I have to admit writing this blog is hard.
The difficulty doesn’t come in the writing but in the honesty of it all. You see, even when I was 180+ pounds heavier, I wasn’t really unhappy with myself. I loved who I was, because I knew who I was. I was not what the scale said, but who I knew I was meant to be. I was not ashamed. If you look at photos of me as a child I would run around the pool in a bathing suit, chubby, tanned flesh, glowing as I jumped into the pool and out again. I loved life and the scale did not define who I was. However, as I began to lose weight, as I began my journey for health reasons, for me, that was when the doubts began. This is the hardest part; admitting that I let others affect me.
One summer, suddenly I was the girl who was losing weight. I was the girl, through means that were healthy for me, lost 30lbs in less than 2 months. Thus began not only a journey to health physically but a journey to an unhealthy mental attitude.
The compliments came fast and steady, “You look so good, have you lost weight?” “Oh, you’re doing such a great job” “WOW! Look at you”.
While the compliments, I hope, were coming from an encouraging and happy place, all they left me with was not a sense of accomplishment, but a sense that before I lost the weight, I hadn’t been good enough.
Up until that point I had never, ever, ever felt not good enough (I once even punched a boy because he called me fat. No one ever bothered me, ever again), but suddenly the attention was all on my weight loss and doing better.
Suddenly the attention was on my body, instead of on me as a human.
Every time I went out of the house, and particularly swimming, I felt like the world was staring at my body. It is actually mentally crippling. It’s not that I thought I was the center of the world, but in my mind, because every time I lost another pound, someone would comment and my mind became distorted into thinking that’s all people ever cared about. It was not true; it was the lies that my mind was telling me.
So, this year…now very much in the last leg of my journey I made a decision. I decided that I would love my body in every stage. From the girl who was once almost a size 28 to the girl who is now a size 14/16 but stronger, leaner and with much more a fighting spirit…I stepped out onto the beach, twice now…in a bikini.
Now, a bit of fashion advice…I went to a store and found the right suit for me. I love myself in my bathing suit because it fits, it’s flattering and because I love where I have come from.
I know where I’m going and that’s awesome, but more importantly, I know where I have been. I am learning to love the curves, the muscles, and the way that my body is transforming.
The best part? No one really cares. If you struggle with body image, for whatever reason, when you love yourself, suddenly it doesn’t matter what others think because, honestly, your confidence shines brighter.
Your value doesn’t come from a size tag, the ability to wear a bikini, or how much you can lift at the gym. You are simply so worth loving. I dare you, do something that scares you this summer. Buy a bikini, wear a tank top, let that English rose skin shine (but wear sunscreen!), rock those shorts. Just be fabulously you!