Who gets to label me and my worth? I do!

by byanika on 16/01/2010 · 21 comments

in self worth

Hi Sweethearts!

Some of you have read this post before, but I feel I would like to start this new year at my new site by sharing my manifesto with you again. Let`s love and respect our selves and each other. And look good and have fun doing it!

Who gets to label me and my worth? I do!

When I joined the blogsphere a while back I wasn`t aware of the whole fatshion-movement, but was very happy to find that there were other people out there claiming their own self worth in a positive way, in terms of selfesteem, bodyimage and fashion.

It didn`t take long for me to become aware of the discussions raging in the sphere though: Who can claim to be a “real” woman? Is loosing weight a sign of self-hatred? Do you have to dress a certain way to be “celebrating your curves”? How big do you have to be to be a fatshionista?How should we all label our selves (curvy/fat/overweight/plus-size)? Here are my two cents.

I have been plus-sized most of my life, and have struggled with it very much, but I while I still have lots of insecurities about my self I have always also had a strong sense of who I am and a fiercly positive approach to life, despite lots of opportunities for bitterness shall we say. I am, and have always been, determined to prove those who bullied me wrong, to prove those who told me that I am more or less worthy because of how I look or feel or think wrong.  As my understanding of the dynamics of labeling has grown I also find that where as before I would cling to whatever compliments given me, I have come to understand that positive labeling is also just that, and that labeling in it self -positive or negative- can be very confining and limiting -if I let them be.

Growing up I would get comments like

“.. but at least you have a handsome face”
(comforting me that my body was under par I suppose)
” you know, Anika, you are kinda fat in a thin way”
(really? don`t even know where to start with that one)

Comments like these left me quite bewildered; was I fat or wasn`t I? Where did I fit in, and where did I want to fit in? Was it wrong of me to want to loose weight because my knees started to hurt a little? Was I beautiful with my chubby arms and all? Would I still be me if I lost weight? Would I still be funny without my fat-jokes on my own behalf? Did I make those jokes because I felt I had to or because they actually were funny, or did they expose my sometimes shaky self esteem? Was not being overly confident a good thing or a bad one? Could I live with out labelling?

Of course I can`t, we do seem to categorize the world we perceive, and this does not have to be a bad thing at all, categorizing helps us make sense of the world, but can also prevent us from redefining or developing our understanding of our selves and our surroundings. I love to give compliments and to receive them, but I try to be aware of how I let comments -good or bad- impact me. I am always interested in and supportive of how people define them selves, whether I am talking to one of the teenagers I work with or chatting with a blogger. I don`t for a moment want to try to impose on their right to define who they are for them selves. I simply want to get to know them, respectfully.

Am I to say to a person who looks male to me, but identifies as a woman, that they must be wrong because it doesn`t match my preconcieved notion? No.

Should I assume that every person that strips on the beach struggles with it just because I do? No.

If you define your self as fat, great! If you choose a different label, that`s fine too.

Let`s not exclude those who label them selves differently then we do our selves, let`s not put down those who aren`t included in your criteria for “real women” or what ever.

Let`s not pretend that plus sized women are the only people who have the right to body issues.

Let`s not dismiss those with views that differ from our own as “haters” without considering their point of view.

You also don`t have to agree with me. What I am trying to do is simply share how I view this subject.

Blogging is something that was scary for me too do, but challenging my fears and doubts -redefining what I think I can and can not do is always such a good thing, be it daring to wear colour, taking full figure pics, connecting with other bloggers, exposing my self to comments on my posts or to not getting comments, dealing with my hang-ups, laughing at my own jokes, thinking that I am pretty, opening my self up to my loved ones, learning to let go of the need to be what ever others need me to be, getting up again when I fall.

I am trying to live my life as authentically as possible, embracing and challenging my self, learning from others, and staying curious and humble when meeting new people and learning to know them and their worlds.

In short,

Hi, I`m Anika. I know who I am.
Lovely to meet you! Who are you?
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