*My very first blog post on my very own blog…and also the one in which I talk about my boobs. Let’s face it; it will probably happen again…
Recently there’s been a lot of online attention (at least in my circle of friends) around body acceptance and body positivity. This has primarily come as backlash to the “What’s Your Excuse?” photo posted by the professionally fit Maria Kang. I’ve found many of the posts made to “We don’t need an Excuse” to be encouraging and beautiful.
As I read these posts, it hits me deeply how important it is that I teach my kids how to view people. How to teach my kids that they are valuable no matter what; that they are beautiful no matter what. And so is everyone else. It’s figuring out how to teach them not just to accept themselves but to love themselves and others. And it’s hard because I’m not all the way there with myself yet.
I think for my whole life I’ve been very body accepting. I was raised to love the person not the body, to look at a person’s character and choices rather than their outward appearance. (In fact, the first bible verse my mother ever had me learn was Proverbs 11:22 (Message translation) “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful face on an empty head.”) I took these messages to heart. I accepted that my appearance didn’t matter as much as my personality and accomplishments.
Thing is, there’s more to this than acceptance. There’s body positivity. Sure, I could always tell you that I have nice hair. I could pick out features of mine that someone might consider attractive. The difference here is that I didn’t feel proud of my body. My shape was just something that I had to accept.
I have always been a bit bigger. I was the roundest baby – my rolls had rolls. I was never one of the skinny girls, even when I was really young I had some curve to me. I grew and went through puberty young. By 11 years old I was my full height and already had a C cup. It sucked at the time but I realized there was nothing I could do to change this. I was going to be busty and curvy and I was just going to live with it. I was a D cup by grade 8 and larger by the end of high school. Shirts that fit were nearly impossible to buy because if they would be big enough to house the girls, they were too big everywhere else.
Something changed about how I view my body around 7 years ago. I got pregnant with my first baby and suddenly my body was about something different. My body was about growing a human being. My body stretched and changed and just over 6 years ago I laboured and delivered the most beautiful person I had ever laid eyes on. She was goopy and screaming and round all over and perfect and my body made her. Then because she was hungry my body fed her. And over the next year and a half when she was hungry or sad or crabby or tired or snuggly or miserable or hurting my body could soothe her. I found it so empowering and self-comforting being able to personally fix anything for my child. It wasn’t about me – these breasts that I was so frustrated with could fix anything for her. And so it was for my son born two years after her. And so it is for my son born three years after him.
And somewhere in there I started to love them a little. They aren’t just flesh bags on my body that I have to tolerate. They are a part of me. A part that some find attractive. They are a part of me that I wouldn’t have if I weren’t a bit bigger all over. Also during this time I have learned better what to do with them. I have gotten properly sized (with the help of a friend who learned to be proud of hers first) and I know when the fancy bra store has sales. I have learned which brands make clothes that fit my body more comfortably.
And so it is that this is the “What’s Your Excuse?” response that I had. (I had another that I submitted that is not boob-based but I thought this was important to share as well as this is one of the bigger struggles I’ve had on my way towards personal body positivity)