“I don’t like the way my body looks.” How many times have you said that to yourself? For me, I say it daily. Actually, I’ve said it to myself since I was a preteen. We know that heaviest influence on a woman’s body is based off of the European standard of beauty and body shape. Skinny, elongated, model ready. That’s so horrible to project one type against a world full of women with many different body shapes. It’s hard being a woman. There are so many conflicting messages on what the ideal woman should look like. The ideal woman should be whoever she was created to be. Period. The whole point of this post is that body image really freaking sucks. It’s not fair at all because you can be beautiful at any size. And as I am talking to you about this, I am also talking to myself.
I grew up with a small waist and a big booty. At that time, I thought that I was “fat” compared to the other girls I was around. In actuality, I was healthy and normal for the body type that God created for me. Looking back, I’m realizing what I was dealing with was body dysmorphia. I was dealing with my own mental outlook along with the amount of teasing I received about my body from my peers at school. It hurt my feelings a lot when my fellow black peers would tell me that I was “too thick” to wear the clothes that everyone else was wearing. Even a simple pair of jeans were deemed “too much” for my curves. Funny enough, my shape as a teen and even in my early twenties is something that EVERYONE covets now. Having a super small waist and a big ol’ booty is the look. So much so that there are different surgical procedures that can be done to make those enhancements that a lot of black women have naturally. It’s a hard slap to the face, especially when that’s how I looked when I was younger. At about 19 years old, I finally gained the confidence that I desperately lacked as a middle and high schooler. I finally saw myself as beautiful. I still had my moments where I struggled with body dysmorphia because I still compared my body to others from time to time. Now? I regret those feelings that I had.
Currently, I don’t like the way I look right now. I’ve seen my body go through almost every stage possible. It has changed tremendously. I was once had a beautiful hourglass figure that I had finally grown to love. Then, I got into my current relationship and gained A LOT of “happy weight.” Once I started to make the change to start working out and having a healthy relationship with food, I found out I was pregnant. Now, my daughter is almost three years old. I have gained even more weight since I gave birth to her. I feel extremely uncomfortable with myself. I’m angry with my past self for believing that I was overweight and not meeting the societal standard of how a woman’s body should look. I’ve lost a lot of my confidence that I once had. I’m ashamed at how much weight I’ve gained. I hide in my clothes. I cry whenever I think that I look nice in an outfit and then I see myself in the mirror just to see that I actually look frumpy. It’s disheartening because I know that I’ve lost myself. So what am I doing about it? Well….. I visualize my goals and my future body all the time. However, it is extremely difficult to stay motivated. It’s a mix of laziness, self-doubt, and time management. I eat when I’m stressed, which is about 90% of the time. I love food, but I hate how my lack of self-control has affected my weight. I have all of the desire to start working out and then I back pedal to not working out at all.
If you are having the same experience with your own body image, I am right here with you. There are ways to combat those feelings. I know for me I am pushing myself to stay consistent in moving my body and to still love food with some self-control. I can also regain my confidence in other ways of focus that do not simply pertain to my weight. One thing I want you to take away from this is to be kind to yourself and take everything one day at a time. YOU are your biggest fan and don’t need to be your harshest critic. The world is already harsh enough.