Why I Quit Making Fat Jokes About Myself By Meredith Boggs
Standing in front of the floor length mirror in our bedroom, I slipped into my go-to black jeans. I turned to the side to assess the situation; seeing my profile, I contracted every muscle possible in my abdomen, giving the waistband a little tug to rest higher over my hips. I took a deep breath in, gave my stomach a quick disapproving pat over the roundest part, exhaled sharply and then turned to reach for my boots.
What I didn’t realize was that my husband had seen me from the reflection in the bathroom mirror.
He popped his head out of the bathroom and gently asked ‘Mer what are you doing?’
Turning in his direction, I looked at him a little confused and said ‘uh I’m putting on my shoes.’
‘No, what were you doing when you standing in front of looking in the mirror?’
That’s when I realized he’s seen the whole stomach-sucking-in saga.
Jokingly I said ‘oh just trying to suck in my gut, looks like I’ve been packing on the pounds recently!l’
‘Mer that’s not funny’ he replied.
‘Come on babe I’m kidding, I don’t actually think I’m fat’ I said, responding quickly to his rebuttal.
What I realized in that moment after twenty-something years of being a female in a skinny saturated society where anything less than perfection is not good enough, is that it was time I quit making fat jokes about myself altogether.
The self deprecating comments, the rude internal dialogue that went on in my head each time I stood on front of the mirror, and the jokes I made about myself in social situation due to feeling uncomfortable because I was either the smallest or the largest amongst other females discussing their body shapes and weigh, needed to end altogether.
One of the greatest gifts I can give my myself is being confident in, comfortable with & kind to my body.
If I could redo that morning all over again, I would have confidently pulled those jeans over my hips. Rather than taking a second glance, noticing all the places on my body that I thought could use a little help, or making a cheap joke about myself, I would have smiled and thanked my body for being healthy, energetic and lovely, then I would have taken my husband by the hand, pulled him close and kissed him with all the confidence of a woman who knows how dearly loved, beautiful and adored she is.
Being confident in, comfortable with and kind to our bodies has not traditionally been praised amongst women. We are taught to strive for perfection, that anything less is not good enough.
Embracing the skin I’m in and the frame I was given has never been a strong suit of mine. I don’t know of a woman who would say that it is her strength. Learning to love, appreciate, and be kind to our bodies is a learned practice.
That practice for me began to take shape first and foremost by not saying self deprecating comments about myself. Even when I say I’m joking, there is always something in the back of my mind that whispers otherwise.
The practice includes looking with gratitude upon what I have been given rather then despairing over what I will never have. It means even when I feel that twinge of discontentment with the shape I see reflected back in the mirror, I whisper words of kindness, praise and gratitude over it instead of strapping expectations and unrealistic standards upon it.
So as I slipped my snakeskin boots on and walked out of the house that morning, I promised my body that I would stop making fat jokes about it. Walking out into that chilly morning air, I thanked my body and recommitted to loving it, being kind to it, and continuing to grow into confidence in it.
It’s a struggle some days more than others and this work can be exhausting.
But it's a practice that will cultivate a much deserved gratitude for our bodies
In a world where there is no such thing as ‘enough’ especially in the realm of our bodies, being confident in, comfortable with and kind to our bodies is one of the greatest gifts we can give to ourselves and to those who watch from the outside.
Article Contributor: Meredith Boggs
Photography by Jessica Boggs