All of my life I’ve been pretty self-conscious with my body. I’ve always found it kind of strange because privately, I can’t keep clothes on except for my underwear. In public though, I’d usually pretty covered up. If I showed skin, there was always a part of me that felt like I was trying hard and had this back of the mind anxiety that someone was going to call me out on it and I’d have to sit down. How I wanted to feel couldn’t match how I did feel and it was a mess trying to make it work on the outside.
When I felt good about myself, I hid it. When I had the best body I’ll ever have, I took it for granted by being so insecure about it. There are many photos to remind me of how it looked but at the time, I couldn’t own it. There was always shame when I felt proud. I thought I would come off as shallow for it. It didn’t matter to me all the work I put in. I always told myself I could do more, do better and someone would see that and call me out on it. I was scared to be the phony I worked up in my head that I was.
I felt comfort but pretty shitty when my body was on the chubbier side. It was my coping mechanism. I’ve learned now it was a form of self-protection from really connecting with people or at least what I saw as “proper people” romantically. It was a form of self-sabotage to keep me feeling the way I felt inside about myself. To prove that self-loathing because I didn’t think I was deserving of my body otherwise. I’d use any stressful excuse to eat myself into a miserable hole. Sometimes it was so bad that I’d eat until I’d almost throw up and then continue eating because I felt I deserved the gluttony that I was feeling. I never even threw any of that miserable eating up. I kept it all in because I was so shit with myself, I felt like I had to sit with my disgustingness and not cop out by throwing it up and away. When I could, I’d excuse it as me just trying to have a fat day and enjoy myself.
You’d never know that by looking at me or talking to me though. No one did. It was a secret about myself I hid it very, very well. You also couldn’t tell because no one was really paying that close attention to me and it was all in my head. I was my own worst critic and so incredibly hard on myself. I constantly got myself into situations with people that would leave me rejected. I was in arrested development with style for so long because I didn’t know how to dress because of my poor body image. I always dressed down or looked cheap when I tried to show skin and “look sexy”. Or when I wanted to dress pretty, it felt like I was overdressed and I would feel anxious. I was too scared to own who I wanted to be because I spent most of my life thinking I could never do enough for it. So I’d eat myself back into a comfortable misery.
I also didn’t know at the time that I was scared of ever genuinely feeling the word “sexy”. I wasn’t whole on the inside so I was scared of attracting the wrong people who just liked me for my body instead of me as a whole. I fulfilled that by attracting those people anyways. I never did attract the ones who would throw me away like trash but I sure as shit attracted the ones who were flimsy with their interest and too passive to let me know the truth about that. I would get crushed by it and put it on myself. I went through a lot of headaches subjecting myself to a lot of gross behavior from guys. I definitely tolerated more than I should have. But I couldn’t feel attractive to myself so I tried to find the approval on the outside and I was self-conscious for even that.
I know this is going to sound weird but I also had this weird anxiety about being rude if I owned my confidence. I think it was a girl issue thing. I’m not exactly sure how to explain or pinpoint it but I didn’t want girls comparing themselves to me and I would feel shitty about that too. This anxiety made me feel arrogant and I didn’t want to blow smoke up my own ass. There were times I’d slow down my hustle because of this and I always knew it was weird but I didn’t stop myself from this either.
I’ve been working on owning who I am and who I’d like to be this year more than ever and I’ve allowed myself to feel proud of the work I put in. It’s the first time that I’ve felt this way and it stuck. It’s a confidence that I know isn’t going to go away because I know how hard I continue to keep working. My body isn’t the best out there but at this maintenance, it’s enough for me. It can get better and it probably will. But whatever confidence and work I put into it will always be what’s enough for me now. I can now feel this way because I know my efforts aren’t shallow. There’s hustle. There’s grind. It might not be the hardest work out there compared to others but that doesn’t dismiss how hard I work. Just because I’m fundamentally lazy doesn’t mean that I won’t put that aside to get the work that needs to get done. I take care of my body now rather than fight with it.
I’m also learning my own terms of sexy. How I dress reflects how I feel on the inside and how I think I am. It’s kind of trashy at times but it’s within my style. I feel more at ease embracing this rather than the discomfort of hiding all the time. I repeat to myself that I’m allowed to feel good about myself and it’s the air I’ll exude rather than shoving it in people’s face. Everything is coming from the inside out and manifesting. I look in the mirror these days and see who I am and don’t hide from her anymore because she’s a fucking boss to me.
It’s been a while since I’ve binge ate the way I did before. I still have fat days but they don’t happen so frequently anymore. I’m no longer afraid of attracting the wrong guys by dressing the way I feel like because I don’t have a fear of myself anymore. Come owning myself came owning my choice to how I choose to respond to grossness and it’s no longer with a patience of politeness. I don’t have intense sweet or carb cravings anymore because I don’t feel the guilt I did about eating as before. I like the skin I show and even though my stomach isn’t perfect all the time, the shape of me is what I like and I have worked my ass lately for it. I know how to dress up and have a bit of style now. It’s still not great but it’s improving. I’ve been debating on buying a sewing machine just so I can tailor my clothes a bit more to me because I know how much of a difference that would make.
Even when it came to other females, I’ve stopped feeling that anxiety and insecurity. Like many people of any gender, the right people will lift you as you lift them. You encourage and support each other and not lowkey want to tear the other person down. If you feel any comparison that makes you feel like you have to dim yourself a little to make them feel better, maybe it’s not the right friendship or relationship for you. If it’s people who aren’t willing to help themselves or they’re just lying and want you to lower down so they can keep their lie, leave them. I’ve learned it’s not your responsibility to make people feel better because they’re not willing to do it themselves. You honestly can’t feel bad for surpassing people when they weren’t moving that much along.
It took me a long time to let go of external environments, thoughts, and anxiety to get to where I am. It took looking at myself and past it. My body was never the problem; it was my mental and emotional state. It took a lot of work to believe I deserved the self-care I was teaching myself to give myself. It took even more to own it and allow myself to keep it. It took me a long time to understand how I wanted to feel about myself to myself and that it doesn’t have to be cool. I’m not cool. I don’t think I’ll ever be cool but you know, I can be other things that can equate to that or better.
To my body, I’m sorry for everything I put you through but I’m glad we’re getting along now. I promise to take the best care of you and to push you to limits you didn’t think was possible. To help you keep stay strong while you get even stronger. To keep you good until the day I completely destroy you by getting knocked up and eventually pushing a baby out of our vagina. Maybe you’ll get lucky and that will never happen. Who knows?