It was very recent that I began loving my body. When I was little, I was very skinny, then puberty hit and I gained all of that "puppy fat" that never seemed to go away. Middle school was harsh--I spent a whole year being bullied about everything from what I said to what I wore to how "fat" I was. I took this with me to high school, even after I grew about 3 inches and lost close to 20 pounds. Right now, I'm 5'8" and I weigh between 145-150 pounds.
In addition to the teasing at school, the constant pressure from the media and the vulnerability to it that I had as an adolescent caused me to hate my body, and the bullying also caused me to dislike myself. I battled with depression and very low self-esteem. I've always had plenty of friends, but never really thought about why those people chose to be and remain my friends. Up until my sophomore year in college, I was afraid to go out and meet new people because I assumed they'd hate my quirky personality and interpret it as too "weird."
My sophomore year of college was also a time when I was involved in an emotionally abusive relationship. Everything I said was stupid, everything I did, I did wrong. He controlled what I did, always had to know where I was and who I was with, and would get angry at me if I wasn't with him 90% of the time. He also controlled my body, telling me that he wasn't okay with other people seeing it, and what went in my body: he was straight edge and self-righteous, so therefore I wasn't allowed to drink because his opinion always dominated my own. By the third month of our relationship, he also had me convinced that no one else would ever want me and so I was stuck with him. His parting words to me, ones that I will never forget were, verbatim, "You're making a mistake because nobody cares about you as much as I do."
I dumped that loser and got involved with a few other guys who told me that they were shocked that I didn't know how gorgeous I was. I had both boys and girls telling me that I was hot, that I was sexy, and I finally got my confidence back. I realized later that summer that the most important thing I needed to do was discover my own worth: to realize the great things about myself and not let that go. That way, no one else could ever treat me any less that what I was worth--and that's a hell of a lot. Through the pinup sphere I've learned that my curves are beautiful and through the general alternative subculture sphere I've also learned the value of uniqueness: that we're all different, and we're all beautiful in our own ways, each quirk and imperfection included.
Most importantly, through being involved with feminism, I realized that my actions have a powerful impact on others, and that if I could find the strength to love myself (for myself) just the way I was, I could inspire other women and girls (and well...people in general) to do the same. I see so many of my followers posting pictures of themselves and I've yet to see an ugly face. It's my challenge to you this year to discover your own worth and love what you are. Don't let some no-name CEO decide that you're not good enough and need to buy his product and line his pockets or adhere to some impossible standard. This year, I'm going to treat my body like the temple that it is: eat well, be active, meditate, practice some more positive thinking toward myself and others. I may not see my body's shape change, but I will be healthier and happier. My hope is that you will all do the same.
Loving my body is a revolution. Being proud of it and unafraid to express my sexuality and body confidence is a big FUCK YOU to the men on the hill, all of my bullies and nay-sayers, and especially that rotten guy I dated. It's not always rainbows and sunshine: I've got my self-loathing days just like anyone else, but they no longer last months or years. Be unafraid. Be brave. Join the revolution!
And if you ever need to look back and remember why you should fight the good fight and be proud of what you've got, I'm still very proud of this article!