Author: Alex K.
I am not my body, and neither are you. I cannot stress enough how heartbreaking it is that many of us hold how we look and what others think of us so highly. I have never once in my life been truly happy with the way I looked, and I’m sure I’m not the only person in the world who can say that. I can’t exactly say why we think this way, whether its media, today’s culture, or just how our minds are programmed, but what I can say is that we cannot think this way any longer. Although not everyone gets to the low level of the eating disorder that I had or even has an eating disorder at all, I’m sure every single person looks in the mirror and feels some sort of insecurity from time to time. So many times, we let our insecurities stop us from doing what we love to do or from being who we are.
Personally, I have never been happy with my body, at my lowest or highest weight. I have let my body affect the way I dress and how I act around others. The constant stress my mind puts on my self esteem weakens the strong personality that I would have had if I could just be confident and happy in my own skin. Everyday, my mind is consumed with when I can workout and how I will lose weight, even after going through a recovery program. This is just how some of our minds work. I walk around comparing myself to others and wishing I could be as beautiful as them. I am constantly feeling my body and wishing I could be skinny again. Why did I have to gain so much weight? Why can’t I love my body again? But, I stop myself when I can and remind myself that I’ll never be happy with how I look on the outside. It shouldn’t matter how I look or what others think. We are NOT our bodies. Our bodies do not get us jobs. Our bodies do not maintain our friendships. Our bodies do not define the amount of love we give and take from others. Our bodies do not help us graduate college. Our bodies don’t define our talents.
I have lived to much of my life wasting a beautiful day hiding behind my mind and tearing myself down. I am afraid to talk to boys because I’m afraid they will think I am too fat. I am afraid that I am being judged for the weight I put on after recovery. One of the hardest things for me is having people look and see pictures of me at my lowest weight and make a comment on how much I have put on. I am HEALTHY now, not just physically but mentally. As I have said in past blogs, I will always have an eating disorder, but I don’t avoid social events anymore, I don’t force myself to skip meals, I try and live a normal and healthy life. I have learned that life is so much more than how we look. If we are confident in our own skin, we will look more beautiful than ever. What will it take for us to learn that beauty is on the inside? It amazes me that we can’t see beauty in ourselves because we may dislike the way we physically look, but we can meet a person who is beautiful on the outside and ugly on the inside and view them negatively. We don’t like people based only on their looks. Why can’t we tell ourselves this? Why do we have to let our self-hatred stop us from eating, make us workout hours on end, and ruin the relationships with those around us?
We spend too much time looking at ourselves in the mirror, naming the things wrong with us, and not enough time saying what we love about ourselves: this stops us from seeing the beauty within ourselves that other people happen to see! In one, five, or ten years, we will change, both mentally and physically. We are constantly changing, and sometimes life gets in the way of the way we want to look but no longer can. That, however, doesn’t change the other important aspects of our lives.
You are not you body. You are the person God put on this world to do amazing things and live an amazing life. We cannot do that by wishing we were someone we are not. Embrace your “thunder thighs”, your love handles, your tummy fat, your thigh gaps, your sometimes-bad skin, your super skinny arms, or whatever it may be that you beat yourself up about everyday, because, in a year, who knows what you’ll look like. All that will matter then is that you’re mentally healthy and doing what you love to do with your time. Life is so short, and I’ve learned that years go by so fast. I’ve learned that as I wasted 4 or more years of my life trying to be as skinny as possible and trying to recover from anorexia and bulimia, I missed out on some of the things I will never get back. I believe everything happens for a reason in life, and I believe that the one thing that will happen in all of our lives is that we will experience something or grow as a person in order to finally realize that our beauty and radiance comes from within us.