I weigh 80 pounds more now than I did in this picture. I was a sophomore in high school and still never felt comfortable with my body. I had recently lost a lot of “baby fat” through playing softball as a freshman in a program with a lot of athletic conditioning.
And I noticed right away that I was treated differently now that I was thinner. Friends commented about it and boys started to notice me. I was relieved to feel like I was no longer the “ugly duckling.”
But I wasn’t ever at peace with my body. It felt like an adversary that needed to be kept in check. I felt like no one would see me or like me if I were “fat,” so anything that I felt would lead me to that destination needed to be snuffed out or punished. The thought of gaining weight was extremely distressing.
I wasn’t really healthy. I drank a slimfast for lunch most days. Some days I would have a bag of Doritos and a Coke. Or maybe some fries. During the middle of softball season I new I could eat more because I was exercising for hours every day. I loved a double quarter pounder with cheese with a super sized fries and Coke. Often a friend of mine and I would split a humongo-sized fries from McDonald’s (anyone else remember those?) after practice and then I’d go home and eat dinner. I never ate fruits or vegetables because I hated them.
Yet everyone thought I was “healthy.” Others didn’t necessarily SEE my unhealthiness.
Now people may look at me and see unhealthiness. But they don’t see all the healthy parts of me. They don’t see the work I’ve done on my mental health. The work I’ve done to learn about nutrition and different ways to cook. They don’t see the emotional labor I’ve done to sort through feelings of unworthiness. They don’t know how much I’ve read and studied about body image to finally embrace that I am “MORE than a body.”
And a few decades and babies later, I finally love myself. I think I’m beautiful even in imperfection. And BECAUSE of my imperfections. They’ve made me who I am. I cherish what I’ve gained along with those extra pounds: a whole new perspective & appreciation for life.
I still have my bad days, I won’t lie. But the striving to see the goodness in my body is well worth it. And I promise it will be worth it if you give it a try, too.
This post was originally published on the author's facebook page.
This body has birthed and cared for three children and I'm proud of it.