Two years ago a man I love (not my partner) told me I needed to be 1/3 less people. That when I finally lost the weight my arms should be 1/3 smaller.
I weighed around 180lbs at the time, and had a toddler and a preschooler in tow. I was just starting to feel normal again after losing my last pregnancy, and was finding my way back to joyful movement. I wasn't trying to lose weight, a fact I had been clear about several times earlier that week.
His assessment of "should be 1/3 smaller" would put me at 120lbs, which is lighter than I was in seventh grade at 2 inches shorter. I'm 5'8". 128lbs is the lightest I've been at this height and I was made of mostly bones and self loathing then. I wouldn't go back.
I'd like to say I stood in my power and didn't let it bother me, but the barbs linger as they are meant to. Sometimes I still find them stuck in awkward places and pull them out to examine what it is that made the points embed so deeply. Love is tricky. Family is tricky. We do our best with what we have, right?
I did not, however, return to my life and try to hate my body into submission with another diet.
Instead I did bicep curls. Lots of them.
And all the pulls and pushes and carries that it would take to start building a beefy upper body. I kept on doing things to put on mass for most of the next two years.
Because I decide. What my arms look like. How much fat I carry on my frame. What looks sexy for me. What feels sexy for me. And these days, I am digging how big my muscles are. And I am 100% the right amount of person.
My @grrrl_clothing shirt says "Right to Bare Arms". Because of course it does.