I can remember feeling like I was fat from the age of 10. I always felt like I was the biggest one in my group of friends, which when I look back now, couldn't have been further from the truth. We were all pretty much the same size, which means I was the average weight for my age, but I didn't see or feel it back then.
It got worse as I got older and reached a very serious peak when I discovered my first set of stretchmark's at the age of 13. At the time I cried, I hated myself, I hated that this had happened to me. I couldn't recover from it so at the vulnerable age of 13 I attempted the first of many weight loss stints. I lost a significant amount of weight but low and behold the stretchmark's didn't disappear.
I struggled throughout high school which held me back from a lot. At 18 when I finished high school I had a period of grace, where I was happy with my weight. Not my body because there were still those "disgusting" marks, but I could deal with the number on the scale. But as time went on my weight started fluctuating and I put on quite a bit which set off years of dieting. From extremes such as Duromine and weighing everything before putting it in my mouth to the healthy way - eating the good stuff and exercising. But through all of this, no matter how much I lost, no matter how big the difference in before and after photos was, I couldn't find self love and happiness. During this time, I avoided the beach at all costs, I only wore long pants, yes, even in 30-degree weather and I layered my tops to make sure I had all the coverage I needed. I would sweat my ‘titties’ off during summer but I would not take off those pants and I wouldn't dare put a costume onto my "gross" body.
In 2017 I started my last diet, I even started an Instagram account to keep track of everything and keep me motivated. It went well, I lost 12 kilograms, and everyone could see it. The difference in the before and after photos was very evident but I still didn't find what I was looking for - comfort in my own skin. After 6 months of restricting myself to the point of turning down invites to dinners with friends and never wanting to put a drop of alcohol in my mouth, including at my oldest friend’s hens party, I gave up. Towards the end of 2017 I had the moment. The moment that literally changed my entire life and everything I had ever known. I decided to take time out to look after myself, I did a lot of soul searching. I stared in the mirror, I dug deep and I decided to let go of that self hatred I had held onto for so long. It started off with small changes such as stopping myself from having bad thoughts about my body and taking photos of myself when I felt good. I then started another Instagram account to document this journey to self-love and confidence. Choosing to be a part of the body positivity community was the best decision I ever made. I experienced one of the most memorable and freeing experiences of my life in December 2017 when I decided to take my shorts off at the beach and enjoy my time there in just my costume. Again, this was a life changing moment.
Since then I haven't looked back. I choose self-love every day. I want to actively be a part of helping other women reach the point I have because I can’t compare this feeling to anything I have ever experienced. I have given societies expectations the middle finger. I have overcome something that held me back for years. I choose to not waste anymore of my time worrying about numbers or marks on my body. For many of us the hardest thing to wear is our skin but when you learn to appreciate everything that you are, your life will change.