I've had an odd relationship with my body for my entire life. Most girls do. But I'm still waiting for that magical moment where I come to terms with living in my own skin and become that confident, glowing 20 something year old that I'm supposed to be.
That happens, right?
I was always tiny. I hit my growth spurt early and was 5"4 when I was 10 years old, towering over the rest of my classmates. My legs were longer than life itself: I had the body of a runner.
The height thing never bothered me, but soon I stopped growing and noticed that while I stayed the same, everyone else was changing.
I knew what puberty was. The thing was that I got the short end of the stick. I was the "lucky" one who got her period at 10 and would have to stay home with unbearable cramps. Meanwhile, the rest of my classmates were still naive to that aspect of "becoming a woman", but they got to wear bras.
Bras were a big fucking deal. It meant that you had boobs; boys noticed you. I hoped and wished that they would show up soon, as a way to compensate for the awkward four eyes and the face that had yet to grow into its features.
My mom told me to be patient. That she didn't get them until she was older, and why would I want back pain?
You don't think about that when you're 12 though. You only think about how you can fit in and get validation. Except I'm 20 and the puberty came way later than I planned, and I'm still kind of looking for validation through other people that I don't even care about.
Normally that validation hits when I eat an app platter and boneless wings and burp for the next ten minutes. Ya gotta love food though, right?
Me at a dance in eighth grade (right)
Obviously, when I was 14 I was HOT. Totally kidding. Also, don't let the padding in the bra fool you. I was as flat as a board until I went to college.
With a combination of being a late bloomer, medication and a dash of genetics I am this average-sized college girl you see today.
I normally don't care about a lot of people I don't know or their opinions. But all of a sudden when I step onto a scale or look at an old picture of myself from high school, I care. I care too much.
I notice how I generally look wider than a lot of my friends. I notice that my hips sway a lot more than some of the other girls. I notice that I'm an athlete and still a runner, but I definitely don't have the body that proves it.
The correlation between these different phases in my life is my outlook on my body. It merely transferred from "oh my god I am a stick I need BOOBS and SEXUAL FEATURES" to "now I have curves and I wish that I had a flat stomach and a smaller frame again."
You can't win them all, I guess.
I do notice some improvement in my outlook, though. I exercise now to be stronger and faster instead of thinner. I can walk around in a t-shirt and underwear and feel like a million bucks if the lighting is right. I wore bathing suits this summer and proudly toted around my bloated belly because sometimes the french fries are worth it, okay?
Then I have my moments where everything goes downhill.
I have a terrible run and find myself ending it earlier than I anticipated, wondering if things would be different if I didn't have so much weight bearing me down. When I go to buy jeans and my size is rarely in stock (size 14 in the US) or I have to leave the store in frustration because there's no way in hell I'm gonna ask someone for the "larger sizes in the back."
I'm larger, I get it. But it's so incredibly damn frustrating when you try to take care of your body and it doesn't show. And in the process, you lose your mental sanity.
I try to remind myself that the elements just simply weren't in store for me to have the same small frame my entire life. That overall I am a healthy individual and I should love the curves that I've been given because why wouldn't I?
I have to learn how to start treating my body as a thing that I love instead of something I resent.