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I stand in front of the mirror and look at my body, asking myself "Why don't I have the perfect legs like celebrities?" I put on my clothes, grab my bag and go to school. Now, you can replay this moment daily for the next 3 years of my life. I looked for answers, solutions and tried many attempts, but the results were always the same, if not worse and worse each time. This was my life during my adolescence and there was my self confidence getting lower and lower with time. I went to my friends, only to realize their questions and concerns surpassed even mine, for each one of us dreams of looking like her favorite actress, singer or model on the cover of some magazine. I had no idea at the time how much help I needed and I had no idea how much I needed to change how I see myself.
My life went on as it is, until there came a moment that changed everything. I was 16 and I remember really well that I started reading a lot and exploring a lot of different topics. Of course I also went to reading a lot about nutrition and fitness, thinking that I would find my answers there. However, I came across something that made me stop and think. It was a piece about the different body types and how they're all naturally very different from each other. This was a light bulb moment in my life. I found myself repeating the words, "What? Do we not all have the same body shape?"
I started doing a lot of research so I can learn and get to know my own body type. I found out that I was a pear body shape, which means that for my body's natural form, it's normal and natural to have fuller sides and thighs. So, why has no one ever me told that? My mother never told me, my teacher never told me, neither did magazines or celebrities...It was then that how I saw myself started to change. I gradually started to accept my body, how it is and even started loving it. It got better with time, until I finally regained my self confidence.
Two years went by and a close friend of mine approached me talking about her own struggles with self love and body image. It was like I was looking back to exactly where I was...The same questions and same insecurities, the only difference was my reaction. I told her what I went through and my experience and realizations, and to my surprise I could almost instantly see the effect it was having on her self esteem. So I asked myself, how much of a difference could have been made in people's lives, if they had known this?
I thought about it for a while and realized that my mom, grandma, and even my teachers were all raised to believe that anything we see is reality. We believed are bodies should like the models and celebrities we see on TV. Those beliefs were passed on to the next generation, and naturally I inherited them. They believed what they saw on TV and our generation believes what they see on social media, without thinking about it twice. We even go as far as having them be our standards of beauty, which of course destroys our own self confidence.
I concluded that the solution lies within us, we need to begin questioning and asking ourselves what's realistic and what's not. For then, it was TV and magazines, now it's social media and in a couple of years it will take a new form. We will always be exposed to something that has us doubting our own beauty, wether it's the color of our skin, body shape or hair. It is our responsibility as moms, friends or teachers to have and spread that kind of awareness.
We have to think and become aware that not everything we see is real and we were all born different and must accept each other and ourselves with these differences because this is what makes us special and this is what will help us embrace ourselves and our bodies.
Don't miss out on reading the first article from our #FustanyTalks series. Tomorrow is another interesting topic on body image controversies on Instagram.
Main Image Credits: Instagram @violette_fr