A Journey to Self AcceptanceYolanda Machado
When I was 17 years old, I was in a heavy make out session with my kinda, sorta, we’re not gonna be labeled type-boyfriend. I’m talking like, we had passed 2nd, approaching 3rd (cover your eyes mom!), with no end of stopping before hitting home type of heavy making out. I remember him pausing for a moment to look at me and I was giddily awaiting some romantic declarations to come next. Instead he looked me right in the eye and said, “you know, if you lost 10-15 lbs, you would be so hot.” Classy right? But, did I tell him off? No. Did I dump him? No. I just swallowed my pride and accepted it because I didn’t think I deserved better because in a way, he was right…I was fat.
My weight has been an issue for me my entire life. For all my teenage years and part of my adulthood, it’s been the reasons behind so many of my mistakes. Of doing lots of things with or for too many people for all the wrong reasons. Why am I laying it out here? Because of part of an article on Essence by Jai Stone:
The idea that I should not be successful, find love or become famous simply because I’m fat just pisses me off. I wonder how many other obese women actually buy into the foolish notion that fat equals unworthy.
For the longest time, that was me. I couldn’t love me because I truly believed until I looked like that size 0 model or that 100 lb actress, I couldn’t be successful, I couldn’t be beautiful, I couldn’t accept love…and I couldn’t (or shouldn’t) like myself. It took me years to see myself as a whole woman, not just by my weight. Years to finally reach a place of self acceptance. Now that I am a mother raising a daughter, I am trying to instill in her the self acceptance I lacked for almost 30 yrs. It’s a hard task when almost everyday there are images, TV shows…or even comments from people I know constantly judging me because of my weight. Getting to love myself was easy compared to trying to change how the world sees obese or overweight people.
So, here is what I want to say to you: Yes, obesity is an epidemic but the way to end it is not by fat shaming, passing judgment or condemning people who are overweight. It’s time to finally look at the person and not their appearance. Teach your kids to value themselves and others no matter what their outward appearance is. Raise a generation of better humans. It’s about time, don’t you think?
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