Body acceptance. Two words, which completed a phrase that I had refused to accept for many years of my life. When I heard, “body acceptance” my mind was drawn to the countless images of plus sized models on the internet, like Ashley Graham, flaunting their beautifully dis-proportioned bodies which seemed so imperfect, that they became perfect to the eye. However, I realized this image was only a mere glimpse into defining the true acceptance of one’s body.
When broken down, the phrase, “body acceptance” stands for something bigger than the picture I have just illustrated. It is about women and girls of all shapes, colors, sizes, and anything else self defining, accepting who they are - stretch marks, scars, and all - no matter what society tells them. A feeling of self confidence which I had always craved.
Inner confidence; to be so strong willed and so “I do not give a fuck”, that I started to not give any power to what anyone else thought of me and my body besides me. But the phase “body acceptance” terrified me because that would mean that I would have to accept the fact that I was fat.
The word fat can be characterized by the Merriam Webster dictionary as obesity or obese, among other things. However, this definition was the one that I had chosen to represent the word; this was the definition I used to inflict pain upon my own self. But it did not have to be that way, I did not have to let a word bring me down.
The truth is that words do not have any power unless you hand it to them. You can change their connotations based on the way you react or handle the word itself. Therefore, by defining the word fat as neither a bad, nor a good thing, I was able to take back that power. I began to realize that fat was just another characteristic along with short, tall, brunette, or blonde. No two alike; not one that outshines the other. Trust me, I would know, I have been both brunette and blonde in my lifetime.
However, the journey to body acceptance did not end there, as it was, and still is immensely hard for me to accept that words like fat, chubby, baby belly, and plus size, were all words that described me; words that I embodied, literally. I could not figure out why, because I had seen countless of these plus sized models and gauged over how beautiful they looked in bikinis even with their stomachs popping out from the sides of her bottoms to say hi. So why couldn’t I just accept myself that way either?
One night, in my bed, staring at the ceiling post cry, I realized it didn’t have to be this way. I did not have to label myself as any of these words - if I did not want to - that I started to really see myself for who I truly was. A strong, smart, and beautiful, young woman. I did not have to use labels, like plus sized -that let me reiterate, are not bad or disgusting words in any way- on myself if I did not want to. These labels were created by society to fit me into something; somewhere I did not belong.
Which leads me to this conclusion, no matter how many times society tries to put you in a box and label you for whatever they want to see you as, you have the power to fit yourself into your own box, or no box at all. I am me, and I am happy being like no one else. That is where true confidence comes from, that ultimate acceptance of the uniqueness of the individual body, mind, and soul.