Practicing Body Positivity When Your Family Body Shames You

My Looks And Weight Shouldn't Concern You As Long As I Love The Skin I'm In, Which I Do

I have taken measures into my own hands when it comes to my health, wellness, and overall well being, because I know what works well and what is right for me.

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Hey, my name is Anna and for years, I have been ridiculed and shamed about my weight from my family but I am here today writing for the sole purpose to help other kids like me who could never really love themselves because all they could see is what their parents saw and what they think is the best for them.

Ever since I was young I remember being the heavier kid in my class, however, I didn't let that stop me from playing sports, laughing, and enjoying what life handed to me. However, as I got older it became a great alarm to my family that I was going to become unhealthy due to my "lazy lifestyle" and my "food choices." It wouldn't be a year without one or two "you need to lose weight and take your health seriously" talks with my parents; but what I was confused about was how playing sports, dancing, and somewhat eating healthy for a growing kid still made me fat. What could I do more? Why are the other kids skinny and I'm not even though we are doing the same things?

I couldn't fathom how kids could be so skinny while eating chips and cookies. What was wrong with me?

Then in middle school, it only got worse. Get this, in order to get an iPhone I had to sign a contract saying that I would maintain a healthy lifestyle and lose 15 pounds as well as other actions that needed to be taken seriously. Were my parents that embarrassed of my appearance? My doctor claimed I was healthy and bloodwork came back perfect, but I was overweight. Every time she asked me what I ate I told her and she always commented on how I always have a healthy balanced diet but I would eat too much of it. Now throw in a bunch of changing body hormones and BAM! A recipe for disaster.

I woke up every day hating the way I looked because I could see the disappointment in my parents' eyes when I got seconds for dinner or asked for dessert. Even when I wasn't home they always made sure to remind me. This one time at summer camp all the girls were reading their letters from their parents and when I opened mine I could hear a group of girls in the back talking about how my parents wrote "make smart choices" and "remember portion control." No matter what I had a voice in the back of my head always reminding me. I felt disgusting, but I didn't want to cave in and "be healthy" for my parents so they could feel this accomplishment of finally changing me for "my health" and for their own good.

High school rolled around and you can imagine that it only got worse, freshman year I was put into a program at my local hospital to decrease childhood obesity. Well, it lasted three months and I hated every minute of it. I was being averaged in with other kids; other strangers who helped to create a graph for national averages that made me think I was worthless. Then I had enough. I have come to the realization that no graph or my parents could tell me what I can and cannot eat, or wear. With this new found courage I faced my fears and my parents day by day and started doing things they told me was not allowed until I lost weight.

I can still remember the day I came downstairs to show my mom my high waisted bikini, she, of course, hated it because I was "not allowed to wear a bikini until I lost weight." I'm sorry I would love to see a handbook for fat people where it says that. Finally, barrier after barrier, my confidence immediately shined through my smile when I finally could see myself as beautiful because I didn't need a man or my parents to accept me because I accepted myself.

Going into college I have never felt more confident and beautiful in my entire life. I have learned to love my size and my figure, and I couldn't be more excited about this newly found self-love. I am surrounded by supportive friends that will always have my back and love me no matter if I'm 150 pounds or 450 pounds. Ladies and gents I am here to tell you that your health, your looks, and your feelings are YOURS! Nobody else's. It has taken me years to finally find true happiness.

To anyone else in this situation, I hope that this helps you find the light and confidence inside for you to be truly happy. I hope that this has given you the inspiration to create self-love and to confront negativity. Gandhi said, "We all die eventually, but it's the people who are happy and help to make others happy that truly can die knowing they have impacted something or someone." So I'll leave you with a question, what would rather have?

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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The Only Difference Between A Summer Body And Your Winter Body Is Your Attitude

Your love handles need love, too.

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Summer is coming and for most, this is a very exciting time. The weather is warm, school is out, and the beaches are packed. Although summer is great most of the time, it can also be super stressful for people who aren't confident in their bodies. There is a body ideal that is set on media sharing sites such as Instagram, Facebook, and VSCO that makes people feel like they need to fit that image to be considered attractive.

My first problem is, well, these images are unrealistic in the first place. Most of the time, people posting photos of them in their bikinis or swim trunks have edited the photo in some way. Whether they've edited it to appear skinnier, more muscular, or tanner, odds are they've doctored the photo in some way. Even if they haven't, who cares!

I know I've personally struggled when it comes time to buy a bathing suit. Honestly, it's the worst thing ever. Looking in the mirror and seeing what you look like after the holidays and 4 months without the sun can be shocking. It's time to embrace this! I've seen so many people posting "working on my summer body," or "getting ready for bikini season," and it's honestly just sad.

A person shouldn't have to change their everyday lifestyle to want to "look good" in their bathing suit. What's wrong with a little extra weight on the thighs or some cellulite on your butt? As long as you feel confident with your body, you should want to embrace it and show it off!

Feeling confident in today's world is harder than ever for women. The media is pushing body positivity, but it doesn't seem like it applies to everyone. If a celebrity is a little thicker, everyone applauds them and talks about how beautiful they are, "even though they're bigger," and that is exactly where the problem lies. Shifting the standard of beauty because someone is bigger totally discredits whatever compliments they receive. It's a backhanded compliment and it's not fair to include a comment about their weight while trying to compliment them. Someone's beauty should not be defined by how big or small they are and saying people are an exception to the rule probably hurts them more than you think.

I don't know about you but I won't be doing anything to prepare my body for this summer because these people are going to take what I give them! All in all, love yourself first and it'll give others the opportunity to do the same!

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