Updated: Sep 11, 2020
We are not born hating our bodies.
We are taught to hate it.
Powerful picture, isn't it? Kudos to Meg Gaiger/Harpy images for such an amazing visual for us. I can look back on my life and can see every defining moment. I can remember every single comment that was made, every image that I saw, every magazine that I read, that directly affected how I chose to view my body. I let someone else's opinion DESTROY how I viewed myself.
I was a super skinny child and very awkward. I never felt pretty. My legs were soooo skinny and was called chicken legs and bawked at my entire childhood and grew into having a HUGE complex with my legs.
When I was around 9 years old I found this book that was a diet/exercise book. I do not remember the name of it but I remember clearly the page that told us what our body measurements should be, It said that you should be able to put your hands around your waist and if you could not then you were over weight. I remember standing there, my teeny, tiny self trying to put my fingers around my waist thinking that I must be fat because my fingers do not touch. I started doing side bends, because surely that would make my waist smaller, so I could fit into this ridiculous standard that they book said that I must have to have a perfect body. Think about this whole idea they were presenting- who on earth can put their hand around their waist????
Fast forward to 9th- I was sitting in English class and this boy leaned forward and starting calling me Afro Woman and making fun of my hair. From that moment on I HATED my hair! Hated it! I had never really thought about my curly hair not being pretty. Every time I looked in the mirror I would dream of having straight hair. I would die to have straight, shiny hair! Man, what I would give now to have those curls again!
One guy's comment altered how I viewed my hair.
Junior year of high school. I was riding around with 4 friends and the boy turned around in the front seat and said, "why is one of your front teeth longer than the other?" and then he laughed and said you should fix that. I have one front tooth that turns slightly in which makes the appearance of one being longer than the other. From that moment on I became obsessed with that stupid tooth and how it looked!
One guy's comment made me hate my smile.
A few years later- "Hahahahaa! You remind me of a Siamese cat....did you know that you were cross eyed?"
Yes I was aware that my eye was slightly crossed, but thanks to your comment you now have given me one more thing to hate about my body.
One girl's comment made me extremely self conscious of my eyes.
And then the icing on the cake. I began a 4 year relationship my senior year of high school that nearly destroyed me and every bit of self esteem that I had left. This was an extremely abusive relationship- mentally. I was at rock bottom, I had no self esteem. He let me know that every single part of me was ugly. You look like a boy ( I had no boobs), my butt was flat like a pancake. I hated what I saw every single day in the mirror. I wanted to be someone else- anyone other than me.
I let one person's view of me destroy me. ONE person.
It has taken me years to accept me for who I am. YEARS. I still struggle. After 4 babies my body is not the same. I have wrinkles in belly. I have wrinkles on my face. My hair is starting to turn gray BUT I finally like me. I am OK now with what I was blessed with. BUT I still am haunted by all of those things that were said to me. 3 years ago I trained to run my first half marathon and I almost did not do it- why? Because I was afraid that I would lose too much weight in my legs and they would be too skinny!!!!!
I almost did not experience that amazing feeling of accomplishment from completing the half marathon out of fear of becoming that girl with the skinny legs again!!!
This little girl thought she was beautiful. No one had told her otherwise. If I could go back in time I would tell her that no matter what anyone tells you, no matter what the media presents to you, you are perfect the way you are. You ARE beautiful. Your body is amazing and is capable of some pretty amazing things. One person's opinion of you should never define you. What someone says about you is a direct reflection of how they feel about themselves. There is no such thing as a perfect body so don't be on a constant search for one. Treat your body with respect- feed it properly and exercise it. Surround yourself with people who are uplifting and run fast away from people who are negative and bring you down. You are WORTHY. Do not let anyone make you feel otherwise. Accept your body as it was given to you and do not view exercise as punishment. Exercise and take care of your body because you love yourself. You are capable of whatever you want to do! YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL just the way you are!!
**PS I think my cross eye is kind of cute and I like cats so it's a win win :)
Much love, Bethany