When I Posted a Picture of My Greatest Insecurity on Instagram
I want you to imagine for just a second, what you consider to be your biggest insecurity or your greatest flaw.
Now I want you to picture almost two million strangers seeing what you imagined.
It’s hard to wrap your mind around, isn’t it?
One evening I recently decided to share what I consider to be my biggest insecurity, what I commonly refer to as a “mom pouch.”
For me it’s actually something I have always had, which has been made more pronounced by weight loss and gain due to disordered eating and also having children.
In an effort of body positivity, I shared my story with my followers, explained I had grown up being tortured over it by a step parent, and that it had grown worse after having three necessary caesarean sections.
I was nervous about writing and posting, but nevertheless, I posted a set of two images, one with my “pouch” visible in jeans and one with it easily hidden under a shirt. I assumed I would respond to my few followers about it in the morning, and I went to sleep.
The next morning I woke up to something I had never thought possible:
Thousands of notifications.
My photo was being seen every few seconds, and the comments came pouring in.
If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline: 800-931-2237.
I was suddenly gaining followers out of nowhere.
There were several situations where my photo was stolen because there were accounts that attempted to use it to market bogus weight loss products.
People were even arguing amongst themselves in the comments.
I received hundreds of comments about how awful my body looked. I saw people tagging their friends and laughing.
But what I was surprised to find more of were messages of solidarity.
Women calling themselves my, “pouch sisters.”
People telling me they too were mistreated or bullied by a family member for their body type.
It was a lot for me to take in and kind of an anxious situation for me.
Me, the girl who once had such low self-esteem that she wore long sleeves in 100-degree weather.
Whose legs haven’t seen daylight in many years, no matter what the temperature.
On display, for millions.
I could hardly believe it.
I spent much of my time over several days moderating the comments. I didn’t want my followers who were in eating disorder recovery to see the negativity, so I worked hard to delete and block anyone who used abusive language.
I was shocked by the cruelty I received, but at the same time I wasn’t surprised. I’m a woman who has been at least a bit overweight her entire life, who has never had the type of body that society deems acceptable. And even if you aren’t familiar with it, fat phobia and thin privilege are very real.
A few days later, when it finally slowed down, the statistics showed it had been viewed nearly two million times.
I’m still in shock about the entire situation. But I will say I am happy it happened for several reasons.
The hateful comments were a bit painful, but the fact that they didn’t completely destroy me or even cause me much emotion shows a lot of growth for me. There was a time where calling me fat was one of the most painful things I could hear. That is no longer the case. I quickly realized these people had no interest in my life whatsoever. It didn’t matter what the backstory was or what their comments may have done to me. They simply did not care.
And what those hateful people didn’t know (or likely didn’t care about) is that I’m actually in eating disorder recovery for orthorexia.
As those numbers crawled higher and higher, I continued to wonder what amount of good the entire situation was. I was receiving kind comments from people with similar stories, but at the same time I wasn’t completely convinced I had done the right thing by not deleting the image.
Until I received a message.
In this message a girl told me she thought I was beautiful and brave. On a whim I decided to click on her name, just out of curiosity.
It was there that I found out that she is only in the seventh grade.
I almost immediately began sobbing.
When I was that age, there wasn’t a single person in the media who looked even remotely close to what I looked like. I had the pouch back then too, and even though it was smaller, it was still a dark secret.
It was the reason I wasn’t allowed to wear the clothes my stepsister did.
The reason I was shamed when I once gained a few pounds during a summer vacation.
The reason I was given for not being able to wear bathing suits like other girls my age.
It was something I was taught to be ashamed of, something I never saw and back then assumed I never should see.
Seeing one person with a different body type, one person who had decided it didn’t matter, that could’ve changed my life forever.
In that moment, it all became worth it.
Every harsh comment, every person calling me a whale or being obnoxious, any feeling of anxiety completely melted away.
Because I showed at least one young girl that not all bodies look the same.
And that made all the difference.
Follow this journey on Irrevocably in Reverie.
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