My body image and self-confidence issues didn’t just appear out of no where. It took years for the insidious thoughts to peak and for me to realize that wow, yeah I hate myself. And it took another few years and a lot of hard work for me to realize that I shouldn’t.
I wasn’t always a chubby kid, but around age 8 I realized that I was. To be completely honest, I didn’t realize it until my family pointed it out to me. Constantly. All the time. I felt uncomfortable eating because of comments they would make. I felt uncomfortable wearing certain things because I was afraid of being ridiculed by them. Which is so ironic because my family is so fat. Anyway, I moved on past just weight issues and began to attack everything about myself. My skin, my eyes, my teeth, even things like my toes! It was ridiculous and I don’t understand how or why I did this to myself.
Anyway, I grew up and the thoughts only got worse. Mainstream media did not help. I was constantly seeing perfect examples of what beautiful women were supposed to be and it made me feel horrible because I was not that.The internet didn’t help either.I spent a lot of time googling diets or ways to starve myself without feeling hungry, as if that makes any sense. All the while remaining completely silent about the internal turmoil I was experiencing.
Makeup,clothes and social media were an escape and a hindrance because on one hand, they allowed me to cover up things I felt self-conscious about but on the other,they allowed me to cover up things I felt self-conscious about. Never giving me the opportunity to face them head on. I had acne and scars and putting makeup all over them helped for some reason. I hated how short my eyelashes were so I wore tons of mascara.Hated my hair so I was always straightening it,etc,etc. I still thought I was fat, so in order to cover it up, I wore jeans and sweatshirts all the time, which clearly didn’t have the slimming effect I wanted because that’ts not how science works. I would post pictures and edit them until I felt like they were acceptable and if they didn’t get enough likes I would feel terrible.
At some point in high school,really late into high school, I was able to let go of some of these things.I think the inception of the change came with a change in my wardrobe. I had never really been a person who wore dresses, even though I really wanted to. I started doing that and just overall being more “girly”(?) and just kind of went with it.I honestly can’t even remember the exact turning point. I just remember getting dressed one day,looking in the mirror and thinking,”Wait”. I was confused and I stopped to think for a while because for the first time in a really long time, I didn’t hate what I was seeing. I had little moments like these for a couple of months, before I realized that things were definitely changing. I got more comfortable with myself and I started wearing shorts again(something I couldn’t do for years), I went natural and finally starting embracing my hair in ways I had never done before.
There’s nothing that compares to the feeling of actually seeing yourself sans makeup, with your natural god given hair and completely confident. I feel amazing and it’s still so new to me. For the first time, I don’t care what people think and it surprises me because I realize that I haven’t for a while now. I wear what I want. I barely wear makeup. I go out with my hair wild and huge with no shame because I love when people stare at my hair. I eat whatever I want and I don’t feel guilty about it. I ate a two brownies yesterday and a candy bar and okay I admit I hesitated for a second because that much chocolate should be some type of hazard but then I shrugged and did it anyway because chocolate is really good.
But this is my definition and I know that everyone has their own unique definition of confidence. However, the one thing that remains constant is that life is way too short to waste time hating yourself. If there’s something you dislike fix it, and yeah it make take years but you can’t rush something like this. Having absolute confidence and love for yourself is so important. It’s like an enormous weight that is lifted once these things are restored. There are so many benefits besides the obvious ones, for example when you’re not sitting around wasting time thinking about all the reasons you hate yourself and why your self-esteem is so low, you can do something productive like watch reality t.v!Don’t actually do that, you’re gonna need all those brain cells to love yourself with!