by Tiana Dodson
Each January, we celebrate the legacy of an amazing man, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He stood up and protested, nonviolently against the racism and injustice he felt in his day, leading others to do the same.
“Every [person] of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits [his or her] convictions, but we must all protest.” — MLK
As a man of faith and a beautiful soul, he left us with many poignant reminders that we have a good fight to fight and all have a part to play.
I won’t get into a discussion of racism here, though as a half-black woman who grew up in Colorado, I’ve felt its effects. Today I want to use the words of Dr. King and apply them more broadly. Yes, I believe that it is important to eradicate racism. I also believe we must address the intersectionality of various forms of oppression. And at the core of all of this is a call for radical self-acceptance. We cannot fully love and appreciate others until we can fully love and appreciate ourselves.
And that includes our bodies.
In addition to self-love, true acceptance of others requires open-mindedness. You must be able to not only accept the differences of others, but also be curious enough to learn more about them. Education is the true remedy to racism/sizeism/sexism/ableism and any and all other prejudices. It is the ultimate cure for fear.
Choosing to love yourself as-is frees you from the consumption and diminution of constant shame, fear and hate. Removing those negative feelings about yourself gives you the space to explore the realities of diversity. You begin to see beauty in places you never saw it before. The other people you see during your day used to be a source of endless comparison and competition, maybe even cautionary tales. Them vs. you: clothing, wealth, estimated health, ability, amount of fat rolls and their locations, etc.
After releasing shame, hatred and fear of your own body, these fellow folk become people you can appreciate. You can smile at them if you lock eyes instead of avert your own while feeling horrified and thinking, “do I look like that?” Now you can proudly go about your day without comparison because you are dignified and happy, feeling good about yourself, no longer shrouded in shame and weighed down by judgment.
Once you are able to love yourself, you can follow in the footsteps of Dr. King by staging a peaceful protest. One where you show those around you how unafraid you are, how appreciative you are of life, how much you love yourself. Your protest can be as simple as showing up and as flamboyant as showing out. Your protest serves as an example for those around you: that in spite of your perfect imperfection, you are happy, proud, and winning at life.
A perfect way to do this is to get yourself a big hat. One that’s bursting with color, a wide brim, covered in flowers, whatever makes you feel good. Because wearing this hat is your protest: You are here, unapologetic, and happy about it. Let your hat show the world how proud you are of loving yourself.
“How a hat makes you feel is what a hat is all about.” -Philip Treacy
So let’s protest today, tomorrow, every day by showing up and showing out, changing the world one hat at a time.
Tiana Dodson is the Fat Health Coach. When she’s not writing about being fat and winning at life by forgoing the old school belief that you have to be thin to live well and be well, she’s coaching amazing, chubby women on creating amazing, healthy lives. She writes and enjoys the good life as an expat in Europe. For a free gift from Tiana on how to begin winning in your own fabulous fat life check out more at [www.tianadodson.com].