I don't think there has been a single time in my life I have genuinely felt 100% okay with my body. I have always considered myself a decently self-confident person. I have always considered myself an informed person. I have always considered myself an optimistic person. And, I have always been an inclusive feminist (long before I knew of that terminology).
And yet, I have not gotten over the hump of body positivity towards myself.
That being said, I LOVE the idea of body positivity. I certainly feel body positive about others. And that didn’t happen overnight; it has been a journey.
I remember being a slightly overweight elementary school student. I remember being bullied for having a gap in my two front teeth, for having bushy eyebrows, and the list goes on. I remember coming home from school crying every day and my Italian grandparents soothing my soul the only way they knew how: pastina. (I think we may have solved my chubby mystery).
I created the conclusion, in my 7 year old mind, that to be beautiful was to be perfect, and to be perfect was to be happy and immune from all criticism.
Instead of squashing the hateful goggles that were adorned to view me, I came to realize that I had subconsciously donned them myself. I was never a vocal child, I was quiet and shy and kept to myself. If anything, I stepped in on rare bold occasions for kids that were being bullied like myself. But the goggles stayed on. I had learned, unfortunately, from a very young age, what exactly physical “flaws” were, and I couldn't stop seeing them.
I share that story with you not because I find it to be unique or extraordinary; on the contrary, I think everyone shares this exact story. American society infiltrates everything we do before we can realize it’s happening, its values permeating our every thought, especially the weak and vulnerable ones we have about ourselves and others.
The hopeful news here is that I see a splendor of beauty in other people. I think freckles are gorgeous. I follow women on Instagram with soft, supple curves and understand why women’s bodies- rolls, dimples and all- were painstakingly carved into marble centuries ago. (I mean can you IMAGINE how grueling it would be to literally chip at a hunk of stone until it looks like a woman? You’d have to be pretty damn convinced it’s worth it). I see men with thin lips and thinning hair and know that they’re wonderful. I see people of every gender, of no gender, of fluid genders, and know that they are just marvelous.
If only I could have the same acceptance of myself.