body love

body love is something i have struggled with for most of my life. even as a very young girl (10 or 11) i remember being ashamed that i had a little bit of fat on my stomach, and that it wasn’t perfectly flat even though i was skinny. this has remained my largest source of body shame, but has been accompanied with stresses about acne/eczema, breast size (too small when i was younger, and now feeling sad about slowly losing the super-hard body of my early 20s), having hairstyles/clothing/makeup that didn’t suit me well, etc.

when i first joined suicidegirls as a member in early 2004, i got a surge of confidence from seeing women of all different body shapes. i saw myself (and my pudgy tummy) reflected in them and it was reassuring. i wasn’t a freak! other ladies had the same shape! that confidence boost was not permanent–i’ve gone back and forth since then. at some points in the last ten years i’ve been incredibly fit, toned and spending tonnes of time at the gym, others i’ve been slacking off, eating junk food, getting lazy and ballooning up to my unhealthy-feeling top weight.

these days i’m somewhere in the middle–i can run 5+ miles and hardly break a sweat, bend through an intense 75 minute yoga class, or bike all day with no problem, but for months i’ve been so self-conscious of the few extra pounds of padding that have worked their way onto my body since my last superfit cycle, jan-march 2011. i’ve been pushing myself to love my body with all the new curves.

today, in the changing-room at a bra store (of all places!) i had a stroke of inspiration. maybe it was just because i had been told my bra size is three cups larger than i had thought** (how does that happen? i don’t even know), and i definitely have not shaken the big-boobs-are-better indoctrination of our culture, maybe it was just time for me to learn this lesson. maybe i have gotten tired at looking at my stomach, thighs, and other fat spots and sighing inwardly.

why the fuck does it matter? my body is awesome

it’s funny how things just sink when they will, and not before; i’ve spent years as a daily reader of various bodylove/fatpositive blogs, and it still has been so difficult to implement that thinking into my daily life. i often thank my body for being so capable–who cares if there are a few pounds extra when my body allows me to run, bike, swim, bend, love, bake, stand for a long time, reach, do a bunch of pushups, with no problems? i’ve had no problem attracting lovers & get compliments from strangers & friends on a regular basis, but it’s likely that anyone who has body issues will agree: those things are wonderful but not usually enough to override the inner critic that is yelling YOUR THIGHS ARE TOO FAT AND OMG THAT BELLY IS GROSS

this time feels so real, and i’m going to keep going on it. my body is strong and capable and beautiful and i’m going to love it harder than ever before. <3<3<3

here are links to some of my favourite body-positive blogs:
already pretty
fuck yeah, body love
fuck yeah chubby girls
fuck yeah plus size
this blog post my friend jenanne linked in the comments to this very entry

**ladies, i am now a convert to the school of GET YOUR DAMN BRA SIZE MEASURED PROFESSIONALLY. i spent way too many years wearing uncomfortable bras for no good reason, and my new bras are so comfy it feels like i am not wearing one. take care of your tatas! spend the hour it takes in a real bra shop (not la senza) getting a good fit. it is so worth your time! i went to change, which was really nice, because most professional-fit bra shops have bras that are $100+ and all the ones at change were $40-60

9 thoughts on “body love

  1. thanks for this, arinn. it’s a reminder we all need, and something i’ve been thinking about lately. i wrote a little recently on my blog but it is perhaps a bit more to do about body and inheritance…

    anyway, i think we have such a visual culture here — everything is always about how something looks, how it appears (especially for woman-identified people, because this is amplified by the male gaze) but we focus so little on really experiencing our bodies, on how we FEEL, and celebrating what we can DO, like you say: what we are capable of through our bodies.

    i really like the writer hanne blank, i don’t know if you know her, but she has a number of interesting books about being a body, and also on the history of sexuality, etc:

    i was also thinking about how we also talk about adolescence as this huge (and often traumatic time) of bodily changes, but never really discuss it past that. i totally know what you mean about comparing your body from the early 20s to your body now — sometimes i feel more shocked by recent changes than i did those when i was young!

    over the past 10 years, i too have gained curves and lost the visibility of my abs (despite them still being there just as strong underneath the subcutaneous fat!) and also have been dealing with the super-hormonal-imbalance of PCOS for about the last 5 years, which has left me puffier, drier-skinned, hairier, etc.
    combined with the natural slowing of metabolism, i often feel a bit ill at ease,

    but i HATE all the fat-loathing in this culture more than i dislike my body, and so i too am making an effort to valiantly and loudly enjoy being in this body through which i do all sorts of wonderful things.

    1. i actually read your blog about inheritance–just takes a few days before a thoughtful-enough response to your incredible posts develops. it’s kind of slow but i acccept that.

      anyway! thank you for posting and sharing the body-love. it’s so valuable to know someone feels the same! body- and fat-positivity is so important. loving all kinds of bodies is so important! and possibly you share this trait with me: i’d never police someone else’s body, and find myself attracted to a wide variety of body shapes, but have so little tolerance for my own!

      it’s so frustrating how our bodies don’t exactly follow along with our plans. being short-sighted, deaf, having irritated skin, developing allergies, developing hormonal conditions, etc, all feel like small betrayals; if not in the way we want our bodies to work, but also in how we want them to look. and, as you mentioned, this culture is so looks-heavy! it’s so much more important to feel ourselves than measure and weigh ourselves.

      one of my favourite cookbook authors wrote a book because she deals with pcos, among other things: i doubt you’re starved for healthy cookbooks but here is a great one: appetite for reduction

      1. yes, exactly! i don’t police others — all of the negativity and intolerance is directed inward, toward myself.

        yes. feeling should take the place of measuring.

        and i have that book! i’ve been cooking from it a lot lately! most recently i made the moroccan chickpeas and zucchini — such nice flavours with the chili-spice + fresh mint. 🙂

      1. it’s true!
        useful in times of apocalypse, but also more mundane things like endurance sports…

        did you know that at ultra-marathon distances (100+ km) female bodied people tend to outperform male bodied, because most female bodies store an extra layer of subcutaneous fat somewhere on our bellies/thighs which provides extra fuel once all glycogen stores have been exhausted? super cool.

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