Why We Need Body Positivity More Than Ever

Why We Need Body Positivity More Than Ever

This is my body, and I will not be ashamed.
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I’ve never really been a “skinny” girl. Throughout my whole life I have had a problem with my weight and because of this I have grown up to be very insecure about how I look. Now, I will be the first to admit that my diet and exercise does play a role, but even so I should be able to feel confident and love myself. I always worried about what other people thought of how I looked when instead I should have been worrying about how I felt.

Body positivity isn’t easy and everyone comes in various shapes and sizes. The first step to loving your body is to realize this and accept it. Most of my own, and other peoples, insecurities come from the media and from a very young age we are taught that you have to look a certain way; you have to look skinny. But once you realize that everyone’s body is made different, you realize that the “skinny” body that is portrayed as perfect in the media isn’t attainable for everyone.

The second step to loving your body is making a change. You can change your diet, your exercise habits, but most importantly you can change the way you think. In my body positivity journey I am trying to not only eat better, but exercise more as well. As a college student this can be very challenging but when I put the effort in I immediately feel a difference. I have also changed the way I think about my body. Instead of hating what I see I embrace it. By dressing in various styles or experimenting with makeup I can turn the parts of me that I hate into something I love. Nothing really changes the way I look, but it makes me feel more confident and the confidence is what matters.

Throughout my journey of learning to love my body I have also discovered something very important – “skinny” isn’t beautiful, confidence is. The truth is, nobody but yourself cares what shape or size you are, and true beauty lies in how you think of yourself. I have gained so much more confidence in this past year that I feel more beautiful than ever before. Sure I haven’t lost the weight that I want to lose and sure I don’t look like the models in all the magazines (and trust me I don’t want to look like them), but in the meantime I am no longer ashamed of how I look and don’t care about what other people think of me.

My journey is far from over, but reflecting back on how far I have already come makes me feel so proud. Many girls my age hate parts or all of their body, but I am writing this to tell them that they don’t have to. Body positivity isn’t based on the number on a scale, but based on how you feel in your own body. Just like people have different hair and eye colors, everyone has different bodies. We need to learn to embrace that rather than suppress it by trying to look like someone you aren’t. You are beautiful. We are all beautiful.

Cover Image Credit: http://img.huffingtonpost.com/asset/2000_1000/57c972a1180000b429bced2f.jpeg?cache=yg2y6hav9s

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Yes, I'm Overweight, But No, I'm Not Embarrassed By It

By the time I started playing AAU, I could chase down the other team's point guard on a fast break.

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Since I was little, I've had some extra meat on my bones; it runs in the family. I have the stomach flab and butt to boot, which again, runs in my family. Sometimes I have a double chin going on, other times not. My thighs rub together all year round, my boobs sweat, and I have stretch marks. I instinctively suck my stomach in during pictures, even if I'm in the back row.

Sure, it would be more convenient if I didn't have to fix my shorts every time I take a step or risk serious chafing if I don't use powder, but it never stopped me from being me. It never stopped me from excelling at basketball. Sure, when I was younger, it took me longer to get up the court, but by the time I started playing AAU, I could chase down the other team's point guard on a fast break. It never stopped me from making friends. I just couldn't share clothes with them, but that never really bothered me.

But most importantly, being overweight never stopped me from being happy.

Yes, I'm aware that I wore/wear bigger sized clothing than my classmates and needed to sit in specific desks in junior high, otherwise I'd be suffocated for the hour-long class. I heard the whispers in the locker room before track practice about me needing a bigger uniform. I heard the comments about me having a butt, but there's nothing I can do about my genetics. Jokes on them, I got a new uniform that hadn't been worn by 50 people before me.

But I also remember the people fighting over me when we played kickball at recess because I could kick the ball from the blacktop to the soccer field 60+ yards away. I was one of maybe ten girls allowed to play with the boys.

My point is, I've looked like this my whole life and I've made everything work. I beat cancer, finished high school, got accepted into 7+ schools, am attending one of the best liberal arts schools in the school and will be going to Cyprus in the fall, all in this body.

I've accepted that I will never have the perfect figure and I'll always stand to lose some weight, but that's fine with me because as I told my little sister the other day, "A beach body is just someone with a body at the beach."

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