I wasn't really sure exactly where to start for this. Quite honestly, I pressed backspace more times than I could even count. Confidence is not everything magazines, and television ad’s paint it out to be. I know it is safe to say I am not the only one that feels this way. Confidence is a difficult trait, and value, to possess, and everyone develops it at a different time. Some never get there. So I am not here to preach to you to love yourself, no matter what. To forget about your struggles, and ignore that voice that sometimes haunts you. All I am here to say is, I get it.
Personally, this isn’t something I share often. Yet, I am also a strong advocate for everyone’s voice to be heard, and how can I relate to someone, when I am not completely open myself?
I think the first part of body positivity, the first ounce of confidence, is admitting hardships, and internal demons. Hell, I think that the openness of admitting right there takes a whole hell of a lot of confidence.
My story? I was a sophomore in high school. Life was good, family was good, friend circle was good, grades were good. I can’t really tell you how, or when exactly it happened, but I began to gain weight. Flash forward to the beginning of junior year, I realized I gained close to forty pounds. I did not realize it for a while; I guess I was blind to it. I got caught up with other things and was ignorant to it, until I started looking in the mirror and did not really did not recognize who I was. I’m not talking about that cliche stereotype; I, internally, wasn’t happy anymore. I felt as if I looked so different, and felt this overwhelming feeling of disappointment in myself.
Like I said, it isn’t the easiest thing to talk about, and anyone reading this who can relate, knows what I am talking about. So flash forward to today. Did I lose the weight afterwards? I did. I am much more active, and busy between work, classes, and activities. My main point of this is to address the question of, am I finally confident with my body image? The answer, no.
I want women, and men, reading this to understand, it is okay to be struggling with confidence. It does not matter if someone tells you, you’ve gotten into great shape, or you're crazy for thinking the way you do about yourself. Peoples' opinions and perceptions are not going to simply sway your mind. I wish I had the answers for you to develop the confidence I know every single human on this Earth deserves. But, I haven't found that answer for myself yet.
It is such a difficult, sticky situation to be in. I am the biggest supporter of loving yourself for you. Knowing your scars, internal and external, are pieces of artwork, and fragments of your story, and struggles. They’re proof of hurdles you’ve overcome. I want everyone deserving of self love to experience a life full of it. But, I am the first to admit to sometimes feeling like a hypocrite, feeling that way, but also having those bad days. Bad days when I am embarrassed of stretch marks on my side, forgetting that they are there to remind me of a time I overcame, and physically worked hard through. Forgetting that when I dislike my eyes for being too small, I should hold on to my gratitude for them, being fortunate enough to be able to see this world.
Confidence is not a cut-throat, black-and-white, topic. It is complicated. Damn, it is complicated. Once again, I am not going to tell you to let go of your struggles, and diminish your demons. You know your story, and you know yourself. I genuinely, and completely, hope one day, you find the confidence you are so deserving of. And I hope that the negatives, are no longer seen as that. But until then, I wanted to impact just one of you, allowing you to know it is okay to, right now, feel the way you do. Don’t let anyone take that right away from you. Confidence is a hard thing to find. Sometimes it is like trying to find a college student not having a mental breakdown during finals week. Difficult, but not impossible.