Positive I’m Not Qualified: A Discussion of Body Positivity

anger, anxiety, bettering yourself, bipolar, body positive movement, body positivity, changing the world, context, defining perseverance, depression, empowerment, encouragement, fibromyalgia, gender identity, health, humility, invisible illness, judging, love, mental health, parent, parenthood, positivity, postive change, Self-preservation, self-reflection, stigma, struggle, Uncategorized, weight loss

I want to talk about body positivity but I can’t talk about body positivity because I know that I need to talk about body positivity positively (shock and awe!) with affirmations and understanding of my body’s particular features and flaws but here I am, your writer (*small curtsey*), the most unable to talk about body positivity the way I need to talk about it. So, what can I do? Nothing. My hands are tied. The cake is baked. The end is nigh. My voice here does not matter.

Except…well, my voice does matter. Just like your voice matters. Ah, a solution (*claps hands, does twirl*)! My editor1 is in the corner telling me my clapping and twirling is getting awkward. Quick, let me adopt a tone of authority and wit, once again.

If I want to talk about body positivity but I can’t properly talk about body positivity because I know that I need to talk about it positively, then maybe it becomes my responsibility (and with great responsibility comes great power—that’s how it goes, right?) to acknowledge that despite my own personal struggles in this area, body positivity does, in fact, merit discussion. It does2.

Acknowledging that the body positive movement is an important movement—I can do that. It’s important to do that. It may even be more important to do that because I struggle, myself, to adopt any attitude that even slightly resembles something like body positivity. If the body positive movement includes an essential element like constructing a stronger, more positive house of self-esteem (SPOILER ALERT: it does), then I simply can’t insinuate a solid connection between body positivity and my personal life. I’m not even trying to take a more positive approach to my self-image, yet, so implying that connection at all might be what they call a lie fiction. Oh, but maybe, then, in writing this post to you, my faithful readers3, I have just started, literally before your eyes4, to develop that connection between my own personal life and body positivity. Plot twist, y’all.

Acknowledgment is a step—a crucial step. Why don’t I take it a step further and get a little real with you, since we’re on a roll and all?

I don’t feel like I can properly talk about body positivity because when I look in the mirror, I see a person who is tipping the scales at (almost) their highest weight of all time. Close, but no cigar. Man, I can’t even beat my own record! I see this, and I never go beyond the critical inspection of my belly, thighs, and general physique. I suspect (though I think we’ve rightly established I’m no expert) that the next step in trudging toward a more body positive approach would be to own that thought about my weight, then go on to remind myself that “Hey, you’re kind of a sexy beast, anyway—fun fact. Check out those wrists. Those wrists make people’s speakers go boom boom. Those wrists got that boom boom pow. Oh and good Lord, look at those eyes. You’ve got those hazel eyes that make people pause—some days you’re Harry Potter and other days you’re Hermione Granger with those eyes, but you’re killing it with those eyes no matter which. Even better, your wrists and eyes are so damn on point that it doesn’t even matter if anyone else likes them. You look good. And hey, if it really matters that much, remember you managed to lose 100 pounds in the past. You can do it again. That’s just a side note, sexy beast in the mirror.”

I don’t feel like I can properly talk about body positivity because I spend most of my days angry at my body. I have a chronic illness that affects my daily and overall functioning, coupled by anxiety/depression/bipolar, recently visited by a near-fatal accident5, topped with a touch of6 gender dysphoria. When I drop a sugar packet while making coffee, I cringe. Bending is difficult. When I try to dress in the morning, any attempts to make my body match my mind generally involve a physically challenging battle that leave me exhausted and irritated. When I miss class because the pain is too much, I spend more time kicking myself than I do taking care of myself. I suspect (even a long paragraph later, I am still no expert) that the next step in trudging toward a more body positive approach would be to own these struggles my body has, then go on to remind myself, “Hey, you’re kind of amazing. You leave the house every single day of the week on average. Even when the pain has tears pooling at the corners of your eyes, your badass self straps on those two or three bags and trudges off to tackle your job, then your school, then your homework. Despite the fact that your body is exhausted, when it’s your time with your daughter, you dance with her, you play with her, you spin her round until her giggles wake the neighbors. You’re epic.

Yes, your humble writer wants to talk about body positivity. For now, though, your humble writer is only going to commit to acknowledging that the body positive movement is an important movement. Your humble writer is also going to switch back to the first-person because, let’s be real, it’s getting awkward7 up in here.

There is not much argument—valid argument—against supporting body positivity, as I see it. People loving themselves more seems right up my alley, especially since I spend the bulk of my posts reminding people that everyone is human and everyone is real. Also, especially since I spend the bulk of my posts reminding people that they are loved, at the very least by some awkward stranger on the internet (but, in a more likely reality, by many people, both known and unknown to them).

There can’t be much argument—valid argument—against encouraging others to forgive the flaws in their body, or (*gasp*) even go beyond that to realize that “flaws” is likely the wrong word to use to begin with.

There can’t be much argument—valid argument—against providing people the tools to build up their own self-esteem by starting and moving through the process of loving themselves. If I love you, I feel like there should be some give and take here, y’all. You should have to try to love yourself8, too. It’s only fair, right?

So yes, I want to talk about body positivity but I can’t talk about body positivity because I know that I need to talk about body positivity positively (shock and awe!) and even though it seems (at least for the last 1200 words or so) that I have been talking about body positivity I don’t think you should hold it against me but probably instead just give me an award9 for acknowledging that I and the rest of the world does in fact need to talk about body positivity and if we are not there yet maybe we should work on getting there because yes the body positive movement is an important one.

Maybe this is my step one. I don’t know. If it is, though, take it with me? Because yes, everyone is human and everyone is real. Nothing perceived or misperceived about their body is ever going to change that—that much I know for sure.

 

  1. The editor is, in fact, only an editor in my head and, as such, is vastly underpaid.
  2. See that? Tone of authority, y’all.
  3. All nine of you! Sarcasm aside, I love you more than I love my cat when she sleeps on my neck in that suffocating way that cats do (something that one shouldn’t really love, probably). Oh, the tears—here they come. We’re having a moment, aren’t we? This is our moment.
  4. I’ll dedicate the book to you. …but you’re still going to have to buy the book. Just to clarify.
  5. That brought its friend and uninvited, infinitely unwelcome guest—a guest who goes by the name “A-long-term-road-of-recovery-ahead.”
  6. My editor would like to note that he suggested editing the phrase “a touch of” to read “raging.”
  7. I would like to recognize that I know it is rarely, if ever, not awkward up in here.
  8. I know how hard this is. Jokes aside, I know how hard this is.
  9. My editor says I shouldn’t have said that.

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