Every day when we look at our phones, or social media, or the TV, and we are constantly faced with what society says we should look like. We see supermodels, these girls with perfect bodies and instantly start to nit-pick, knocking ourselves for every little thing.
I know I am a victim of this.
For as long as I can remember I have struggled with feeling confident and secure with my body. I have always felt that I was too big and never met society's version of beautiful. In reality, I never have and probably never will be a size 0. That's just the reality of it. For a long time, this didn't sit well with me. It made me feel less than; like I wasn't good enough or could never be pretty enough, that no one could want me.
Growing up I remember every person who called me fat or made fun of me because of my weight. It was terrible. No matter how many years go by I still haven't forgotten that embarrassment, that shame. When someone makes fun of your biggest insecurity, which for a lot of people, like me, is their weight, it becomes almost impossible to get over.
Throughout high school and even college, I've constantly compared myself to others. Wishing I had that girl's body, or her abs or the thing we all secretly want if we don't have … a thigh gap. Now that last one is for a combination of aesthetic and also to see what it's like to wear shorts and not have to struggle with chafing, but that's a whole different story for another day.
Whenever a guy would like me I would be shocked because I never felt pretty. I was always surprised that he actually wanted to be with me because I didn't feel good about what stared back at me when I looked in the mirror. Whenever someone said, "You look great," I never believed them because I didn't feel great about myself. I looked down and scrutinized what was before me, wishing I could be something that I'm not.
And it's important to note that even those girls with that "perfect body" feel down on themselves and don't always feel great about their bodies. Everyone, no matter how beautiful in society's eyes, suffers at least a little bit with their body image or with confidence, which falls back to how society has conditioned us to feel … that weight is equivalent to beauty and our value.
The truth is that perfect does not exist. No one is perfect and no one will ever be perfect.
Cellulite and stretch marks are a thing and sometimes it doesn't even matter what your size is; sometimes they just creep up on you. I've spent my life trying to hide mine, trying to conceal my cellulite in pictures, to cover my stretch marks in a bathing suit. But what I've begun to understand is, they may be a part of me but they aren't all of me.
As I've gotten older, I've begun to realize that my body does not define me, that my jeans size is irrelevant and that I can still be beautiful and sexy without being "perfect."
Now I won't lie to you and say that I feel this way every day because I most definitely do not. There are some days when I look in the mirror and feel disgusting, where I feel like I'm not good enough for anyone and wish I was 10 pounds lighter. But then those feelings fade and I begin to remember what is important … that I'm here, that I'm healthy and that I'm happy. Because that is what's important in life.
We all are beautiful and have so much to offer this world. At the end of the day, it's about the memories we make, all the times we laugh until we cry, the friends who we can't imagine our lives without, the family that means the world to you. Those are the things that make this life worthwhile.
And what might you ask is the one factor that does not exist all of these things?
Your weight and your dress size are just numbers. The important thing is to be healthy and happy in this world. One day I hope that we all can see past the number on the scale and truly embrace our beauty because we're all beautiful and it's time we celebrated that.
So embrace your curves, screw the scale, and tell yourself you're beautiful because you are. You always have been and you always will be.