I just wanted to take a moment to share my thoughts on this particular photo today. Kayley Reed (of Wear Your Label) had posted it to Instagram the other day, and it really struck a chord with me.
As soon as I saw it, I just sat there, mouth gaping.
“HOLY SHIT”, I thought. “This is exactly what I felt but could never have put into words.”
Because I’ve been that person.
I’ve been the girl who spent hours upon hours staring at her body in a mirror and scrutinizing every single millimetre of canvas. The girl who only knew how to spew hateful things at what she saw in the mirror because she was taught by the media that it was ugly or disgusting.
I’ve been the girl who starved herself; the girl who would pass up the foods she loved or quality time with her friends for supper because she couldn’t bear to see that food turn into fat. Who binged and purged, to fit a mould that wasn’t even designed for humans; to have her shoulder blades and hip bones jut out, like a picture frame corner stretching a mesh screen.
The hatred and sheer loathing that roamed around my head – I’m not skinny enough, I’m not hairless or smooth enough, I’m not tall enough or my skin’s not dark enough. My nose isn’t small enough, my lips aren’t big enough. I’m not “womanly” shaped or curvy enough.
You know what?
I AM EVERYTHING ENOUGH.
I am pretty enough, and curvy enough. I am brave enough, and bold enough. I am smart enough, and strong enough. I am brilliant enough, and inquisitive enough. I am fierce enough, and loyal enough. I am kind enough, and I am honest enough. I am complete enough.
I AM EVERYTHING ENOUGH, and I have had enough with the absolutely ridiculous pressures and standards put on women and girls in society today. It’s not attainable, it’s not healthy and it’s NOT important. What is important is your happiness and your feeling of self-worth (and yes, your health is absolutely important, too).
It has taken me almost 29 years to love myself, in a world that should have been teaching me to do just that from the day that I was born. So my advice is this:
Love your cellulite (booty dimples), and your stretch marks (tiger stripes). Love your bread rolls, your sushi rolls, all your rolls (from enjoying wonderful food with family and friends). Love your chin hairs (wisdom tinsel) and your back hairs (stray eyebrows). Love your crows feet and your laugh lines, and all the random lines that are earned over time (they are radiant records that you have laughed and felt joy).
Love and treasure every one of your “imperfections”. You grew into them, grew up with them and you continue growing with them. They are a part of you. Embrace it all, wholly, because without it – you are not you. And you, as you are, are perfectly imperfect. Speak out of love to yourself. Speak out of positivity to the girl you see staring back at you in the mirror. Be proud of what makes you unique. Be proud of each marker that shows you have lived and are living.
You are so much more than this spaceship you were born into; you are the soul within it. You are the accumulation of your experiences; the love and the laughter that lights up your face, the tears and the heartache that show you your strength and courage. You are the empathy that lends a helping hand, the compassion that comforts another in need. You are the wisdom that sees another through, and the encouragement that embraces a moment of weakness. You are the knowledge that instills pride in others, and the kindness that births a grin. You are a beacon of hope to someone in darkness, and you are the light of jubilation to someone morose.
You are incredible, and a mirror or a scale cannot show you that.
You have always been beautiful because your true beauty can not be physically altered. So hug yourself tight, forgive your past remarks, and begin to love every single square inch. You owe it to your soul, to defy what you’ve been subconsciously taught and realize that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the way you look. You are still the most beautiful word.