Look. I don't want to sound cliché nor do I want to word-vomit self-love practices all over you but here it goes.

I've struggled most of my life to love myself. My earliest memory of loathing the little girl I saw in the mirror was when I was eight-years-old and crying because I wasn't skinny enough or beautiful enough. I look back on this memory and it breaks my heart. Sincerely. It hurts me that at such a young age I worried about things like that. I remember hating my body so young that it's been a constant fight in my life since. I remember taking showers as a kid, pretending that the hot water would burn all the fat away. I had wished it was that easy.

It's not just my indifference toward my body that I struggle with. It's eating a ton of food, lacking the desire to work out, not drinking enough water, not getting enough sleep, and causing myself stress. It's as if I'm climbing up a steep mountain carrying a boulder on my back that threatens to crush me. I struggle with all of these things and it all makes me feel unworthy. Granted, some days are better than others. But on the worst days, I find my reflection, looking it up and down, studying the fat that I could so easily live without.

Sometimes I look back on old photos of myself as an early teenager and wonder why I ever thought I was overweight. No matter how often people told me I was beautiful, perfect the way I was, or even dumb for thinking I was "fat," I never believed them. The only way for me to believe it myself was to feel beautiful in my own skin, and that's the hardest thing I've ever had to do.

What I'm getting at here is that loving myself is another task on my to-do-list. It's something I have to remind myself of constantly or else I'll forget to. It's an odd way of putting things, I know, but it's the truth.

I've just recently realized how much I've neglected taking care of myself. I'm so good at taking care of school work and chores that I miss the fact that loving myself and keeping myself healthy should have always been at the top of my to-do-list. So, I've taken the steps to find that fire within myself. I recently downloaded an app called "My Fitness Pro" and began logging my daily food and water intake and recording my exercise time. It's helped me to open my eyes and see how many calories I ate beforehand, not even thinking about what I was putting into my body. Logging all of this information, I've realized how many calories certain foods really do have, and seeing how dependent I felt and still do feel on food.

Of course, we all need food for sustenance, but it's a matter of regulating it. I want to take back my body, to reclaim it. I want to get healthy, to feel good, to feel worth it. I know that feeling worth it is all in self-confidence, something that I can change at any moment, but I find that reclaiming my body will also help me feel indestructible. What a powerful, driven word. That's what I'm going to be. Indestructible.

I know that for the next few months challenging myself to stay on track, to refrain from cravings, and keeping myself driven is going to be a monumental task, but I can't help but think how great I'll feel in a two-piece bathing suit on my 21st birthday this summer. That's the goal, to wear a two-piece bathing suit, something I NEVER do. I want to show my progress and to be proud of my body. I want to look at myself and say 'you did it.' I want to challenge myself to the hardest thing I've ever had to do—to feel beautiful in my own skin. I'm going to do it, just you wait.