By: Susannah Hutcheson, Regular Contributor
Body image is a subject that’s been discussed since early childhood. Society often tells us who we need to be: thin, poreless, and hairless (everywhere except for the long and flowing locks on our head, of course). We needed to wear a certain brand of jeans, buy our bras from a certain store in the mall, have the cutest backpacks, and, on top of all of the physical pressures, society’s plastered “BE YOURSELF” over everything. How are we supposed to compete with that? How are we supposed to be ourselves while being who everyone else wants us to be?
About two years ago, I moved off to college. All of my friends went to a different school than I did, and I felt so alone. As soon as I settled into my dorm, I considered transferring and going back home. Then, to top it all off, my parents announced that they were getting a (very messy) divorce. I got drawn into myself almost immediately. If I wasn’t driving home for the weekend, I was hunkering down in my dorm room eating. It’s how I dealt with everything. It was super unhealthy, but I dealt. I quickly gained thirty pounds, and you know what comes with gaining weight super fast? Stretch marks. But then something happened. I realized that I couldn’t control what was going on in my life anyways- and food certainly wasn’t going to do it for me. I became happy again. The weight began to come off (albeit slowly), and I ventured back into the world again.
But as soon as I thought I rediscovered happiness, I started noticing where the stretch marks had popped up. I literally let them consume my life. I spent every waking moment trying to scrub them off, buying random products, and attempting to erase the ugly scars. I would spend time staring at myself in the mirror, thinking that I was never going to get past them and no one was ever going to like me.
Dramatic, right? Completely and ridiculously dramatic. You know why? Because stretch marks don’t make a person. Wrinkles don’t make a person. Weight doesn’t make a person. What makes a person who they are are their moments, and laughter, and sadness, and fears, and hopes, and, most importantly, dreams.
I am completely aware that everyone has things about themselves that they are uncomfortable with. Everyone has fears and self-image issues. Everyone has things they notice when no one else does. And I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t matter. You really are perfect just the way you are.
You are not the dimples on your thighs.
You are not the frizzy hair on your head, or the flat hair, or the curly hair, or the wavy hair.
You are not the size of your chest or your thighs.
You are not the brand of clothes you wear.
You are the freckles that sprinkle your nose after getting a little sun.
You are the way you make other people feel.
You are the giggle you get when something makes you laugh and no one knows why.
You are the dreams in your head.
You are you.
Do not ever underestimate that, and do not ever forget it.
You are awesome.
Let's chat! How do you overcome your insecurities? When do you feel most like yourself? Tell us about it here!
Susannah is a Journalism major, passionate about social justice and Jesus Christ. She loves cold weather, triple-shot lattes, and macaroni and cheese. When she’s not writing papers or baking cookies, you can find her Googling random things on the Internet or watching large amounts of reality television. You can read her ramblings at ileftamessinthekitchen.wordpress.com, or look at pictures of her coffee on Instagram: @susannah.beth.
image via http://lovenaturalsunshine.tumblr.com/