Just last week I wore a bikini for the first time ever. And let me be the first to tell you how scared I was about it. I looked around me and saw girls with beautiful figures and perfect tans. I looked down at myself and saw a chubby stomach and skin as white as Casper the Ghost.

But that's okay. This is the body I have. I'm working to make it better by exercising, but just because it isn't "ideal" or "perfect", that doesn't mean I can't love my body. I do love my body and that's why I decided to wear the bikini. That's why I decided to start exercising and eating better. I'm not quite where I want to be, but I'll get there.

For a really long time I found it difficult to love the body I am in. I always hated the way my legs look in shorts and how one arm is more toned than the other because I used to work in a deli. But everyone has little imperfections. It is genuinely impossible to be perfect. But I am who I am. I'm funny. I'm kind. I'm full of passion and curiosity and eagerness to do something great. And I can do all of that in the body I'm in. I'm thankful I have a healthy body. I am able to move around and get from Point A to Point B. I can see, hear, think, breathe, move, and learn. That's all a body really needs to do. And mine does its job just fine.

So I'm going to wear what I want. If it's a 90 degree day, I'll wear a crop top if I so please. I'll wear short shorts, too.

I'm going to eat what I want. If I've been outside all day, I'll indulge in some ice cream to cool myself down. I'll eat some fruit to hydrate and give my body the vitamins it needs.

Learning to love your body is a true journey. Some days are better than others, but every day you are one step closer to genuine happiness and acceptance of who you are.

On difficult days, I will look at myself in the mirror and tell myself three things I love about myself. Each time I will mention something different.

Day after day I get more comfortable with body I'm in. Day after day I learn to love myself more.

I've learned that what's really important isn't necessarily how your body looks, but how it functions. Health is by far more important than aesthetics, and so is happiness.