Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Body Love Blog.

Warning: Long Post Ahead.   No hurt feelings if you don't read. 

Have y'all seen/read Humans of New York??  If not, you really really should.  It's such a wonderful pick-me-up for me.  Whenever.  Forever.  Brandon always seems to find the most wonderful and charming and smile-enducing folks to photograph and the blurbs are the best part.  I can't tell you how many times I've teared up just flipping through.

You might've also heard about Stella and the Body Love Blog.

I heard about Stella through Humans of New York and I am grateful.  It's rare when a stranger can reach through and mean something so powerful to you via the internet.  Stella means that to me.

Long story way too short that is much better written elsewhere (PLEASE GO READ HER STORY ON HUMANS OF NEW YORK) she was excited to see Brandon taking photos and asked to take his photo.  One thing lead to another and she made her mark and ended up on the Today Show.

Below you will find the original post:
Today I met an NYU student named Stella. I took a photo of her. Afterwards, she told me about a self-portrait she recently posted on Tumblr. So, instead of the photo I took, here is her self-portrait:

WARNING: Picture might be considered obscene because subject is not thin. And we all know that only skinny people can show their stomachs and celebrate themselves. Well I’m not going to stand for that. This is my body. Not yours. MINE. Meaning the choices I make about it, are none of your fucking business. Meaning my size, IS NONE OF YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS.

If my big belly and fat arms and stretch marks and thick thighs offend you, then that’s okay. I’m not going to hide my body and my being to benefit your delicate sensitivities.

This picture is for the strange man at my nanny’s church who told me my belly was too big when I was five.

This picture is for my horseback riding trainer telling me I was too fat when I was nine.

This picture is for the girl from summer camp who told me I’d be really pretty if I just lost a few pounds

This picture is for all the fucking stupid advertising agents who are selling us cream to get rid of our stretch marks, a perfectly normal thing most people have (I got mine during puberty)

This picture is for the boy at the party who told me I looked like a beached whale.

This picture is for Emily from middle school, who bullied me incessantly, made mocking videos about me, sent me nasty emails, and called me “lard”. She made me feel like I didn’t deserve to exist. Just because I happened to be bigger than her. I was 12. And she continued to bully me via social media into high school.

MOST OF ALL, this picture is for me. For the girl who hated her body so much she took extreme measures to try to change it. Who cried for hours over the fact she would never be thin. Who was teased and tormented and hurt just for being who she was.

I’m so over that.

and FUCK YOU ALL who tried to degrade my being and sense of self with your hurtful comments and actions. 



 Stella is a hero.  To me.  To many others.

I've struggled with my weight much of my adult life.  It's not something I like to openly discuss as it hits too close home to me.  It's not something I like to discuss because it's personal.  It's not something I like to discuss because I know it is self-induced.  Sure I could eat less.  Sure I could eat better.  Sure I could exercise more (at all).  If it really bothers me so much I should (and can) change it with a lot of work. 

You see I've gained weight, lost weight, and gained it back.  I loved and hated being skinny.  I loved the clothes and I loved the way I felt; I hated the attention I received.  There is so much more attention than when I'm fat.  Even from people I know.  It's almost like I mattered more because I was more conventionally attractive.  I hated it.  I'm not saying that's why I gained the weight back, but I wasn't necessarily heartbroken to not deal with that shit anymore.

Sure it might've been because it was in contrast to my previous weight.  I, too, want to congratulate people when I see they've lost weight.  But it wasn't the congratulations or conversations about it, it was the conversations people didn't have with me before but had since the weight loss.  As if I made it to the cool kids' table.  It's such a complicated issue and I'm sure my lack of objectivity only makes it worse, but I know how I felt and I didn't like it.       

I'd love to wear all the fabulous outfits I put together on this blog, but would most likely not fit into them.  To be completely honest, that's partly why I've stopped posting here.  It feels disingenuous to be shilling a life that is so far from my own.  It used to be my life and still could be, just in a different clothes section and I haven't admitted that here.  Nor have I dealt with it in my life.  I vacillate between wanting to accept my body for what it is no matter its size and losing the weight I've gained in the past two years.

Part of me knows I'd be healthier and happier if I lost the weight and that's worth it all.  Part of me worries that I'm not solving any problems by not loving who I am now, the way that I look now.  If I can't do it looking like this I never will.

If only Stella could whisper sweet nothings in my ear. 

And, honestly, that's what I'm trying here -- I'm trying to be honest and straight forward.  I'm hoping to be as honest as I can about a topic that is both utterly confusing and horrifically embarrassing for me.  I'm hoping by saying it out loud I'll take the wind out of the sails and be able to move forward.  I don't even know if that makes sense to you.  I'm not even sure if that matters. 

If anything, thank you for being part of a space that lets me make sloppy pronouncements like this.        

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