I always wanted to be skinny.
I never wanted curves, or to be bigger than the rest of my friend group. Ever since the days of changing clothes for P.E. in grade school, I had wished that I was slimmer. No stomach poking over my pants, no avoiding tops that made me look too mature for my age, no being afraid to state my pants size among those who ranked in the lower digits while I was in the doubles. I wanted the body of a typical model and for years I was so angry with myself for not being able to change it.
Then, suddenly, black women with curves became “the thing”. All of the songs talked about “thick” girls with huge chests and little waists. And suddenly, society was glorifying what made me hide in the corner of locker rooms while changing. So instead of trying to get the perfect body that was different from my own, I started trying to overperfect the body that I had. I wanted a little waist, so I tried to stop eating. I wanted a huge butt, so I would squat until I was almost in tears. And as soon as I thought I lost too much weight, I just stopped working out completely. I was driving myself mad trying to get a trendy body and keep up with what I saw, because I thought that what I saw was everything I needed to be.
But one day, I was walking around campus and someone stopped me. She looked at me with beaming eyes and said “You’re body is amazing. I wish I had it.”. My jaw dropped for the simple fact that I never would’ve said the same for myself. I had always thought my body was mediocre as best, and that while I may have had a few good qualities nothing ever seemed to truly come together. But someone loved everything that I couldn’t stand about my body, so why was I constantly trying to change it?
Your body is your body. Someone would kill to have your thighs. Someone wishes they were your height. The way you look in that dress, is the way someone else wishes they looked in theirs. We often find ourselves trying to be what we think is better, rather than what is best for us. The difference between the two will give you peace of mind, a much more noticeable confidence, and much needed self appreciation. I am still on my journey, but I have grown so much in learning to appreciate what I have instead of dwelling on what I do not.
I will leave you with this: your version of beautiful does not become less beautiful when you see someone with a different version. Beauty is fluid: it changes shape, form and size constantly but always remains beautiful, no matter who is standing next to it. Remember: the sunrise and the sunset are two beautiful things that are never jealous of each other.