Every Body

There are a lot of things in this life that I am pretty confident about. When I'm faced with an essay or article I don't bat an eye. If I were to be picked up and dropped in the middle of a foreign city I highly doubt I would break a sweat. The one thing I have always struggled with, though? What I see when I look in the mirror. 

This isn't something that makes me unique. There isn't a single person I know - or that I have ever met - who doesn't have something about their body that they are insecure about. The first thing I see when I look in the mirror isn't what I may like about myself, it's what I don't. The big thighs, broad shoulders, curvy shape, big nose, gap in my teeth....the list goes on. 

Making sure my tummy doesn't look too big instead of admiring the building behind me. 

Making sure my tummy doesn't look too big instead of admiring the building behind me. 

Strangely enough, I remember when I didn't feel so self conscious. I remember there being a distinct shift in how I saw my appearance when I was in the second or third grade. I, like so many others, wanted to fit in and be like the cool girls. To this day I still don't know what qualified them as "cool," or what I was trying to achieve. I would never have the blond hair or the stick-skinny body. I don't think my voice could ever be described as soft or girly, and I would have given anything to be shorter. I grew a lot and I did it all very quickly - I have the stretch marks to prove it. Being the tallest person in your class until middle school is nice, but perhaps not if you're a very insecure and not particularly athletically gifted girl. 

I've struggled with my body for years. I've gained weight, lost weight, felt pretty, and felt very very ugly. There are many days when I wake up and feel sad when I look in the mirror, or when I lose the confidence to talk to others because I'm too nervous about how I look. And half the time I realize that I'm so focused on how I look and what others think of me that I become quite disgusted with myself. I shouldn't be spending so much time thinking of myself, I realize, and it makes me feel even worse. 

That's what I think I've realized in the last few weeks. I've been trying to lose weight (again), and I'll admit that there are so many days that I feel terrible and disgusted with myself because of what I see on the scale, but I'm starting to realize that the reason I feel so bad isn't just because I weigh 10lbs more than I did 2 years ago. It's really because I've become obsessed with the idea of myself. Essentially, I'm just really selfish. Sometimes. 

Nothing is more unattractive than someone who is obsessed with themselves. That's what I've always thought, at least. And now, sadly, I've been seen a bit of that in myself. When I think of what I want people to remember me for, it isn't what I wore or how I look, or what the size of my thighs are. I want to be remember for what I create, who I helped, the things I've done. Those are the things that have always been the most important to me, and in the middle of all the stress and scary unknown I seem to have drifted off of that. This is truly hard for me to admit, because I'm the type of girl that has always laughed at the materialistic ones. I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm a material girl, but I could be. And that's the embarrassing bit. 

The media is filled with so much #bodypositivity these days. 'Plus' sized models are all the rage, #mermaidthighs gains a lot of praise, and celebrities showing off curves and not being afraid to eat have become many young girl's role models. In all honesty, I don't know how I feel about that. Yes, we should be embracing all body types and loving ourselves and being confident and....all that jazz. But we should also be encouraging girls to just stop thinking about their bodies all together, don't you think? By still putting so much emphasis on what we look like we're just pitting more girls against each other because we're still encouraging them to focus more on their bodies than on the things that really matter. I personally think my life would be a lot easier if I wasn't constantly bombarded with #real bodies. All women are beautiful. Everyone is beautiful. But you are worth more than looks or your body type. 

Take if from someone who has spent her fair share of time reading the articles, stalking the Instagram profiles, and watching the news reports about embracing her body but just felt worse and worse when looking in the mirror because it felt like the only thing people would care about was what she looked like. Not how hard she had worked to get where she was, or what her dreams and goals were, or how proud she was of her classic book collection, but of the ratio of her hips and chest. That was all that mattered. And it didn't mattered if it was small or big - either way it had to be the thing that she was most focused and and proud of. 

You deserve to be confident and proud for who you are, not what you look like. Sometimes (a lot of times) I feel inadequate in a group because I have a little love handle that spills over my pants when I sit down, but in reality I could probably talk about almost any subject with more confidence and knowledge than the majority of people in the room. 

Frankly, I am just so gosh darn tired of caring. Being healthy is so important to me - I remember how awful it was to not be able to enjoy the outdoors because it was just too much effort - but there are things that are more important to me than my pants size. And there should be things more important to you, too.