I saw this hashtag on Instagram as I was looking through body-positive posts.(I strongly suggest anyone struggling with self-accetence check it out)People would post a showing picture of themselves and then provide a first-hand account of their personal struggle. This could be anything from being called fat to mental disorders. I thought I would do something similar except even though I have not struggled with an eating disorder, it’s still a bit too long for Instagram.
I’m 17 years old. I’ve spent most of these years in a constant inflamed battle between self-acceptance and self-loathing. The struggle is most definitely real. Though my struggle has been much more mental than physical, it’s not any less difficult to manage. Every meal is followed by hours of regret. Every shopping day is a battle to steer clear of magazines. Every outing is a mental uproar as my mind has trouble keeping up with all the comparisons rooted deep into a spitful pit of envy.Every outfit is a mask. A mask that I fear will be torn away and reveal how torn and ripped apart my soul is. For me to go out and not hate myself by the time I make it back home is considered a success. I know this is no way to live and I’m working on it. This is the first step.I’m not curvy and fabulous or skinny and perfect. I fit into the narrow box appropriately marked “average”. Unfortunately, to be deemed acceptable by society it seems we must be chronically over or under weight. And for those of us that aren’t (no matter how hard we try), this box was made. We don’t often see each other because society has taught us that we aren’t the ones to look for. Nothing so normal deserves so much as the blink of an eye. Wrong. We exist. We will not be looked down upon for not fitting any of the boxes manufactured by such a cruel and devastating society. I have taken the mindset that every woman, no matter the shape or size, is beautiful and deserves to be seen as much and then some. This outlook stops at my own reflection. I’ve tried looking in the mirror and only noting positive thoughts about my better attributes. This does help but it’s only so long before negative thoughts begin to creep back in to the forefront of my mind and consume my entirety.
This next part may come off as shallow and that’s okay. I completely understand there are more pressing matters than my own internal struggle. Such as; hunger, abusive relationships, poverty, and rape victims. Keep in mind this is for other people going through a similar time.
Without further a due, I’m turning 18 this Summer and it happens to fall near the date of our annual beach trip. I’ve never had the confidence to wear a bikini and I thought perhaps this year will be different. I’ve been consumed by the number on a scale for quite some time now. I probably check the scale three to four times a day.I’ve tried dieting and exercise, unfortunately I do not have the strongest sense of self control, so they never last very long. But, it’s nearly torture when I do attempt it. It’s hard for my family and its hard on my body. The worst part is, I’m not losing any weight. So, I’m merely torturing myself for no reason. My family thinks I’m bulimic. I wish. It’s a struggle everyday to not run to the bathroom after each meal.
Anyway, I went up stairs one day to weigh myself. Took off my clothes (whatever it takes to lose a few,right?). I stepped on the scale and the number that appeared moments later brought a thrill through my entire body. I had lost 7 pounds!! SEVEN! I looked in the mirror at my near bare body and my mind was filled with positive thoughts about my body. My stomach looked flatter and my skin looked better.My legs (though my thighs still touch) looked toner.I was the happiest I had been in a while. I decided to step on the scale again just so that I could soak it all in. The number popped up and it read something completely different. Instead of losing 7 pounds, I had GAINED one pound! My heart dropped and when I looked in the mirror again all I could see was that my thighs touched, and when I bend over, I have three fat rolls on my belly. It’s amazing how just moments before I was not only content with the way my body was but I ecstatic! The number on a scale completely morphed the way I saw my body. How would I ever where a bikini when I was so disgusted by my own body. A body that works perfectly well. A body that has walked me through Disney World. A body that has helped me win swim competitions. A body that is capable of bringing life into this world. How could I be so ashamed of something that is able and healthy. Society. The patriarch. Misogyny. Religion. All of which have taught me that my body is something for the pleasures of men and should be covered unless a man says otherwise. The sickest part of this all is that I now realize the only reason I wanted to lose weight was for the benefit of others. I’m terrified of walking on the beach and people being disgusted by my body. My body that is normal. My body that is perfect. Maybe not in soceities eyes but in that of my own. It should not matter what others opinions of MY body are. They don’t know what this body has been through. What I have endured to make it to where I am today. So this Summer I have decided, no matter what the scale says, I am going to wear a bikini at the beach with pride. If someone has a problem with it they can look the other way. It won’t phase me because anyone that I might actually care for would understand how perfectly amazing such a body is.