Accepting my body didn’t happen how the magazines told me it would. Actually, I take that back. The magazines and people on social media didn’t tell me how, all they said was “you need to accept your body”. To which I was like LOL, K.
What does it actually look like to accept your body? While there’s no one right way, I can tell you what it looked like for me, so hopefully it can begin to make some sense for you.
The first time I didn’t hate myself was weird. Thigh gaps were all the rage. I truly believed that I wasn’t a worthy person unless there was some magical gap between my legs. I had deleted myfitnesspal off my phone for probably the 12th time, and was starting to eat food that I previously hadn’t allowed myself to. I was also working out more consistently, and really working on getting stronger. My body was happy to finally not be starving, and as the dark circles were leaving my under eyes due to the lack of sleep I was getting because I was ALWAYS hungry—something else was joining my body. Muscle, and body fat. My legs which once looked like string cheese, now began to resemble strength. Or, at least that’s how I saw them.
My thighs touched for the first time, and when I looked in the mirror I didn’t hate them. I was baffled, and waiting to hate them, but hate didn’t show up in that moment. Love didn’t come either, but I was shocked that I was okay with something that everyone was seemingly extremely against.
I called my best friend to tell her, but not in an excited—happy kind of way. Even though I was beginning to be somewhat okay with what I was feeling about my legs, I didn’t think this was allowed. I was seeking her approval to see whether she thought this was me BSing about gaining weight, or this could be real. Because god forbid I made up my own mind about how I felt about my body.
So here’s what I said:
Me: Hey! So you know how I deleted MFP again?
Me: Well, like, I’ve had some ice cream and stuff, and like my shorts fit differently. Not bad. But like, my legs touch now. You know?
That may have seemed really anticlimactic, and it was. I was waiting for her to disapprove of my kind of okayness in feeling comfortable with my legs.
At the time, I didn’t consider this love. I thought that accepting my body would mean that I was deeply infatuated with every part of my being.
This however, wasn’t the case.
Accepting my body came in very small moments. Moments where I began to chose what was okay, and not conform to what society says is they want.
Some days I look in the mirror and have very beyonce like moments. Other day’s suck. Then there are days in between where I am simply okay. I don’t hate my body, and I don’t love it. That to me, feels like home.
Love for your body doesn’t mean you have to adore every inch of you. The way in which you love your boyfriend/girlfriend/dog is not the way you have to love your body.
The idea that body love and acceptance have to be 1: mutually exclusive, and 2: fairytale-esque, is batshit crazy.
You don’t go from the depths of hate on Friday, to madly in love on Saturday.
Just like my dad says, and his dad told him: people are like onions, and you have to peel back the layers. This applies to other people, as you get to know them. And to yourself too. Take time to peel back the layers of understanding your body, deciding what you think beauty is, and coming to a deeper place of understanding and trust within yourself.
For you, accepting your body may come in tiny moments that stay for just a few minutes, and then they fade. They may come again, and stay longer that time. This is the journey. For most, it's not all at once. You're not doing anything wrong.
Keep actively questioning your thoughts. Ask yourself where you got your beliefs of beauty standards. Challenge what you've known to be true and get furious about the lies you've been led to believe.
You will never feel like you're enough if you're living your life, and your body, by the rules you accept from random nobodies in this world.
You have the right, and the power, to chose what you feel is okay. You weren't born hating the way your stomach folds. My 5 year old son doesn't think twice about his stomach. You were taught to hate it , which means that there is something inside of you that can unlearn that thought.