I have an uncomfortable thought that sits about 3/4 of the way back in my mind. It is far enough back for me to ignore it a lot of the time but not all the time. When I do hear it, it isn’t kind. It normally makes itself heard when I am talking to others about body confidence and body positivity.
I am body positive. I have a type of body confidence. I hope that both people who know me from this blog and people who know me in real life would agree with that statement.
There is a but though. It isn’t the sort of butt that I normally share pictures of. The voice in my head relentlessly points out that I am fat and I don’t like being fat. It dances with sneering satisfaction every time someone gives me one of those fat based compliments. The nasty little voice likes to point out that I must be a fake because I do not like to emotionally admit to how fat I am.
I have had conversations with people who have pointed to my pictures as proof that my body looks good. Of course, I could enjoy the compliment but sometimes I can’t. Sometimes each compliment makes me feel more of a fraud. I tend to be so hyper aware of how much careful choice of angles, cropping and use of accessories it takes to look ok.
Meeting people who have until that point only known me online is scary. Each time I expect a look of surprise and dismay and a complaint that I am not as advertised. No-one has said that but it doesn’t stop me thinking it.
So, my questions to myself are; does this make me a fraud when I say I am body positive and does it mean that I hate the reality of my body?
I know that if anyone else asked me those questions, I would instantly reply that body positivity does not exclude sometimes disliking your body. Body positivity does not instantly supply you with rose-tinted glasses that automatically catch you at your best angle and in your best light all of the time. Body positivity is about learning that we are ok. It isn’t about pretending that we are perfect. To me, body positivity is about not hiding until we think we fit, until we have no more hang-ups and until we think we are non-controversial in our beauty. To me, body positivity does not exclude having parts of my body that are challenging to me. For me, a huge element of body positivity is not letting judgements, including my own, about my physical form define who I am, who I am allowed to be and what I am allowed to enjoy.
I am not a fake. I do not hate my body but these were the most difficult pictures for me to take and share. In editing them, I have looked with a different eye. Instead of seeing proof of failing by becoming fat, today I am seeing my own strength and visibility by sharing them.
These pictures aren’t sexy to me and they don’t have my normal level of sass and cheek. They are me, stripped bare, vulnerable and exposed and still strong.