“I hate my thighs.” “My arms are so big.” “I’m just fat.” Have you ever heard girls or women say this about their own bodies? Have you ever said it to yourself? That’s the kind of plus-size abuse we’re talking about – the kind where the cruellest detractor is you.
Chances are, if you had to endure the tough times brought on by the social pressures of middle school and high school, you have. The funny thing is, if someone else had said these same words to your face, would you stand for it? Or would you punch their lights out, no questions asked?
Girls and young women, especially those coping with their changing bodies, raging hormones, and boy drama, endure a self abuse so terrible, it has been known to kill. It needs to end and here are a few ways you can help yourself.
1. List the things you like.
Instead of getting in front of a mirror and bashing the flaws so minute, no one sees them, make a list of things you like about yourself. “I have nice eyelashes”, “I love my hair”, “My cheekbones are to die for”. Don’t skimp, no matter how hard you try to convince yourself, there is at least one thing you’re happy with. Find it and thrive on it. “Curve: The loveliest distance between two points”.
2. Forget about other people!
Beauty – in projection and perceiving – is 99.9% attitude. Stop trying to impress another gender. Do what you want. Dress how you want. Do your make up how you want. Mostly, woman dress to impress other women. Who gives a damn? Impress yourself. Strut yourself. Do wear those three inch heels to school. Do try a different style. Do gravitate towards what feels right. Don’t let others mandate your style because eventually, they’ll control your life, too. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye.”
Sure, everyone gets down. Everyone falls into their moments where the only safety nets seem to be chocolate and Ben & Jerry’s (mmm…), and that’s perfectly fine. For a short amount of time. But somehow, you need to get out of that funk before the hurtful words and downright abuse come rushing out of your mouth in a smell, verbal diarrhea. Talk to a friend, listen to a band you love, cuddle up with an old stuffed animal. When I feel down, I watch videos of laughing babies. Sure, it sounds weird, but it’s so adorable and it makes me laugh every time. Laughing and smile actually release endorphins (happiness) in your brain and make you relax. Find your “happy place” and live there for a little.
4. “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” -Dr. Seuss.
A huge part of adolescence is finding yourself and discovering exactly who you are. It’s exciting and, let’s face it, scary as sh*t, like leaping off a cliff where you only think there’s a safety net at the bottom. As kids and teens, we just want to be cool. So we conform. This is one of the worst things you can do to yourself. Never conform unless everyone’s doing something you really like (okay, I’ll admit it, Lady GaGa is pretty much amazing. End of story). Do like good ol’ Polonius says and “Be true unto thyself”. Because if you’re not true to yourself, who can you be true to?
5. Visit Operation Beautiful
I found Operation Beautiful while reading the September issue of Glamour magazine and I believe the world should participate in it. Anonymous womwn write these amazing words of wisdom on post-it notes and stick them in public places. I left one in the bathroom of Border’s today and it left me with a glowing feeling. Try it.
There will always be ideals society will hold us to, but that doesn’t mean we have to follow it. Society is the thin veneer stopping short of discovering who we truly are. Society is disgusting, so don’t let it rule over you with an iron fist. Be yourself. Don’t change the way you look: Change the way you see. You are beautiful.
Photo by Zerbetron