Content advisory: medical, cultural appropriation, self-esteem, weight loss
I say this with sincere humility: people sometimes look up to me.
Over the years of my body positive journey, I’ve heard from people who say they admire me for various things. Usually it’s admiring my body, my unapologetic and aggressive self-love, my self-advocacy, or my fortitude dealing with the overwhelmingly negative experience fat people have in our society.
Two months ago, I had my second baby. Two weeks ago, I had an IUD put in. Yesterday, I went to my OB-GYN office and requested it be removed (another story, but I hated it and it made me feel bad). The OB nurse I’d been seeing for care gave me a really hard time about it – she didn’t want to remove it. She grilled me on birth control methods, and told me repeatedly “what a waste!” I even heard her telling other staff that same phrase out in the hall while she got the tools together to remove it. In case you need to be told, her attitude and treatment was unprofessional and pretty crappy. She had also pushed really hard for me to get a tubal during my c-section, which I had to repeatedly refuse. Not sure why this person was so invested in me not having anymore kids, but it really rubbed me the wrong way. She also referred to my infant, being worn in a woven wrap, as a papoose.
I got home and told my husband about how the nurse acted about the IUD removal. I ended my telling with something akin to how I just wanted to get it over with and get out of the office without making a big fuss about the inappropriate treatment and the cultural appropriation of calling my babywearing a papoose. He said with surprise, “that’s not like you.”
I told him, I spent most of my life not advocating for myself. It’s true! I also spent most of my life trying to lose weight, hating my body, hating everything about myself, apologizing so much people got annoyed. I didn’t even really start being Actually For Real Body Positive in an intersectional, weight loss-seeking-free way until a few years ago. But I guess I am authentically, lovingly aggressive enough about the Current Me that even my husband, who knew me before I gave up a lot of self-defeating behaviors, forgets who I used to be.
It was a journey to get to who I am today. Some of the iterations of myself that I went through in order to get to the Current Me, I cringe about, thinking back – but no regrets. All of them were necessary. The me that was aggressively post-racial, the me that dieted, the me that hated myself and felt every abuse I suffered was my own fault – all necessary to grow through, forgive myself for, and move beyond.
The real secret – it’s a great day when none of those old behaviors and thoughts resurface. It’s very common for me to have a brief blip of thinking, what if I could be smaller bodied? Or for me to not speak up when I should about something important.
I still have lots of work before I really become the Me I Want to Be. So if you admire me, want to be like me – remember that. You have growing to do too, and it’s happening right now.