Possible Womxn 2/12 Brianna- Lost over 150 lbs
“It’s our choice to feel the way we want to about our bodies.”-Bri
From the moment Bri emailed me about becoming a part of this project I knew she was going to be one of my ladies. They way she positively spoke about her body, overcoming her fears and wanting to show other womxn how to do the same. I was like, girl get your ass ready because I need you to be a part of this.
Brianna used to be much larger and has been ‘overweight’ her entire life. Growing up she lived a very conservative and very confusing life. She wasn’t attracted to men. She was told she should have been all while she was trying to find herself and figure out what she wanted when the body shaming hit. She was a teenager when she started to look at herself differently. Years later Brianna has managed to lose an insane amount of weight. 150 pounds roughly and has just recently found herself. She’s gay and she also loves God. She up and moved from her home town which was just setting her back and decided to go to Seattle. She has been here for roughly 2 years now and says it’s been the best decision she has made for herself. Growing up where she did was limiting for her to explore herself and her sexuality. Since living in Seattle, Bri mentions that she has just been blessed with so many opportunities, friends, careers and even lovers. <—— Hell yeah! Welcome to the PNW my girl, for the most part we’re pretty accepting up here.
I asked her how she felt when she initially entered the studio and she said the first thing that went through her head was, “On no, there’s no where for me to change in here!” Then quickly realized why does it even matter she was about to get naked anyways! I then asked how she felt after her session to which she said,
“I felt like it was normal, I felt like my body is okay.”-Bri
She related this experience to this one time that someone asked her if she liked girls or not. Bri responded maybe and the person followed with “Okay!” Now, for most of you you might think just an okay is weird. But for Brianna, an okay was the nicest and least judgmental thing she could of said back to Bri. This other person made her feel it was okay to share her sexual orientation and made her feel that whatever her sexual orientation was, it was okay. To relate that experience, which can be difficult being a gay womxn who was raised in a christian church, to how I made her feel in her skin and bones is something truly special. To not instantly pass judgement on someone is how we should all be. It’s why I started this project and it’s why I wanted Brianna to be a part of this. We can pass judgement all we want but at the end of the day all that matters is the love we carry for ourselves and our body.
“As women we’re conditioned to hide ourselves, to be sorry, to want to be better, to have to be working to be something different and to look a certain way.” -Bri
“I can talk to my prettiest, thinnest friend about her body and she will still share her struggles with her body.”- Bri We are all in the same boat and we are all just trying to learn how to love our bodies one day at a time.
“It’s damaging the boxes we put ourselves in.”-Bri
I started off the interview asking Brianna how others had made her feel about her body growing up. Like many of us, before we get to an age where classmates, strangers or people off the internet feel the need and right to comment and shame us about our bodies, a close family member of Bri’s was the first to point it out. “You’re too fat and no one is going to love you if you’re too fat.” At the tender age of 16 Bri experienced her first painful body shaming experience done by someone she loved and trusted. It’s something Bri has internalized her whole life and still struggles with it today.
I asked Bri what part of her body she was most insecure about? She replied her tummy. She said she took on a whole new level of insecurities once she lost all of the weight. Now that all of her weight was gone she was left with the extra skin from the loss.
At the time that this happened Bri had the a small notion that she may be into girls. She didn’t fully know yet and all she understood was that she wasn’t attracted to men. She thought she was supposed to be and the fact that she was too big was actually going to be the reason she would be alone. At 16 she convinced herself, with the help of her loved one, that she would be alone her whole life because of her weight. PSA*Parents, Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles reading this, do your part to love your family by keeping you opinions about their body to yourself.*
“You’re still learning at that age and to be told that you won’t get this if you don’t look like this, you kind of accept that because you don’t know any better yet.”-Bri
This is a sensitive topic for me personally and I know for others as well. Sometimes the very first person who makes you feel shame about your body is someone you look up to the most. When negative comments from your parents, grandparents or any elder in your family are said about your body anytime between the ages of birth and 18, it can really mess a person up. This is someone who you love and respect and when you are a young child and a young teen, comments like that alter your entire life. To this day I still hear some of the remarks made about my body from loved ones in the past. That shit sticks with you forever. Your body sticks with you forever and it’s something special and sacred and beautiful and powerful. When you don’t even know how to be self conscious yet and all the sudden from a family member it’s the worst feeling ever and you are then programmed to hate your body.
“I want to be happy where I am and not let anyone make me feel negative about my body.”-Bri
Now that Bri is thinner she still has those doubts about her body and fears that creep up from her past. Now that she is not too fat for love and acceptance, will her saggy skin make her less worthy of love and acceptance? I got an idea, let’s not ask Aunt Sue and find out for ourselves. I can give you a big hint now, it doesn’t.
Bri talked to me about love on a deeper level. Loving yourself so you have the ability to love others. Yes I am hoping we all know this, but also loving yourself and your body so you have the ability to accept love. Not just a one night stand sort of love, but a love that requires faith, communication and trust. Falling back on those you care about when you need them. Saying, “Hey, you know what. I could really use a hug today.” Feeling comfortable within yourself to share your struggle and needs with someone else. It can be the hardest thing to rely on someone especially when you have been so independent your whole life. To say I need you now, will you be there for me? That takes A LOT. It’s something I myself am still learning. It’s okay to ask for help and it’s okay to need love and support from someone. Asking can be the hardest part. But once we have love and grace for ourselves and our bodies, it becomes easier.
“You learn to guard yourself from intimacy.”-Bri