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I’m fat.

Going by my own standards, I’ve gone over the limit of what I consider an acceptable size and shape for my body. Now, don’t go hating on me because I use the dreaded F word. Don’t go hating on me because there are things about yourself you can’t accept.

You see, the whole problem with the political correctness movement is this. People don’t like it when they’re forced to come face to face with the things about themselves they absolutely need to face. And so they come up with all sorts of fancy labels to cover up the crippling fear that comes with having to stare your demons straight in the eye.

The lengths people go to convince themselves everything is okay when it’s really not is beyond me. They wouldn’t call me fat. They’d call me big-boned. They’d call me vertically challenged. Heck, they’d call me a person of substance simply by virtue of having a waistline I’d rather not talk about. By the way, if you want to find out if you’re truly big-boned, wrap your thumb and index finger around your wrist. If they overlap, you’re definitely not big-boned. And I certainly am not. Thank you very much for wanting to make me feel better about my body, but it’s not working.

Because the thing is, despite the fact that I have more extra fat in my body than I would like it to have, I don’t feel bad about myself. In fact, I feel very good about myself. I still wear my best clothes when I go out and when I’m at home. I still like taking selfies. And I still think I’m at my most beautiful at age 32. I’m fat and I certainly don’t like it, but there’s no way that’s gonna make me love myself less.

You know why? Because I am not my body. I keep saying it over and over again and I’m just gonna keep saying it over and over again until my face turns blue. You and I? We’re not walking bags of meat and bones and blood. We’re not just a random collection of cells somehow animated by electrical activity in the brain. We’re so much more than that.

And that is why, despite the fact that this isn’t the body size I want for myself, I don’t grow purple with rage every time I encounter the word “fat.” Fat, fat, fat. So what? Just because my body is fat now doesn’t mean it can’t get any better in the future. I’ll tell you what. It most definitely can and it most definitely will. Because I know, beyond a doubt, that I am what I decide to be. The same is true for you. We all can tap into the infinite power source anytime we want.

Of course, you can always keep getting angry at the world. You can keep blaming Hollywood and fashion magazines and Instagram influencers for the unhealthy, unnatural expectations they impose on women. Or you can sit yourself down and get real. What is it about this whole fat-shaming thing are you so angry about? Is it because other people can’t accept you for who you are? Or is there something else going on inside?

Here’s the highly inconvenient truth of it all. It’s not that you’re angry at the world for not being willing to accept the size of your body. It’s because there’s something about you that you’re ashamed to acknowledge even to yourself. So you hide from what you’re feeling and you bury it all down with all this outrage about the world’s impossible expectations of you. So you rant and rave and rally for politically correct terms so that you won’t have to encounter the ugly word again. Fat. You’re fat. Fat. FAT!

This is why, no matter how hard you tell yourself that fat is beautiful, you still catch yourself wanting to look like an Instagram model. At least for a second. And then you remind yourself that most of those pictures are most likely Photoshopped while you smugly take a bite out of your cake thinking you know how to enjoy life. Or worse, you dig back into your keto coco whip—because you’re still secretly hoping to lose weight.  

It’s not the fat isn’t beautiful. Fat can be beautiful in the same way that thin, dark, light, short, tall, blonde, brunette, black-haired, and everything else can be beautiful. But here’s the thing. Fat can only be truly beautiful when you actually feel beautiful. And the surest sign of that? It’s when you don’t give a damn how the world sees you or what it calls you. People can throw the most insulting words they can think of at you, but if you really felt good about yourself, nothing’s gonna change your mind about it, not even you acknowledging that your body actually harbors some extra fat you’d like to get rid of.

The only way to change the world is to change yourself. There’s simply no other way. You can keep protesting on the streets or on your Facebook news feed, but if you’re not gonna work on yourself, all your efforts are futile. The only way to teach people to accept others without any care for the size or shape of their bodies is to accept yourself first. Accept where your body is right now and, more importantly, accept what you’re feeling about yourself right now. Accept the misdirected anger. Accept the almost unacceptable shame. Accept the fact that, no, hashtagging and selfie-ing your way to #selflove didn’t work and, yes, there’s still some more loving you need to give yourself.

Love begins with acceptance. And if you have a hard time accepting your body for what it is right now—that is a body that literally carries all your needless extra weight—it’s about time you jump off the body positivity movement and take a long, hard, and honest look at the things you continue to avoid.   

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