It’s a wonderful thing to be comfortable in your own skin. I wouldn’t know, because I’m not quite there yet, but I’ve made huge strides in the journey of loving myself, and not just for who I am on the inside, but for everything I am.
About a year and a half ago I started a blog for when I studied abroad in London, England. When I went over there I had extremely high hopes of coming back as a completely different person, especially appearance wise. I was at a place where I not only despised who I was, but what I looked like. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I lost sight of who I was and I didn’t have any goals. I was disgusted with myself and spent way too much time hating what I saw in the mirror. I’ve always struggled with body image, but the past few years were probably the worst.
From a young age I was taught to hate your body. I was taught that your weight was to be kept a secret, a dirty little secret that you were to share with no one. I was taught that it was bad to be overweight and that you were seen as less desirable. I used to be so afraid that if people found out how much I weighed they would stop being my friend. When I went out with friends to eat I would pace myself with how they were eating, despite if I was still hungry. If they stopped eating because they got full, so did I and if anyone ever commented on how much I ate, I would almost instantly stop eating (I still do that). I rarely ever ate in front of boys; I was terrified they would find me absolutely disgusting. Eating is natural and something that shouldn’t cause anxiety, but it did for me.
From elementary to high school I hardly ever ate my school lunch. Mostly because it was disgusting and the other part because some of my friends never ate. I realize now that by skipping lunch from elementary school to high school I probably did some serious damage to my metabolism. But at the time I didn’t care. I just wanted to be seen as small and fragile, like all my friends. As the teenage years rolled around and puberty took its place, I began to hate shopping, especially with my friends. They were all so much tinier than me. I literally felt like a whale next to them. For the longest time I only liked shopping with my mom and whenever my friends would ask I would always say I hate shopping, just so I didn’t have to go with them. But on the off chance that I did go, I would wait for them to go off and find their size before sneaking off to mine. I made sure to hide the sizes on my tags when I shopped and avoided eye contract with the cashiers, afraid they would judge me for a silly tag. This may seem like tedious, over dramatized, but I did it to protect myself.
For those of you who haven’t been there, I’m happy for you, because it’s an awful thing to look in the mirror and not be comfortable in your own skin, to wish you looked like someone else. To pick, poke, prod and pull at your body, begging it to look different. Skinnier. Tinier. Better. I know many people will say “well if you hate what you look like, change it. Lose weight, eat healthier,” to that I have to say “easier said than done.” A lot of people are addicted to food or are emotional eaters, so to just cut out carbs or sugar is like asking a smoker to give up cigarettes, it’s simply not that easy. It is also easier for men to lose weight than women. Our bodies are built different and they naturally have a faster metabolism. If you don’t believe me, start a healthy life style with a guy friend. I guarantee you, he will see results faster. It’s not anything that is wrong with us, women’s bodies are just built differently.
Anyways, for the past two and a half years I have been making more of a conscious effort to not only be a healthier person, but be a better person. Two and a half years ago my brother encouraged me to join a gym. He worked with me and helped create a workout that would work well and benefit my body. He was a true friend and stuck with me until I got comfortable enough to work out alone. So shout out to Tony, thank you for introducing me to the gym life. I don’t hate it as much as I used to! 😛
Although I did not go to the gym as much as I wanted when I first started, I felt better for the times that I did go. Fast forward months later, I received an opportunity to study abroad in London for a semester. My time abroad not only helped me grow as a person, but it helped my health. When I lived in London, I easily walked five miles a day and I ate a lot healthier, as it easier to do in Europe. My legs were my transportation and my body benefited from it. I lost eleven pounds and came back lighter than I had been in a long time.
Now jump to a year and a half later that I’ve been home from Europe and sadly I’ve gained the weight back that I lost. However, I feel more comfortable in my body than I ever have before. Two summers ago I never would’ve even thought about trying on a two-piece swim suit that showed my stomach. My stomach is pale and I have little white stretch marks all over my stomach that run up and down my sides and go to my shoulders. It looks like lightening has kissed my stomach. It was never something I wanted to show anyone. However, last summer when I returned from England I felt better about my body. I was healthier than I had been in a long time, so when I went to Florida with a friend I tried on a pair of high waist bottoms and a bikini top. I remember looking in the mirror and being surprised by how much I didn’t despite it. Did I love it? Absolutely not! Did I still cringe? Of course, but I didn’t hate it and I knew that just with me trying it on that was a huge step for me. I’ve still got a long ways to go and I intend to continue take care of my body by exercising regularly and making a more conscious effort to eat better, but at the end of the day I know the most important thing is to love who I am and the body I’m in because in the end it’s all I have.
And now we’re here at this summer, summer 2017. The reason I am writing this. I, Lori Scoby bought a black bikini top and a pair of high waist bottoms and I almost love it! If you know me at all, you would know that I’m a modest person. I rarely show cleavage, if any at all and I definitely do not buy any clothes that reveal my stomach. However, I have been working on not caring what people think when it comes to my appearance. I always tell my friends that you can wear anything you want; you just have to have the confidence to do it. I’d like to think I am more confident when it comes to the clothes I wear. I even don’t mind shopping with my friends too much.
In fact, I even bought the swimsuit with my friend. She’s one of my oldest friends and I know that I could trust her opinion on this swimsuit. When I’m with her she makes me feel safe and sheltered from any judgement. I trusted her and sent her pictures, asking for her honest opinion. After a little while, I even called her up and we shopped together. It meant a lot to me that I could shop with her and not feel judged. It’s the best feeling ever when you have a friend like that. So shout out to Katrina for making me feel completely comfortable in my own skin. You have no idea how much that means to me.
Anyways, back to the swim suit. I found a two-piece swim suit that I like and I am so excited to wear it tomorrow at the lake. I know this might not seem like a big deal to anyone else, but to me it’s a huge deal. So for any of my beautiful people out there who struggle with body image; try on the swim suit. Buy the swim suit and go and show it off! Your body is beautiful no matter what size you are and it deserves to be shown some love. And remember that stretch marks are normal and most people have them. It just means that, that part of your body grew at a quicker rate. I have them on other places than my stomach that aren’t fatty areas (my shoulders and kneecaps for example). My friends that are really thin have them too. It’s normal and it’s natural.
However, if you are not ready take your time. If you are still getting upset in the dressing room, crying in front of the mirror or telling yourself negative things about your body, you are not ready and that’s okay. Don’t let anyone try to pressure you into wearing something you don’t feel comfortable in. Over the years I’ve learned that if I don’t feel 100% comfortable in it then I will never wear it and that’s money wasted. I know I need to practice what I preach and I’m doing my best, so hopefully, starting this blog it will help.
Just remember you are not your weight. You are not your pants size and you do not need to compare yourself to anyone else, except for the you that you were yesterday. You are your kind words. You are your helpful actions and your beautiful smile. You are your heart and soul and your value comes from so much more than what your appearance has to offer. You are beautiful and you are loved. Please never forget that.