I Am Not Ashamed: Love Letters to the #IWeigh Community

I was five years old in kindergarten when all the girls in my class had to perform a cheer dance routine. We had to wear fitted leotards tucked in short pleated skirts. I was too young to notice how skinny my classmates’ arms and legs were, or how flat their stomachs are until the boys, parents, even teachers made fun of how my skin sticks out. I brought the shame with me since.

Our surroundings can be a toxic pond yet times are changing and we’ve finally arrived to “The Good Place” through Jameela Jamil’s #IWeigh campaign which blew us all away. The actress is subversive in her own ways and used her platform brilliantly. She’s made a safe space for all genders, colors, and sizes redefine the conversation of self-worth, acceptance, and love. That we are more than just the numbers on a scale. This community feels empowering and human.

Fighting our way through body issues, insecurities in solidarity with the rest is more than comforting. Like Jameela said “I won’t shut up about it,” so I chatted with wonderful, badass Asian womxn who’s been recognized from the #IWeigh page. To Jameela, #IWeigh community and everyone else reading this, here are our love letters to you.

Trang Dong

#IWeigh my activism, awesome gift giver, plus size, bisexual, and daughter of immigrants.

As someone who’s struggled with body issues my entire life, it was inspiring to see a movement where people were encouraged to weigh themselves in their accomplishments. Fat women rarely have space to not just feel beautiful but sexy. This makes me feel valid.

trang

Dear You,

To the girl who looks in the mirror and wishes she was thinner. Who hides behind baggy clothes to mask her body. I’ve been you. I still am. But I’m learning how to love myself, and weigh in things that matter. Your worth isn’t measured in your insecurities. It’s measured in the things that make you wonderful. In ways you make people smile, how hard you fight for the things you believe in, the way you lead your life with empathy. You are so much more, I promise you.

Victoria Athena Sarza

#IWeigh my enthusiasm, my voice, my eyes, being bubbly, sweet, an achiever and more!

In the Philippines, it is usual for family and friends to comment about the way you look like. The reason why I’d always equate skinny to pretty. Until now, I do struggle however it is important to be kinder to ourselves. I have grown up to become more proud of my substance.

victoria

Love,

You cannot force yourself to be something you’re not. You’ve heard a lot of insults degrading the way you are. Your mannerisms, weight, facial structure, the way you speak. These things don’t need to define you. In fact, these things are what differentiate you. Own it and act proud. So what if your forehead is big and your hips are wide? You ’re unforgettable. Focus on more important things. There are bigger issues out in the world that require our hearts and our brains.

Kimly Lewis

#IWeigh being a dancer, student, pet-lover, musician, sister, photographer and Vietnamese.

Growing up, I was an active gymnast so body image was never a concern. When I retired from it, my body had changed. I began comparing myself to other women and it’s exhausting. Joining #IWeigh was one of the most self-loving things I did. I am deserving of everything.

kimly

Dear You,

It has been a long process of finding compassion and confidence in who you are but your body is wonderful and the imperfections you see are worth just as much love as the next girl’s six-pack on your feed. You’re so loved. Your flaws, even though you hate them, are uniquely yours. No one else is as beautiful or as powerful as you are. And to the rest of you reading this, don’t listen to hate and always open your eyes to the possibilities of being loved.

Nicole Yukiko

#IWeigh being a sister, a friend, a daydreamer, and a storyteller.

I remember being told by a bully that I would never get a boyfriend because I was “fat”. To this day I still hear that kid’s voice in my head. The idea that fatness means being unlovable is still something I’m working to reconcile. I started to love my body. A choice that I’m happy with.

nicole

Love,

You are more than your body but your body is also yours. Yours to love and yours to take care of in whatever way makes you happy. Like, truly happy. Ah, and don’t try the South Beach diet when you’re sixteen because all your friends are going to hate you when you turn into a carb-deprived jerk and it’ll send you into your first ever panic attack. Oh and your “I Am Not Ashamed” post is one of your most-liked photo which is a testament, the reach of #IWeigh movement.

Kathlyn D’Souza

#IWeigh being funny, journalist, great lending ear,  fantastic dog owner, and empathetic human.

Being Asian, I struggled with being teased for having a “pretty face, but a big body.” I was told to lose weight by family, relatives, strangers, even churchgoers. But I snapped out of it and began treating myself a little better, slowly. I deserve the best. #IWeigh helped me addressed that.

kathlyn

Dear You,

It’s gonna take a while to realize how worthy you are, and you’re going to do it in your own time. But you’re perfect as is. You always champion kindness over anything. You ensure other people feel happy around you. You fiercely defend the ones you love. I know it’s hard when you’d want nothing more than to look great in photographs. But your ability to hold an intelligent conversation and make others laugh trumps your wardrobe or that bingo arms any given day.

Give yourself a break and join us here at #IWeigh: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. See you there!

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