Before I had kids I was a size 8. After I was anywhere from a 12 to an 18. It was a shock to see my body change so much and I hated it.
When I hated my body, I thought fat couldn’t be sexy, or beautiful, or attractive. I’d been taught that fat people were disgusting, or shameful, or ugly.
When I hated my body, I thought fat couldn’t be clever, or professional, or respected. I’d been taught fat people were the butt of the joke, they were the low paid staff in a dirty polo shirt.
When I hated my body, I thought fat couldn’t be loved, or celebrated, or rejoiced. I’d been taught that fat people were the funny friend, the sad spinster, never, ever the leading lady.
When I hated my body, I called myself horrible names. I said I was vile, disgusting, wobbly, ugly. I’d been taught that this is how fat women talk about themselves.
When I hated my body, I thought weight loss was the answer to everything. If only I could be a little slimmer, I’d be happier, smarter, sexier, prettier, more confident. If I could fit in a size 10 then all the shit things in my life would be better.
When I hated my body, I used it as an excuse for all the things that went wrong. If I were thinner, it would all be fine.
When I hated my body, I pushed my husband away. How could he possibly fancy me when my thighs touched, my flesh hung down, my boobs flopped. I had learnt that men only fancy thin women, that beauty looked one way and that way was thin, toned, perfect.
When I hated my body, I hated myself.
Then I got really ill. Medication couldn’t control my IBD and I went into hospital. I was shitting 30 times a day and had a constant flow of blood pouring from my arse. The options were laid in front of me and surgery was my choice. I was cut open and my colon removed, my ileostomy was formed. I was broken, scarred and had to wear a bag of shit on my stomach at all times.
More and more surgeries came and more and more scars. My poor battered broken body looked so sad, it was scarred beyond belief and so weak.
It should have cemented my hatred for my body, but oddly something else happened. I felt pride. I felt that my body had been through so much and I was still standing! Slowly, I learnt a lot about myself, I learnt that I’d hated my fat body for so long and it was entirely unfair and unnecessary.
I learnt to love my body.
Now I love my body, I accept it for what it is, I like its solidness, I like my thighs, I think my scars are interesting and oddly beautiful.
Now I love my body, I realise that anyone shallow enough to dislike me for my size is not someone I want to spend time with. But generally I realised that no one gave a shit!
Now I love my body I know that my size has no relevance to my intelligence, my character, my humour, my awesomeness.
Now I love my body, I celebrate it. It’s brilliant, look at it dance, look at it swim, look at my belly rolls, they’re super cute. Look at my scars, they show that I’m a fucking badass. Look at my big arse, it is amazing!
Now I love my body, I can trust it to my husband. Who, by the way, it turns out never gave a shit what size it was.
Now I love my body, I can speak honestly about it. Yes, it’s a bit fat. I’m a size 16-18 and I’m not embarrassed by that. Sometimes I think I should lose a bit of weight, I worry about my hernia and know that if I was a little lighter it would be easier on the repairs they already did. I can say this from a practical and straightforward place, not one of shame.
Now I love my body, it makes me sad to see people around me hating theirs. I wish I could flick that switch and show them that they are brilliant and awesome and beautiful and their weight and shape has no bearing on who they are.
Now I love my body.
And that’s a great sentence to be able to write.