Let me just tell you, writing this blog is not easy. I’m not talking about finding the time to write, or even finding subjects to write about (I have about a dozen draft posts queued up!). I mean, it’s tough to keep plugging away when there are so many institutions, organizations, and businesses, and people (including those in my personal life) out to silence my voice.
Social media, popular culture, and the news are constantly flooded with reminders that we should never love our bodies until they are appropriately small enough, and that we should also never stop punishing our bodies until we reach that state. The multi-billion dollar diet industry does not want me to talk to you about loving yourself – it wants me to encourage you to restrict your eating until you shrink yourself (temporarily, of course, because then you’ll need to give them even more money to do it all over again).
This messaging doesn’t just come from the bigger world, either. A lot of times, it comes from home, family, and friends. A few weeks ago, I had someone tell me that they hope I never give up hope of one day being thin.This person knows the message of BFD. They know that I fight every day to love my body the way it is, and that I spend so much of my time and energy talking to you about the same thing. This person is kind and respectful to me in so many ways… but can’t let go of the idea (ingrained in all of us for our entire lives, so I totally understand why it is so hard to shake) that the only acceptable way for a body to be is thin.
Some days, I just want to give it all up. Not my personal journey toward body acceptance and love. I plan to keep on keeping on with that, believe me. There are days, though, when those relentless voices get to me and I think (as Liza Minnelli sang): Maybe this time, I’ll be lucky. Maybe this time, the restrictive diet and excessive exercise will work their magic, and I won’t just get thin, I’ll stay thin. Thankfully, those thoughts occur less and less. Because I don’t want to live a life of deprivation and misery. Why would I?
So, why do I keep plugging away? Well, partly because I’m just stubborn. But also because, slowly but surely, people are not only hearing what I have to say, but embracing the message – and spreading it. Here are two examples.
Beverly writes a blog called The Curvy Word. She can’t remember how she found BFD, but now that she has, she’s become a frequent commenter, and we’re even Facebook friends. So imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered she mentioned me in one of her posts! Beverly is working on some major stuff with her body and weight, and I am so glad she has made BFD a part of that journey. Thanks, Beverly!
My second feel-good moment comes from one of my closest and dearest friends, Kim. (You might expect that my close friends understand and encourage the work I’m doing here… and you’d be partly right. Body love and acceptance is not for everyone.) Here’s part of an email that Kim sent me recently:
…you have inspired me to be so comfortable with my body. I’m teaching some of my students about body acceptance. I told them that some people may judge me on how my body looks but my body is an open book about my life. I’ve given birth, had surgeries, grieved, loved and lived in my body and it truly shows and I love it. My body gets me from point A to point B and it serves a purpose. So I feel more confident about me and am able to share that with my students. So, thank you for that.
That, right there. That’s why I do this.
Thank you, Kim and Beverly, for reminding me that this is worth all the exhaustion and frustration. There’s no “maybe” anymore. With BFD, I definitely got lucky.