Finally learning that I was completely undercutting my real power by wanting to shrink was a hard lesson, and even harder to put into practice.
For years I felt ashamed for having a body. Embarrassed to have big boobs. Embarrassed to be anything but tiny and perfect. Embarrassed to be anything bigger than a dainty wisp of air. I felt like taking up physical space in this world made me both vulnerable and too powerful. Taking up space in a very feminine form was even scarier, because our culture dialogue berates femininity or sexualizes it. There is little in between.
You walk on the street and immediately become fair game. Catcalling. Obscenities under men’s breath. You learn to expect it.
“If you’re getting catcalled, you’re probably provoking it.”
Just by existing, taking up space, and walking down the street in a feminine body, you are not your own. You are theirs. You feel violated by just trying to get to the damn subway.
This was one of the many reasons I subconsciously felt that losing weight was essential. Nobody will be able to mess with me when I’m tiny. Nobody on the street will comment on my body. I’d hide it better. I could be frail. Acceptable. Disappear. Harder. More masculine. More respected. Tinier. Frailer. Stronger.
Yes it’s all a big contradiction.
Finally learning that I was completely undercutting my real power by wanting to shrink was a hard lesson, and even harder to put into practice. Choosing to gain weight, to accept where my body’s weight fell (not only because that’s the healthiest way to eat and find your natural weight), but also to stand up for my basic human rights to not feel marginalized and sexualized just for existing.
Anybody who resonates with this at all, repeat after me:
I will not shrink until I disappear.
I will not hide anymore.
I will not apologize for walking past you. For taking up space. For existing.
I will not apologize for having a body by trying to become tinier.
I will not apologize for standing here.
I will not apologize for taking up space.
I will not apologize for eating. I will not berate myself into submission. I will not worry that my eating will cause me to continue to take up space.
I have to eat in order to thrive.
I am alive. I am hungry. Deal with it.
I will not prioritize weight over my talents, my friends, my family, my passions, and my hunger.
And I will not smile just because you want me to.
I am not here to give you something to dominate.
I am not your sweetheart, honey, or love. I don’t know you. You don’t know me.
I will not be sexualized by you by walking down the street in the body that I have.
I will not perpetuate the idea that femininity is weak, silly, secondary, or powerless.
I will not perpetuate the idea that the less space I take up, the better.
I will not shrink away. And I will not apologize for being here.
I will take up space. I will use my voice. I will make the world a kinder, brighter, safer place.