I love the new push for body acceptance. I do. It's a great thing to teach people that their value doesn't come from what size they are or how much they weigh, our bodies are more than that. Since our bodies are more than that, this whole movement is more than that. Our scar tissue, our health conditions, those are all part of our body, even if they can't be seen by the naked eye.
I have scars that irritate me, from simple things like a scratch that went too deep, and a small one from a dog bite. Irksome, but tolerable. I have scars that are more than 10 years old and make me cry to this day. Scars from where I was hurt. Most days, I don't see them (or don't want to let myself see them) but in the right light or on the wrong day, they're clear as day. They still upset me. The burn on my arms, the cut on my face, they bring memories of a time I would rather forget, a time when I was forgotten about. I don't have to love them, but there they are. They are reminders of a past I lived, and without that time in my life, I wouldn't be where I am today. Maybe I'll get into that story some other time.
I have anxiety. I've struggled with depression. No one can see these, but they affect me, they affect how I see myself and how I see the world. I try to rid myself of them, but I can't. As awful as they are, they're also something I've come to live with. I used to hide it. I lived in shame, I feared judgement and ridicule. Opening up has helped me immensely, especially in coming to terms with them. Do I have to love dealing with them? No. I do, however, appreciate the fact that my openness may help someone else suffering in silence.
I have endometriosis (and other issues). It sucks, it hurts, and it can even cause permanent infertility in some cases. At 18, when my adult life was just beginning, I was told that depending on the severity, I may never have kids, and that we wouldn't know for sure until I got to that crossroad. Luckily, I was not one of the extreme cases; I am not infertile from it, nor did I need to go through IVF. I was, however, one of the unlucky cases of repeated, unexplained miscarriages, from 4 weeks to 10 weeks. Tests show hormone levels look good, no known genetic factors. Is the endometriosis playing a role? Possibly. Do I hate being terrified (and rightfully so) when my husband and I conceive? Do I hate the often debilitating pain I deal with when I'm not pregnant? You're damn right I do. I have learned to deal with it, I have learned to help others dealing with similar issues. I have been a literal and virtual shoulder for women to cry on when they're struggling like I was. That has to be worth something.
Do I have to love all of the things that bother me, my scars, my pain? No, I don't, but they are what make me, me. This movement is so much more than what meets the eye. Our bodies and our minds are what make us individuals. It's more than accepting your weight, your clothing size, or what some stupid BMI calculator says. It's about embracing your body as a whole, the things that make you who you are, whether it's visible or not. You have to accept your whole body for what it is. So rock on, cancer survivor, rock on Miss size 18, rock on, abuse survivor. Rock on, person struggling with infertility, rock on, recovering addict, rock on, person in therapy. Embrace your scars, your frizzy hair, those "last 10 pounds". Embrace your medications, your crooked smile, your battle stories. Embrace what it is that has brought you to be the fantastic, beautiful, brave person you are today. You don't have to love it, but you do have to love you.
To me, that's what this movement is all about.