OFM August 2021 :: Aurora/Community Pride

Page 12

OFM health

Tales of a Fierce, Fat, Fit, Femme

Loving Every Version of Yourself

by Addison Herron-Wheeler


ne thing I’ve heard people of size talk about often, in one way or another, is loving themselves, or not loving themselves, at any size. From “before” and “after” pics used as an example of triumph and achievement to an advertisement featuring someone cringing when an old photo pops up on a newsfeed or timeline, the message society sends is clear: before (or fat) is bad, and now (or skinny) is good. But those of us living in the real world know things aren’t exactly as black-and-white and linear as that. For most fat or non-thin folks, our weight fluctuates, going from slightly overweight and chubby to much bigger, even getting down to underweight numbers, or the “perfect weight,” whatever that is. Fluctuation means going up, then down, then back up again, then maybe back down. Not everyone is on a linear path that involves getting “too fat” and then slimming back down to what society deems an acceptable size. I’ve also seen femme folks who have lost or gained weight talking about this distinction and praising themselves at any size. I’ve seen slim women sharing old photos when they were much heavier, celebrating their past selves and the fact that their personhood, their self-ness, is the same, and they were still valid at a different size. I’ve seen curvy, voluptuous women share pics of their curves when they were bigger and more sloping, declaring that they were still gorgeous then, just as now.

that I “no longer have that body” when the truth is, I do, and an even more abundant and full body, at that. Of course, nothing is linear, and this process is not easy. Anyone with any amount of body dysphoria, which is most people, can be triggered by a photo of themselves at a different time and a different size. But the key is to celebrate yourself for that selfhood, not for whatever size you are or aren’t right now. Love yourself, whoever you are or were, at any time, at any size.


And that, truly, is the key to loving yourself. Not loving yourself right now, now that you’ve finally lost weight, or in the future, when you do finally lose weight—it’s giving yourself the same courtesy you demand society give you and everyone else, and loving yourself at any size. I look at pics from last summer, and I’m about 40 pounds heavier than now. My initial instinct is to silently cheer my progress. And while there can be an element of that, if weight loss or gain is your goal, I am trying to look at my old pics and see the beauty, focus on the cool color my hair was, the choice of outfit, how happy I looked. I also look at photos from five years ago, and I was about 100 pounds lighter than I am now. My initial instinct is to despair

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