In an era of “perfect” IG models and in the new wave of uber-trendy, health-conscious, Millennial products, it’s seemingly impossible for one to look past. Naturally, we want to join the latest fads and dabble into whatever the next best thing is. From meal-prepping (diet-plans), to cycle classes, to Kombucha, to whey-protein, there has been a major social media/pop culture influence on practicing a healthy lifestyle. I think it’s safe to say, when we double tap on an influencer’s picture, we think “goals,” or “can I please look like that?” I’ve caught myself thinking and saying these things aloud way too often but what’s important to remember is: these bodies we are envying are truly not attainable. Many of these individuals make a living off of their social media accounts and actual job is to maintain their physique…by whatever means possible.
Don’t get me wrong, I do think it is necessary to set health/fitness standards for yourself, but I’ve realized it’s just as imperative to stay body positive even if you are not satisfied with where you are at. In other words, finding a happy-medium between working towards your goal yet having a forgiving relationship with your current body. I definitely think this association is much easier said than done but once practiced, it becomes liberating.
My journey to finding body positivity began at an early age. I entered the sixth grade with newly developed hips and breasts. Most of my classmates had yet to reach puberty, which made me one of the few girls with curves. I was made fun of countless of times. Older girls would approach me with comments that were meant to almost make me feel bad for how I looked (as if I chose this body!) I’d been called, “wide-load,” asked if I was “cornbread fed,” and was even asked, if I was pregnant (at 11 years old) because of my hips! I specifically remember a particular time during “weigh-ins,” when my P.E. teacher whispered my weight to me instead of announcing it aloud as he did with everyone else…laughter then ensued.
At first, of course, I took offense to it and often times would ask my parents, “why do I look so different than all of the other girls in school?” They advised me that I only had one option: which was to embrace my body. If my appearance was all they could talk about, I was doing something right. In that moment, I decided to stop caring about what those people said about me and flaunt what I was given. S/O to you, girls
Once high school rolled around, I had to re-learn this self-love. Stretch marks and cellulite set in and that was different for me. This was the beginning of social media and the pressure to look slim was there. But I had to remind myself, “Jas, this is your body, you can either love it or hate it.” I decided to love it, can I get a Hallelujah?
But of course, I still struggle with my cellulite and am too hard on myself at times, I’ve made comments about my body that I would NEVER be able to say to anyone else. And this is precisely the point of this post. We should still be able to aspire to live a healthier lifestyle without forgetting to appreciate the skin we are in.
I once saw a male friend post this saying on Facebook, “Ladies, dress for the body you have and not the body you want!” And what I say to that is, BS, wear whatever the f**k you want!
I’ll still wear my shorts and dresses, with my cellulite in all it’s glory. I have yet to reach my fitness goals but I think learning to speak and feel positively about your body is the sexiest thing you can do for yourself. Male or female, confidence is sexy.