Would you believe it, I've been blogging for 3 years (yesterday). This is my 123rd post. My 'Introduction' post, reading it now, seems a little bit silly (in an aww, cute, kinda way). It's odd that I use the term 'BBW' as I don't use it now and haven't done for some time. My first OOTD (left) also has a bit of a 'cutesy' vibe and the photo is awfully grainy; I'm pleased to say that my photography has come a long way since then, particularly in recent months (thank you DSLR).
In June 2012 I was 24 years old; I'm now 27, about to turn 28 (in August). I'd just finished my second year of my degree (BSc Social Policy and Youth Studies) and I'm now just about to graduate, having done a part-time retake (4th year) after struggling with my mental health and being diagnosed with sleep apnoea in 2014. I was fat, I'm still fat, and I'm now happier referring to myself as fat than I have ever been. I've become more interested and engaged with fat politics over the years and, more recently, feminism; hence, after blogging as Big Fat Betty for almost 3 years, I've now 'rebranded' as the Rad Fat Feminist. You can still call me Betty if you like (and I know of a few that will!), but (in case you didn't know) my name is Sharon (hi!).
My body confidence and self esteem can still sometimes be a daily struggle. I know that I've made significant progress, even though some days it feels like I haven't made any at all. I never would've dreamed 3 years ago that I'd be regularly posting full length photos of myself in various outfits on the internet, working with amazing brands and meeting so many awesome people (bloggers and non-bloggers alike).
I continue to make new friends through the world of blogging and the fatosphere, and I continue to keep in touch with people I've met and consider to be good friends. I go shopping, eat food and laugh with large groups of fellow fat babes; it's something that I love to do and always look forward to (especially when there's food and fatshion).
I still face discrimination and I probably always will, but I've come to terms with that. I've learnt to know that it's not OK but also that I have to pick and choose my 'battles' as I don't have the capacity to fight 'everyone', all of the time. Equally, as I recently tweeted, it's not the responsibility of the opressed to educate the ignorant.
I've lost weight, gained weight, exercised, not exercised; all the while my body has still been fat, and I have still been me. I am not defined by my fatness, but it is a core part of my identity. I have learnt to accept that it is OK for me be healthy, or not, to lose weight, or not, depending on what I want to do with my body. I have learnt that I can advocate for HAES (health at every size), but that I can also advocate for health being an individual choice.
Speaking of learning, I have learnt that people won't always agree with me, and (perhaps more relevantly) that I won't always agree with other people, even within the fatosphere/plus size (blogging) community. That's OK, too. We're all individuals with our own opinions and yes, we have a lot of similar views, but it's natural for this to not always be the case. Even in conversing with a friend today, we have both 'agreed to disagree' and we're both OK with that; we can both respect eachother's opinions and discuss them in a positive way.
I still struggle, a lot, with a lot of things, sometimes on a daily basis. There is a lot of intersectionality between my body confidence, self esteem and my mental health, and I've recognised that a lot more as of late. I've also recognised that sometimes I need to withdraw and give myself time to heal, as I did recently when I took a hiatus from social media. I'm still young (ish) and I'm still developing as a person, even my body is still changing. Will I still be here, doing this, in 3 years time? I can't tell you. All I can tell you is that I'm here right now, doing this, and I'm very thankful for 'it' and I'm thankful for you, too.