The Struggle To Love Ourselves

written by Kay Muñoz

 

Have you ever looked in the mirror, and thought I’m beautiful? No? Maybe? The answer is to be determined, but with society’s body standards consistently changing, it's likely that we have all been in the position where have not liked how we looked. Whether it was because of our weight, our height, or something about our face, we may all come to some kind of agreement that at some point in time, we did not like ourselves.

Like many people, I never enjoyed looking in the mirror because when I peered into it I never saw someone from the magazines looking back at me. I saw a young girl who could never fit in a size 2, who could not wear the latest fashions because very little clothing was made in my size. Thus, one can only imagine how high my self-esteem was.

I hated myself, the way I looked, my weight, and throughout it all, I was utterly unhappy. My family would make jokes at my unknown insecurities. I would chuckle and pretend it did not bother me, because that's what you do when family picks at you—you pretend the jokes don't hurt. But they do; they dig so deep into your being that you begin to believe it.

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"Whether it was because of our weight, our height, or something about our face, we may all come to some kind of agreement that at some point in time, we did not like ourselves."

I struggled with my weight from middle school into college. I began to lose weight without working out, without going to a doctor. I restricted myself from eating: I would eat three times a day, and, at times, it would not be a full course meal. If I had crackers, that would count for a “meal” (although we all know it does not). In high school, I began to dance again, play soccer, and run at night. It helped me maintain my weight.

Once I was in college, I worked out regularly every night and still maintained the three "meals" a day plan. This time, I was a little kinder to myself. As the work load in college became more stressful, I would forget to eat... But it was not something I was not used to. It was a sacrifice I had to make to lose weight and to finally love myself.

However, recently, I gained weight and I realized it as soon as I began to feel uncomfortable in my skin. I began to, once again, dislike the woman I would see in the mirror, all angry and confused as to why I allowed this to happen.

It hit me.

This is who I am.

Being a curvy woman is who I am.

 

I was not being realistic with myself. I will never fit a size 2, and my jeans will always have to be the stretchy material kind of jeans, because straight jeans just will not fit properly. Leggings will always have to have the extra thick material, otherwise, they'll show skin. Why was I hurting myself mentally and physically just to fit into society’s body standards—to, once again, feel the unbearable feeling of self-hate and disdain for my body because society has told me that I have to be curvy, but with a flat stomach.

Let us be realistic: no one looks like the person on the cover of a magazine. Although many magazine brands have attempted to feature more natural-looking women, I think we all still believe that the person on the magazine still does not represent us.

I have not officially come to terms with my body, but I am starting to see that I am the way that I am, because it is the way I look... And it's my body shape that makes me unique... And it's the shape of others that makes them unique.

Body image can really throw one's self-esteem off, but I believe we all, sooner or later, must come to terms with loving ourselves—whether, society accepts our shape or not.