You’re Beautiful and Don’t You Forget It [Confessions of a Twenty-Something]

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I was watching the Emmy awards on Sunday night, and besides laughing my butt off while Tina Fey and Amy Poehler stole the show, all I could focus on was how thin all of the women were. Almost every single actress (Anna Faris, Connie Britton, Anna Gun, etc) was so damn thin. As I sat there, eating my kale chips, I couldn’t help but feel really bad about myself. Here I was, torturing myself by downing some dark leafy greens, while these women claim they just love pizza and keep in shape by chasing around their kids (LIES!). I was frustrated. As I sat there and watched each skeletal actress get interviewed by a skeletal interviewer, I was feeling fat and inadequate and just plain gross. There I was, comparing myself to these women that I will never ever look like. I was down on myself again, which was the exact opposite of what I have been aiming to do lately.

I know you know the kind of mood I’m talking about. It’s like when you go jean shopping after eating a burrito bowl from Chipotle and nothing fits right because you’re bloated. It’s too tight in the thighs. Your love handles are spilling out. You can’t find anything that fits right. Nothing makes you feel beautiful. In fact, you feel like a giant whale. At this point in the jean shopping process, you’d rather become a recluse, live in the dressing room forever and waste away. It’s so hard to remove yourself from a body shame spiral.

Why do we all hate our bodies? Why are we dieting and starting workout plans? Why are we getting plastic surgery to fix our noses or breasts? When does the body shaming ever stop? Is there any point in our lives when we’re going to be 100% comfortable with ourselves and how we look? We think we’re too fat. We think we’re too skinny. We think we’re too tall or too short. There is always something that we can pick apart about ourselves. Will we ever get over this? Or will our muffin tops or small breasts or big noses stop us from ever thinking we’re beautiful?

I have so many questions that I just do not know the answers to. Let me clarify that I don’t think I’m some hideous goblin-looking person who deserves to be locked up in a cage. My family, friends, and boyfriend constantly make me feel good about my appearance and myself. There are times when I look in the mirror and feel really good about how I look. But there are also some times when I don’t. Emmy’s night was one of those times.

I should also confess that I am currently on a weight-loss plan. This is because 1) I am obviously not completely happy with how I look but mostly 2) my clothes don’t fit comfortably. I just want to be healthy and back to where I was about 10 months ago. I’m not trying to become a super model. I just want to be me. But here I am, right there with all of you—constantly struggling with body image and self-confidence. Ever since I was in elementary school, my weight has been constantly in my head. Although, statistically, I am the average-sized woman, when I watch award shows, when I read magazines, when I see a movie—I can’t help but wish I had Jennifer Aniston’s arms, Katy Perry’s boobs and Jennifer Lawrence’s curves.

Self-love and self-acceptance may be one of the most challenging obstacles in life. I’m not sure if I will ever get to a place where I am 100% happy with how I look, but I know that there is someplace where I can be content and love how I look. A place where I don’t feel guilty for eating a donut. A place where I don’t cry in the dressing room because the size I usually wear doesn’t fit anymore. A place where I can look in the mirror and think, “I’m beautiful.”

Most importantly, we need to remind ourselves that body image is not what truly matters. Outer appearances only go so far. Being truly beautiful has to do with your heart and your soul and your character. It has to do with being a good person and having a beautiful spirit. And that is what makes you beautiful. Beauty is a state of mind. Not a weight or a bone structure. When you feel good about yourself as a person, have a sense of confidence and openness; your inner beauty will shine through.

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