On Body Image
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On Body Image

Growing up in worlds focused on what you look like

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On Body Image

I grew up in a world primarily focused on what you looked like. I was a competition dancer from age 6 to 14 and a cheerleader from 14 to 18. Both of these worlds were not only focused on how talented you are but also on how you look. At age 6 I could apply my red lipstick, and by age 8 I knew how to flawlessly apply the required grey and blue smokey eye of my competition team. By age 10 I no longer needed my mom’s help to do my makeup, but I did need her help to do my hair because a high slicked back bun that doesn't move is a lot easier said than done.

Being surrounded by so many things to improve the way you look from such a young age can be challenging. I got so used to how I looked with makeup on that I wanted to wear it all the time. I was obsessed with the way I looked. I would go to school and constantly think about my posture, what my legs looked like, if my stomach was hanging out, what my face was doing, etc.

After I left the competition dance world for my high school cheerleading team I realized something: it isn't about the way you look, it is about how you carry yourself. All those years I was so self-conscious that I never took the time to work on my self-esteem. There was none. When I realized that no one really cares if your hair is a mess or if you pigeon toed my life became easier beyond belief. I had little to no confidence, but someone on my cheer team said something to me that I still live by to this day; “If you don't have confidence, fake it until you do. If you fake it for long enough, it will just come.”’

Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful that as an “adult” I know how to properly do my hair and makeup, how to expertly hide unwanted undergarments, and change faster than you knew was possible. But there were some things that were harder to overcome, but know that I look back on my time in those worlds, I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything.

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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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