I was probably 18 or 19 years old when I first came across the phrase “body positive”. Because of my own insecurities I was envious of women that could even dream of posting a photo of themselves with that caption underneath it.
I can vividly remember the moment I started disliking myself. I was 10 years old and shopping with my grandmother when I saw a cute swimsuit that I wanted. When I tried the suit on, I loved it, then my grandmother said “Awe, you have little dimples in your legs!” From that day forward, it has been my biggest insecurity. People would tell me “you have the perfect hourglass figure,” but I just saw cellulite.
I personally had a negative influence in my life growing up that was always reminding me to do better. If I won a softball game, I didn’t hit that homerun. Never being good enough has always stuck with me. My husband pointed out that I would stand in the mirror and pull and stare at the fat on my body. I never realized I did this and it immediately triggered negative thoughts. At my lowest low, I was being picked up for a date after work, but before leaving walked by a mirror, saw my legs, and fell to the floor, sobbing, refusing to leave.
It wasn’t until about three years after I first heard the phrase “body positive” that I started to really understand what the phrase meant. It isn’t a phrase at all, it’s a movement. Body positivity is embracing the skin you’re in. It’s loving myself at all stages.
I started competing in figure competitions to see what I was capable of. Immediately after my first show I was so disappointed in myself, I didn’t place. But then I realized that I worked so hard and did the best I could. The process of competing has taught me to love my body for so much more than its appearance. I’ve never felt more confident than walking on a stage. I even was able to place last year!
“You can never love someone until you love yourself” is my favorite cliché because it’s so true. In the morning I like to say “You are strong. You can do anything you put your mind to. You are loved. You are beautiful.” I think as women, we place a lot of pressure on each other because of our insecurities, but I’ve come to realize that I am in control of how I feel. I get to decide how I feel about myself.
It’s been a long time coming y’all, but I’m so proud to put my name next to the word confidence. My advice to those who are struggling is to remember that you are in control of how you feel and please stop telling yourself what you don’t like about yourself. Try to tell yourself three different things that you love about yourself every day. Eventually you’ll find things that you never even knew you loved about yourself. Also, remember that kids are always watching and listening to you, so be sure to be feeding them good examples. Remember, no one posts about their bad days, so stop trying to live a picture-perfect life.