Picture this. A young girl, about ten, is reading her Teen Beat magazine, on almost every page, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Shakira are all showing off their flat stomachs. Now picture this little girl look at them and then look at her chubby stomach and frown. I was that little girl.

Sixteen years ago, I was that little girl who would take a shower, stare at her pudgy belly and think, "why can't this be smaller? Why can't I be beautiful?" I was ten! Ten years old and I was worried about how my body looked. My parents never talked down to me about my weight, they always called me beautiful and cute and told me that I was perfect. I wanted to be more than perfect, I wanted to be Hollywood perfect. It didn't help that kids at school would poke fun at my weight, call me names and I could never stick up for myself. For years, even after I "blossomed", I still wasn't satisfied. This guy only started dating me when I was a teenager because I got skinnier. Like, what the fuck? After we broke up that was when I realized that's why he dated me. Not because of my intelligence or my personality, but because I lost weight. I stopped dating, started to tell myself that if and when I found the one he would love me for me. I didn't lose my virginity until I was twenty (sorry family) because I waited for the right guy.

I stopped struggling so hard to be like those models or Hollywood movie stars because it's not worth it. We live in as society where slut-shaming is still a thing. Now, this country is allowing a man who calls women "dogs" or judges them based on their looks other than their personality, running for president. I once babysat a seven-year-old girl who didn't eat for two days because her father called her fat. Her father, a man that's her first love, that's supposed to protect her and love her no matter what. It's a terrifying world we live in, not even for women but for men too. Why do we have to impress the world? What do we get out of it? We get broken-hearted little girls and boys who start worrying about how they look, younger than high school kids. It terrifies me for the young women that are in my life and family. Kids are extremely mean these days, to the point where the one who gets bullied, end up taking their own life.

I used to cover my face in heavy makeup just to make myself look more beautiful. Now, I barely put makeup on because I don't care. I'm taking care of myself in a healthy way, I'm with a guy who loves me for me. Every day he comments on my body and how beautiful I am and how beautiful my curves are. He loves the fact that my nose is always stuck in a book or that I'm writing. He appreciates me and he loves me. The point I'm trying to make is, don't let society and media ruin who you are. Don't let them belittle you because you don't have curves or that you're not skinny enough or not fat enough. Look at yourself, see the deeper part of you. The parts that people love, not just your body. Your body is a gift from God, no matter what size, it's your castle and you can do anything you want to it. But do it for you and not for them.