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Body Image: A Personal Struggle

girl in mirrorI’ve never been fond of how I look. Ever since I was a young girl, my view on my looks was an issue. I’ve lived my life being told that I’m pretty, or even beautiful, but I’ve never believed it. It’s like a reoccurring nightmare. I just cannot make it go away, no matter how hard I try.

I guess it truly started in elementary school, when the kids learned what “fat” meant. People say kids can be mean, but it goes beyond that. Kids, not all of them of course, find what will make you the saddest, and they keep using it against you. Since I was overweight and vulnerable, the young children of my school used fat against me. It wasn’t fair. No one should feel like I did.

When I reached fifth grade, I hit my breaking point. I had major meltdowns that eventually put me in the hospital. At that time, my confidence was about as low as it possibly could be. I had people that were still making me feel insecure, even though they knew I was in a dark place. I understand that sometimes you can’t get something if it hasn’t been a personal battle, but a little bit of sympathy would’ve been nice. A little compassion could have gone a long way. No matter how bad my moods got, someone was always talking negatively in my ear. Maybe if more people were educated about the body image struggles I was going through and were sympathetic to that fact, I would’ve been in a better place. I couldn’t stop worrying about how people viewed me. It’s one of those feelings you can’t shake.

After being discharged from the hospital, my family and I began searching for a new school where I could fit in and maybe get some help. I toured many schools, and eventually wound up at the school I would later graduate high school from. This school provided new hope for me. The kids there seemed to like me, and I met my best friend on my first day. For a little while, I thought things were going to get better for my personal outlook. Sadly, not much changed.

I still felt alone. I felt like none of my friends understood. I had very few friends that you could consider “overweight.” That wasn’t the problem. The problem was none of them were able to put themselves in my shoes, and see what kind of horrible feelings I had about myself. They just didn’t see it.

Weight is still an issue I have. I am looking at all of my options, and researching what’s healthy and unhealthy for me. I am truly looking forward to the future. It appears to me like things will be looking up soon. My confidence in myself is slowly rising. Even at that slow pace, I feel I am bettering myself. Someday soon, I can see myself looking in the mirror and saying “wow, I’m beautiful.” It seems simple, but that’s the dream, and I am actively chasing it.

Although body image is something most people struggle with, some people feel like they are all alone. The truth is, you are most certainly not alone. Try talking to other people your age, or of any age, that you trust. You may be surprised at how they feel about their body. For me, talking to others who have similar issues is important. Not only can they help you, but you can help them.

Look in the mirror at some point and challenge yourself to say a set number of things you like about yourself. Pick a number like five or ten, and make a list in your head. It doesn’t have to be something appearance related. Feeling good about yourself in as many aspects as possible will boost your self-esteem and confidence.

Your body doesn’t define you. What you choose to do about your feelings is what’s important. Just remember, no matter what size or shape you are, you are beautiful. It may take a while to realize this, but it’ll come. Your future is bright, so take charge.

Rachel LaBrie is our guest blogger.  Rachel recently graduated high school, and wants to pursue a career in music therapy. She loves animals, and currently has 6 four legged friends.