Growing up, the idea of a perfect body never really bothered me. I looked confident, spoke confidently, and never gave people a reason to notice my insecurities, which at the time, were minimal.
Little did I know that “growing up”, well, sucked. For someone like me who takes expectations and external opinions very seriously, for better or for worse, my body was something that never seemed to satisfy me. In school, when we returned after the summer break, I ALWAYS noticed those who had lost weight, and looked myself up and down several times in the mirror before I left the house.
I was always referred to as “the chubby girl with a wide smile”, never “the pretty girl with defined cheekbones and a sharp jawline”. Soon enough, that “wide smile” faded as did my self-confidence.
The word “insecurity” means anxiety about oneself. The anxiety I thought was enough to end the world as a seventh grader, tripled in effect when I grew a year older. Social media happened. As much as I love the people, the memes and the platform Instagram provides, it also gave me a source to compare myself to. The worst part was, I wasn’t comparing fashion models or celebrities to my body; I was comparing myself to people I knew. Friends, who had a smaller waistline, thinner arms, and a better side profile.
This anxiety never got to an extent where the rest of my life was severely affected, but it’s safe to say that I’ve never spoken to ANYONE about my body image issues. If I ever came close to opening up to someone about my internal anxiety, they wouldn’t take me seriously. I know what you’re thinking. Another teenager claiming to be misunderstood in this terribly unsympathetic world. This was much more than me claiming to hate all of humanity; this was me not being able to love myself.
It was only a few months ago when I realised this feeling was almost universal. Every single person, whether they were a victim of body shaming or not, has had insecurities about themself. No matter how selfish this may seem, it was this realisation that made me feel a million times better about myself. Everyone was going through the same thing. This lining still wasn’t silver enough to rid me of my anxiety, but it was then that I realised that these insecurities are temporary.
I’m not writing this article to draw attention towards myself, I’m writing it to remind every single person who struggles with body shaming, anxiety, and self-hate that they’re not alone.
I’ve come to learn through the whole process of “growing up”, that I’ve got a LOT more growing up to do, and I WILL get better, and I will love my body.
This goes out to all the books, movies and TV shows that unrealistically preach “love yourself and focus on what’s on the inside”; thanks, I’m working on it. :)