Milagro | Nonbinary, Black, They/Them

What does “body positivity” mean to you? How has your body image changed over time? How does your body image play a role in your identity or even in your daily life?

Body positivity to me means being kind and compassionate in a society where beauty standards demand people be fit and athletic. My body image has declined over time. When I served time in prison, I became very depressed and I lost the fit physique that gave me confidence. Since that time I’ve been ashamed of my body. I don’t swim at public pools or take my shirt off when it’s hot in the summertime.

How has body image affected your mental and emotional health? What’s something that helps you feel comfortable in your own skin?

My body image has taken a toll on my mental and emotional health. I feel uncomfortable in my own skin. I hate looking in the mirror and seeing myself. Wearing baggy hoodies and loose clothing helps me to be comfortable in my own skin. I also wear dark shades because they make me feel less vulnerable.

How can we talk about our body image with our loved ones in a way that is supportive and helpful? How has the media influenced your body image?

We can be kind and compassionate. We can focus on saying things that are uplifting and supportive. The media reminds me all the time that I don’t have the body type America approves of.

Is there a specific message that you’d like to convey by participating in this project?

I’m trying to learn to love myself one day at a time. I would convey the message to keep trying. Don’t give up. Be kind to yourself and others.