This is her story.
My journey towards a positive body image was a long one, but I got there in the end! My journey starts right back when I was a child in primary school. I had never been a slim girl, and I noticed from a young age that I was a lot bigger than others my age. I was a dancer, and I did dance competitions on the regular. Being surrounded by slim girls in leotards was a pretty big pressure as a young child as I couldn’t understand why I looked different.
This continued right on into my teen years, with similar experiences. The older I got, the more it affected me. I would keep thinking about what I had done wrong and how all of my friends and peers seemed to look perfect and I didn’t.
I always struggled with food, but I couldn’t be the only one who struggled this way? I would go shopping with my friends, and I couldn’t try on anything when my friends were. Firstly, because we shopped at different stores, and secondly because I was always too embarrassed by the way I looked in clothes.
This meant that I spent most of my teenage years embarrassed by my looks and completely confused and upset by my body. Not only did I have to deal with the increased awareness of my body as I got older, but social media was also a big contributor to the way I felt. As much as I tried to admit that I didn’t care what I looked like in comparison, deep down inside I did.
Being a dancer, the pressure was even more than the average teen. I would constantly be told by my teachers that I needed to work harder, harder than everyone else because I had limitations. I was told that I would never be able to succeed in the dancing world, which to be honest it was true, but it was my passion. Fortunately, I never gave up, but it did take a toll on my body image.
When I entered young adulthood, I started finding really positive communities where people supported each other and I could move into space where I really loved my body. I will admit that this took a lot of time and practice, but I got there eventually. I found that if I used my social media in a positive way, and I used the energies of those around me, the better I was able to help myself feel.
Now, please don’t think I feel perfect about my body all the time now, because that’s far from the truth. I still have moments where I think why me?! But, I have an appreciation for what my body can do, what it’s been through, and what I can do about it. It isn’t always easy sailing, but when you start to love yourself for who you are, both inside and out, it’s definitely an easier road.
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If you want to share your story, send me a message on firstname.lastname@example.org and let's bring more awareness of the importance of a positive body image together!