Updated: May 26, 2021
*Trigger warning: discussion around racial differences, body insecurities, and self harm*
Lisa | Toronto, ON | "Figuring It Out" / Student
Being confident in my body was always like riding a rollercoaster for me.
Thanks to being active in sports and martial arts growing up, I always felt like I was strong and healthy. I loved pushing my body to its limits and even challenging myself beyond them to impress myself (and others). Despite my talents, I still had people constantly comment on my eczema and how scaly and dry my skin looked sometimes. Wearing short sleeves was never an option for me. In addition, growing up in a mostly white neighbourhood made me uphold myself to unrealistic beauty standards. There was no way I could "grow" bigger eyes, and that was a fate that I didn't want to accept growing up.
This is where I started to develop body insecurities. How others viewed me was suddenly a huge concern to me. It's really unfortunate because eczema is something I was born with and the flare-ups are something totally out of my control, so I shouldn't have torn myself down over how unattractive I felt especially as I approached puberty and the beginning stages of dating. Why were my legs so stubby and my chest and eyes so tiny compared to other girls? Why were others getting asked out and not me? Thoughts like these clouded my mind to the point where I became my own worst enemy and began to cut myself. I still feel bad for little old me looking back.
I don't remember exactly when or how I started to build my body confidence back up, but I think it had to do with changing my entire perspective on my body. Instead of focusing on what I lacked, I learned to be patient with my body and be super grateful of what it's capable of. My eczema's not as bad anymore on my body, but it spread to my face which is almost worse. Sometimes it's so bad that no amount of makeup can hide the scaliness around my lips or eyes. But again, I am learning to be patient and having faith in my body that it can one day wipe out the eczema attacks on my face like it did to those on my body in the past. My body is always there for me, so I'm learning to be there for it too by nourishing it properly, moving it around, and taking care of it even though life can be hectic as fuck sometimes. What I give to my body, my body will surely give me back.
My boobs are still small, but now I think they're so cute that I rarely ever see them in a negative light. My legs are so strong and can take me anywhere I want them to. I like my eyes more now, but I am still self-conscious of their unevenness. It's a work in progress. There are people in this world who could never run or even walk, who could never see or hear, who could never perform simple daily tasks without someone else's help. So why was I complaining so much? This point of view helped me build myself up again, but I want to change it cause I feel like there's a small underlying connotation that those who are disabled must have a lower quality of life than me. I don't like this ableist assumption, so now I'm working to be confident in myself and my body without having to compare with others. I think that's what true strength and independence is... to not have to rely on others to build myself up and to have confidence radiating from within myself.
It's a journey I'm so excited to embark upon.