When it comes to my body and appearance, I've always had issues.
From an early age, I was always picking on myself. As a kid, I was too skinny and my mother tried to plump me up by giving me Carnation Instant Breakfast. I gained some weight and in my middle school days, I began to develop acne. So not only was I now concerned about how I looked and my body appearance, I also had big red dots along my skin to worry about.
I was disgusted whenever I looked in the mirror. I tried to make myself feel better by dressing in clothes that made me feel pretty, wearing makeup and hanging out with girls that boosted my confidence, but nothing worked.
In high school, I joined Colorguard — a club that makes marching band more interesting by dancing and twirling flags, sabres, rifles and batons — and was excited to be part of a club that I figured (hoped) wouldn't judge me.
At the time, I wasn't a fan of wearing bras because I didn't like my boobs. They were so big and the bras I wore didn't support my breasts like they should've and often made them sag. One day in band camp — yes, I actually went to band camp — someone teased me about my "hanging boobs" and again, I felt my confidence instantly diminish.
After that, I began wearing a more supportive bra and even lost a decent amount of weight.
When I came home that summer, my mother told me I looked too thin and wanted me to gain some weight back. But I balked: I was happy with my weight loss. I felt more confident and my pimples weren't as red so I looked prettier. I began working out and wearing clothes that actually fit me properly.
My mother has always been my biggest cheerleader and gave my brothers and I the best life possible. But even still, I was never happy with who I was. In addition to all my other insecurities, I hated my big nose. People often told me I was ugly because I had such a big honker. And the grossest thing was: I listened to them.
Instead of blocking out all the negative comments from others around me, I digested and began to believe them. I thought: Maybe I am ugly. Maybe I won't ever find a man who loves me. (Trust me, I realize the worst part about me is how easily I can be influenced and look! There I go criticizing myself again.)
I knew that I had to make major alterations to my life or live miserably. I sat in my room contemplating what I could do to change my attitude for the better. I was so negative about my appearance and it was affecting my entire life. Would I continue to bash myself or would I finally accept that I was trying my hardest to look and feel better?
I vamped up my workouts and began getting rid of the extra skin around my belly.
But my God, do you know how difficult it is to work on your lower abdomen? It was a total nightmare, but I was happy to see my rolls eventually disappear. Then, I improved my eating habits and stopped consuming so many snacks and processed foods.
After I began to see results, I still wasn't happy with myself. Sure, some days I feel confident but others I just feel blah.
And, what I've learned from all of this is: My body will never be perfect.
Also, the way I look will never change unless I get surgery, which I refuse to do, so why not embrace what my momma gave me?
When I think about it, I have a wonderful figure with a dab of flab around my tummy.
Society teaches us that we must be a size 2 in order to be beautiful, but what about the plus-size women who are gorgeous? Why must you be "thin" to fit in? We shouldn't be judged on the size of our jeans; we should be judged by our character.
So let's stop hating on each other and begin using positive reinforcement because our world would be so much better.