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I love my body, and you should, too.

Monday, November 8th, 2010

And why not love yours while you’re at it? ;)

A new friend of mine posted this brief but poignant article on The Bilerico Project this evening: Loving myself gay, loving myself fat. I met (Rev. Emily) Heath last month, and found her to be intelligent, kind-hearted, funny, and handsome. Having lived through more than twenty years of torment (from others, and myself) about my weight, I knew that she’d likely faced the same, and her bravery in sharing it with all of us is to be applauded.

Being shamed for my size has probably had more influence on me than anything else in my life. My earliest memories of this are from when I was seven or eight years old, both from schoolmates and neighborhood parents. More recently, long after I learned of the size acceptance movement, becoming active in groups like Fatshionista on LiveJournal and following blogs like The Rotund, I found myself trying to explain to one of my best friends why I felt like I wasn’t “good enough” for my¬† then-crush, who later became my partner. I came to the conclusion that the only reason was my weight. That was it. But it was enough to instill me with doubt and fear and intense feelings of inadequacy that leaked into everything I thought about myself, preventing me from trusting that she really wanted me. It was one hell of an epiphany, and I only wish I could say that it changed everything. Matter of fact, the end of that relationship drove the point deeper still: you weren’t good enough, and you know why. No, I don’t really believe that, but it’s hard to silence a voice that’s been whispering the same poison in your mind for over two decades. Even though my partner built my confidence through actions and words so that when we were together, I felt sexier and sassier than I ever had in my life, I couldn’t accept that my body wasn’t at least part of the problem when the relationship ended.

What does all of this have to do with books, you ask? Let me tell you about a book I can’t recommend enough to anyone who can relate to Heath’s experience, or my experience, or that of someone with an eating disorder, or who loses their modeling career over putting on five pounds. (Yes, the body acceptance movement is for thin and “average” sized people, too. If you have a body, chances are you’ve felt it was too something, or not something enough.)

Lessons from the Fat-o-sphere: Quit Dieting and Declare a Truce with Your Body, co-authored by Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby, is an incredible book. The link will lead you to my review on LibraryThing, where you can also find recommendations for other works about body acceptance, fat activism, and finding peace in the body you have right now, today. Heath’s article was the reminder I needed about how the book made me feel to read it, and how badly I could use that right now. I’m off to read a bit of it before bed, which I intend to do every night, even if it means reading it two or three times over, until I rediscover that sense of pride I once had in this body that does so much for me every single day. It’s a strong, healthy, sexy body, and it deserves a lil appreciation, most of all from me.