I am curvy and that's beautiful: my (ongoing) journey toward body positivity

May 24 2018 | Guest post by Heather
I am curvy and that's beautiful: my (ongoing) journey toward body positivity
Thunder Thighs body positive iron-on patch from Naomi Hope Designs

I'm not skinny. I never have been.

To be honest, I don't recall a time when I have looked in a mirror and thought I was skinny or loved what I saw. I have spent hours trying clothes on; searching for that one outfit that made me feel good about every part of my body. I'm still searching, pretty sure those clothes don't exist.

But what does exist are photos and magazines and social media filled with the skinniest and fittest girls. The media can make a curvy girl feel incredibly insecure. I know I don't look like that. No matter how many miles I run, how many hours I put into the gym, or how clean I eat, curvy is what I am. Curvy is the body I have. My hips won't get smaller, my ass will always jiggle, my thunder thighs aren't going anywhere, and my boobs are never going to get smaller. I have to learn to love the curves.

I've gone through phases in my life and two pregnancies that completely altered my body, leaving me softer and scarred. I have bounced back each time, losing the weight but still never looking like the girls I see on Instagram. No matter how much self-love I talk, I still shy away from the full mirror in my bedroom, I still try to get the very best and flattering angles in pictures. I still try to fit my self-worth into the number on the scale, only to ending up disappointed.

I still try to fit my self-worth into the number on the scale, only to ending up disappointed.

I know in my bones how absurd it is to feel this way. The amazing things my body has accomplished and the remarkable way my wife looks at me naked, I should be the epitome of self-love for this body of mine. But I'm not. I can't help but…

cringe when I see the number on the scale.

wince when I see the hole appear in my pants where my thighs rub.

squirm in the mornings to squeeze my hips and thighs into my jeans.

blush when I catch myself naked in the mirror.

try like hell to cover up the unattractive parts of myself in the bath.

and feel ashamed when I wear a tight shirt that reveals the soft parts of my body.

It is so hard to say those things out loud. To admit my insecurities.

But no woman I have ever met is completely happy with how she looks and it's so strange. Our bodies are different and amazing and beautiful. I know this. But inside our heads, we are often our own worst enemy. We look at ourselves in a mirror and immediately zone in on our perceived flaws. The parts we are the most self-conscious about.

Why? Why is it so hard to look in the mirror and see the best parts of yourself? Why can I not walk by the mirror and applaud myself for the thunder thighs that's carried me across finish lines? Instead I look for a sweatshirt or long t-shirt to cover up. Why can't I feel as beautiful as my wife says I am?

So today, I'm here and being completely honest and real with you. I want so badly to love my body. I want to embrace my curves and the parts of me I shy away from. This is my declaration, and since I am saying it out loud right now, I'm promising to do just that:

I'm promising to put in the work to love my curvy self and to look in that full length mirror and love what I see.

I'm promising I will ignore the "flaws" and focus on the best parts.

I promise to stop the insecurity and maintain focus that my body is not like anyone else's no matter how hard I try to change it.

I promise to try my hardest to love myself in my journey toward body positivity.

Here I am, curvy, and that's beautiful.

What body positive social media accounts do YOU follow that help you embrace your body the way it is? Let's fill our feeds with self-love!

  1. This speaks to me. Prior to having children, I worried about everything to do with my body, from weight, to clothes, to hair, everything up to and including whether my hubby preferred me smooth or hairy down below (FYI, he actually couldn’t give a crap as long as he gets to go there!) My mental state was not good & that was partially body image. It was so darn stressful! But I grew up with that. I grew up with my Mum always saying how fat she was in a negative way, how she never lost her pregnancy weight, how she wanted to lose weight but never did. My Dad commented how every chocolate bar I ate would ‘go to my hips’ (I was a UK size 8/10 & thought I had big hips!)

    I’ve decided my children will not see or hear that. They will not learn that body types deserve to be shamed. They will learn why my body is soft and cuddly, that it grew them & that’s never anything but a wonderful thing. They will learn how strong the human body is, whatever it’s size or shape or wobbliness.

    I look at them and I see what my body has done, how amazing it is, these wonderful little beings it has nurtured and grown from a single cell all the way to the energetic toddler and chubby cheeked newborn they are today, and it continues to provide entirely for one of them. This pregnancy, I got stretch marks. I will not hate them. This pregnancy, I do not fit into the clothes I did after I had my son, new wardrobe time. I will eat the cake cos damn it tastes good, I also eat fruit cos that tastes good too. I will accept the wobbly bits cos muscle isn’t infallible and it’s been stretched, a lot. It had to be. And my aim will not be to fit back into my pre-pregnancy clothes (They’ve gone to the charity shop anyway). My aim is to run with my children, to climb trees, play on swings, ride bikes, and hopefully, just hopefully, they will remember a childhood where we did stuff, together.

    I’m also going to buy the rainbow jumpsuit that I’m fairly sure is not recommended for ‘my body type’ cos it’s colourful and I like it. New motto: Want a bikini bod? Put a bikini on a bod.

    7 agree
    • This is so amazing and exactly the empowerment I was hoping from writing this! We look a million different ways and that’s awesome! Enjoy that jumpsuit and rock the shit out of it!

    • Exactly. Pieces like this (and this response) give me so much hope for the future. I feel like a lot of us grew up with parents with very negative self-talk. I (like many other kids I knew) had farmer grandparents who couldn't care less about how they looked. And then we had parents who cared very, very much about how they looked. I was a kid in the 90's, when everything was "diet" and low fat. I think that negative self-talk will always be a part of us, but we don't have to let it define us. We don't have to let our children hear it, and I profoundly hope that this next generation will care more about true health, both physical and emotional, than image.

      4 agree
  2. I noticed I usually have a negative reaction to catching sight of my belly in any mirror or window or whatever, and the other day I kept trying to adjust my clothes as part of my belly was occasionally exposed between my shirt and my pants– and I was home by myself, with literally no one to see or care how my clothes were fitting. So I got up and went to a full-length mirror, and looked at my belly and talked about how much I loved it, and how great it looked, and how it was amazing that it couldn't be contained in my pants, and I did a little dance to show off my belly to myself. Kind of silly–and it felt kind of silly–but it also felt really good to hear different messages than usual from myself about my body. I've also been calling my belly a round belly, and thinking about liking my round belly, which seems, to me, like an accurate description that doesn't have a lot of value judgement already attached in my own head. I think we don't notice all the negative input from ourselves and others, because it becomes so routine– disrupting that, even for awhile, even if it feels fake, is powerful.

    Also! It matters that we disrupt these messages, because I am completely convinced that it is a tool of oppressive systems (like patriarchy) to use up all our energy on nonsense like whether our bodies fit some particular ideal, so we don't have that energy to use to dismantle those same systems! Like, not always in a conscious, systems-are-monsters way, but– however they come to do the work, they do that work, don't they? Think about that the next time you see an ad telling you, directly or indirectly, how to feel about your body and how to fix it so you don't have to feel terrible about it anymore. Think about all that energy being directed outward instead of inward.

    Also, my dad recently died, and I saw in his last months and in his death how fragile and strong and powerful and terrible our bodies are– all of our bodies are heroic and worthy, and any message saying otherwise is not worth the breath or paper or bits of internet it takes up.

    • Yes, I love the positive self-talk! I think it's so sad how much effort it takes but how easy that self-talk can change perspective when looking in the mirror.

      I totally agree with the plot, intentional or not. I think just on television alone the number of commercials to fix this, do this, change this. Why? I think it's disheartening and really feeds into the negativity women have with their bodies. Thank you for this comment and perspective!

  3. I found that starting with body acceptance first helped lead to body love. Just getting used to and accepting my body, in a neutral way (which means unlearning "flaw" and "asset" viewpoints and just being compassionate and curious without judgment or value as I got into the mindset of ceasing criticism) slowly helped me move toward loving it. I recommend a book called The Body Image Workbook by Thomas Cash. The exercises and lessons in it helped me with body acceptance and body positivity, especially the ones about mirror work. Try searching social media for body positive or fat positive hashtags. Filling your feed with these accounts will help "normalize" those bodies for you. I found that constantly seeing a diversity of body sizes and shapes helped me on my journey. Also, "journey" is the operative word. This is work that's never done and some days will feel better or easier than others. The trick is to keep going by taking it one day and one feeling and thought at a time. You got this. ❤

    1 agrees

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