Thanks to my parents and my therapist, I've always known myself to be a confident person. I know my strengths, weaknesses and just all around who I am as a person. However, since moving to Los Angeles my confidence levels have depleted. In the Bay Area I am considered hot and in Los Angeles, I am not.
Yes, someone like me is often hit on at the bar in SF. Don't act so surprised, GOSH. I mean it happens more often than other places and definitely 100% more often when compared to LA. The definition of "LA fat" is being considered skinny anywhere else in the world except for LA. I might not be the most muscle toned person in all of Los Angeles but I definitely wouldn't consider myself fat.
Moving to Los Angeles has really gotten to my head. Everyone here is ridiculously good-looking. Fake or not, you want to be associated with the LA crowd. All of a sudden my personality, my natural looks and my physicality was not good enough. I had to be better.
I started working out regularly, ate healthily and completely neglecting my body type, I started wearing clothes that were considered fashionable. It didn't matter that I was going to the #1 public school in the United States, what really mattered was my appearance.
My roommate always says "look good, feel good." I truly believe in that mantra. The problem was, I was constantly comparing myself to others. Therefore I never looked good, so I never felt good.
Although we are collectively working towards an ideal world where body shaming is eradicated and self-love is encouraged, with the rise of social media and living in such a materialistic and appearance-focused area, I feel worse and worse about myself every day.
I decided to protest the ideal LA body goals by practicing self-love. Rather than only focusing on bettering my physical appearance, I'm also focused on bettering myself in a more holistic way. I'm learning to love what my mother had given me in the first place. I give myself morning pep talks in the mirror. Yes, I really do and I take a moment to appreciate my facial flaws and my body flaws because who am I without my beauty marks?
My practices also include eating all the carbs I want because starving yourself is not the way to go. Also, I can never say no to burrata and pasta. What is life without Italian food, let's be real.
I'm Bay Area hot, not because I compare myself to everyone surrounding me but because I'm more confident in myself in general. It's a supportive, nonjudgmental community. There is no pressure to look a certain way or to fit a mold. Diversity and differences are celebrated. Being only 7 hours apart there is such a cultural difference between these two places; the bay and LA.
Then again, anyone can feel insecure anywhere. Whether it's in the Bay or LA, the key is to practice self-love everywhere you are and finding a supportive group of people to be around rather than ones who push you down and criticize you.
As an athlete, I do believe in good health and having a healthy lifestyle. However, this doesn't mean that people need to take the responsibility to remind one another that they are unhealthy or overweight. One should make changes based on their own ambitions. Make change through positivity, not negativity. Rather than pinpointing each others flaw, we should practice noticing the beauty in one another.