Social media has become the main source of body positivity for me. (Primarily) woman shaking it or wearing bikinis no matter their size, shape, color or ability. I feel stronger when I see them. Hell, they even got me to look in a mirror and gasp* take pictures that I didn’t instantly rip apart. For a little perspective, there was an exercise called Mirror Mirror in therapy. You had to stand and look at yourself for three minutes. You didn’t say anything. You just looked at yourself. I would cry before we even started. I couldn’t do it and often refused to even enter the room with the mirror. Thanks to a lot of therapy and exposure to the body positivity community I have stood in front of a full-length mirror. No tears were had.
I am not fully cured, and some days shame shows its itself. I work through it though. That real work is what needs to be shown on social media. It is the next step. At the moment Instagram is all about comparing the real world vs. Instagram. The perfectly posed girl vs. the girl with the fat rolls. How about we stop using the dreaded “C” word and let real life encompass both. Some days I do feel like a damn model and some days when I sit down I cannot help but grab my fat rolls. Real life is a combination of things. It doesn’t have to be compared to something else to make it important. By comparing both we are only demeaning real life. Both can be real, they are merely occupying different spaces of the real world. Now Randi what about the Kardashians? I am going to be honest with you, some peoples’ version of real is different, and their version of real is very different.
It’s time to dig deeper. Get out your shovels friends because traumas and unhealthy lifestyles need to be discussed until they are as common as duck lips. To start I think it is best to explain that the term “healthy” has been hijacked and turned into a word that implies you must be fit, eat right, and exercise. All of this will get you to a weight where people will describe you as thin, athletic and beautiful. For the body positive community, for me, healthy means happy. It does not indicate size or even lifestyle. How you treat your body is your choice. Being healthy is owning the choice to feel positive about your body no matter the size or ability. That leaves the other side of the coin. Exercise and food become unhealthy when enjoyment is lost and control creeps in. I have to exercise ______ amount of days a week. I must keep my calories below ____ a day. I have to purge in ____ amount of time to get the calories out. These are all ways to control something in our lives because we have lost control elsewhere. Traumas, past and ongoing can drag a person down into an emotional spiral leaving them with absolutely nothing but an unhealthy lifestyle to cling to. Now it is important to note, if you have difficulty with food you don’t necessarily have a past trauma. The two are not mutually exclusive. But, in my two years in an intensive outpatient program, I found that they often went together. For myself, I had been raped and stalked, and I lost everything. To get control back I relived my trauma by binging and then purged to regain control. Now I am sharing myself on multiple platforms that revolve around control. Control of light, background, what is shared and how it looks when it is shared. The BoPo movement has broken down some of that control by posting pictures of any man or woman. Insta models still exist and they are still the norm, but I can just as easily find people of all sizes, colors, and genders. So, let’s dig a little deeper. Tell me a story. Show me what happened. Break my heart. Shock the hell out of me. Make me realize that you went through hell and kept going. The reason I believe that this deep topic needs to be shared is the same reason that the body positivity community had to be created. There was/is a need. We can’t put a Band-Aid on a broken arm and expect it to fully heal though. Our unhealthy, traumatized bodies that are trying to reclaim the world of social media need to heal. So, I challenge you, and myself, to post a picture telling your story. Maybe you’re crying because it’s still new. Maybe you are standing in front of a house you bought because you are in recovery. Maybe you are in the grocery store because that was a scary place for you. Take your picture, share your story and tag it #diggingdeep