Posts tagged body acceptance
Posts tagged body acceptance
When I see this picture I can see how exhausted I am.
I can see that I hurt.
I can see the dark circles and bags under my eyes.
I can see the unwashed, tangled, hair.
I can see my first wrinkles.
I can also see what a damn FIGHTER I am.
I can see the half-smile.
The determination to push through and find humor and positivity.
I can see that I look different now, but I can see that being battle-worn is nothing to be ashamed of.
I am strong. I am brave. I am still beautiful.
It took becoming disabled and very sick for me to learn to love my body.
That may sound strange, but I learned the hard way that hating and attacking myself was counter-productive.
2011 was a rough year for me. My health was failing, my physical abilities were diminishing, my life was turned upside down, and every instinct inside of me was screaming self-destruction. I tried to end my life in January of 2012, after about a year of waging war with my newly disabled body. The moment I woke up from the coma I realized I had to change.
Everything had to change.
I changed the way I talked to myself, I changed patterns of hateful thoughts, I changed the way I expressed myself in my relationships, I changed the way I approached my conditions, I changed the way I looked at health and beauty and worthiness.
I started treating myself with gentleness and patience. I began to approach my sick and crippled body with love and concern.
Since the suicide attempt, my health has only gotten worse. I am now looking at a diagnosis of a serious and degenerative brain disorder, which means that my life is going to continue to change and my body is going to continue to fail.
This also means that I have to work even harder to love and accept myself.
My journey is not over, it never will be, but I am SO grateful for all that I have learned this past year. Especially for the amazing Stop Hating Your Body community, and how you have encouraged and inspired me along the way.
Thank you for your support, and for the incredible work you are all doing on your own paths to self acceptance.
Stay strong, lovelies!
Maintaining positive body image with disability, chronic illness, and chronic pain
Body positivity is especially difficult when your body is not a healthy one.
When you spend every moment fighting pain, struggling with basic tasks, and rearranging your life around your limitations, it can seem impossible to think of your body as anything but an enemy. Acceptance probably seems far-fetched, and love surely sounds like a joke; however, I’ve learned that it is crucial.
I spent the first eighteen months after my disabling accident desperately trying to cope with the changes in my body, and my initial focus was solely on recovery. I focused on research, diagnoses, treatment, and cures, and when none of the professionals could help me I slipped into despair. I had placed every single one of my metaphorical eggs into the “basket” of healing, and when I continued to decline I became completely lost.
It was not until I shifted my focus from healing my ailments to healing the relationship with my body that I found peace.
The journey is different for everyone, but I am going to share a few of the things I had success with along the way:
- Accept Your Body (in it’s current state, limitations and all!)
I am a very visual learner, and so for me this took a very concrete form. I created an art journal where I utilized many art therapy techniques which I learned in eating disorder recovery in my early twenties. I drew pictures of myself with exaggerated positives and negatives and I made collages about pain and disability. I wrote lists. Lists of things I was still physically capable of, lists of (reasonable) goals, lists of strengths, lists of positive things and things I love. I also wrote letters. Letters of love to my younger self, letters of apology to my disordered self, letters of recognition and appreciation to my current body.
For you this process may be less visible, but it is just as important. Unresolved conflict, grief, anger, and self-hatred cause internal turmoil and interfere with the goal of self-love. Attempt to identify where you have nagging, negative, emotions and figure out a way that works for you to resolve them.
- Accept Your Disability
This is similar to the first one, but different in that the goal is to focus on your limitations. As strange as that may sound, it is a vital step.
When I stopped obsessing over getting “better” I was able to make life so much more livable. Accepting the label of “disabled” actually opened many doors for me, because it enabled me to recognize my restrictions and then work around them to empower myself!
It is very difficult to sort our accommodations until you know acknowledge that you need them.
Instead of fighting your body, learn to listen to it and figure out what is needed to increase your quality of life.
This Valentine’s Day, love your sick and disabled body, and watch as it changes your entire world.
Part 2 will discuss beauty and hygiene, and Part 3 will go more into relationships. Let me know if you’d like me to add a topic!
Where to begin. I’ll start from the beginning, sparing the gross details. Also, THIS IS REALLY LONG AND OH GOD I’M SORRY
I was born with a lipoma and a superficial dimple on the base of my spine, a mild form of Spina Bifida. My doctors concluded that in addition to these maladies, which I still don’t fully understand I had what is called “Tethered Spinal Cord Syndrome”, a neurological condition where tissue wraps around the base of the spinal cord, preventing it from moving freely, and stretching during periods of growth, causing nerve damage. When I was 6 months old, I had a surgery to untether it, and after a few months, I had normal nerve function. The symptoms started to come back around age 7 (balance issues, back pain, among other more embarrassing things), so I had another surgery in the summer of 1999. This time, I had to relearn how to walk, and used a walker for about a month. Going into 2nd grade, I felt different and separated from the other girls (I went to an all girls school K-12), from my friends, like they didn’t understand who I was anymore. I had some residual nerve damage, so I had to quit ballet (my favorite), and sit out of gymnastics. Girls in my class wanted me to talk about it, but I didn’t want to. I chose who I wanted to tell using little notes.
By 5th grade, things were better. I had forgotten all about my difference. Middle school was eh, nothing interesting happened. The regular bullshit.
In October of my freshman year of high school, I found out I had to have another surgery for it, and that this time it would be a longer recovery process because I was older. By this point, I was surrounded by friends who supported me - the night before my surgery, I had a little get together with about 20 people, and served cheese-its and cherry garcia fro yo on the roof of my building. I was in the hospital for 1 week, including Thanksgiving, and then a rehabilitation center for 3 weeks. Friends came to visit very frequently, even those who I wasn’t very close with. I cried in front of my friend Anne for the first time when they took a drainage tube out of my back, and she held my hand. My roommates were all very different than I was - one was a girl from China who spoke no english, one was a girl from texas who had a hip replacement surgery, and another was a girl from the Bronx who had been shot. They were all between the ages of 18 and 20, and I was 14. It was a good experience to get along with people who I would not normally live with. At the time, my father said that a movie could be made about my experiences. Little did he know what the next 6 years would hold. (I really adamantly think that he’s right. But I’ll continue.)
I went back to school in February, and was able to catch up with the things I had missed over the previous 2 months or so. Things were okay, but I started gaining weight because my mobility had decreased. I couldn’t run through the streets of New York as I used to, but I was still somewhat active. I really liked my friends brother, a senior, and he really liked me, but as soon as he made that clear to me, I ran, because I was terrified. I still regret it.
In 10th grade, my friends had narrowed down to about 2 close ones, but the rest I was still very friendly with. I started having more back and leg pain, and numbness in the fall, and had a surgery in January for a herniated disc, and after it reherniated, another in April. After missing 4 months of school, I caught up with most of my classes, but my mobility had decreased again.
In my junior year (the first time around), the symptoms for the Tethered Spinal Cord started to come back, and exhausted after making up so much school in the previous two years, I decided to withdraw and come back the following year with the class below me. Before surgery, it had gotten to the point where I had to use a cane to walk. Almost all of my friends had flaked, so I was pretty much alone. In this midst of this, a boy I really liked, and had known forever, told someone that he was disgusted that I liked him because I was “obnoxious, rude, and unattractive.” That put a huge dent in my self esteem. I had surgery in July of 2009 (it took them that long to realize that the same thing was wrong) and was in the hospital for 2 weeks, then a rehab center for 4. This time around, the rehab center was one of the best experiences of my life. It was an adult rehab center, so I was the youngest, but I became very close with most of the staff and one patient in particular. He was previously an iron-man competitor, and was hit by a car while on his bike, and slammed into a tree. He was expected to be a quadriplegic for the rest of his life, but the doctors cooled his body directly after the accident, which prevented further nerve damage, although he had damage in his legs. You can read his story here: http://www.slowtwitch.com/Interview/The_wild_journey_of_John_Carson_1358.html . He was about 30, and I 17, but we played tricks on each other, ate lunch together, went to therapy together, and supported each other. He left using a walker, and has now gone back to doing triathalons. He is one of my heroes. I met several other inspiring people there, and learned a lot about myself and what I was capable of.
After 4 weeks, I left rehab using forearm crutches and leg braces, and went back to school. Those in my new grade thought I was still friends with the seniors, and the seniors thought I was friends with the juniors, so no one really talked to me. I became good friends with librarian, who is one of the most lovely people I’ve ever met. It was a lonely year, and from my further decreased mobility, I gained a lot more weight. In the meantime, I started going on webcam chat sites, and talking to skeevy guys to make me feel better about myself. They wanted to talk to me, they thought I was pretty, and they didn’t know about all my physical shit that was going on. As a result, I have a very hard time trusting guys, and need an extreme emotional connection to open up to someone.
I started out my senior year of high school in a wheelchair - I had an ulcer on the bottom of my foot that would not heal (by this point, I had no sensation in my legs, but could still move them). The ulcer became infected several times over the year, so I spent a week in the hospital here and there. During this time, I became severely depressed, feeling completely inadequate and inferior, and used this to attract friends through pity. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy; I didn’t want people to pity me, and expressed that to people, which in turn solidified my pity-case state. I depended on them for everything, one girl in particular, to fix me, to make me feel better about myself. At one point it got so bad, and I was so low, that they told the school, who said that if I didn’t get help, I couldn’t come back. I felt awful, unwanted, and like a problem. Over Christmas, I went to a mental hospital, where I met 2 girls I connected with, and became very close with my therapist. It was a nice break from reality. I sorted out why I was so dependent on this one friend in particular, who had stopped talking to me after I got drunk at her birthday party and was taking out my anger at everyone. In the midst of all of this, I had separated myself completely from my parents, who insisted I go to BYU, but they ended up letting me go to Sewanee, a liberal arts school in Tennessee by my cousins house. I finished my senior year weary, but glad to have finished high school.
Amidst this, I went through a sexuality crisis. I thought that maybe I was a lesbian, because “how could any boy like this”, “maybe a girl would like me”, shit like that. I started talking to this one girl, who ended up falling in love with me. We dated for about 3 months, but I was terrible to her, and also to myself. I did sexual things because I thought that maybe it would convince myself that I liked her, because I wanted to like her. The things she said about me were wonderful. I was her first, and she was my first. I broke things off, because I was going to college, but I realized that I was fooling myself the whole time. I still haven’t forgiven myself for it. It’s way more complicated than I am stating it, but if you’ve gotten this far, you deserve a medal, so I’m keeping it concise.
Sewanee. It was beautiful. My ulcer still hadn’t healed, and by this point I couldn’t walk distances anyways, so I begrudgingly went in my wheelchair. On my second day of classes, I met a boy, Charlie, who sat next to me in the hallway and introduced himself to me. I had never fully trusted someone so much upon an introduction. There was not a hint of condescension, pity, or humor in his voice. I could tell that he would be an important person, and he still is. Over last year, I fell for him completely, although we didn’t see each other much, but I knew he would always be there for me. He still is, and we talk more than ever, especially through his love crises, which unfortunately don’t include me. I’ve never met someone who has understood me so well, and who I am not afraid to give myself over to completely. He was one of the few good things to come out of my year there.
When I would go out to the frats in my wheelchair, it was miserable. If the frat WAS accessibly, I would always be in the way, people would spill beer on me, people would be so condescending, or stare, and one guy came up behind me and grabbed my boobs and left. One time, a guy tried to “Dance” with me, by pushing me and pulling me around and slamming me into people. One girl told me that guys would want me if it wasn’t for the wheelchair. Every time I went out, I would have to force myself, telling myself it would be better than the last time. Eventually I gave up, and just went to my cousins house every weekend, which was lovely. That’s when I decided to go to BYU, where there are no drunk guys and girls don’t have sex with someone in the same room as you when you’re trying to sleep, and I wouldn’t be the only person with a disability. At Sewanee, there was one guy who was blind, David, but I never spoke to him, because I didn’t want to be put in a token disabled person group, and because I’m a terrible person.
So, now, I’m at BYU, and had 3 other surgeries that I forgot to mention, and another one coming up in the next few weeks that I have to go home for. I use my wheelchair except when I’m around the house, and have chronic pain in my left knee, right leg, and lower back. I’m struggling to maintain my weight, but am trying harder to accept my body. It’s really easy to hate it. It hasn’t been very good to me. My sister always compares her weight to me, like she’s doing a good job if she’s skinnier than I am, and sometimes I justify my weight by saying that I’d look skinnier if my boobs were smaller. Sometimes, it really sucks that I’ll never be able to climb a tree, or run down a hill, or do ballet again. I have to remind myself that others have it worse, but at the same time, balance that with the fact that I don’t have the best deal either. A guy asked me out, and came over, and didn’t respect my personal space, but maybe I wouldn’t trust him enough even if that didn’t happen. I’ve been thinking about it, and I have to either disconnect myself emotionally completely, or be completely head over heels, in order to feel comfortable. It has proved to me that someone can, and will, find me beautiful, perhaps instantly, even with all of my body’s physical problems. Through all of this, music has been my one companion. I’d love to be a part of it for that reason alone, to give back, or melt into the strange material that has made everything bearable and sometimes beautiful. I’m still struggling, but the one thing that is pushing me forward, is that someday I’ll be able to use all this shit and make something incredible out of it, something that many can admire and appreciate and love.
This has been a jumbled personal post. Hey Jude just came on shuffle. How timely.
Meet Davonte Poindexter Narcisse
21 yrs old October 11 1991
Libra *Into Fashion *Believe in God *a Christian *A Singer Facebookname: Davonte Poindexter Narcisse
Love this guy’s style so much!! He style flyy! We will be seeing a lot more of him aroung here! Go check him out at some of his other social media sites!
Also, know that both self-hate and body-hate are products of the society we live in. It’s never your fault.
The nickname “Toucan Sam” haunted me for years because of my beak-like nose. Here’s to loving my trusty schnozz and the profile that comes with it. You are all beautiful.
A familiar face to BodyPosi Bikini Babes! Always fabulous!
“The Justice” is a magazine I wanted to create for the sole purpose that I have never seen anything like it. For the longest time I would complain about there not being a male modeling industry. Yes commercially for stores that specialize in larger men’s clothing but nothing like this. Chubby, husky, big, large whatever word you may use. The industry doesn’t exist to exhibit our beauty. With my magazine I want that to exist. A place where we can express ourselves and show off our beauty. This magazine is pure submission based. If you’re interested in submitting send me an email at email@example.com. Submit a set of photos usually 3-7 in a set and I’ll credit you and put you in the magazine. I want this to be, big men’s fashion, I want it to be edgy, I want it to be art. Contact me and we can talk more.
Tyler Santor | Creator
Reblog & Spread the word
I approve of this cause.
All of this.
just a casual reminder that all tummies are awesome. I love my tummy.
And stretchmarks don’t discriminate! You can be thin or fat and you could have them, a mom or not, and you could have them. They’re nothing to be ashamed of and though it took me a long while to accept mine, I embrace them now.
(nb: edited from previous version for clarity and reposting it in revised form.)
i’m sick and fucking tired of pretending that “loving your body” and rejecting fat-shaming on an individual level does anything to change issues relating to beauty and thin privilege, or that it has any effect on the institutions and structures that perpetuate them. it does nothing to change the fact that larger people or people viewed as less attractive are widely viewed as less intelligent, as incompetent, or as lazy. it doesn’t change the fact that larger people have worse health care outcomes or that they are less likely to be hired for jobs and, if they are hired, are often paid less than their thinner or more conventionally attractive colleagues. it does nothing to combat the pathologization of fatness. by itself, it doesn’t do anything to change the greater culture. i, along with many other people, attempt to reject that culture and participate in or create alternate possibilities, but it’s important to remember that these spaces aren’t accessible to everyone who could benefit from participation. it’s not enough.
here’s a corollary to that: while people who identify as women are inundated with messages that devalue female-coded bodies, sexualize them (in ways that are often deeply imbricated with the simultaneous racialization of such bodies), and present them as being in constant need of improvement, i wonder if the focus on body acceptance doesn’t end up being the same ideas, articulated differently. certainly, our bodies shape our lived realities, are inescapable, and must be taken into consideration in political or sociological or philosophical conversations. body acceptance may shift the ways in which these realities are enacted on some level, or at least the way realities are materialized. but, for many people, bodies can be hard to love, and i’m not sure how necessary it is that many of us “love” them in the ways that body-acceptance proponents believe we should. for my own part, my neuro-atypical, ethnically marked, formerly anorexic body is difficult to love. i generally accept my body, understand where it fits into my reality, reject family members’ offers of plastic surgery to “correct” it, live in it. it is, in some ways, a resistant body. ”loving” it is not necessarily part of that resistance, nor do i think it needs to be. a body is not an object that can be detached from a “mind,” an object that can be separately valued and loved. bodies should not be devalued, and should be free from exploitation, violence, and abuse, but it is not always necessary to love them simply because they are bodies. (though i would argue that the more culturally and socially devalued a given body is, the more important it is that it is cared for and valued.)
the fact that “love your body” rhetoric shifts the responsibility for body acceptance over to the individual, and away from communities, institutions, and power, is also problematic. individuals who do not love their bodies, who find their bodies difficult to love, are seen as being part of the problem. the underlying assumption is that if we all loved our bodies just as they are, our fat-shaming, beauty-policing culture would be different. if we don’t love our bodies, we are, in effect, perpetuating normative (read: impossible) beauty standards. if we don’t love our individual bodies, we are at fault for collectively continuing the oppressive and misogynistic culture. if you don’t love your body, you’re not trying hard enough to love it. in this framework, your body is still the paramount focus, and one way or another, you’re failing. it’s too close to the usual body-shaming, self-policing crap, albeit with a few quasi-feminist twists, for comfort.
tl;dr not all bodies are easy to love, or lovable. challenge normative beauty-standards and fat-shaming on collective and structural levels rather than believing that “loving your body” is enough to change shit. understand how your body materializes your lived reality and respect it, but don’t feel required to love it.
This is my favorite event of the whole semester. I participated last year for the first time and had such an awesome experience. I honestly had never thought about the idea of loving my body before last fall. I mean, I’ve was fortunate enough to grow up as a fat child and without hating my body. My sister was thin and my mom was also fat but nothing about weight really came up in my house. I mean, my mom would occasionally talk about exercising (which isn’t inherently fat/body shaming) and drinking less soda, but that was about it. I managed to get through elementary and middle school without being teased to my face about my weight (probably because I was also taller than the other kids) and always having lots of friends of all different sizes. Of course I was influenced by the media as a person who grew up watching a lot of TV but I still never hated my body. Sure, I felt unsatisfied about my flabby stomach and thighs when I weighed the least I’ve ever weighed in my life (150 lbs when I was in 9th and 10th grade) but I never hated myself. Not hating yourself is not enough.
Love Your Body Week 2011 and all kinds of stuff on Tumblr taught me that being indifferent towards your body is not the same as loving it. From last fall on, I’ve actively tried to love my body and remind myself that it’s beautiful and wonderful no matter how big or small it gets in my lifetime. All bodies are beautiful!
Here are some photos from Love Your Body Week 2012 <3
This is my tummy.
I fell ill the night before my tenth birthday, and my parents rushed me to the hospital. My hands were clenched up and my lips were turning blue, I was convulsing and crying out in pain. I passed out in the emergency room…I had been infected with a rare form of paritinitis that had spread throughout my abdomen and had to have emergency surgery. My parents were told that even after the procedure, I would only have a 50/50 chance of survival. I fought for my life in the hospital for five days, and made a full recovery…but I was left with a fairly large scar.
For years I was insecure about it, it was fat and purple and ugly and it puckered in one side of my stomach, making it lopsided. As the color faded, I started to grow quite fond of my scar and I felt like it was truly a part of my physical identity. I would rub it absentmindedly while thinking or trying to fall asleep.
At 17 years old, I became pregnant. My then-boyfriend (now husband) and I decided to keep the baby, and I carried him full-term and had a natural birth. I had a lovely baby bump and I was constantly praised for my lack of stretch marks and round shape. But about three quarters of the way through the pregnancy, the stitch marks on my scar started to tear. They turned into huge fissures, deep spongy lines that dug their way across my stomach. They literally pained me, and I was terrified my skin would burst open.
I became distraught that my once-familiar scar had been disfigured to the point where it was unrecognizable…it had become a part of me and I was devastated that it had changed. I became ashamed to look at my naked belly or be exposed in front of my husband.
After birthing my son, the marks became even more cavernous, since they weren’t stretched taught anymore. My self-image had been completely destroyed…struggling with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and depression didn’t help either.
But since moving forward with my therapy and working on my body image, I’ve come to love my scar again. I don’t care that it’s not framed by stripes. I love my belly, even if it isn’t perfectly smooth. I love the line below my bellybutton and the little milky lines that stem from it. I love the stretch marks around my breasts and on the inside of my thighs.
These marks encourage me now. If my body has already been through a life-threatening illness and a pregnancy, I can get through this mental illness too!! Scars and stretch marks are badges of honor, not shame.
As I’ve been receiving and answering questions, I’ve noticed one question being asked more and more above all others.
In short: “HOW do I deal with fat shaming?”
Part one of this video series covers my number one way to deal - Going on a “Media Diet”
I’ll be continuing this series at a random pace that will be dictated by my life, schedule, habits, and ever-changing states of mind. Nevertheless, the planned topic for subsequent vlogs will focus on how to deal with fat shaming in public and online spaces.
First of all, I’m really glad that this Tumblr is around. I love to see other fat guys looking absolutely kick-ass and it’s given me a lot of inspiration.
I’m really nervous about adding myself to their ranks but I figured I have nothing to lose except what little dignity I have left, so here we go!
T-shirt and rockin’ shades are from Primark.
Trousers are H&M.
Trainers are JJB Sports.
That’s me done for. I’m at http://lesmouches.tumblr.com