She is young. She is impressionable. She is naïve. She is innocent. She strides confidently across the playground in her pink converse and beat up flare jeans. The rainbow beads on the ends of her cornrows cling together every step she takes. She is happy. She is 10 years old June. She has yet to know what heartbreak is, or what it's like to actually care about how you look. Or how you speak. Or what it's like to cry over a boy, who is nine times out of ten not worth the tears. These are the days I so desperately wish I could go back to.
Back then things seemed simpler. The only things that preoccupied my mind was who I was going to play with at recess or if the cafeteria was serving my favorite that day (square pizza was my weakness). The only boys I'd think about were the occasional little crushes I'd have that I never really acted on. This June was genuinely confident. I mean, why wouldn't a ten year old be? Now fast forward 3 years. She is still... naïve, still impressionable, still innocent. But she now notices the way her stomach isn't quite as flat as that other girls. She now notices the way her nose isn't quite shaped the same way (Insert Random Girl name here) does. She notices her curves developing in some places and lacking in others. She doesn't like the way her thighs touch or how big they look when she sits down. Her beaded cornrows have been replaced with relaxed and straightened hair. She seconded guesses having a second slice of pizza. She is insecure.
I remember the first time I actively started bringing myself and my body down. it was on my 13th birthday. I spent it poolside with my family in Florida, embracing the warm June heat and cooling waters. I wore a yellow stripped bikini. I suddenly hated wearing bathing suits. I felt too exposed. As I sat down next to the pool, I looked down and saw how my stomach overlapped over pockets of fat. I remember saying "I am so fat" out loud, only to have my aunts immediately tell me otherwise. Fast forward five years. She is still insecure. now more than ever. She is hurt. She is heartbroken. She is now not so innocent. Her insecurities have strayed her towards paths she never thought she'd come across. At 18 years old I struggle with my body image and self esteem. I'm exhausted of having battled with my insecurities for so long. they always get the best of me. They have complete and utter control of everything I do. I can honestly say they have taken over my life. From the moment I wake up to the time I lay my head down to sleep, there isn't a moment I'm not doubting myself or wondering how I look.
My freshman year of high school was the time I did something I'm not proud to admit. I let it sit in my head for so long that if I didn't attain a certain look, I wasn't going to be good enough for me or anybody. For a while I had been sabotaging my eating habits. From skipping meals to binge eating to restricting myself from certain foods. But mostly I found myself binge eating due to emotional distress I'd keep pent up inside. One day during lunch, I hadn't eaten for a bit and I couldn't take it. I got my school lunch and ate the whole tray in less than five minutes. My friend pointed out how fast I was eating. I hadn't even realized how fast is scarfed everything in. I instantly hated myself for doing that. I threw away the rest of my food and went into the bathroom. I felt as though the only solution was to make myself throw up the food. I stood over the toilet and began to make myself throw up. Finally I did and I felt satisfied. This began my bad habit of forcing myself to throw up every time I felt I ate too much. I was so ashamed but couldn't seem to stop. Up until this day I never told anyone of this horrible habit. Once I realized I wasn't seeing any results I began to stop slowly. From time to time I still find myself considering throwing up. I know it's not good for me in the long run but my insecurities have gotten the best of me. I now had to find a new way to feel that same satisfaction.
I am constantly one way or another unconsciously seeking validation from my counterparts. Whether it be male or female. Whenever I date, those guys fill that empty void of self love I've neglected for so long. They bring me up and make me feel like I'm actually worth something. Like I'm actually beautiful. Then sooner or later, those relationships dissipate and so does that happiness that it brought. I'm left thinking that it must be something that's wrong with me that made the relationship falter. My insecurities grow like mold in a dark wet room. Finding happiness and validation in other things is something many of us have probably done before whether we realize it or not. it's probably the worst thing you could do to yourself and your self esteem. When you are relying on someone else to bring you happiness, it's never guaranteed. I wish I could say I have found happiness in myself. I wish I could say I don't care what others think. I wish I could be happy on my own, but it's still a work in progress. Building up confidence won't happen over night. It'll take time. One thing I can say is that I am slowly starting to accept myself little by little. I hope one day I can say that I find happiness in myself and be the most confident person I know. I hope anyone reading this who might be struggling with the same thing finds that within themselves too.