For a long time, I looked at pictures of other girls and felt nothing but envy for the features they had that I wasn't born with. Unfortunately, I'm a naturally jealous person, and that would often lead me to compare myself to others every time I looked in the mirror. I was born quite thin, almost to a fault, and lacked the curves that many women and young girls desire. When I was younger, I was made fun of because of my "flat butt." Relatives refused to let me sit in their laps at family events as a little girl because my backside was so bony that it hurt their legs when I sat on them. I was so embarrassed.
As I grew older, I only grew more insecure. Imagine going to middle school during the height of Kim Kardashian's booty revolution. Yoga pants and big butts were all the rage and I was awkward in all ways. It was a pre-teenaged nightmare. I dwelled on my flaws for a long time. And even when I received compliments, those insecurities clung to me like tics sucking the self-esteem straight from my body. I became so insecure with myself that I even purchased and wore silicon butt-pads for a whole year just to help me fill my jeans out.
When I look around me, I see women who I myself envy, feeling the same things about me, and each other. It's a vicious cycle of always wanting what you can't have. There's so much pressure to be a certain thing and to look a certain way.
Since my days of stuffed bras and booty poppers, I've come an awfully long way. I stopped putting so much pressure on myself to be something that I wasn't. Instead of looking for my flaws, I praise myself for the progress I've made. I find something beautiful in myself every day and I make myself feel good about it. Instead of obsessing over something I'm not happy with, I admire the good qualities I have. It reminds me to appreciate myself and the able body I was blessed enough to be born with.
If I choose to have kids someday, I'll make sure to impress upon them that there's no one set definition of beautiful, and they shouldn't desire to be anything other than what they are. We were each so individually and beautifully made. What a waste of a body it would be if we spent any time not being grateful for it.
I think growing up goes hand in hand with falling in love with who you are. They're both slow processes that take a lot of time and patience. Learning to love yourself isn't easy, but keep in mind that you're worth every second of the work that it takes. Someday you just might love yourself fierce enough that your insecurities just fade away.