Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Age 20

I'm 20 years old and I have finally accepted my body as it is. It's been a very long process. When I turned 13 and began to have the thoughts that many teenagers have (particularly girls) about my appearance and my identity and who I was in the eyes of others, I thought I was fat. I thought that because I was not straight up and down in shape, and I was developing these weird curves between my chest and the tops of my legs, that there was something wrong with me.

I tried to lose as much weight as I could - in a very unhealthy way - to make myself look more "straight up and down." It wasn't until I was 16 that I learned about body shape. I realized that the shape of my body fell into a category and so many other people were like me! I didn't instantly look in the mirror and say to myself, "Well, you're not alone, now love yourself!" I did stop trying to lose weight and I accepted that my legs would always be bigger than I'd like them to be, and my shoulders would always be narrow no matter what I did.

I decided that I wanted to hide what I had from the world, even if I did accept it. I dressed in baggy clothes all the time. You'd hardly see a dress or skirt on me unless it was a very special occasion or a formal event. I just didn't know how to dress for my curves, so I figured I had to hide them rather than look like a complete dork. Everyone must have thought I had no sense of style, or that I was a tomboy. No one ever told me that I looked good, and slowly I realized that in order to embrace what I was blessed with, I had to dress better. I had to appreciate my body shape, not just accept it. So I learned how to cinch my waist, hide my hips and my thighs by wearing dark colors and generous cuts in skirts and pants. I started to like putting on fitted shirts and seeing myself in the mirror as someone who wasn't quite thin, but definitely wasn't as much up the top as she thought she was.

Today I'm much happier with the way that I look. I love to slip on a dress and see it skim over my widest area and hug my smallest. I feel odd putting on baggy clothes, even my old jeans, because it reminds me of a time when I couldn't deal with how I looked. When I think about how I felt when I was 13 and 14 and how little was said about different body shapes, I feel sad and angry. It would have helped a hell of a lot more if the media had told girls like me that we weren't all born to be column shapes. That everyone comes in different shapes and sizes and we should love that about ourselves. I was too busy trying to make my body look like something it was never supposed to be. Now I'm busy trying to find as many ways as possible to dress to my shape EXACTLY the way it was supposed to be.

In time, you will come to appreciate the body you were given.