I recently watched, "I Feel Pretty," with Amy Schumer. The basic premise of the movie is that Amy's character is obsessing over how she is not happy with her body. (A level of obsession that I can unfortunately relate to.) Every look in a mirror, every sighting of a thinner, more attractive (by her own standards) woman, every thing that she ate - they were all reminders of the fact that she didn't like her outside appearance. Through a bizarre event (falling off of her Soul Cycle bicycle and hitting her head, getting knocked out cold) she awakes to the delusion that she is now gorgeous - however, it is all only in her head. To everyone else, she looks the same. She goes on to feel like she can now concur the world because she looks "hot" and it entirely goes to her head. Her confidence skyrockets, she has her first real boyfriend, and she lands her dream job. She feels like she finally has it all. That is, until she hits her head again, and the delusion ends. She is at first upset and basically goes into hiding, but later realizes that it was, in fact, a delusion, and that her confidence came from within... not from her looks. Queue the empowering speech at the end.
Although the movie is a cheeky comedy, I feel like any girl who sat in that movie theater, or on their couch watching it on TV, could raise their hand and say that they too, have thought on more than one occasion that if they achieved the perfect body and had perfect looks, that they would feel exponentially happier. I know BOTH of my hands would be in the air.
I have struggled with loving (and even just liking) my own body since I was twelve years old. Right around the age I officially hit puberty and started to compare myself to my friends. Her boobs are bigger. She got her period before me. Her white eyeliner looks flawless - how does she do that? (C'mon... if you were in middle school in the late 90's, don't tell me you didn't wear white eyeliner.)
I was also the age where I started to buy Cosmopolitan, YM (remember YM?!), and other beauty and fashion magazines. There was (and still is) SUCH an emphasis on looks, weight, and style. "Who wore it better." "Drop 15lbs in ONE week with this secret ingredient!" "What to wear to make him beg for a second date!" Shit like this. Headlines that focus solely on outward appearance. It's difficult to read about these things enough as a twenty-something who still isn't happy with their looks, never mind a teenager in their awkward (and most impressionable) years.
Then I grew up, and my insecurities just grew along with me. Those thoughts don't just go away on their own. They don't even go away when you lose the 10lbs you said you needed to lose in order to feel happy. And it's not just me, or the women who would be the stereotype of having these thoughts. Even the women who other women think look perfect have their own insecurities.
The underlying commonality in these negative thoughts is that is does not discriminate.
We are all chasing perfection.
The only way these thoughts go away, is when you acknowledge them and work against them. When you start trying to replace those thoughts with positive ones, an amazing transformation begins.
What helps tremendously in this process, are those who are brave enough to share their own battles with body image, self love, and confidence. In a sense, I think of these as survivor stories. They tormented themselves for years, thinking they were never good enough, until they started to rise up against their own mind and say ENOUGH. I am loving myself right now, today, and always.
I am just blown away by all of the women online who are willing to show up, unfiltered, in their own authentic skin. Whether that skin is saggy, or stretched, or tight, or wrinkled, or pale, or tan, or muscular, or showing cellulite... they are showing it unabashedly, with their own personal journey with insecurity, and they are receiving far more LOVE and RELATION than those few trolls who will never pass up an opportunity to reflect their internal negativity and struggles.
These stories and journeys make me feel less alone.
These stories and journeys are also shifting perspectives so that little girls won't have to torment themselves for years before learning that they are actually enough. That at the end of the day, the most important person to like themselves, is themselves.
When you start looking deeper than skin deep - I'm talking deeper than any outward appearance - and you begin focusing on what makes YOU feel good... girl, welcome to the new beginning.
So to ALL of you - whether your confidence is being shown to the world or it is being worked on privately - I throw up the biggest GIRL POWER sign I can muster.