On being unapologetically ME

(Recommended listening while reading this post: Story You Forgot, by Peter Katz. [Duh.])

I have been thinking a lot about why I feel the need to talk about my body. Who am I to share these personal thoughts and feelings on the internet? Is it inappropriate? How do my parents feel about it? What if an employer sees it and judges me for it? Does anybody really care?

These, and many other questions and doubts frequently come up. Before, these feelings would win, and I’d file it in the “some day” brain folder. Lately, though, I’m noticing so many things around me that are calling me to not shy away from these conversations. And so, my topic for the day: not apologizing.

I have spent too much energy in my life apologizing to the world for being fat. The shame associated with this majorly visible feature of my body makes me uncomfortable in so many situations where I otherwise wouldn’t – and shouldn’t – be. Regular, every day things. Like sitting on the subway and taking up more space than some math equation decided to allot to the average Torontonian’s butt width, and then there being a bunch of people standing around instead of sitting down next to me. Oh god, they all see how fat I am! Or walking into a clothing store and being told by a sales associate that there is “nothing here for you” before even being asked what I’m looking for. I’m looking for a scarf, but I guess they won’t fit my neck here. How dare I enter this establishment?

I’m so over this. There are a number of people that have helped and inspired me to deal with these feelings and face them head on: Fat Girl Food Squad, Ama Scriver and Frances Cannon are up on the top of the list. Talk about being unapologetic – these women are vocal and empowering, brave, uplifting, body positive – real self-love GURUS. They do such important work providing their audiences with tools to learn about how to love themselves, how to let others love themselves, and how to love each other.

My biggest reason to flip the bird to all of it and be unapologetically ME, whether it’s that I’m fat or having a really loud dorky laugh or being sometimes socially awkward or whatever it is in that moment or all of those things, above all else, is my friends. I don’t know how I got so lucky to be surrounded with really SO MANY amazing women, but I am, and we are a mushy, squishy, lovely, vulnerable bunch who “over-share” (aka share, because there is no “over” at this point) about everything, and it has made my life so. much. better. No topic goes undiscussed. No gross body thing is weird. No vulnerability is taken advantage of or judged. We are fat, slim, athletic,  tall, short, wide, round, slender, up, down, lamps, couches, baba ganouj, philodendrons- oh, wait, I started naming random things there. We are all of the things, we are whatever we want to be, we are us, and we are perfect.

Photo by Jen Ochej.

I love my body. My tattoos are a celebration of it. Photo by Jen Ochej.

Reminder to practice self-love.

Frances Cannon drew me this earthy goddess fat lady who loves herself. Amy Bliska at Archive Tattoo tattooed it. Jen Ochej photographed it.

I love me, and I’m not sorry that it makes others uncomfortable. I want to ruffle feathers, because I want those who are uncomfortable with it to question why that is, figure it out and get over it. I want to keep writing about this, even while others are, because not everyone has the kind of social circle that I do, and maybe one person a year from now will really need to read this, and anyway, there’s never enough love in the world. We all get scared sometimes, but let’s keep talking about it, and maybe we’ll get scared less often. There is no over-share.

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