Looking through old pictures the other day, I saw myself. As usual, I was trying to hide behind a friend. My arms were crossed in front of my belly as I tried to cover that eyesore of a muffin top that my clothes couldn’t hide. I was smiling in that picture, however my eyes couldn’t hide how uncomfortable I felt.
I remember the hard time I used to have buying clothes, nothing fit right. My chest was too large, my legs too chubby. I was afraid to look at clothing items because I knew I might have gained more weight. I also remember looking at the mirror and being unhappy. Wishing I could erase all the “imperfect” parts of my body or my face. All those negative comments about my body that not only came from myself but from people around me. Sadly, I let the word “fat” define me. I now give myself permission to say that those mean words hurt me even though I always tried to brush them off.
I could never get far on diets, and luckily I could never make myself sick like my friends were doing at the time. I just loved food so much, and food was my comfort. But at the same time food was my curse. The hype of exercising never lasted long, because the process was too long for the immediate results that I wanted.
However, I wish that I could see then what I see now. I wish I could go back and tell myself that my body was not the problem. The problem was in my mind and my heart. My younger self let other people define how I saw myself. I know I was young and vulnerable, but I am sad when I reflect back and I see that I let the world’s silly beauty standards define who I was.
I wish I could back and tell my younger self that yes, my body has changed since then. In fact, it’s changed way more than I could ever have imagined. After two pregnancies it doesn’t look the same, and it never will. I wish I could tell myself that I am no longer ashamed of my body when I look in the mirror now. I don’t hate those stretch marks anymore, because now they have a meaning.
I wish I could back and tell my younger self that while I still love food, it doesn’t control me. I have found a balance and a new way to live, beauty standards mean nothing anymore. I wish I could tell myself that I will no longer be trapped by those unattainable standards, and someday I will be able to leave the house without wearing any make up or have food stains on my clothes, and that it won’t be the end of the world.
I wish I could back and tell my younger self that I would have 2 beautiful kids. That I learned to love my body the way my kids love me, because to them my body is perfect the way that it is. I have finally freed myself from the trap of unrealistic expectations, and I finally see my body in a whole new light.