If you hang around here long enough, you’ll hear me use a lot of words to describe my body and my experiences living in it.
One of those words will not be “brave.”
Why? Because I hate it.
Not the word itself of course. Not even used as a descriptor for myself. I am brave. I’m downright courageous. Do you hear that roar? That’s this lioness over here, Baby.
Living in my body and talking about it does not make me brave.
I learned how much I hated the word after I wrote a piece about being pregnant while fat. I saw that someone had shared it, so I popped over to their profile to see what they had said about it.
There was the word: Brave.
She talked about how brave I was for talking about being fat, as though I were some kind of inspiration simply for sharing my pregnancy story. She said brave three or four times, and was awed by my courage.
It was absolutely meant as a compliment. But it wasn’t one.
If speaking about being fat is brave, or by extension to other posts I’ve seen, if wearing a bathing suit while fat is brave, if doing anything “regular” people do while fat is brave, then that means there is something shameful about being fat.
Congratulations to me for not hiding my body away I guess? But why would I? My body is just as valid as anyone else’s, and talking about it doesn’t make me a hero. It’s insulting to imply that it does.
I have told a lot of personal stories before—far more personal than my pregnancy story—but the only times I am called brave are when I talk about my body without shame.
So don’t call me brave for being fat. Don’t call me brave for discussing it or for showing it. I am brave for plenty of things that I do—but I am not brave simply for not being ashamed of who I am.
This post originally appeared on Facebook. It has been reprinted with permission.