My first memory of being body conscious was when I was about 7 or 8 years old. I was in dance classes when I was younger and did everything from jazz and tap to ballet. I remember ballet being the bane of my existence. Despite the fact that I was so young, I distinctly knew I looked very different from all the other girls. They were willowy, angled, and elegant even as children and I felt pudgy and oafy next to them. I quit dance because I was so egregiously insecure about myself.
Flash forward to high school and college. I am five feet tall and curvy. I worked out religiously, ate healthy, and yet I still used to look in the mirror every day and absolutely despise myself. I went to an all-girls' high school with tons of tall blonde amazons who could eat whatever they wanted and never work out and look good in absolutely everything.
Now I've read so many articles about girls with eating disorders, something I believe to be very important to dialogue about, but for me, the stories weren't relatable enough. There are girls all over the world who look at themselves in the mirror every day and can't love their bodies, and don't think they're good enough, who have never had an actual disorder.
This article is for us. Despite the fact that I'm a size 2 at five feet, I still struggle every day with what I see in the mirror. I've got boobs and a butt and wide hips, and the fact that I look in magazines and only see tall rail-thin girls representing all women is difficult.
I know we all read about the discrepancies between models and real-life women in almost every magazine, so I'm not going to focus on that, but what I am going to focus on is this: I'm done with hating myself.
I work out, I live a healthy lifestyle, and I may be curvy, but my body is rocking no matter what people may think is a beauty "standard." Growing up a woman in this world is hard, and if you try and believe that making yourself into something you will never be is even harder. Now, I'm not saying eat junk food every day or anything like that, but I know I've been built differently than many other people, and I have finally come to a point in my life where I can embrace that.
Going to school in California didn't help initially, but I have finally come to understand that body-shaming is one of the lowest forms of self-hate. And you're likely 100 percent wrong about how you see yourself.
It took me a long time to realize that I will never be like many other girls, but that's OK. Every single girl and body type I see every day is beautiful. I may never be six feet and willowy. But I am who I am, and every single girl out there should know that there is someone who thinks you are absolutely beautiful.
You should be able to see yourself in the best light, in the way others see you. Believe that when you live a healthy lifestyle, you have confidence (even if you have to fake it sometimes) and you believe in your own inner beauty that you will shine through all the body-shaming haters out there. Always love yourself.