Wednesday Coffee – Full-Bodied and Robust

I’m not one for taking mirror selfies. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it yourself, but I don’t do it because I suffer from what some call “bad body image” and what others would call “body dysmorphic disorder.”  In other words, I find it hard to see a photo of myself and think it looks good.

I don’t usually post about personal stuff like this nor do I get very heavy with my posts, preferring to post fluff that will make everyone happy to anything that might show my fears and skeletons. But two things have prompted this post.

One: I saw a woman in my store the other day who could easily weigh less than 100 pounds. I’ve seen her around during my several years’ service at my store. Each time I see her, she gets thinner and thinner. Every time I see her, it breaks my heart because all I can think is “there but for the grace of god go I.” That could have been me. Easily. So obsessed with the idea that I’m fat that I can’t see the truth.

Two: I came across an old post of mine from several years ago about the clothing industry. Not the fashion industry that has crazy thin models that parade around with their plastic surgery. Everyone knows that they are an unreachable standard of beauty. No one really wants to be them. I’m talking about the people who make clothes. The ones who apply the words “extra large” to arbitrary sizes and coined the term “plus sized.” The one that when you go to buy pants from the same brand, you wear three different sizes, and then when you wash them once they are so tight you have a muffin top, no matter your actual body type.

So I have a few more confessions to make on top of my past inability to see myself as anything but fat. I wear a size 17 pants. This lodges me firmly within the “plus sized” family, which starts at size 12 and suggests that anyone within that size and higher are an outlier group that shops must cater to differently than the “average” twiggy teenager who wears clothing smaller than that. I weight 181 pounds. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, I am overweight for my height of 5’7”. I am bordering on obese. Don’t look it up, really. Your sanity doesn’t need that kind of pressure. I know mine doesn’t.

So. Now that you know that I’m overweight and plus sized, please look at the photo I have attached. A mirror selfie.

I used to be so obsessed with the idea that I was fat that I couldn’t see the truth. That I am me. I am beautiful. Clothing industry tries to make me think that I am worthless because of my body size by suggesting that I need to shop in different stores than “normal people.” The very health officials that are supposed to be keeping me healthy are trying to grind me into the dirt by calling me overweight, borderline obese.

And they’re doing the same to you.

So. The next time you feel bad about yourself and your body, look yourself in the eyes in the mirror and say, “Fuck them. I’m beautiful and as long as I can see that, it doesn’t matter what anyone else says.”

Because the fashion industry thrives on making sure you feel bad about yourself so you buy more clothes. And the health industry no longer sees you as a patient, a human being, but instead a customer. Someone to sell something to. Like a miracle pill.

So let’s stop this self-depreciation nonsense and see our bodies for what they are. Ours. And no one else’s.

I can’t help that customer but I can try to help you. Don’t fall prey to what others think. I’ve beaten my body dysmorphic disorder and so can you.

2015-09-16 10.28.30

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6 thoughts on “Wednesday Coffee – Full-Bodied and Robust

  1. I think you look absolutely GREAT, I would love to look as good as you do I happen to be morbidly obese even though I wear almost the same size as you (I’m shorter) and I have super extra severe body dysmorphic disorder. I don’t see me beating that anytime soon. 😦

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    1. I appreciate your kind words. I haven’t beaten it completely (I don’t know that anyone ever truly does), but I do believe it’s possible to love yourself no matter how you perceive yourself. And that’s the first step to having a more positive image. It’s very very hard to break the conditioning that society has placed on us. But I think you can do it. Even if it’s not soon. 🙂

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  2. I think we might be almost the same exact size/weight/height (me: 14/183/5’7″). I have struggled my entire life with body image issues. It’s better as I get older but I’ve suddenly hit age 36 and gained weight and am struggling with acceptance all over again. You look beautiful, and your photo just shows off how healthy and wonderful that is…and well if my size is so close to yours, then maybe I am good after all. Thank you for this post, that takes a lot of bravery and gave me some much needed perspective today. Much love.

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    1. That happened to me at 30. I had been a size 12 and consistently 170lb. It came as a blow to my already kinda broken psyche when it came to my body image but I’ve learned to make peace with this body and the fact that it’s inevitable to gain weight as we age. Aging isn’t a horrible thing and maybe the weight gain will come in handy in the winter when it’s negative degrees again?
      Thank you. And you are also lovely. It’s so hard to see in ourselves, so easy to see in others. 🙂

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