May 13, 2015 #WomanCrushWednesday - Self-Love Edition Some of the only photos I have of myself from high school. I decided at some point that I was going to wear the same shirt every year. I am of the age where Instagram still doesn’t come naturally to me. I have to remind myself to post sometimes and I do, because it’s one of the ways I love to engage with the community of babes on there. Selfies, crap that I’m doing, people I’m spending time with, outfit posts – I try to put something out into the world every day, even if it’s a bit meaningless. Hump days are for #womancrushwednesday of course and on #throwbackthursday I like to dig out my box of photos that go all the way to when I was a wee baby and post something from there. There is a thing about it though that I can’t always ignore: a quick sampling of the box’s contents would reveal a glaring gap in time. It could appear as though I time travelled from age 12 to 20, leaving only a few high school photos as evidence that I was even ever a teen. I look at the few photos I do have and even though I’m smiling I can see that I was sad. Really sad. I felt out of place in the smallish town I grew up in, people made fun of me, and I had a near impossible time finding like-minded individuals. I gained some more weight on my chubby frame and stopped asking myself what I wanted to do with my life because it didn’t matter. I told myself that I couldn’t do the fashion-y things that I had dreamed about because I was fat. Even when I applied for university I chose to major in Political Science because it seemed responsible. I hated every class I took and it was a real struggle to get through the academic side of post-secondary life. The benefits of university outweighed the challenges. I got out of my town and moved to Toronto, I met some absolutely incredible humans, I found a couple kindred fat babes and I started to consider the idea that working for the government would absolutely be the wrong move for me. I didn’t have a precise direction but I began to make a list of things I knew I did not want to do. I started creating things with my hands and considering more options. I stopped hiding when someone would pull a camera out. I eventually stopped cringing when I’d see I picture of myself and now I make time to take self-love selfies and post then on Instagram because it’s fun and also because it’s important. Feeling free to do whatever the eff I want. I didn’t grow up with the internet and didn’t even think that other fat, artsy, feminist girls existed because they were never shown on tv or in magazines and I certainly never saw anyone around my town like that. Sure everyone has the internet now but the struggle for body diversity and self-acceptance is real and still trudging along. Incredible strides have been made and the movement is accelerating at a pace I used to think wasn’t possible. So I just wanted to take a long-winded moment today, on this platform to say that however much love you have for yourself is okay. Even if it’s only a little, even if you are your own personal hero. Just keep on taking in the good and try to be open to new things, even if they’re outside of your comfort zone. Big love to everyone out there doing their thing today, including myself.