My Tattoo Is Teaching Me To Love Myself

My Tattoo Is Teaching Me To Love Myself

My thighs are now one of my favorite things about myself.
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Ever since I was young, I have always been fascinated by tattoos. Maybe it was the "emo phase" I went through in middle school and junior high, but I admired the people who had them and the variations of designs.

For me, tattoos were a form of expression and I just had to have one. Over the years, I'd had numerous tattoo ideas, but in reality, they never happened.

I got my first tattoo on my 18th birthday last year, and yeah, it was kind of spontaneous. I only really came up a concept for it a week before when I scheduled the appointment. I got a compass on my right shoulder blade since I was "taking direction of my life."

It is also true that when you get your first tattoo, you do become addicted. There is just something about the buzzing of the tattoo machine that makes my heart flutter.

Almost 11 months later, I've gotten my second tattoo. But this one has a more meaningful story behind it.

Since junior high, I've always had low self esteem issues. I've never liked the way my thighs looked since I have stretch marks and cellulite. I try to remain confident because "that's how God made me and I need to appreciate it." I have also been the "curvy girl" and I've learned to embrace it, for the most part.

However, I've always been in a love hate relationship with my thighs.

I went into 2018 being the year of self-love, and it felt like it was about time to start this goal.

For the past couple of weeks, I've thought a bit here and there what tattoo I want next and where to get it.

And before you come at me, yes I have thought about possible future careers. I do not believe tattoos determine the worth of an individual, but I know there are people that think those with tattoos are some sort of badass punk. I like to think I'm a little badass, but I am probably the softest person you know.

I finally decided on my tattoo early this month. A rose. I was going to go to one artist, but then I found Spirited Tattoo Coalition in West Philadelphia. The shop is a set up as a place for everyone to express themselves with no judgment. Since I was getting my tattoo in a very personal place, I wanted somewhere where I felt comfortable.

When I got there, the tattoo artist, Eric, already had a design drawn up. It was love at first sight and I knew I was destined to get it. I didn't feel that much pain except for the shading areas of course, but I knew it was all worth it in the end. About 40 minutes later, I finally had the masterpiece.

Now, the main reason for this tattoo is because I wanted to appreciate my body more. I figured if I got art tattooed onto my skin and if I can see the beauty of the ink, I can see the beauty of my thighs. I'm not saying for everyone that has self esteem issues to go get a tattoo. It is simply my coping mechanism, and it definitely helps. Since getting my tattoo, all I've wanted to do is show off my thighs. I'm not afraid of having my body photographed since everyone can now see my tattoo. I'm slowly starting to love my body all thanks to my tattoo.
Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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An Open Letter From The Plus-Size Girl

It's OK not to be perfect. Life is more fun that way.

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To whoever is reading this,

My entire life has been a juggling match between my weight and the world. Since I was a young girl every single doctor my family took me to, told me I needed to lose weight. The searing pain of those words still stabs me in the side to this day. I have walked past stores like Hollister and American Eagle since I was 13.

Being plus-size means watching girls the same age as you or older walk into a store that sells the cutest, in style clothing and you having to walk into a store that sells clothes that are very out of style for a young girl. Being plus-size means being picked last in gym class, even if you love sports.

Being plus-size means feeling like you have to suck it in in pictures so you don't look as big next to your friends. Being plus-size means constantly thinking people are staring at you, even if they aren't.

The number on the scale haunts me. Every single time I think about the number I cringe.

Can I just say how going shopping is an absolute nightmare? If you haven't noticed, in almost every store (that even has plus sizes to begin with) plus-size clothing is closed off and secluded from the rest of the store. For example, Forever 21, There are walls around every side of the plus "department."

Macy's plus department is in the basement, all the way in the back corner. We get it that we are not what society wants us to look like but throwing us in a corner isn't going to change the statistics in America today. That being that 67% of American women are plus-size.

My life is a double-digit number being carved into my jiggly arms and thunder thighs. It is me constantly wanting to dress cute but turning to running shorts and a gigantic sweatshirt instead so that people don't judge me on my size.

It is time that the American society stops making plus size look like a curse. It will never be a curse. If every person was the same size, what would be the point of uniqueness? I will never despise who I am because while I was growing up multiple people told me that I needed to be a size 6 in order for a guy to fall in love with me. I will never hate myself for getting dressed up and being confident.

To all the girls reading this who may be plus-size,

It's OK! You're beautiful and lovable. If you want to buy that crop top, buy it. Life is too short to hide behind a baggy T-shirt. We are just as gorgeous as the girls that we envy. Be the one to change the opinion of the world. Fat rolls don't need to be embarrassing. Your stretch marks are beautiful. Don't ever let the world tell you not to eat that cheeseburger either.

In the end, this earthly life is temporary. We are on this earth for a blink of an eye. Don't let anything stand in your way. Wear the bikini, the crop top, and the short shorts. Post the sassy selfie you've had on your phone for 6 months and you won't post because you have a double chin or your head looks "too big." Who cares. BE YOU and love yourself while you're at it.

I'll start.

Cover Image Credit: Victoria Hockmeyer

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Eating Disorders Are Not Exclusive To One Body Type

Body image and eating disorders can affect people that are skinny.

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With the start of summer vacation, the issue of eating disorders often flares up. Because more people begin worrying about their size due to fitting into bathing suits or going to public pools during the summer, there is an overall increase in eating disorders. According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, there are at least 30 million people in the U.S. of all genders and ages that suffer from an eating disorder, and every 62 minutes, someone dies from the direct result of an eating disorder.

In addition, body image has been known to have a connection with eating disorders. According to Eating Disorder Hope, body image has been shown to be a protective factor, and having a good body image can reduce the vulnerability for someone to develop an eating disorder. There are some people who think that the only people who worry about their body image or who develop eating disorders tend to be people who are overweight. But as they've forgotten, cases with anorexia and other eating disorders are often focused on people who are skinny.

You're probably thinking, how does someone who is skinny have issues with their body image? Especially since the overall media portrayal of the perfect body size is someone who is skinny? However, what most people don't realize is that people who are skinny are constantly worrying about gaining weight or not being fit. Being skinny is often associated with someone who is fit and healthy. Therefore, you constantly have to worry about maintaining these traits.

In addition, just because you may be skinny does not mean that you are fit or healthy. People who have a fast metabolism, like me, for example, are not always fit. With my fast metabolism, I'm always around the same size no matter what I eat. However, when you have a fast metabolism, it doesn't mean you'll have abs or have toned muscles. And when you have a fast metabolism, it's harder to build up muscle since your body metabolizes quickly.

You also find yourself comparing how fit you are with other women who are skinny, such as models and judging how you look based on others. For example, if you go to the beach wearing a bikini that you felt confident about and then you see someone else who is wearing the same one but appears to have a flatter stomach or more toned muscles then you, you suddenly lose whatever confidence you had built about your body image. Because of this, there are many women who are skinny and can develop eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia.

On top of that, in society, there's an overall fear of being overweight. Even when you're already skinny, this fear can still affect you by making you worry about one day losing the status of being skinny. And if you are thin because you lost weight, the fear of gaining the weight back isn't simply going to go away.

And believe it or not, society's perception of the perfect body image is changing. According to The Self Improvement Blog, in recent years curvy hourglass figures are becoming a more popular body image to have rather than being slender. So instead women who are slender will likely encounter issues with their body image due to trying to match the body image that the media portrays as perfect.

The worst part is that there are a lot of people who believe that problems with body image only center around people who are overweight. Some people tell skinny women to "get over it." This, in turn, causes women to feel that they have no one to confide to about their problems with their body image because the media tells them that they don't have a problem. The women may decide to ignore their problem instead of seeking help, which then causes it to worsen and may go from a lack of confidence in their self-image to an eating disorder.

Most people who are dieting to become skinny think that once they reach a certain size, they no longer will worry about their body image. But as discussed earlier, every woman, regardless of what size they are, faces issues with feeling confident about their body image. And the sooner we come to terms with this as a society, the better we will be able to understand the issues with body image and eating disorders.

Editor's note: The views expressed in this article are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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