With summer on the horizon, it’s time to cue all of the body positivity posts! You know, the ones that proclaim that every body is a summer body. Yup, it’s every gal’s (and guy’s!) most worried time of year. When bathing suits are sadly inevitable and you’ll curse that one friend who posts all their beach photos so carelessly. This inauspicious time of year actually has two firsts for me in 2019. See, for the first time in my life I feel comfortable in my own skin, even in a two-piece! While, yes, that first is surprising enough on its own, it’s even more surprising when I let you in on on one more little secret. At this exact time in my life, I weigh more and am larger than I have ever been. My weight gain could have a whole post in itself, but for now I’ll leave it at, the freshman fifteen has nothing on the pounds put on by the Mickey shaped diet.
Honestly, it’s a little liberating to admit that I’m the largest I’ve ever been. I feel as though admitting the existence of the weight gain *gasp* takes away some of its power. The first time I couldn’t get my favorite pair of mom jeans past my thighs, I felt heavier in my chest than anywhere else. My breathing became more labored as anxious and embarrassed thoughts flooded my brain. I stayed that way for a few weeks. I told everyone at work (sincere thank you to all of my amazing and supportive college program friends) how I gained weight since starting my job working at a talking dog’s candy and sweets shop. Through my venting I found out that I was not alone. I held a few conversations with my friends about how our bodies had changed since indulging too hard in the Disney lifestyle. But with each conversation I remember thinking to myself how ridiculously beautiful my friends were. Weight gain or not, when we would go to the parks and take pictures (a common college program pastime) I always thought they killed it. I also found myself thinking that I couldn’t imagine them any other way because ~and I cannot stress this enough~ they were (are!) all gorgeous.
Though of course, this was classic Cassandra. I was showing kindness and love to my friends, but being ruthless to myself. I kept looking at pictures from shoots two years ago and thinking how I looked so much better then. Until one night, in my self-loathing scroll parade, I realized that I hated myself and my body when those photos were taken. In fact, I remembered reviewing photos from shoots and thinking that I would look better if I dropped another ten pounds. Yet there I was, two years later and quite a few pounds heavier, thinking how great I looked back then. That I would give anything to be that thin again. So what was the lesson I learned? The reason why for the first time ever I’m going into summer feeling confident in my body? Well I recognize that as a young woman, I don’t know if I’ll ever think I’m good enough. I’m never going to be thin enough, pretty enough, funny enough, stylish enough, just enough. So rather than continue to spend my time purposefully tearing myself down, I decided to spend my time purposefully building myself up. For me, it has always been instinct to be nitpicky and downright mean to myself. If left unchecked I spiral in to self-hate quicker than guests sprint to Flight of Passage at rope drop. Awe, perhaps one day I won’t be Disney obsessed.
When the severity of my weight gain really hit me, it was so easy for me to fall into my body shaming ways. That is, until I realized that no number on a scale could ever make me happy with myself if the love wasn’t already there. Instead of constantly chasing lower numbers, I want to start chasing acceptance and dare I say, self-love. Honestly, now gaining weight feels more like the greatest test on my self-confidence to date. I don’t want to just love my body when it’s easy, I want to love my body. That’s it. Period. I now know that I love my body with a few added pounds, because I love my body unconditionally. When I love my body unconditionally, not only am I not scared of a scale, but I consciously make decisions to benefit what I already love. See, life will continue to have highs and lows that may or may not be reflected in a numeric value, but I now feel a responsibility to love every body I find myself in.
- Disingenuously Dressed