Posted by Amanda
October 24, 2012
For the past few weeks I’ve been thinking about how to write this post. I knew that Love Your Body day was coming up (October 17th), and I knew that I needed to say something on the issue, but it’s been difficult for me to accept my own feelings while still maintaining an image I’m proud to represent. Over the past 21 years there have been so many things that have inspired me while at the same time having just as many struggles within myself and society. I want to take this time to celebrate 21 things that have had an impact on my view of my body, myself.
1.Let’s start at the (near) beginning: A young girl steps in front of the camera. Before caring what she looked like. Before agonizing over why her hair curled this way or another, before society could damage her inter-personal relations with herself. What happened?
2. This is me during what I now jokingly refer to as the “dark time.” This was when I began to embrace that I hated myself. I hated what I looked like. I hated the way people looked at me, I hated waking up every day being stuck in a body that didn’t allow me to show who I thought I was. So, like many other girls, I covered my face with makeup, hair, and strange faces.
3. Prom… school dances… dress shopping. All of these things bring bad memories. Do you know what it’s like to go to a store and have nothing fit you? It changes from “I want a cute shirt!” to “I need a shirt that will fit me…” Dress shopping was always the worst. My choices were very limited and usually very expensive. I never went dress shopping with even my closest friends. It was an embarrassing experience that I usually still dread to this day.
4. Bad pictures. We all have them. I always believed I was the only one. I have loathed this picture for years. But now I can look back and laugh at it, and realize that this was obviously not a true depiction of who I used to be.
5. Music. Music has been and always be one of the greatest escapes a person can have. I often think about which sense I would hate to lose the most and I have to conclude that it would be hearing. It’s the least judgmental sense you have (well… depends on what you’re listening to I suppose 🙂 ) The Beatles have inspired many, myself included and “Let it be” in particular has impacted my views. Enough so that it inspired me to have the phrase tattooed on me forever.
6.Working with communities who are discriminated based on their looks/feelings. I’ve had many opportunities to work with the queer community and especially the trans people I have met who were not happy with their body – so they changed it. You can change anything about your body you don’t like. It’s even easier to change the way you see yourself. As for everyone else – fuck ‘em.
7. Okay, usually I don’t use body positivity and Victoria’s Secret in the same sentence – but… They created this bra called the “Bombshell” and when I wear it, I feel like a boss. I don’t care if I’m conforming to society’s ideals, it’s what I like and it makes me feel good.
9. My people. Find your people. Use your people. I could not enumerate the impact that Choice USA has had on my life.
10. Being a feminist. Just erase everything you ever knew about social constructions of looks, gender, sex, etc and you will come to peace with yourself. Promise. Find what you love and then fight for it.
13. Change of scenery. Living on the most beautiful campus in the nation (unbiased opinion) makes me appreciate the beautiful things of this earth and all the beautiful people that live on it.
14. It took a great relationship and even more of an amazing person to open my eyes and realize I was so much more than what was in the mirror. This person filled my life with love and inspired me to better myself for me – and no one else. Even though this person has removed themselves from my life, I still remember all the things he taught me.
15. It took having some of the prettiest best friends a girl could ask for – and realizing that they too, had much insecurity despite how perfect I thought their lives might be. Having a best friend with whom you can discuss the grossest things about your body is a rarity. I encourage you to find one.
19. It took coming to terms with my sexuality. Embracing it. Never apologizing for my desires and acting on them, I answer to no one but myself.
21. I’m not ashamed of my body anymore. I don’t try to hide myself. It hasn’t been an overnight process, and it’s a journey that has yet to end. But putting together all the things I have learned and inspired me to be me, I can finally say that I’m Body Positive, and I hope you can be too.