I started to slouch in high school because I didn't want it to look like I was showing off my newly developed chest like some of the other girls.
I started wearing two sports bras when I joined a sorority so I could wear the extra-large t-shirts and look tiny in them, not have my chest make it look like I was even bigger than I was.
I started living off Starbucks green teas and an occasional pop tart, when my major told me I should lose at least 10 pounds.
I started joining forums asking for my ana friends to help keep me in check, remind me that the thinspo I had plastered all over my life meant more than actual nutrition. Worked faster.
When my willpower was not strong enough and I caved I started sticking my fingers down my throat to punish myself for binging on food or eating at all.
I went home that summer and had a panic attack when my grandparents and my mom were asking me what I wanted for dinner. Because I no longer knew what a normal serving of food was.
I was never and am still not a fan of pool parties or the beach. I don't like wearing a swimsuit. I don't like moving and knowing the parts of my body that move with me are exposed. I don't feel comfortable getting out of water unless I can quickly throw a towel over me the second I climb out.
This year I have made an effort to put my excuses and insecurities to rest.
To focus on being healthy as opposed to stepping on the scale after every sip and every bite to see just how much it had changed.
To buy real bras with underwire, and not be ashamed that it gives my breasts more presence and shape as opposed to trying to squish them into non-existence.
To consistently work out and monitor what I'm putting in my body.
To eat a freaking pizza once in a while too because you know what, I LOVE PIZZA AND THAT'S OKAY.
To be honest, I was and still am the biggest judgmental hypocrite of myself. I place such weight on certain things or problems that probably no one else cares about.
I’m the first one to point out that my back looks bad in this dress or this outfit makes me look stubby.
And does it really? Don’t know.
Yet, I am getting better at not punishing myself mentally or physically when I do something like eat a pizza or drink a beer.
I'm just tired of the emotional upset it is to overthink and criticize every inch of my body.
I have slowly gotten to the point where I can just buy something off the rack because I love it, not because I think it'll look good enough while still hiding problem areas.
"Problem areas" that aren't even problems.
I even online shop now, which I never used to do when I was having my body issues! Now whether me online shopping is a happy mental breakthrough or a “there goes the rest of my money” catastrophe, I can’t decide.
Recently I've had some comments on my Instagram page specifically about my body.
Some are commenting that I have nice...assets. Whether they be necessary or polite, I don't mind those comments. I actually don't mind those at all!
What I do mind, are the comments requesting I be modest, therefore suggesting that any time I am in a swimsuit at the beach I should not take any selfies. Whether I only look sexualized because you can finally see the boobs I desperately have always tried to hide, I don’t know, but my disregard to be modest offends people.
And what really got me, were the comments questioning my self-respect.
I have never had, not even a confidence per say, but an acceptance and love for the way I look. A passion to be healthier, fitter, better.
So while I could “have brought it right up to my face” and cropped my cleavage out, I didn’t think about it. God didn’t give me boobs to garner your attention.
I don’t even want to go in to the double standard we place between women and men, or realistically the hate we place on women with curves.
But it’s 2016 and you would think with all the “love everyone’s differences” thing we’ve been screaming about all year, that people would know a shirt, bra, anything is going to look different on a woman with A-cups as opposed to DD.
That’s why I always wear button downs.
That’s why I wore two bras or more to fit in the types of shirts that did not give off that stupid stereotype of “she’s trying to be sexy” or showing off my body.
And that’s a sad stereotype to get past. One where women with curves feel ashamed that they’re wearing a V-neck, because God forbid, they could have just thrown a T-shirt on instead.
All the comments on my Instagram were not hateful by any means. I’ve absolutely had worse. But the respect thing really got to me because of every other insecure girl looking at my Instagram and wondering the same thing. Reading and absorbing what they see on the internet.
So to the people that have recently disapproved of some of my pictures: you are the type of people that make women feel like they have to hide bits of themselves, whether it be their emotions or their bodies.
You are trapping them in a box and going off stereotypes to judge what empowers them or not. To assume you know the caliber of their character and modesty by a picture of them at a beach in swimwear.
Do you look at all these self-empowering and love yourself ads nowadays of women with different body types posing in their underwear and cringe because they’re not being modest?
Or do you realize that they’re representing something much bigger than however much fat they have on their bones or the amount of skin they're revealing?
And no, posting a picture in a swimsuit or anything ever remotely showing I have boobs does not empower me.
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