At least once a month I write a piece for Aiming Low’s Miss Unlimited. I write about a myriad of things. Relationships. Being yourself. Confidence. My mission is to inspire. To give hope. To let those young girls know that everything they are going through, all the awkward and difficult stuff, I’ve gone through too.
Today I’m going to switch gears a little bit. Although I try my best to have a positive outlook on life, there are still things that can send me curling into a ball of shame and self doubt. Today I’m going to share with the rest of you my struggles with body image and being good enough.
Growing up I was always known as “the smart one.” Which I think was mostly because I liked to read and did fairly well in school. I didn’t mind that label too much. But part of me always secretly wished I could be “the pretty one.” In junior high and high school I wanted to be the girl all the guys would fawn over. The popular girl. But I wasn’t.
In my twenties I fought a different monster. This one was covered in cellulite and stretch marks. At one time I was nearly twenty-five pounds overweight. Thinking that being thin was the answer to worthiness, I attempted to shed some adipose.
For a while, nothing worked. I would start and stop exercise regimens. Eating better lasted for only about a week or two. It wasn’t until after I had given birth to my first daughter that I was able to actually lose some weight. I’m pretty sure all the breast feeding helped.
These days I try to maintain a moderately healthy lifestyle. I work out a few times a week and have incorporated a lot more fruits and veggies into my diet. My weight monster is pretty dormant.
But every once in a while it creeps out from the dark recesses of my mind. When I come across Maxim-esque magazines it whispers, “Heeeeeey. Don’t you want to look like that?” In my head I’m yelling back, “Leave me alone, will ya? I’ve got enough to deal with. I don’t need you filling my brain with all this crap.” The monster answers back, “But look. She doesn’t have a jiggly middle.” That’s when I sigh and agree, “Yeah, she doesn’t.” And then I feel like retreating to my room and crying for about an hour.
Sometimes it takes me a while to bury all those self-deprecating thoughts and feelings, but I eventually do. Because you know what? Although I may not have a magazine worthy body, I am a good person. I am kind. I am compassionate. I am loving. These qualities are far greater than any physical trait I could have.
I am good enough.