"Why do you look fat?"
I have made the radical decision to leave space in my definition of beautiful for me, my limited edition body, and other’s bodies. I hope you’ll leave a little room too.
by Julia Perry
A year ago
I wrote the following article for Hello Sunshine Reese Witherspoon's production company. I think that self-love is a victory worth every hard-fought battle.
“Why do you look fat?”
An eight-year-old girl recently asked me while at the beach. I responded boldly, “Because I am. Did you notice my unique brown and green eyes? Or, my big smile?”
She stood there and stared at me in disbelief and asked, “No, why?”
“Because we all have wonderful and complicated things about us. How would you like if people only focused on one thing about you?” This is where the conversation ended and she ran off to meet up with her parents.
This experience heightened my contemplation on body positivity and I realized body positivity is about starting from a place of love in regards to my body and refusing to take a myopic view about it. If I focus only on what I am “supposed” to look like I would miss so many wonderful things about me. My body may not be “good enough” for someone else, but that’s OK. It wasn’t created for them. It was created for me.
It is the only body I will ever have and it has been a great one. It has carried me over the finish lines of five marathons and several half marathons, competed in triathlons and Ironman triathlons, and hiked mountains.
My body may not grace the cover of Sports Illustrated any time soon, although, Ashley Graham maybe changing that. I find beauty in it every day. I used to hate my soft stomach, but then I realized that I come from a long line of strong women who also had soft middles and I loved them dearly. These ladies brought their truth and love into the world and my stomach pays homage to them.
I was sitting in biology class when I heard that the chances that you ended up you are a one in four hundred trillion chance. That’s more rare than diamonds, or any precious metal. A true work of art. I don’t believe I was created by happenstance. If there is to be only one me ever I should celebrate that, including, my soft middle and thick thighs because there will never be another quite like me.
I struggled with my body image for a long time and to be truthful I still do. However, I realized that I get to choose what I find beautiful, and how I define beauty. I have made the radical decision to leave space in my definition of beautiful for me, my limited edition body, and other’s bodies. I hope you’ll leave a little room too.