Seeing Beyond The Mirror

Loving your body is a journey. It’s a journey that takes a lifetime. It’s a journey that takes love. It’s a journey that takes support. It’s a journey that I am currently on.

 

Ever since I was 13, I have HATED my body. I hate how big my thighs are. I hate the fat that hangs off of my arms. I hate the fat that bunches at the top of my bra, making it feel like I had an extra pair of boobs on my back. I hate the stretch marks that started forming at 14 that I can still see today at 19. But most of all, I hate my stomach. I hate how many rolls it has. I hate the pudge that has settled from my belly button to my hips. I hate how when I put on a pair of pants, my legs look better, but my stomach somehow gains at least two more rolls. I hate my fat. I hate my chub. I joke about it from time to time. I ignore it a lot. But when I am on my own, staring at myself in the mirror with only underwear on, I loathe my body.

Recently, though, I have asked myself a question.

 

Why do I hate my body? Who told me that my body wasn’t beautiful? Why do I T O R T U R E myself mentally because of my body?

 

This is why. When I was 13, I was in the seventh grade. We all know that middle school is hell. You are introduced to “the big-girl world”. The one where judgments surround you and society sucks you in. Society. What a funny thing that is. It wasn’t until I was a freshman in high school that I realized the concept of hating my body was something that society had pushed on me. Society handed me pictures of beautiful photo-shopped women and said, “Here, look like this” at the age of 13. THIRTEEN. I felt pressured to be somebody or something I didn’t even know at 13. That still amazes me. How can a world claim to care about its young and then shove images of perfect, non-existent women and men down their throats?

 

I recently made a twitter thread discussing how uncomfortable I am with my body. This thread consisted of me confronting my body negativity and how much I hated my body publicly, which was a big step for me. I think that marked the exact start of my body-positivity journey. Prior to this, I had started following several women on Instagram who confront body positive and discuss why it is so important to love your body, such as @bodyposipanda and @iharterika. Because of their posts and their journeys, I was inspired to start my own.

My twitter thread went like this:

“Okay, Twitter, let’s talk.”

“Recently, I’ve been struggling with my body image.”

“No, not recently. Let me be honest, it’s been a life struggle.”

“I’ve never been the smallest in my class. I’ve never been one of the fit girls, or the skinny girls, or the popular girls who have perfect bodies.”

“But I’ve also never been the biggest. I’m right around the middle of average size and fat (at least in my head).”

“I go to Europe for 2 months in 16 days. My number one concern? Looking gross in all of my pictures because I don’t like my body.”

“I’ve lost right around 15 pounds and I still don’t like it. I don’t know if I’ll ever like it.”

“But my point is, why should I be worrying how I look in my pictures?’

“I am going to Europe for TWO. MONTHS.”

“I’m 19. The last time I was in a relationship was when I was 15. My reasoning for being single for so long is because I’m too fat to be attractive.”

“No, this thread is not for pity, let me make my point.”

“I’m a size 10-12. The average size of a woman in the US is 16-18. So why am I concerned with my body?”

“Is it because I care too much about what other people think? Probably.”

“But is it also because society sets impractical beauty standards for women? YES.”

“It finally hit me tonight that I have 16 days before I leave. 16 days before I have the time of my life.”

“I saw a post on how to dress for your body type. The answer? Wear whatever makes you happy.”

“So tonight, I pledge to myself that I’m going to strive to be confident and happy with my body.”

“I will do whatever makes me happy while wearing whatever I want to.”

“Because what matters is my happiness. Not what size I am and what others think about me.”

That was my moment. My moment of realizing I deserve to be loved.

Since then, I have hit rocky patches. I hit one earlier this year, right after we came back to school. When I was in Europe for 2 months, I lost more weight. I went from being 175 pounds to 160 pounds. I didn’t think I looked different, but as soon I got back on campus, everyone told me I looked amazing and that they missed me and that they loved me and all that good stuff that your friends tell you when you come back to school. Because of my body image and my mental state, though, I started to think they were lying. I started to think they only told me that because they wanted me to feel better and that they pitied me. I was only capable of thinking that they were lying to me because I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t think anything was different about me. I immediately texted a friend and told him all of this and how much I wanted to be home and how much I wished I loved myself, but I couldn’t.

He gave me the best advice. He told me exactly what I needed to hear. He told me that no one could define my worth but me. He said, “You need to find your footing and love for yourself. That’s so important. Your friends know you deserve everything in the world and beyond the stars but that doesn’t really matter if you don’t see it in yourself too. And I know it takes time but you have to be patient with yourself and work on it. Remind yourself you deserve the good energy, you deserve to feel cute in your skin because you truly are, you deserve to love yourself because by god, you’re worth loving everyday.”

Since then, I have pushed myself to feel good about my body, and to love it, and to accept it for what it is: a beautiful creation, a sacred place, and a work of art. I have pushed myself to see beyond the mirror.

Loving yourself is hard. Loving yourself is a process. Loving yourself is important. Loving yourself is the greatest revolution.