The fitting room is one of the places where we’re truly alone with our minds, our bodies, and a pile of clothes that we hope can “fix” or “hide” our problem areas. It’s where many of us might have gone through jarring experiences that instilled years of poor body image and a harmful amount of self loathing. It’s where a lot of us associated going up a size with failure, laziness, and a declining sense of self worth. It’s also the place we create the idea that going down a size means we’re prettier, more successful, and a person worthy of respect from strangers.
Every time I used to step into a fitting room, I would undress and stare at myself in the mirror. It was the one place I could really view myself from head to toe and in angles that I wasn’t aware existed. I would see myself in the same way that the world saw me. When I wore a skirt that was above my knees, I’d see my thighs infected with cellulite as well as my kneecaps with deep crevices that everyone would point out with their stares. Over the years, I learned to dislike what I saw because my body wasn’t represented positively anywhere. The absence of bodies like mine (and their “imperfections”) in magazines, movies, and TV sent a message that was loud and clear; Women who looked like me were not deserving of visibility, much less success.
As the years went by, representation of all women slowly started to grow. Online body positive communities became my solace. They were the places where I slowly learned that I had every right to reclaim my self worth. These online communities were the places I connected with people who were also looking for the same things as me. We wanted people with all body shapes represented within media and we wanted to be treated with respect. Instead of waiting for these things to happen, we took power into our own hands. People from all over the world began to post selfies, open letters, and we helped each other out by sharing resources and life hacks that made living our lives a little bit easier.
The online body positive community gave me something that I am incredibly grateful for everyday, they allowed me to realize that the thing I needed to change was how I viewed and treated myself. Instead of making big plans for when I reached my goal weight, I began to do the things I’ve always wanted to do before the week was over. I decided to stop denying myself of the hobbies I wanted to get better at such as acting, photography and writing. When I gave myself permission to do the things I always wanted to do, I noticed so much in me change. My attitude shifted from thinking it was a waste of time to pursue my hobbies to seeing the results my work could yield. Slowly I began to surround myself with people who could support this kind of growth and I’ve only become a better and more self assured person. The online body positive community allowed me to realize that my body or my size does not determine if I am deserving of respect and good things, I hope that this blog post has done the same for you. <3
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