Ever let a hashtag send you on a body shame spiral?
I almost did.
A while back, I took a picture of my fat cat looking particularly lumpy. I posted it on Instagram with some cheeky caption that wasn’t clever enough for me to remember now, along with the hashtags #fatcat and #lovehandles. Since I've already perused the #fatcat hashtag at length (natch), I clicked through to #lovehandles.
The result in three words: don't do that.
Of course, the space was filled with beautiful human beings complaining about their beautiful human bodies. No surprise there. What also shouldn't have been a surprise was how not #lovehandle’d these people were. It was like I had walked into a land of fun house mirrors, where one’s self-perception was distorted through the twisted lens of public judgement.
Many of the people were obviously avid exercisers, but, instead of patting themselves on the back for the many hours of effort they've spent toning their bodies – they were fixated on a barely-there bulge that rested determinedly on their waistline. As my mother once said to me, “what a lot of time wasted while looking good.”
What a shame to spend so much of your life working towards a goal - waking up an hour earlier each morning, laying out your workout clothes the night before, pushing yourself to go to the gym after a long day at work, sweating through that last twenty minutes of spin class, breathing through those last 3 reps - and to then not let yourself feel proud of the results.
How Sisyphean to continually seek some form of perfection that you’ll never allow yourself to find. (I bet Sisyphus had killer traps, though!)
For me, someone marginally-to-distinctively larger than they were, to view such public self-criticisms... well, for a moment it made me feel like I was doing it wrong. How would those people think of me if they saw my body - my own unique combination of folds and curves? Was I wrong to hold myself to the same level of analysis? Should I be body shaming myself more?
Their insecurity made me fundamentally doubt my own self-confidence.
Thankfully this moment was fleeting. "NO," my little anti-authoritarian voice (we’ll call her Gloria) inside of me shouted, "You do NOT have to play by the same rules as they do."
Because I know that body-shaming is a slippery slope. First comes the "ugh, I'm so fat." Then comes the "my arms are gross." Followed by "my butt looks disgusting." And shortly after is, "I shouldn't eat that for dinner." And immediately behind that, "I can't believe I had a second portion." And you feel crappy about yourself - at best. Or worthless - at worst.
And, as Gloria often reminds me, life is far too short to go around feeling crappy about yourself.
And you are worth EVERYTHING.
By now, dear readers, you know my position on self-criticism. Whenever you encounter others engaging in negative self-talk, let your own little rebellious voice inside remind you that you don’t have to follow suit. There are no awards for body-shaming yourself. Well… I don’t really know if there are any awards for loving yourself unconditionally either, but there should be.
Listen to that voice. Gloria is a BOSS. Gloria is a QUEEN. Gloria doesn’t give power to the naysayers. She’s there to remind you to F#$% the haters. Go push your self confidence to the top of Pride Mountain, and don’t look down.
Dare Fashion believes that women of all shapes and sizes have a right to clothes that make them look and feel beautiful. Subscribe to our email newsletter, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest: @darefashionusa
Erin is a woman in love with how words sing to the ear and the heart. She moonlights as a travelphile, a craft beer expert, an animal lover, and a committed karaoke singer. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram: @esavestheworld
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