This week, I’ve been focusing on body acceptance, particularly loving your own body and celebrating it for what it is – no matter its size, shape, color, etc.
Today is another #1000Speak (1000 Voices Speak for Compassion) event; this time the theme is bullying.
The flash fiction titled “She’s Got Style” that I posted on Sunday as well as Monday’s post on loving your body were my previews to today’s post. Sort of. Some people won’t click on the links above (hey, I get it), so here’s the short story from Sunday.
She’s Got Style
“She’s so pretty. If only she’d lose a few dozen pounds.”
“This store doesn’t sell clothes for people like you.”
“She’s hungry AGAIN? You’d think she wouldn’t have to eat for days with all that fat.”
Emily wore the blood orange curve hugging dress despite what anyone said, and she felt gorgeous. She ate as much chicken Alfredo as she wanted at the party, even though she noticed the stares and heard the sighs. She went to the bathroom to check her makeup, fixed her lipstick, gave herself a toothy smile, and said, “You are beautiful. You are loved.”
The truth is, I’m the bully in that story. I have said similar things in the past. I don’t think I’d ever been outright cruel, but some of the cutting words I’d said with a smile may have been an even sharper stab.
I have plenty of excuses, of course, but excuses are pointless if you want to make a genuine apology.
I want to make this clear though, it was never about the person in question. Bullying rarely is. It was the voice of my own insecurities, lack of acceptance of my own body, and maybe even a tinge of jealousy. Jealousy? Yes, jealousy.
I was conforming to societal expectations of my body. I was working out HARD, eating little, and here were these women/girls with their bodies and eating, and somehow they existed. Somehow they were happy. I was not.
It’s difficult to admit to being a bad guy. I’m the villain of this story.
I have had tremendous amounts of resistance to writing this piece. I’m writing it at the last minute, even though I’d known for a few weeks what I’d write.
The positive things I posted this past week were easier. Admitting to my own guilt is extremely difficult.
I never outright bullied people to their face. I never made fun or laughed. I was raised better than that.
BUT, I said many things to friends and acquaintances that were just plain mean.
Telling someone that their face is so pretty implies many things. Guilty.
Complaining of one’s own fatness while being a size 4 implies things about other bodies. Guilty.
Talking about someone’s size behind their back does not make you a good friend or a good person. Guilty.
I’d like to take this moment and apologize to all the people I’ve hurt and anyone caught in the crossfire. I’m sorry. You didn’t deserve it. It was an ugly thing to do.
We are all worth so much more than the worth our society places on conforming bodies. We are so much more than just bodies. It took me a long time to come to that realization.
I really hope that any of the girls I was mean to were like Emily in the story above: strong in their sense of self and confident. It has taken me over 30 years to finally be like her, and it is what I wish for all women. Because we are all beautiful, no matter our shape, size, color, ability.
We are beautiful because of our faults, not despite them.
I encourage you to click on the link and read The Ultimate Guide to Loving Your Body.
To read more #1000Speak posts on bullying, click here.
I’ll do a roundup of some of my favorite posts next week.