My Body Journey

The other day I was talking to my friend about our bodies and self-esteem issues. We were talking about things we can do to start loving ourselves, as well as the problems we have with ourselves. It really got me thinking about my own personal body journey. 

To start, I need to tell you guys that I have never once been happy with my body. There has never been a time in my life where I wasn’t self-conscious about some part of myself. My body issues started when I was 7 years old. I went through puberty in the 3rd grade, so that means I had B cup boobs when the rest of the girls in my class had none. I started to be bullied for that, so that marked the beginning of my body hatred. I remember wishing that I would wake up one day with no boobs. It was really hard, and my body dysmorphia only grew from there.

I can mark each year of my life by the things I hated about my body. In elementary school it was my thighs, in junior high it was my nose, in my freshman and sophomore years of high school it was my stomach, junior and senior it was my face and chin, and college was my arms. It felt like every year I noticed something  new about my body that I hated. I was so miserable. I look back at my pictures from high school and junior high, a time where I really hated my body, and I realize that I looked really good. There was nothing wrong with my body, but back then I had so much internalized fatphobia against myself. I really wish that I would have just lived my life without being bogged down by my own body hate. If I could, I would go back in time and tell teenaged me that there was nothing wrong with my body, and that I was beautiful inside and out.

Yet still, very often, I would wish that I could just melt my body fat away. I fantasize almost every single day of setting fire to my stomach or thighs. I assume that all of my problems would just go away if I just lost 50 pounds. For me, my whole self worth is revolved around my body. It’s not just me. I am Middle-Eastern and in that culture, skinny bodies are emphasized, and people do not have the qualms that we do about commenting on people’s weight. A lot of my family has no problem telling me how fat I’ve gotten, and although they don’t mean to be rude, it can really hurt. I eventually got a nose job when I was in college, and while talking to the same friend as before about it, she warned me that a nose job wouldn’t be the fix of all of my body issues. I didn’t believe her when she said it, but I came to realize how true that advice was. My body issues that stemmed from early childhood wouldn’t just have a magical fix. It would take a lot of time, introspection, and healing. 

 

I spent about 4 months away from my home and parents last year, and during that time I was able to cook for myself and make the food choices I wanted without anyone telling me what I can or cannot eat. I ate out a lot and didn't really eat very healthy. When I came back home to Utah, I weighed myself and realized I was 173 pounds. I burst out into tears right there. I’m 5”1 and 173 was a weight I never expected myself to be at. It didn’t help that the people around me were constantly commenting on how much weight I gained. I truly hated myself then. I was so depressed. I didn't even want to leave the house because I didn't want to subject people to having to look at my body. I started working out and taking spin classes, and lost around 15 pounds. But, even though I lost all of that weight nothing was fixed. I wasn't happy with myself and I still felt really depressed. Even now I won’t wear tight clothing because I refuse to have clothes that show off my body. Even when I wear baggy clothes, I get self-conscious because I still feel that people can see my stomach or my thighs. It feels like everyday is a struggle to feel somewhat okay in my own skin, and some days it feels like nothing is ever going to change.

I don't mean to write this to depress people -- I just know that I am not the only person out there who feels this way. Personally, I don’t believe that you can truly become completely confident, and happy with yourself. I believe that you will always be self-conscious in some way or another. However, I do think that you can also work hard to love yourself. It can be hard when everyday you hear comments about your body to start on that journey of love, but you can do it. I think we really need to start talking about our bodies in a great way. I have started to write done one thing that I love about myself every time I have a negative thought about my body. I can tell you that I love my eyes, my hair, my hands, my collarbones, and a lot more. It’s been so healing for me to force myself to find things I love about myself and my body. I also have started to talk to other people about my body issues, because I know that so many people around me feel the exact same way. Starting a dialogue can help you find support and people who are going through the same thing you are, and that can be very helpful for your healing journey. You can use each other to further yourself in your journey, and when you need support, it's there. It’s not going to be easy for me to love myself. I still have a very long way to go, but I do feel hope that eventually I can get there. People like Lizzo have really inspired me because they are so confident and happy with their bodies that it becomes the norm. Society still has such a long way to go before accepting all types of bodies, and right now, I don’t think that we are at the point that every body and person is seen as beautiful. However, with normalization and time, we can heal.

Pic Credits: 1, 2, 34