Friday, January 10, 2014

Body Image

I've been thinking a lot about body image this week. Maybe because, once again, my body is betraying me (I have a terrible cold! Worst timing ever), or maybe because I've been seeing so many articles about it around the Internet. It's a pretty hot topic, if you've been living under a rock and didn't know ;)

First, this: when I was younger, let's say like ages 9-17, I was easily always the shortest/scrawniest girl in the room. I got made fun of a lot for being so short and so small and having no boobs whatsoever. Which was confusing because think about it: I was being made fun of for just being. I didn't have any control over it! You can't make yourself grow taller or grow boobs sooner, because if you could that would be awesome.

Anyway, that's when and why I learned to be insecure.

I started becoming more comfortable in my own skin towards the end of high school. I had a few boyfriends in high school, and being a kind of nerdy teenage girl, having a boyfriend was always a good boost to the self confidence. Slowly I was realizing that I certainly was not as weird looking as I thought I was. It's sad that having a boyfriend is such a stand-out confidence booster, but having somebody there who thinks you are the prettiest is just great and frankly it always will be ;)

In the last few years I've maintained a loving relationship with a dude who thinks I'm pretty awesome but I've had more health problems than anyone my age should have to deal with. With that said, I have some very confusing days where I feel like I look terrible but I actually look normal or even good (according to my dude).

I'm quite small, if you didn't know. I'm 5'3" (pretty normal) and hovering just under the normal weight for my height. But here's the thing. I'm thin, yes. But I'm no model. My body just isn't shaped that way. In fact, I don't fit into any of the standard "body shapes" that magazine articles refer to. I don't have a large stomach area but I have small "muffin tops" and what some people call a "pooch" (but I don't like that word at all) that I acquired after having surgery. I have wide hips that make buying jeans difficult, and some cellulite on my thighs. I'm petite, but too curvy to buy "petite" pants (you know the struggle: they'd fit in the waist but only if they could get over my thighs). I have a fat scar coming down from my belly button, and a small scar on my left boob. Being "thin" is just the tip of the iceberg in my case.
My pants look like they're being pulled really tightly, but they're not, haha. 
And the crease on my stomach in the top photo is just my scar being imprinted by my pants, from sitting.

There's a caveat, too, of course. I'm not necessarily healthy. I have a decent metabolism but if I'm being completely honest, I stay thin because I get sick so often. I don't run, I don't play sports. I walk around campus and then sit in a practice room. I am often running to the bathroom for one reason or another. So even when I gain a few pounds, they go away in a matter of days because my body hates me. Crohn's Disease is the curse that maintains my weight. And I would be happy to gain weight regularly in exchange for never being sick again.

Which leads to me to the point of this rant: body image isn't about how you look. It's about how you feel.

Since I am so often bedridden with stomach pains, nausea, cramping, and what have you, my body image is often pretty bad. More often than not, I think I look as gross as I feel. And if I'm feeling great, healthy, normal...then I am confident that I look that way, too.

I think it's probably impossible to feel good all the time; there will always be those days where nothing seems to be working or going your way and you will be cranky and feeling crappy. But I hope that you know that even on those days, even when you feel like the ugliest person in the world, just know that you aren't. Remind yourself of those good days, when you feel like the most beautiful version of yourself. It may not change how you feel in the moment, but it may help you get through the bad day and make the next day better.

To this day, I'll never understand how people can be so cruel about someone just being the way they are wired to be. But all those assholes who made fun of me in middle school molded me into this version of myself. Because now? Now I would never, ever, tolerate somebody saying a single negative thing about my looks or my body. Because even though there are days when I would do anything to swap bodies with someone who is healthy and beautiful and fit, I love my body. I am finally, finally comfortable in my body.

I wear what I want to wear, whether that be a dress and flats or jeans and boots. I put on make up because I like wearing make up. I paint my nails because I want to. I do these things because they help me feel pretty. I don't care if you think I look pretty because if I feel pretty, then that's what I am. (I do care what John thinks, but he usually agrees with me on that account anyway)

Don't let anyone tell you how you are, okay? Don't let anyone make you feel ugly, and conversely, don't try to make anyone feel ugly. You're in control, lady friends. Go make yourself feel beautiful. You deserve it.

P.S. If I've offended you, I promise that was not my intention and I do apologize. I spent a week writing this post, worrying about how people would react, but this is my slice of the Internet and these are my own opinions and thoughts and I do think that they have every right to be here on my site. Just shoot me a message with any comments or concerns.


  1. i love this so much. i wish more people had this outlook on body image. i hate that everyone seems to think that you do things for the sake of hoping other people thing you are pretty. i am the exact same as you. i do those things, because it makes ME feel pretty, and that is a good feeling.

  2. Great post! That was very honest and insightful. And girl, you are beautiful inside and out. I've had some experience with haters, myself, and what helped me get though it was the idea that they were just projecting their own insecurities on me. Such is life, I spent a lot of time wondering why they felt like they needed to say those things, and realized it was mostly because they didn't get enough attention at home. With that in mind it's not so hard to feel compassion for the people who hurt you.


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