I have started writing this post multiple times. I really wanted it to be about back to school and kids and talking about bodies but I keep getting stuck. I haven't really had that happen before so I decided to check in and see what is up with my brain. It's not that I am not passionate about what I was planning on writing about. It's not that I don't think it is important because I really truly do. And it's not that I don't think anyone would read it...because if I am going to be completely honest I think that with every post I write. I think it is because I had an experience recently that has been eating at my brain a bit and maybe this is the place to dissect it. I am going to be be completely honest...I have no idea how this is going to go. And I really hope I find a point to what I am writing that someone else will find useful.
I am always reading books about body positive work, the politics of bodies and diets and pretty much anything I can get my hands on in this realm. Recently I just finished "Landwhale" by Jes Baker (which if you have not ready you must!! So vulnerable, so amazing, so enraging) which is a memoir of living her life as a fat female. So many components of this book were eye opening and having lived with thin privilege my whole life this book told stories that I needed to hear. It was while I was reading this book that I had an appointment with my specialist for Crohn's disease. I have recently started a new medication, is a biological that I inject every 8 weeks and it treats both my Crohn's and Psoriasis. At my appointment the doctor weighed me. He does every 6 months and it is the only time I ever get weighed. I don't decline because I know it is part of disease that my weight can fluctuate based on disease activity and he uses it dose my meds properly. He made the comment that the meds must be working well as my weight has increased by 10% in 3 months. Now as a person who spends her life wanting to eradicate fat phobia and make everyone comfortable in their bodies I was super pissed at myself for the reaction of "Seriously?!? Is that right??" Here I am- a person that is supposed comfortable in their own body having a moment of "no..I did not gain that weight" I- to be completely honest- don't remember much of the rest of the appointment as I was having an internal struggle with my gut reaction. This is where I go back to "Landwhale" (READ IT!). Jes talks about moving away from body love and body positivity to body autonomy. Meaning that it is unrealistic to love our bodies every day, but we can work to accept that this is our only one. We can be allowed to not like how they look or how they are moving through the world- often times because the world is not built for all bodies- but we can learn to get through those moments. Reinforcing that idea helped me, for a couple of different reasons. First being that I was so pissed at myself for having any negative reaction to the comment that I was a grumpy ass for a few days. I questioned all that I have written and said. I noticed that my pants were tighter (noticed or projected I am not sure) and instead of telling myself to get new ones I had a couple hours (undershooting I think) of mental gymnastics of how to get my body back to what it was. And I was disgusted with myself. It was only when I was working on a lecture for school on self compassion that I seemed to snap out of it (not sure that is the right phrase). My body is healing. My body is absorbing food- all the food- for potentially the first time in years. The psoriasis that covers 70-80% of my body is no longer visible or causing me pain. And I was upset that my butt was bigger! I sat here staring at my laptop wondering if I was only able to do the work I was doing because I was a "normal" clothing size. Would or will I be brave enough to do it with a larger body- as the likelihood of my weight continue increase more is probable- or will I fall back into the depths of diet culture and rationalize my behaviour. I can honestly say I have never been more pissed off at myself nor have I ever questioned myself so much. Both of which I think were good outcomes to be honest.
I look at the work of fat activists, now these are amazing humans. They not only put themselves out there to help others heal their relationships with their bodies they do it in a time where social media is rampant and trolls are everywhere. The backlash they receive for merely existing is insane let alone that they live unapologetically in their bodies. I realized that my message of "bodies need to be accepted at all sizes" is received in a different way because of my thin privilege(which is f'ed up) This privilege has allowed me to have a voice that I am not sure I fully deserve to have. (Yet I do believe that using my thin privilege to provide access to more marginalized voices is important and to this I will try to do more). I want to showcase their work in a way that can bring more light to this topic and the amazing work that they do.
The other thing that happened when I started working on this is that it became very apparent that this work is never, ever done. Our bodies change all the time. They age. They get sick. They heal. And really as long as we have a body that means we are alive that in of itself is amazing!! Which means that one must always be doing the work on their bodies. We must always be checking in to see what we are saying and thinking about ourselves. And we must continue to challenge those thoughts and grow with our bodies. My body didn't need food restriction or increased exercise. My body needed me to say "heal from years of this disease", "do what you need to do so that I can continue to live my life". My body needed me to say "thank you for continue to exist". My body needed me to say "Who gives a flying fuck what you weigh!"
I am always learning, always changing. I only know my own lived experiences and a bit about others from my learnings. I feel that this experience opened me up to the realization that more work needs to be done in the world and in myself. I am not even close to where I want or need to be. I will continue to work on myself as I hopefully assist others on their body work.
Until next time...be unapologetically you while I be unapologetically me
ps....for those of you living in the GTA check out the Nourished Circle Retreat, link at top of page.