Most of my life has been a constant battle with low self esteem. I've always been outgoing, strong and sassy, but underneath all of that, I have quietly struggled to accept myself for who I am in entirety.
When I was 14, after being teased for being overweight, the struggle began. I now know that EVERYONE goes through an awkward chubby phase before they start to grow, but back then, my world was shattered the first time someone called me fat. With the thought the teasing would stop if I slimmed down, I stopped eating. I would hide food, tell people I wasn't hungry, and eat just enough not to pass out. I kept this up for the better part of a year before my family finally realized part of what was going on. My mom called me out on my decreased appetite and would ask me daily what I ate, but I still don't know if she ever realized how bad it actually was. It took a full 6 months (thankfully it was only that long) to get back on a regular eating schedule and get back to normal. Though my eating disorder was under control, I then found multiple other insecurities that possessed my every thought.
By the time I hit freshman year of high school, I had developed horrible acne. I remember looking in the mirror each morning and bursting into tears wondering how I could even show my face at school. The overwhelming insecure feeling was only intensified once I got my braces on. I had officially entered my "awkward" period and I felt alone and downright ugly. The road of self hate I was leading myself down caused me to wake up three hours before school and obsess over making my hair, makeup and outfit "perfect" with the hope that if someone was looking at my cool shoes, they wouldn't notice my skin or mouth full of metal.
Unfortunately, a group of older boys had already chosen me as a victim for the year so I was fucked no matter what I did. I became the biggest target for all their jokes and pranks. Lunch, the only time I would see them other than passing in the hall, became more of a nightmare than a fun time spent with friends. They would pass my table making snide comments, calling me names and throwing their trash at me or setting it on my seat as soon as I got up. When it first started, I would laugh - what else was I supposed to do? As the teasing continued, it got harder to hide the pain.
I skipped cheer practice multiple times pretending I was "sick" and came home crying almost every day. Though, I finally had the courage to stand up to them later that year, It's obvious I've never forgotten how they made me feel or what an impact that negative energy had on the way I've thought about myself all of these years.
Once my braces were off and my acne had cleared up (thanks to $1,000's of dollars my parents spent on dermatologist visits - thanks mom) by senior year of high school, I looked a lot less awkward. Though I had grown out of my ugly duckling stage, the drive to be "perfect" still remained very present in my life. The struggle with self-confidence continued and (if you can believe it) worsened in my early 20's when I started my blog. I followed hundreds of bloggers, copied their style and thought that if people liked them and their style, that must be what I needed to do to fit in as well. I opened my first credit card (which I still regret to this day) and began my transformation into a blogger.
I bought just about anything and everything I liked worn by my favorite Instagram influencers. Which, at the time included, 5 inch heels, big poofy skirts, bold florals, pearl necklaces, hot pink lipstick and basically anything else that had me looking like a Stepford Wife on a daily basis.
During the day, I was the lady I thought everyone wanted me to be, but as soon as I got home, the sweat pants would go on and the trap music would blast. I'd go back and forth between my real self and the person I thought people wanted me to be and it soon became more of an identity crisis rather than a lifestyle. I knew something had to change.
If you've followed the blog for a while, you know that what finally sparked that change was the sudden death of my dad back in 2015. After such a shocking event, I realized that everyone's days were limited and never promised. There was no time to be anything but happy and within two weeks of his passing, I chopped off all my hair, got rid of everything in my closet, threw away my scale and began down the road to become 100% myself for the first time in my life.
Over the past few years, it may have not been easy, but practicing and preaching self love, dedication to your passion and confidence to my friends, family and of course my readers, has made me the happiest I've ever been. I live each day with one phrase in mind, "Be Happy & Live with Purpose" - hence this very post!
I went WAY out of my comfort zone and decided to show you all of ME. I'm in the worst shape I've ever been in (thanks to starting my company this past year, I've gained AT LEAST 10 pounds) and I've never shown this much skin before, BUT I wanted to show you all that in spite of that, I've still learned to love the skin I'm in. I went back and forth for months whether or not I wanted to create this post, but I needed to do it for myself to show that though it's taken me years and lots of blood, sweat and tears, that I've finally learned what self love is about. It's not about striving to be perfect all the time but rather finding perfection in your imperfections. These are all my imperfections I've learned to embrace and love!
I've always hated my nose. It was too big for my face and when I'm not positioned on the "good" side of my face, theres a slight bump that stands out. Now that my dad is gone, my nose is one of my favorite features because it's just like his. I no longer look at it with hate, but with appreciation that I've been blessed to look just like my dad.
Thunder thighs. The term I've heard over and over again throughout my life. The term repeated by asshole kids in middle school, high school and some even in college. The term I used to think about while I tried on 100's of pairs of jeans with no success because nothing fit. And now the term that I've began to think of as empowering...
They say scars tell the stories of your life and this one has one hell of a significance. This is the scar that marks my first insecurity as a child. This used to be a huge, dark, birth mark. Growing up, my mom used to tell me that's where "God kissed me" but as soon as I started school, I quickly learned that what I thought was a kiss from God also resembled what kids called a hickey. I couldn't even wear my hair up without getting pointed at, or asked a million questions. As soon as I turned 13, I got it removed, but still look at what's left behind as a reminder of how blessed I was to have such supportive parents.
AH, my stomach, my biggest insecurity since - FOREVER. As a woman, I understand that we naturally have more fat in that area (I'm still trying to figure out if it's a blessing or a curse) but it's always been a spot on my body I've been most self-conscious about. I don't have a flat stomach, I don't have a skinny waist and honestly, I'm ok with that. I've started eating healthier, and hitting the gym at least 4 times a week for general health reasons, but if someone can't love me like this, they don't deserve me any other way - flat stomach or not!
In conclusion, I'm glad I have the platform to share my story, and hopefully inspire others to love themselves no matter what! It doesn't matter what size you are. It doesn't matter how many imperfections you have. The only thing that matters is your happiness in life and that starts with YOU!
- X B