Being body positive doesn’t always extend to yourself.
Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed
I can remember being hyper-aware of my body as a little kid. I was 8 years old and refused to wear pants at all because I was worried about showing everyone how chubby my thighs were. Thinking back, it was kind of bizarre for an 8-year-old to feel that way. I was bullied a lot for having baby fat though, so it was something that was always on my mind.
As I grew older the obsession became more destructive. Boys started coming in to play and as a 15-year-old who still hadn't been kissed, I felt like there was something inherently wrong with me. In retrospect, I wasn't overweight at all, but whatever the scale said and whatever my doctor said weren't loud enough to counteract the little voice in my head. I started counting calories, running on the treadmill all the time. The pounds started shedding off, and, more than a physical change, I had a mental change. I considered myself victorious whenever I ate less than a thousand calories a day, and I was happy because boys in school started really paying attention to me. I couldn't stop comparing myself to everyone around me. Was I the skinniest one in the room? I picked out my “problem" areas…my arms were too chubby, my butt was too flat, my stomach wasn't toned enough, from years of horseback riding I had overly muscular legs that I was ashamed of. I even was embarrassed of my chubby little fingers.
I fought my way through two eating disorders that engrained themselves into my psyche as old friends, as a comfort zone. The turning point came when I was 21 years old. I'd been singing for a while and I realized that if I kept being unkind to my body, I would destroy my voice. Through music, through therapy, through friends, I learned that my most important job was to take care of myself. That I'm here for a reason and I need to honor that. To be honest, I'm still a little self-conscious, body image is still a soft spot for me – it's something I work at every day. But I'm happy to be here now; I dance my flat butt off every weekend and sing real loud and my voice doesn't crack or waver anymore, it's strong, it's healthy – it's drowned out all those thoughts I once had and now everyone can hear me.
Let's get this out on the table right away. I stand at 5'9″ at typical body weight for my height. I'll also say that I feel a bit out of shape and think I could stand to lose a few pounds.
With that, it's become increasingly difficult not to compare what I look like against that super chic, fit woman on the subway – or more relative – to my closest friends and acquaintances. We're really harming ourselves, talking about how we need to lose x amount of weight; how “I want your abs," or how “you want my legs." It's so toxic and continues that abusive cycle of comparing and analyzing our bodies, poking at ourselves for things that make us who we are.
I try to remember that the way you're perceived is through the confidence with which you carry yourself. I might have too-big eyes and be too tall, and I might not be super-thin and tiny-waisted with a big booty or a slew of other clichés that fit the mold of what's societally pretty today. But the one thing that will always stay “sexy" is a woman's confidence…a woman's ambition and drive to create change in our society by being powerful.
So, I'm beautiful. You're beautiful. Don't be modest – we can change the world.
I can't really remember a time when I didn't judge my body in opposition to the bodies around me. I loved gymnastics and dance growing up, but those activities required a lot of time staring straight into a mirror and judging, so I learned the difference very quickly between a “good" body and the one I had. My thighs were too big, my legs were too short, I was round where I wanted to be straight. I'd go a whole day eating nothing but baby carrots; I'd work out long before the sun rose to try to wiggle into the smallest jeans I could find.
I still do a fair amount of hating on my body and I'm not proud of it. But now, when I'm measuring how gigantic my thighs are or how short I am next to another woman, I tell myself that this is the body I've got and I owe it to myself to use it. I'm not going to get taller and I'm never going to be a twiggy model-type loping around the world (or on the TV screen, magazine covers, or at the movies for that matter.)
When I can't do it, when I'm in a place of absolute self-loathing and body hating, I try to remember that there are young girls everywhere who are listening to their moms talk about their jiggly arms or their fat thighs. I remember what it was like to hear the women around me talk about their bodies like that. I remember how terrible it felt to stand in front of the mirror and rag on myself, so I try to think of the baby feminists out there who are still growing and changing and I flip the script on the negative self-talk. They're listening, so I try to say the right thing whenever I can.
View Entire List ›
via BuzzFeed – Latest http://ift.tt/1879stb