Body positivity is a hard concept to quantify. I have thought on many occasions that I finally had at least the idea down. First I realized that even though my body wasn’t what I wanted it to be, that was okay. I was going to get there. And the fact that I was working toward my goal was enough to be positive about. As long as I knew I was trying my best to get in shape, I was doing it right.
Then I thought, no that’s not it. It’s loving my body even though it’s not where I want it to be, no matter if I would get there or not. I could still think my thighs needed to shrink, but as long as I loved my body now too, then I had reached the pinnacle of body positivity. The words “even though” were used a lot in this stage.
“I love my body even though my tummy is rounder than I want it to be.”
“I love my body even though it would be really nice to get rid of the stretch marks.”
“I love my body even though other people probably wish I was skinnier, and even though this isn’t what the world sees as beautiful.”
And now I’ve finally broken into the idea of the third stage. I love my body, period. There aren’t “even though”s because there isn’t anything wrong with my body now. Fuck what the world thinks about beauty and the standards fashion industries have set. The way society judges beauty changes with every passing year. These thighs of mine would have brought Renaissance painters to their knees.
I’m not great at following through with the idea yet, but at least I’m starting to understand it. I’ve started to do things that I never would have done before. For instance, Adam told me his hands were cold a couple evenings ago and I put them against my stomach and bent over until there were tummy rolls warming up his fingers. “Warm tummy to the rescue!” I had proclaimed before I had the chance to be horrified at myself. The familiar feeling of oh god, I want this person to actually be attracted to me, happened, but only briefly. Before my brain could spiral out of control, he tugged my shirt up higher and ran his other hand across the softness of it. “I love this tummy.” And he meant it. Slowly but surely I’m learning to as well.
It’s a strange but common situation when you view yourself completely different than you view other people. I love curves. I don’t think they are just okay, or that people are pretty even though. I love them. I look at my friends and their curvy hips and soft bodies and think they look like Aphrodite. Beautiful. Stunning. So I am trying to see myself through the same eyes I see them.
Despite my growth in the body-loving thought process, I still have bad days. The key is to figure out what helps you get through those bad days. Here is a list of things that help me:
- looking at photos of other people who have a similar body shape to mine, and noting how beautiful they are
- putting on an outfit that makes me feel good about myself, and then strutting down to the kitchen in it to grab some yummy things
- soaking up some sunshine and reading a good book (preferably about an awesome lead character that says “fuck you” to the world’s standards and goes on a great adventure)
- scrolling through some of my favorite body positive tumblrs and instagrams (bodyposipanda is the absolute best)
- reminding myself that my body is doing an amazing job, and that it takes great care of me
Be patient with yourself as you follow your own body-loving adventure. It takes time to undo what the world has told us repeatedly since we were five. But know that you are so, so beautiful exactly as you are. No matter what shape or size, no matter if you have all of the curves or no curves at all, you are perfect.