Dear reader, my name is Michelle Rogers. I am a nineteen year old college student, Body Positivity activist, and about a year ago I probably couldn’t of imagined i’d be saying those two things within the same sentence. As a young girl, I had always wished to be thinner, prettier, and popular. I struggled with my mental health quite profusely throughout middle school, and I was severely bullied by my peers for my size. I avoided eating food at school at all costs, and would likely skip out on lunch almost everyday. My closest of friends would talk behind my back, chairs would be pulled from underneath me, and I will never forget when some boy in my computer class called me a cow in front of my entire grade whilst others giggled on the side lines. Its hard to forget the negativity that was projected at you at such a young age, especially when you are already immensely insecure with yourself. This made for a much harder time making solid friendships, and things got so bad that I began to struggle with suicidal thoughts throughout my entire year of grade.
Everyday I walked through the halls, I felt as if everyone was glancing at me from behind, enthralled in pure judgement towards myself. Luckily, I have an incredibly supportive family that would become my rocks for the years to come. I got the help I needed, and high school was much better for myself. I had the opportunity to Travel across the world with my amazing family by my side, and got to learn more about myself throughout each and every airport, marketplace, and wonder of the world I visited. As I’ve grown up, I’m learning to realize how important it is to surround yourself with positive and like-minded people. This past summer, I finally decided to start seeing a counsellor to discuss the importance of both my mental and physical health. She encouraged me to start up a blog, and I called it BodyPosiPower. This blog has given me such a bright and new perspective on the online community, and has truly changed the way I look at myself. I’ve had to chance to hear so many amazing and relatable stories from across the world with regards to bullying, mental health, and body positivity.
I honestly only just began accepting myself and my body as whole within the last year or so. One of the most important things I did for myself was eliminate some toxic relationships out of my life. Once I took that step to remove that kind of toxicity from my life, positivity almost immediately shined through. I realized that I had spent majority of my teen years obsessing over my weight and my appearance, and I was working out and suppressing my eating just to please society and my peers. Self love really is a journey and although it isn’t always the easiest thing to do, its worth it, and so are you.
I think it is so incredibly important to share our stories with each other. I believe that stories are a way to educate those on our struggles, triumphs, and our failures. Being able to share a story and have someone get back to you and say how much they relate to you is an amazing and comforting feeling. We are ALL going through something, and the more we share our stories, the more people begin to feel a sense of safeness and understanding. Specially within the plus size community, we are faced with our own unique experiences and struggles because of the society we live in today. Having the opportunity to connect with other amazing and empowering plus size women online and around the world has changed the way I think and feel about myself in the most positive way, and I wouldn’t of gotten in touch with them if I hadn’t taken the plunge and shared my story.
As someone who is plus size and active within the body positive community, we are continuously subjected to hateful and unsolicited sexual commentary on a daily basis. I try to look at the hateful commentary very lightly, and with a sense of humour. The people commenting on my body don’t know me at all, and if they don’t like the way my body looks, that is their own problem and not mine. I recently posted a photo that was viewed 350,000 times, and the volume of hate I received on it was incredibly overwhelming. I simply turned off my comments on the photo, and blocked any of the previous hate that had been posted. That being said, looking at the overall comments and messages that I receive on my page over shadow the hate in entirety. I received messages from folks telling me that same photo that received all the hate helped them in ways I could never have even imagined. One girl who reached out to me even said that I saved her life. All because one of my own personal stories of struggle helped her realize she wasn’t alone. People will always try to tear you down when they see you up, and some people just can’t stand that a fat woman can smile confidently in a bikini, rocking lightning bolt stretch marks and tummy rolls. Just because someone doesn’t like your body, doesn’t mean you have to hate it either.
I want readers to know that its okay to struggle with your body image, and that you are not alone. We as plus size women are continuously told that our bodies aren’t good enough, aren’t pretty enough, aren’t sexy enough, but that just isn’t the case! We are so much more than that, and no matter your shape or size, you are one-hundred percent worthy of learning to love and accept your body for everything it is. I use to work out because I really disliked my body, but I’m learning now that I deserve to live a healthy and active life, no matter my physical fitness level currently. I use to limit myself because of my weight, but you are so much more than the numbers on the scale, focus on what makes you feel healthy and happy!
Body Positivity is essentially a key component within the journey to self love. It is an ongoing process that follows you throughout the rest of your life. Its learning to wear what you want, its about learning to love each and every piece of yourself, and its about learning your worth. It’s what you want it to be, and it’s for you. If I could say anything to encourage anyone who is or has struggled with their body image, it would be to tell your story. Whether this be to a friend, a cousin, a cat, or 3,000+ people on Instagram, it just might save someone’s life, and it could be yours.
I hope to continue blogging, after starting my Instagram I’ve realized I really enjoy to write. I am continuing my studies at a new college this coming September, and am planning on majoring in sociology. I hope to work with people in the future, perhaps as Life Coach. No matter where the world takes me next, as long as I’m doing something I love and taking care of myself as a whole, I know I’ll be happy.
The work that the amazing folks are doing over at FabUplus magazine is incredibly important and vital for plus size women around the world. We need more representation, inclusivity, and body diversity within the mainstream media. FabUplus is changing the game, and making more and more plus size women feel accepted and empowered. The more we come together and share our stories, the more we can learn to empower, encourage and inspire each other to live a more healthy lifestyle no matter our size, and thats EXACTLY what FabUplus is doing.