Since I can remember, I’ve been the “fat girl.” Bigger than all the rest. This never bothered me, at least, not until I was in third grade when I was told by a classmate that I was “fat and ugly.” I remember, very well, reeling back as if I was slapped in the face. From that moment on I was aware of my body.
My self-esteem suffered for many years. It wasn’t until I was in eleventh grade that my mind began to change. This was all because I discovered the website tumblr, which, previously, I had known to be a place in which I could reblog pictures and write some posts if I wanted. I soon discovered, however, a movement I had never heard of until tumblr: body positive.
People who looked like me were posting pictures, wearing whatever they wanted, and loving their own bodies. They weren’t comparing themselves to others. They weren’t talking about a journey to the perfect size. They were talking about loving their body the way it was at that moment.
I wanted that. I wanted to learn to love the body that I had, no matter the size. I wanted to learn how to live my life to its fullest, at any size.
Six years down the road, here I am. I have learned to love this body no matter the size. I have learned that I can live my life; that I don’t have to wait to be a smaller size. I have done so much, like travel to another country and wear a bikini to a public beach, things sixteen-year-old me only dreamed of. This movement has not only affected myself, but so many others as well.
When I initially started the blog, I thought it to be a place where I could post and ramble about my own body positivity. It has grown to so much more. I now have a little over 4,000 people following me. That’s 4,000 people who are interested in my journey, in my feelings, and in my advice.
One of the most fulfilling aspects about being a part of this movement is talking to people who, like me, are trying to become at peace with themselves. People who are trying to learn that their body is good enough. My blog welcomes everyone and is there to do what tumblr did for me. I share my own experiences and reblog other amazing people contributing to the movement.
The recognition of body positivity is becoming bigger and bigger. I hope that someday there won’t have to be a movement to allow people to be proud of and happy with themselves no matter what they look like. Until then I will continue to share what I feel, one blog post at a time.
Lizzie Gruhl is a recent graduate from SUNY New Paltz with a Bachelors of Science in Early Childhood Education. While preparing for graduate school, she blogs and takes infinite amounts of selfies. Her work can be found on tumblr and WordPress.