The idea—the concept of this post has been whirling in my brain like some kind of marble of truth for quite some time now. The words have been racing through my mind, trying to break free. This message is important for anyone in eating disorder recovery and for anyone else who feels like they need to meet society’s standards of perfection and beauty.
There is cellulite on my hips and it sits on places it should not be, at least that’s what society tells me. My thighs touch and I wonder where my thigh gap has gone, not that I should have one but society convinced me that all pretty girls have one. It is hard to believe I had a perfectly flat stomach, yet I am happier than I have ever been despite having put on the weight I tried to lose so desperately.
I am here, at this point in my life I thought I would never be at. I am twenty-four years old and thriving, loving and embracing everything that is me—my body, my perfectly imperfect smile, my loudness when I get too excited and I no longer deem shame as something to be ashamed or to get rid of. Everything I used to hate is now what I embrace the most. The cellulite on my thighs does not bother me and I even love my curves and my small hourglass-figure.
It almost feels like I am trying to make up for the time have I lost while I was trying to achieve perfection.
For years I was trying to become smaller. I tried to fix my inner turmoil through weight-loss, dieting and exercising until I would collapse. I was putting my body through hell, and instead of fixing the problem I only made it worse because society had told me that I would be loved if I would shrink a few sizes, had a thigh gap and an incredibly flat stomach. So, for years I tried to lose weight, started restricting by limiting my food intake and started to compensate whatever little I ate with working out for hours on end.
It was unhealthy, but at that time I did not see it—or rather, I refused to see that something was entirely wrong. I was consumed with what society had taught me, that pretty girls have a flat stomach and a thigh gap, that they have a healthy lifestyle which only consisted of lettuce with dressing on the side (which was useless anyway because it was not to be consumed) and excessively working-out in the gym for seven days straight.
You are strong for deciding to eat lunch when your mind is screaming, not for going to work with an empty stomach.
But today and with this newfound glory (as it’s only a few weeks old), I stand tall and confident, embracing everything about me and everything that is me; flaws and all because society is wrong. There is no point in degrading yourself, believing you are less than anyone else because society has taught you to do so—to be hateful towards yourself for not weighing what society deems as perfect. You are not strong when you skipped breakfast, lunch and dinner and worked-out for hours in the gym on an empty stomach. You are strong for continuing to take care of yourself by eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner while the world tells you to starve yourself in the name of perfection and beauty.
I learned to let go of what society and others expected from me, and only listened to what I wanted.
I learned how to listen to my body, when I felt hungry and when I was satisfied. I learned how to ease my mind, or ignore it altogether when it started screaming at me for no reason (because I had cornflakes and unsweetened almond milk for breakfast instead of going to work with an empty stomach).
Like I mentioned before, you are strong for eating lunch (or whatever else) when society or that voice in your head tells you not to. There is no shame in admitting you have a problem. You are perfect. Your size, the color of your hair or whatever else do not matter—you were born perfect. You are both beautifully and wonderfully made and you do not have to prove your worth just because society tells you that if you weigh a certain weight you matter or are perfect. Trust me, you already do matter and you already are perfect. Don’t waste your life living in shame and trying to meet the standards of society—it is not worth the anxiety and stress.