In a culture where negative self talk is actively encouraged most of us have days when we feel like we don’t measure up. This practice of comparing ourselves and our bodies with others rarely produces good outcomes. It’s such a damaging culture that even those with high self esteem aren’t immune. Even those who are activists, advocating for fat acceptance, aren’t safe.
When I find myself in these moments where I compare myself to others and despair at the ways I am lacking, I try to remember this. Some people are surprised that I can fight for size diversity, human rights and self-love so fiercely yet still be afflicted with bouts of crippling low confidence – but I’ve got to tell you right now, this is proof of our self-hating culture.
Margaret Cho, someone more eloquent (and hilarious) than I, says it really well.
And I have a lot of self-esteem, which is amazing, because I’m probably somebody who wouldn’t necessarily have a lot of self esteem, as I am considered a minority. And if you are a woman; if you are a person of color; if you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender; if you are a person of size; if you are person of intelligence; if you are a person of integrity, then YOU are considered a minority in this world. And it’s going to be really hard to find messages of self-love and support anywhere, especially women’s and gay men’s culture. It’s all about how you have to look a certain way, or else you’re worthless. You know, when you look in the mirror and think, “Ugh, I’m so ugly, I’m so fat, I’m so old.” Don’t you know that’s not your authentic self? That is billions upon billions of dollars of advertising: magazines, movies, billboards, all geared to make you feel shitty about yourself, so that you will take your hard-earned money, and spend it at the mall on some turn-around creme that doesn’t turn around shit. If you don’t have self-esteem, you will hesitate before you do anything in your life. You will hesitate to go for the job you want to go for. You will hesitate to ask for a raise. You will hesitate to call yourself an American. You will hesitate to report a rape. You will hesitate to defend yourself when you are discriminated against because of your race, your sexuality, your size, your gender. You will hesitate to vote. You will hesitate to dream. For us to have self-esteem is truly an act of revolution, and our revolution is long overdue. I urge you all today, especially today in these times of terrorism and chaos, to love yourselves without reservation and to love each other without restraint. Unless you’re into leather, then by all means, use restraints. Thank you.
Copy and paste this in a txt file, or make it your desktop. Read it all the time and remember it.