We've all done it. Every single one of us has stood in front of a full-length mirror in total disgust with the tiniest of details of our image.
Even from a young age, I was hyper-aware of my body and appearance. I had freckles covering my cheeks, piercingly large eyes, small teeth, and was always the tallest girl in the room.
None of this bothered me much until other people thought it was necessary to bring it to my attention — as if I hadn't been looking back at that person in my reflection since I first existed.
Then the real kicker set in — I began gaining weight.
My clothes started growing tight, and I no longer held a bean pole figure. I was curvy, had full cheeks, and had a chest. It is shocking for a girl in middle school to actually physically mature, isn't it? Well, according to every person who intended to make my day a little bit dimmer, it was the bullet in a loaded gun.
Still, I pursued and never let it affect me until it did.
My body continued to evolve, and so did my mindset towards myself. My inner peace was now disrupted, as my outward appearance was shot down with my eyes every time I saw my reflection.
"How to get abs in a week."
"Diet pills that guarantee a 30-pound weight drop within the first month."
"Water fasting methods to lose 10 pounds in three days."
"Diets to get a thigh gap."
"Workouts to see rib definition."
Google search after Google search into a rabbit hole of toxicity pushed on me in the culture that evolves around romanticizing eating disorders to be viewed as beautiful by society.
This same society has created beauty standards that are high enough to cause 28.8 million people in the United States alone to have an eating disorder during their lifetime.
The reflection you see in your mirror does not reflect who you are. It reflects the outer shell that is there to protect and house the most beautiful parts of you. Your soul, your heart, and your mind are what make you the person that you see in the reflection.
Your stretch marks show strength, to overcome your body's endless pursuit to grow and become new. The wrinkles beside your eyes represent every belly laugh that has whipped past your tongue in the heat of a summer's night with your best friend. That "pooch" that every female has on the lower part of their stomach is there to protect the organ that is powerful enough to grow a new life.
The next time you walk past a mirror, don't look at your BEAUTIFUL body for its unique qualities that you don't get to witness on the cover of Vogue from photoshop. Look at that BEAUTIFUL body and praise it for all that is does for you and all of the memories that have been made in that BEAUTIFUL skin of yours.
There is nothing more exceptional than a person who loves themselves unconditionally for the person God has intended on them being.