The pictures from Holly’s Wedding came in, and they are absolutely amazing. I especially like them, because I feel like they represent just how far I have come. A year ago, I would have hated these images. Today, I can fully enjoy them in all their beauty. What I love about wedding photos like these specifically is the raw emotion that they are able to capture: pure joy, laughter, love. I would have completely missed out on if I had still be entrenched in diet culture and body shame. Both have stolen way too much of my precious time and peace.
I don’t even care if you think these photos are unflattering. I love them, and I have worked so hard to get to this point. This isn’t to say that I love my body every day all the time, and I wouldn’t expect you to either. That is just life. Some days you feel bloated, weak, or, insecure. Instead, I have worked towards body liberation. I have given myself space to be who I am and to pursue my dreams no matter what size I am.
The reason I talk about this is that I see too many people off all sizes struggling with these same issues. The pursuit of thinness, happiness, and beauty disguised as “wellness” has permeated our culture and glorified disordered eating behaviors. When I see people engaging in this mentality, I just want to shake them and yell, “YOUR SIZE IS NOT THE EPITOME OF YOUR OVERALL HEALTH,” In fact, there is evidence that size/weight has a lot less to do with health than society would lead you to believe. That being said it sure as HECK has absolutely NOTHING to do with your WORTHINESS or deserving respect.
There are 5 things that have been the backbone of this journey for me. First, was finding people and resources that are talking about these issues. Podcasts, books, and articles were the very beginning of my recovery process. I would have never even clued into the fact that I had a problem if it wasn’t for these things. That is why this post is riddled with links. I hope in doing this it will provoke your curiosity, and anything if I have said resonates with you, I hope it will help lead you on your own path to healing.
Second, I curated my social media feed. I got rid of all the diet groups and social media accounts that followed. I adjusted my ad settings. I joined intuitive eating and health at every size groups. I started following people like Michelle Elman, Megan Jayne Crabbe, and Sarah Alexander. I began following all sorts of accounts with diverse bodies: people of all sizes, races, ability, gender, and orientation. My social media feed became a more realistic representation of what the world looks like. It has made a world of difference, and I think everyone should do this at some point in their life.
Third, I went to therapy. Years of disordered eating and beliefs about food and our bodies is not undone quickly. This is the newest addition to my recovery journey, but it has already helped so much in unpacking some of my issues around food morality and worthiness. It doesn’t matter if you have an eating disorder or mental illness. I think everyone should try therapy at least once in their lifetime.
Next is my support system: the friends and family that have listened to my struggles and listened to me rant on about all of this. I would not have the strength to say what I am saying right now if it weren’t for them. If you don’t feel you have a support system right now, try to reach out to someone. Maybe this is an old friend or an online community. Finding your support system will make a world of difference.
Lastly, I found my outlet. Writing, vlogging, and creating, in general, have helped me to regain my confidence. It has given me a sense of purpose, and something to work towards. I would be so much worse off if I wasn’t pursuing my passions. Your outlets don’t have to be mine. They don’t even have to be creative. They could be metal detecting, rock climbing, or collecting tiny figurines. Whatever it is that you enjoy, are passionate about, and that gives your life purpose, Find your outlet, and make time to do it. Life is too short to wait until you meet societal standards of beauty to pursue what you love.
If you like these photos, please check out the photographer, Jess Morales!
If you are struggling with an active eating disorder, please seek professional help immediately. You can search here for referrals and resources.