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When You Can't See It

We can’t always see it. Looking in the mirror we are too quick to find things we believe are wrong instead of KNOWING all that is right. We live in a world that tries to convince us and market to us that the less space we take up the happier we will be. We look at images and we are no longer able to decipher what has been edited out or what is real. Then it starts…the comparisons, the shame, the self-loathing…and we lose sight of ourselves.

I struggle. I think most of us do. There are days I hate the photos taken of me. I look in the mirror and can’t always see the truth through all the ugly lies I have built up in my head over the years. I have become skilled in leaving most of my comments inside my head, shutting them down, because I refuse to let them get out in to my daily life. But I also want to protect those around me. Others hear and respond to how we speak about our own body. It makes me so sad when women I love (or women I don’t even know) say bad things about themselves and so I refuse to start the conversation by doing it to myself. I don’t want to be the catalyst to you feeling like you aren’t good enough or all of us tearing ourselves down.

I struggle. But what I know is this, when we decide we aren’t good enough we are seeing the wrong thing in the mirror. It is an unhealthy habit to believe we aren’t beautiful or worthy. And that habit keeps us chasing smallness, chasing perfect skin, chasing perfect looks, and chasing happiness that we believe comes from those things. You see we have been conditioned to believe that perfection lies somewhere out there. And that until we reach it, we can never truly be happy or satisfied with who we are. How sad is that? Days wasted hating the only body we will ever be given. Days wasted convinced we are better off hating how we look, wishing it away, rather than learning how to turn off the negative voice and to accept ourselves as we are.

I struggle. And there will always be moments I can’t be the person who gets me out of my own head. I am lucky I have people who help me. I am lucky that I finally realized how exhausted I was and decided to fight. I would fight harder to be at peace with this body than to try and force it to be perfect. To be something it will never be. I would stop believing my worth was tied to how I look. Or allowing anyone else to determine my worth. I would stop obsessing over food and weight and perfection. It isn’t fucking easy. I am the first to admit it takes real work to get out of your head, sometimes it takes speaking to a professional. It won’t be good every day, but damnit, it can be better more often than not.

This Women Do page has made me realize it is my deepest desire is for you to see it. For you to find the freedom of accepting your body and moving through the world with that freedom. For you to look in that mirror and know your beauty. For you to know your strength. To take hold of your power and refuse to give it up to anyone. For you to fight for the acceptance of your body as hard you listen to the voice of disdain about it. For you to wear what you want. For you to be comfortable in your skin. For you to believe in who you are and to move forward in this world with the boldness it desires from you.

The journey is not easy, we all struggle, but I will not sit idly by and watch you struggle. And my greatest hope is that we all decide we can no longer watch each other struggle. Perhaps if all of us decided to be the voice of reason, to uplift, to be honest, to help others find acceptance, maybe we could all struggle a little less. If all of us were honest about who we are and the battles we face. If we decided that accepting ourselves and helping others do the same was important to changing lives, to releasing the bonds we have placed on women. If we all decided to fight against the undoing of our bold, fierce, beautiful young women as they come to an age where they feel the unyielding pressure of society’s standards. Maybe we could finally make real change for the next generations. Maybe we could learn to see ourselves the way that others see us. Maybe, just maybe we could turn the negative voice off, leave the positive one on and move in this world regaining our power, free of the chains of our body image struggles weighing us down.