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What Spring Break Taught Me About Body Image

“Wake up and say I am going to love my body today”. These are the words that Kirsten Haglund told Fairfield students just a few weeks ago as we approached Spring Break. “I can do that,” I thought to myself, “No problem. I have no reason to dislike my body.”

Except, easier said than done. In the days approaching Spring Break I began to look at myself and think: “No way am I bikini ready. Who am I kidding?” Kirsten’s inspiring words had completely left my brain, and just a few days before I was going to be on a beach in Punta Cana the body shaming began.

When the time finally came I was apprehensive to take off my cover up, but after seeing the others around me shed their layers I no longer felt scared or ashamed. To my surprise, everyone else on the beach looked…normal. I had built up in my head this idea that everyone around me was going to look like Candice Swanepol in a Victoria’s Secret catalogue. I won’t lie; there were girls with bodies that resembled that of a Victoria’s Secret model but that didn’t make my body any less worthy of being on that beach.

I have a chest, and hips and plot twist…thighs that touch! But that’s no reason for me to be body shaming myself. I look healthy. I try to eat right and yes I indulge in things like fries and froyo and Reeses peanut butter cups, but I also try work out. I’ll admit, there are days when I skip the gym if I’ve had a long day or I know that it’s more important for me to finish my English paper. But no matter what my daily routine is, there’s nothing wrong with the way I look or anyone else looks for that matter.

Every girl (and guy) on my Spring Break trip looked great. Do we all have the same body types? No. But that doesn’t mean we all don’t look amazing in our own way. The problem with body shaming is that we tend to compare ourselves to others. “I wish I had her legs. Mine are so big” or “She has the flattest stomach I’ve ever seen. I wish I could have those abs.” We need to stop comparing ourselves to others we see around us. I will probably never have a thigh gap and I will never be 5’9” with a long torso but that doesn’t make the way I look any less healthy or any less attractive.

After spending five days on a beach with hundreds of college students I can say this: How you look is beautiful whether you have abs, long lean legs, the perfect bubble butt or not. No one person looks the same as the person laying on the beach chair next to them so we need to start taking Kirsten Haglund’s advice and wake up each day telling ourselves we are going to love our bodies. We may not always feel 100% confident in our own skin but by starting off our day with this affirmation we are one step closer to a more positive and healthy body image.

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Amanda McKelvey is a Co-Campus Correspondent and a senior at Fairfield University. She is a Journalism major with minors in Psychology and Communications. In addition to being a CC she has held internships with Michael Kors, CollegeFashionista.com and the Rockville Centre and Baldwin Heralds. In her free time, Amanda enjoys days on the beaches of Long Island, watching Scandal, Chicago Fire and the Bachelorette, eating anything sweet (chocolate, ice cream, cupcakes—you name it!) and reading a good book. She’s excited to spend her senior year living at Fairfield Beach with her best friends including fellow CC Danielle Tullo! You can follow her on Twitter @theAMANDAshowww or on Instagram @ammckelvey.
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