I remember the first time I heard the word ‘Body Positive’, it was through Miss @honorcurves she was wearing a figure hugging dress with an empowering caption. I was 6 months into therapy for my eating disorder and the words ‘My Body’ and anything ‘Positive’ had never ever been uttered out of my lips let alone thought.
I clicked the hashtag and it was almost is my world had popped into technicolor. These amazing women with all shapes of bodies flooded my screen and I thought wait all these ladies are happy? they aren’t trying to lose weight? they don’t hate themselves! It felt like I had stumbled across a different planet, housing life that was the absolute extreme opposite than I. This foreign world seemed so unheard of, so utterly impossible but there it was this ‘thing’ existed. From that moment the Body Positive education began, combining with my recovery and leading me to this very moment.
Through recovery and to now the body positive experience in my life has evolved and changed. It took a while to find my feet and understand where I fit within the community. You too will experience changes within your experience whether you found the body positive movement yesterday or 5 years ago.
I’ve watched similar things happen to those I met within the community as I’ve grown and they have our ideas, values and things we focus on as body positive activists changes. This is a healthy and common occurrence and it really depends on your life, personality, privileges or lack of and opinions.
A lot of people look at the body positive movement as the same, yet there are so many sections and subsections of this movement that you can learn about, agree with, relate to or dismiss. It is a case of exploring and discovering where you feel you fit, as well as what you identify with.
Simultaneously you don’t have to agree with every persons type of body positive or self love. It is up to you to build your own definition and meaning for yourself. For a long time I had no idea where my eating disorder history/fat body/ mental health and self love journey fit in the community. I saw so many women who were focused on plus size fashion, blogging, modelling and had very different bodies to mine even though yes they were fat. They didn’t look like me. For a long while I try to fit into a mold of what I thought ‘Body Positive’ had to look like.
There is nothing wrong with any persons definition of body positive as long as they are not harming themselves or others. You also should not have to try to twist what you believe or feel to fit in with the community.
When I first started my body positive journey my beliefs and thoughts surrounding were quite different to what I believe now. It is okay to not feel like you are represented within the community as a whole, or that you identify and love one activist but can’t really relate to another. That is human. All of us who wear the Body Positive badge do not agree with one another, or perhaps are as passionate about the same things.
The sooner we realise there is not one size fits all approach to being body positive the better off we will be. Find your people, recognize within body positive community levels of privilege still exist. I encourage to you to read and engage with as many diverse people as possible, so to truly understand perhaps areas of the community that are under represented.
Above all don’t sacrifice your voice, your passions and your thoughts to become more ‘accepted’ and popular. You don’t need thousands of followers, or to be a fashion blogger, or on youtube or even have a public account to be body positive. Who you follow within the community can change too. Do not be afraid to let go of those people that no longer serve you, they might be nice and amazing people but you don’t HAVE to follow anyone.
Being body positive to me a spiritual experience that unites all of my struggles and passions. It is who I am but does not represent the whole community. That is why diversity matters, that is why I encourage you to follow others. No one has the monopoly, trade mark or is the queen of this community.
Feel free to find your place, your peace and piece of body positive pie.
There is room for everyone and a whole lot of love. Be your type of body positive and make sure you are doing it for yourself, your experience is not a ‘trend’ or ‘buzz word’ it is real and important.Body positive activists in any shape or form are there to inspire you to find your type of body positive not to make you be like them. Celebrating your individuality and self love is what will be and the greatest body positive evolution of all.