Steps Toward Body Positivity

Being body positive is a difficult, but important mindset. Acknowledging and accepting that there are different body types while also striving to be conventionally attractive is a delicate balance. Some might find it impossible, But, as someone who is conventionally considered a fat ass, I’m here to tell you that it is possible, with a little bit of help from a magical/psychological theory called shadow integration.

I will go into a little more detail on shadow work in a later post, but the general idea is that people have two different sides to themselves: the side they present to the rest of the world, and the side they hide from the world, also known as the shadow. Shadow integration reconciles the two sides, resulting in a more “whole” individual. For now, we’re talking about how to be body positive.

One of the first things I do when I struggle with my body positivity is to compile lists (I have a fondness for lists, as you may have gathered). The first is a list of things I don’t like about my body. Not what others don’t like, or what I think others don’t like; those are going to be separate lists. Once I’ve listed the things about my body I’m not satisfied with, I can worry about what I think others don’t like, then what others have explicitly told me they don’t like. It doesn’t matter who told me; it could be my brothers, it could be my boyfriend, or it could be the random person on the street telling me to smile more. I put a trait on this second to last list only if I’ve been specifically told by someone they don’t like it. Before writing the last list, I Venn diagram the first three. More often than not, the overlapping section will be a slim sliver, if there is any overlap at all.

The last list is going to be what I do like about my body. Depending on what type of mood I’m in, that might change every now and then. For example, I have a random freckle on my elbow. Most of the time I think it’s cute, but sometimes (usually when someone points it out) I feel self-conscious about it, and strike the freckle off the list and put it on the list of things I don’t like about my body.

Once I’ve written and Venn diagrammed my lists, I can actually do something about those undesirable traits. But here’s the thing: the only list of traits I’m going to actively try to change are the ones that I don’t like. Not the ones others don’t like, or the ones I think others don’t like. I’m going to write a big “Fuck You” over those lists. I’ll put concealer over the elbow freckle to hide it when I feel self-conscious about it. But I won’t smile for the random creep in the street. I’m not going to lose weight so some douchenozzle I’m not interested in can fit me into his limited definition of what is attractive. My body is for my pleasure, and my pleasure alone.

My last step toward body positivity is clothes. It is important, not only to find my own style and aesthetic, but to also find clothes that fit properly. This can be difficult for plus sizes, I know as well as any other fat ass in this world. But they’re there if you know where to look. Places like Torrid, which sell clothes specifically for plus size women, can be pricey. But if you’ve got the extra cash to spend, it can be well worth it (one of my favorite bras is from Torrid, as a matter of fact, and it has lasted well over three years; I also got it like thirty percent off on clearance, and it was originally a sixty dollar bra). As for more reasonable price tags, Target has a decent selection in the lower twenties size range, as do Ross and Belk.

While I usually consider myself pretty high on the body positivity scale, sometimes I have my moments when I’m feeling a little down about my body. These steps help me get back to my high. Perhaps they can help others.

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