Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How I learned to love my body: Part of N.O.W's Love Your Body Day Blog Carnival

Let me start off by saying that this is a work in progress. Some of the things I hated about myself growing up, have become my favorite aspects of me as an adult. But, some things have lingered even into my 24th year of personal growth. And you know what?

That's ok.

Somewhere along the line I started to love myself and realize that no kind of love is 100% perfect, so why expect your body to be 100% "perfect" either? Why not just love things as they are. You've had fights with your friends and family, right? I bet you still love them. So why not love yourself even though that bathing suit from last year might be a little too snug in the behind? 

I'm a rather tall girl. And by rather, I mean I'm pushing 6 feet tall. Growing up, as every girl knows, woman mature faster than boys, so up until about my Junior year of high school finding a boy my height was damn near impossible. So I slouched. And I cried. And I envied my friends who boys weren't intimidated by. As time moved on and I grew a little older I slowly started focusing more on the inner me and less on the outer me. The outer me was a Debbie downer who wanted to diet and stay seated at parties so boys didn't see how tall she was or that tiny muffin top she had. The inner me wanted to grab a milkshake with friends and dance the night away in some super cute high heels.

My photo school project circa 2009!

Inner Annika was way more fun and she won hands down. But as time passed I began to realize that inner confidence has this funny tendency to project outwardly. My positivity became a people magnet and my looks mattered less. Sure, I still wasn't perfect on the outside but loving who I was on the inside eventually grew into loving myself as a whole. I then started focusing less on comparing myself to the others around me and stopped being such a critic of both myself and of them. I surrounded myself with strong, positive people that not only helped me feel better about myself but I added to their lives as well! 

Now instead of hiding my legs under too baggy jeans, I realize they look killer in a dress and some pumps. Big shoe sizes are less common and have a tendency to be on sale more often than "normal" sizes. Tall guys fall all over themselves for a tall girl. The thing I used to hate the most, has now become what makes me, me.

And the great thing is: I didn't "fix" anything about myself. I weigh just as much now (if not more) than I did in those early years of high school, I'm just as tall (taller now that I have the courage to wear heels), I still have a size 11 foot (whoa, I know right!?) and those love handles now harbor an absolutely gorgeous tattoo and are one of my favorite parts to show off.

Brandon at Shamrock Tattoo in Daytona Beach, FL

Do I sometimes feel a little down on myself? Sure! But then I focus on what's really important in life and the blues just melt away. Better yourself, don't try and fix yourself. Be smarter, not shorter (or taller). Be happier and less focused on being thinner. Surround yourself with positive goals and people and pay no mind to the social "norms". Normal is what you are comfortable as and you are beautiful just as you are.

Want more love yourself tips? Hop on over and see how the lovely Halley learned to love herself!

This post is part of the 2011 Love Your Body Day Blog Carnival


Danfredo Rivera said...

Love this post! But SOMETIMES, it's okay to fix the things about your outer self that cause you a tremendous amount of pain and anxiety.

I lost my eyebrows for no good reason and resorted to penciling them in every. single. day. for over four years. It'd make me feel very self-conscious to the point where I'd refuse to make eye contact with Wil after I washed my face at night. This summer, I finally did something about it...I got my eyebrows tattooed and I have NEVER felt happier about myself.

My ass and thighs will always be gigantic no matter how many lunges or squats I do and even with 293875023" heels, I'm still shorter than 99% of the world's adult population, but that's all least I have eyebrows. :-)

Louise @ SS said...

I can totally relate to you - I'm 5ft 10/11 and my feet are a UK size 8.. and all my friends are about 5ft2 and have size 3-5 feet! So I always feel massive against them! Plus they're all really skinny. This has made me feel so positive about myself though!! Thank you! <3
Love Louise xxx

p.s. love the tattoo!

Sarah O'Holla said...

Wow I was that girl in high school too and now I love being tall! I also really love that my husband and I are the same height- when I used to dream about dating someone taller than me, now I'm like- why did that even matter? THanks for sharing your story!

Also @Danfred thanks for sharing too. I think you're right about having confidence to change something about yourself that you don't like.

xo Sarah

Let It Be Raw said...

This is kinda cliche to say but, you go girl! I don't know why, but how come it takes reaching your 20s to finally feel good about your body? I know that some women reach the comfort earlier or later (and I do wish I had learned to love myself earlier) Now, I am happy with myself and my body.

I guess it took some growing up to figure out. This was a really feel good post, thanks for sharing!

waterlilygallery said...

Smart girl (woman actually) And one who always impresses me.

Erin Nieto said...

For me, thirties and forties just helps body image get better and better - learning to let go of those aspirations to be like the photoshopped models and just loving your life for what it is.

And your post makes me wonder: do we really think we're not *supposed* to have at least a small muffin top when we're sitting down? I mean, it doesn't seem physically possible not to have that, yet it's seen as some kind of "imperfection". Diabolical.

Anonymous said...

This is great! I'm glad that you've grown to be comfortable in your own body (I'm still working on it). You're a beautiful person and you have every right to feel good about yourself :)