Body Confidence: It's Not As Easy As It Looks

I was hesitant to write this post because I am in no way an expert on this topic. I've been seeing a lot of body positivity in my feed lately and it inspired me to think about how I think of myself and my body. I'm not writing this post thinking that you're going to read it and instantly feel better about yourself. Trust me, I have read so many articles about self love and accepting your body, I know that for the most part the tips and tricks go in and out of your brain real quick. Simply put, I'm writing this post to share my own experience, and to say that it's okay if you're not perfect and you're body shape doesn't look like Kim K. Seriously, who's does? 

My body has gone through a lot of changes over the past 5 years. I was a late bloomer and didn't really hit puberty till about 14. I had no curves (which is still pretty much true), was straight up and down and had basically no boobs. I couldn't have been happier. I was confident wearing skin tight outfits and showing off my figure. Then, I finally got my period and things started to change. I got a bit of curve action going, my boobs got bigger, my hips changed and even though I didn't gain any weight, my jean size went up. My body was shifting and changing and going through the natural changes that happen when you become, drum roll please... a woman. I remember not thinking much of it, until one day I was at the mall with my friends and we walked into PacSun. We browsed and picked out some shirts and pants that we thought were cute. We went into the dressing rooms fully prepared to have a small fashion show for every outfit. I vividly remember trying to fit into the size 0 jeans I picked from the rack and not being able to fit them over my butt. One of my friends and I were always the same size so when she came out in her size 0 jeans I felt so embarrassed. I remember very quickly saying that they didn't fit right or looked bad on me. I brushed off the self doubt I had, complimented her on how bomb she looked in the jeans and convinced her that she had to buy them. I'm not sure if I knew at the time what it was I was feeling, but I know looking back on it, it was one of my first spats with negative body image. 

At 13 or 14, you're body is going through a lot of changes. You're hips are getting bigger, your boobs are growing, pimples are forming. Along with all of that comes the inevitable changes in your brain and how you think. I've been fortunate in that I have a fast metabolism and don't have to worry to much about what I eat. With that being said, in 8th grade all I thought about was what I ate. I started exercising every day, which isn't a bad thing at all, but when you're 13 and exercising because you feel fat, that's a whole different story. I downloaded a calorie counter on my phone and made sure to scan each bar code on every package into the app first to see how many calories I would be adding to my overall daily intake. I measured my lunches out and restricted my diet. I just wanted to be skinny. The thing was, I was skinny! When I looked in the mirror I didn't see thin, I saw fat. This routine didn't last too long, because my will power is weak and chocolate cake is too tempting. I'm glad it didn't stick around, because what I was doing was unhealthy, especially for my age. 

When I entered high school, I really did have a positive body image. I went through freshman year without a scrape. During my sophomore year I went through some serious mental health issues and lost a lot of weight. Size 24 jeans were too big on me, if that gives you an idea. I didn't think anything of it at the time and didn't even realize how thin I had gotten. When I started to get back to normal and was eating regularly, I obviously gained weight. Of course, this set off an alarm in my head that I was getting fat. If I didn't have the constant voice of my sister telling me that I was getting back to a healthy weight, I probably would have started to obsessively count my calories again. Not only was I gaining weight again, but my boobs got bigger. That was a huge adjustment for me. I felt super self-conscious of my body and how I looked. I felt like nothing was in proportion anymore. 

After three years of strengthening my mental health and working on myself, I can actually say that I'm proud of my body. For a long time, as you can so clearly see, I struggled with how I viewed my physical self. I think it was normal to compare myself to others because at 14, it's basically inevitable. Everyone is growing and changing at different rates and it's a confusing time. Over the past four years I have gone through a lot of changes, both mental and physical. It wasn't until recently that I actually looked in the mirror and didn't mind what I saw. I have no butt, and my waist isn't super small, and I'm okay with that. We all have different and equally beautiful body shapes. It doesn't matter what size jean you are or how slim your face is. What matters is how you see yourself. We are all beautiful. We are all powerful. We all need to look in the mirror and say to ourselves, "damn girl! You look good today!" 

There are days where I still lack confidence. Honestly, on more days than not I lack body confidence. Slowly but surely I know that I will get to a place where feeling good about myself comes naturally. Everything takes time. You are your harshest critic. I'm still waiting for the day where I look at myself and love every little bit of me, down to my crooked shaped fingers. I don't have any tips on how to have a positive self body image. I think everyone is different and giving a list about "5 ways to love your body" is not going to change how you view yourself. The one tip I can give is to stop comparing yourself to others. I'm never going to look like Gigi Hadid and I've accepted that. I'm never going to look like Jennifer Aniston or Zoey Deutch. I look like me, I will always look like me, and I have to learn to be in love with myself. We all need to learn to love ourselves, instead of wishing to change ourselves.

Like I said at the beginning of this blog post,  I wanted to write this not because I'm an expert, but because I'm still trying to learn what body confidence is. I wanted to share my experiences with body image, the bad and the good. I encourage you guys to comment down below and share your own stories! Let's start a conversation. 


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