I don’t think there’s one person out there who doesn’t struggle with how they see their own body. We all see something we could change or alter, but in reality – imperfections are what make us unique, powerful, and beautiful.
Add on mental illness and the struggle gets even harder to manage. In another first for the blog, body positive blogger Izzi Marie discusses her own journey with self love and how she found the strength to fight the constant stigma associated with fat women.
Read Izzi’s powerful story of breaking through insecurity and self doubt below.
Growing up I can’t tell you how many times I looked at another human and admired something about them; secretly wishing I carried those traits within myself. I would take beautiful elements of other people’s lives and somehow make them the darkest parts of mine. Why wasn’t I this? Why couldn’t I be that?
I allowed myself to hide behind black tinted windows, while supplying light for the sanity of everyone else. I’m not even sure that I meant to and it wasn’t until later I realized how toxic I had let my own mind become. Throughout my life I harbored thoughts of insecurity and self-doubt, tangled between knots of strength and sunshine.
I wish I could tell you the exact instant I stopped being that way. Unfortunately I can’t. Partially because some days I’m still that person and because one moment doesn’t make my story. What I can tell you is that every moment of self-love is a conscious choice.
When I was in third grade a girl (who shall not be named, even though I remember it vividly) called me fat on the playground. She was a year younger than me, but it was the first time I felt shamed for my body. I went home and cried to my mom, but she’s mom and did what most moms do. She told me I was beautiful, but for the first time in my life I didn’t believe it anymore. I always knew I was fat, but I never thought it was ugly. That little girl’s harsh words changed my life. If it hadn’t been her, I’m sure it would have been another. The point is I always saw my body differently after that. I saw myself in the eyes of others instead of my own.
The hatred you may have for yourself is something I believe we create at a very young age. It’s a bad habit that becomes engrained into little ticks that we turn a blind eye to. It exists in simple moments where you look in the mirror and turn away quickly. It lives in a snap instant when you compliment another while degrading yourself. It festers in small memories that aren’t cherished, because you were too busy worrying about the judgments of others.
Self-love is an active process. It is a choice, simply because it has to be. Bad habits are hard to break. So today and everyday forward I choose to love myself. I choose to love myself in the small victories, because you can’t reach four without two plus two. I choose to love myself in moments when it seems impossible, but I imagine my ten-year-old self standing next to me. I choose to love myself, when the rest of the world chooses not to.
I now find beauty in the strength of fat women who show off their bodies in a time when visible belly outlines still disgust people. I admire that a woman can be both fat and sexy, because she is a dynamic fearless leader, and not just because she wears a corset with her chest out. I continue to be constantly inspired and astonished that my insecurities are highlighted and made beautiful by women who have bodies just like mine.
You see it’s funny… I used to be consumed by this idea that I wasn’t or I couldn’t be. However, I already was. I quite literally had to start seeing my life from a different point of view. Once I saw my body archetype as attractive, it didn’t make sense that I could see that within myself. I spent a lifetime hating aspects of my fat body, using my hair as a security blanket and wearing hoodies in 100-degree heat. In that same space I saw fat girls owning their bodies. I saw fat women fighting in the distance to be loved and to love themselves. It was within that space that I discovered I wanted to fight too. I wanted to be for someone what these women were for me. It was within that space that I learned this very important lesson…
Let another’s fight be your very own anchor. If you allow it, the thing you cherish in another, people will learn to treasure in you. Sometimes to win the fight you have to find strength in others and then discover how to see that strength within yourself. So from one insecure human to another, I beg you to stop turning light into darkness. Let light be light, no matter who flips the switch first.
Do you struggle with body image issues? Share your story in the comments below.