One word to describe my body: disgusting
I’m an extroverted individual. With that comes a sense that I am confident, comfortable, and secure with myself.
While I have my moments of feeling those things, it doesn’t come naturally, and more often than not, I have to have a real good reason as to why I should feel so great.
I’ve struggled with body issues as far back as elementary school. I have never been “skinny”. My hair was many stages of uncomfortable and my clothes never fit totally right, but I had friends and generally enjoyed myself.
I got to middle school and was surrounded by girls who tried too hard to look good (with bodies they were born with because who really WORKS for their body in 7th and 8th grade?). They wore skimpy clothes, too much make up, and started doing things like plucking their eye brows and sticking out their chest.
When I hit high school I knew I was at the end of my friend line. I was the last pick. I was the “Duff” for those of you who have seen the movie (for those of you who haven’t Designated Ugly Fat Friend). How did they do it? These girls looked so…good….
I played sports. I ate semi-healthy. I didn’t wear make up and my hair was still super awkward, but overall I just felt…weird.
College. Where everyone is accepted. I should have felt happy…I “fit in”. But now when everyone accepted and embraced me, I rejected myself. I hated my stomach. I hated my arms. I hated my legs. I hated my face.
I finally had total control over my body. I worked out whenever I could. I ate the best I thought I could. I hid my body and finally just left my freakin’ hair alone (it was still awful…I just didn’t have time to care). I wore make up and tried so hard to look like someone else’s definition of sexy and beautiful.
I went through stages of working out like crazy and going hungry, to working out like crazy and eating anything I wanted, to working out only when I wanted to and restricting food, to working out only when I wanted to and eating anything I wanted to….
I never got skinny. Looking back, I also never got overweight.
It wasn’t until I met my boyfriend, Zach, that I finally started working out and eating for my health vs. looks. He encouraged me to become stronger for myself. He encouraged me to become healthier for myself. He wanted me to be strong, healthy, and most importantly happy (which means eating ice cream for breakfast on Saturday mornings)- because if I’m not happy, what kind of life is that? And if I’m not healthy I won’t have a long enough life. And if I’m not strong, I can’t protect myself. He showed me the ways I could (and needed) to take all of this pent up insecurity and turn it in to self confidence and comfort.
I’m still not completely comfortable with my body. But I am strong. I can run 3.1 miles without stopping, and I am training for a marathon next summer.
I still wear make-up, but only enough to cover my dark circles and give myself eyelashes (because God forbid women have natural eyelashes while men always seem to have long, flawless ones!).
My hair is still a life of it’s own…I guess some things will never change. (At least I embrace it now…most days).
I’m still a huge work in progress. I still have to work on the whole confidence thing- you know, stop saying “I look so much better in black yoga pants!”
The video below really hit me. They way we women speak about ourselves is disgusting. It is my hope, my goal, that we can create a world of positive body image for girls and women alike. If there’s one thing I learned growing up with self confidence issues is that it’s not just for girls who are overweight- it comes from all shapes and sizes (and ages!).
Please, make sure the women in your life know how beautiful they are. How strong they are. Remind them of the amazing things their bodies can do for them. Remind them that beauty and confidence come from their attitude and the things that they do in this world.
And most importantly- remind YOURSELF of those things.