How Do I Ever Feel Beautiful Again?

Every thing is beautiful, but beauty isn't everything.

Have you ever wondered why you haven’t done something you want to? Big or small, there’s something you want to do, or something you want, and you know very well what needs to happen in order to achieve your wants… yet you don’t do it. You pine for what you want, you are sad really, yet there you sit. You don’t do what is required of you. I’m sure, like me, you don’t wonder why it hasn’t happened yet — you know very well why — because you haven’t done a damn thing to acheive it. And still. You do nothing, you just dream.

Why do we hold ourselves back? Is it fear of failure? It’s only impossible if you think it is. Is it a combination of lack of self-control and total laziness? You just can’t get yourself to do what is required, regardless of knowing it will lead to the results you want. Could it possibly be it’s not something we truly want, we don’t realize what we’re longing for is something different than what we percieve that we want.

When I look in the mirror, as I have plenty of times in the past, I am not satisfied. There was a time in my life where I spent 3 hours at the gym every day. I was toned, tan even. I felt so good about myself. Yet here I am, 5 years later, and a few sizes larger (which is very easy to do when you were a 0 before). I am by no means large, but I’m not what I used to be. And I know very well what needs to be done, even if not in the extreme manner it was before. It’s not just eating healthy or less, it’s about working out — something I just can’t seem to get myself to consistantly do. Why? Perhaps it’s because I don’t necessarily want to be skinny — I just want to accept my body how it is. I want to love myself for who I am, how I look on the outside. It has been driven into my being that I must be thin to be happy, to like how I look, so I long to be thin and fit when in reality, I don’t have to be thin and fit to LOVE myself, I have to accept who I am at any size. How do I go about changing that?

Growing up I was a “twig.” I had long, lanky legs (but not as long and lanky as my older sister) and until some time in middle school, maybe early high school, I was tall for my age (you know, until I stopped growing). When I hit puberty I filled out quickly. I had hips and a chest — in middle school terms, I was FAT. I was not like the rest of the popular girls, thin, with no shape. I felt terrible. And it only got worse as I got older. People were mean, and as it goes — I became mean to myself. I developed an eating disorder, had absolutely no self esteem, and I thought nothing could ever help me, I was an ugly duckling. Believe it or not, I had a boyfriend who told me I was beautiful every day — but I didn’t see it. I never did. All of high school I binged and purged, I restricted, I fasted, I nearly failed classes due to concentrating so much on gaining what I always wanted — to be skinny and pretty. After high school is when it got serious, I joined a gym. It took quite some time for me to get comfortable with going, I always felt so silly so I’d make my good (male) friend go with me. He played football in high school and was in pretty good shape so I looked to him for advice, to tell me what I needed to do in order to see results. Soon after I was going to the gym every day, whether or not he came with me. I made sure I burned at least 300 calories in 30 minutes on the eliptical before beginning my weight routine (competitive with myself, I slowly but surely began trying to beat my previous record, 300, 310, 330, continuing how many calories I burned per 30 minutes until I was close to 450.) I then visited every machine for every part of my body — the slightly OCD me couldn’t work out one area every day, everything had to be equal, everything had to be worked out. I had never felt better about myself! I did it! I’d see people from high school and they were in utter shock. I gained a sort of confidence from this, I did well in community college and ultimately decided to transfer to a four year university. It was then that I didn’t go to the gym all the time again. I put on a tiny bit of weight, and slowly, 3.5 years later, I’m pretty much back where I was in high school (although this time, I’m not fat, I look like the rest of the women my age.) And yet I still strugle with what looks back at me in the mirror.

How do I change this? Is it wrong to need something to keep the confidence? What’s so wrong with needing to work out, to keep yourself in good shape, in order to have confidence. But why can’t I just have that confidence without working out? Without being a certain size? Part of me thinks it’s perfectly fine to to feel good about yourself when you’re working out, being active, and eating healthy. But part of me also realizes I shouldn’t have to do those things to feel that way — it should just help. It should just be an addition to already feeling good about what I see in the mirror. I hear that I’m beautiful, and sometimes I think I know that I’m beautiful, regardless of being able to see it myself, or believe it myself. If enough people have told me I am, it must be true right? Why do I then only feel beautiful when I’m a size 0, with long hair, a tan, and good clothing? And how come I can’t movitave myself to workout? To do what is required of me to feel the confidence I so desire? Is it subconcious rebellion? A deeper side of me resisting, telling me NO, you don’t need that. Or is it weakness, something in me telling me even if I tried, I’d fail? Even though I did it once, I’ll never do it again? Has utter laziness taken over me? Who cares? Why work out when you can sit on the couch and eat these cookies? Because while I want to be skinny, I also want to eat whatever the hell I want. How do you change a life long way of thinking? I don’t remember a time when I didn’t think I needed to be skinny to be pretty and happy.

It’s crazy how I am a victim to society telling me what I need to feel beautiful — especially because I see so much beauty in every one else, in every thing else. Maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be: I see beauty in others, in every thing in the world, in exchange for seeing the beauty in me. I guess in a way I wouldn’t change that.

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