From Eating Disorder to Beautiful AND Fat
Learning that Fat is Beautiful
“Society is not kind to fat people, especially fat women. Women are supposed to take up as little space as possible, be lovely to look at, and smart… But not TOO smart.” ~ Ms. R
My lovely client Ms. R first went on a diet at the age of 11. ELEVEN!! I’m so disgusted that society decided somewhere along the line that fat is not beautiful and should be avoided at all costs. How horrific putting a child on a diet. Plus experiencing everything else that goes with it. The negative self talk, negative self esteem. A child!! If only she knew that one can be beautiful and fat.
Today, years later, I’m so inspired by Ms. R’s confidence. After growing up in what society deemed as a fat body, she now fully embraces every gorgeous curve and knows that she is truly beautiful!! And no, she didn’t lose any weight. She didn’t and doesn’t need to! She is a voluptuous, radiant and stunning woman. Period.
And if you grew up in a “larger” body, you need to know that you too are beautiful. Your body shape and size does not determine your worth as a human being. Society doesn’t get to decide that. You do!
Let’s get to know Ms. R and find out about her Boudoir Experience a little bit more….
What does being vulnerable mean to you? What do you want others to know about the impact of allowing ourselves to be vulnerable?
Real vulnerability is so hard. We may think that we are “open books”, but how often do we show others who we really are? The not-so-curated sides? So often there is a battle in my mind over how to get rid of the “bad” parts of myself, the flaws. Being vulnerable and showing my whole self to someone else, and being loved for it, helps me love myself. It helps me realize that I am a whole person; worthy, beautiful, more than the sum of my parts.
How did you feel during the process of working together?
I was really excited to do this with Michele! I had a whole suitcase packed with outfits! And I think I ended up doing 3 outfit changes. There was an element of nerves of course, but Michele made me forget about that pretty quickly… She’s a great cheerleader 🙂 Just doing a boudoir shoot is a vulnerable thing, but I felt safe and comfortable in the studio.
What challenges have you faced in relation to your body? How have you overcome them?
My whole life I have been fat. The word in itself doesn’t carry good connotations even though it’s just a descriptor, like “tall”. So just knowing that about me, anyone who has been (or currently is) fat, can guess what I went through.
Society is not kind to fat people, especially fat women. Women are supposed to take up as little space as possible, be lovely to look at, and smart… But not TOO smart.
I developed an eating disorder because I was constantly told from a very young age that I should eat different than other people, wear different clothes than other people, exercise more than thin people… That I would be “so beautiful if I lost weight”.
I went on my first diet at 11. There were many years of disordered eating, dieting, and letting people treat me like a subhuman before I realized that I deserved respect and love as I am, not only if I lose 50 lbs. I could eat what I wanted and didn’t have to make excuses for it, work it off later, or “earn” it. Diet culture is toxic, the BMI is racist trash, and fat people can (and do!) live full and happy lives.
So what I’ve learned (and am still learning because it’s work!) is that my body is amazing for everything it has done for me, and will continue to do for the rest of my life. Bodies change, they get bigger, they grow old, and that’s life. I’m not beautiful in spite of being fat, I’m beautiful AND fat.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Try to be more aware of your own thoughts and how you talk to yourself, that affects you more than what other people say. At the same time, don’t let other people’s noise, opinions, or thoughts about you change who you are.
What’s your best tip for feeling amazing in your body!
Self love talk, being naked, looking at your body and appreciating it, doing what feels good on your body!
Fav quote or affirmation?
“The only way out is through.”
Name 3 things you’re grateful for….
1. The beautiful relationships I’ve cultivated
2. My creativity and bravery
3. My fur babies
Anything else you’d like to share?
We only see ourselves through our own eyes. Being able to see yourself through someone else’s is a beautiful experience!
Thank you Ms. R for showing us all that ALL bodies are beautiful. I’m so proud of you for making your own decision to love your curves despite what society has forced on you. I’m grateful that you were vulnerable yet trusted me to capture these gorgeous images of you! Rock on you babe-alicious human being!
If you’d like to do an empowering boudoir experience, because we all know your body is beautiful too, let’s connect!
Photos shared with permission.
Michele Mateus is a Boudoir, Intimate Portrait & Nude Fine Art Photographer located in Coquitlam, BC. Serving Coquitlam, Vancouver, Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley, BC. Studio, Outdoor and On-location Boudoir Photography.