With only a couple of days left in the beautiful month of August, and the next year of school just around the corner (some of y’all have probably already started), I thought that I post about body image was in order.
I’ve actually been waiting to do this post for quite a while now- at least 3 months. Even though body image is an issue that many people have trouble dealing with, there is no doubt that it is a difficult one to talk about. My size and my weight have been two of my biggest insecurities since I was about 5 years old. Since then, it took me 16 years of many attempted diets, many tears, and many moments of sadness to realize that regardless of what happens on my journey of health, I need to love myself anyways.
Whether you are fat or skinny, tall or short or medium-sized in every respect, whether you are light-skinned or dark-skinned, whether you have dark hair, light hair, curly hair or straight hair, thick hair or thin hair or any other outstanding characteristic, the it’s likely that you’ve faced some type of body image issue at some point in time. Despite all the media promotion about loving yourself and how important it is to do so, I’ve never found one that effectively explains why it is important to love yourself, no matter what your current form might be. In order to share why I think it’s important to appreciate your body in any shape or size, I’m going to be sharing a bit of my story and struggle with you.
The story begins with a conversation I had with my sister just a few months ago, in May. After months and months of my cheapest and most appetizing dining options being pizza, burgers and salads- mostly made of dressing, croutons and fatty dressing- not only was I sick of most of my eating options, but I also felt hopeless. My schedule for the last year not only prevented me from seeing my friends regularly, but the amount of work I had on a daily basis made sitting inside and studying seem like a better option than going outside for a run. I’ve opened up a little bit before about my struggle with congenital hypothyroidism before. In essence, what this means is that regardless of how often I exercise and how healthy my diet is, it will always be harder for me to lose weight as compared to other people. But remembering this at that time only made me sink deeper into my hopelessness. A few days after I began to feel this way, I had a very meaningful conversation with my sister, and that’s when my whole perspective changed.
As I sat with my sister, I broke down. I told her that I felt like I was completely out of options, and I didn’t know how I would ever be able to feel good about myself. It was completely possible that I would never be skinny or even the “right” waistline for my height and age. It was completely possible that I would never look the way that I’ve always wanted to, that I would forever be subject to feeling bad about myself when I heard fat jokes, and, worst of all, I would never be happy with who I was. That is just about how hopeless I felt. That’s when my sister pointed something out to me that no inspirational speaker, writer or celebrity has ever pointed out before: the only way I would ever be able to love myself is if I made the necessary choice to do so.
My sister pointed out to me that my ability to think and my ability to do were only possibilities for me because of the body that I have. And regardless of all of the mistakes I’ve made in my life, I still have done a lot of good, just like most people. Regardless of whether or not I have a thin waist, I am able to move both my hands and my feet, and I was to get as far as I have in life; I am able to think because I have a working brain, and even though it is possible that I will never look exactly how I want to, it is because of my mind and my body that I’m even able to try, and I have to respect that. And more importantly, after all my body has done for me, I have to take care of it and treat it with kindness.
This summer was truly an emotional journey for me- one that finally allowed me to come to terms with who I am and what I look like. And what I’ve realized is that I’m going to look different in many stages of my life. In the end, though, it is my body that is going to get me through all of these different stages, through my happiest moments and my sad ones. Even if I have nothing else left it is the one thing that will get me out of everything alive and well so long as I take care of it and respect its ability to do so.
So, to my readers, don’t love yourself because it’s a trend and the internet is telling you to do so. Look at yourself in the mirror and take in every single color and curve; the texture of your hair, the way that you walk, and the way that you smile or frown or whatever other expressions you make. Realize that all of these things and everything about your body is what has gotten you to this very moment and that is why you are beautiful. And this is something that no one can appreciate the way you can. Love yourself for who you are, work towards becoming the version of yourself that you want to be, and love your body for allowing you to get there.
Even though body image is something that has always been hard for me to talk about, it’s something that I love talking about now. Be on the lookout for more writing about healthy eating habits and having a healthy mindset. And on a related note to having a healthy mindset, check out my last post!
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