There are people in this world who love DC comics, however in a room full of Marvel stans, they’ll say that Batman is crap. There are people in this world who love Tottenham Hotspur, however when you ask them to join you at an Arsenal match, they’ll proudly wear a Gunners scarf. There are people in this world who may absolutely hate being referred to as plus size, but when presented with the opportunity of press, e-fame and money, will champion the plus size label like no one’s business. There are people in this world that will stay quiet while surrounded by 10 people talking crap about their best friend.
Now, I understand why these people exist. I understand that some people don’t like conflict, being ‘impolite’ or standing out from the crowd. I can respect their manners and their abilities to alter their views based on circumstances. They are ideological chameleons, changing their colours based on their surroundings. In my opinion, they live a much easier life than people like me.
I support both Arsenal and Tottenham FC equally and I don’t need to explain my reasons why (FIGHT ME IF YA WANT THO). I’ve always been team Batman and don’t really care for any of the Marvel characters, apart from Luke Cage because he is sexual chocolate. There are people in this world who are like me; people who know exactly who they are, what they want, what they like and dislike, what they stand for and what they will not stand for.
Call it stubbornness, call it confidence, call it passion, call it self-awareness, I call it being “unapologetically yourself”. It seems to me that chameleons seldom understand people who are very firm in their beliefs. They don’t get it. A reader once said to me, “Why would you show your belly in a crop top for everyone to see?” to which I simply replied, “Because I can.”. Their parting words were “I hope people don’t start staring at you!”. I sent her a winking emoji.
Take for instance this fabulous 70’s-inspired ensemble I am wearing here by Elvi. At first I was a bit apprehensive about being tits out in the cold, however after a while I felt empowered and confident as fuck. Did I get stared at rudely by passers’ by? Sure did. Did it affect my confidence in any way? Absolutely not. I felt like Donna Summer the whole time and I absolutely owned it.
I have learned over the past few years that you pay a price for being yourself, and I thought that I would share a few with you.
People find it easier to label you
“The Feminist”, “The Activist”, “The Loud Black One”, “The Lesbian”, “The Fat, Aggressive one”. Just because you feel so strongly about something, people will find it easier to place generalisations on you. The one time you voice an opinion has the potential to turn into your identity.
People will make assumptions about you
“He’s gay so I doubt he’d want to go to a football game.” “She’s fat so let’s not invite her out in case she feels bad.” “She’s pro-black, let’s not ask her to this Radiohead concert – it may not be her style” This isn’t fair. People hold beliefs, sure. This doesn’t mean that the stereotypes apply to them.
People will call you stubborn, hard headed or aggressive
I am not stubborn (much), I am passionate. If I had a pound for every time I had been called aggressive for passionately speaking about my beliefs in public, I would be a v v rich lady. I refuse to change my beliefs on certain issues because I feel so passionately about them, however I do have an open mind; I listen to opinions and input. Now, whether I alter my beliefs based on your opinions is another story. Some people just know exactly who they are and what they want to be. They shouldn’t be punished for that. Don’t confuse someone having confidence in themselves as stubborn.
People will not like your confidence
The above rings particularly true within the plus size community. A lot of critics outside of the community seem to absolutely haaaaaaate the prospect of a plus size woman loving herself and living unapologetically. They hate the idea that a group of people deemed to be ‘at the bottom of the social latter’ could muster up the strength and courage to deem themselves as their equals. I’m sure if a lot of those people had it their way, we would be living Gollum-style within the shadows just eating fish and pacing up and down waiting for our eventual ‘obesity related’ death.
Well sorry lads. That won’t be happening any time soon. If you are a person that is unapologetically yourself, I salute you. I do have good news and bad news though, so listen up.
Photography by Fordtography
The bad news
It’s not easy to be you. You will have altercations with people, even with people who are meant to be on the same side as you. You will face resistance, feel disillusioned, lose friends, gain enemies and notice that people will try (and sometimes succeed at) bringing you down.
The good news
We are a minority. Most people in this world will not stand up in a room full of 100 people who all believe the same thing and dare to say, “I disagree”. And that, my friends, is a powerful thing. Do not let the world smother the fire under your passions, no matter how small or insignificant they seem.
Being unapologetically you comes with a price. Don’t be afraid to pay it.