The author, Jes Baker. Photo: LIORA K
Everyone has rolls when they bend over. Everyone. Let's just get this out of the way right off the bat. In the last few months, I've had over 30 women ranging from rail thin to extra large naked in my bed and I would routinely ask them to hug their knees. You wont believe this... ALL OF THEM HAD TUMMY ROLLS. Not one was exempt. Even my super fabulous professional model, Katie, who is six foot tall, had rolls. The stomach pictures turned into some of my favourite images from the project... so quit thinking they're bad, and try accepting (dare I say embracing?) yours!
When people say "you're gorgeous," believe them. I tend not to, and it's a crying shame. When people genuinely compliment you, it's because they really see it. Try to not dismiss their perspective as wrong and assume that you know better. They see all of you. We see our flaws. Believe them.
"Arm flab is embarrassing." No it's not.
You're not stunning despite your body. You're stunning because of your body. There is a distinct difference. I grew up in a culture that would deem "unattractive" women as "special spirits". A degrading categorisation that implied that the only thing worthwhile was whatever was inside. Well, yeah. We are all much much more than our bodies, but our bodies are a beautiful part of us too. Beauty comes from the inside AND the outside. I am of the firm belief that every person is beautiful, and so this leaves the inside to be the part that is the most telling when it comes to true "beauty".
A guy can pick you up off your feet, and it won't break his back. "Wait, whaaaaaa Jes? You're full of it." Nope. This just happened to me for the first time in... six years? I'm considerably heavier than I was six years ago and so when I ran up to my friend Eric for a hug and he picked me up with my heels in the air... it left me breathless. I had forgotten that it was possible; I had accepted a life void of being lifted. So exhilarating. Eric didn't suffer any injuries and walked away unscathed.
You don't need to exercise every day in order to feel better about yourself. Many believe that someone who's fat needs to exercise as much as possible in order to prove that they're committed to becoming "less fat". As if accepting one's body as is would be a sin, and that's just silly. Yes, exercising has wonderful physical and mental benefits, but you don't owe it to anyone else to make an effort to change your body unless you want to. You do not have to alter yourself to be okay.
You're allowed to fall in love with yourself. I promise. This will be the scariest thing you will ever do, and that's okay. It will also be the most amazing (albeit super gradual) experience you will ever have. It doesn't make you narcissistic. It doesn't make you vain. It is liberating in every form of the word.
It's also okay to have days where you don't love yourself. Read this. No really. Read it. And then realise that we've grown up learning and internalising that we are not okay our entire life. For me, that's 26 years of self-hate indoctrination and brainwashing. It's going to take a lot longer than you think to reverse this thinking, and it's definitely not going to happen overnight. Allow yourself to have "weak" days. Cry, mourn, sob, yell, throw things. Then get up, brush yourself off, give the media the finger, and move forward because you're a warrior.
Everyone's boobs are uneven. If you have a lot of boobs, they might be way uneven. Don't stress. This is totally normal.
There are people who prefer large ladies. And I mean all sizes of large. I thought that my best bet in life was to find a partner who accepted my fat. Pause. Give me a minute to hang my head and shake it at myself. Not only are there people who adore "thick" women, but a LOT of them who prefer it. This eventually ends up in an interesting territory which Marianne from xoJane talks about here, but the point that I'm trying to make goes back to the "despite vs because of" argument. Here is what you need to know: you do NOT need to settle for a lover who is "okay" with your body. You have the right (and millions of opportunities) to find someone who is infatuated with your body. You deserve to be worshipped, woman!
Fat chicks bang hot guys... ALL. THE. TIME. I know that hot is relative and all inclusive depending on who you chat with, but for these purposes, lets talk about the "universally attractive" kind of hot. Y'know, the kind fat chicks don't deserve? The fact that "fat chicks bang 'hot' guys" was one of the most powerful realisations I've had thus far. In line with the above paragraph, I knew that there would be someone that would find me attractive but the pool would be small (because of my body) and potentially full of guys I didn't personally find sexy. So I would have to settle for anyone that would take me. After all, how could a conventionally gorgeous man (tall and with tattoos of course) like fat chicks? Weh-he-hell, let me tell you somethin': through various sites, events, parties, and corner store meetings, I found myself with over a hundred men who were champing at the bit to get with this. I was the one who had to sift through and pick the hottest of the hot. Ladies, over a hundred.
"Girls" showed what society thinks about that when Hannah's character has a weekend romance with an attractive and wealthy doctor. People flipped. "Patrick Wilson is so hot he would never do Lena Dunham" was the most eye-catching comment. Wilson's wife responded to that rubbish here, but the tweet speaks volumes about what the majority of people think unconventional women deserve. Women need to know that all bodies can be paired with all bodies.
Riding during sex will NOT collapse his insides. Just trust me on this one, what you fear is totally false. Here's a great article that changed my life.
Wearing whatever you want is a political statement. Join the revolution. Throw style rules out the window. Wear the tutu. Wear the horizontal stripes. Wear the turquoise skinny jeans. Wear the see-through blouse. Wear the bikini. Wear the sweat pants. Wear the shirt that says "Does this shirt make me look fat?” Wear whatever it is that makes you happy. This is your life.
You are beautiful. I'm saying this with a straight face and seriously meaningful look where I maintain eye contact for an uncomfortable amount of time. I know you don't feel like you fit into the category of gorgeous that our world creates. I know that it’s hard. I know that it’s a daily battle. But screw their fascist beauty standards. The second you stop looking for a skinny model in your mirror and start looking at YOU... is the second you will start to appreciate what you are. Stop looking for flaws. Stop looking for differences. You are perfect. You are more than enough. You are the best thing that has ever happened to you. And you are beautiful.
Say it with me.
Jes Baker is mental health professional, pastry chef, ex-art major, crazy cat lady, fat model and fiery advocate. She blogs at The Militant Baker.
You can read about Jes's latest body-positive project, The Body Love Conference, here.