The sad truth is I can remember back to when I was a kid and I can remember thinking that I was too fat. Kids shouldn’t even know what the word fat means, but unfortunately, especially for girls, it is overwhelmingly all around us from such a brutally young age. My parents, since the day I was born, have tried their hardest to ingrain in my mind that I am beautiful, as is my body, and my soul, yet I could never believe them. I am surrounded by positive people telling me “I am crazy” for thinking of myself in this way, and that I am beautiful, yet it means nothing to me if I myself can’t see it.
The mirror has always been my biggest enemy. I have always looked at it with disgust, picking every flaw apart, overanalyzing, and wishing to be something I wasn’t. Wishing I would see a different reflection, wishing my legs were smaller, or my stomach was flatter, that I was a little shorter and much skinner. Never did I look in the mirror and see the good. Everything that I ate that wasn’t within my normal healthy regimen made me feel fat and regretful, immediately. How exhausting and sad is that? I’ll tell you, the answer is very, it’s all consuming actually.
I can remember days where I would just look at myself and cry, or those doctor visits where I would feel anxiety about getting on the scale and how that number then would ruin my day, countless shopping trips that were suppose to be fun but ended in tears…
I am tall, and I am a bigger boned girl and to this day I still struggle with the desire to be “tiny” which biologically is impossible for me. There is of course this notion that tiny is the most desirable look, but why? I absolutely blame society and our unrealistic expectations created by its images and messages, but I also blame myself for feeding into these messages and being the toughest critic possible of myself. I have always, always been my own toughest critic, not just physically, but in everything I do. I struggle with feeling good enough at almost everything, and I struggle with seeing my own talents.
Recently, I have started to take a new stand on my physical appearance, and because of this, I have never felt better. After over 20 years of battling with the mirror I am learning to change my perspective to desire a body of strength and health – not a tiny one. I am, and have been for most of my life, an avid exerciser, but I exercised with the sole intent to loose weight or to not gain weight, which I never felt I was actually doing. I started working with a personal trainer almost a year ago now, and I admit I started it with the hopes of again loosing weight. What I didn’t realize was that it would give me a whole new perspective that has truly changed my life, and more importantly, my attitude towards myself.
I will admit I have lost some weight, which of course, unfortunately, contributes a bit to this attitude change, but more importantly I have changed my ending goal. I am full-heatedly focused on being strong, in shape, and healthy. Strong is the new tiny right? Well, for me it is. I have reached levels of fitness and strength that I never believed I could, and I’ve actually surprised myself on more than a few occasions. I have started to look in the mirror and admire my hard work and myself with much less picking apart and flaw searching. This may sound cliché, but this is the first time in my 24 years on this earth that I have seen progress in my attitude about myself, and to me that is the most amazing gift I could ever receive.
For me, it took training to kick start this new attitude, but it’s not so much the exercise that has brought me to this place, but the feeling of self-accomplishment and reaching new levels and personal goals I used to believe were laughable. It’s that feeling of being proud of myself - this feeling I so seldom could find before. So yes, I have taken my physical fitness to new levels, but really, I have taken my attitude to a level that is so much more fulfilling and fair.
Don’t get me wrong, my body image is still an everyday battle, and I think it always will be for me. This new attitude has only began to blossom, but at the end of the day progress is progress. Being able to look in the mirror and say/think even one good thing about the way I look, and more importantly how I feel, is the most progress I’ve made in my life to this day. Me saying I am proud of myself doesn’t happen often, but I am proud to say it certainly happens more often now. I only hope that I can continue on this positive path, and maybe one day the mirror will actually be my friend.
This is la femme-KayLyn
(For a long, long while, Kay and I have talked about doing a feature on la femme showcasing Kay's journey to acceptance. Together after melding our ideas, we arrived at what is by far the epitome of what la femme stands for. Welcome to it. xo-d)