Would you call your best friend ugly?
Would you tell her she looks terrible in every outfit she owns?
Would you feel guilty every time your friend took the day off, or chose to eat dessert, or got sick?
Of course not. So why would you do that to your body, on which you depend to live your life and is so much more important?
This is me.
This is me, unedited, with no airbrushing or careful posing.
This is me, standing at the welcome sign in Leavenworth, Washington, on a June day.
This is me, not giving a single fuck about what the long line of cars passing by thought about my stomach visible through my shirt or my casual-because-I’m-taking-photos-and-want-comfortable outfit.
This is me with my partner in life: my body.
These are the effects of being body positive. Instead of a shameful presence always with me, my body is a partner, teaming up with me as I go about my life. Having my body as a partner and no longer being ashamed of it means that I can simply get on with things. It frees up my mental energy to focus on the things that are important in my life, not whether I’ll be “acceptable” at that business meeting without mascara.
When my partner and I go outside, we don’t have to worry about whether the neighbors are rolling their eyes at my occasionally taking a break from weeding or if some rando driving down the street will be bothered by my big ol’ butt sticking up in the air. We’ve got better things to do.
No longer being ashamed of my body means sitting on a park bench in Hawaii and taking selfies, sunburn and allergy hives and all, because my body and I are having a blast and don’t really care what you think.
When I venture out into the world to explore and take photos, I know my partner is ready and willing to help me scramble over rocks and hunch down under thickets and kneel in the dirt repeatedly to get an elusive shot. I know that my partner will let me know when she’s tired or hungry or thirsty, and like any good partner I’ll fulfill her needs so that we can both keep going.
When I get dressed, I could easily spend time criticizing my partner for how my butt looks in that dress, or how you can see the outline of my stomach in that top, or how that top that fit perfectly last year is a bit tight right now. Or I could recognize that my partner is beautiful and perfect exactly as she is. Then I can choose the clothing that (depending on what my partner and I are aiming for that day) makes me feel sexy or comfortable or warm or cool or stylish, and defend my partner against anyone who would call her names or treat her less than well.
And when my partner has a health issue, as every single person on the planet does at some point in their lives, I can stand firmly with her and give her all the care she needs without insulting her for being a human body of flesh and blood.
Sure, my partner’s not perfect. Who is? But my partner deserves, at minimum, the respect and love I’d give my best friend.
And the thing is, it doesn’t matter whether you approve. Because we’ve got better things to do.