"To radically love yourself is hard work."

By Christina Oehler
September 30, 2019

Can Tess Holliday post anything braver or bolder than what she put on Instagram last week? On September 25, Holliday shared a close-up photo of herself, displaying her body rolls in all their glory. But it was the fierce, self-affirming caption to her photo that prompted thousands of responses from fans. 

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“It’s not easy to choose love towards a body that so many find ‘disgusting’, & sometimes I wonder if that’s why so many of us spend so much time hating ourselves,” wrote Holliday. “To radically love yourself is hard work, but my god it’s worth it. My body has served me well, it’s taught me things about myself, and others, that I didn’t think were possible.”

“This beautiful body has carried two kids, survived so much abuse from others and from myself, and yet I’m still here... Still in awe of what we’ve created together," continued Holliday. "I’m fortunate to be able to use my body as a tool to connect with others on a more intimate level (& no I’m not talking about sexual intimacy). To be able to share my stories and to keep going despite so many obstacles in my way, to be able to see beauty where others see none, that’s my gift. I chose myself, and I hope whoever is reading this can do the same.”

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With more than 84K likes and 2K comments, the post had no shortage of support. 

“Seeing your body on social media changed my life. I remember seeing a bold, tattooed, plus size woman who reminded me so much of myself,” wrote one commenter. “I thought to myself ‘if i think she’s beautiful, and i see so many of my qualities in her, why do i see myself so differently’ and from then on, i learned how to look at myself the way i look at you. I now embrace all my soft, curvy bits and love the way i look.”

Holliday wants her fans to know that the constant criticism she gets for showing her body and promoting self-acceptance isn’t as easy as it looks. She’s received body shaming comments that have “tested” her mental health. In September 2018, she was featured as Cosmopolitan UK’s cover girl, which was met with tons of criticism.

But despite the blowback, Holliday continues to promote her message—and she's inspiring others along the way. 

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