Learning to Love Myself

I am a big girl. I always have been despite trying to change my appearance on numerous occasions. I have fasted, I have skipped meals, I have done gyms, I have done diets…I have done it all. No matter how many times i have lost weight, i find myself back to being a big girl. Is this how I’m suppose to be ? I have been body shamed, I’ve been bullied, I have been called fat, ugly, disgusting, I was even called a mongrel.  I was told that I could not do adventure races, climb mountains or run a 10k race. Well I did go on to do those things and to be honest, the majority of activities i competed in was to prove to others that I ( a plus size person) could. I guess, in a sense, I was seeking approval that I could be a plus size person and still do what others do. I may be fat but I am worthy of inclusion. I have accomplished so many other wonderful things in life but i often feel my achievements are often overlooked and forgotten about because I am not the perfect size 10 with loads of friends with a perfect social life.

I have spent years trying to create happiness based upon societal opinions of what lives should be like in order to be worthy or acknowledged as perfect. But constantly trying to conform with other peoples definition of happiness and love divided a wedge between who I thought I was and who I want to be.

I was the fun one to be around always making jokes but inside my heart was filled with sadness. I was always considered the confident one but the truth is, I do not have any of self-esteem. I was masking. The reality was I was creating a noise to drown out people’s hurtful opinions about how I look and my own self-criticism.

At the weekend, was shown a picture of myself that was taken recently. I looked at the photograph for what seemed an eternity and all I could see was this woman and all the changes she would have to make for society to deem her eligible for acceptance. I see someone who does not like themselves because society said its not ok to be fat and that fat is ugly.  I seen a woman in the picture who would need to lose weight, get a tan, put makeup on, get their hair and nails done just to be on the bottom step of the pretty ladder. I see someone who was hurt, who endured sadness, who had to fight to get where they are. I also see someone who just wishes that she could tell herself look beyond the exterior of her own body and love herself just the way she was, but I could not.

That night I cried. I cried a lot. I just could not believe that the woman in the photograph was me. It was a realisation that I was not happy despite smiling and laughing and having fun with friends. I realised that happiness and love would only happen if it began with myself.  

And like peeling an onion, these past few days I have been asking myself questions like what makes me happy and how can I learn to love myself? Although it may not seem difficult for some to find such answers, I’m finding it hard.

Its going to take a while but I have trust in myself that If someday, I see a photograph of myself, I’ll  realise that the woman I see in the picture is who she is suppose to be and I love her because of that.

Bridget x

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