This weekend I listened to a pod cast from This American Life called “Tell Me I’m Fat.”
You can listen to it here: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/this-american-life/e/589-tell-me-im-fat-44948070?autoplay=true
Listening to this was hard, wonderful, inspiring, and difficult as well as so many other
things I cannot put into words to describe, all at the same time.
Me when I was 4 years old. One of my favorite pictures of myself.
To understand why I was a tornado of emotion I feel like I should give you some history about my life. When I was very little, (3, 4, & 5), I was very active. I ran, I danced, I swam so much my hair turned green every summer. Then, being molested changed how I interacted with the world. I stopped my fun activates and become more withdrawn. Then, another tragedy stuck my family. My sister’s father, my step father, died before my sister was born. The double punch a few years apart in my life left me with few outlets to express my emotions because as a child I did not have words to describe what and how I was feeling. So, I did the only thing I had in life, I ate. I ate for everything. I can remember sneaking food. I remember feeling ashamed about it. But mostly I remember having to buy fat girl clothes at the age of 7/8 for my first grade year. I absolutely hated shopping. Kids being kids, I was ridiculed for being tall and fat. And each comment landed hard. And with each comment I just kept eating. By the time high school rolled around, all 5’11” of me was still over weight. I joined weight watchers my JR year of high school and got pretty thin, for me. And then more emotional crazy happened and gained it all back. The next decade of my life has been filled with losing weight, keeping it off for a while, and gaining it back. It was not until about the age of 27 I started to like myself and by the age of 30 I have embraced who I am, extra weight and all. Everything in this pod cast brought up every negative experience I’ve had with my weight from myself and others around me throughout my life.
Me at 25. This is the thinnest I’ve ever been at 170lbs and a size 10.
From being ridiculed by my peers when I was younger to all the experiences I’ve had trying to date at my current weight. This is why I had to write a blog about it. I know how hard life can be at my size and have become more aware of the types of scripts I say to myself about my size, and others size as well. I’ve grown more compassionate about all women and their bodies over the past few years. I’ve really worked to embrace the body positive movement.
It is hard for me to be so body positive because just this year I realized my relationship with food was a disastrous one. I have an eating disorder. I am an over-eater, also known as a compulsive eating disorder. So, admitting this to myself, it is hard to reconcile being a large woman and also needing to work on and control how and what I eat. Does this mean I cannot like myself at this size since I’ve gotten to this size due to my compulsion? I can’t eat cake and candy anymore, so am I a hypocrite for saying other women should never feel shame if they eat it when I myself feel ashamed in myself for eating it? There are a lot of emotions that have come to play every day of this journey so far. As a result I’ve had to do a lot of work on my mental and spiritual self. I have always considered myself a healthy person and my doctors would agree. According to my blood work and test results I am a perfectly healthy woman. However I’ve come to realize health is a very malleable concept. I am working on removing emotions from how I eat and just eating to survive. To me, when I can have an emotional day full of my current eating triggers (like a random guy telling me I am gorgeous or talking about
Me at 32, 215lbs, size 16, at my art show in the summer of 2015. I’m wearing shaping undergarments for this dress.
spending money I don’t have) and not immediately eat my feelings that will be when I am truly healthy. Whatever my outside becomes or is once I’ve reached that level of healthy, I have to be OK with and right now, because of how I got to the weight I am, it is really difficult for me to be OK with it, but I am working on it every day. This is why most of my photos are only selfies these days like the featured image here, and the image to the right is the first full body picture I’ve let anyone take in about five years.
Now what does this have to do with fashion you might ask? Everything. How we view ourselves directly relates to how we present ourselves to the world. And part of that presentation is the clothing we wear. Every day I make a choice to wear something that I know I’ll feel good in. There are days where I challenge myself to wear something I would not have chosen a few years ago because it “exposes” me in a way I never allowed myself to before, even at my thinnest. This has helped me in slowly building my confidence. And this can be applicable to anyone of any size. Do you love wearing that pink sweater? Then wear the hell out of it! Need a confidence boost? Wear that outfit that makes you feel sexy! Let us all strive to be someone who loves themselves regardless of our size, shape, or cultural pressures. To me that is what being body positive is. How about you?