Self-conciousness is an emotion that we have all experienced. Even the most beautiful and seemingly flawless men and women have experienced self-conciousness in one form or another. So, why is it something that we talk so little about? Body image is a huge topic amongst women these days and while more companies are stepping outside of the stereotypical “model” body type this doesn’t alleviate the negative feelings I have towards my own body. It’s going to take more than a beautiful busty and bodacious woman to reverse a lifetime of conditioning. I’m not sure if these deep seeded insecurities are entirely at the fault of the media or if it’s a product of me comparing myself to the bodies of many other women…probably both.
My insecurities have evolved over the years. As I matured one insecurity was traded for another. I remember my first insecurity more than I remember the first time riding my bike without training wheels. Before I hit puberty I was embarrassed by the length of my toes. They seemed long, abnormally long, flip-flops were off limits and walking around barefoot in front of people was not an option. Now, I LOVE my feet, I can pick up freaking shampoo bottles with my toes and I’m pretty sure they make me swim faster.
As I got older and puberty took over my life, I developed a bad case of back acne (backne). This was mortifying. The days leading up to the opening of the town pool were laced with anxiety. If I couldn’t get rid of those little red demons I was the girl wearing a shirt in the pool. Fully convinced that no one would like me if they knew I had backne. This is when I started comparing myself to others.
From there came the boobs. I remember, at a young age, wanting boobs so bad! They represented womanhood and I thought wearing a bra would be fun. Now, I refer to bras as boob jail and take them off the moment I get home. A friend or maybe a magazine article told me that if I massaged them they would grow faster. I haven’t checked the science behind this one but I’m pretty sure it worked. I massaged my flat chest every day. I was the first girl with boobs in my class. Little did I know that they would come with more than just a training bra. Boys began noticing me, harassing me, pretending to fall on me so they could nonchalantly brush against my chest (this is in 4th grade mind you). Growing up I always wanted a nickname, something fun or cute. “Big Boobed Brittany” was not the nickname I had in mind. This was when I began to feel like my identity, popularity, and value was purely based on my physical appearance.
Then came the body hair. Why women are meant to be so conscious about their body hair is beyond me. I’m just going to come out and say it…I’m a hairy woman! I feel like this is a common attribute amongst women but I for some reason was left out of the loop on how to manage it. As the hair began poking its scratchy little ends out of my skin I shaved EVERYTHING, including my arms. The worst was the corse black hair on my legs and how quickly it would grow. My bikini area was a nightmare which would result in me never wearing bikini bottoms basically until two years ago. Waxing irritated my skin terribly and it always seemed like a luxury. I remember trying to decide between the wax or using that money for anything else like gas, books, or a couple of 6-packs. I still struggle with this and often times I’ll opt for any of those latter options. But I am getting pretty sick of being the girl in board shorts while all the other girls prance around in their bikini bottoms. I want to be free like them.
I was so consumed with covering up my insecurities that I wasn’t living fully. What makes me sad is that I know I’m one out of millions that go through this.
It seems to me now more than ever what I need and what I think we all need is to be more real with each other. We know we aren’t alone in our insecurities so lets talk about them! Let’s share with each other the things about ourselves we are most insecure about. Saying it out loud is a step in freeing ourselves from the shame and embarrassment. It’s a step towards loving ourselves and telling the world that this is what real beauty is.
So please, all of you bold women share with me one, two, or all the things about you that you are insecure about (external or internal) in the comments below. Try it. My hope is that it will leave you feeling as liberated as it left me. I will not judge and neither will anyone else. Remember your harshest critic is yourself.