Before I begin, let's get on the same page.
this is not a 'how to'.
there are a number of subjects I feel qualified enough to give tutorials, or "how to" articles on.
"How to use your infinite One Direction knowledge to score you your dream job" - A true passion of mine I wish to share with the world someday.
"How to become best friends with Paris Hilton" - another title I've dabbled with.
And "How to reach the smallest degree of internet fame to the point of being consistently talked negatively about in local group messages around your hometown" - a class I've dreamt of teaching for years.
But "How to love your body" is a topic not included in my repertoire of step-by-step guides.
because... I'm simply no expert.
All I can do is share my thoughts and experiences, and maybe inspire you to stop sending Kendall Jenner hate mail for her god given flawless bone structure.
We good? Let's go.
As a kid, I was wildly confident. I'll paint you a picture.
- Skinny as a rail
- Living on a steady diet of fruit snacks and doritos
- Role model: Britney Spears
I was naturally small, working out daily (kissing tag at recess was my preferred method of exercise) And above anything else, I was just blissfully ignorant. Confidence ran through my veins, but I didn't even know what that meant.
It lasted awhile too. One time, during my sophomore year, I came downstairs for a costume party in cheetah print leggings. My sweet, sensitive, charming older brother pointed out that I was "too fat to pull off that outfit." Now, in normal cases, this is the type of moment that my therapist would circle back to being the root of all my problems, someday years from now. But, it didn't bother me. Seriously. I knew I wasn't fat, and I knew my outfit was cute, so I shrugged it off, and probably roasted him into another dimension, but THE BOTTOM LINE IS I WAS CONFIDENT. That was my state of mind, and it was beaaaautiful. I wish so badly I knew how powerful it was. Because it didn't last forever.
I'll never forget, that same year, a friend of mine at lunch saying "Ugh I really shouldn't eat that cookie."
I was genuinely confused. Did Hailey already call dibs on it?? U lowkey allergic to dairy, sis?
I couldn't figure out why she said that, or why it was a big deal to eat another cookie. I asked why, and she replied half jokingly, "I want to fit in my cheer uniform tomorrow."
I was mind blown. I didn't know girls my age counted calories. I thought that was just a thing for middle aged women fresh out of a messy divorce. Was I supposed to be watching what I ate... already???
And suddenly, without realizing it, I was introduced to a new world.
A world that most women and girls are already well acquainted with. The world of BODY ISSUES.
I was suddenly aware of everything I was putting into my body. I saw an entirely different person in the mirror. Finally, after years of truly believing I was beautiful, I was cut down to size in an instant and all of that natural confidence I had lived with for years, was thrown in the garbage right along with the half eaten crunch wrap supreme (with no tomatoes)
That was 5 years ago. Clearly, you're reading this post thinking that I've come so far in the last 5 years and I'm here to give you the secret on how I overcame my self consciousness.
But nooooope. It's been a rough relationship over the past 5 years. Issues with dieting, body dysmorphia, and just overall not being comfortable in my own skin.
And Let me just say, this is one of my most requested posts. And I have started writing it, countless times over the last two years. (seriously! two years!) But every time I get going, I'll end up stopping half way through, screaming at my computer screen: "HOW CAN I SIT HERE AND WRITE ABOUT BODY CONFIDENCE WHEN I'M NOT EVEN CONFIDENT IN MY OWN BODY!! IT WILL RUIN MY BRAND!!! I'll BE A FRAUD. A JOKE. IT WILL GO AGAINST EVERYTHING I STAND FOR!!!" So I walk away from my laptop, promising to finish the post someday, when I've discovered the secret to loving my body.
but screwwwww THAT.
I did the vulnerable thing. I finished it anyway.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not always soul crushingly insecure. Some days, I'm totally feelin' myself.
Some days I look at myself and say "DAMN SHE THICK."
Some days I touch my own butt, because I can.
Some days I post sexy mirror pictures of my abs, making my mom wish she had given me up for adoption.
And some days (today) I sit in the bathtub, counting my stomach rolls, wishing I still fit into the swimsuit that I wore in Dubai two months ago.
But if anything, that's the secret I've learned.
being "body confident" is not a permanent state. It's a constant work in progress.
We work so hard to love our bodies, as if it's to reach an ending goal. As though someone will hand us a certificate someday and say "Congratulations! You're officially confident in your body!" and we'll never compare ourselves to a Victoria's Secret model again.
But that's just not the reality of it, and I want to be as real as I can with you guys. Especially you youngbloods. The junior high/high school girls. My little tiny's. (How's Logan Paul by the way? Is he still a piece of garbage?? lmk) I could go several angles with this post, but I know there are impressionable minds reading, and I know I have a platform and I want to use it to share stuff that you can't find in 'seventeen magazine.'
First and foremost, whats up. you're not alone. And that's freaking cool. It's sad, but weirdly comforting to know that pretty much every girl to ever live, in the history of the world, has insecurities. Selena Gomez has them. Your mom is does. Your ex boyfriends hot new girlfriend does. I BET EVEN RIHANNA GETS INSECURE SOMETIMES. (too far? yep. thought so too.)
So please let it reassure you that indy blue underscore, that self deprecating girl you follow on instagram who always makes those videos twirling around in slow motion, she's insecure too.
Next, Having a healthy relationship with social media, is so crucial to having a healthy body image.
- Be careful of the media you're consuming. If you scroll down your feed, and a picture makes you feel bad about yourself in any way... say it with me... UNFOLLOWWWW! Unfollow me if you have to! If I annoy you, or make you feel bad about yourself AT ALL, unfollow me. It's just not worth it.
- Remember that people are posting their best photo, and theres probably a pile of 87 rejected selfies in their recently deleted folder. Or 887 if you're me.
- In fact, just don't compare yourself to me. At all. I have a friends with nice cameras and insane editing skills, and I need to be better at posting the real me. The candid photos, and the raw moments. Don't compare yourself to my pretty "set up" perfectly edited travel photos. I'm guilty of this and I promise to be better.
- Don't body shame!! I could spend an entire post on this, but as girls, we know how hard it is to well.... be a girl, right? and we've already discussed how every girl has insecurities... righhhht? So don't body shame. Build her up, and put those insecurities to rest instead.
- Let Instagram be a place for you to catch up with friends, to be creative, to gain inspiration, and to document your memories! That's all it should be.
- Last but not least, just because Bella Hadid is super hot, doesn't mean you're not.
And finally you guys, the final point that took me so long to figure out, but changed my world once I did:
You have to work at self love. Every single day.
Treat this like your new job.
In fact, I relate it to my very first job, lifeguarding at the Lindon pool. It was a good job. Mainly because it was the only place that would hire a 15 year old, but also because my supervisor was way hot.
It was a good job, but a HARD one. You had to go through a series of tests to even get into a training class:
- Tread water for 5 minutes
- Dive to the bottom of the pool and retrieve a heavy brick, keeping it above water as you swim on your back to the other side
- Swim a 300
When you have the endurance of an 85 year old woman and the body strength of a 9 year old boy, this was nearly torture.
That was bad enough, but it was just the beginning. Now we had to actually train to become lifeguards. So I spent another two weeks treading more water and carrying more bricks. (On the plus side I think I really helped the other trainees by almost drowning every 10 minutes.)
After our two week certification training, we still had to try out to be lifeguards. WOULD THIS EVER END?
Tryouts were brutal. However, swimming down to the deep end and retrieving a brick was my specialty at this point. I passed the test, and was waiting for them to hand me my high cut bay watch swimsuit, and officially give me the title of "lifeguard." Instead...they just gave me our training schedule.
MORE. TRAINING??! SERIOUSLY?
Yep! For another month before the pool even opened, we trained four times a week, for 3 hours a day.
NOT EVEN MY HOT SUPERVISOR WAS MAKING THIS WORTHWHILE.
I had been constantly, working for this, non stop, and I still had never even experienced a real day on the job. All the training was making me more and more confident in my skills, but I was anxiously looking forward to the day where I could finally stop training to be a lifeguard, and just be one. But in a way, that day never came. Yes, the pool opened and I wore my basketball length swimshorts with PRIDE (I'm from Utah. Pamela Anderson is a dirty word here.) But even with a whistle around my neck, the training never stopped. (I guess it's important when you're in the business of sAviNG livEs~~ or whatever.) Once the season began, we had weekly tests and trainings to make sure we were up to date on our skills. Not to mention we were constantly being audited. Basically, a supervisor would test us randomly throughout the day. They'd throw a bouncy ball in the pool, and publicly humiliate us depending on how long it took us to notice. They'd bribe punk kids to pretend to drown so they could assess our reactions. It was the most stressful work environment. For three summers, I never felt like I HAD a job, just that I was actively trying to keep it.
So how does this tie in? Sure, I got my certificate. I got my whistle. I was on the payroll. I was in all ways, an employed lifeguard. But I had to train to keep that title, every single day. And it suuuucked.
It's the same thing with body confidence.
Self love is your new job, remember? With every job, comes training, just like my lifeguard training, its going to take a lot of work. This time, with our minds.
We need to be constantly training our minds. We need to train our minds not to bully our bodies. We need to train our minds to think positive thoughts when we look in the mirror. To stop putting our worth into our physical appearance. To treat our bodies, how we would treat our loved ones. To stop comparing them to anyone else's.
And once we think we've got it, once we think we possibly can't train ANYMORE, our minds are going to audit us, test us, and make us insecure for not looking like the latest instagram model. Or remind us of what we used to look like. Or convince us that our bodies are the reasons why boys won't date us, or why companies won't hire us, or why any specific situation in our life isn't going our way.
And some days we'll fail. We'll give into the negativity, And it's gonna suck. No amount of 'training' is going to prevent bad thoughts, or bad days. I want to make sure this part is clear, and I want to make sure that you know that it's okay to have these bad days. It's even okay to have negative thoughts. It means you're HUMAN. Just go back to square one with training your mind, just like you would train to be a lifeguard, or an olympian, or Kim Kardashian's surrogate.
Because that miserable training will be so worth it, for the days that we WIN.
For the days that we celebrate our bodies as the houses that we grew up in. For the days that we recognize them as the vessels for our SOULS, and the incredible things they are capable of. For the days that we see our bodies as our friends.
I know it's not going to come overnight. Being secure in your physical form is really hard work. But let me scream it from the rooftops that IT WILL GET EASIER! It will get easier to love your body, and it will get easier to forgive yourself on the days that you don't.
I mean what do you think happened after three years of me working at the pool?
Two things. I got really good at swimming. And I finally kissed my hot supervisor.
TRAINING BEGINS NOW.