I'm Not Fat--I'm Beautiful

When I logged onto my Facebook today, I was met with something I don't see very often. Sandwiched between posts for the Church's Christmas devotional and the standard political garbage on my newsfeed, I saw three posts that truly brightened my day. They were from three separate women I know, who do not know each other.

Their posts were about women in the media, and the messages that women are sent about themselves. Seeing my friends stand up for what they each know to be right made me want to stand up too.

These are the videos I saw:

I've been married for six months now, and in that time I am more stressed now than I think I've ever been before. I moved to a different state where I didn't know anyone, and where I have no family or support system available. Adjusting to married life has been difficult for me because it has been full of changes. Not to mention that I'm quickly discovering all the ways in which I suck at need improvement in Adulthood.

Finances, cooking, balancing housework with employment, struggling to fit education into a schedule that won't accommodate anything else, and then wondering when and where children will fit into this arrangement.

Quite frankly, I'm exhausted. And I've been exhausted for a long time.

What gets me the most are all the voices telling me I'm not where I'm supposed to be. I'm never doing what I'm supposed to be doing, and my efforts are not good enough for anyone. Has anyone else noticed this about our culture?

Voices from family want to know when the babies will be coming. Pressure from the rank and file at church about callings, visiting teaching, taking dinners to people when I can't even make dinner for myself. Pressure from myself to have a completely clean house just ONE TIME, and trying not to implode with all the things I'm "failing" at on a regular basis.

The list goes on forever, when I'm just wishing--no, pleading inside that where I am right now could be good in enough for just one person somewhere.

And once I have kids, I realize all of this is going to multiply a thousand times. Truth be told, I'm not ready for that. Everything I've experienced as a newlywed has made me terrified of having children.

But do you know what I hear, more than anything else, from family and strangers alike--despite the fact that I have all of this going on?

That I've gained weight. 

And it isn't even a lot of weight. I went from a size 10 to a size 12. But people are noticing. And they obviously feel like I'm in some sort of trouble, because they bring it up to me directly to my face. They feel that I need rescuing, that if they don't comment on my weight, I'm going to destroy myself with the next piece of food I pick up.

Well guess what. The only horrible consequence I'm currently experiencing is judgment from people who think my worth is measured by my weight.

And I say to myself, I could lose this weight now. It would be healthier for me because it would involve positive changes to my life that would make me feel better. But how is this going to be when I actually DO get pregnant? Is this going to be the topic of conversation that I can expect for the rest of my life as a woman? Are people really that shallow and ridiculous that they care more about my dress size than the person wearing it?

So I made a decision.

I didn't make it because of anyone else. I did it for me, and the people around me.

Today, I decided to love myself. For all of my flaws and imperfections. For my strengths and virtues. For everything that makes me wonderful and beautiful, smart and intelligent, thoughtful and sexy.

Yes. Sexy. I am sexy. Just the way I am. 
I didn't have to buy it in a compact or have it added to or taken from me with Photoshop.

And I made myself and everyone around me a promise, especially the women.

I will not comment on or involve myself in the weight of other people, in any way. Ever. It is a topic that is completely off limits to me because it is none of my business.

That includes myself. 

If I want to exercise to be healthy, or set a goal to eat healthy foods, that is wonderful. 
In addition to healthiness, I am committing to never attach a weight or a dress size to my perception of what makes me or someone else beautiful.

My weight can and will change throughout my life. My worth does not.

I will not call myself fat or ugly. I will not be a bully to myself. No one deserves it. I do not deserve to be treated this way. 

And I'm committed to standing up for and defending anyone who is being bullied for any reason, but especially for their weight or appearance.

I invite you to make the same commitment to yourself and the people around you. Even as I make this decision, I feel a huge sense of relief. I'm tired of my life being a competition to try and win people's approval. I'm done with that. I want to be more than that, and I want my life to amount to more than that.

Respect does not go out of style. It is culturally universal. There is no good reason to be cruel, or to be a bully to someone else. It isn't being "brutally honest." It's not because "the truth hurts." It's being a jerk. Period. There's a lot to be said for the adage of mothers everywhere, "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all."

I know that God is our Father in Heaven. He loves us. He loves His daughters profoundly for who we really are inside. He sees everything we do--our fight inside and out to do our best. He is proud of us for our victories, eager to help us with our challenges, and wants to help us even more when we make mistakes. In all things, we can always count on the Lord to be the voice in our corner, "for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." (1 Samuel 16: 7)

I know that Jesus is the Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. He has established His church here on the earth today, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He has provided for our salvation in the future and our happiness now. As we obey His commandments, especially to love our neighbors as ourselves, we find joy and peace more abundantly.

I leave this with you in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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