My weight began to become an issue for me in jr high, I began to compare myself to my friends and to dislike what I saw in the mirror. For a long time I truly hated my body, just everything about it bugged me! And now that long forgotten hate is trying to creep in again because of one very important thing: Family.
The most important part about this post is that I want you guys to realize something, when I began to hate myself, I didn't just wake up one day and say "ew I'm ugly", no, I was completely confident in myself until I got comments such as "take that off, you look fat in it", "you need to start losing weight", "look at your cousins, they're all skinny", and my personal favorite: "fat people are only loved by their mothers".
Those comments developed in me a vicious cycle of losing and gaining weight constantly and I was never happy with who I was. These comments were all coming from the people that I loved most, my family. Years later I am still coming across such things. A couple of days ago I had two things happen to me that were very heartbreaking but at the same time they were very encouraging. The first one wasn't surprising, I was over at my uncle's house and I was about to have dinner, the moment I served myself he opened his mouth to make comments about it but I payed no attention and brushed them off. I sat down, I started eating, a couple of minutes later he comes over, puts his hands over my mouth and says "no more, look at yourself".....ouch, that was cold.
That didn't surprise me, it had the power to hurt me though. That night reminded me that in his eyes, I would be more valued if I weighted less. The second one was even more hurtful and upsetting. As we were driving back from my uncle's house I was in the car with my parents (who happen to be divorced but that's a whole other story) and my mother said "I'm hungry", my father replied with the same thing, I said "I want ice cream, let's go get ice cream" and he YELLED at me "NO!". I was a bit puzzled by his response, I asked "why not?" in a very curious manner (I mean really, why was he yelling? I was so confused!) and he replied with "do you want me to get mad at you? While your sister is losing weight you are trying to gain it, look at yourself, what are you gonna do with yourself? YOU'RE FAT." Ok ouch, dude all I wanted was some ice cream, I can see this is a bad time, I'll just fill out an application and come back later, chill, no need to turn green or anything....lol
But in all seriousness, that hurt. What hurt the most was that he compared me to my sister, my sister!! Ok parenting tip #1: NEVER compare your kids to their siblings!! (Seriously, I'm writing that one down) I am ME and my sister is my sister and she is beautiful and lovely and I adore her but she is COMPLETELY different than I am, she has a different way of viewing herself. Once again I was fooled into thinking that my value depends on how I see myself compared to someone else. His answer of "do you want me to get mad at you?...you are trying to gain it....", as if somehow I was offending him with my actions, as if asking for ice cream was some sort of defiance (I don't do drugs, I don't have sex, I don't have any trouble with the law BUT I DO ASK FOR ICE CREAM!!! HA!! TAKE THAT PARENTS!! WOOHOO!!!! I'M A REBEL!!!! lol Sorry guys I'm a little sassy today, I had a good day :) don't judge)
Because of such comments I've began to look at myself in the mirror and point our the things that I dislike, but the most interesting part is that I don't do it consciously, those thoughts just pop into my head. You see we are not born hating our bodies, we are taught to hate them, we are taught to go along with somebody else's definition of what is "the ideal" look. I have to tell myself everyday "I'm beautiful" in order for me not to end up starving myself or losing weight for the sake of others and losing my identity in the process. I want you, I want US to understand that your beauty and your value are not determined by human standards, but that, believe it or not, there are others that look at you and compare themselves to you, because you are the living image of what they want to see in the mirror. Take every little compliment you get and embrace it because those are the words that matter. You don't have to live up to anyone's "ideal" version of you, not even your own, because you are not a replica of anyone else, you don't have to compare yourself to anyone.
What happened with my family did hurt me, it did, but I decided to ignore such negative comments, I love my family but I don't have to love what they think of me, those comments are not a reflection of me. That encouraged me to appreciate my value, I was made different than everyone else for a reason, and yes, I have stretch marks and my thighs are huge and my body is not the "bikini body" ideal but I am beautiful and loving my body is a challenge and a process, but I am working on it. God says I am fearfully and wonderfully made and I believe Him. God sees me as the most gorgeous thing He ever created, that is mind blowing to me. Faith said something once that really inspired me, she said "just because you don't fit the thin ideal it doesn't mean you're not beautiful." I would encourage you to memorize that, it has helped me a lot.
Finally I want to leave you guys with a little food for thought and an amazing video. Imagine that you've been stranded on an island your entire life, no people, no mirrors, no beauty products or whatever guys use, no nothing. If you saw your reflection in the mirror for the first time ever, if you saw people for the first time, would you honestly start pointing out who's beautiful and who's not? OR would you be mesmerized by how everyone looks so strange and yet, so captivating? How would you know if you're attractive or not? Think about that.