- struggling with your mental or physical health
- going to therapy
- not knowing what you want to do with your life
- your weight, height, or anything along those lines
- your sexual orientation
- the things that make you unique
I’m new to fat studies, and sometimes I relapse into body-negative thinking. It’s particularly triggering for me to watch weight loss shows like The Biggest Loser or Extreme Weight Loss. I could write a whole piece on the titles alone—the biggest loser is, after all, still a loser, still a spectacle, still someone who’s not quite a person until they’re thin; extreme weight loss starts with extremely fat contestants, again making a spectacle of their bodies as they jiggle, juxtaposing the ‘old’ version of the contestant and the ‘new’ one for the audience to ooh and ahh over.
The real problem with these shows, at least for me, is that they give me hope while simultaneously saddling me with blame. The contestants are strong enough or disciplined enough or brave enough or dedicated enough to achieve not only their weight loss goals but also their dearest dreams. What kind of person am I, heavier than this week’s contestant on Extreme Weight Loss, if I can’t replicate her success? I must lack strength and discipline and bravery and dedication.
But here’s the thing: Accepting myself as I am also requires strength and discipline and bravery and dedication. I’m starting to feel okay lots of days—not confident, not particularly strong, but okay—okay enough to get dressed and leave the house without sticking my tongue out at my reflection in the mirror. How many times have I looked in the mirror, been unhappy with my reflection, and said, “Well, it’s not getting any better today”? There’s self-loathing in that sentiment: Fuck this, I can’t change who I am today, might as well not care. But there’s also empowerment there, if I choose to acknowledge it: I am right now who and what I am right now. I look like what I look like. I can choose to labor toward loving that person, no exceptions, or I can choose to internalize what diet culture tells me.
Today, tonight, right now, I choose to love myself. Fuck dieting."
HOW TO BE THE GIRL HE WANTS:
the first time someone tells you these words I hope you stick out your hand and catch the letters in the air I hope you crunch them in your fist I hope you shove them back into the mouth they flew out of I hope and pray you are not eight years old and hanging off of a shopping cart and groaning about how bored you are, I hope you were not young like I was the first time I read a magazine on a shelf underneath the candy I hope you weren’t young because I still thought everything I read had to be true - but better yet, I hope these words never find you.
They tell you to be strong but it’s the little things like this that sit on our hips and tangle in our hair and feel like bees when the night gets dark. It’s the little things we could never ever shake off because the minute we tried, we discovered there were more waiting for us.
HOW TO LOOK GOOD FOR SUMMER:
smile more often. I hope the first time someone calls you fat, you shimmy your shoulders and wink and feel like a goddess and take it as a compliment. I hope you are not the new kid in a fifth-grade class, glasses on your nose and your hair in tangles. I hope nobody ever touched your tummy and asked if you were embarrassed by the way it jiggles. I hope if you ever hear those words, you reach out your beautiful fingers and touch the temple of the person talking and ask, “Are you embarrassed your brain works like that?”
See, I have not gained weight since the eight grade and I’m twenty. I have had about four hundred people tell me I’m skinny but it’s only the two or three voices about the thickness of my thighs and the fat on my hips - these are the only voices that stick. Don’t give them that satisfaction. Take a bath. Stare at your reflection. Count the flecks beside your iris. Promise yourself you’re not going to ruin your life - you won’t let them win. Don’t let that moment cause ripples. Yank out the cruelty from your system.
HOW TO HAVE BETTER SEX:
stop faking it. Stop engineering your body to be a call-and-response of bruises and shots. I hope you are not fifteen the first time a boy kisses you hard. I hope you do not go home with a bloody mouth and spend the rest of your life thinking love is stained with iron. I hope you are not swallowing your sanity to be with somebody. I hope the first time you let someone touch you, they are someone worthy of your trust - I hope that nobody tries to force you into a label like “frigid” or “slut.”
In the animal world, most males have bright plumage so they can attract mates. In humans, we expect ladies to look a certain way. When you break out of the norm, suddenly you’re rattling chains. How dare you not want sex and still look this way. Maybe people are scared of admitting your body has power - it can turn heads in a baggy sweatshirt. Your body doesn’t need a magazine’s confirmation. Your body’s been through hell and still keeps on living. Put on your heels and stalk down the sidewalk. Take off your makeup. Do what you need to feel awesome.
HOW TO BE COMFORTABLE IN YOUR OWN SKIN:
ignore everything they tell you. Don’t let them in."
— Maybe one day I’ll make a list of every single terrible magazine I’ve read. I think I’m gonna start an advice column called “If it makes them money, it’s probably not good.” /// r.i.d (via inkskinned)