This Is My Body Not Yours So Keep Your Opinions To Yourself
By: Kayla Conn Illustration: You're Welcome Club
Big, fat, chubby, thick, large, overweight, big boned, unhealthy... are all negative opinions that other people have used to describe my body, to describe me.
But what is an opinion exactly? By definition, it is stated that an opinion is a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.
In other words, an opinion is a view or a judgment based entirely on how a person subjectively feels about something or someone, which can be tricky, right? Because we’re all entitled to our own opinions. But when an opinion is unkind, cruel, hurtful, or mean when does it become shameful? The better question is, when does it become wrong? You see, the amazing thing about opinions is that they are true to what you believe. And guess what? They are subject to change at any time. Opinions are not set in stone. It is simply a temporary perspective.
Do you know how tiring it is to constantly hear that I have a pretty face? It sounds like a nice compliment doesn’t it? To have people tell me that I have a beautiful face.. it should be enough for me, right? But it’s not. It's such an exclusive statement because I have never heard a positive opinion about my body before, only negative ones. I used to hate how “big” I am. I’m a 6 foot tall, 250-pound woman and from a societal standpoint that is looked at as deplorable, I’m looked at as deplorable.
When I was younger, I couldn’t look past my physical differences. I wanted people to notice something else, anything else about me. I wanted to change people’s perception of me. I didn’t want my height to be the first thing they noticed about me. My physical traits are uncontrollable. No matter my diet, I will never be stick thin. No matter how much I slump my shoulders, I will never be less than 6 feet tall. So I decided to stand out in a way that was controllable. I decided to let my personality take the driver's seat and put my physical features in the backseat. I became that loud, funny friend, that didn't care about what people thought of me (something I continue to strive for) and drove the opposite direction of the rest of the young women around me.
Even with this new found confidence in my personality, I was still looked at as the girl with the pretty face and the overweight, larger-than-average body. I didn’t understand how I could have so many friends and get along with so many people but still be judged by my appearance. I thought I was a beautiful person inside and out, so why didn’t other people see that? If you’re my friend shouldn’t you see the beauty that I see when I look in the mirror? Shouldn’t you look past my flaws? After all, we all have them, don't we?
So it got me thinking, why do I allow the branding that society, my friends, and even my family, have burned onto my beautiful body? I felt defeated. When good genes and a speedy metabolism weren't an option, I tried to submerge myself into sports, tried to eat less (never a good idea) but I never really lost my bigger features. I slumped over only to lose an inch off my height and even went as far as to expose this deeper part of my personality. I wanted, somehow, to get society off of my back and to see me as something else, as someone else, someone that stood out in a good way.
Can anyone tell me where the beauty scale is? You know, the one that adds up a woman’s features and then calculates attractiveness into a distorted equation that defines us to the rest of the world. I’ll let you in on a little secret: no such scale exists! Beauty is indefinable. There is no true definition of beauty because we are all too different and too unique to ever be measured by one single scale. The amount of beauty that exists in the world is immeasurable, you are immeasurable. The only opinion that should matter is your own.
I definitely have my days when I notice my “flaws.” The mirror is a constant instigator. But whenever I see my stretch marks or my scars I remind myself that these imperfections are what make me stand out, they make me different, they make me beautiful, they make me, well, me.
You are the only one who has the power to love yourself wholeheartedly. No one can take that from you. We are all beautiful human beings just trying to live our best and happiest life. Remember what a person says about you says more about who they are. Whether they call you fat, skinny, short, tall, loud, or quiet, you are you, and there is no one else like you. Do not give the naysayers the power to impact your life with such negative self-projected insecurities. When you love yourself, you will find that people will love you too because that kind of positivity is deafening. They will be drawn to you and your own unique spirit. There is no greater beauty than self-love.
Big, fat, chubby, thick, large, overweight, big boned, unhealthy... are all negative opinions that other people have used to describe my body. But I am big, I am fat, I am chubby, I am thick, and I am large, but I am not unhealthy. I am my kind of proportionate. These things do not define me. They are a part of me, a part of me that I have worked hard to love. And I will not allow anyone take that beauty away from me.