Throwing Away Societal Pressures: Self Worth

By Chanda Alicea

I have been trying really hard to find a way to close this series out. I have enjoyed it so much and while I am normally never short of things to say, I have really struggled the last couple of weeks to sit and find what I feel is the perfect topic to close this out on. This is all kinds of tangential, so please bear with me and try to keep up as I jump all over the place.

After reflecting on things that I’ve seen or heard, and the one topic that I keep coming back to that really tugs on my heart is self-worth. The quotes I found sum everything up pretty perfectly. The truth is that we’ve been taught for years, that we are not supposed to determine our own worth. We’re constantly shown that society should be in charge of how we should feel about ourselves. We have endless images being fed to us showing us that the standard body type and image that society approves of is thin and if that isn’t us then we are worthless and unworthy of anything other than misery.

F that, point blank period. It isn’t true. The value of your worth is determined by no one but you. Chasing that rainbow of trying to look like the 1% of the skinny population is a pipe dream. There is no perfect body type because we were all made differently. This a myth that we have to stop embracing and once and for all throw in the garbage because we can’t keep sending such a dangerous message to the younger generations. Reaching that “perfect weight” is not actually going to fulfill you in the way you have been told/shown that it would. Trust me, I can name you several examples of what my perfect weight is, and if you can catch the joke, it has NOTHING to do with what I actually weigh.?

I was victim of the fad dieting rigamarole from pre-teen years to adulthood and never found the happiness that I was seeking. I was miserable because

  1. real talk, I was hangry.
  2. I wasn’t in a place where I was ready to work on myself because I had zero guidance and didn’t know shit about health and nutrition. I was severely depressed and had no desire to be active in any way shape or form after being ridiculed for the things I did enjoy.

It took me a long time to realize my self- worth, to love myself, to not hate the reflection in the mirror, and to accept myself for who I am because I am not an ideal image in society’s eyes, and as an overweight person, I am technically ( and I’m using that term VERY LOOSELY) not deserving of love or happiness according to societal standards.

I could tell you of some (certain celebrities for example) who I have noticed have very archaic opinions on obese people and body positivity, but I won’t. What I can tell you, is that according to these people, I should not be walking around with a body positive frame of mind for my daughter to see and later realize that I tried my best to set a good mentally healthy example for her while she was growing up, because I know how important that is.

Trust me society, I’m aware of what I look like. I know that you think that because I am overweight that I should hide in shame in the corner of a gym trying to get the weight off the way you think I should be doing it. I know that you think that diet and exercise is the golden standard that works for everyone and if I’m not losing weight, then I must be doing it wrong because genetics and science have NOTHING to do with weight loss. I am aware that you think that weight loss surgery is “the easy way out” and that people who choose this option just want to get back to eating ALL the shitty food you assumed we were eating before because how can you take care of yourself, watch what you eat and still be fat, it’s just not possible and that really boggles your mind. I am aware that you see me with my bulging stomach, huge baby maker hips and thighs that closely resemble large stumpy tree trunks that you’d probably find dead in a forest somewhere that I SHOULD NOT have the audacity to want to wear cute workout clothes. God forbid that I don’t look at exercise as a punishment and that I have the nerve to want to feel good about myself by looking cute. I’m aware that you think that being overweight, spreading body positivity and loving myself is apparently sending some bizarre, toxic and negative message to everyone else like me that it’s okay to be overweight and love yourself.

I’m also aware that you can fuck off because I am a strong woman who was raised by 2 strong women who taught me how to be a warrior who never gives up and will sprinkle all the positive vibes I can because EVERYONE DESERVES TO BE HAPPY!

We all deserve to know our worth and not be made to feel like we are anything less than spectacular. We all deserve love. We all need to change the narrative and start saying nice things to ourselves to push out the negative thoughts that lead to self-destructive behaviors. I won’t lie, it’s a daily struggle, but it’s worth the work. We all deserve to know that we are worth putting in the time and effort to make ourselves the best version of us we can be. Don’t waste your life hating yourself. You are the most important person in your life.  You complete you. Don’t be afraid to be selfish in the pursuit of being happy, loving and putting yourself first.