A couple years ago, I wrote an article for my school news source called “What I Learned from Being Called Fat”. If you really want to see where my head was at in 2016, you’re welcome to read it here: https://babe.net/2016/10/16/ive-learned-called-fat-4511
But, I figured I should do an update on that post. I stand by what I said there. Time though, holds no prisoners. All those thoughts were amazing for the time being, but they weren’t sustainable as I grew into a young woman. Then, I sited a family member calling me fat to my face. It wasn’t the first time someone had made a comment, nor would it be the last. But, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Someone who I loved with all of my heart, didn’t love every inch of me like I thought she did.
NOW, it’s taken me a long time to realize, but this comment wouldn’t have sent my world tumbling to the ground if my self image wasn’t already so rickety crick. So, why was that?
The first time I remember being extremely aware of my body was a summer trip to Utah. My little cousin who couldn’t have been more than like 3 walked up and asked if I had a baby in there – pointing right to my bloated little belly. I looked at her mom, who was in her third trimester, and instantly wanted to curl up and disappear. I’ve never told anyone that. I’m 22 years old and it still makes my hair stick up a little.
I’ve always carried my body weight in ways I didn’t want to. My baby weight stayed on WAY too long for my liking. I swam – a sport where the measurements of your shoulders, legs, arms, and feet set you apart from average. Honestly, despite being short and a little chubby, I was pretty damn good. My big ass legs made my walls something to see. But, I was SO aware that I was wearing a size 36 while all the other 14 year olds were wearing 32s. I know. It’s ridiculous, right? When you’re going through it, though, that’s ALL you think about. “If I can lose one inch around here, I’ll drop that second and be faster than her.” “If I can lose 5 more pounds, I might look like so-and-so from geometry and that boy might like me.” For as long as I can remember, body image has run my life…and I’d be lying to you if I said I’ve completely gotten over it.
My depression and anxiety started to get REALLY bad around age 16. I don’t know if that was life’s cruel joke but that was also the year that I hurt my shoulder and couldn’t swim and hormones made my curves extra curvy. I was never diagnosed with an eating disorder. I’m one of the lucky ones. But, there were times in the darkest pits of thoughts that I ate just to fill a void and then cried, because it was never filled. When I say that my weight skyrocketed, I’m not exaggerating for the point of this blog. I gain a lot of weight. I wasn’t eating good food. I wasn’t exercising my body the way that I needed to.
I still remember the day that I broke 200 pounds. Again, the hairs on my body stood up. All I wanted to do was curl up again and die. Of course, I started one of many diets and gym kicks that would fail.
When I wrote that first article, I was kind of sticking my middle finger up to the world. For all intents and purposes, I was testing healthy at the doctor, so I wasn’t in dire need to change my lifestyle. It wasn’t my intention to condone being overweight. In some ways, though, it was my way of settling with what I was: fat. Yes, I truly believe that you should love your body in all forms: chubby, skin, purple, blue, white, black, bumpy, smooth. But, that article was a way for me to sit back and not work towards a healthier lifestyle.
I’m 22 years old now. I’m definitely a weight that I don’t want to be still; but I know that losing the weight won’t make me happy with my body. I have to be happy with my body TO lose the weight. For a long long long time, I was able to use my weight as a shield for why I wouldn’t get shit done. Even recently! A year ago, I was telling myself that I wasn’t going to allow myself to go on a date until I lost 10 pounds….WHAT.
A little more than a year ago, I cut a lot of bad things out of my life: people, habits, choices, mindsets. I know that this seems like bullshit… but my weight honestly fell off. The more days that I woke up happy and without unnecessary saddness, the more dedicated I felt to living a happy lifestyle.
Fast forward to now, I’ll let you in on a little secret: I didn’t keep all that weight off. It does fluctuate. BUT, I’m constantly told in my pictures, I’m constantly told that I look happier and healthier than ever before. How do I do it? I have learned to live with the body I HAVE, but work for the body I WANT – loving every inch along the way.
No one’s looking at you – For my little socially anxious honeys, this is a big one. We often put on an outfit that we love, but then we convince ourselves that we’re ugly/fat/slutty/too skinny/etc when we’re out because we feel all the eyes on us. Sorry to break it to you, my dear, unless someone is giving you the eyes because they’re interested…. they aren’t looking at you. The amount of times I’ve had my friends hype me up and convince me not to go home and put on a big sweatshirt is insane. People are worried about themselves, what their too-drunk friends are doing, and the people they’re giving eyes too. No one cares the way that your shirt hits on your stomach. Pinky promise.
Angles are great, but everyone uses them – I have a lot of HOT friends. I’m not kidding, they’ll post a pic and get hundreds of likes in no time. But, if you don’t think that they also contort their bodies for the perfect pic… you’re wrong. EVERYONE uses angles for the best light or to make their ass look the biggest. So, that girl that’s #goals is also modeling herself off others. It’s a never-ending, self deprecating cycle. That being said, Facetune is an app everyone has access to. No, it’s not fair, but remember that when you’re scrolling through Insta and seeing these perfect people. I mean, for God’s sake, Kim Kardashian thinks she needs it…. Social media is NOT all that it appears to be. Take it with a grain of salt.
Confidence is key – Part of my healing from a bad relationship and years of bad body image was walking around like I was the hottest piece of ass on the street. YES, this was hard as all fuck. Here’s the thing though, you’re gonna be the hardest person to convince of this. I started to see myself change in pictures when my mindset changed. My smile got brighter. My stance got straighter. I genuinely felt beautiful, because I wouldn’t allow myself to feel any other way.
Guess what, I went on the dates. I stopped punishing myself for the way that I looked & started believing that they were lucky to have my time. I started wearing the damn crop top, despite the bright white stretch marks on my tan summer skin. I danced (and ripped my pants lol) at the bars.
I recently saw a quote that said “You’re stressed because you give a fuck”. That’s kind of how I view my body now. I go to the gym because I want to change the world for a long time. I want to lose weight so that one day I can chase after my kids without feeling like I have a cinder block strapped to me. Right now, my outside body doesn’t always match the drive and confidence I have inside. I give a fuck. So, someday it will. Not for boys, not for judgmental girls, not for anyone else. For me.
I’m not going to waste my day thinking about how my ass looks in these leggings. I have 3000000000 things to do today that don’t require my ass looking good. The people that I want in my life think hot because of my mind, my passion, and my confidence. My body is can just be a bonus for them 😉 When I was a successful athlete at 130 pounds, I still looked at the scale and wanted to scream. For me, and I know for a lot of you, losing the weight isn’t gonna make you feel fulfilled. You have to reject this idea that there’s a standard of “perfection” that is right around the corner. I promise, you’re not gonna hit it, no matter how much you don’t eat or how hard you sweat. It doesn’t exist, babe. Your body isn’t begging you for perfection, it’s begging you for acceptance. The minute you accept your reality, love your realistic skin, and start the hustle for the RIGHT reasons, that’s when you’ll see some major changes.
So, let’s not get it twisted. I know I’m hot – thick thighs, big ass, layer of chub and all. I don’t need the outward verbalization. I know. I also know that there’s always room for improvement. My body every step of the way, though is as beautiful as I portray it to be. THAT’S how you make it sustainable, my love. You don’t give yourself another option. When you believe that that’s the only possible option, you present one version to the world. People will not only fully see and believe that version of you, but they’ll be in awe of how someone could be so unapologetically confident in their beautiful skin.