Every week I fluctuate between being happy with how I look and absolutely hating it.
When I first started thinking I was fat, I was 21. Looking back at photos of myself at that age – it’s painfully obvious how wrong I was. But at the time, I was completely distraught over how I could no longer fit into my favourite size zero dress or how I didn’t resemble a literal pencil anymore. Then I moved to Spain. As a vegetarian, not only did my social life rely heavily on carbs and cheese – but my mental health did too. My depression in Madrid was at an all time low and sometimes the only thing that fixed that was a baguette smothered in alioli.
And so the obvious happened, I gained weight.
Now I’m approaching 25 and long gone are the years I could eat anything and not worry about it. This is where the Internet cries “body positivity! You’re beautiful! Love yourself!” (not my Internet, I still get the occasional hate comment calling me fat despite not being relevant online since 2012). And I get it, because I do it too. I hear people complaining about their weight and I’m all up in their face telling them how wrong they are – and I’m being honest! But it’s hard to apply those ideologies to yourself.
Logistically speaking, I know I’m not the monster I make myself out to be. I buy size 8s and 10s depending on the day and know deep down that I’m not in any danger of ill health. But when I think of myself, I picture how I was at 18 or even 21. So sometimes when I see myself, it catches me off guard. I find it hard to accept that this is what I look like now.
Somedays I look in the mirror and think I might even look good and that I don’t need to go back to how I was before. I’ll buy a size 8 shirt that properly buttons over my boobs and think I’ve cracked it. But then I’ll take a bad picture or look frumpy in my favourite shirt and the cycle starts all over again. Like last week, when I downloaded a calorie counter app.
I know I’ll never be as tiny as I was at 18 and sometimes I feel okay with this. Other times I feel that life won’t be complete until I have a flat stomach again.
But I don’t want to feel this way. I want to be healthy and look my best, sure – but not at the extent of my happiness. I’ve spent way too many lunch hours forcing kale into my mouth for one lifetime. So here’s what I need to remember:
- Stop paying attention to labels because they clearly make no sense anyway
- There are ways to fix a bad day other than a giant cheesy pizza
- Not everyone I meet is silently judging me on my weight
And so, in an attempt to truly get rid of these toxic beauty standards I hold myself too – here’s some super flattering upward angle photos. Behold, my many chins in all their glory.
Maybe one day I can stop letting this consume my life.