Unapologetic

Every person deserves to be treated with dignity and to have their own bodily autonomy and respect.

lizanddan10

There are no exceptions to this: there are no ifs or buts. It’s a basic human right and one that is often eroded by the opinions of other people. The core of my self respect and self esteem isn’t as easily undermined by others as it used to be. However, nobody is bulletproof. There are a few things that get to me – one of them in particular is to do with how people refer to, chastise and concern-troll people with bodies that don’t fit their ideas of what is ‘healthy’ or ‘normal’.

For me, this is about my size, about how aware I am that every single day people might look at my body and make assumptions – about who I am, what I do or what I don’t do. In the simplest terms, I have reclaimed the word ‘fat’ to mean just that – a body that isn’t thin. It doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy exercise or that I have a problem with food. My body is my body – it allows me to swim, to dance, to feel, to smell and see and experience the physical world. I’m always joyful that I do all these things.

I won’t get into the health thing, because for me, that’s not really the point. That is part of concern-trolling, using concern as a way to pity people and insinuate that they are somehow lesser than you, or that their world-view is the only possible world-view. You can’t tell anything about anyone’s health by what they look like. We all have ailments and issues – to be human is to vulnerable to all kinds of things.

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I’m going to say that the worst (or sadly, one of the most rebellious) things that a woman, a plus size woman to boot, can say: I make no apologies for my size, for who I am, for how I look. I make no apologies that I can dance and skip, that I can eat in public, that I am writing these things for all to see. I make no apologies for supporting the right of everybody, no matter their shape, size, ability, gender, background, ethnicity or sexuality, to have bodily dignity and respect. I make no apologies for looking in the mirror and smiling at my reflection. Children smile at their reflection: we forget to do this as adults. So smile – you are beautiful.

We make it harder on each other when we decide who does and doesn’t get to have beauty and dignity: we don’t have the right to decide that someone’s existence is lesser than ours. I believe that everyone has their own inner and outer beauty, and to be human is to be interesting, flawed and unique.

Golda Poretsky says it best:

‘Body acceptance means, as much as possible, approving of and loving your body, despite its “imperfections”, real or perceived. That means accepting that your body is fatter than some others, or thinner than some others, that your eyes are a little crooked, that you have a disability that makes walking difficult, that you have health concerns that you have to deal with — but that all of that doesn’t mean that you need to be ashamed of your body or try to change it. Body acceptance allows for the fact that there is a diversity of bodies in the world, and that there’s no wrong way to have one.’

Photos by © Sarah Ward at Stars and Rainbows.

12 Comments Add yours

  1. zentalfloss says:

    Excellent Post – you are lucky to be “getting this” fairly young. Just remember that loving and accepting yourself doesn’t mean that if, on its own, your body changes shape or size, that you have repudiated your former love and acceptance of the size you are at currently. Life works its way with all of us – thin, fat, and in between somewhere (smile.) It also doesn’t mean that others have to love and accept you, though. BUT . . . they do need to leave you alone. I think what you wrote about the concern-trolls and others is very perceptive and accurate. If folks being rude to us fatties isn’t okay, those who want to “help” us is similarly NOT okay, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. SJ says:

    Loved reading this – one of my favourite quotes is “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter, don’t mind” by Dr Seuss. Be true to yourself xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ksfinblog says:

    Most people equate their self worth by how many they can put down….. those are just shallow creature that lurk on the surface and will never see the beauty of the deepest oceans

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Neurolit says:

    “For me, this is about my size, about how aware I am that every single day people will look at my body and make assumptions – about who I am, what I do or what I don’t do. ”

    I also think like you sometimes, but you know, maybe it’s just our idea. Most of the time people don’t really care, don’t really see. Often it’s just our self-image that we project on others and falsely believe that others also share the same views, while they may just be jealously looking at your new skirt 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Liz Ward says:

      Very true. I’m not that self conscious though and am actually quite thick skinned about things like this. I’m not saying that it happens all the time and can recognise the difference between someone admiring clothes/style or whatever and body language that hints at hostility. Fine-tuned body lang detector comes from studying it as a deaf person 😛 However, it’s true that when people are self conscious or lack confidence, anyone noticing or looking at you might be construed in the wrong way or as hostility/judgement. I don’t leave the house thinking that anyone looking my way is judging me! 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I think we have to condition ourselves to “think” correctly. Judging someone for their weight issues or clothing choices or hairstyles is an ingrained part of our culture and society and we as responsible, intelligent adults have to comprehend this and make the change. If I find myself mentally judging or criticizing someone over their outward appearance, I have to remind myself that there is beauty in all living things. That my snap judgement in such matters is often flawed. No one needs to look the same as me or meet my approval to be their own person. The more I do this, the more I don’t have to do this because it becomes natural to accept that no one needs my validation.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautifully put. And I love the Golda Poretsky quote. But my first reaction after clicking on this post was, “My gosh, she has gorgeous hair.” !!!
    I recently got rid of a lot of clothes in my wardrobe. I’d been hanging onto some of them since high school; many of them haven’t fit me for years. No point in shaming myself by occasionally pulling them out and reminding myself that (shockingly!) I’m not the same size at 23 that I was at 17. I feel a lot better now that I only have clothes that fit me well and in which I feel comfortable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Liz Ward says:

      Aw, thanks! Me too, I occasionally ‘purge’ my wardrobe, there’s no point holding on to stuff or buying stuff that doesn’t fit and shaming yourself. Bodies change all the time! 🙂

      Like

  7. Just loved it, no more to say. Well done you, beautiful woman!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Rose says:

    Loved this post. I love the ideas you talk about in this post. I struggle and have struggled for years with the “problem” of being fat and it’s just in the last few months that I started following “Dancing With Fat” and now you, and it’s all starting to make sense. Thank you so much for posting. (and beautiful pics, BTW)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. that is too true do not be apologic for who you are and have faith that you are proud to be you that is still what I am learning

    Like

  10. This is so true, I struggled all through my childhood and am still struggling with my body weight. My peers at school automatically looked at me like I was lesser, so did I for most of my life. I grew a little, started working out more but I’m still thought of as fat. It’s really frustrating when people look at me and judge, or think I’m less of an interesting person than a skinny person.

    Like

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