The Painful Journey Of Body Positivity
Body positivity is something I come across everywhere because I love the tales of it. I admire the strength of those who learn and practice uncompromising self love. It's a rebellion and a feminism statement, it's a "fuck you" to the world. It's powerful, proud and necessary. For those who are unfamiliar with it maybe haven't noticed it, perhaps because it doesn't appeal to where you fit in the world, or perhaps it just didn't speak to the way you want to confront the world with your positive relationship with yourself. That's fine, body positivity is a personal preference and truth, there's no reason for you to admire or copy someone else's version of it. Taking note and respecting it is all that is asked for.
The body positivity movement comes from a shit-ton of negativity and hatred directed at (mainly) bodies that don't fit the socially acceptable standard. It's existence shines a light on the really horrible parts of our society and culture. It tends to be anti-fat, homophobic, transphobic, racist, misogynist and all the other intolerant things people manage to be. I love body positivity as a movement for it's fearlessness and its position as a protest of love. It's not violent or inherently negative, because it wants to grow a positive out of a negative. How can anyone hate that? Well, a lot do, but that's not what my blog post is about.
I really am trying to grow some semblance of self love and body positivity into my life, and in doing so I feel like there's one part of this movement people aren't talking about - learning body positivity is really fucking hard. It's not straight forward and for every two steps forward I take I take one back, at least. I'm better at liking myself than I ever have been, but I am a million miles away from being in a stable and content place. I'm not even talking about full on loving myself, I'm just looking for acceptance and contentment.
Bit of a side note: I know the body positivity and self love movement is mainly body image, but for me, and I think most people, a struggle with the outside is reflective of a struggle within. My body positivity journey is wrapped up in all my other self confidence issues, so I can't talk in a way that separates them. My BoPo journey is a whole body and mind experience because neglecting one part would see the whole thing doomed to failure.
Anyway, it's probably not a shock to a lot of people - "a woman who doesn't like the way she looks, what a shock Join the club." But just stop for a second - that should be the exception, why is it normal for women to hate the way they look? Why is it normal to live in a society where self hate is more easily accepted than self love?
Over the last two weeks, I've taken a rather spectacular fall in the whole self love / body positivity process. I'm thinking and saying some incredibly horrible things about myself. If I said these things to another person, I'd never forgive myself. Ditto if they said them to me. But I say them to myself. That's a whole lot of hurt I'm causing and I don't know why. I've taken small, recent failures and turned them into world-ending events. I've crumbled at every hurdle where the best course of action is to be kind to myself. Besides, these little losses are nothing in the scheme of things even if it doesn't feel like it at the time.
I feel like I have to write about this because others often don't. I was making great progress - I didn't put too much stock in whether I gained or lost weight at my slimming group, I was exercising and enjoying it, I was positive about work. The last two weeks have seen a few stumbling points that have well and truly knocked all this out from under me. And it's put me at war with myself again. Although, is it even a war if the other side puts up no resistance?
I'm still trying though. I'm not giving up because the alternative - living in a pool of self loathing and disappointment - is not a life I want. And I think this battle to a better place is the biggest difficulty within body positivity and self love. Accepting that it's a process and letting others know how hard it can be is part of the movement that we need to talk about. It's the part of the movement I'm telling you about.
Loving yourself is not a quick decision. It's not an easy task that you can tick off in a week, in a month, a tear, even a decade. It's a continuous process that some of us find painfully difficult - and that's okay. I'm okay, and I will be okay. And so will you.
If this post can give you anything, I hope it's this - you can do this, even though it hurts, even though it's easier to give up. You can, and you will get there. I believe in you and I love; one day, you will too.