Piece by: Aurora Roundtree-Vargas
TRIGGER WARNING: This piece discusses body image, disordered eating, and self-harm.
If you or someone you know has been affected by an eating disorder, reach out for help at Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention: 1-800-931-2237.
If you or someone you know is struggling with or contemplating self-harm, reach out for help at Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386.
At six I saw my mother counting carbs and weighing her self when she ate to much, at that age I learned that maybe keeping yourself at a certain weight kept you pretty, the message she would tell me is always love your size no matter what. The lesson she was showing me is counting carbs and weighing yourself mattered more then keeping yourself healthy but at six weight wasn’t even apart of my vocabulary . At the age of fourteen my friends always skipped lunch yet always told their self that they loved what they looked like, at that age I learned body positivity but what they showed was skipping lunch kept weight off you but at fourteen I weighed no less then 140. At the age of sixteen people taught me self harm and starving kept your standards high and men at your feet and self love wasn’t something to believe in. At the age eighteen I saw different things and different people find self love in dangerous things.
I learned that maybe these things such as pills, men and alcohol will fill a void of loving your body but it will only last so long. The older you get , things don’t change the lessons taught, disgusted by things that were shown and using them to fit your life. At a certain age self love and body positivity should be taught but instead it’s shadowed by a soul of a self-conscious mind. People telling you different lessons but showing different results will forever be drilled in your mind because every time a young girl looks in the mirror and grips her tummy and whispers to her self “ I am fat” like its a bad thing. Or when a girl looks in the mirror wishing she could gain weight like its a bad thing to be so skinny. When reaching a certain age, body positivity is about denying all the things people taught and showed you and staring into the mirror and love who you are and love what you have become. Young girls and men are not what they were taught, are not what they were shown and certainly not the comments and the hatred that other people tell them. Skinny, curvy, oversized and all in between are beautiful and loving who you are is more important. Then when you were six and you saw your mom counting carbs or fourteen and your friends skipped lunch or eighteen when you began putting scares on your body to try and erase the pain you had.
Body positivity is something more then just telling yourself you are beautiful its believing that you are even when others tell you differently. Its loving the best and worst parts of you, its loving yourself for when you make a mistake telling yourself that you’re more than just a walking disaster. When you look in the mirror and look at all the curves and dents and marks and skin and bones, your mind will understand why it is important to care about yourself. Body positivity is more then a word its a statement towards loving who you are and who you want to be.
Image by Rachele Cateyes.