Body image was one of the main issues I had growing up. Even today, I still struggle with both my body image and self image. As a young teenager, I always wanted to be skinnier, prettier, and better looking in general. I never liked myself or the way I looked. I always compared myself to other people, skinnier people mainly, and told myself I had to look like them to feel better about myself, to love myself. I didn’t understand why I was given the body I had.
I was upset that I didn’t look like my friends who were skinnier than me and who didn’t have acne. I went into a deep depression because of the negative body image I had of myself, because of the idea I had in my head that I had to look like a person that I wasn’t, that I’m still not. I told myself that the reason boys never liked me was because I was fat and ugly. All my friends had boyfriends or boys that liked them and I never did. I placed my self-worth on the opinion of others and that was one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made.
Society decided my self-worth for me. I’ve always admired and looked up to celebrities, who are unrealistically pretty and skinny. These people were universally loved and I decided that it was because of the way they looked, not because of their talent or personality.
I was the only one who told myself that to be loved I needed to look a certain way. I was the only one who looked at actresses on my TV or models in magazines and said “I need to be her to have anyone love me.”
I began to skip meals and feel guilty for feeling hungry or for eating. I felt guilty for not exercising and I always told people I was fat to gain justification from them when they told me I was crazy and that I wasn’t fat.
I was so lost. I had no idea who I was as a person and I was left wandering around in my head trying to find myself. Only until now do I realize that my worth doesn’t rely on an unrealistic image of myself. I didn’t understand that as a kid, the women in magazines were air-brushed and photoshopped, that under all the makeup and alterations there was probably a pimple or two or an extra inch of fat here or there. Society was lying to me and I was lying to myself.
I understand now that being someone I’m not will only attract the wrong people. I realized that for other people to love me, I need to love myself and for that to happen I need to accept the things I am and forget about the things I’m not. I’m still learning how, but at least now I know that who I am is enough.