"Sometimes I shave my legs . . . sometimes I don't"

Updated: Oct 30, 2019

Song: "Video" - India.Arie

Growing up I struggled a lot with my confidence and self-esteem. I cared so much about what people thought of me. So much of being a teenager for me was grooming myself to fit what was "popular." I just wanted to make friends and be liked. I did, make friends. I was well-enough liked back then, but it cost me a lot of peace. I ended up placing my value in superficial tallies, and it was ROUGH. How many boys liked me? Did I get invited to that party? How many likes did my picture get on Facebook? When I was talking to people, most of what I was thinking about was how they thought of me. "Does she like my shoes . . . am I talking too fast . . . have we been holding eye contact for too long . . .?" My adolescence was basically a four-year campaign for prom-royalty. Shallow is one of the first words I think of when I think of early high-school, but like earnestly so. . . ?

I didn't actually care about having cute clothes, I cared that my crush did. I cared that my "best friend" liked my hair straight. I went to parties because my friends wanted to. High-school was rough in ways it didn't need to be, but I don't blame younger me. She just wanted to be liked and have a place to fit into. She didn't know how good it felt to do the things she loved. She hadn't yet met people who loved her for her. She had been too busy to know who that was yet. Staying relevant to everybody's opinion didn't leave a lot of room in her life to build herself. She didn't know how strong she was on her own.

Today, I care the least I ever have about what people think of me. It's the most important thing for me now to be genuine, to be happy, honest to myself. It took a long time to accept that not everyone's going to like me. A reeaaaally long time. People leave, that's okay too. I don't want to dress to the nines all the time. I don't have to have the perfect body, or "shave my legs" to be happy. No one needs to tell me I'm beautiful for me to know and feel that I am. It is okay that I am a whole foot shorter than 95% of the population. Could I eat less, yeah probably . . . I don't need to be the prettiest or the smartest.

If I was a foot taller, I might not see the world in the way I do right now. An extra inch could change how my entire life plays out. What would've happened if I was tall enough to date my grade twelve crush? I've had some pretty important relationships after him. . . and I really like the guy I'm dating right now. If my boobs were bigger, my style might be different, my relationship with myself might be different.

I love how my life has played out. I love what I've learned and lived through, who I'm becoming, the people I've met. Do I get self-conscious about my scars, yeah I do, but they came with stories I wouldn't trade for anything. Fighting to love myself plays a huge part in who I am right now; my strength, how I see other people, my relationship with myself. I strongly believe our "flaws" is life putting us in the best position to experience and live out our stories. The work in seeing your belly as beautiful makes you more empathetic, loving. That bad hair day, kept that jerk away. If you can't love the things you hate about yourself yet, try falling for what they've done for you.

I think you are great!