Alright, so this week we are jumping right into the pool of vulnerability. Today, I’m going to be discussing the unpredictable rollercoaster ride that is self-love and body positivity. If you’ve been following me for a while, you may remember that I made a blog post similar to this in early 2019. The thing is, that blog post was also being submitted as part of a school project, and knowing that my professor would at least be skimming through it made me refrain from getting into some of the nitty gritty details. However, I’m now done with school and free to be unfiltered, baby!
Now, I’d love to sit here and tell you that I’ve cracked the code and uncovered all the tips and tricks you can utilize to reach the ultimate body-positive, self-loving mindset…but that just simply is not the case. The truth is, my relationship with my body and the appreciation I have for it is ever-changing. I have had quite the relationship with my body image and self-confidence in my 22 years of life thus far, and today I’m here to tell you about some of the high points, lots of the low points, and where I’m at currently on the path to self-love and acceptance.
Let’s start near the beginning, shall we? Ever since I was a baby, I’ve been chubby but, when you’re a baby, none of that matters. In fact, when you’re a baby, the more rolls the better! Unfortunately though, as you get older, those cute little baby rolls that people pinch and lose their minds over become less and less celebrated. Despite being a bigger kid, it didn’t actually affect me for quite some time. I always made friends, I always did really well in school, and I was really just being too much of a carefree kid to notice.
Of course, there were a few instances where I was made aware that my weight was apparently something of an eyesore to other people. Like in the first grade for example, I can’t remember why but some kid in my class just outright aggressively called me fat in front of everyone which resulted in me being taken out into the hallway by my teacher so I could collect myself after shedding some tears. Another instance is when I came home crying in the fourth grade because some friends and I wanted to perform a routine to the Cheetah Girls in the school talent show (don’t worry, I’m cringing just as much as you are) and they told me I should maybe be more of a backup dancer because I didn’t fit “the look”.
So yes, ridiculous situations like the ones I just explained did occur when I was a chubby little child and, for lack of a better word, they really sucked. But, things didn’t really start taking a darker turn until I was a little bit older. I guess you could say that I really started to hate my body around the pre-teen age, when the epitome of your existence was having a drawer full of shirts with “Aeropostale” or “Hollister” plastered all over them. Due to the fact that I was a young, plus-size little lady, I either didn’t fit into the “trendy” brands or I was just barely squeezing myself into them.
I should also mention that my dad would’ve rather sewed an outfit together for me himself than spend extra money on a t-shirt because it had a specific brand name across the front of it. Because of all these factors, my clothes shopping was done in the women’s section at Wal-Mart. Another thing to note about my dad, he is adamant about clothes fitting properly. He made us try everything on, pulled at the seams of things to make sure things were loose enough for us to be comfortable, made us do squat tests and bend tests to make sure things were durable. Now that I’m older, I think it’s endearing…but chubby pre-teen Christine wanted to kill him.
My BIGGEST enemy when I was younger, and sometimes still to this day, were button up pants. I should also mention that dressing rooms were my personal hell. I would be in a dressing room, trying on a pair of button up pants with tears streaming down my face because I couldn’t get the button closed. It was a wrestling match between myself and most pairs of pants; sucking in, huffing, puffing, pulling, squeezing. I would literally sit in the dressing room and beg for God or the universe to give me the strength to get those pants buttoned up, because the thought of having to walk out of the dressing room with a pile of women’s pants that didn’t fit and having to ask my dad for the next size or two up made me wish that the ground would just swallow me whole. This dressing room panic that I would experience very quickly turned into the everyday panic I had living in my plus-size body.
Growing up, I was extremely lucky in terms of how others treated me. Other than a couple of instances that were far and few in between, I was never made fun of in school for my weight, or at all. As I got older, I always had great groups of friends that were very close knit. Again, I continued to do really well in school, and I was having loads of fun for the majority of it. The craziest thing is, for a long time, none of that mattered. All of that teenage bliss was overshadowed by thoughts of hatred towards my body.
I would say it was the worst in the first two years of high school. I was so incredibly self-conscious, wearing a baggy uniform sweater pretty much all year round because I was terrified that people would run from me in the halls if they caught a glimpse of my love handles. By day I would constantly compare myself to the other girls in my high school, and at night I would spend countless hours on Tumblr looking up pictures of thigh gaps and collar bones and crying myself to sleep at night convincing myself that I was worthless because I didn’t possess those physical attributes. I would look at myself in the mirror and pick myself a part, convincing myself that I’ll be unhappy for the rest of my life because I’m a pig who can’t control herself or her body.
This might sound really sad, and it was, but that’s not what upsets me most. What upsets me most is looking back at pictures from that time and seeing a girl who had absolutely no reason to hate herself as much as she did and I just wish I could go back and knock some sense into her, tell her not to worry so much and just appreciate herself and everything she had in those moments instead of wasting precious time on toxic thoughts.
Thankfully, nearing the end of high school, I wouldn’t say I necessarily loved my body, but I was beginning to accept it. The plus-size community on YouTube and social media was becoming increasingly popular, I started to dive into the world of makeup, and the plus-size section at Forever21 was my saving grace. I finally felt a little bit of normalcy, like I wasn’t just some ogre that society tried to shame into hiding.
Very slowly I started adopting the mindset that investing love and positive thoughts into myself no matter what I looked like would be much more beneficial for my happiness, rather than just wishing I could lose half my body weight. I would say the years I had the most confidence though was probably when I was 19/20. However, the reasoning behind that confidence is bitter sweet. Like I said, I had started on the road to self-acceptance and self-love probably in my last two years of high school. Then, when I was 19, I discovered an app that you may or may not have heard of called “Tinder”.
Ah yes, good ol’ Tinder. You see, when I was a plus-size teenager with raging hormones, my only desire in life was to have a boyfriend like all the other girls in my high school. However, at the time, it seemed like the forbidden fruit of my existence. So, when I was 19 and had my first boyfriend, my confidence truly sky rocketed. The thought of a boy actually thinking I’m cute and wanting to spend time with me truly blew my mind.
Even though that relationship didn’t last long, and wasn’t healthy in the slightest (a story for another day), it got the ball rolling and made me realize that yes, there are people who are going to judge me or avoid me or dislike me because of my weight, however the majority of people who have come in and out of my life haven’t even considered my weight as a deciding factor for who I was as a person. My biggest enemy and the person holding me back the most in life wasn’t some kid who called me fat in the first grade, or someone who may have given me what I thought was a look of judgement while I was walking through the mall. The person tearing me down the most in life was me.
Although getting that first boyfriend boosted my confidence in the beginning, other boyfriends came and went throughout the years and I realized that, at the end of the day, the person you’re always stuck living with is yourself. Ultimately, this showed me that it’s so incredibly important to invest time into loving yourself and becoming comfortable with yourself, inside and out, in order to be happy in life. Now, as much as I am an advocate for the “I don’t need a man to be happy” attitude in my life today, I am ultimately thankful that I got that push to realize that I am beautiful and that my weight or having a plus-size body does not define what I am worthy of in my life and ultimately does not define me as a person.
As for how I feel towards my body today, like I said in the beginning of this post, I’d love to write an inspirational paragraph on how I’ve grown to truly love and appreciate myself and my body to the fullest extent and that I wake up every day feeling like a bad bitch but, that would be a lie. The good thing is, I’m a hell of a lot more confident in myself at 22 then when I was younger but, throughout the years I’ve learned that self-love constantly has its ups and downs. There are days when I look in the mirror and think, “Damn, look at you, out here looking all cute.” However, there are other days that the first word that comes to mind when I look in a mirror is “ew” or I try clothes on in a dressing room and think, “Girl, you’re kidding yourself.” Although sometimes it feels like a never ending battle, it’s important to remember a few key things:
- Being beautiful and feeling beautiful is not just attributed to how you look on the outside.
- Even your worst flaws can be seen as beautiful or admirable in someone else’s eyes.
- Having bad days does not mean you’re a bad person. Bad days are inevitable, but they are days to learn from and grow from.
I could probably go on for countless more paragraphs about the experiences I’ve had in my plus size body, but I think I’m going to save those stories for some future blog posts I have up my sleeve. If you liked this blog post, feel free to let me know in the comments or on Instagram. Next week, we’re going to be talking all about getting naked. Well, more like rocking a naked face, but that can feel just as vulnerable sometimes! If you want to be notified exactly when I post, sign up with your email for notifications or follow me on Instagram!
Thanks for reading!