Did the gaping hole eating at my insides ever fill up or was it just temporarily covered? Unfortunately, my freshman year of college, the all too familiar feeling revisited me as I became borderline depressed. I started seeing a therapist in an attempt to empty out the baggage from my past experiences, but now it felt as if my past was reinstating itself into my present. I would have liked to be mad at everyone around me, but I could only be upset with myself for letting my body get to the point that people felt the need to bring it up as their concern, yet again.
Although, it came to my senses that the main cause of my anger came from the fact that I had been voiceless, allowing people to take over my life for far too long. When people would try to take my body into their own hands, I found myself in a position where I was constantly fighting against their guidance. Even to the extent that when people told me to lose weight, I’d want to do the complete opposite. Giving in would mean I was letting them win, right? Well that’s how I saw it anyways… I couldn’t let anyone win except for myself and that’s exactly what I did. I had forgotten that I was in charge of myself and that I held the power to my own success. So, from that point on I promised myself I wouldn’t let anyone else hold that key.
When summer rolled around, it was easier to take the time I needed to focus on myself and begin to figure out what i really needed to do. Through patience and dedication, I finally realized that deprivation was not the answer to my questions. I learned that self-acceptance was. I may not be what some people “expect” me to be as a gymnast or, maybe even, in everyday life, but guess what? I am in a state where I fit my own expectations. One where I control my destiny, where I can look in the mirror and not be disgusted, and where I am finally happy. I do not live to impress the world around me; I live to impress and inspire myself. It is only a plus if if I can help those along the way.
In life we are told to do or be so many different things and expected to fit so many different expectations; I think that’s something I always had a hard time with. Women are “expected” to have skinny waists, yet still be voluptuous. People surrounding us tell us we need to eat but then look at us in disgust if we cross the invisible line of overeating. The ones around us that are supposed to build us up are too often the first to bring us down. We aren’t aware of why these things are, so we end up becoming overwhelmed from putting the pressures on ourselves. Ignoring the opinions of those around me and focusing on what I believe in has been one of the greatest impacts on saving me. Why should we allow anyone else to dictate how we feel about ourselves?
Body shaming and image are a huge topic that not a lot of people are open to talking about, but my goal here is to open a platform for you guys to share your own stories. I would love if any of you would like to come forward and comment or message me your personal experiences/struggles with body image to be shared and help raise awareness.