As published on Elite Daily.
I wear a size 8, and I’m not pretty.
Now, my mom will tell you otherwise. She’ll talk to you until she’s blue in the face about how I am the most gorgeous woman to ever walk the face of the earth.
She’s my mom, though; she’s biased, and has clearly never seen a picture of Emma Stone because that girl totally ranks the gorgeous scale.
My boyfriend will convince you otherwise, too. He’ll grab my hand and caress my skin gingerly, as he looks at me with those big, brooding eyes and says, “Babe, you are absolutely gorgeous.”
It ends with a kiss, and he thinks convincing me is over with, but the reality of the situation is convincing me I’m beautiful takes a whole lot more than words. It takes actions, an action this world hasn’t truly accepted yet.
Our generation, “the Millennials,” live in an absorbed world of self-inflicted competition.
We’re our own worst enemies. Why? Because we are always measuring ourselves up to a standard portrayed through social media.
Pictures inflict more damage to our self-esteems than words.
I remember the good ol’ days of sitting out on the steps during recess and having the class bully walk up to me and call me fat, pudgy, or say, “Go ahead and have another piece of cake.”
At least during those moments, my parents were able to rationalize with me that kids are simply cruel.
Even as adults, we can understand that anyone who bullies us is simply feeling badly about him or herself, but today the bullying is done secretively.
It’s done in such a hidden fashion, with such an undertone, that no one gets in trouble for it. Why? Because the bullies don’t exist. They become figments of our imagination.
They become obscure voices that eat away at the first sign of weakness. They’re us. We’re the bullies. And we’ve taken over with an iron fist.
I didn’t always have have trouble with my weight. Seven years ago, I was one of the ones plastered in the Instagram account I envied.
I had no jiggle when I walked, toned abs and cheeks that looked good from every direction. I wore a size 1 in high school, and convinced myself, even then, there was something wrong with me.
And Instagram didn’t even exist back then.
Today, I’ve rounded out. My arms jiggle when I wave. My thighs are thicker, and my tummy is flabbier.
I prefer certain angles to avoid a double chin when someone takes my picture. I sometimes hate to go shopping, even though it had always been one of my favorite pastimes.
I teeter between my weights, always seeming to plateau. My closet ranges between size 6 and size 12, and I seem to keep them all still hanging there because I’ve learned there are times when I will get down to that size 6 again, just as easily as I can get up to that size 12.
And when I do, I hate myself for it. I don’t look as pretty as the girl on Facebook who posted a picture of her flat stomach, perfect breasts and single-sized chin.
And then I catch myself: I’m acting f*cking crazy.
As I’ve learned in multiple psychology courses (I apologize for my somewhat tone of pretentiousness.), beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
There’s a lot more blah, blah, blah about that subject, but here’s all you really need to know: We are the beholders.
We are the ones who impose a negative self-image on ourselves.
Yes, that girl may be a size 0, or likewise, she may have curves that go on for days, but that doesn’t mean you are any less beautiful, sexy or attractive.
My mom and my boyfriend claim I’m the most beautiful woman in the world – because to them, I am. Why? Because they love me, straight to the point — no ifs, ands or butts about it.
But, what about us? What about the love we need to hold for ourselves?
I wear a size 8, and I weigh about 160 pounds. Sometimes I’m lighter than that; sometimes I’m not. I have curves, a Kim Kardashian-style butt and hips that turn me into an hourglass shape.
I have arms that are flabby, but that still doesn’t mean they aren’t useful. I have rolls when I sit – maybe not a lot to one person, maybe a ton to another – but it doesn’t matter.
I look horrible in some pictures, and I look fabulous in others. I may not have the cool Instagram post with a Valencia filter that makes my slim waistline look great as I lay down in wet sand, with my feet touching the waves, and a string bikini I bought from Victoria’s Secret.
But, sometimes, I take pictures of my food, like of the Chinese take out I ordered last night, with the bowl of triple chocolate gelato sitting next to it. I’m sure that might make someone jealous.
I mean, after all, who doesn’t like gelato?
My point of this article is to say beauty doesn’t constitute a single size. Beauty ranges from a 00 to an 8XX because how we feel about ourselves is found only through us.
We need to be our own definition of beauty. By no means is this article promoting unhealthy lifestyles or behavior; however, it’s promoting that we need to become less harsh on ourselves simply because we think someone looks better than us.
We need to move on from the demeaning, from the self-comparison of a Valencia filter, and stop being so critical of ourselves.
If we wear a size 8, 10, 12 or 22, that doesn’t mean our pictures look any less awesome than those of someone smaller.
If we’re a size 0, 2, 4 or 6, it doesn’t mean we’re living a better life, or don’t envy others, feel insecure or ever indulge in wishful thinking.
The sizes don’t matter because as cliché as it sounds, what makes us beautiful is never skin-deep. We all feel insecure at times.
We all body-loathe ourselves. We always wish we looked different, and whether social media plays a significant role in this doesn’t matter. We need to work on loving ourselves.
We need to work on accepting our bodies for exactly the way they are because they’re perfect.
You’re perfect, size 8 and all.