If you’re reading this, it’s because I’ve been accepted as a part of The Body Confidence Revolution, founded by Leyah Shanks of IAMLEYAHSHANKS.com. I’ll try to explain my feelings the best I can because this is a movement that means a lot to me and I’m happy that I’ve been chosen as an official ambassador.
Before I really get into it, I wanted to discuss how I found out about Leyah Shanks and became interested in her work, and how I found out about TBCR. All the pictures I have below of Leyah are some of my favorite posts of hers that inspired me.
A few months ago, Georgina (FullerFigureFullerBust) shared a photo of Leyah because she was in a competition to be the new face of a cosmetics company. I scrolled through her photos and really liked the message she was sending, so I followed her. For the next few weeks I noticed that most of the super body positive messages I was seeing on my Instagram and Twitter feeds were posts from Leyah. She inspired me to post a picture of my stomach without wearing high waisted underwear, and she was also the inspiration for me to go out and try on my first bikini that I ended up loving. She showed me that it was okay to go out of the house without makeup, even if doing so made me look more tired (because society expects women to be 100% perfect and flawless all the time.) It’s amazing to see a woman fight against conventional beauty standards while empowering every type of human. I don’t think I’ve seen someone who focuses on so many different forms of body positivity.
If you’re a part of the blogging community, I’m sure you’ve seen Rachel Geebee’s story about being sexually harassed on the internet. A few other bloggers went on to tell their stories of being sexually harassed on the internet as a result of their blogging (myself included) and it started a wave of empowerment throughout the blogging community. Instead of just rolling over and letting men say whatever nasty things they wanted to us, we’d share screenshots and usernames of the creeps that harassed us or warn our fellow bloggers that a well known and repeat offender had multiple accounts. A hashtag was even started to promote the idea that lingerie blogging does not have to be inherently sexual. Even though the blogging community is already a tight knit group, I feel like it brought us a lot closer together. It’s like we’re a united group of women fighting for the same cause rather than a few scattered bloggers. Being a part of a definable movement is an extremely powerful feeling.
I haven’t said a whole lot about my childhood on this blog (but you can find some stories here), but to sum it up I was an outsider that never really had a place in the world. I floated around trying to find a like minded group of people, and nothing ever stuck. I was relentlessly bullied ever since I first started Kindergarten, and I grew up feeling like there was something wrong with me. I thought my opinions and worth as a human being would never be appreciated by the world because I’m not conventionally attractive. You can imagine how amazing it feels to finally feel like you’re a part of something, especially when it’s an important cause like body positivity. I feel like I finally have something to devote my life to that will impact the lives of everyone on this planet. I feel like people are actually listening to what I have to say and agreeing instead of shoving my opinions aside or making assumptions about me to invalidate my arguments.
Unfortunately, there are so many forms of body shaming and bullying in this world that cause young people to learn to hate themselves. It absolutely breaks my heart to hear extremely young children (as young as 3) saying bad things about their bodies or appearance because they picked it up from the media. It crushes my soul to know that there are 10 year old girls who feel obligated to start sexualizing themselves because it’s what society seems to expect them due to provocative and manipulative advertising. It’s upsetting to know that there are young people of color that grow up thinking they’re ugly and worthless because they’re not white. I hate seeing the news stories of children committing suicide because society influenced their peers to rip them apart. Instead of celebrating our differences, we hate others for not being just like us. That should not be tolerated by a civilized society.
I’ve decided to fight for a world that will learn to accept everyone and preach a message of love and peace instead of discrimination and hate. Self hatred, self harm, and eating disorders should not be a part of growing up. I don’t want to leave this Earth knowing that I didn’t do anything to help the young people out there who are having the same thoughts I did. I’ve survived multiple suicide attempts, eating disorders, episodes of self harm, and destructive behavior. I don’t want anyone else to go through that. I want to truly make a difference, and I feel like joining The Body Confidence Revolution is going to give me an outlet to fight for the people that haven’t learned how to love themselves yet.
Body positivity is not exclusive to overweight white women, and that’s a fact the world needs to learn. There are so many stereotypes and misconceptions about the body positive movement that it’s no wonder our community is viewed as a big joke. There needs to be a lot of change within the body positive movement that proves the stereotypes wrong. I feel like Leyah’s brand of body positivity focuses on every single body type, gender, color, etc. I don’t feel like it leaves anyone out. I hope that in 50, 100, or 150 years the body positive movement will no longer be a social movement. I hope it turns into one of those lessons that all parents teach their kids from a young age. It’s my dream to be an old woman that can look back on my life and the way the world changed for the better, and to be able to smile and know that I helped make that change. There’s no greater gift than acceptance and harmony, and it’s something the world deserves in an era where people are becoming increasingly nasty to one another.
I want to thank Leyah for allowing me to join her revolution. I also want to thank all the people who have supported me along the way and have made this a lot easier for me. I never thought I would have come this far. The first time I posted a picture of myself in my underwear, I contemplated deleting it because it would make me nauseous to see it on my Instagram page. I thought I was so hideous and felt like I’d never be accepted because I wasn’t the “right type” of plus size. I’m not a perfect hourglass, I’m short, I have tons of rolls, I have a noticeable double chin, and my skin isn’t clear and flawless due to my eczema and body hair. For the first time in my life I’m able to look in the mirror and not hate the person I see because of all the support I’ve received from other bloggers and people on social media. If I can help myself through the positivity of other people, I hope I can help others on their journey to self love and acceptance.