There is something so inherently wrong with society that a young girl can look at herself and absolutely dislike what she sees in the mirror. For decades if you didn’t have the skinniest body, hourglass figure, size double 0 waist, big chest, you’re not what society deems “beautiful”. If you don’t fit into that double zero size Jean you’re considered “fat”. I dislike using that term so much because it’s triggering for a lot of people – I’m sorry if this is triggering but here me out: in today’s world that we live in (pandemic aside) we have models running the runway who are tall, lean, what society deems “normal”. I’ve seen (via social media) runways with ALL body shapes and sizes. That to me is more normal and encouraging than seeing the same size models (who yes are still told to lose weight and it’s toxic) walk a catwalk.
There’s this stigma – especially for young girls and teens – that you have to look a certain way, have your hair a certain way, dress in the latest fashion etc. I have always struggled with my body image. I haven’t always been kind to my body. In spring 2019-spring 2020 I changed my eating habits and began working out 4-5 times a week. I lost weight and was toned but mentally I was struggling. I was smaller than what my weight is now and when I look back on that young woman, she wasn’t happy. Yes, she appeared to be confident but so many people would say “you’re too small”.
Despite being what I thought was “toned”, I stopped working out once the pandemic happened. In May 2020 I was diagnosed with Mild depression which led me to obsessed about my weight even more though I was not motivated to do anything about it. Thankfully I have amazing friends and family who encouraged me to – in small steps – workout in how I enjoyed. Be that walking, yoga, Pilates, exercise classes etc. I joined a gym and my sisters, and I would go to classes together or I’d go by myself. It felt good. Once I moved for grad school this year, I realized I gained weight. I’ve gained about 20 lbs since I’ve lived on my own. I know that is part and parcel to me making “easy” meals but also depression sucks. Even on the days when I want to go to the gym or do a quick workout at home, I have zero motivation. It’s hard. My relationship with food and exercise hasn’t been the healthiest. I’m a very picky eater and I learned how to use the gym properly in September of 2021 as my Roommate showed me how. However, a dear friend once said to me that instead of focusing on the “good and bad foods”, she was just focusing on nourishing her body; that instead of going to the gym to lose weight, she was going to the gym to move her body or go for a walk. It gave me a very new perspective on how I look at myself. I have recently concluded – and not everyone has to agree with me – that if Aphrodite and Venus can have rolls then so can I.
If the Goddesses of love can have a belly than so can I because I know that God made me “fearfully and wonderfully” and even though it’s taken me a solid decade to figure it out, I’m finally at a place where I am actively trying to shift my mindset from “need to lose weight to be beautiful” to “embracing my body because I love me”. So, I guess all this to say that you don’t have to be a double 00 to be society’s standard of beautiful. I believe that we are pushing the boundaries of what society deems “beautiful” and moving away from the toxicity of it. Body’s come in all shapes and sizes, and they are all beautiful. Don’t let society’s toxicity have you looking at yourself saying “I wish I was more beautiful” when in fact, you already are. It’s society that’s ugly. If you can take one thing from this message let it be this: You are what the world needs in life. You’re doing the best you can in whatever season you’re in. You are beautiful, and you are strong. Don’t let society’s toxic standard diminish the beautiful person you are both inside and out.