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?
<3
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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 stina honeyNo Gravatar July 4, 2010 at 1:23 pm

I love this.I agree with so much of what you said.I used to really be into fat politics and even had a zine about it. I thought it was great, but I would get a lot of emails from girls saying "i appreciate your zine but your zine but youre not fat"so I gave up. Now I'm just me, and I'm okay with that. The way other people identify themselves and deal with things is their business and their right!If I spend my whole life worrying about and criticizing everyone on their choices, I'm going to live a very sad and angry life.If you want to exercise everyday, do it!If you dont want to, thats fine too!

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2 AnikaNo Gravatar July 4, 2010 at 2:15 pm

@Stina, thanks very much. Great to hear your point of view. ! <3

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3 Bombshell BeautyNo Gravatar July 4, 2010 at 2:29 pm

I love this post, Anika! Thanks for sharing your point of view. I think I identify myself as being plus size or curvy, but I don't think there's that much difference between how I feel about my body and how slimmer girls do. At the end of the day, we're all women with a lot of the same feelings (good, bad and otherwise).

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4 LaCaraNo Gravatar July 4, 2010 at 2:34 pm

I couldn't agree with you more Anika! And I'm so glad you wrote this post…every woman is a "real" woman regardless of her size, and at the end of the day alot of people have insecurities, it's just how you deal with them…great post my love! And I love the new layout design =D<3

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5 AnikaNo Gravatar July 4, 2010 at 2:41 pm

@Bombshell Beauty, thank you very much, it felt quite daunting to write this post, but I felt so strongly that it was time. I tend to use the word curvy about my self, but I`m fine with fat as well, curvy is as much a reference to all the different proportions of my body as much as anything else LOL. I think you are right that we all probably share many thoughts and feelings, regardless of how we are perceived.@La Cara, glad to make you glad! :) embracing our selves and those around us is the way forward, I agree. Glad you like the layout, been toying around with it (a lot of swearing mind you LOL). Big kisses! <3

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6 Jennifer aka. JasifeNo Gravatar July 4, 2010 at 6:40 pm

I totally agree as well, Great post hun!!I'm so tired about being consious about my body. Every body is beautiful, you just need to work it ;) Big or small.

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7 cheeky curvesNo Gravatar July 4, 2010 at 7:20 pm

You are right there are plus and negatives to labelling, it is restrictive and stigmaties and yet it brings a cause to the world attentions. I grow more beautiful every day.

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8 AnikaNo Gravatar July 4, 2010 at 8:10 pm

@Jennifer, thank you for that sweetie. I feel the same, and am working hard to be less self conscious, freeing up energy for all the good things in life. xx@cheeky curves, thanks! So true, it`s all about how we work it, be it labels or our shape. xx

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9 Mz BNo Gravatar July 4, 2010 at 9:42 pm

I agree with you totally, I have struggled with being heavy all my life also. It got worse when my family would say you look so pretty only if you would lose weight. What? So i'm not pretty cuz i'm fat? Also, health issues run in my family (heredity) so it doesn't matter if I lose weight or not, I will still develop those issues, maybe not….who knows. I'm ok with how I look. I love to dress nice. I love your blog by the way, and your style is similar to mines. Mz B http://www.goldnglitters.com

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10 AnikaNo Gravatar July 4, 2010 at 10:43 pm

@Mz B, thank you very much for sharing! really appreciate it. All we really can do is make the best choises based on who we are now. surfing over to your blog! :)

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11 ...No Gravatar July 5, 2010 at 2:40 am

I love this post so much Anika!!! labelling is evil but it's better to choose your own label instead of letting others choose it for you :)

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12 RETRO REVANo Gravatar July 5, 2010 at 3:15 am

Thanks soooo much for this post!I too was scared to be "judged" as I am 46, and not a super model. I love people who have differences and opinions other than myself. It's refreshing! I just lost a follower, and am feeling a bit sappy. I honor all of our differences and feel we all need a little support from each other :) This post re-affirms that I don't need other's to define me. I don't need others to label me. I do enough of that already! Thanks sooo much. You made my day :)

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13 Immer.No Gravatar July 5, 2010 at 8:33 am

wow I'm identify with every word you wrote!

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14 AnikaNo Gravatar July 5, 2010 at 10:36 am

@LuAnne, thank you so much, we do have the right to define who we are and not compromize on our dignity! xx@Retro Reva, thank you so much for sharing! really means the world to me. You`ll be gaining a new follower in me! :D @Immer, so glad to hear it resonated with you. xx

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15 kittehinfursNo Gravatar July 5, 2010 at 2:02 pm

AMEN to all of this.

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16 AnikaNo Gravatar July 6, 2010 at 12:00 pm

@kittehinfurs, amen back :)

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17 Grit and GlamourNo Gravatar August 1, 2010 at 1:32 am

Anika, thanks for sharing this post with me. It is a fantastic testament to you and your beliefs. I greatly admire your honesty and authenticity. It's inspirational.? Vhttp://www.gritandglamour.com

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18 TanviNo Gravatar August 21, 2010 at 6:24 pm

Thank You for directing me to this post of yours. I absolutely adore you. The honestly and introspection in this post is very touching! More power to you! :)

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19 Anika Sweetfaced StyNo Gravatar August 22, 2010 at 11:20 am

Thank you both Tanvi and Vahni, you beautiful ladies! I really appreciate your comments. sending you both big love! <3 <3

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20 VibhutiNo Gravatar September 23, 2010 at 9:54 am

WOW Anika,Tanvii has directed me over to the best blog in ages..I just love your attitude towards life and ur self-esteem..I think I should be reading ur blog daily for my dose of pep to my self-worth!:) Anika you are a gorgeous lady and I am so very very happy to meet you..Please do visit my blog toohttp://kreativevibes.blogspot.com/And tell me what you think of my style..Will be obliged..:)TC

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21 GBNo Gravatar September 23, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Hi Anika, I'm Gagan, hopping on over from Tanvi's blog. That has to be the best -worded treatise to self-worth I have read in a while! Thanks for the inspiration!!!XO,Gagan

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