BY KIMBERLY JAHNS
I refuse to hate my body. As much as the media tells me how I should change my body, my hair, my clothes, I try to ignore these negative messages and love my body regardless.
We all have insecurities about ourselves. One of my personal insecurities is my short stature. I love being short, but on some days I feel like a can of sardines, trying to squeeze way too much into my 5’ 3” frame. On my “ugly days,” all I can see is the Michelin Man in the mirror. I don’t want to assume everyone has “ugly days,” but, for me, these are the days I want to snuggle in my bed, wear formless clothing and binge watch anything on Netflix. My dream would be to emerge from this bed cocoon a new and improved Kimberly.
Normally, on these days, I put on my pants, find a cute top and walk out my bedroom door, which is a lot easier said than done. I guess the best way to a compare my version of an “ugly day” is imagine somehow you gained 30 pounds in all the wrong areas, all your clothes now emphasize this larger area of your body and on top of that your skin decided to explode into a sea of pimples. Now try to go outside and want to be happy and contribute to society.
Somehow it’s hard to see beyond these insecurities. Yet I know I am so much more than these fleeting feelings. My body is more amazing and should be worth more than its outward appearance. Every day I go through physical and emotional obstacles, yet no one can see that if there is no scar.
My body is constantly pumping blood through my veins, taking in oxygen and processing the environment around me. I am so harsh to this amazing system that is all mine. It’s like I was given this astounding, intricate computer system and instead of being amazed by all it can do, I decide to hate it and notice the few flaws. Yet here we are with this crazy body system that we are only beginning to somewhat figure out a bazillion years (rough estimate) after the creation of the first humans.
Something I try to remind myself of when I begin to be critical of myself is this: if someone treated me the way I treat myself, would I still be friends with them? The answer in almost all cases is no. I criticize myself with the animosity of a seventh-grade girl clawing her way to be popular. It’s much easier to take criticism from myself than other people.
If someone gives me that look or people snicker at me, I can immediately know what they are laughing at and can feel insecure about that for the rest of the day. The ironic thing is that many times they were probably not even laughing at me, but I was insecure with some part of me that day and took it as criticism.
We are all so worried about the way we are perceived that, at least for me, we rarely remember the way other people present themselves. As long as you have clothes on and your hair doesn’t look like a tangled ball of twine, I will probably not remember the pimple you may have had on your face or how your muffin top was obvious in the outfit you were wearing (even though I’m sure the “muffin top” you think you have is just natural skin any normal healthy person has). I remember the conversation and the way you made me feel, because those were the important parts of our interaction.
I love myself and sometimes that’s a hard fact to remember. I’m sure I will still have “ugly days” in the future, but I always know I am more than the dry skin on my arms or the stretch marks. I love me for my emotions, my experiences, my love for others. I am beautiful whether the world chooses to see that or to see my flaws. I can only control my viewpoint, not the viewpoints of others. And when I choose to be beautiful, I AM beautiful.