I think one of the most interesting things that has happened to me as I’ve gotten older is my shift in perception. I feel like I view everything so differently than I used to. And yes, obviously some of that is just typical growing up and forming your own opinions, but it’s also a product of the things that happen to you. Nobody makes it to twenty-five without something that changed them. Mine is obvious, it’s something I’ve written countless pieces about and still makes me look at the world a little differently: my war with mental illness. I’m still getting used to living in the sunshine that only exists in a mentality that doesn’t suffer from clinical depression.
One thing that tagged along with my depression was some severe body image issues. This has been something that’s affected me for a long time, and part of that is being female, and the other part is being a perfectionist who always wants to be the best. Newsflash: perfect doesn’t exist.
If you’ve known me for longer than about three years, you would know that I gained some weight. Sixty pounds over the course of a year, to be exact. There are reasons this happened, but none of them matter for the purpose of what I want to talk about, or really at all. People gain weight, shit happens. I had personally never weighed that much, and it freaked me the fuck out. I went into denial about my weight. I avoided scales, mirrors, and fitted clothes. I was so ashamed that I had gained so much, and I truly began to hate my body. This also lined up with the time that I swore off men, which shouldn’t be a shocker: I was terrified of being naked in front of someone.
I didn’t really start to lose the weight until I got to a much healthier mental state. It took a while, and that weight lingered and some came off just naturally. I transferred to a school with a big ass campus that made me walk exponentially more than I was used to walking, and I lost some of the weight just by walking to class.
Eventually I got to a place where I accepted myself. I let go of the demons of my past and I began to let myself start over. I’ve lost 40 pounds since then. This isn’t really about my *transformation,* it’s just hard to get to my point without giving some background.
I bought shorts last week for the first time in… six years?
I’m not even kidding. The funny thing is that at one point during those six years where I was refusing to wear shorts, I was the thinnest I have ever been in my life. Not healthy whatsoever, but thin as fuck. I remember thinking I looked so fabulous and sexy, and I look back on full body photos of myself from being unhealthily thin, and I am lanky as fuck. The thing is, I’m not really tall enough to ever be lanky, but that’s just how thin I was.
I’ve gotten to this point where I’m so happy with myself and with my life and what is going on right now that somehow, I have managed to love my body. It took me twenty-five years, but I did it. I’m not sure I’ve ever been authentically myself until recently, and it’s so liberating and refreshing.
I still want to be stronger. I want to be able to run farther without stopping and be able to lift higher weights and throw harder punches. But I’m so sick of being hot in the summer from wearing jeans when everyone else is in shorts. I’m sick of comparing my body, my athletic af, 5’9″ frame that has, what I like to call, linebacker shoulders, to the bodies of my 5’0″ friends who barely hit 110 pounds. You know when the last time I weighed 110 was? 5th grade.
I was hardcore bullied throughout school for being so pale that I blinded people. I’m a natural redhead, ya’ll. I’m really white. I get it. But I should still be allowed to wear shorts during a midwestern summer. I manage to get a little tan, but I never try too hard because it usually comes after burning a few times. So I didn’t wear shorts because I was too white, and then I didn’t wear shorts because I thought I had thunder thighs. No matter the reason, I was still sweating my ass off during summer.
It’s just bullshit.
I’ve been writing some poetry-esque stuff on my tumblr, and I wrote this thing the other day that I really connected with as it poured out of me. It was basically about giving up bullshit, and I realized that THAT was the difference between the new and the old me.
I’m over it. All of it.
I’m a very blunt, sarcastic person who likes to poke holes in people’s logic and is a boss at Zelda and tbh, like most people, I’m really fucking weird. Because that’s what makes us unique as individuals. I dance, a lot. I almost always have music playing and I’m always dancing. I have conversations with my dog, and I’m pretty sure she knows what I’m saying.
Around March or so, maybe early April? I stopped hiding. I started talking to people who I felt like I had something in common with. I started being more honest about who I am. I started really getting into my workouts and appreciating the things my body is capable of. I started loving myself unapologetically.
Fun fact: there was a point in time where I regretted my tattoos because I wasn’t sure that I could actually pull them off, and I felt like I looked stupid. MY TATTOOS. You know, the things that I got to mark significant events in my life and things about myself and who I am. The fact that I have tattoos means I can pull them off. Plain and simple.
Embrace who you are. Love your body, whether you’ve lost weight or you still want to. This isn’t about some transformation where I now love my body. That transformation happened because I started to accept myself. Wear what you want, what makes you feel sexy, what makes you feel good. For me, that typically means wearing vans when everyone around me is wearing heels. It doesn’t make me less feminine or beautiful. It just makes me, well, me.
Love yourself and the world will follow. You don’t have to have it all perfectly together and know exactly what you’re doing. Embrace the unknown. Figuring out what happens next is the fun part, because it can be whatever the fuck you want.
I thought I was out of vices to quit, turns out I had one left: bullshit.