Bees, Aliens, And Body Image
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Bees, Aliens, And Body Image

One girl's journey to remembering differences make the world beautiful.

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Bees, Aliens, And Body Image

As a college student who prides herself on being surrounded by driven young women, I learn so many different ways to view the world. Though these relationships have given me more love and perspective than I could have ever imagined, I have also seen the trials some of these women have gone through. One prevalent discussion throughout every friend group I have had since getting a license was body image. That was me trying to put it gracefully. I have seen and heard girls talk about their disgust for the way they look, their constant weight loss plans, their insecurity to gain a pound over break.

Different people are struggling in many ways over this quarantine, but I have noticed the issues on body image may be spiking. Being in a situation where we have no control, where we can only focus on so much, where we are constantly on social media is the perfect mix for an eating disorder relapse or even just a toxic way of thinking. I have never struggled with an eating disorder, so for those of you that have, I am so sorry. It's hard, and you're strong.

I have never gone to an extreme on how I treat my body, but I have spent many a day crying in the dressing room because the size I grabbed didn't fit the way I imagined. I have worn two-size-too-big t-shirts on days that I don't want anyone seeing my body (also though they're comfy and I wear them when I feel confident too). I have cried to my mom not understanding why my body doesn't look like the other girls at school for as long as I can remember. But you know what? I still love me. I love the way I look whether it's my "goal size" or not.

My friends ask me how. How am I confident consistently? And for the most part, I am. I have insecurities that rear their heads, but they don't overshadow what I know about myself. I know that I am capable of great things, that I will help so many people in my future career, that I love my friends and family deeper than I knew possible. I'm more than my size or my weight or my worst picture. But of course, I still care about what I look like, so how did I go from weeping in the Justice floor as a 5th grader to strutting on the beach at 20 with my abnormally hot friends?

I followed the bees, the aliens, and a big man.

One of the most distinct memories I have is laying on the floor with the stereo playing Beyonce's "Baby Boy" at full blast. I loved Beyonce's music, her "Dangerously in Love" album cover, and her music videos. So watched me come out of the Justice dressing room quietly crying at 12, she knew she had to do more than tell me I was beautiful. She sat me down in front of the computer, puffy eyes and all, and told me to pull up Beyonce's "Single Ladies" music video. She pointed out that Beyonce had "meat on her legs" that she was not "rail thin", that she was curvy. She asked me if I would rather fit into a size 14 at Justice or look like Beyonce. That day I chose Beyonce, and I have been choosing her ever since.

Not only did I listen to the Dangerously in Love album on repeat, but I also watched Disney movies as if it were my job. Lilo and Stitch was a family favorite. I didn't notice the importance of an average body type being represented at the time, but I did notice that Lilo loved to photograph fat people. She found overweight people beautiful. Because they were. She had that collage on her wall of people of varying shapes and sizes because they're all fascinating to her. I thought, wow, her wall would be boring if they all looked the same.

Skip forward about 4 years, to me finally making the varsity cheerleading team. I was the worst of the best, but boy was I determined to change that. I started taking tumbling classes on the two days of the week that we didn't have cheer practice, determined to be better. My cheer coach, Tony, made me condition after every tumbling session. I didn't understand why, but my respect for the authority told me not to question it. One day he complimented my improvement in my lunges, explaining to me that I need the muscles to tumble. That may have been obvious to some, but I had never seen exercise as a way to make me better, I just knew that it would make you lose weight. My lunges went from a toning exercise to a down right muscle building strategy. I needed to be healthy for a purpose, not for a uniform.

Between Beyonce, Lilo, and Tony, I learned that I am good just the way I am. There is no one I need to look like, no size I need to fit in, no reason for me to hate my body. I need to be healthy so that I can live life to the fullest, not for the sole purpose of fitting into a certain size. I write this to remind you, and myself, how many more important things there are than losing inches on your waist with Chloe Ting or sticking to your cabbage diet with Dolly. I want to be healthy to live a better life, not live life to be thin. Being healthy is awesome and ideal, both physically and mentally. Just keep in mind - Lilo would put your picture on her wall no matter your size.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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