Body Shaming: My Personal Story
It’s funny, when you are a child you don’t think about your body much, besides the fact that it affords you the ability to run, jump, skip rope, swing, play, etc. You aren’t concerned with having a muffin top, or perfectly shaped eyebrows, or thigh gaps, or stretch marks. When you’re a child you perceive your body as a vehicle for movement, action, and fun. Then somewhere down the line society, celebrities, and the media tell us something different. They tell us that our bodies aren’t vehicles, but ornaments that should be gawked over and scrutinized angle by angle. We are told that we need to run like hamsters on treadmills at a gym that we loathe so we can look a certain way. I’m here to admit that I like most young women, fell victim to this way of thinking. I reached college, joined a sorority and made lots of friends. Suddenly I was out all the time and obsessed with how I looked. I began dieting, sunless tanning, dying my hair, and working out obsessively. My appearance suddenly became my main priority, especially my body. I began weighing myself daily. I’d manipulate my diet and exercise routine to maintain what I felt was the perfect weight. People would tell me how thin and skinny I was, and that would just perpetuate my desire to sustain an unnatural weight. I’d compare myself to other women all the time. If I wasn’t the skinniest person in the room I’d beat myself up. I’d tell myself, “Now that’s thin, that’s sexy. I should look like her.”
For those of you who are thinking, “oh god, not another eating disorder confession”, hang on and keep reading. I've never had an eating disorder, but I did have a VERY unhealthy body image issue, which is extremely harmful to your psyche. And, I’d venture to guess that a lot of women struggle with the same issue of poor body image.
This is becoming an epidemic and it needs to stop. We as women, need to lift one another up. We need to accept and love our bodies for the vehicles that they are. We need to show our bodies gratitude for affording us the freedom to move, heal, make love, and live actively. I’ve been healing myself from body image issues for some time now. I’ve become aware of my negative self-talk and the societal conditioning that tells us we aren’t good enough the way we are. I’m here to tell you, Fu*k that. You are perfect exactly the way you are.
You know what's attractive? Self confidence. When I started to let go of my body image issues, I slowly started accepting myself. I began to own my body and learned to love it. I stopped dieting and weighing myself. (I put on a little weight and even got my perky butt back!)
I generally avoid being vulnerable and typically don't like sharing my insecurities. My commitment to cultivating self-love however, has left me with a burning desire to share my story. I'm here to let you know that you don't have to struggle. There is freedom in acceptance and power in loving yourself.
Let's stop comparing ourselves and let go of self criticism. Let's lift each other up and embrace these bodies we've been blessed with. After all, this body you have houses your soul. Your body will change, age, and fade. Your soul is eternal. Let us honor this temporary house for our soul, the vehicle that keeps us moving. Rejoice and throw a fist up in the air, you have a body and it's beautiful!