I’ve always been rebellious; a warrior.
Maybe it started when I entered this world feet first. Or when I tried walking despite the hip deformity I was born with. It didn’t stop me; I’d just drag myself everywhere (fortunately the surgery was a success, it could’ve gotten even weirder without it).
I didn’t want to be told I couldn’t. I didn’t want to be told I was too little.
I didn’t want to be told no.
That rebelliousness and warrior spirit has helped me to navigate the sometimes shark filled waters of the music biz, and it guided me as I went against the grain and followed passions most people wouldn’t even dare.
I’ve also had a lifelong battle with my body. I’m not pointing fingers here. I take full responsibility for whatever size I am. But, when you’ve been told by people you love and respect over and over: you’re so talented but you need to lose some weight, you should try this diet, you’re fat, you’ll never get anywhere in the music business until you lose weight. Stocky, husky, Fatass, Blubber, Overweighty, Fatso, Shamu (just some of the things I was called by relatives and friends), you kinda start to believe it.
Being the rebel I am, one would think that I would say, “Screw you!” and refuse to be fat.
One would think.
I work in an industry where all the women are thin and they’re rewarded for it with attention. Doesn’t matter how talented they are (or not). And my seasonal job? I’ve chosen to work at a place where 98% of the people have a weight limit they have to abide by, and the rest are just fit. It should be motivating.
Well…this is where the rebellion thing comes in.
Everywhere I look, people are spouting diets and posting doctored pictures of how society thinks women should look. When I see that shit, the warped belief system I have constantly whispers to me…you’re not good enough, you should lose weight, why can’t you keep the weight off, be fit, be thin… And my response is: F*CK You.
You can’t make me lose weight just because you think I should be a certain size or a certain weight. (I’ve actually caught myself saying this…to myself.)
The war in my head gets louder, just when I try to accept myself no matter what size, just when I finally feel okay with this amazingly resilient body that’s got screws and pins and scars yet still functions brilliantly every day to help me run, or sing, or breathe, or hop on my bike, despite the way I think this body has betrayed me… when the truth is, I’ve betrayed it.
I’ve betrayed it by calling it horrible names when my clothes don’t fit. By falling for the bullshit idea that I need to be thin to be talented. Hating it because I trusted those people and believed they were right when they were ignorant enough to tell a young child or a young woman that they were fat.
I internalized it all when I thought I was rebelling against them. I swallowed it all. I ate it all. I grew a layer of protection against them all.
The battle wages in my head: Shouldn’t they love my music or me, despite how I look? Oh, and then there’s the other side: you’re a sellout if you lose weight and cave to all the magazines and tv shows and videos with the skinny girls that tell you this is how you should be…and the functions I avoid because half the people are on diets and the other half whine about how fat they are when they’re not…OMG!
So to keep some peace within myself, to avoid the nasty comments about my appearance, I make music, market and promote my music like crazy to prove them wrong.
But for the last while, it’s taken a bad turn… I avoid cameras and performing. Performing. My lifeblood. I even avoid getting on my bike (my sanity) in case someone sees me and makes a comment about my size (and they have, I don’t make this shit up).
Rebellion at its finest right there. And damn, I’m so good at it. But at what cost?
The other day I was standing in my bedroom after a morning of going through my closet that holds my all my beautiful, too tight clothes, filled with anger and shame, when it hit me.
I’m rebelling against myself.
Internal war whenever I looked in a mirror.
Here I thought I was rebelling against all those people who called me fat, told me I had to lose weight to make a mark in the music industry, to be accepted, talented, to have an amazing band, to work with people I admire, to have fans.
I thought I was rebelling against the words that cut so deep that I still carry the torch of those lies.
I’ve been rebelling against myself when I should be fighting them and saying: You say I’m fat? F#ck you. How dare you? Who do you think you are?
Instead, I have taken those words and slapped them on my ass.
I wear their cruel words as armor.
So what in the hell do I do with that information?
The first step is acknowledgement. The second step is to trust from this moment forward, that I’m strong enough to deal with people who think they have the right to tell me how I should look. I have a right to call them (and myself) on this and not take it personally, cause really, it’s their own shit. They’re no longer telling a little girl or a young woman those mean things. They’re speaking to a warrior.
I no longer need the armor.
I may wield it occasionally, when I need to defend myself, but I no longer need to wear it every single day. I fight to make peace with the vessel that has put up with so much abuse and so much name calling and so much animosity from myself and others.
The vessel that holds my resilient and rebellious and rock star warrior self.
Rebellion is a good thing, but sometimes even warriors need to pick their battles.