Guest Blog: For the first time ever, I’m learning to love myself.
I remember being 14 and mentioning to one of my friends that I wished my stomach was flat like hers, physically flattening my stomach out with my hands.
I wished my boobs were bigger, so I wore bras with padding.
I dyed my hair every couple of months. I had fake nails and always waxed my eyebrows. I washed my hair everyday and curled it almost every morning before getting on the bus.
I wore mascara and rarely went out in public with no makeup on.
In my early 20’s I wore less makeup and developed an unhealthy relationship with counting calories.
I had always struggled with overeating/binge eating, but the constant obsession with calorie counting was new.
I was working as a server; I would skip breakfast and only eat lunch at work which usually consisted of a salad, sneaking the occasional piece of garlic toast. Most nights I would hardly even eat enough to consider it supper.
I was hooked on being ‘skinny’, hooked on stepping on the scale and seeing that I had dropped more weight every week. The comments from people around me about how good I looked fueled me to lose more; because all I really wanted was that acceptance.
I wasn’t happy; with myself nor with the person I was in a relationship with. He was constantly cheating on me, verbally and emotionally abusing me and manipulating my mind. “If you ever get fat I will break up with you”.
I had no self worth, I was insecure and convinced I was fat (weighing a whopping 150 lbs while being 5’6 in height).
When I left that relationship I spiraled into a what seemed never ending uphill battle with calorie counting/starving myself or overeating/binge eating and alcohol abuse. I was at war with my body and mind, there was no way I would admit it.
I was never happy when I looked in the mirror. I put on a good show of confidence, I wanted the world to see a girl who was ‘happy’. But what does being happy even look like? I couldn’t tell you because I had no idea. My parents had a brutal divorce and every other relationship around me was not healthy nor happy.
All of the women I looked up to criticized their appearances and tolerated abuse in some form.
I was always chasing something; looking for something ‘more’ for the thing that would FINALLY make me happy, that would finally make me feel loved and that thing I believed was in someone else. So I chased boys; who treated me with no respect, who had no intention nor interest in loving me.
At the time I was heart broken, every damn time it didn’t work out or every time I didn’t hear from them after sleeping with them. I blamed men for being garbage, there was not a chance in hell it had a thing to do with me. I was looking for love in all the wrong places; like most people do.
You are never going to find happiness in another person, you are never going to find self acceptance in them, you are never going to learn to love your body just because they love you.
Self love and happiness is an inside job, as cliché as that sounds. There is not a relationship or partner, amount of food, amount of working out, drinking or money that can make you love yourself.
You are never going to learn to embrace the beautiful human you are until you look inwards.
There are years of trauma, experiences, memories that have formed the way you view yourself and I spent my entire life at war with my mind and body because of all of the life events I had endured.
I hated the way I looked, with my tummy that is not flat, my butt that is big, my thighs that jiggle and the scars I have and I hated myself for the fact that I hated myself.
I did the weight-loss apps, I burnt myself out from spending hours working out, I drank away my sorrows; and every morning I woke up at war with myself.
At 25 I sat down with my inner self and I started to end that war. When I look in the mirror I no longer see a girl who is trying so hard to have an unrealistic body, a forced smile or someone who is desperately searching for something or someone to make them happy. I see me; the woman who has been worthy of being loved and valued the entire time for who she is and how she looks NOW.
I am the heaviest I have ever been, and I am also the happiest. Your weight has absolutely nothing to do with your worth, your baggage has absolutely nothing to do with your worth.
And unfortunately until you deal with what is going on inside you are never going to find self acceptance. No meal plan is going to get you there. Your mindset is; everyday that you wake up and choose to love yourself for who you are and how you look is going to end that war and get you closer to happiness. Every time you look in the mirror and think ‘I love you’ is going to get you there. You are your greatest asset and worst enemy, so choose to be an ally. Choose to love your body as it is, because it is your temple. It takes you extraordinary places, it is your vessel.
You are enough; you always have been and it’s time you start acting like it. It is about damn time you ended the war you have with yourself. Let down the walls you spent so many years building, let go of the unrealistic body images, let go of the years worth of negative thoughts you have developed.
You are worthy of being loved exactly as you are today, not in 10lbs, today and every single day for the rest of your life.
I will not act like bad body image days do not happen; not everyday can be spent radiating sunshine; but when those days do come I remember the young girl that so desperately wanted to be loved and always came up empty. I think about her long and hard; I remember where I started and far I have come. She deserves all of the self acceptance and love I can offer. The bad days don’t seem so hard when I think about that because the woman I am today deserves more and more is what she will get.
End the war; start loving who you are.
Photo by Emily Callahan Photography
Body Love Advocate
Sharing my story and expressing my vulnerability to help shed light on much needed topics; I am still learning how to love myself and I hope I can help you do the same.