Photo from The BULLY Project Facebook page. Follow them! Photo credit : Meg Gaiger/Harpyimages
I know I am a beautiful person from the inside out, but I sometimes struggle to feel confident even as a 30-year-old woman. You know why? I have been conditioned to think physical fitness and beauty equals success. A successful life, career and even a successful marriage.
It took a lot of commercials with supermodels, movies with perfectly-toned legs, and even a few pokes and prods on the playground to instill a permanent, tiny voice that whispers in the mirror, “You’re fat.” But most of all, I think it was the lack of confidence my own mother had when she looked in the mirror at herself. She was then, and is now, a beautiful, average-sized woman, but she hung on to those high school jeans that were a size 3 and only looked back.
I still remember putting my feet together and feeling between my thighs to hope that their was a space when I was in the 8th grade. I never did have skinny legs. I have always had an athletic build, and then some. But way back, before there was a tiny gap between my thighs for a few short years, I had body issues.
I remember refusing to get on the scale at the doctors office when I was 11 and about to enter fifth grade. The doctor finally convinced me to do it, and then showed me on a chart that I was not “obese”. I, in fact, was just one box to the left. She reassured me that I had nothing to be self conscious about. I was just the shortest, and most round in my class. I wish I could go to my 11-year-old self and say, “You’re perfect the way you are.”
Of course, like most kids, I was bullied and awkward through elementary and middle school. After four years of doing my best to fit in in high school, I went to college I realized that everyone was remarkable in their own way, and that physical beauty had nothing to do with success. I wish someone would have told me sooner.
Ethnicity, height, weight, physical and mental ability does not make you better than someone else. The way in which you carry yourself; with confidence, and purpose, let’s others know that you love yourself, and that’s what’s attractive. Love yourself.