Learning to Embrace Myself (…I’m not there yet but I’m well on my way).
I’ve spend so much time obsessing over what I look like and not even in a vain kind of way – that I was surprised that when asked to write a piece on Body Image, I hit a blank. Instead of looking at all the great things about myself, I was consumed by all the wrong and irrelevant. I’m too short, my butt’s too big, my skin is awful, my hair is dry and my boobs are too…oh wait – what boobs?
It has taken me over a decade to finally come to terms with and embrace the body that I have been blessed with.
I spent a good portion of my childhood thinking that I was fat when I was nowhere even close to that! Each visit to my great-grandmother consisted of a “hmmm, I can see that you’re getting fat.” comment. I was about 8 years old! Hello, I was growing! Obviously, I know that now…back then it was a constant mantra ringing through my head.
It didn’t help that I had taken up ballet during this time and my skirt (with a Velcro closing) decided to no longer fit me. I was so scared to tell my mom I needed a larger size because in my head it would just confirm what I had been told year after year. I managed to keep the same size clothes for years. Looking back I should actually be impressed but sadly, it was the start of an unhealthy body image journey.
Why is that you can get 99 fantastic compliments yet it just takes 1 thoughtless statement to derail us from how we see ourselves? It hurts so much worse when it comes from family and close friends. “Don’t eat that cookie, it’s gonna make you fat”, “You get your butt from the other side of the family – not mine”, “Your legs are funny shaped – that’s why you walk like a duck/penguin”. Any reasonable person would know that it would be illogical to accept those comments – yet I did. I believed them. I made them my own.
I once read “Battlefield of the Mind” by Joyce Meyer and one story really stuck with me. She was comparing the lives to two guys: one was super attractive (and knew it) while the other had bad skin and you probably wouldn’t get whiplash trying to get a second look. The message I got out of the whole story was that we’ve been blessed with the bodies that we have for a reason and a purpose. There’s no good in wishing to be taller (I’m still hopeful about that though), more fair or something that is simply not us.
I’ve come to realize that until one day I tell that stupid nagging voice in my head to “shut up!” and bury it for good – I will never accept myself for who I am in mind, BODY and spirit. It’s not about weight, having great hair but rather being comfortable in my own body. It’s mine after all.
The best beauty advice that I can give to anyone… is that it doesn’t matter if you are curvy or skinny, have crooked teeth or a Colgate smile, frizzy, straight or curly hair, dimples or freckles, big boobs or no butt, it doesn’t matter what you look like – just as long as you keep SMILING! (please).
Yes, I still frustrated with my unruly dry hair, my skin that doesn’t want to clear up and the 5kgs that just doesn’t want to miraculously fall off over night! But, I’ve decided that I will rather listen to that Voice that tells me I’m beautiful and that I’m the daughter of The King of kings. I know that the Light that lives inside of me is what gives me my true beauty.