My body is my home. It is one of the only things that is truly mine in this world. I’m becoming more aware of that fact everyday. I have not always treated my body kindly. I’m still learning about the intricacies of love for oneself — but I’m getting there, one millisecond at a time.
I remember when, last year, I had lunch with a guy. I was eating vegan cheesecake for the first time and, man, it was good. I was also about 130 pounds soaking wet.
I had dealt with weight issues and disordered eating before, but had made it to a balanced, healthy place with my body.
My dining companion, however, was not knowledgeable — and ultimately, less respectful — of my growth. He told me that I was eating too fast, that I needed to slow down because I was “indulging myself.” In retrospect, my caloric intake for the day was pretty low and I had a busy night ahead, so I needed every bit of energy I could consume.
That shouldn’t even matter, though. Regardless, he said what he said — and it stayed with me.
I dieted and fasted furiously in the following months.
I’d never been so small before, but I thought I was doing what was necessary to keep myself out of a state of indulgence. It was emotionally and physically taxing.
Six months later, I moved back to New York, excited to laser-focus in on my career. Although I wasn’t fully prepared for the move financially, I internally felt like I was ready for anything.
But life got hard, fast.
I was constantly stressed out and my weight reflected my radical moods. The time period was scary, but I kept moving with the current of life. I didn’t have time to wallow in a rut over my sense of self. Capitalism literally would not allow it.
Months passed. I stopped paying so much attention to my body image because I had too many other things to do, and my body just did her thing as I entered a new phase of my adulthood — giving me curves where they hadn’t been before.
I was virtually clueless about my new form though, and didn’t know exactly how to exist in this state.
Soon, pictures of Rihanna began to circulate on the internet. Social media users began lovingly hashtagging photos of the singer with #Thickanna.
Rihanna appeared to have gained weight, she was working on several new projects, and she was looking joyful.
Around the same time, Beyoncé revealed her postpartum physique; her face was more full and she was curvier than ever!!
In my heart of hearts, I was hype over the popular photos because of the representation — but a small part of me was still doubtful of the images’ impact. I thought to myself, “Hmm, they’re superstars…OF COURSE they look good no matter what.” Admittedly, my thinking wasn’t where it needed to be just yet.
But I kept seeing more photos and videos of Bey and Rih, and it clicked — I didn’t have be afraid and critical of my figure anymore.
My body is something to celebrate — not a flesh prison to fear. Beyoncé and Rihanna are not people I need to compare myself to, but rather women who stand in thick body-solidarity with me! Witnessing them enjoy their frames can be fuel to love myself; it doesn’t have to send me spiraling deeper into self criticism.
Now, I love my body more than I ever have.
I am constantly in awe of all the things my body is capable of. I’m happy that Beyoncé and Rihanna are out here flaunting their forms, and I hope they continue to do so — it’s inspiring.