On Saturday 27th April 2019, I cried. I felt this emotion build up inside of me and then I just let it all out. I don’t often cry, I don’t often show emotion, but luckily I was alone. The tears weren’t sad, nor were they particularly hoppy, they were just tears of release. A release that I have needed, perhaps my whole life, but more importantly from recent years. What exactly caused this emotional outpouring? A picture. One I took of myself, on that same day, and whilst trying to decide what I was going to post to my Instagram, I saw it, I connected with it, I felt it, and I accepted it.

Recently, I have been exploring my body some more, and exploring the idea of being truly body positive. Sometimes, I felt a fraud, but from the shoulders up, I don’t particularly look “fat”, but broad instead. I had developed a little trick of raising my arms, which would stretch out some of the bulging parts of my body, and that would make me feel better about my body. I know the body I have, I see it every day, and I still barely clothe it when I am at home, but revealing that to a lot of people is always going to be scary. Will I be subjected to abuse? Will I lose followers because now you can see more and they only followed me based off my head and shoulders? Are those people really worth it? But every action has a reaction.

I posted the image yesterday. I took a deep breath, my heart pounding, I just posted it, and then ignored my notifications for a little bit. I use hashtags, and with those come likes, but would it get as many likes as other pictures? Would people still double-tap and show me that my body isn’t that bad? Why does it matter if they think it’s good or bad? I had a lot of questions in my head and in my heart about the reaction to it. I had other images I had taken, trying to explore the idea even more. What would I do with those?

One image had already gone onto Twitter. It barely got any attention because I can’t manage that platform as well – I have struggled with it since late 2017, but I always try it out regardless, and it’s not as followed by family and friends are my other outlets. I love my lace top, I got lace pants to compliment it, and luckily there is a bit of a privacy panel. It’s an expression. To me, it’s a statement. You can still see my body, the parts I like and I don’t like, but it’s still obscured enough. You can’t make out stretch marks or blemishes as much. It’s kind of sexy in a way, maybe I’d get more likes for being in my underwear and alluding to my body? I got maybe 2 likes if that. It was a safe bet, it didn’t change my thoughts or feelings. I still needed to be more body positive.

Maybe more nudity would pay off? How would I feel about that? Showing a little bit more without showing off too much. A little bit of body hair never hurt anyone. I left those images on my phone, choosing not to post them for various reasons due to a certain amount of “dignity” I felt I should keep compared to older me, who would have probably cropped the images lower to garner a few more likes.

Ultimately, the story is this: I have claimed to be body positive for a long time, whilst disliking my body an awful lot in private. But recent events and opportunities have made me understand my place in this world, and if that means being the fat guy who opened up about his body image and body positivity, then so be it. If I showed me sat in bed, moobs out, stretch marks on show, revealing that I’m not just broad but also fat, and happy to call myself fat, then that is a step in the right direction.

I was overcome with emotion the more people liked, commented and messaged me across platforms. So overcome, I just couldn’t reply to them, because my heart feels light, for the first time in a very long time. I don’t feel like my fatness is holding me back, my body is opening up a conversation, a thought, a feeling and a future. I find myself repeating again and again that I am so grateful for everything that has happened recently, and it is so true. I am so grateful.

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