Security in Insecurity
Updated: Jun 27, 2020
We've all been there, so why are we so hesitant to talk about this issue?
I've struggled with loving myself since middle school. I've disliked my body and struggled with being self-conscious about my appearance and weight for years. My middle school years were when Tumblr was popular and social media was becoming more prominent in society. Tumblr brought about the thigh-gap obsession and quotes like, "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels." Tumblr girls would show off their thigh gaps and collarbones like nothing else mattered. You weren't beautiful unless you were a size 00 with every bone in your body physically showing, at least that's what the app preached. Growing up in the age of social media increases the pressure to be perfect. Keep in mind that everyone posts the good on social media. These photos are often edited and no one's life is as perfect as it seems on an app.
Middle school was just the beginning of the insecurities. I developed so many over the years because of things about my appearance that others pointed out. "Your forehead is big," "her chin gets on my nerves," "I can't decide what makes you unattractive, but I think it's your face shape," "you have money arms," "why do you smile like that?," "you've gained a lot of weight since high school," the list goes on...
Let's address a few things. I have no control over the shape of my face. My chin gets on my nerves too, trust me. You could land a plane on my forehead, I'm well aware. I have monkey arms, but they made rolls easy to do when I was twirling. I'm extremely aware that I've gained weight since high school, that's typical. It's hard to not gain weight when you go from virtually starving yourself to having a $1000 meal plan to spend on Chick-fil-A and Starbucks. Plus, workouts and practices aren't mandatory if you don't play sports in college. Weight gain happens, and it doesn't define you.
I've pushed my body past its limits in an attempt to please others entirely too many times. Physically, I forced myself to do the splits while on the majorette line because they were in every show even though they aren't a twirling skill. I stayed in physical therapy during marching band because of this. I learned my IT Band and Hamstrings are too short for my legs, making it virtually impossible to do something that requires flexibility, like the splits, without injury. I stretched 2-3 times a day, I went to therapy, I did everything I could possibly do to push my body past its limits and hit the splits. Although physical therapy and doctors appointments should have been enough to be heard, I was still injured every year as they were put back in the show.
Along the same line, there was a time in high school that I ate too little and worked out too much to be skinny. Majorette uniforms are skin tight and they show everything. Colleges are notorious for making twirlers stick to a very strict diet and workout for hours to look good in these uniforms. Weight does not define ability. It never has and it never will. Some of the best twirlers I've ever watched have been plus-sized. These women were overly qualified to twirl on a college line, but cut during tryouts because of their weight. I'll say it again: weight does not define ability. This isn't an article on twirling, but those points need to be made. I've seen too many women in the twirling community struggle from eating disorders because of these rules. I ate way too little and practiced/worked out way too much to hear "What are you doing? You look incredible." Eating less than 1000 calories and burning at least 1500. That's what I was doing, and that's not healthy. Those words sounded amazing though, especially to the high schooler who was dying to fit the mold. It's not healthy and it's not worth it. I was still a size 8 doing this. That's still considered "large" for a twirler.
Not everyone was made to be a size 0. Not everyone was born with washboard abs. Not everyone has perfectly straight teeth, a cute button nose, or a killer smile. Stop trying to make others fit your beauty standards.
Here's what I've learned over the years:
Skinny does not mean healthy. Plus-size does not mean unhealthy. And vice-versa. Healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Beautiful bodies come in all shapes and sizes. It's okay to order a large sweet tea and cookie one day, and a fruit cup and water the next.
Beauty isn't defined by the size of your body. True beauty shows through how you treat people. You are worth so much more than the number or letter on the back of your jeans. You're worth more than mean comments. You're worth more than the number on the scale. You're worth more than the opinions of others.
Before you comment on someone else's appearance, use the 10 second rule. If someone can't fix their appearance in 10 seconds, don't bring it up. Tell your friend if she has lipstick on her teeth, but don't tell her that her jeans fit a little snug.
We're all humans. We all struggle with loving ourselves to some degree. Love your body and celebrate everything it CAN do instead of focusing on everything it cannot. Build others up instead of tearing them down. Spread some positivity. Let your inner beauty shine by treating others with kindness.
Find security in your insecurities. Find beauty in your falls. Your worth isn't found in your appearance. Spread positivity and stay kind.
And, as Thumper says, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."
You are beautiful because you are God's creation. He created you in his own image, and he finds beauty within you. When I get down on myself, I picture myself telling God that his creation isn't good enough. That make it easy to stop the voices in my head and focus on God's truth. Your worth is found in him. Spread his love. Learn to love yourself. Bring your insecurities to him in prayer. Reach out to your Christian brothers and sisters and build them up. You don't know what someone struggles with, so be kind.
Psalm 139:14 English Standard Version (ESV)
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
Proverbs 31:30 English Standard Version (ESV)
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Genesis 1:27 English Standard Version (ESV)
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
You're all beautiful and I love you all!