every single day by that much love really helps out your self esteem. The people in Nicaragua place a lot of emphasis on presentation- that is, cleanliness and modesty, etc- but don’t give a shit what you look like otherwise. It didn’t matter that I was fat, they thought I was a good person. And they loved me for all of me- the fat included.
When I got back to the states and moved in with my sister, she had been working out for some time and had made so much progress on her health goals. I was inspired by that and my new appreciation for myself, so I joined her in her fitness journey. Soon, I was hooked. I now wake up every day and want to work out. If I’m bored, I think about putting on some Tony Horton and spending some time showing my body how much I love it.I make positive choices in my eating to show my body how much I care about it inside and out. I am not a size zero, nor will I ever be. But I love my body and all of its curves, rolls, bumps, and scars.
I love my thunder thighs that fill out my size 18 jeans
I love my butt that sticks out farther than some people think it should
I love my shoulders that are too-wide and super strong
I love my hips that even out how wide my shoulders are
I love my belly that shakes when I laugh and hides my rock-hard abs
I love my big feet that take me where I need to go
I love my calves, my muffin top, and my chubby chipmunk cheeks
I embrace my body because I love my body
And I hope you love yours, too