That girl right used to look in the mirror and all she saw were braces, freckles and flaws. Her legs too thick and her chest was too small. She had low self esteem, body issues and she was a late bloomer. She convinced herself that she weighed too much and wasn’t pretty enough. She didn’t think she was worthy and that showed. She treated herself poorly and let others treat her that way too.
That girl grew up and realized she didn’t always have to think like that, she didn’t have to be so hard on herself. She began to think her freckles were cute that her and that her thick eye brows framed her face. She embraced her flaws and began to love herself. And when that happened, that girl did bloom, and realized she was beautiful. The mirror and scale no longer defined her, she defined herself.
Now that girl blogs about her outfits and things that inspire her. She celebrates the things she thinks she thinks are beautiful, and now she can finally include herself in that list.
I’ve never been one to wear much makeup, so this is me … all the time. What makes me beautiful? That’s something I still struggle with from time to time — OK, all the time. Every day, a part of me curses the extra pounds I carry around (about 40 or 50 of them currently). But I know I am more than a number on the scale. I’m the sum of my experiences … my (sometimes) bubbly personality … my sense of humor. That, above all else, is what I think makes me beautiful: My ability to laugh … at myself and at the funny — and even not-so-funny — things in life. (My sense of humor has always been a little “off.” When my Mom and I went to see “Pulp Fiction,” we were the only two in the theater laughing.) My face has plenty of laugh lines, and I wouldn’t trade in a one of them for a “perfect” botox-ed expression.
I don’t know that I have any gripping story to share…I’ve been down the disordered eating/body dysmorphia road that is so familiar to your other readers, but really I think it all came down to feeling like I was issued the wrong skin at birth and being pretty bitter about it. My body is a combination of spare parts, it seems, and nothing really fits together. It’s as if I was assembled at 4:45 on a Friday when everyone was checking out and God was like, “uh no, we have one more!” and they groaned and just stuck together what was around and called it me. Size large skin, size medium bones, one leg longer than the other, a weird potbelly that doesn’t seem to serve any purpose at all, and arms that are too short for long sleeves. Yep, that sums me up! It really pissed me off for a long time and I was bitter about it; I loved fitness and wellness and wanted to be a personal trainer but felt like I didn’t have a body that people would take seriously as that of a role model. Eventually, when I started competing in fitness competitions for fun, I started realizing that a gross, fat, out of shape body – the one I saw in the mirror – wouldn’t be capable of doing things like running races, completing a triathlon, and competing in the Ultimate Fitness Challenge. It took some time, but I started to consider the possibility that my mind had been playing tricks on me, and that maybe I wasn’t the ogre I saw. Over time, I began to have more respect for my body, and now I am fiercely protective of it. I may not have the stereotypically lean, athletic build you’d expect from someone as active as I am, but my body takes me places and I am proud of it. I treat it as well as I can with clean eating, challenging exercise, water, and rest so we can be partners. As for dressing it up with hair and makeup…well, I’ll admit I’m a minimalist. I honestly think I look just peachy without makeup and I keep my hair practically buzzed because I think it looks cute! I’m clean and natural through and through and I honestly don’t have any plans to change it.
When I was little I was beautiful. Whether or not I really was didn’t matter, I thought I was. My mom and dad said so, so it was. The trust and innocence of a child can be truly inspiring. Somewhere along the way, with middle school, and Mean Girls, and models in magazines, I faltered. I had to relearn to trust myself, recover my confidence, and rediscover my beauty. It wasn’t easy and I slipped a lot, but I’m back. I think it is so important to remember that we are all unique and beautiful in our own ways. All those things that people pick on or seem like flaws compared to the models are what make us unique. I am beautiful because I am me. I am the only me. I like me.
I’m beautiful, I think, because I know who I am. And because I like who I am.
Growing up I was always aware of “feeling fat” and unpretty. I always thought I’d grow out of thinking and feeling that way one day… Now that I’m older, I’ve somewhat learned to embrace my curves, full thighs, muscly calves, small breasts- even the sunspots on my nose. Not entirely, but a lot more than ever. I’ve found Yoga, which has helped me connect to a more fulfilled, more peaceful ‘me’, and have more compassion. Though old habits don’t die easily even after decades, I’ve come a long way. Today I’m a Health Coach and teach others how to incorporate healthful practices into their lives for optimal balance and happiness. Because at the end of the day, for me, it’s about feeling grounded and connected, which makes me feel important and so so beautiful.
After years of being the “overweight friend” and being constantly told by my mom that I needed to lose weight, I truly believed that I was not as pretty as the rest of my friends who always had boyfriends. When I graduated High school and went to college, I spent many a night binging, studying late and eating poorly. It was my last two years of college that I had started to get into shape and started to come into my “own” I began to lose weight and I was noticed more by boys. That is when the restrictive behavior, and purging began. I thought, “If I could just lose 10 more pounds I’d be so happy.” I’d lose those ten and then the thought process would continue. No one knew, not my parents, not my boyfriend at the time, not my roommates and to this day none of them still know. I’d spend four hours a day in the dance studio (8 on the weekends teaching classes) and I’d spend at least 2 hours in the gym every day, even though I had nursing classes and clinical. It was finally when I graduated college and the help of my college roommate Diana, that I realized that I was beautiful as I was, the restrictive behavior subsided, slowly and I began to come into my own as an adult. I met my Handsome boyfriend, and he has helped me recover as well. Have I relapsed from time to time, yes. Do I regret it? yes. Battling an ED is an every day battle, and I have to constantly remind myself that I am enough as I am, I have a loving Boyfriend, family and friends, I have a good job and a career at the age of 23. Sometimes, things are better left out of my control.
As I turn 20 and enter a new decade in my life, I leave behind in my teenage years the self doubt,negativity and poor body image I have been carrying around with me for as long as I can remember. I have constantly been “waiting” to enjoy my life, waiting until I am a certain size or waiting for the number on the scale to be what I consider perfect. As I get older I begin to realize I will be “waiting” forever and the next thing I know life will pass me by. My family doesn’t love me because I have thin legs or a flat stomach, so why do I have to meet those criteria to love me? I realize NOW that no matter what the scale may say I am beautiful because I am a loving and caring daughter, sister and friend. I am beautiful because I laugh LOUD every single day and I strive to make others laugh as well. I am beautiful because I know that my smile can help make someones day a little bit better, and really that is more important than the size of my jeans.
It’s amazing what a little life experience and time will do for your self love.
I’m looking at this photo that my nearly brand spankin’ new husband took of me, sans makeup and hairstyling, and examining all the little things that used to bother my 15-year-old self so much. The freckle perfectly centered on the tip of my nose (that people would sometimes try and wipe off. Sorry people, it’s not going anywhere!), the way one of my eyes is a little squintier than the other when I smile. Now I look at that freckle, at my squinty eye, and I love every little thing about the woman staring back at me.
I love her freckles, her smile and her ability to make people laugh; I love the way she loves and cares for her family and the way she loves and cares for herself.
I am beautiful and I love the woman I’ve become.