Several years ago, I started feeling the swift wind of change. A movement of women who were living their best lives, who looked fabulous, dressed their asses off and were *gasp* fat, started invading my social media feeds. I loved every minute of it! “How were they able to be so confident and happy?”, I wondered from my sunken place.
For a woman who felt the exact opposite of those things, I was pulled in. I wanted to know how they got to that place of self-love and acceptance in a world that does NOT favor the fat woman. I binged on the photos and commentary on their Instagram feeds, Youtube channels and Facebook pages and something miraculous began to happen. I started to see myself in these women who were unapologetically themselves. As a result of their unwavering positivity about their bodies, I started a journey to love my own. I relied on these women, like Passion Jonesz, Pockets and Bows, Rosie Mercado, etc., to share their fat fierceness with me. They, along with a lot of internal work, have helped me on the road to self-love, though the battle will probably be lifelong as many women will contend.
Recently, I again felt a stirring of that familiar breeze. A change was coming. A new era of drastic weight loss and/or “lifestyle changes” was dawning. At first, it was just 1 or 2 of my favorite influencers who began to drastically lose weight, whether through surgery or by natural means. However, as the months went by, I realized that more and more of my Insta feed was showing before and after photos of once plus-sized women, now rocking much smaller silhouettes with some being almost unrecognizable. The community of women that told me that being fat meant being fabulous no longer wanted to be fat. Apparently, being fat wasn’t so fabulous after all. I felt betrayed.
As a few of them rocked their chiseled and toned new workout bodies, I heard the ghost of negative internal reasoning gaining its second wind also. “See, I told you it was never okay to be fat. Didn’t I tell you they were faking it? You see, the minute they got the chance, they jumped ship. They wanted out as much as you did.” I questioned this fabulous and fat movement but I also got angry for feeling like I was sold a lie. Of course, there was the practicality of it as well. How can someone show me cool clothes that will fit my body, if we are now at completely different ends of the weight spectrum?
I remember seeing a post from Passion Jonesz, one of my favorite influencers, discussing her weight loss surgery. My mind immediately jumped to “I wonder how I could get this surgery?” I isolated that thought immediately and recognized it for what it was. The constant diet of Instagram – #weightlossjourney – that I was feeding my brain was starting to impact me more than I wanted to admit. There should never be a time when someone else has that much power over my own feelings of self-worth. These women did not betray me. They were doing what they felt was best for their bodies and for their lives which should be a positive thing. Who was I to question their motives in wanting these changes and pursuing them? Women have autonomy over their bodies for a reason and should never be judged for their decisions regarding it.
The only person that was betraying me was me. I should have taken more responsibility for my own emotional well being and should be gaining my confidence from internal sources rather than external ones. At the end of the day, I don’t even really know these women. Why should they be responsible for how I see myself? That is the definition of unhealthy. They may be called “Influencers” but it is up to me to know what to allow in and how to react to change. 2018 will see this fat girl moving toward a better me through the difficult process of introspection and positive thinking. Who is with me?