I’m sure you have all seen this blowing up on your newsfeed on Facebook or floating around on the internet (I first encountered it on Yahoo in the newsfeed), but if you haven’t read this article (http://themanifeststation.net/2014/06/04/i-like-this-picture-of-my-cellulite-a-19-year-olds-journey-to-self-acceptance/) please do!
The title is what caught my attention and when I opened it and read it I seriously felt like crying. Why can’t I be like this girl?! She was able to break free from all the self-doubt and self-loathing that so many of us experience (men and women alike) and decided that it was okay to share a picture of herself that was less than perfect (although I think it’s a pretty awesome picture myself). I mean, I seriously just looked at myself in the mirror this morning after putting on my make up and said “you’re so fat” out loud to my reflection in the mirror (please tell me I’m not the only one who talks to myself).
I have struggled with self-loathing my entire life. I was the largest kid in my classes and I was definitely aware of it. I never could wear all the most popular clothes because they just never fit. My mother wasn’t opposed to letting me know I was a big kid and yet she still fed my ever increasing sweet tooth and bad habits (Do I blame her? Definitely not! I made my own food choices but it might have helped if she didn’t by pixie stix’s and chocolate for me to eat 24/7).
I remember this one time in 4th grade we did a conversion class and used our weight to do the conversions (we were doing pounds to stones and all that jazz). We had to get weighed in front of the whole class and the whole class got to convert our weights. I was the second largest person in the class and I wasn’t that far from the largest. It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. I think that’s definitely when my self-loathing was at it’s peak. We had to do this project about what we liked most about ourselves and I honestly couldn’t come up with a thing. Finally my teacher suggested my hair (I had incredibly long hair) so I went with that.
Another moment I remember was P.E. I despised P.E. I could play the games all day long but we were required to run a mile every Thursday. It was horrible. I was always the last to finish and most often they would just tell me to stop early because I was holding up the whole class. While I was grateful that they let me just stop and not finish and little piece of me died every time because I knew people were watching me and getting mad at me for holding them up and I didn’t get the satisfaction of at least finishing the mile after all the struggle I had to make it most of the way.
To this day I refuse to wear anything (out in public anyway) that goes above my knee or is sleeveless. I’m still a bigger person. I was the biggest I ever was after I had my son and I slowly worked on my eating habits and started walking on my breaks at work and lost almost down to my pre-pregnancy weight (within 3 lbs). Winter happened, I stopped walking and I gained 5 lbs back. I started hating myself even more (for gaining some weight back). There was a time when I was small (I lost a bunch of weight back in high school due to stress and craziness that I might fill you in on one day if I’m brave enough) and I still hated myself. I hated the shape of my face and the shape of my legs, I wasn’t tan enough, I couldn’t wear the cute shoes because my feet are too small, etc… Does it ever stop?
After reading this article though, it made me realize that I’ve pretty much hated myself my whole life. I’ve had cellulite as long as I can remember and stretch marks (the stretch marks intensified after my son). I’m seriously in awe and terribly proud of this girl for looking past what she thought was an awful picture of herself and sharing it anyway. I can honestly say from my point of view I instantly noticed her face and smile first and foremost. I didn’t notice the surroundings or the size of her body or the cellulite for that matter until after a second look and I think I only noticed it them because of a the title.
Is that how other’s see me? Do they only see my good qualities initially and then see my imperfections later? I don’t know. All I can see are my imperfections first and (more often than not) never see my good qualities. Why are we so harsh on ourselves? For me, I think it’s because I’m not comfortable in my own skin and probably never will be. I’m not even comfortable in my own clothes lol. Why are we so afraid of being judged should be the real question I think. Why do I care what others think? Why do I care what others say? It’s because we all want to be accepted. We never want to feel like people are talking about us or making comments about us, but is that egotistical of us? Why should we think that people even care a hair about what we have on? They don’t always see you or think about you. They walk by you and don’t give you a second glance or thought. Why is it that we think people constantly think about us and analyze us? People have better things to do to be honest.
But then there’s that voice in the back of your head that knows that someone has said something or thought a thought in there head that’s not the nicest thing in the world. One day I will reach the level of this awesome girl and push past that incredible fear and just lay everything out there for people to see (not literally…I’m not walking around half dressed in public I swear!). This article didn’t state that the girl didn’t still have those fears of being judged or that she didn’t care what people thought. She finally just accepted who she was and decided that she would embrace her perfections and imperfections alike. That’s why this simple act of sharing a photograph speaks to so many: because she finally didn’t necessarily care what people thought or what she thought of herself. She just shared a picture and let it speak for itself.
I think we could all learn a lesson from her. Keep sharing those gorgeous pictures and setting an example for the world…