Dear Women Everywhere,
As I sit down to write this article, my heart feels heavy with years worth of pain from poking and prodding at every inch of my body. I struggle with the pain of questioning why my body was not flat like the girls I see plastered over magazines and billboards.
I struggle to find the words to say that for a very long time in my life, I was not happy with the home that I was given for the soul that flows out of me. I’ve spent long nights crying because of people who told me I was not good enough because they didn’t like what they saw on the exterior.
I have spent so much time hating the fat that bunches up by my armpits and the way my thighs seemingly melt onto every single surface I sit on. For years, I’ve spent so much time looking up ways to make my stomach flatter and what foods or diets will help me to lose weight.
It is so painful to know that I have sat in front of a mirror more times than I could ever count and look at every imperfection that my body holds. I know for a fact it breaks my mothers heart every time she sees that I don’t love myself or see myself the way she does.
It’s even more painful to know that I have allowed exes who tell me to watch what I eat and go to the gym and classmates who just simply called me fat to determine my self-worth, when I know that my beauty runs deep like a river within me.
My hips may be wide enough to knock things off the edges of tables when I walk, but one day, I know that from them will come a beautiful little girl who is just as strong and independent as her mom, and that my stomach which never seems to lay flat will protect her while she grows. Being able to know this is more beautiful than any body shape I will ever see.
My thighs that seemingly melt onto every surface like a candle to a flame? They are just an outward testament to my own strength, proving how many miles I have walked to get to where I’m at today, and proof that though my journey may not have been easy, I am here and I am making something so beautiful out of everything that I have been given.
Though I may always complain about having chubby and somewhat child-like cheeks, they always seem to hold my smile in such a way that other people are able to feel how genuine it is. One of my many great talents is knowing that if I smile, most people will smile back, and my chubby cheeks could be the reason their day is better.
My self-worth isn’t defined by the number on the scale. It is determined by how many times I laugh in any single day, or how fully I love everyone and everything around me. It is determined by the growth that I see in myself. My self worth is determined by me, and me alone.
There is a very powerful Rupi Kaur poem that I always turn to entitled “Irreplaceable.” In this poem, Kaur writes, “the universe took its time on you, crafted you to offer the world something different from everyone else, when you doubt how you were created, you doubt an energy greater than us both.”
Reflecting on this poem continually reminds me that I was given this body for a very specific reason. It is up to me and to me only to love her and care for her. Of course, how can I care for her if I am telling her that she is not good enough and that she will never be good enough, simply because she was built to do the things she is meant to do, and not like the models or actresses on the screens?
If I could, I would run back to Gabby in middle school and high school. I would tell her how beautiful she is. I would remind her that she has so much inside of her and to let that light shine through, then no one would be able to tell her that her body isn’t beautiful.
To any girl who struggles to see herself through her mother’s eyes, remember this: the outer shell that is your body does not define you. Look deep within yourself to find your true beauty. Always remember to take care of your home that you were given, and to love your body to the fullest extent.
Where you may see imperfections, I promise you that those who love you will only see beauty. Where you may feel like some part of you isn’t good enough, someone will find something to love so fully that you won’t believe it’s possible.
It’s okay to want to go to the gym, be healthy and eat right. As you go along that journey, please remember to never once doubt yourself. Your body is beautiful no matter the shape it may be.
So to all the women everywhere, remind yourself to love your body extra hard today. Remind yourself to take care of her and cherish her for all that she does for you. In the words of Rupi Kaur, “look down at your body, whisper there is no home like you.”
All the best,