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This post scares me like nothing I’ve ever written before.

You see… there is part of me that I believe makes me worthless.  Or, at least worth less.

It’s something I’ve struggled with most of my adult life and it feels like it’s gotten in my way in a myriad of circumstances – preventing me from being my best, and from showing up as my most full self.

This experience goes even a bit deeper that being worthless or worth less.  It actually goes as deep as believing that I am unworthy of love and belonging. What I’m going to share with you contributes to my experience of shame. (I’ll be writing more about shame in the future.)

Before I go any further sharing this incredibly vulnerable post, I want to be clear:

I am okay.

There is no danger of self harm, or anything like that.

And… this is very important… I am not looking for advice, counsel, opinions, recommendations, resources, or things to consider. Please don’t respond publicly or privately with any of that.  While it may be well intentioned, you will do far more damage by disrespecting my boundaries.  Fair?

This post is mostly a part of my own healing process. I hope that it might inspire you, touch your heart, or help support you in some way, too… and… mostly, I’m writing this for me, because I feel like I need to.  I believe that bringing this hidden part where I store so much shame into the light will help it to find it’s way to love, acceptance, and peace – rebuilding the interpersonal bridge of connection.  And then, who knows… perhaps it may transform.

That last paragraph contains something really important.  I want to clarify…

I’m not posting this in hopes or expectation that this gigantic place of shame for me will transform, change, die, or be different.  If I did that, I’d be continuing the same kind of harsh, self-silencing, and shaming self-talk that I live with every day, just doing so in public.  That’s not helpful.

I see this happen in healing circles all the time:  there’s something that’s challenging or creating some kind of discomfort and the immediate strategy is to kill it, crush it, change it, get rid of it, get over it, shun it, move beyond it, outgrow it, etc.

It’s really important to me that I first learn to love the one experiencing what I’m experiencing fully and completely, with no conditions or objectives.  I want to love me right where I am, or exactly as I am.  

If I can't love myself here - as I am - what makes me think I'll know how to love some other version of myself?

Okay… enough prep work. 

I am not sure I’ll ever be “ready” for this, but I’m feeling courageous enough in this moment to press forward. (This is coming to you live, and unedited… stream of consciousness… my heart is totally here in this moment…)

What’s the big secret?

Fat.

That’s it.

Three little letters in a row:  F  A  T

There are a hundred judgmental condemnations spinning around in my head right now, on a relentless, repetitive cycle.

You see, I tell myself that because I have fat in my body, especially around my belly, that I am worthless, or worth less.  That because I have a belly, I am unworthy of love and belonging.  Such a painful experience.

I do everything I can to hide my belly because there are parts of me that are convinced that if someone sees it, they’ll think less of me, won’t trust me, will view me differently.  Why shouldn’t they?  After all, that’s exactly how I think about myself.

 I have this story in my head that runs incessantly which says, “I’m a coach… I help people figure their own stuff out.  If others see that I have a belly, everyone will finally realize what a fraud I am, that I haven’t figured out all my own stuff, and so, how could I ever help them?”  It sounds bonkers to write that out so clearly, but it’s the script that plays incessantly.

Maybe you will think less of me once you read this post and see my photo.  And that’s okay.  That’s none of my business.  What I have been working on for years is staying in my own business, and caring about what I think of myself.  

Having worked on it so long, I generally do pretty well with my self talk and self esteem in most other areas of my life.  But the shape of my body… I haven’t made it quite as far along that journey.  And still, I’ve made it quite far… my relationship to my body and belly is way healthier than it ever has been.  (Otherwise, there would be no way I’d show the picture I’m about to.)

So, I want to show you this gigantic piece of me that’s so full of shame and sense of feeling worth less. 

Here I am.

Holy shit… this is hard to do.

This is the shape of my body.

I’ve not always had this belly.  I used to have it, then I lost it for a number of years.  And I know that, in my case, it’s here through choices I make. These choices aren’t necessarily unhealthy choices either. (That’s just another way to masquerade shaming others as a helpful act.)  I know how to get rid of the fat in my body.  But I don’t think it’s worth getting rid of until I can stand here in front of you and love me exactly as I am.  Sometimes, men talk about doing really fucking difficult things. Well, try loving yourself while fat – then lets talk about doing difficult things.

My experience is that very few get affirmed for having a body like mine or bigger.  Generally, only in fat-affirming forums and private groups do you see people posting photos of non-skinny bodies connected with self-love and acceptance.

What society in general shows preference for is seeing and celebrating bodies that go from those that look like mine, to those that look more like Ryan Reynolds – or at the very least are moving in that direction.  And, that’s really hard work, so I’m not knocking it… it deserves celebration and acknowledgement.

And still, bodies shaped like Ryan Reynolds’ is no more worthy of love and belonging as a body shaped like mine.

I have spent years working with the shame of feeling worthless or worth less because of having fat cells under my skin.  It’s only when I get intimate with it, and bringing it into the light that I experience shame release it’s grip, and I have access to compassion.  That’s what I’m doing here.

I have grown weary of belittling myself and feeling less-than because of the shape of my body. 

I repudiate society’s obsessive beliefs about bodies needing to look a certain way, and violently shaming those who don’t fit the thin mold. I dedicate myself to eradicating my own ingrained conditioning that supports the scripts and shaming I’ve adopted from society and made my own.

I will do all I can to affirm, love, and defend the dignity of humans who have varying amounts of fat on their body – including my own. 

I will continue working with my own experience of having fat in my body with love, compassion, gentleness, and mercy. 

I invite you to do the same. 

This isn’t about what’s healthy, and what’s not.  It’s not about making healthy choices, or not. It’s not about exercise or not.

This is about who is worthy of love and who is not.  Therefore, I stand here and say with a loud and strong voice:

I am worthy of love.  ALL of me.  My body, included.

The same is true for you.  You are worthy of love.  ALL of you.  Your body, included.

If you find my body (or other fat bodies) distasteful or worth less, then you’re saying something about you – not me. 

I want to live in a world where we stop obsessing about the size of our bellies, thighs, butts, dicks, breasts, balls, and muscles, and instead start obsessing about the size and quality of our hearts. 

In contrast to the importance of the quality of our hearts, everything else is worth less.

May you and your body, as well as me and my body experience more love, not less – all-ways.℠💜 

Love,

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Showing 4 comments
  • Corva
    Reply

    You are so wonderful, so clear, and so adorable. I love and appreciate you Steve.
    (Remember me? Corva!)
    Thanks for being vulnerable and strong, and for all the gorgeousness you just eloquently stated. The only thing I can possibly add to the beauty in this blog is that I love hugging up against softness. Aren’t soft hugs just GREAT? Oh, and I, too, am so tired of wasting any more minutes of my life on the horror and purpose-less-ness of shame. I got more important things to do.
    Thank you again dear Steve.

    • Steve Mattus
      Reply

      Hello, Corva! Yes, of course I remember you!! Thank you for the kind comment. Totally agree with you that soft hugs are just great!
      So glad this resonated for you, and may we both find ways to move towards healthier relationship with all the parts of ourselves.
      May all that your heart needs and desires find its way to you!
      With kindness,
      Steve

  • Elizabeth
    Reply

    Thank you for sharing Steve. Writings such as this one you have shared give me the message that I am worthy just as I am too. Elizabeth

    • Steve Mattus
      Reply

      Hello, Elizabeth! Thank you so much for your comment. I felt real joy hearing that what I wrote helps you receive the truth that you are worthy just as you are. Beautiful!!! May you continue to experience more love, not less – all-ways.℠💜

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