Posts in Lifestyle
#MeToo

I don’t remember the first time I was sexually harassed. At the time, I probably didn’t even know that’s what it was. I don't remember if I brushed it off as a boy being a boy or just another unsolicited comment about my body. I don't remember if I cried about it for a minute or two then went about my business as per usual. What I do remember from each encounter is feeling uncomfortable, like I wanted to crawl out of my skin and disappear. I remember feeling guilty like I was the one at fault for daring to wear a v-neck or show some cleavage. I remember going over the situations in my head, trying to pinpoint what I did wrong, what I could have done to avoid it. I remember feeling angry and disgusted and ashamed. 

After seeing the flood of stories and experiences on the #MeToo Twitter tag, I created a simple post on Facebook that said "#MeToo". That was all. It my silent protest, my silent stand with the movement. At the time, I didn't feel ready to share my own stories. Part of me felt like my stories weren't bad enough to be shared. Another part of me didn't want to be pressured to share my stories, to feel like owed anyone my stories. I wanted to share them on my own terms. It took me about a week to start writing this post and another week to finally finish it. 

I wrote this post because I've spent so many years staying silent and not speaking up and if my stories can help even a single person, it will be worth it. I wrote this story because seeing the flood of stories across social media was incredibly disheartening and depressing but also unsurprising and that is terrifying. I wrote this post because most of the women I know have experienced some form of sexual harassment and that breaks my heart. I wrote this post because I realized that I was mainly afraid of being seen as some outspoken, dramatic feminist. I wrote this post because I realized that I am an outspoken, dramatic feminist and a proud one at that. I wrote this post because girls and women have been taught to hide, to reduce ourselves so we don't inconvenience others and I'm done hiding. 

I've never laid out my stories like this and crying my way through it and remembering those painful moments was somewhat cathartic. I ranted and rambled and yelled and nearly burst into tears as my fiance listened. I spent one late night conversation explaining how men can really start helping out, how just being a good guy and "not like other guys" isn't helping unless you actually call out the bad guys and the messed up system, how much women go through, how sexual harassment/assault isn't just a one-off occurrence for most women, how we've been trained to expect this kind of behavior and prepare for it, and how fucked up that is. So I won't be silent anymore. I will rage and rant about it til my last breath, til something changes. 

 

 

These are my stories. 


 

  • I was walking down the street and a man apparently thought I was too provocatively dressed and he spat at me. I was wearing a fitted skirt with opaque tights and a long sleeved v-neck sweater. It made me feel dirty and I ended up walking back home and changing. 
  • In college, some of my friends has a tendency to draw attention to my breasts. Some would greet my breasts before greeting me by saying "Hey Val's boobs! Oh, Val! You're there too!" Some even gave them names. Everyone seemed to get the joke and find it amusing. We had friends that openly grabbed each other's breasts when they saw each other and they didn't make a big deal out of it so I didn't fuss and laughed it off. Honestly, it made me very uncomfortable. 
  • A man approached me while I was on the phone with fiance. He tried to get my attention with compliments and small talk. I tried to politely explain that I was on the phone and not at all interest.  When he wouldn't stop, I tried to use my fiance as an excuse, hoping that would make him stop. I firmly said that I was on the phone with my fiance and he came up to the microphone of my earphones and said "Yo bro, let me holla at your girl". I eventually tried to ignore him and walk away. He followed for a bit before finally giving up. 
  • When I told my dad, uncles, and other family members about my encounter with the aggressive and insistent man who wouldn't stop badgering me, they mildly scolded me for not being more assertive or for not saying "no" more forcefully so the guy would take a hint. They explained that "guys here are very forward and you need to learn to say 'fuck off'". They don't know what it's like to be afraid that a man will react violently to rejection. They don't know what it's like to keep saying "no" only to have the man follow you a block or two. They don't know what it's like to say "no" and then be called a frigid bitch and all kinds of other names. They don't know
  • A former colleague thought it was okay to send me sexually suggestive texts. When I reacted and expressed that I thought it was inappropriate, he simply laughed, said I was overreacting, and tried to justify his actions by saying that he had a girlfriend and he was just messing around. 
  • In 6th grade, I loved soccer and desperately wanted to be on the school team. There wasn't a girl's team so I joined the boys team. It wasn't an easy transition. In the years that followed, I was constantly taunted for having large breasts. My male team mates would ask me uncomfortable questions and one would even bring up how gross and dark my nipples must be since I'm black. By my senior year of high school, I was set on getting a breast reduction when I got a job and saved enough money. 
  • After a few drinks, a former colleague cozied up to me, getting far too close and very touchy. He started whispering inappropriate things to me and I decided to take the elevator and make my way home. He followed and spent the next 15-20 minutes trying to get me to stay and cozy up to him. When my Uber arrived, I climbed in and started to cry. Bless that Uber driver who offered to buy me a snack and was incredibly kind. 
  • A man asked to take a photo of me while I was taking a walk and when I politely but firmly refused, he got upset and said "you're not that hot anyway, bitch". 
  • When I was in grade school, I attended a mass and the priest decided to use his homily to talk about a rape case that was drawing a lot of attention in our small town. To my surprise, he blamed the rape victim (a woman) and began lecturing churchgoers about teaching young women to dress more modestly and carry themselves with more dignity so as not to 'tempt' the men into committing sins. One of his lines basically reasoned that if a woman exposes herself and dresses indecently, what else can she expect? What truly enraged me what that most of the churchgoers were nodding in agreement, some clapping at the end of his sermon. 
  • A former coworker would call me "darling", "sweetheart", or "dear" and while I understand that he may have felt that it was harmless because we were close, it made me feel small and a somewhat put down. He would never call a male coworker any of those names and it felt condescending, like I was being reduced to some silly little lady at work that you didn't pay any mind to and was simply there to serve. 
  • A man at a club thought it was a okay to grope me and when I turned to confront him, he laughed and disappeared into the crowd. A few minutes later, a man pulled me from behind and tried to dance with me. I kept trying to pull away but he followed and continued to badger me. When my friends saw, I tried to get them to help me out of the situation but they left me to it thinking it was good for me to "loosen up" and dance with someone. I finally got away by giving him a fake number, insisting I had to use the restroom, and avoiding him the rest of the night. 
  • An older man at the bus station kept asking to take me out for coffee despite me saying no multiple times. He only stopped when my bus arrived and I rushed on. 
  • In college, someone I considered a friend "stole" a kiss while we were supposed to be studying for an exam. I insisted he leave and confronted him the next day after I managed to calm down. He tried to justify it by telling me had a long distance girlfriend whom he was missing and I reminded him of her. They later broke up and I was jokingly called a homewrecker by my friends for months. I don't think they realized how much it hurt me. 

 

 

 

 

A Broke Girl's Guide to Self-Care
Self-care isn’t just facials & pedis. It’s holding yourself accountable for the spaces you occupy and the people you surround yourself with. Self-care is prioritizing your growth over everything and to do so you can’t continue spending time in toxic environments around toxic people. Self-care often requires you to adjust habits, end relationships, and change ‘friends’. Choose yourself and never apologize for your evolution
— Ebonee Davis (twitter)

For quite some time, I've equated self-care with shopping trips, makeup tutorials, Sunday brunches, and binge watching my favorite Netflix shows. And while those are valid self-care practices, I've learned that self-care is more than the "treating yo self" ethos. It's more than a reward. Self-care involves being safe and secure in yourself. It's about self-awareness and prioritizing your physical and emotional health over anything else. 

I've treated self-care as some kind of reward and after a while, I forgot what it really meant to take care of myself and really get myself the help I needed. Listed below are a few things I've learned over the years on my journey to learn to love and care for myself. 


Disconnect

The news nowadays can get horrific, the negative comments and political mess can be disheartening, and sometimes the state of the world makes me want to crawl into bed and cry. Unlike before, we receive all this news and negativity as its happening, with updates coming in every few seconds through every social media app and every device. Shooting in Vegas, California fires, North Korea's threats of nuclear war, ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya, Trump's Twitter tirades, Duterte's war on drug. They just keep coming and it's overwhelming. 

Remind yourself that we aren't made to process so much suffering all at once and you're allowed to give yourself time away from all that pain and negativity. Turn off your phone for an hour. Close your laptop and grab a book. Turn off the TV and talk a walk. Remind yourself that there is good and beauty in the world. 

 

Acknowledge & Process What You're Feeling

At my previous job, I was terrified of making even the smallest mistake. When I did, I worked through it, stressed myself out even more, rushed and fumbled my way to the end then spent far too much time beating myself up for being a failure. I didn't give myself time to breathe and process what I was feeling. I jumped straight to the conclusion that I was a failure and my default response was to be apologetic. 

When you're feeling stress, anxious, rundown, or stretched far too thin, take a moment to breathe and process what you're feeling and why. 

 

Schedule a date with yourself and don't cancel

We prioritize things that we consider important. You shouldn't be an exception. Make time and learn to prioritize yourself. I used to to make so many plans and promises for myself. New years resolutions, promises to not fall back into unhealthy cycles or behavior, and commitments to the gym or a new hobby. It's funny how easy it was for me to break promises to myself while I beat myself up for breaking any promises I made to others. 

Schedule a date with yourself. Take yourself out to that movie you've been wanting to see but have no one to go with. Eat at that Italian restaurant you've been wanting to try but feel awkward going to alone. Try that yoga class that you've had your eye on. Learn to enjoy your own company. Take a few minutes, an hour, a day, or even a few days to yourself, to take care of yourself. The world will still be there when you get back. 

 

A little at a time

Last year, my self-care routine involved spending a day or two every month to shop, walk around, visit the museum, and spend a day all to myself. I now realize that it would have been better if I made it a daily habit, if I set aside 10-15 minutes to focus and do something for myself. Self-care should be a habit, something built into your life and as routine as brushing your teeth. 

Take baby steps instead of large leaps. 

 

Cut out the toxic people in your life

Some of the best decisions I ever made for my emotional health were cutting toxic people out of my life. In college, I struggled with toxic friends who made me feel small and drained me emotionally. I would call my mother in tears, I lost some weight, and my grades began to slip. It took a while but I finally decided to cut them off and focus on myself, my growth, and my true friends. Everything changed and thankfully, all for the better. 

Never apologize for cutting toxic people out of your life and prioritizing your health and happiness. 

 

Don't lie to yourself

Know when you're not fine and when you need help. Be honest with yourself. Take a look at yourself and ask if your behavior, your lifestyle, and your relationships are good for you and are pushing you to be better or if they're self-destructive and unhealthy. 

 

 

Joe + Val: Q&A

In celebration of finally formally announcing our engagement, Joe and I decided to answer a few general questions about our relationship because everyone loves to hear a happy couple gush and ramble on and on about each other, right? KIDDING. But really, we just thought it would be fun to look back and answer a few questions about how we got started. 

 


How did you meet? 

Val: We met through mutual friends. I believe it was around late 2012. I happened to be walking around school and I bumped into Joe and two of our mutual friends. They were heading off-campus to grab a few beers and they invited me to come along. It was a bit awkward actually because I barely spoke to Joe that evening since he was stranger to me. 

Joe: We were both in 3rd year college when we first met at Cannan, a small hangout spot near the school. On our way there, my two good friends Renard and Daryl just kinda dragged Val along for the little hangout. 

 

What were your first impressions of each other? 

Val: Honestly, I deeply disliked him at first. Everything about him annoyed me. He has this laugh, a very hearty, boisterous laugh that can fill a room and I found it obnoxious. I think I was irked by the fact that nothing about him was restrained or censored. If he was happy, everyone knew it. If he found something funny, everyone would hear it. I was so used to people reeling themselves in that seeing someone be so completely comfortable being loud and quirky bothered me. 

Joe: I had no idea how to talk to Val and I was slightly awkward around her. I honestly found her kind of intimidating. We barely talked, any conversation being very simple or introductory. 

 

Who made the first move? 

Val: I did! Haha. Towards the end of March 2013, I decided to take the plunge and just tell him how I felt. I really wasn't expecting anything from him. I just wanted to get it off my chest. And as I had expected, he politely declined my affections. To be fair to him, my timing was horrible.  

Joe: Val made the first move. One day, she just said that she wanted to talk, just between me and her. She sat me down at a quiet area in the school, and just said it straight, and admitted to me that she liked me. At the time, I was going through a tough time in my life since a close friend of mine who I really liked just passed away. It caught me off guard, and I made up this really dumb story instead of telling her how it was. It basically read as a "no" from me, but I intended it to be more of, "I'm not ready. This isn't a good time."

 

What did your parents think of him/her? 

Val: My mom thought he was too much of a goody two shoes! Haha. When they first met, she gave him a bit of a hard time. She pushed his buttons a bit just to see how he would handle it and he did great. At the end of the night, she told me that he seemed like a good guy who really loves me but that he needed to let loose a bit. As for my dad, he liked him from the very start. 

Joe: My parents think she's a nice girl. They don't really have any complaints about her. In fact, when I once asked my dad about what he thinks about Val for me, he said that he'd never seen me happier, and that he never saw my grumpy self show. He was referring to when I brought her with me to La Union for new year, and I just had a great time with her.

 

What did your friends think when you first became a couple?

Val: Well, it seemed like everyone was just waiting for it to happen. Most of the reactions were "finally!" or "about damn time!" Haha. 

Joe: Our friends made a pretty big deal out of it when they first learned of it. Maybe it's because I kept it quiet from everyone else and just surprised them later on? I can't really say why, but that following week was pretty funny with everybody kind of losing their minds over the fact that Val and I were now a couple.

 

What quirk about him/her initially annoyed you but now you find charming? 

Val: His laugh, his gaming, his confidence, and his very competitive personality! 

Joe: Val says sorry all the time, and while I did find it a bit annoying at first, I accepted it as just a part of her personality. She's just a genuinely well-meaning person. It was just the way she was. Now, when she gets all apologetic, I just go with it and tell her not to worry so much.

 

Describe your ideal date. 

Val: I'm fairly easy to please. Just give me great food, good ambiance, lots of talking and laughing, and cheesecake and I'm a happy camper. But for an ideal date, it would be staying in, cooking dinner together, watching a movie or show then talking into the wee hours of the morning over some cold beers. 

Joe: My ideal date is a great foodtrip where we just don't hold back. I've never been a fan of overly formal dates in fancy places. I'd much rather have a very casual date at a nice place where you can just eat, talk, and hang out without worry. On that note, one of our favorite places is Joe's Crab Shack at the Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. We've had a couple of dates there, and we just take our time and have a seafood feast without a care in the world.

 

What's your favorite memory together? 

Val: Oh gosh. We have some great ones like our first date at Chef Jessie or our first kiss! I think my favorite memory was going on our first proper vacation in San Francisco then to Las Vegas. It was such fun! We ate at two buffets, explored the strip, stayed at a beautiful, fancy hotel, and got to discover a place together. 

Joe: My favorite one would have to be our first kiss. We were hanging out at Bo's Coffee at Katipunan, and went up to the third floor as the sun was setting. There was nobody there so it was literally just the two of us. It seemed like the perfect moment, and we just shared our first kiss there. It was like a scene straight out of a movie.

 

What's your funniest memory together? 

Val: There are quite a few hilarious ones like when I first tried to copy the way Joe curses which is in Tagalog and very crisp. He cracked up! Another would be when we were swimming and he tried to kiss me but had water in his mouth so he more or less ended up spitting on me. 

Joe: Oh dear, there are a LOT of bloopers and funny moments. From the top of my head, one that comes to mind is when I brought Val to Wham, my favorite burger place. It was pretty early in the relationship, and I was just sharing with her my favorite comfort foods. We ordered the same thing, and I was about halfway through my burger when I asked her how she liked it. She looked at me with big eyes and an empty burger wrapper. I couldn't help but laugh at how much she enjoyed herself. I told her that I love how she can enjoy her food in front of me. It was great.

 

What's your favorite thing about him/her? 

Val: He's such a genuinely wonderful, weird person. He is who he is and he refuses to apologize for it. He's nurturing, loyal, and loves food just as much as I do! 

Joe: My favorite thing about Val is her ridiculous, almost saint-like patience. My goodness, anyone lesser would not have been able to handle me at my worst. At this point, she knows me like a book, and can deal with me flawlessly when I have my mood swings. She makes it very easy for me to make amends with her when I do wrong, but I also never abuse it as well. 

 

What do you argue about most? 

Val: When we're apart, we tend to argue more about little miscommunications, dependency, and how words have to be enough. When we're together, arguments are usually about me bothering him to do something and him getting annoyed at my little antics. 

Joe: We argued about the circumstances of our engagement like crazy. I wanted to keep it on the low for a bit because of my family, and Val wanted to announce it to the world right away. It became a topic that I hated to talk about because she would always just get mad at me. We've been able to finally resolve that recently, and it's such a big relief.

 

Why do you call each other Bun and Opi? 

Val: It all started when we discovered those Facebook sticker packs. There was one pack named 'Bun' that featured an adorable, fat bunny who was very expressive and silly. Joe mentioned that it reminded him of me. Then I found a packed named 'Opi' that featured a straight-faced rectangular bear that seemed to be awkward in all kinds of situations. It reminded me of him. So we started calling each other Bun and Opi as a bit of an inside joke and it stuck! 

Joe: Oh this one is simple. We chat a lot on facebook and use a lot of different stickers just to add some fun elements. We came across these two sticker set, one was called Bun, and the other was Opi. Those characters just reminded us of each other, with me being Opi and Val being Bun. 

 

What's your secret to handling and overcoming the struggles of a long distance relationship?

Val: Set an end goal as a couple, communicate, set ground rules, and finally, grow separately but not apart

Joe: The key is communication, and always having the next meeting planned. We made sure to set aside some time everyday to be able to talk to each other. Now, some people may find that you're better off not talking every single day, but if you're decided on this person, then they will become your everyday. In that case, it would be much better off to get used to it earlier. As for the meetings, we would only be able to meet up every 3-4 months. One time, we met up after 6 months and decided that it was too long of a gap to wait. So we decided on the 3-4 month gap, and would plan our next meet up every time we met. We always made sure to have something to look forward to because if we left it in the open, then it really wouldn't have worked.

 

 

Do you have any others questions for us? Let me know in the comments! 

 
Visual Diary: Girl's Trip to Camiguin

The first time I went to Camiguin, I didn't know what to expect. All I really knew about it was that it was a tiny island off the coast of Northern Mindanao known for its beaches. When my mom brought my fiance and I to the island, we were blown away by how lovely it was. I fell in love with the quiet, relaxing pace of life, the lush natural resources, and the delicious food. So when my sister came home for a visit in July, my mom and I agreed that we had to go back to Camiguin. We didn't go to as many places as we did with my boyfriend but it was no less enjoyable and relaxing. Here are a few photos from our girl's trip! 

 

Exploring La Union

I've visited La Union about four times and each time, I find something new that I like. The first trip was pure tourist spots and I fell in love the Ma-Cho Temple and botanical gardens. The second trip was about surfing and beach trips. The third trip was about family, churches, fireworks, and great seafood. This fourth trip was a staycation and about enjoying the slow, steady life of the province. Here are few photos I took when I wasn't too lazy to whip out my camera. Enjoy! 

 

What are your favorite places to go in La Union?

10 Pounds

1. I once read that couples that gained weight together were the happier. Matching muffin tops and soft bellies to match softened hearts and overflowing affection. What lovely little price to pay for such happiness. 

2. "I don't need a man to tell me I'm beautiful or wonderful or amazing. I know that already. Damn right I am. I need a man who can keep up with me, who can handle me, my determination, and my goals. I don't need a man to tell me what to do or help me find myself. I know who I am and what I want in life"

Sometimes it surprises me how someone so young can have so much confidence and sureness in themselves. I envy that. 

3. The heaviest I've ever been was 195 pounds. I was a college freshman with new friends and new experiences. I didn't even noticed I had gained my "freshman 15". I was too busy living. Then someone pointed it out, mentioned it in passing and I spent the next two years fixated on shedding the weight. I just went through a tough, erratic, amazing year and all you feel is noteworthy is my weight gain. 

4. Nearly every night, during our usual video call, I point out my double chin, flabby arms or soft stomach and I pout with glassy eyes. You've heard it a thousand times. But every single time, you sigh and answer with "I love you" and a smile. And that's all I need. A little affirmation with a side of fries. 

5. Here's to posting a photo even if your double chin is in full view because your smile is genuine. Here's to jiggly thighs, flabby arms, hairy legs, and stubby fingers for doing their job despite constant criticism. Here's to having such a good time that you forget to pose on your 'good side'. Here's to forgetting to give a damn. 

6. How to lose 10 pounds in 3 days. Intermittent fasting for weight loss. How to lose 20 pounds in a month. Melt fat away. Exercises to get ride of double chin. Beach body workout. Military diet. Miracle soup diet. Thinspo. It's amazing how many secrets and insecurities are tucked away in our search history.  

7. Part of me is nervous about being home because I know my weight gain is going to be thrown into the spotlight eventually. People are going to use concern about my health and well-being to bash my body and claim they know exactly what is best for me. Snide comments, backhanded compliments, and unsolicited opinions. Ahhh, childhood memories. 

8. 'Slim thick' is in. Large breasts, thick thighs, and round bubble butt paired with a perfectly flat stomach, toned arms, and a tiny waist. Thick in the right places. Not skinny and not fat, a perfect, unattainable medium. 

9. My brother weighs 250 pounds and for most of his teens, he has been criticized, bullied, and mocked for being as big as he is. My brother loves to dance. He blasts Korean pop music and can't help but wiggle to the beat. One year, my brother insisted on joining a summer dance class then another the next year. He was surrounded by petite, lean dancers nearly half his size and he outdanced them all. His weight continues to fluctuate but his spirit and his love for dancing hasn't. 

10. Yes, I've gained 10 pounds. What else has changed about me? Everything else that matters hasn't. 

Life Update

Mic test. 1, 2, 3. 

So quite a lot has happened in the past few weeks. I quit my job, found out one of my loved ones has cancer, decided to move back to the Philippines for a few months, revamped my blog, settled my plans with my fiance, sold a bunch of my clothes, and started a gofundme campaign to help me pay for cosmetology school. It's been one hell of a ride. 

It started with my fiance and sister convincing me to quit the job I had long wanted to leave. The week after my 24th birthday, I resigned. I had been searching for job opportunities already and was confident I would have a new one lined up within a few weeks. But a few days after I resigned, I found out someone very close to me back in the Philippines had cancer that was beginning to spread. My focus immediately shifted. I wanted nothing more than to be home, to be with my family. So I spoke to my fiance and we decided it would be best if I moved back home for a few months. About a week after deciding to move back, I happened upon a social media post about makeup classes and decided that while I was home, I would go to cosmetology school and take a few courses. And so the GoFundMe campaign was born. 

I am now sorting through all my belongings and slowly but surely packing up the life I've built in Chicago. Part of me is sad to leave so soon bit another part of me is excited, looking forward to new beginnings and adventures. 

Understanding Body Positivity

Body positivity is a term I've been seeing quite a lot of in the past few years. Instagram accounts devoted entirely to body positivity and self-love have popped up with massive followings, companies and businesses have created campaigns supporting body diversity, and plus size models and body positive bloggers are more popular than ever. As a woman on the curvier side, I'm delighted! When I was younger, I never saw anyone on runways, in movies, or in ads that looked like me and I would spend hours scouring the internet for plus size models. It's progress and I'm here for it. But despite all the wonderful progress that's been made, the body positivity movement isn't perfect and is so often misunderstood or misused. Some claim that it is used as an excuse to be unhealthy, promotes obesity, shames and undermines slimmer women while others claim it fails to be truly inclusive, teaches narcissism and encourages being shallow. So allow me to clarify some things. 

 

WHAT DOES BODY POSITIVITY MEAN? 

At its very core, body positivity is about the idea that all bodies are good bodies. The idea that all bodies are bikini bodies. You are not a better person for being a size 2 and I am not a worse person for being a size 12. A size 22 body is just as worthy of love and respect as a size 10 body. It's about acceptance and emphasizing that one's worth is not dependent on weight, body shape, age, or ability. It's not about weight and, in my opinion, it isn't even about health. The body positivity movement is a response to the problem within our society that deems some bodies more valuable, more worthy of praise, and more acceptable while leaving other bodies unrepresented and shamed. Because the body positivity movement also focuses especially on bodies that are generally marginalized or under-represented, it is often regarded as fat positive or only for plus sizes which is wrong. It's as much for smaller sizes as it is for larger sizes. 

 

DOES BODY POSITIVE = FAT POSITIVE? 

Not quite but it did grow from that movement. Fat positivity is reclaiming fat bodies and viewing this particular trait as a positive part of your life rather than something to be ashamed of. Fat persons are often shamed for 'letting themselves go', being lazy, or being unhealthy and by virtue of simply being fat, promoting an unhealthy lifestyle. When clothing brands don't carry larger sizes and complaints are made, comments so often urge them to lose weight instead of urging companies to meet their needs. It's unfair, downright disgusting, and something that has to stop. 

 

DOES IT PROMOTE OBESITY?

Not at all. That's not a thing. Let's define PROMOTE shall we: to further the progress of; to support or actively encourage. The body positivity movement (and the fat positivity movement for that matter) does not actively encourage obesity, weight gain, or an unhealthy lifestyle. What it does encourage is not apologizing for taking up space in this world, for existing in the body you have. The movement accepts bodies of all shapes and sizes and aims to be as inclusive as possible, especially to bodies that are generally marginalized, shunned, or under-represented. 

 

WHAT ABOUT HEALTH? 

First off, someone else's health is really none of your business. So many use concern and backhanded compliments as an excuse to criticize and attack someone who simply doesn't look the way they'd like or a way that makes them comfortable. Unless you're their doctor or have intimate knowledge of their medical history, you can't evaluate one's health just by looking at them. Health doesn't have one face, one particular look. 

I personally don't believe body positivity should focus heavily on health. I shouldn't have to prove my health to deserve and receive respect. While we all encourage each other to live healthier lives and take care of ourselves, body positivity focuses on loving and accepting yourself as you are whether you are underweight, overweight, or working towards an aesthetic goal. Sure, you can work towards losing weight, gaining weight, getting those abs or even maintaining but you don't have to hate yourself along the way. 

 

SO IT'S JUST ABOUT BEING CONFIDENT AND LOVING YOURSELF? 

Yes, but not quite. The body positive movement is not just about you. The body positive movement is about making everyone feel heard, seen, appreciated, and represented. Remember: empowered people empower people. It's all well and good that you are confident and comfortable in your own skin but the movement aims to spread that positivity and uplift others. 

It's all about inclusivity and this inclusivity can reveal some biases. Because of my social conditioning, I realized that I am most comfortable with bodies that are more petite and proportioned, size 16 and under. When I started to explore the body positivity movement, I was exposed to bodies that made me uncomfortable. That made me realize I needed to change and accept that body positivity isn't reserved for what I consider an acceptable body that makes me comfortable. Because it isn't just about me. It's for all bodies and confronting your biases is a big step forward.

 

WHY SHOULD I CONGRATULATE PEOPLE FOR LOVING THEMSELVES?

"Congratulations you love who you are. It's not my duty to applaud you for doing something you should already do" 

Sure, it may not be your job to congratulate anyone for loving themselves but it sure as hell isn't your job to break them down. These kind of comments are so dismissive and apathetic to the experiences of others. Maybe you had a better experience and good for you but there are people who have been criticized, ridiculed, and shunned because of their bodies. For some, it isn't easy to love themselves in a society that tells them that they are undesirable, lazy, shameful, disgusting, and unhealthy simply because of how they look. For your sake and everyone else's, go find some empathy and sympathy at your nearest corner store.