I hate that every time I’m on the treadmill my thoughts are flooded with “5 more minutes and you’ll be skinny; 5 more minutes and maybe boys will look at you at the bar.” I should be running for me. Every time my foot pounds on the seemingly never-ending platform I view it as one step closer for me to achieve beauty. Instead of a step towards health I am working to achieve acceptance.
I hate that I’m supposed to be an advocate for positive body image and I can’t look at my naked body in the mirror. Why would NEDA hire an intern to evoke the idea that everyone is beautiful when she can’t even love herself. I talk up everyone around me: “eat that cupcake, you don’t need outside approval, who you are as a person is important,” yet every time I look down I grab my stomach rolls in disgust.
I hate that I don’t understand how to love myself. I don’t know how to be happy about who I am. I want to look at myself beyond my not-so-flat stomach and thighs that seem closer than I am with my family. Why do I seek so much outside approval?
My body isn’t everything – in fact it isn’t anything. It is a vessel I use to achieve my goals. My love handles do not define me. And as acutely aware as I am of this fact I cannot help but cry when I look down from that hideous angle in the shower. The frustration I feel when getting ready to go out never fails to dampen my mood.
Knowing and feeling are completely unrelated emotions. I know I am more than my body and yet I feel as if a perfecting it is the answer to all of my problems. Rational thought, as prevalent as it may be in my head, cannot hold a candle to the prison of my self-hatred.
And as the media attempts to rectify my feelings it has so often toiled with, telling me that I’m worth more than I look, it does not do much to my self-esteem when I am at a bar surrounded by men who do not give me a second look. It doesn’t do much to see “real” models in a magazine when I can barely button my jeans.
But I will slap on a smile, feed the words I myself cannot absorb to my fragile friends, and continue on in my path to bring light to the darkness of others.