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Posted under: Health Life Style

The body positivity movement is not for me yet

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.

Both sides reduce me to nothing but my appearance, and I don't like it.

Body Positivity Movement
Body Positivity Movement
Photo: jazellesartistry.com Then, there's the idea that if I get fit, I'll be betraying all of my fellow plus-sized women out there. It's crazy to me! Almost every single one of my father's siblings (and him) died from diseases caused or exacerbated by being overweight. When I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, it felt like a death sentence, and while I still didn't hate my appearance, I knew I had to lighten my load, literally. How could I become my bigger picture, my 'after' picture, if I wasn't alive to realize it?

There has to be a balance between loving one's self in the current state and loving one's self enough to notice and act on a need for change.

I don't find myself less beautiful because I'm plus-sized, I find myself staring my mortality in the face because I'm overweight. I also don't begrudge those that find that talking about the perceived unattractiveness of their body type incessantly a healing mechanism, but it just doesn't resonate with me. My weight isn't something that needs to be fixed; it's a state of being that needs to be addressed. So, for now, I find myself an outlier with both teams. I'm just a woman who wants to better her whole self. Forgive me if it's more complex for me than black and white... or in this case, fat and light.

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