The sad truth is, even as an advocate for size acceptance, I have terrible days.
As a plus size belly dancer and dance instructor, it’s been a revealing year for me. I’ve taken up a column for Fuse Magazine, writing “Dangerous Curves” as a mouthpiece for my pitfalls and triumphs. I’ve been notified that an essay I wrote is being published in the book “I Belly Dance Because”. I’ve been fortunate enough to see my students, who truly come in all shapes and sizes, blossom and perform and start to truly embrace their bodies. I’ve put solid work into my fluidity, into opening parts of my body that have been closed off. I stopped wearing tight, constraining body mesh for performances and chose instead loser peek-a-boo clothing or just going bare mid and letting it all hang out. I’ve spent hours and hours preaching the word about size acceptance, developing an entire new class based on wellness, health, and bodily acceptance (which launches in February). I joined the Health at Every Size movement officially. I’m a board member for the Guild of Oriental Dance in Minneapolis.
And yet I’ve spent the last four days contemplating, wiping tears from my eyes, and trying to push through one of the most difficult size conflicts of my life. And yes, I am focusing on the fat this time around. Why? Because I am fat, and I am in the middle of a massive blowout over hateful, hurtful, negative remarks purely about fat. And while you all know me, and you know I preach size acceptance all the way around, today I am putting a giant bulls-eye on my big, thick, round ass, on my gut, on my large hips and pudgy curves. Today, fat is the focus; because it has to be.
In truth, we fat fighters all have days, even the strongest of us. We wake up and maybe something feels off, or your makeup settles in a way that makes you notice your double chin. Maybe an item of clothing you found in the back of your closet is now ill fitting, and something that you were excited about now becomes just another reason to be sad. Maybe buying a bra is a painful experience, or you go out to find cute winter boots with the intent to stomp around sassily all winter and you can’t find anything to fit your calves. Maybe your doctor criticizes you in a completely unfair fashion and questions if you have ever tried to lose weight. Maybe someone at a show loudly commented on your fat from the audience. You can be the most confident person in the world, but you’ll still have an occasionally shitty day that makes you unhappy with your body. And so, I challenge you, and I challenge myself. Don’t let them ruin your day and be unhappy with your body.
Be unhappy with the bullshit public standard, because YOU HAVE NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF.
The Militant Baker recently posted a project that I feel is worth talking about. Smash the Scale was created in response to a belief that people should “’get skinny’ for the sake of making your body culturally appropriate”. And if ever there was a fantastic concept, I think it’s this one.
“Smashing the Scale isn’t necessarily about destroying metal, although any girl (and guy!) at this incredible shoot would tell you that is incredibly liberating. Instead it’s about making a conscious decision to detach your worth from that number on your scale. Smashing the Scale isn’t about being unhealthy. It’s about deciding whatyour definition of beauty is and knowing that it is enough. Smashing the Scale isn’t about exclusion either; you may not understand the concept or be interested. And that’s totally okay. Leave us to our crowbars and keep on trucking. We’ll always be rooting for you. Smashing the Scale isn’t about anger, but instead the joy of calling society on the carpet and telling it how it is. And Smashing the Scale isn’t about being perfect at loving yourself, but rather about making a personal commitment to starting your self love journey. Smashing the Scale is much bigger than it sounds, it’s the most empowering thing you can do. Try doing it for you.
It’s so needed in this fascist, conventional beauty obsessed world we live in.”
So I forward this challenge, to myself, and to you. Smash the god damn scale. Want to know why I am going to?
Because people’s issues with the way I look and the fact that I don’t fit a certain standard doesn’t say jack shit about me. But it says volumes about them. And when I am in my dark corners and periods, I need to remember that.
Share the crap out of this. Make your own posts. CHANGE THE WORLD BY USING YOUR VOICE. Because it has to start somewhere!
(photos by ilessthanthree photography and Oneiros Imagery 2013)