This seems to be one of the biggest struggles for people of any age right now. You never know who it’s affecting, and you can’t assume that it’s just one type of person, or that one type of person is safe from it. It’s literally everywhere. The reason I’m writing this article to you guys today is because lately, I’ve felt it very strong on my heart to talk about it. I’ve been seeing some crazy things lately that have left me distraught and full of questions. It’s a subject that should no longer be taboo and it needs to be out in the open.
As I sat down to start writing this, I started to think of all of the times I’ve encountered it, with myself and with others. My experience with it may not be the same as the majority, but nonetheless, it was a lack of confidence. I’ve always consider myself to be fairly skinny. Ever since I was a kid, I was one of the tallest and skinniest in my class. It was never in an unhealthy way (because goodness KNOWS I love to eat), but I would always end up exercising it off in some way. When you’re a kid, your metabolism is just that awesome. As I got older, I played pretty much every sport you can think of. Basketball, volleyball, outdoor soccer, INDOOR soccer, cheerleading, etc. When I got middle school and high school, I focused mostly on cross-country & track. Running was not only became a way for me to live a healthier life style, it became a form of release for me. I worked hard, earned a couple of medals, and went on to continue that same lifestyle after high school and into college. I knew I would always like to run. Because of my love for cardio, I have managed to maintain a “thin” body. That never seemed like a problem to me, until people that I love began to criticize. Some would do it unknowingly, but some would just imply that I should gain more weight in certain parts of my body. Now before you ask the question, “Are you sure you’re not too skinny, Hannah?” Yes, the answer is yes. I know I’m normal for my age and height requirement and I know what anorexia is. Here’s a picture of me.
I am healthy as can be. The craziest thing about it is that I LOVE FOOD. Food is life. Food is everything. Thank you Jesus for food, HALLELUJAH! I can’t imagine life without it, probably because I wouldn’t have one. I tried to let those comments sort of slip off of me like they meant nothing, but truthfully, it hurt. What girl or guy wants to hear that they’re too skinny or too fat to be with them, and should change the way they look in order to be accepted by them. Fat…I hate that word so much. I refuse to say the word fat because I hate it so much, unless I’m playfully making fun of myself. But I hear it used so much in the world today, that it’s almost become commonplace.
All of the sudden I’m 12-years old again. I’m in the girl’s bathroom inside of a public pool. I’m wearing my colorful, two-piece bikini surrounded by my summer camp friends, laughing and joking around. One of the girls turn around and look into the mirror. She has beautiful, bronzed skin and dark brown hair. Her hips flow in ways that a prepubescent girl’s should. She is a close friend of mine, whom I admire very much. Popular, interesting, clever. All of the things I hadn’t grown into yet. She looks herself up and down in the mirror and a grimace appears across her face. Fat. She calls herself fat and pinches outer edges of her torso and seems close to tears. We all reassure her that she’s perfect. She’s everything a girl would want to be. But she sighs, ignores us, and ushers the group toward the exit. I leave feeling confused and somewhat saddened. If a girl like that couldn’t be confident, how could I? Then I flash forward to about 10 years later. I’m in class and we’re sitting in a small circle. We’re talking over random things, shooting the breeze. I see a guy who represents everything I’d like to emulate. Strong, opinionated, funny, charming, smart, etc. You look him full in the face and wonder how he wouldn’t be successful in the future. But my admiration for him goes far beyond just a general respect. My heart beats out of my rib cage when he enters the room, with his broad shoulders and somewhat gruff appearance. Sitting in front of me, I see perfection. But on his own face is…disappointment. He curves the edge of his mouth upward and makes a joke I refuse to hear. When he pinches the front of his stomach, he gives me a feeling of deja-vu. Fat. He calls himself fat and laughs it off, but I know him better than that. I contradict him. I tell him that he’s fine the way he is. He’s burly yes, but not obese. “Be confident, but don’t degrade yourself.” I say. He looks ME full in the face and wonders how I could possibly mean that. He gets annoyed, and accuses me of being too pushy. I still worry, because I fear that this hobby is obsessive. But I keep my mouth shut, and let the ends of my heart start to fray.
I just want to be clear. There is a difference between bettering yourself, and just plain hating the person God has made you to be. There’s a difference between working out, and killing yourself. Being comfortable in your own skin in the moment is so much more fulfilling than waiting on that beach body to come in. It’s the heart that needs fixing. It’s taken me some time, but I think I finally get it. I like the way I looked before people started making comments, why would I screw with my own mind now? As long as I’m healthy, isn’t that the most important thing? There’s this girl on YouTube that I’ve been watching lately. I discovered her randomly one day was instantly intrigued. She’s a genuinely nice person with a beautiful face, so that’s why it made me so sad when I discovered more. She is clearly sick. Not skinny, sick. She has a ton of fans, but none of them want to say anything to her for the sake of being proper. And then there are those people who are content to be rude and post explicit comments. They go about it in the wrong way and get themselves blocked. They don’t understand that people with that disorder need to feel loved and accepted. I don’t know if she has body dysmorphia, bulimia, or anorexia because there is a difference, but something is wrong. I just watch her and try to be there for her, posting positive and uplifting compliments, but ultimately, the decision is hers. I pray for her as much as I can, because it hurts my heart to see anyone damage themselves in that way. So if you struggle with loving the way you look, I want to encourage you today. Keep in mind that God knew exactly how you were gonna look before the Earth even existed, and He loved it. He knew there would only be one you, and took His time thinking you up. “You are fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14) That’s what the word of God says about you. Which basically means you’re complex, in a good way. So meditate on that everyday if you have to, and ignore the insensitive people you might have in their life. Most likely if they’re picking on you, they’re picking on themselves too, so pray for them. Anyways, I hope all of this has helped you guys in some way. It’s kind of a release for me to share my experiences, almost like it heals my heart a little bit. If you wanna share your own experience with body positivity, please comment down below. I would love to hear how you guys have worked through this, because there’s no quick fix. I love you all so so much, and I hope you have an amazing rest of the week!