“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up.
And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”
– Louise Erdrich
So many of us larger women spend our lives on hold, waiting till we’ve lost the weight to go horseback riding or take voice lessons or wear a bikini or even just a bathing suit without a T-shirt over it.
I just want to pause and reflect on that a moment. We live in a culture where a woman will deliberately go outside in a swimsuit that would be perfectly acceptable and modest on a thinner woman, and then cover it up with a larger piece of fabric that’s going to be hot and uncomfortable because we have taught her that the body she was born with is so shameful that she quite literally doesn’t deserve to be cool, comfortable, or stylish on a hot day.
All because we might not find her body as attractive as someone else’s.
And this cultural current is so strong that this scenario isn’t limited to a few shrinking violets, but is repeated hundreds of thousands of times every summer around the world.
How fucked up is that?
I know a woman who’s been dieting longer than I’ve been alive. Her body is large and soft. It’s borne multiple children and, along with her loving heart and bright mind, nourished and cared for and cherished them through their healthy and happy adulthood.
And yet she wears a T-shirt to the pool all summer, without fail, because we collectively have taught her that she should be ashamed of that body. And her daughters and granddaughters will absorb, through no fault of her own, that their bodies are shameful too.
You know what? Fuck that. Let’s go out and live our damn lives without T-shirts over our bathing suits. Let’s ride horses and go ice skating and dance wildly on the beach in a bikini. Let’s pick some apples, y’all.