Social media makes me feel like SHIT! I scroll through my Instagram and all I see are the biggest butts, the fullest boobs, the flattest abs, and the skinniest legs. I have none of those things. However, I do love my body for all of the things that it IS.
I’ve had quite a journey with my body. I was one of the first people in middle school to really take shape. I had a butt and boobs a little quicker than everyone else, though I was still tiny with it being middle school. But even then I would look at people and compare myself. I remember I had my best friend step on a scale when we were in 8th grade to see how much she weighed. She weighed 2 pounds less than me so I stopped eating for a week. In high school, it was the worst. There were so many people I had to compare myself to. I compared myself to the leggy blonde who was 6 feet tall. Why didn’t I have legs as skinny as hers? I compared my self to the curvy senior who had so much cleavage I didn’t know how she fit it in her shirt. Why didn’t I have boobs like that? I compared my butt to every other butt I saw walking around the halls and wondered how mine looked from other peoples perspective. In my junior year my boyfriend at the time cheated on me with someone who was skinnier than I was, after that I had an off and on eating disorder. I did celebrity diets that included only drinking salt water (a natural laxative) and drinking lemon juice with cayenne pepper so that it would boost my metabolism. I did this for about a month. I ate crackers sometimes, maybe an apple here and there but never anything of real substance. I lost 15 pounds in one month so I kept doing it. But I knew I couldn’t do this forever, so I slowly started adding real food back into my diet.
I had severe issues with real food. I would throw it up, it would run out of me and at times I wouldn’t even be able to swallow it. Eventually, my body got used to food again and I was eating normally. In my senior year of high school, I gained back the 15 pounds I had lost, plus 15 more. When I came to JMU I was more body-conscious than I’d ever been before. There are so many beautiful girls here with amazing bodies, and good looking guys who live in the gym that I thought I had to be skinny to fit in. I started eating less and working out for hours every day. But after months of this, I noticed I looked good, but I still didn’t feel good.
I realized that no matter how small I am, I’m still going to feel like shit about myself. I would go on Instagram and look at models like Sommer Ray and Tammy Hembrow and wonder why I wasn’t like them. I would look up celebrities weights and heights so that I could weigh as much as them or less than them so I could have a goal to work towards so I could look like them. But one day, I broke. I cried for hours to my mom about all the thoughts and feelings I had been having. She then took me to a mirror and had me dissect every single inch of my body. I told her everything I hate about it. I hate that I have scars on my legs from playing sports, that I have cellulite and stretch marks on my thighs and my butt. I hate that I have dark armpits, acne scars, dark arm hair, and acne on my shoulders and chest. I hate that I have thick thighs, big arms, and a wide butt. But I’m tired of approving of my body based on what it looks like. I love my body because of all of the meaning in it and for what it does for me. I cried while stating all of those negative things to my mom, but today I cry because I’m so thankful for the scars on my legs because I was strong enough to fall down and get back up when I played sports in school. I love my cellulite and my stretch marks because it shows that I have grown and I have gone through changes. Some good, some bad, but here I am now and I feel great. I love that I have dark underarms and dark arm hair because it shows that I have a little color in me, and I’m proud to be mixed race. I embrace my acne because it shows that my hormones fluctuate because of the healthy amount of estrogen in my body that some people would kill for. I love my thick thighs because they help me walk, run, dance, kick, drive, and swim. They’re a luxury some people don’t have. I love my big arms because they give such good hugs. And I love my wide butt because no matter the size it still looks good when its shaking and bouncing on a Friday night and it sure as hell looks the best when it is walking away from people’s B.S.
I know in the age of social media it is easy to get caught up in everything you aren’t. You might wish you were taller, bigger, skinnier, etc., or wish that some body-parts were different than they are. But think of all the good they do for you. And sometimes the things we don’t like can be changed, but until you can or even if you don’t freaking feel like it, love yourself. Everything about you is beautiful, strong, and just the right size and shape.