Let's Get Real: Mental Nightmare

I'm sure we've all had that moment when you glance at the girl next to you and mentally start comparing yourself to her. For me, it always starts with legs. I'll marvel at how slim her thighs and calves are. This usually happens in one of my PE classes, where the girls are wearing tight spandex and tiny crop tops, and we're surrounded by mirrors. As I glance at the reflective surface, I wince at how large I appear in comparison. 

My dear blogger friend, Ali, sparked this post for today. She frankly addressed the issue most everyone, whether girl or boy, faces at any age no matter our size. Our self perception of ourselves and the pressure we face from our society is unrealistic. Yet no matter how much we may know in our mind that's the case, it doesn't always stick.

I've been mulling over this topic for a while, wondering how to word something that encompasses so much. 
So for today, I want to share with you my story on self acceptance and how I'm still struggling with it.

Since fifth grade, I started hating my body. At night, I would cry over how ugly I was. I'd stare at myself in the mirror, pinching my chubby cheeks and stomach, wishing they would disappear. I had daydreams of having a knife slice away the layers of fat rolls on my body. 

Fast forward to today. 
I grew a couple inches, started playing sports, and came to terms with my athletic build. I've fought through the majority of that mental nightmare, but that self-hate can sometimes make a reappearance. Especially when I'm surrounded by dozens of other girls, the majority of which are smaller than me. I understand that we're built differently. I understand that I'm at a healthy body weight for my height. I understand all of this. 

However, it doesn't change the fact that I wish things were different. I wish I had a smaller waist. I wish my muscular calves weren't more impressive than half the guys on campus.  I wish I had cleavage. I want to feel womanly.

The pressure to be perfect has always been present. The mental torture it can afflict on people is horrible, and I wish we wouldn't put ourselves through it. Yet here I am, struggling with the same thing I know isn't reasonable.

But I have to accept those things won't change. Unless I go through plastic surgery (which, noooo - never gonna happen!), this is the body I'm in, and it has gone through so much. Its pulled me through endless hours of volleyball and basketball practices, it held my trembling spine upright as I've stood in front of crowds to do public speaking, and its caught on to new things I've tried teaching it (dancing, sports, etc.) pretty quickly.

Also, I know we are all our own worst critics, and whenever I read some other blogger tear themselves down - even if its with little self-deprecating comments about their hair or whatnot - I can't help thinking "But you look fine to me! If you think you look bad, how do you think I look??"

This post was not written to try and draw attention like that. I'm simply bluntly addressing something that I went and am still going through. Hopefully we can all realize how much we are unnecessarily tearing ourselves down. I'm guilty of it too, but I think it just proves how entirely too self-conscious and self-centered we can be. While we're busy analyzing our faults and how others view us, most everyone else is trapped in that same bubble.

Its a long trek on this road to self acceptance, and I've still got a ways to go. There are detours, places where I've backtracked, and some slippery slopes, but overall, I want to keep moving forward. I want to continue to improve myself to be the best I can be, both mentally and physically.
I hope that we all can agree that this is a place we want to reach one day - one where we still care about our health, but not obsessively so over our appearance.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
I Corinthians 6:19-20


Anonymous said...

This is a very great post! I loved reading everything and I can relate, I sometimes find myself comparing myself with others, but then I realize that I am unique and I am me. I am very small and sometimes I hate it, but then I love it, it just takes time!


Kim Alston said...

Linda, thanks for sharing your story. Every girl and woman goes through this. I experienced this in high school, then things leveled off and it didn't reoccur until graduate school. As women, we need to be as supportive as we can to others. The outreach to Ali was amazing! At the end of the day it must be the person dealing with this that must BELIEVE (in herself). You can tell someone they're beautiful, but if they don't believe it then they won't.

Stylish By Nature said...

You really look like a princess !! Kisses :)


Mik said...

This is a very inspirational post. It's kinda good to know we are all struggling with the same demons. Although you are a very beautiful lass if I may say!


vgolove said...

Great post! Nice pants!
Thanks for the comment on my blog!

Best wishes,

Vale ♥ said...

I really loved this post, it's so sincere and it comes from the heart, I can feel it ! We all have to go to thru self acceptance and it's really hard...I think we all tend to be so hard on ourselves, more than towards the others. I can name so many faults I see in me but I can assure you I don't see all those faults in the other surrounding me. I obviously felt worse in my teenage years, when I put on some weight and all I felt was I had to starve myself to be loved, to fit into standards. I actually like athletic body types and I think you look really good ! But of course, the way we look at our image in the mirror is a kind of mistery...:)
Kisses !

Fashion and Cookies
Fashion and Cookies on Facebook

Anonymous said...

Everyone more or less struggles with oneself - we all have to learn to embrace our differences and have to acceppt the way we are - because mostly we are loved because of our little faults and imperfections and not because we fit in the boring pattern!

Lots of Love, KYRA

Istvanffy Emma said...

cool post love that photo!
Emma xx

Dominika said...

I couldn't have said it better myself. I've always found it hard to see the beauty in me. It has been so easy for my self-confidence to come crashing down after I saw a pretty girl walking down the street. I just couldn't help but compare myself to her and suddenly notice all those flaws in me. I've been struggling with some issues because of that and I think it's safe to say it's a daily battle for many people. I just wanted to say that you're a stunning girl, inside and out. I keep checking back for new posts on a regular basis and your style never fails to amaze me. I'm glad I can call you my friend and I hope you start feeling more self-confident soon because you deserve all the finest things :)

Katie Q. said...

Oh man, way to jump right into such a difficult topic.

To address the body comparisons, I think you're right in saying that we all do that, regardless of our sizes or builds. I'm okay with my body aside from my thick ankles, it's one thing that just bugs the living daylights out of me and when I see how other women have such slim, pretty little ankle bones, I want to hid my own thicker ankles. (See? The silliest thing!) I really have to agree with you on the self shaming though, I think that there's perhaps a culture where women are expected to NOT like things about themselves and that we must voice those dislikes. I try really hard not to be self deprecating when it comes to my body but I know every now and then something slips out. :P (And for a moment, I'm just going to have to say dude, really? I was shocked to read how you felt about your legs, I've always thought you have AMAZING legs. I guess it all really is in our heads!)

I think a portion of what contributes to the body dislike is actually the current concept of modesty. It's varies from person to person but at its heart, a lot of the modesty talk is body shaming, "We MUST hide our bodies at all cost and shame to the sluts who bare expose an ugly clavicle!" I know that for myself and many other ladies who grew up in the church, bodies were something that must be hidden and since they must be hidden, there's a lot of shaming that goes on. (I think this actually goes back to your comment cleavage, I've always been very embarrassed of having a large chest because its so hard to find shirts that doesn't show cleavage and there's a tendency to write off women with cleavage as sluts. This happens to one friend of mine who had a very large chest in elementary school, even though she was very shy, didn't date and wore baggy shirts, she was still labeled as a slut because of her chest size.)
Ugh, this is such a hard topic to tackle just because there are so many facets to it and its so interwoven with so many other problems that women face. I love reading your posts like these Linda, you are always so thoughtful, sweet and uplifting to everyone and your honesty is so genuine. I had read Ali's post earlier this week and it was the same way, so honest and heart felt.
I suppose I only talked about a tiny bit of this but since I always feel so silly writing novels in your comments section, I'll just try to keep it shorter today. :) You rock Linda.

Shop Style Conquer said...

I love you for writing this!
I think while reading a blog or looking at photos it's so easy to forget this is only a carefully constructed facet of a person they have chosen to share.
We judge ourselves far too harshly sometimes, even if we logically know better.
The not putting ourselves down thing is something I always struggle with (such a bad habit), I think I need to try harder not to do.
Thanks for sharing!

- Tara xx


princess said...

i agree completely. we've all had those days/weeks/months/YEARS where we can't stop worrying about our appearance, but i'm glad i've learned to be a little self conscious now. i hope everyone can find show in being themselves without having to compare to everyone else :)
i really love your blog, i'll be following it ♥

Alessandra Mazzini said...

This was a great post Linda! You know you're gorgeous! And for i always read in your blog, not only outside, also inside! :)

Venus Valentine said...

Amazing post =) I'm glad you covered an issue that most people (sadly) have to deal with these days. It truly inspires people to take good care of and to see the best in themselves <3


SaraM said...

Dear Linda, no one does things perfectly, but everyone is perfect. God made you the way you are and He NEVER makes mistakes! I look up to you so much for your kind and strong spirit, but also because you truly are beautiful! And the wonderful thing is when you begin to improve yourself spiritually, you gain in confidence in every aspect of your life! I've noticed that in myself as well. Always remember how loved you are by God, me, and everyone else who has ever had the pleasure of knowing you!

Much love,

czarianonuevo said...

this is a wonderful post Linda!! i love how truthful and straightforward this is :) i really appreciate your writing!! it makes me realize again the importance of who I really am not how do I look like :)


czarina :)

Ali Hval said...

Oh, Linda. Your little shout out was so lovely, yet since it is on such a delicate subject, so I'm not really sure if lovely is the right word. I think you're a beautiful girl, and your legs are my favorite part of you (ehehe! <3), so I find it strange that those are your least favorite--it's sickly funny how that happens, isn't it? Sigh.

The fact that you "came to terms" with how you look makes it sound like a grudged acceptance than a happy one, but you know what, you have to start your self-love from somewhere. I want to reach this lovely place you've described as well--a happy balance between health and appearance. Your legs are strong and can carry you, and I feel like one way to make myself appreciate my appearance is by repeating "at least you HAVE *insert body part*" and "at least *insert body part* is strong and healthy and can take you places." I think it's okay to be a little obsessed with your appearance as in keeping yourself up, but we just can't be tearing ourselves down to the point where our mental clarity is ruined. You are so right about that.

Also, it's uncanny that you said your thoughts began in the 5th grade... that's exactly when the "I'm fat" diary entries began for me, as well. So painfully young!

The thing is with disordered thoughts that the whole "if you think you look bad, what do you think of me?" doesn't even enter the other person's mind. They are only focused on themselves, and that's one thing people fail to realize. I kinda know this because things got pretty bad for me at a time to the point where my mom was considering hospitalizing me (lol lol I didn't much want to mention that on the blog whewps), and you know what? I never noticed others' "flaws." All I saw was beautiful, and I was jealous that they could look the way they do, whether big or small, and just feel comfortable. I never thought, "Oh, she's bigger than me, how is she okay with that?" because I wasn't happy with myself, so I couldn't see a difference but in confidence. To feel comfortable was what I wanted, and still want to this day.

You are a lovely, lovely, lovely lady, Linda, and what I have always loved about your posts was your radiance, your confidence, and your frickin' awesome studded style. Not only do you look amazing, but you've got a rad personality. And even if you turned into a lumpy potato in terms of appearance, I would still love you, and you would make the best lumpy potato in the world, because you would be a studded lumpy potato with the best personality who spoke the most honest and kindest of words and that would make you all the more special.

That was supposed to be a compliment. I don't know if it came out quite right. I don't think it did. WHATEVER HAPPENS I LOVE U K GURL

Potato on, my good friend.

libys11 said...

great meaningful post, dear!! I'm with you on this.. i tend to compare myself a lot of times too!! it's unfortunate that i still feel insecure at times and yet, all we need to do is to be more optimistic about things.. i mean, our physical appearances are not the be all and end all of everything, right?

if anything, i think you're an incredible girl! even though i have only been following you for a few months, i can say that with your outer beauty comes a beautiful heart!! :D

cheer up and smile, dear!! :D you're amazing!!

Click me for my NEW BLOG

sip-n-wear said...

I think you're right... All girls can probably relate to this post. I hate my body right now... I did have a kid a little over a month ago, but it just sucks when i cant fit into my own clothes... Even before, i always hated my core area... Never had a strong looking core and it was always more flabby than anything else and i used to work out with a personal trainer multiple times a week...! You're right when you say this is the body we have to live with... And should be thankful for them... Thanks for sharing... I think youre beautiiful!

Kimberly said...

I love everything about this post. I think every girl, woman, lady, whatever you want to call her, has a moment in her life when she dislikes her body. As women, we need to make a more conscious effort to NOT tear ourselves down!

My ah-ha moment was when I made a comment about my "jiggly arms" to a friend... She looked me straight in the face and said "You would NEVER say that to me, so why would you say it about yourself?!" It made me realize that women regularly say nasty things about themselves that they would never even think to say about a friend or family member.

On the other hand, we have to be thankful for what we have. Like I said before, I have complained about my jiggly arms... but I'm a special education teacher, and half of my students can't use their arms AT ALL due to physical disabilities, so I'd say I have something to be thankful for, even if I have a little jiggle when I wave goodbye.

Great post. Thanks for writing about a topic we all want to ignore at times.

shamuboo said...

So thoughtful and well written. It is amazing how insecurities seem to pop up out of the blue. Makes reality a tough sight to behold. But I can tell that, even though you are struggling, you are keeping perspective. And I adore the fact that you are concerned about your image for YOUR sake not for some ruddy boy. It stinks to have these feelings, I know too well, but from reading your blog it is easy to tell they will have less and less of an impact as you continue to discover yourself and your strength. As much as how gorgeous you are and your wonderful outfits, its that strength that makes me most interested in your blog. I honestly don't read that many, but yours is always worth it. Stay strong and wonderful.

Maiken said...

I like that kind of thoughtful posts from you. and your honesty is the best part of it all. I honestly think there is nothing wrong with your body and I'm not saying this because I only want to make you feel better or something. of course others can't say what you should think or feel but at least you can see our opinions and maybe even consider those. we all have something that bothers us.

for example when I go thrifting I always see those beautiful little shoes and boots that look just perfect and are super cheap but my shoe size is huuuge! :D yeah, and smaller shoes definitely look cuter than the huge (or long?) ones. of course I know it's not that important actually but it can be difficult when your shoe size varies between 4 different numbers (therefore I can't order shoes online).

when it comes to weight I don't have problems with that, at least in my own head I don't have but people around me keep telling me I should eat mooore and you know, bla bla bla even though I eat everything I want to eat anyway but I also work out and am happy with my body. oh well. I guess we all have some things that bother us, more or less but being happy is more important than looking like a starved supermodel. and we all have things about us that we love too so we should think about those things more and believe it when someone compliments us. so yeah, I think you're an awesome lady, dear Linda, and you should only be proud of yourself and rock on without thinking too much about the pointless stuff. you're a smart girl so you definitely know what I mean.

Maikeni blogi - part of me

Deepali Suryawanshi said...

Absolutely fantastic post...and yes we do all have that phase where we do compare ourselves to other girls......It ended for me in the 10th grade. As I started to celebrate myself and accept me for who I am.Nobody's perfect and even can't be....One should be happy within himself/herself and celebrate oneself.......

Megan said...

I'm glad that you're actively working on loving yourself and your body more - that's great! You are beautiful. I think every woman struggles with issues with at least one part of her body, but we should always try to focus on the things we love about ourselves :)

Annie said...

Low self - esteem is the worst...and it's so hard not to compare yourself to others, especially in the blogging world. But you are gorgeous and have AWESOME style...always remember that :)

The Other Side of Gray

Mica said...

Very well written post :)

You're right, we all struggle with comparing ourselves to others, and magnify what we see as our "faults". We can be very harsh to ourselves and it's sad, but eventually you'll gain the confidence to know that you are you. And who you are is unique and awesome.

Our own ideas of ourselves can be warped where we don't see the good things. It's important to build each other up where we can.

Appearances are fleeting and we all agree it's shallow to focus solely on them, but it's strange how we all have that period where we focus solely on appearance for ourselves and bring ourselves down.

When it comes down to it, it's what we do and say and how we act that will define us and make the most difference. How we look is so inconsequential, we all need to support each other to help us see that and focus on that when we begin to doubt and question our appearances.

Away From The Blue

Carla Florendo said...

ok, firstly, i lcve this photo of you. it's very conceptual. secondly, i'm so glad you wrote about this topic because i can relate. but like you said, it's true that everyone goes through this, even the most perfect looking people. it's all a matter of accepting how we really look like and living happily with what we have, not what we don't have. this post of yours is like a wake up call and we really should stop tearing ourselves. it's difficult but we're just going have to do the best we can to improve, not in a way that we are hurting our own feelings but for better reasons.

and as for how you look, i really think that you look fine, Linda! there's a lot of people who appreciate you for being how you are so don't stress about it anymore. =)

Danny said...

totally agree with you when you say we're our worst critics. I feel insecure sometimes and I hate my body sometimes too, but I accepted that I'm not a model, I'm a real girl and I'm fine this way. You look fine too!

Pop Champagne said...

yeah we are our worst critics, I think everyone has something they dont' like about themselves esp with the media portraying women a certain way all the time. and ugh I do hate the feeling when you're talking to someone and you feel them comparing to you!! thanks for sharing!

Imogen said...

Love this post because it is so relevant and I can really relate. I saw Ali's post too and that helped a lot too. I have had a lot of issues with self acceptance (especially in the last year). I want to write about that on my blog but I haven't worked out how to word it yet so I really respect that you wrote this post so well.

Caitie Schlisserman said...

that picture is so fun!

Lady à la Mode

Jodie said...

This is an amazing post- I'm near tears by the end.
You've always struck me as someone confident and to know you go through just the same self-destroying rituals I do makes me like you even more!
Your right it doesn't matter how happy you are, how good your body is (thank you my bladders ability to get through 12 hour shifts) you can't help but compare.
I used to imagine ripping off my fat(no knives in my mind would cut through it) but an eating disorder, critical illness and 5 years later this is me, and I don't want to change.
You're perfect in my eyes- I look at you and I want your legs, and especially your arms, but mostly the confidence you carry yourself with.

The Garage Starlets said...

Loving your post!

Kati said...

This is such an open and honest post, and I can only hope that one day you'll see your body as what it is: a fantastic and incredible thing that takes you through life and that deserves the best treatment!


Becky said...

Thanks for such an open and honest post, it's so rare nowadays!
Chin up and keep smiling darling <3
Have a great weekend! xo

Sara SHOEmaker said...

I loved this message! thank you for sharing this with us today :)

The House of Shoes

Ashley said...

Linda. This was an amazing post and the title...perfect. Thank you for being so brave and talking about an issue almost everyone struggles with at some point in time. Self acceptance can be the HARDEST thing to achieve. What's that quote...something about being our own toughest critic? Could this not be more true? I know I definitely struggle with battles of self confidence and body image and I'm 24. When does it stop? All I know, is that this was a post I needed to read and I could bet every other girl reading this felt the same. Thank you for waking me up and giving me a sense of courage I needed. I could go on and on, but I think you get the gist. THANK YOU.

xo Ashley

Style-Delights said...

Such a great post!! In today;s world where we are always pressured to look a certain way, thoughts like yours should be spread around!! YOu rock! Hope you are having a wonderful day!
Style Delights Blog

Tanya Minxy said...

I can totally relate with everything you write. There were many moments I felt the same way, they still are. The truth is there is always gonna be somebody more pretty or skinny or more beautiful, the thing is you have to accept your body and love it. And Im telling you this but I still havent learned to do that. We have to be strong and to learn that loving yourself is very important.

Britt Whit said...

this is such a great post! I am so glad you sat down to write this! Women have it really hard, and they are often the most hard on each other.

love from San Francisco,

Anonymous said...

Great! love your blog!!!

Renae at simple sequins said...

Linda, I have always thought you are before your time. Your maturity astounds me. When I was in college, I was a nincompoop. I didn't understand life and I went heedlessly into my future. I have often thought you resemble Jackie Kennedy Onassis. I have hardly ever noticed your figure as being unsightly or unattractive. I have always thought you were brave and confident in your skin/body. I understand your point here. Yes, our bodies are temples and we need to respect and love them with no matter what we are dealt. I have a huge waist. It has been my nemesis for all my days. I have only had it trim twice in my life and that was after a year or more of nearly daily aerobic exercise to burn it down. (once in my 30s and once in my 40s) Currently I am not please with it at ALL. But I am working on it and smiling all the while.

We are all daughters of God that loves us. We just need to love our self. We just need to learn what is the best for our self.

I loved this post. It got me thinking, which I don't do too much. hahahahaha. I would rather laugh.
Loved the photo, too btw!

issa chou said...

great post.. live life each day, it is what it is!


Tasha said...

Gorgeous photo!

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Lily said...

I know exactly what you mean. We're all so self-critical, and sometimes we just need to accept that the body we were born in is the best for us. I know I am self-conscious about my athletic build too, but it helps me run better and reminds me that I'm healthy. That's all that really matters (: Thanks for this post Linda!

Nathyness said...

I was a pretty happy child most of my childhood. Until I got to middle school. My friends were blossoming before me. I was the nerd with braces in 7th grade. In 8th grade I was the ugly, hairy girl with braces.

In high school the braces came off and I learned to control my crazy lion mane a little better (I LOVE my hair now, and would have loved it back then if I had known how to style it in flattering ways!). But I was still as skinny as a twig. When you're Cuban and you go to school in a low-income area where 1 in 20 students finish college and everyone has babies by the time they're 20, you are SUPPOSED to have a voluptuous, feminine body. Your body is how you secure a man, how you secure your future.

I still don't have that gorgeous Kim K body that we Cuban girls are "supposed to" have. It's what our culture considers beautiful. I still feel inadequate next to those girls at the beach with impossibly curvaceous bodies that their genes made possible. But I also value my body and my other assets in different ways. It take time and conscious psychological effort to feel better, but it gets easier as you get older. As other things start to fall into place, as you meet people that value you for who you are in life and not what you look like, it gets much easier.

Also, blogging can be so empowering. Sure, I may not be as curvy as Beyonce. But I can sure dress very nicely! :D


Elsha said...

The scripture in the end is what did me in :) Beautiful words! And you are right, this is the only body I'm given so I better learn to like it. My goal, although a shaky one, is to love my body for what it can do and makes me feel and not what it looks like

When Mine Became Ours

Peet said...

First, I started to read your last post (Poolside) and when you mentioned how some of the previous comments moved you, I thought: "Ok, what's going on??" and decided to check. It's interesting how you said that you see someone talk negatively about themselves and you think: "But you look fine to me!" because that's exactly how I feel looking at your photos. And not just fine, babe, you look great. Your eyes are so warm and hones and your smile so inviting. And it seems that you can wear whatever you want and look frigging hot so try to think of those things when self-doubt creeps in and hit it over its head with a fabulous bag or something.;)

Caro * said...

Great post :)
I love your picture :)

Laura said...

This post just touched my heart! I think that we all go through this, which is very hard. I know that I went through this when I started college - it just is such a hard time and I was tearing myself and my body down. I was finally able to understand why I was doing that and things got so much better. And that is when I started my blog, and I honestly feel like that has really helped, I have so much more confidence now! Sure, I still have those days where I hate my body, but I remember this is the body that I have been blessed with, so I might as well work it! :)

You are such a beautiful and wonderful person, Linda! I know that it can be hard, but you don't need to compare yourself to anyone because you are who you are supposed to be! Don't let anyone tell you differently!


Sabrina said...

Honestly, I think everyone is their own worst judge. Although I generally like my own "curvy" legs (toned and muscle-defined thanks to my love of kickboxing), I used to hate them. And, of course, I don't wear heels just for the blog--it's because I generally have a bit of a Napoleon complex, haha.

It's easier said than done to say fuck comparing yourself to others, but in my experience, it's a bit of a journey until you can finally accept that only YOU, yes, you,! can be the best you there can be. After all, there's only one Linda, Sab, etc. in the world. :) Also, looks aren't everything--the old adage that beauty is only skin deep is definitely true!


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