Body Image and Lies that Crippled me for Years

Two years ago, I would have never imagined writing this blog. But after writing a rough draft of my novel, where I placed some of my biggest insecurities on display through my protagonist, Ryden, I feel confident that it’s time for me to be vulnerable about my insecurities. So hello internet, this is the most vulnerable thing I have ever done. But I truly believe people need to hear this to feel less alone.

There are so many times I have felt utterly trapped in my skin and have desperately wished my body could be anything but what it is. To just write this makes me cry, because it’s so sadly true. But my tears I have right now also fall, because that is such an ugly, twisted lie that millions of people believe when they look in the mirror daily. I think about all of the young women in elementary, middle, or high school who look in the mirror and abhor what they see. The petite young women in high school, like I used to be, who look at themselves and think something needs to change because they are “not enough.” You are enough and you are perfect just as you are, and I wish I could’ve told my younger self that.

I have told myself so many lies based on my body, including:

  • My skin is ugly
  • My nose is too big
  • I’m not tall enough
  • I’m too skinny
  • I don’t weigh enough
  • I don’t have enough curves
  • My body is not deserving of love

And perhaps the worst lie I realized two years ago that I’ve told myself for years subconsciously:

  • You will not be loved because you don’t have boobs

These are my lies I’ve lived with since adolescence, and I cannot say I simply got rid of the lies because that would be a lie too, but I’ve realized how essential my unique body is and that I need to stand up for the other women who look like me, because they are likely silenced by their lies right now. It’s so scary and yet so liberating to be sharing this with you right now.

This might sound corny, but if you could please participate, I want you to do this with me. Find a piece of paper and write down all of the insecurities you’ve had over the years about what you look like. I will write mine down.

Have your list? Good.

Now I want you to rip it up and throw it away.

The physical act of throwing it away is so impactful. You are free. You are not those things you wrote down. You are worthy of love despite all of your imperfections and those insecurities don’t define you. Not anymore.

Every single thing you wrote down is a LIE and that is the TRUTH.

For years, I let my insecurities silence me. For years, I let myself feel isolated and alone in these insecurities. For years, these insecurities won and sometimes these lies try to creep back into my system. Sometimes they float around in my system for a little while. But they never stay, because I know I’m my own worst enemy. I know I pick up on little things no one else does about myself, things that don’t even matter. I believe I was given this body for a reason. I believe there is something out there that wants me to feel inadequate and insecure.

I know I’m just like every other human on this planet because I have doubts about my body.

Our bodies are unique, and because of that, there are numerous insecurities we have about ourselves that we feel alone in. But the truth is we are not alone. Maybe someone doesn’t understand what it’s like to be petite like I do, but they know what it’s like to look in the mirror and disapprove of what they see. To look in the mirror and doubt that anyone could ever accept what’s there besides your family. These are lies that the devil of my belief system (or whatever the equivalent is for you) will take and run with, to convince you that you are not deserving of love, whether romantic, familial, friend-wise or spiritual.

It’s hard. I know it’s hard to love what you see. But whether you can see it for yourself or not, know that you are perfect just as you are. You are enough just as you are. You don’t need to change for anything or anyone. You don’t need certain clothes or shoes or makeup or a hairstyle to be seen as lovable.

This is your one body. Love it as much as you humanly can… which means sometimes you won’t love it. So when the doubts start creeping in, step away from the mirror, walk outside, and look at the beauty in the people around you. They possess the same beauty that you do. You know how you pick your friends up when they talk themselves down? You deserve that kind of self-talk, too.

Your body is perfect, so get used to that beautiful truth. Even when you don’t feel like it is.

~Annah

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Care About Apathy

“Yeah, being apathetic’s a pathetic way to be. But I don’t care… what matters to you does not matter to me.” ~Relient K [Apathetic Way to Be]

We live in an incredibly individualistic culture. Everyone talks about pursuing their own personal dreams and forging a path in the world for themselves. So many people have started acquiring this mindset that you stick to your own life, I’ll stick to mine, and don’t you dare touch my life because it’s not yours.

We have become an apathetic and emotionless people. But this isn’t about something trivial like where to go to dinner or how to fill our time. No, it’s something much more important—we don’t make an effort to care about anyone else’s lives. It’s as Relient K sings: “What matters to you does not matter to me.” Whether college students rushing to complete their personal checklist for the day or traffic jams of impatient people all in a rush to run personal errands, I look around at my fellow self-centered humans and it’s kind of terrifying. There are times when I do the same thing out of habit because it’s easy, and that’s scary. It’s so easy to be self-centered.

We are fine sticking with the shallow and the surface level. No one wants to dive deeper into the uglier or more serious parts of others’ lives. Don’t mess with me if I have to head to work or I’m in the middle of my me time. Not to mention electronic communication is easier for us to use over face-to-face or even telephone calls. We skip the hard conversations or if we touch upon them it’s not in person, because that makes us too vulnerable, doesn’t it? We don’t want to prove we have deep emotion and we are not satisfied with our lives. We don’t want to be anything but apathetic. We want to keep our cool around other people.

This results in many things, including depression and feelings of isolation. People suffer in silence alone in their houses with their joyless possessions. My heart aches because we all fall prey to self-centeredness or self-pity—we love focusing on ourselves day in and day out. This apathy for other people persists. It’s a trap that is so easy to fall into and almost impossible to get out of.

I want to challenge this idea of apathy and individualism. I believe we were made for community. We need other people to thrive and we need to spend more time doing things for other people. We all have a desire to be wanted and to be loved. That means having intentional conversations, it’s going to be hard, and you’re going to have to open yourself up to others and show your weaknesses.

When I’ve felt super down about my life it has always helped to pour more of myself into others’ lives. There are so many hurting hearts and they need the love we can give them.

We were made for passion and emotion. If nothing else, you should care about apathy.

~Annah