Mirror, Mirror On the Wall

Breaking Through Society’s Expectations of Self Image and Learning Self Love.

Mirror, Mirror On the Wall

Isabella McAllister, Newspaper Editor-In-Chief

For as long as I can remember I have had a problem with how much I weighed, what I looked like, and how other people saw me. 

Beauty standards in today’s world are nothing less than harsh. They tell young boys and girls what being masculine and feminine is. They tell you what beautiful looks like in skin and bones and obsessions over losing weight. We are told mental health is a taboo thing. Girls in magazines are gorgeous as ever, and here we all are dreaming of the impossible because it is all photoshop and editing. It has never been easy being a woman either. We are told to look, act, and feel a certain way. But why do we strive to look like that? None of it is real. Why do we try to be perfect? PERFECT DOES NOT EXIST.

When I was in kindergarten, I remember one thing that my classmates said that stuck with me forever. We were talking about walruses and the extra blubber that they have to keep warm. She said and pointed at my thighs, “your thighs are pudgy.” Pudgy was one of the words used to describe the fat, walrus that I felt like I was being compared to. 

I remember my friends and I go to the lake one summer and being told that they needed to talk to me when we got back home. As fear shook me, I was told that I was starting to develop stretch marks. I was so innocent and fragile, and that broke me. 

In 3rd grade, a girl would sit in front of me and mock me eating lunch every single day. I carried that with me for the rest of my life. 

I remember being in elementary school and feeling like I was fat and so much bigger than all of the rest of the kids. Because of that one comment, I felt from the beginning of time that I was fat, and that controlled me in ways I cannot even explain.

But by no means was this the case, I was not bigger, not fatter, I was just an average little girl but I always believed I was fat. 

Some people would argue that these moments should not have defined the way that I felt. Maybe they shouldn’t have, but they did. I was young, so therefore I believed that those things that were said about me were true, and I was mocked for a reason. Those things should not have been done to me, but I have grown from it. 

I may always somewhat struggle with feeling overweight or too big because I see so many people that have the ideal version of the perfect body that I want. But I can gladly say that I have never been one of the girls that have chosen to photoshop her photos for Instagram or Snapchat. If you’re one of those girls, there is nothing wrong with that, but why give the world a false sense about the way you look when they will see you walking down the hall and know that it was just editing like the magazines. 

I have always been a very insecure person. I have days where I just want to curl up in a ball and cry due to how I see myself. The sudden urges that make me sick about wanting to change the way I look or how my mind works. But, instead of hating those things about myself I took that and flipped it into a new outlook on my life. 

But after all of that, I have learned to love myself. I love and embrace my stretch marks, and my even little bit of extra “chub” that most people have. I have learned that all bodies are beautiful no matter what size or weight, including my own. I am a woman who is human, strong, and beautiful. 

I have learned to dress for myself and not other people, I know I love piercings and they make me embrace certain parts of my body, and I know that I feel a thousand times better with no makeup on; every day I am finding and doing more stuff for myself. I find myself choosing myself in healthy ways more and more. 

Some people may believe that feeling this way about myself is conceited. While that can be the case I have learned and heard other people agree that this life is the only life we get. We do not get to choose the body that we get. So why should we feel bad and hate what we cannot control? Rather love what we are given and embrace the fact that we cannot and do not get to decide what we look like. 

I can proudly say now that I do not care if I am being looked at, for good or for bad. I do not care to impress skinny judgy girls. I do not care if guys find me attractive or appealing. My body is my own and I am the only one that I am guaranteed forever with, so why breakdown something that I can never escape? Why not love it?

Something that I have learned that has been one of my most important lessons is, “you are your biggest critic.” I see myself in a mirror completely different from the girl I pass in the hall who sees me. I am the meanest person to myself simply, and I will always be my biggest bully. I always had the voice of society and my peers in the back of my head telling me I was too big, not good enough, and too sad. But I am growing away from that self-hate. 

Loving myself has not been easy. There will always be days where I feel more uncomfortable and insecure than others, but that is okay. It is okay to be sad sometimes, and it is okay to want to be alone. Finding and loving yourself for who and what you are is a long journey that doesn’t ever end, and it is a journey that I will continue to fight for the rest of my life, and that is totally okay because I am finding myself.