Undress Your Insecurities
The other night I cried. Not one of those cute cries, either, but deep heart wrenching sobs that leaves your face contorted. I cried for the little girl inside of me. The one who’s still healing from low self-esteem, from feeling broken, unwanted, and unloved.
I’ve always struggled with my self worth. I grew up being told that I couldn’t eat certain foods because I already was chubby enough. The story about how I went to my grandparents one summer and came back heavier was constantly shared with me, and I started to take those words into my spirit at the age of seven. I played sports, but still couldn’t get my weight down, and if I asked for seconds at dinner, I was met with a critical look and a response that made it clear that I definitely didn’t need anything more.
Looking back now I’m thankful for what my mom tried to do, because after educating myself on food, nutrition, and diseases, I understand that she was just trying to protect me. She didn’t want me to end up with a lot of the same health problems that many of our family members had, and I appreciate that.
But at the same time I wish that it were communicated better, because I spent the majority of my life hating myself. As I got older and started being fed images of what women were supposed to look like through various mediums, I realized I looked nothing like that. The girls that the guys fawned over were slim, but with curves in all of the right places. The women that were being photographed had long legs, flowing hair (probably weave), tight stomachs, and mega-watt smiles. I had none of that. I was short and chubby. My hair was difficult to control, and I hated my smile because my teeth were just as small as the rest of my body. No matter how much exercise I did I could never quite reach the weight that I desired.
I did diets. I wore weaves. I did everything I could to change myself because I felt like I wasn’t good enough the way I was. I didn’t even wear shorts or dresses until about 8th grade because I hated the scars that sports and clumsiness gifted me with. Instead of making it better by focusing on self-love and healthy nutrition practices, I would binge on the foods that I knew would temporarily please me but permanently damage me, then I would start the cycle of self-hate all over again.
I guess I covered it up well because I never had problems attracting guys, but I struggled to see what they saw in me. I spent so much time comparing myself to other girls that I lost sight of my own beauty. I carried that self-hate into my relationships, either accepting ones that weren’t good for me because I didn’t feel that I deserved better, or destroying ones that were great for me because I still hadn’t dealt with my own insecurities.
Today I am thankful that I am stronger and growing more confident in myself, but the journey hasn’t been easy. I’ve had to retrain my mind to focus on the things that I love about myself, and understand that I only have imperfections if I allow society to determine my beauty. Instead of focusing on losing weight to look like some model or Instagram vixen, I’m enjoying the journey of educating myself on health and nutrition because of how it makes me feel altogether. I enjoy eating healthy because I feel better. I appreciate exercise (when it’s over lol) because I love seeing my body grow stronger through my discipline. I love eating the nourishing foods that God has blessed us with, and seeing my body as a temple as opposed to a billboard makes taking care of me a fulfilling experience.
Even my social media had to change. I called myself following certain women for inspiration, but I was spending more time comparing myself to them instead of getting out there and becoming my own best self. I had to get real and ask myself why I was following them, and with that simple question I decided to unfollow anyone that didn’t add value to my goals—you know, the fitness models who show off their bodies but never show you how to do an exercise or talk about healthy nutrition practices.
Detoxing all of the things that were weighing on me mentally, emotionally, and spiritually has allowed me to start loving myself again, and the amazing thing about loving yourself is that you no longer need confirmation from others to know that you’re beautiful.