"I have to lose 10, 20, 30 pounds in two months."
"I look fat in this dress."
"Don't take a photo of me!"
Sound familiar? In my head, for the longest time, they were all I knew.
First off, I didn't always have body image issues, and this whole thing only started when I was around 16. I was one of those girls that developed a bit later on. With that came natural weight gain. Being that I was such a skinny girl when I was younger, everyone noticed the difference. Everyone.
In fact, everyone still comments on it to this day. Just recently, someone commented on a photo of mine posted and said I was too big.
Suddenly, 125 pounds with a pear-shaped/hourglass figure for 5'1 was fat. I was very insecure, and self-conscious. Though I didn't go as far as starving myself, my confidence in myself went down the drain. I didn't want to have my pictures taken or wear anything that would show off my body. I would avoid going out with friends, and hated seeing someone I haven't seen in a long time. I always had this nasty whisper in my head telling me that everyone is staring and judging.
So at the end of the day, I usually just go home, stare at myself in the mirror, and hate myself. After that, I usually pick up a book just to keep my mind off the day.
Now these past couple of months, I have been reading books related to body image. I thought that it was so comforting that I could relate to these characters, despite the fact that they are fictional. While reading and discovering more about these characters and their stories, I began to take a good look at myself. What really was wrong with me? Was it the 125 pounds or my mind thinking so badly about myself?
It was a rough time, but going through that journey with these stories in these books made me start to gain back that confidence that I lost. Sure, it's harder some days, but overall, I have been a lot happier rather than down on myself. feeling happy and content.
Some of the books that I specifically read were Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, Skinny by Ibi Kaslik, Life Size by Jenefer Shute were just some... even books like Willow by Julia Hoban that deal with body image and self-esteem in general helped.
These were the ones, among others, that hit me right on the head, and made me realize that I am lucky that I at least have a perfectly functioning body. It made me realize that it's only me to blame if I put myself down because of one person telling me what they think I look like. After all, I should know what I look like. I should know what's healthy for me, what I truly should change, what I should keep, and what I should not even bother with.
These were the books that made me start thinking a bit more clearly. It reminded me that 'real bodies' come in all sizes. It reminded me that as long as you are healthy, nobody can tell you, "You're fat" or "You're too skinny." And whenever I feel that tiny pang of body-hate anyway - because let's face it, those feelings and thoughts are simply inevitable - I try to remind yourself that someone thinks I'm beautiful. At least one person. And the only way other people can start seeing the real you, is if you start believing that too.
If you have any other recommendations for books that deal with this issue and the like, please let me know on the comments below. Of course, Random Ramblings is always open for discussion as well. And also, as always, thanks so much for reading.