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2/11/12

My Thoughts on Self-Love


Not that kind of self-love, you dirty birds! I am taking about loving who you are. This is not a new subject on my blog. I have talked it about in Love Yourself First, Body Image Q&A and Square Hole, Round Peg. I listed myself as someone I love and mention fat acceptance throughout my blog. Heck, most of my traffic from unique visitors comes from search terms such as "fat girl with short hair" and most of the emails I get aren't about my artwork or cats but about body image. You may also notice the "No Diet Talk" badge in my sidebar.

So when I read that A for Ampersand was declaring February  self-love month, I wasn't blown away at the concept but I still want to show my participation and express my take on the subject. Although Amy wouldn't be considered plus-sized, she has struggled with body image issues of her own, just as anybody any size can. Her perspective may be different than mine on certain points so I am going to share my thoughts on self-love. She declares that we refrain from negative body talk while I use the word fat freely. To some, the word fat is negative but I think of it only as a 3-letter word that describes me and not my fate or worth. It is not productive for me to use mantras and notes on my mirror, reminding myself of the beauty I am inside and out. While I can see the value of these exercises and therapy for some, I am personally more focused on changing how the world sees fat bodies.

I am fighting for fair treatment and respect from my peers, medical professionals, family and workplace. I am saying let's stop hiding behind words like "curvy" or "hour-glass" and be allowed to live normal lives without having to buy extra plane tickets or listen to countless lectures on weight loss from our doctors. You may need the self-love process or maybe you are ready to stand up again discrimination, like me. Either way, the fact that we are talking about it fairly and without judgement is important and I give a thumbs up to Amy for that.

I am very supportive of people living their life to their fullest and not waiting for their body to change before they go on trips, get married or start a hobby. I am saddened by people in the blogger community that avoid fashion posts and posting photos of themselves because they are unhappy with their weight or looks. I wish I knew how to reach out to every single one of you that feels that way! I want to encourage you to put yourself out there. You don't have to wait until you think you are perfect. You may not know it yet, but you are already perfect. You are you and there isn't any reason why you shouldn't show off that cute outfit you are proud of or plan a silly photo shoot! I used to feel the butterflies in my stomach before hitting the publish button on a post with photos of myself. But now I feel only a couple and never regret sharing my life and fashion with you guys.

I have come a long way since the days of mapping out my curves and bumps and going to sleep at night wishing they would disappear by morning. I used to feel hurt by every comment and worried about every glance. I started reading fat acceptance blogs and began to see people in a different light, like Beth Ditto and Torrid models. Soon after, I started seeing myself in a different light too. Those bumps and curves I used to worry about so much were now just a part of me and no big deal! My shape was uniquely mine but yet similar to all these confident and beautiful women. One day, the negative thoughts stopped and I started living my life. I stopped crash dieting and crying at bathing suit season. I was enjoying shopping for sassy outfits and going on trips. Ignorant comments from family members bounced off me instead of staying stuck in my squishy side. I wasn't alone anymore and I felt useful and appreciated.

It's amazing what a huge difference was made when I starting loving myself and accepting my body and shape. Maybe it is what the difference of being 29 instead of 19 can make but I owe a lot of it to the community I found over those 10 years. This amazing online community of plus-sized bloggers and activists that still inspire me. They didn't validate my faults or give me an excuse to be unhealthy or have bad habits. They taught me to stop punishing myself and end a cyle of abusing myself physically and mentally. I get to be me now. All 300 pounds of Rachele that wears skinny jeans, horizontal stripes and short hair. Food is not a problem or issue, it is fuel to take this body where it needs to go. This body that goes to work every day, blogs, creates, thrifts and adventures.

I challenge you to think differently about your own body image and encourage others to do the same. Treat all sizes with respect and dignity and don't judge a person's health or value based on their weight. This month and all months!
- Rachele

45 ♥ COMMENTS ♥:

Rachel Schmeckpeper said...

Eeep! This post is amazing on so many levels. I can relate to exactly what you are saying here. I've been dying to do an outfit post for awhile now, but have been too chicken due to my weight. I need to put that all aside and do it for me, and if anyone doesn't like it, oh well!! I realize this is what I look like and anyone who I see on a normal basis knows this, so I shouldn't be ashamed! I love your posts like this, they make me feel so inspired and good to be in my skin, regardless of my weight issues. :)

Hannah Rosengren said...

Thank you so much for this post. I feel like I've known about these things for a while now but can't really make my mind accept them and practice them. now's the time. thank you for the encouragement :)

Catherine said...

Love this post and your honesty. Your blog has always inspired me to be accepting of myself, and that my size isn't the issue/problem but rather the way I think about it. I have never been happy with my size/looks, even when I was terribly and unhealthy. That just shows it is something that needs to change from the inside. Thank you for being such an inspiration!

x, C

Kate said...

Beautiful post, well said! I am shocked at how cruel people in this world can be, there is discrimination against everything! People need to cut it out!

Marilyn said...

Hi Rachele, I am so happy I came across your blog!  What a beautiful and inspiring post. Will definitely be coming back for more. :)

Jessica Gilfillan said...

Wow! What an amazing post! Your self-confidence and kick ass attitude are inspiring! Love it!

Lindsey Evans said...

Thank you.. just thank you.

Pamela Scales said...

You are just wonderful! I struggle everyday with accepting my fat body and you inspire me.

Wendy Whitley said...

That was wonderful.  I am 42, and I hope, one day I can share an attitude like yours.  For me it is a struggle every day with the "tapes."  But, I am trying....

W. :)

Lilly said...

"This month and ALL months!" *throwing up a virtual fist in the air*

Raji said...

Thank goodness there are people like you in the world, inspiring us all. As the self proclaimed most self conscious person in the world it did me a hell of good to read this! Thank you for making my tomorrows a better place

Chattermonkey said...

I whole heartedly agree with everything you have said. Getting older is certainly a factor in learning to love who you are and what you look like. Getting into blogging and the blogger community has been another factor. But actually having the confidence to say to family member - you know what I LIKE how I look! has been the biggest step for me. Thanks for the brilliant post Rach! x 

Miss Elizabeth said...

This is such a wonderful and affirmative post! I've been struggling with needing to lose weight to help decrease a couple of health problems I've been experiencing and not wanting to lose weight for fear of the message it sends to those around me. This might sound strange but I've grown to like the space I take up by being larger.  Fashion bloggers like yourself do such a great service by showcasing that every body has beauty!

AmyMorby said...

I can't tell you how much I loved this post. Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this! I agree--we need to just radically change the way we talk about our bodies and you nailed my thoughts right on the head. You are amazing, and I mostly just want you to know how much this post meant to me. THANK YOU! <3

Gems x said...

You are such an inspiration Rachele, thank you for spreading this message! I love reading your blog daily - who needs positive affirmations when we can just come here and be inspired by your smiling face and outlook on life? Thank you for being you :)

cb said...

i love your outlook, i think it is so refreshing to hear. i totally agree that we need to change the way we think about our bodies. i find it really hard to hear when people say they need to loose weight for blah blah when i see them as perfect the way they are. it is something in them that keeps telling them they aren't good enough and that if they loose that weight then everything will be perfect but what would make it all go away is just loving who you are at the moment and not the 30 lbs less you. thank you so much for sharing rachele! i wish more ladies thought like you!
xo,
cb

mari said...

excellent post, well written and balanced.  you are a great inspiration :)

Jen Venegas said...

This is an amazing post and echos so much of what I believe and work for too. Go you!

Abigail S said...

Like everyone else, I absolutely loved this post :) You have some mad skills when it comes to expressing yourself and your personality in your blog posts; it makes every single one such a pleasure to read!

Rachele said...

I really appreciate you saying that! I want to be real and create something interesting at the same time.

Rachele said...

Together, we can change the world! Seriously, though. It is amazing to have so much support and other awesome ladies to look up to.

Rachele said...

Thank you! I wrote it on a whim but sometimes that is the best way to do it.

Rachele said...

I hear it all the time at the office and it is so sad! We are good enough dammit :)

Rachele said...

Thank you for being sweet and leaving encouraging comments!

Rachele said...

Your post definitely prompted me to talk about it. Thank you for reading!

Rachele said...

Thank you! I totally understand. The doctor was going to give me medication that could make me lose weight and it bothered me. That by losing weight would turn me into this perfect healthy person. It is up to you if you want to make healthy choices and it doesn't necessarily have to result in weight loss. Weight and health are not the same thing in my book. I am sure you can still be the fabulous you and work on your health issues!

Rachele said...

It is hard to have that confidence with family. I am still working on it. Sometimes it is easier to ignore it but I can't handle any shit anymore haha!

Rachele said...

That makes me feel really good inside ^_^ I hope I can pass on my confidence to you!

Rachele said...

Ditto!

Rachele said...

I hope you can too!

Rachele said...

Thank you! I definitely still struggle with it sometimes but usually because of something I hear or see, and not myself anymore. I do my best to ignore the crap and surround myself with positive things.

Rachele said...

You're welcome <3

Rachele said...

Thank you so much! I am glad you liked my ranty post haha

Rachele said...

Thank you! Nice to meet you and I hope to talk to you more :)

Rachele said...

Ditto!

Rachele said...

You're welcome!

Rachele said...

Now is the time! It took me a long time but it is worth it <3

Rachele said...

I hope you do! I would love to see your outfits :)

Cate said...

Wow, what a great post. I love your writing, and you are, of course, very right.

Erin said...

Love this post.  Still working on this myself, but it's slowly coming along.
Love your blog!

Shari Hoskins said...

Sam here...Very nice! I love it when someone values who they are...keep on believing in yourself...:)

Sammy Johnson said...

Like the many people before me, this post speaks volumes about how todays "fat girls" and many others feel about their body image. Im a fairly new blogger, and also a big girl. Ive found myself on a few occasions avoiding the pictures to upload to my blog for fear of Trolls and other misfortunates who would be less than polite on comments. Anyway just a thankyou to being someone out there who understands and has worked past it. I hope i can be as confident as you some day. x

Angel001717 said...

I like my body. I'm pretty comfortable with it. I just started running/jogging/power walking. and boy do I not get very far. I don't care what dress size I wear. But I do care that I get so tired out. That I can't keep up. I can't take my nephews to the bouncy house place because I cannot physically climb up them. I can't keep up with my rambunctious nephews. I am sick of it. I am also sick of my attitude towards food. I don't think about it much, but I have been lately. I prioritize food. I plan food too much. I revolve my day around it too often. Some times I feel like I worship food. I HATE that. I don't think food and I have a healthy relationship. So I am going to eat better, and jog everyday. I will probably loose weight. Please don't be mad that I want to change my body to be healthier. The goal isn't a size 6. The goal is to be fit. Active, and not addicted or reliant on food. Maybe my size 20 will turn into a 16 eventually. I'd be happy with that. I don't want to loose all my curves. I wouldn't be content with being super slim. I enjoy looking a bit different than the norm.

violettfem said...

I think you're awesome. I am having so much fun looking though your site and links. You have incredible style and a real talent for communicating what's really important in life. We should all love, respect and appreciate ourselves, our loved ones and our lives.

Sherrie Emele said...

I am a little older I want so badly to be where you are! How wonderful to be so confident. I seem to slide in and out like the tide. I will feel bold and beautiful then I lose it, and want to cover and hide. I am thinking of cutting my hair even shorter, a little more like you. I Love your artwork. I am a crafty person, I love crocheting, knitting, sewing, gardening etc. I want to express that in my "fashion" as well. I need to get back on that boat. I've been sick for a while, and that has a way of making me feel worse. I also work with a bunch of health nuts, the skinnier you are the better kind of people. So it a constant thing. I have a 22 year old daughter who has struggled with her body image to a destructive limit. She is living with us and her baby girl. Who rocks my world! Love that Lily-Rose. But reading here, I feel a little more inspired, and lighter in spirit. Thank you! You are truly beautiful.

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