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Is body love possible for me?

Updated: May 21, 2023

I absolutely love Lizzo. I love her music, her attitude, her confidence, and her body positive messaging to women. I love her body just the way it is... and then I wonder if I'll ever be able to unconditionally love my own body.

Like Lizzo, I preach radical self-love to everyone I meet. I tell my friends how beautiful and perfect they are just as they are. I give them the side eye when they are self critical of their bodies. Then when I'm alone looking in the mirror, I don't give myself the same courtesies.

I read these headlines constantly about someone else trying to body shame Lizzo or other plus-size women and their responses are always so powerful and unapologetic. I wonder if they can really blow it off that easily or if those hurtful words haunt them for months.

I know I still remember every hurtful word anyone has ever uttered about my body. It pisses me off that my memory is shit most of the time, but those criticisms seem to live forever rent free in my brain. I wonder if Lizzo just puts on a brave face so body shamers don't get the satisfaction or if she has truly found happiness and peace in her fat body. And if she has found that kind of peace, how the hell did she do it?

"I made a decision to be myself because I knew I had no choice. Sometimes the label 'unapologetic' bothers me because it can be loaded, because it means we have to apologize for something in the first place. I'm not ignorant to the fact that we had to have a demeanor of lowering ourselves culturally just to exist. But I'm trying to shake up the narrative about how we're supposed to act." - Lizzo

When I hold monthly women's moon circles, I have a little bag full of folded pieces of paper with journal prompts that relate to the circle theme. May's theme was "Back in the Body" as we are coming out of an intense eclipse season and Mercury retrograde.

As the little cloth bag made it's way back to me, I pulled the last crumpled strip of paper out and opened it.

"Do I think body love is possible for me?"

We joke that the journal prompts always seem to pick us when we're in the circle. It's definitely no accident I pulled this prompt. It's a question I ask myself all the time. Do I just keep faking it until I make it there? Has Lizzo discovered some secret I haven't uncovered yet in my journey to body-love?

It continues to evade me. My answer that I shared with the group was, "As difficult as it feels some days to think it's possible, I want to believe it's possible so I keep trying." Some days are easier than others. For many of us, it might be our life's work to unlearn all the social programming we've been subjected to since we were little girls.

We inherit our mother's body shame and make it our own. We absorb all the messages on TV that tell us people living in fat bodies shouldn't be happy because there's something wrong with us. They tell us fat bodies are unhealthy bodies. Fat bodies have no self-control and are weak. That if we would just stop eating so much and exercise more, we too can be thin, popular, successful, and we'll be praised for our hard work to get there.

I'm still working to untangle all that bullshit. My message is to not give up on deprogramming the body trauma you've experienced in your life. But to start that process, we have to reprogram our brains with new messages.

We have to start looking in the mirror every day and tell ourselves how beautiful and powerful we are in our bodies. We need to give thanks to our bodies every day for the amazing things they do for us. It's OK if you don't believe it at first, and it's OK if your brain keeps sending up negative thoughts - keep overriding them.

Your body has just as much right to be here on this earth, to be happy, and healthy, and to exist without judgment.

But if y'all find some kind of shortcut or magic self-love pill, let me know.

"I'm all about body positivity and self-love because I believe that we can save the world if we first save ourselves." - Lizzo
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