Recently I shared a video to my TikTok that was intended to communicate the fact that behind every instagrammable photoshoot are real people with flaws and insecurities just like the ones held by people consuming the content that may make them think they need to change themselves to conform to a certain standard or ideal.
I struggle with my body image and feeling like I need to look a certain way not just because of outside influence, but because of the ways in which I have spoken to myself in the past.
Everything I share online is intended to make people who consume my content feel understood, and to build a community where people feel like they can be honest about what they’re going through offline.
In exploring the comment section of this video, there were lots of people who connected with the content and shared how it made them feel less alone, but the overwhelming majority of the comments were either “you’re not fat enough to feel this way,” or “you’re too fat to be in a bikini, if you hate yourself work out.”
I want to make it clear that people on both sides of that coin are missing the entire point.
First of all, I want to make it explicitly clear that I do not view being “fat” as a negative thing. People come in all shapes and sizes and all of them are beautiful. In the same token, people come in all shapes and sizes, and every person behind that shape or size is a complex living human with emotions and trauma that can alter the way we see ourselves in the world.
The comments saying I was “too skinny” or “not fat enough” to have insecurities and that I must be “attention seeking” or that I had “pick me energy” made it unbelievably clear how many people don’t understand that body dysmorphia, eating disorders, or complicated relationships with self image don’t discriminate based on your size. It’s the same reason that when people do abuse themselves or food in order to reach target weights or body goals, statistically, they continue to feel negatively toward themselves and their bodies. Why? Because believing that your body is not beautiful or worthy of celebration based on a certain size or weight is not something that goes away when the weight is lost or gained, it sticks with you until you heal your mind.
Alternatively, the comments saying I was “too fat” to be in a bikini are exactly why I will continue to post in one. I love bathing suits! I feel like the best version of myself when I am surfing or swimming or lounging in swimwear, and I refuse to apologize for it or cover up because someone else has an opinion about my body—because frankly it’s none of their business. Furthermore, I don’t work out to change my body. I workout because movement and the ability to move are gifts. I do it to feel strong, to get a happy dose of endorphins, and to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
I did, however, get a lot of positive responses to the video as well, from people who saw themselves in my struggles and were happy to feel less alone after watching. To those of you who felt this way and took time to comment with kindness or vulnerability, thank you. You are the reason I do what I do.
To the young people who follow my page and maybe encountered some of the comments from others who are clearly on their own journey toward healing, I’m sorry if they hurt you. If you take anything away from my content let it be this: you are allowed and encouraged to express your feelings and no one can invalidate them without your permission. Say what you need to say and set boundaries and let your voice be heard. You are beautiful, and the insecurities that others may project onto you are none of your business. My content is for you. Keep growing, shining, and doing your absolute best to make the world a better place <3