Tonight we’re going to spice things up a little folks. I’ve decided to turn my usual incredibly long, babbling, opinionated posts into TWO incredibly long, babbling, opinionated posts!! Yay for infinite word limits!
You may have a few ideas bopping around about what this entry could be about (HINT HINT TITLE) but have no fear! I’m here to clarify, just incase you’re totally off track and waiting for me to start debating the revival of crocs (totally happening by the way, give it 3-5 years). Tonight, we’re talking body image.
Like most girls nowadays, Devin and I struggled with our self-perceptions. Unfortunately, instead of confiding in one another, we grew up envying the confidence that we thought the other one had. Today, as young adults, we’ve both grown to accept and appreciate our individuality; but that doesn’t mean we’re immune to insecurities.
This past week I asked Devin to add her input to this piece. I simply requested that she write an entry on her idea and experience with personal self image. By doing this I was hoping to let her take the reins and make this post her own (which she did beautifully). The following is her original thought:
“My perception of body image formed when I was in third grade, and diagnosed with scoliosis. Because of the curvature in my back, I was forced to wear a brace until my early high school years. Irrationally, this greatly diminished my self-confidence. I wore an oversized sweatshirt everyday with sweatpants, as an attempt to hide the ugly piece of plastic. During these years, I was terribly shy in school and often took out my frustrations on my family/behind closed doors. I distinctly remember a period where I would say something along the lines of “I hate my life” every morning as my sister and I waited for the school bus with my mother.
I was jealous of my sister and her lean athletic body and her comfortableness in her own skin. I think subconsciously threw this back at her, not understanding how she could always be so happy and positive while I was always here being the “disabled” child. In high school, my body was almost done growing, so I no longer had to wear my brace I began to feel less restricted both physically and mentally. This was a new beginning for me; new people, a new environment. For the first time, I truly felt like I was growing and developing my own personality. From freshman to senior year, I was involved in a sport for all three seasons, a mixture of volleyball, softball, cross country and track. Being part of a team and becoming an athlete also has played a major part in my confidence and individuality. I now do crew in college and enjoy staying active in a multitude of ways.
While this has been a blessing in my life, it has also led to habits which I am now beginning to realize are not in my best interest. Being constantly surrounded by slim, muscular, and picture perfect athletic looking girls has not had the most positive effect on my mind. For a while I felt pressured to change my body type in order to achieve the image that society considers attractive. However, following a strict meal plan and exercise regimen is unrealistic and does not equal happiness for most people, myself included. I have learned that there is so much more to life than appearance. Obvious, right?
I am still trying to find my personal balance between feeling healthy and being confident with how I look while remembering to not compare myself to others (that’s another thing that has been a mental struggle for me – comparing myself and fretting over things which I have no control over). I also am realizing the importance of not taking other peoples opinions too seriously. I am certainly not the stereotypical girl that guys always fall for; I wear my straight hair down everyday, have an exceptionally flat chest (thanks Mom!), my face is less than symmetrical and my stomach jiggles more than I’d like it to.
BUT, there are so many more things that I DO love about myself! I can make people (including myself) laugh, I get excited from trying new things, and I have a countless amount of blessings to be thankful for. As I continue to learn and grow, it is my priority to appreciate my body and all of the wonders it.
By Devin Lee Jensen”