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  • Writer's pictureWillow Raven

Body Talk

I've always been fairly self-conscious of my body. This is maybe a surprising thing to hear from someone whose job is literally to post photos half-naked, but it's true.

When I was a kid, I often got made fun of for being too thin; I even had to eat lunch with the principal or a teacher to make sure I ate all my food because they thought I was anorexic, but really I was just a small kid. Then puberty happened and things swung the complete opposite way.

I still remember the first time I had my weight gain mentioned - it was the first day of high school. A girl I hadn't seen in a year came up to me, grabbed my stomach, and said "Oh you've gained some weight!" She told me months later it was supposed to be a compliment, that I had been too skinny before, but the damage was done.

Even when I was thin, I had a bit of a stomach. An ex of mine used to grab it and make fun of me about it all the time, which certainly didn't help my issues. I was maybe 130lbs at the time, but I still had a belly.

I'm now currently the biggest I've ever been, and while I don't mind being called curvy or thick, there's something so triggering about the word fat that when an internet troll called me fat the other day, it literally made me cry for longer than I'd like to admit. It struck a nerve because it wasn't even said as an insult, so much as just the stating of a fact. And I've been struggling especially lately - I don't fit into any of my pants anymore and have been wearing leggings or sweatpants almost exclusively because of it. My preference has always been jeans but I can't fit into mine anymore and shopping for new ones just makes me depressed because I'm too big to buy any from straight-size shops at this point. Then there's the issue of fatphobia and feeling guilty and awful knowing that all these feelings are rooted in fatphobia and then feeling like an awful person for being internally fatphobic, which then just makes me feel even worse for getting upset about being called fat. So then I'm upset for being fat and doubly upset for getting upset about it.

Why am I bringing this up? Because it's all made more difficult by the fact that my job is literally tied to my body. The day I got called fat, I was supposed to shoot a ton of content, but I just couldn't bring myself to do so. How am I supposed to film content when I don't feel good about my body? When I can't even bring myself to put on lingerie because all of it makes me feel uncomfortable instead of powerful and confident? What happens when I'm supposed to be a fantasy and I feel like anything but?

Having my body be so tied to my job has made it so much more difficult to deal with weight fluctuations because I'm constantly worried that if I gain too much weight, I'll turn off the folks who first followed me when I was smaller, or if I lose too much weight, I'll turn off the folks who like a curvier woman. My revenue is literally tied to how I look, and that's a lot of pressure on someone.

I spend hours of my day staring at photos of myself naked or half-naked, in positions that aren't always flattering, and needing to decide whether or not I should post photos I think are cute but show a bit too much of my stomach. I make sure photos and videos are in particular angles, so that I can seem thinner than I am, and then worry that people will be disappointed when they see me in person. I end up getting behind on work because I'll have a bad body image day and won't feel like shooting content, forcing me to then scramble to get content done in a shorter timeframe when I finally feel decent about my body.

It's getting harder and harder to find days where I truly feel confident, and I worry that it shows. I worry that my content suffers because of my self-esteem being so low. And I don't know how to fix it in the short term.

There's no real point to this post, I just needed a space to vent about how difficult it is to be in a job that requires you to at least project a constant feeling of confidence and desirability which can be really draining and difficult when you don't feel that way about yourself.

So be nice to people online, especially those who are so vulnerable with you. It's not always easy.

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