Today was an emotional day for me. Every morning I leave my desk, change into an old tee, my yoga pants, and sneakers, and run for 3 miles. Some days are harder than others, some days I feel like I'm really kicking ass, and other days (like today) it's not even about running at all.
I've always had body issues. I know, I know. Join the club - isn't that part of being a woman in America... hating your body? Each day I start my morning examining every single dimple and bulge and flaw and I end my day re-examining and hating even more. It's exhausting. And furthermore, if another person dared to speak to me the way that I speak to myself I don't think that I would continue being around them.
In middle school I dated a boy for an entire year even though he was abusive. I ate saltines for lunch and I believed him when he told me that nobody would ever love me except for him, because I was ugly.
Even though I wore a size 0-2 jeans throughout high school, I still allowed people to make fun of my body, I still starved myself, and the hatred for my body continued to grow.
In college I abused my body by flooding it with alcohol and other drugs. I punished myself for every calorie that I "over-indulged" in. I took diet pills and settled on a certain way of life with certain people because... I was ugly.
I started exercising on a regular basis this year, because I was tired. Tired of hating my body, tired of allowing people to abuse my body, and tired of settling on unhealthy people because I didn't think I deserved any better. Not too long ago, I was having dinner with a close girlfriend and I said to myself "she's too pretty to be hanging out with you." I began thinking that I was embarrassing people because I was the "fat girl" in the group. I hated taking pictures because I didn't want to be reminded of how ugly I was or how fat I had gotten. I cringed when my boyfriend would grab my waste because "how could he love this body?".
I hope that as you are reading this, you are thinking how immature and idiotic this all sounds. I am not extremely overweight and even if I were, the people in my life are not there simply because of my pants size. My boyfriend doesn't date me because I can still fit into clothes at Forever21 or American Eagle. My friends don't enjoy my company because I count calories and restrict my diet. All of this negativity that has become so routine in my life has nothing to do with my body type. It has everything to do with myself and the journey that I need to complete not for anyone else, but for myself. The most important person in my whole entire world.
At first I started exercising because I was unhappy with the way that I looked. I was weighing myself on a daily basis, and if I wasn't losing 2 pounds a week you guessed it... I punished myself by cutting down every single flaw (real or imagined) and reminding myself that I just wasn't worth it.
But then it was really weird, because something a few weeks ago began to change. I stopped weighing myself and started running for a different reason - because I was pushing myself and seeing improvements in my health and in my endurance. I noticed that if I wanted to run a certain distance without stopping, I could push myself and I would achieve it. I noticed that if I chose to eat healthy meals and became more aware of what I was putting into my body, that I felt better and had more energy (also my daily headaches disappeared, added bonus!).
And then today, I was able to run outside for a much longer distance than I expected and rather than cutting myself down I whispered "You did it! You ran further than you thought you could! You're getting so much better!" Those words came out so naturally from my lips, and right there I realized that I wasn't doing this for anyone else anymore. I realized that I'm taking time out of my day to be healthy because I want that for myself and I deserve it.
It's so corny to say all of this out loud, but that positivity about my own body coming out so freely was overwhelming. I stopped for a moment and allowed myself to fill up with that positivity, and then I kept on pushing myself and running all the way back to my office. You see, it's not work anymore - it's finally, almost 3 months later, become a lifestyle that I commit to because I want to be healthy and for once it's all about me. It has nothing to do with anyone else, and that feels so good because it's been such a long time coming.
So I'm not going to allow myself to talk negatively about my body anymore because I wouldn't let anyone else talk to me that way. I don't care about the number on a scale, because no matter what that number is it does not change my worth as an individual. I'm going to start loving myself and treating myself like my very best friend... because if I don't love myself, why should I expect others to?
I think that women who are proud of their bodies are sometimes looked down upon in our society, and I'm over that. I'm sick of it being "okay" to hate your body. Hell - I love my body. My body can run several miles outside without stopping. My body gets me to and from work every morning and throughout every second of the day. My body gave up a kidney several years ago so that some one else's body could survive. My body can sing, and dance, and rest, and jump, and swim. I have a sexy ass!!! I can do anything with my body that I work for. And for that, I love my body.