It took me about 15 years and 2 pregnancies to accept myself. Eating disorders, self hate, weight gain, and then the struggle to be healthy rather than skinny somehow molded me into a better person. I didn’t realize it was happening and something I should be grateful for until it was already here. My extra weight brought something surprising with it. Greater acceptance and the feeling of generally being a better person. Here is why:
I learned that I am worth more than my appearance. I am now aware that I have better characteristics than “I can fit into that” and “my ass looks better than hers”. Oh sure I would never have put someone else down to lift myself up…out loud. In my head, however, I would. Now I not only loath the type of dialogue that I had with myself once upon a time but I will also call someone else out on it. If the only way you can lift yourself up is to put someone down you’re not gonna get very far before crashing.
I see beauty in diversity. I am still amazed that I could ever want to be like everyone else. There is no mold you could fit all my crazy into anyway so I embrace the fact that I, and other people, are different.
I stopped shaming myself and others for being different. If you’re broken or strong, fat or skinny, gay or straight I don’t care. If you’re an asshole I definitely care. Nothing turns me off faster than people who shame others because they’re not the same or the status quo. I did that to myself for years, I don’t need to listen to someone else do it. (Pro Tip: People who are different/weird tend to be interesting and fun to hang out with. Also, pretty much everyone is weird in their own way you just have to find it.)
I am, in my own way, spreading the message of love and beauty instead of conformity. I’m proud to be part of the movement. I have hope for the future because of it. I think some day we just might be able to look at a magazine and see an array of faces and body types and ethnicities and that is exciting!
I’m teaching my kids how to treat their selves and others. I’m aware of the dangers of throwing shade at oneself and am working hard to make sure health and acceptance never come in second to “what size are you?” or some other meaningless number. Instead of modeling a behavior that leads them to question their bodies or likes and dislikes I am showing them their preferences and appearance don’t play a part in their worth.
Please don’t ever feel you’re not enough or that you have to change something to be allowed to be happy right now. We’re all a little different… and a lot the same. Your insecurities are not a scale by which to measure your worth. Go forth and be your own different, weird, badass self!