“It is a trillion dollar industry that would collapse if we believed we were beautiful enough already,” wrote Rupi Kaur in her book The Sun and Her Flowers. This line really stood out to me because of the sad reality behind it. And while I am fairly confident with the way I look, I didn’t always feel this way.
My friend Laura of The Fashion Kidd wrote about her journey to loving her body (read here), and it just inspired me to share my own story. You’ll probably look at me and wonder how I, a slender woman, could have issues with my body when typically that is deemed as a positive trait by the media and consumerism? Well, I am human and when you’re a young and constantly picked apart, you can’t help but have insecurities.
Growing up, I never cared about the way I looked. I was your average jeans and sweatshirt kinda girl. It wasn’t until I turned 23 when I really started looking at myself in the mirror and began critiquing the way I looked. This had a lot to do with the fact that I had lost some weight (15 pounds) naturally, and people around me kept making talking about it. Not in a positive way – or at least that’s not how I interpreted what was being said. Apparently not looking the way I did as a teenager was appalling.
The comments I received from family members, acquaintances and some friends were along the lines of “are you eating enough?” or “you don’t look too well, are you sick?”. These remarks actually led me to believe that I may have a eating disorder. For six months, I had no appetite. There were days when I felt like vomiting after having a large meal. Some days I would make myself vomit to stop the nausea. It helped, but it was only a short term solution. Looking back at it now, I’m more than convinced that my state was more psychological than anything else because I did eventually start eating normally again.
I was also in a relationship with someone who had never dated a “skinny girl” when all of this was going down. That’s when I began comparing myself to curvier woman, and I truly believed that I wasn’t good enough for him, which, in the end, became an incredibly unhealthy way of thinking. Just to be clear, he never made me feel like being slender was a bad thing. This was just my own state of mind and I never really talked about it with him, or anyone else. It wasn’t until that relationship ended when I became more aware of how I was feeling about myself and decided to deal with it once and for all.
I got medical help which is when I discovered that I have an incredibly fast metabolism and was actually physically healthy. Not being able to put on weight is something that’s out of my control, regardless of how much I eat. And if you know me on a personal level, then you’re well aware of the fact that I can eat a decent amount of food and have a serious snacking problem. Is it weird that a doctor’s validation about my body made me feel more confident in the way I look now? I think for me it was really just ensuring the people around me that I, am in fact, in a healthy state and that body changes are completely normal for women.
I think the one thing that we all need to accept and face is that people will always comment on your looks, regardless of whether you’re thin or curvy. We’re raised in a society where our looks are incredibly important and we shouldn’t take it too personally, which is easier said then done. I’d be lying if I said there weren’t days when I looked at myself and wished for no stretch marks, or cellulite or a perfectly toned tummy.
But for the most part, I feel way more comfortable in my skin than I did six years ago. It took time and patience, and it was so worth it. And if you’re in a place in your life where you’re not 100 per cent happy with the way you look, all I have to say to you is that your body is the ideal body, no matter what anyone says. Embrace it. Enjoy it. And most importantly, show it off.