I have alway been a ‘big’ child. I even think I have considered myself as chubby. I was always taller than all the other girls, I was always more mature than the other girls. My boobs started growing considerably quicker, my acne started getting worse. It almost seemed like every one of my friends had a boy who fancied her, except for me. To make it even worse, my hair got greasy really easily and I was foreign; not that there is anything wrong with that, it just stuck out to the bullies, apparently.
Looking back at it now, it all feels so silly. The strive for acceptance is long gone, but at the age of 13 I really struggled to fit in. I remember sitting at my dining room table, talking to my mum and crying about how I will never have a boyfriend and that no boy will ever like me. As a mum, she always used to tell me I was beautiful and that my time has not come yet, but according to my logic, she didn’t know what she was talking about. I mean, she met my dad when she was 16 and has been happy ever since, so how can she know what being lonely feels like?
I remember she once pointed out that I have inherited her wide calves and ankles. I never noticed it before. Ever since, even in the hottest summers I used to insist on wearing black tights and jeans. My legs were not to be shown to anyone.
I was always the loud, obnoxious friend. I think I was trying to compensate for the lack of confidence in my appearance. I went through many stages; I was a rocker, I listened to hip hop, I tried to be like Rihanna in ‘We found love’ which was a big hit at the time. Nothing quite worked for me. I got really into make up to try and cover up the acne. I used to pile on layers of powder and fake tan (which were two considerably different shades. I looked ridiculous). Those days were the ones that I am, until this day, really ashamed of. Alcohol started appearing in the picture; I used to get drunk a lot and kiss a lot of boys. I strived for any chance of affection from anyone, even if it meant being called a slut the next day. It still makes me shiver, and oh god help me, I really hope my daughter never falls that low.
But one day, when I was about 17, I noticed that I wasn’t the tallest girl anymore. My acne has cleared and my hair was not as greasy anymore. Hey, a boy fancied me and I even got beeped at on the streets. I looked in the mirror. I wasn’t ‘chubby’ anymore. I have grown out of it. My brother always used to laugh at how skinny my arms were. All of that felt nice; it quickly became addictive. I really started caring about my appearance, I loved the attention that I have never received before. It’s a vicious circle. You are never going to feel good about yourself if it is only ever based on others’ judgements. But nevertheless, it felt nice.
But then, a boy happened. I absolutely fell for him. Oh dear, I even thought I loved him, which looking back at it now, I definitely did not know anything about love back then. But he was the first person to openly tell me I was pretty, beautiful, smart. I thought it was forever. See, I’m a very romantic person as it is, but if it’s the first experience of ‘love’ you have in your life, you’re doomed to become a lot more attached than you would normally. For the first time in my teenage years I felt so happy.
One day, he just stopped caring. He stopped ‘loving’ me. He ignored my messages, calls. I was devastated. My only chance for a happy ending was gone and I would now definitely, forever be alone. As bad as it makes me cringe, I begged for him to stay. I did not want to loose the only acceptance I have ever received in my life. But as much as you can try to make someone love you, it never works. But I tried in the worst possible ways that I am not proud of. I used to starve myself for days, hoping he would notice, feel sorry for me and come back. I am, until this day, thankful that he did not. This kind of blackmail is the most vicious and fucked up blackmail you could use, but this toxicity is definitely something for another post.
Before, I wasn’t big but I became even skinnier than before to the point where my friends would comment on how slim I was. And again, I loved it.
I met Bart when I was 18 and quickly, I learned what love really was. He accepted me just as I was and I can’t explain how lucky I still feel to this day. Never did I feel that he would want to change my appearance in any way, shape or form. Even when naked, there was nothing I was worried about. I felt and still feel really loved. If you have someone like that in your life, you are a one lucky person. For a while I forgot about the boy who hurt me, about trying to be accepted by others and fit into the society. He increased my confidence and slowly but surely, it worked. Hey, I even started wearing shorts on holidays!
But over one summer holiday, when I was at home and off university, I started discovering blogging and youtube societies. I used to watch so many people, all beautiful, leading a perfect life with their perfect relationships and yes, you guessed it, figures.
Till this day I remember one Youtuber telling me to love myself the way I am, while undergoing a breast enhancement herself and having her nose straightened.
When I think about it now, all I can think of is how hypocritical the whole industry was and probably still is. Television, internet were all filled with people telling me to love myself while all not being able to do so. It’s easy to love yourself, when anything you have can be enhanced and when you look absolutely stunning. But what about the girl with the wide ankles and calves? What about the girl with the big nose? I wish I knew back then.
I found that calves and ankles liposuction was a thing. I quickly became obsessed. As you can probably tell, I do have quite an obsessive personality. It’s easy for me to delve on something and for it to become a thing I constantly think about. I started researching the cost, tips for money saving and testimonies from people who have undergone the procedure. I came to the point where I though I would be better at blogging if my legs were slimmer as I would be able to post short skirts and shorts outfit posts. I used to sit there and pinch my calves, hating them, to the point where it would leave bruises.
I talked to my mum and cried. I quickly realised that as well as having the liposuction, I would also want to make my nose smaller, lips bigger, boobs less saggy and get rid of that massive wrinkle in between my eyebrows. She looked at me and asked, whether I realised how many people would love to look like me. But I just didn’t see it. I was obsessing over the smallest things because that is what the whole world does. Ever since that day, I have decided to try and love myself the way I am. With the big nose and the wide ankles.
I exercise regularly, but nothing will ever change the appearance of my ankles or calves. It’s genetics. I value a healthy lifestyle for my own benefits, but I realise that I will never look like the fitness bloggers I once strived to look like. I still admire their hard work and perseverance, but it will never be me.
Now, I refuse to believe I am less because of the way I look. I refuse to believe I cannot be a good blogger, person, influence just because my ankles are slightly wider than everyone else’s and I have cellulite on my bum. I am telling you to love yourself. Without the interference of a surgeon.
Go and read a book. Travel. Sing and dance. Flourish as an intelligent, aware human being. Focus on experiences. You are nothing short of amazing.
I love you.