I'm a plus-sized woman. I've been teased about many things, including being a darker-skinned black girl/woman, but never anything so much as my size. You would think that the burgeoning 'body positivity' movement would be a beacon for someone like me. That's just it, though — I've never looked at my body type as the determining factor for anything that I can or will be able to do in my life. My challenges would stem from battling external things such racism and sexism or internal things like self-doubt or learning curves. I was never of the mind that my body's curves would hold me back or slow me down in life. When the body positivity movement first hit my radar, there were few contributors whose work I felt was truly meaningful, honest, and respectful all in one. Mostly, for me, this movement has felt almost like a support group for people recovering from something that is perceived as a disease. While being overweight or obese certainly can have negative health implications, the people who fit that bill are not the disease themselves. There's an interesting black and white-ness to this whole thing, almost as though there are two opposing teams: The Body Positives and the Pro-Fitness folks. One wants me to unilaterally accept my body as is while the other wants me to wholly reject the fat I carry around. For the former, 'fat' is a word I should take back as empowering, whereas the latter says my goal should be everything antonymous of it. Neither position works for me. Although I can love myself as I am now, I can also recognize the need for change, including better eating habits, more regimented exercise, etc. But when I think about the fact that I am currently my 'before' picture, I'm not just referring to my weight. I'm my 'before' picture in my career, in my emotional growth and in my relationships. I'm looking at the bigger picture, no pun intended.
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