Sometimes I hate my body.
Yes, the happy and confident woman that you see also has those days. For the most part, I have grown to love myself and what I look like, but yes, I still have those days. And that’s okay.
My journey with body image hasn’t been an easy one. I don’t think it is for anyone. For years, I hated myself because I was never pretty enough or thin enough.
I always based my sense of self-worth on being overweight. Being the “fat girl” was my identity. I hated it. I hated myself.
My self-loathing began when I was a young child. After my parents divorced when I was about 6, I began to binge eat to mask my feelings. My new “normal” was to sneak food from the kitchen when no one was looking.
I became the “fat girl” at school and was severely bullied from kindergarten through the tenth grade. Kids would call me “the Pillsbury Dough Girl” and poke my stomach. My quiet self would just accept their cruel words. I began to believe it after a while.
In high school I continued to be bullied by my peers during my freshmen year and part of my sophomore year. After constant ridicule, I finally stood up to the people who would become my friends. I told them to stop. I gained respect, yet I still hated myself. This self-hatred continued into my first relationships. I allowed myself to stay with a guy who mentally abused me and told me that I could afford to “lose a few pounds.”
During my junior and senior year, I developed an eating disorder. I intentionally skipped lunch every day during my senior year and only ate a small breakfast and dinner. I would immediately do crunches in my room after eating dinner every night. I still hated myself. This guy broke up with me multiple times because I was never good enough or pretty enough. I stayed with him until my freshmen year of college.
I continued to hate myself and my body in college. I gained a lot of weight throughout my first few years. This spiraled even further when my close college friend was murdered during my junior year.
I didn’t know who I was or what I was living for anymore. I began to binge drink heavily. I didn’t want to think. I didn’t want to feel. Despite this, I graduated and made it to the “real world.” I began to thrive in college, but still didn’t have the positive self-regard that I deserved.
It was after college that I finally began to discover myself. I moved to Indiana to work at an all-women’s college where I found myself. I began to gain a sense of confidence and truly began to understand my place in this world. I found happiness. I begin to walk and work out more. I went through periods of losing weight and gaining weight during those three years.
What is important is that no matter what I weighed, I truly began to love myself. I took time to “date myself” and remained single for a few years in order to grow. I eventually ended up falling in love with a man who loves me for who I am and has never made me feel “less than” because of my body. I also fell in love with myself.
So now I am here. I am currently working on being healthier and have committed to a diet. I’m focusing on how I feel, rather than what I look like.
By eating better and exercising, I am mentally and physically feeling better as a person. I love who I am and where I’m going in life. So yes, I still have days when I hate my body but for the most part, I fell in love with who I am.
Take time to fall in love with yourself. Embrace your flaws. Focus on your happiness and realize that you can create that happiness even if you are not at your ideal weight. Know that you are beautiful inside and out.
Remember that this journey isn’t an easy one, but it is necessary. I hope that you find yourself. I hope that you fall in love with the incredible person you are.
Angela Delfine is a graduate student in the Student Affairs in Higher Education program at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She enjoys blogging about self-care, traveling, reading with her cat, painting, eating Pad Thai, and making people laugh. Learn more about Angela and connect: Twitter + Blog + Email.