Last weekend, I caught a glimpse of myself in a full-length mirror. I am in the final weeks of my last pregnancy right now. I started out in a fat body. I’ve been fat and 8 months pregnant before, but I guess what they say is true. Some people get way bigger way faster with each baby. This is my third. I am very pregnant, and very big.
Seeing myself in a full-length mirror isn’t always a problem for me. It used to be, but I’m over it. I know what I look like, and it is what it is. I am pretty much at peace with it most of the time. Full-length photos are fine with me. I wear crop tops. Love me or hate me, I’m fully embracing every jiggle, roll, and lump. This is my only body, and nobody can tell me I’m wearing it wrong. I make the rules here.
But last weekend, I just wasn’t feeling so fat and sassy. My inner Lizzo was apparently on vacation. That day, I was feeling pregnant and humongous and like a stranger in my fat body. My inner critic was the only voice in my head.
I didn’t see my round belly as a sign that my baby is healthy and my fat body is kicking ass at this whole growing a human thing. I just saw the sheer magnitude of me right now and thought, “Damn, Katie. You’re gigantic. What the literal hell are you going to look like in six more weeks?”
I turned this way and that, just criticizing the diameter of my midsection, saying progressively more negative things in my mind when I finally looked up at my face.
I looked miserable and cranky and disapproving. The look on my face would never exist in response to another human being’s body. I reserve that kind of judgment for myself.
I was horrified. Yikes. I immediately softened my expression and intentionally smiled at myself. I didn’t spiral into a total disaster. It was a tough moment, but it didn’t ruin my whole day the way it once might have.
But I was still disappointed in myself. I felt like wishing away my size right now was akin to a lack of gratitude for the healthy baby I’m carrying. I felt disloyal to the other beautiful fat people that I live to encourage.
I was just angry that no matter how hard I try, I can’t be completely free of these maddening moments when my body just doesn’t feel like my ideal home.
It’s hard for me to say this when I spend so much time heralding bodies of diverse sizes. I worry that people might think that admitting my struggle with negative self-talk casts doubt on all the days when I say I feel like a goddess exactly how I am. Of all the things I don’t want to be, I don’t want to be a fraud the most. I am very connected to being a truth-teller.
That’s why I think it’s important to tell this part of my truth even though it’s confusing and frustrating and sad.
I can see the beauty in anyone else’s body, but sometimes, I’m still really mean to me.
I. Hate. It.
I just don’t want to have those thoughts anymore. I’m trying so damn hard.
I’m over it. And I’m angry about it.
I want to be totally cured of the low view of myself that I held for so many years. I’m done!
No matter how hard I work to stay positive about every single body, it’s just really hard to live in a fat body sometimes. I live with an acute awareness that my body is not heralded as anyone’s ideal. I know that almost everyone believes I should be very committed to changing the size of it.
That’s exhausting knowledge.
It is disheartening to be told I am unworthy of rest and self-acceptance, and that unless I’m striving to change a very big part of me, I am wrong.
I have worked hard to change my thinking, but it’s not magic. Unfortunately, I don’t possess any spells that make me immune to criticism and body shame.
I used to hate my fat body more often than I loved it. Now I love it more often than I hate it.
Both emotions still fully exist in me. I know it’s unrealistic for me to expect that to ever change. My scars related to body image run deep. The hard days happen, and I can’t really stop that first negative thought. Sometimes, it just comes out of nowhere. I can’t erase my damaged parts completely just by choosing a better way. Sometimes the pain that led me to the realization that I deserve kindness wins over the kindness itself.
But I try so hard to fight now.
I can’t always talk myself around. I usually need reinforcements. My husband, parents, and girlfriends help. Fat positive online spaces make a world of difference. Sometimes I can spend a few minutes on Instagram and come away with a whole different attitude.
Sometimes I just have to wait it out, feel my feelings, and give myself permission to have a bad day. A bad month. Or even a bad season. I’ve had all of those things recently. Shit gets hard, and loving yourself just falls way down the list of priorities. Keeping your head above water can feel a little more important than making sure you appreciate your ass in your jeans. I get it.
For me, it is critically important to find my way back to self-love. I can’t let myself regress into a place of long-term self-hatred anymore. Coming back around to kindness toward myself is my only choice. My entire mental health and well-being depend on it. I remember how it felt to spend most of my life wishing I had any body but this fat one. The idea of going back to that misery terrifies me. It was a prison of my own making. I was never free.
I can’t let that happen again.
So, I am going to talk about my fat body like it’s a living miracle, even when it feels like a problem or a burden or a work in progress. I believe my body is good, even when I can’t see it.
Just don’t mistake my body positivity for a complete victory. The battle against the voices that tell me I’m not enough will never be fully won.
But I promise I’ll never, ever stop fighting.