I have always struggled with my body image. Growing up in front of a mirror will do that to you if you are not careful. The journey of befriending myself and loving myself has been a turbulent one. But I never give up on the love for myself.
When I look in the mirror, I still see her.
Young. Sensitive. Girl. Eyes wide open. Curious. Full of love.
She was 12 the first time she heard it.
You are too big. You need to lose weight.
I can still see her then. I can still feel her then. How much it hurt. The pain. The burning in her tummy. In that moment, she knew what that meant.
In a flash she felt empty.
The fluffy fun clouds of her youth turned into dark storm clouds.
When I look in the mirror I can still see that girl that would constantly pick herself apart in an effort to beat everyone to the punch. Not a girl, not yet a woman. So impressionable. So sensitive. The seed of self hatred was planted. It was growing fast. And she didn’t know how to stop it.
When I look in the mirror I see the girl who put so much effort into keeping herself small.
In every way.
Don’t take up too much space.
Don’t make a mistake.
Don’t raise your voice.
It isn’t that hard. Just fit yourself into this tiny box.
There is no such thing as perfection she hears. But although she knows that to be true, she can’t help but strive for it. Maybe she can achieve it if she tries hard enough. Then she will feel the love again. So she starves. She holds it all in. Her breath barely moves. Her voice barely creaks. She is so ravaged by the fear of being too much that she barely risks to be herself at all.
When I look in the mirror I see this girl who starts to grow into a woman. She knows deeply that something is wrong. She craves expansion but she is scared. So much time spent on being small.
Yet she yearns to break free.
She yearns for space.
She yearns to yell.
She yearns for a love that she remembers as a faint whisper. The love for herself she had as a child.
When I look in the mirror I see the young woman who is courageous. She risks to break free from her own chains. She risks to be loud. She risks to take up space. She risks to love her body for its strength and for it’s ability. She is courageous to make the choice of love.
When I look in the mirror today, I see all the girls that I have been.
I see them smiling at me.
Everyday I make the choice of love for them. I make it for me. For everything I was, everything I am and everything I am meant to be.
When you look in the mirror, can you risk to make the choice of love for yourself. The power for love sits inside of you, waiting for you to choose it. It’s always there and always will be. If you listen closely, you can hear it whisper to you. Let things get quiet. Choose the whisper.
Please. It’s your birthright. It’s your truth.