Body image is something I’ve struggled with. A lot. This “body negative” view I have has been multiple decades in the making. I’ve hated my body for too long and spent too many hours picking it apart piece by piece, striving to figure out what it would take for me to have the “perfect” body.
I distinctly remember the first time I realized that I hated my legs. There’s this picture of me hidden somewhere among my mom’s many photo albums at maybe 8 – 10 years old. It was the late 80’s or early 90’s and those god awful skinny/fitted jeans were still in style (yes, I developped my hatred of skinny jeans at a very young age), and I was wearing stone-washed light blue jeans with a light pink sweater-y type top. Truth be told, I was pretty skinny, but all I could see of myself in said godawful jeans was the unflattering v shape my legs made from hip to knees to super skinny ankle. It was pretty terrifying to my younger self and took every ounce of my willpower to not rip the picture to shreds.
When I was a little older (sixth or seventh grade at the latest), I overheard a few of those super-skinny, waif type girls discussing what made the perfect legs (oh joy, perfect topic for someone who hates their legs). One said “I read in a magazine that you need to be able to fit a quarter (wide side out) between them [your legs] in order to be perfect” (and oh look, they could do it!). After they left, I thought about my thick thighs, locked myself in the bathroom, and proceeded to cry myself sick.
Is it any wonder women develop complexes about their bodies? And we are so susceptible to negative body image connotations in a society that encourages us to admire the Twiggy ideal. Little did I know those waif-like girls looked at bodies like mine and wished for my kind of curves.
God, I wasted so many years hating myself because I didn’t conform to some ridiculous ideal. It would have been nice to know at eight years old that my body type wasn’t odd or abnormal, that I wasn’t alone in having curves, that having thick thighs wasn’t something to be ashamed of, and that every other woman in the world disliked some part of themselves too.
Several years back, I finally gave up on having the “perfect” body. There is no perfect body and I’m glad that managed to realize it (even if I’ll never be a big fan of my legs). Am I saying that I don’t have body issues anymore? Hell no. Every day is a struggle to beat back the little voices that tell me there’s no point in losing weight because I’ll never be “perfect”, but every day I succeed in loving myself a little bit more.