The year is 2011 and I am in 8th Grade
My track coach pulls me aside…
Coach: “Hey Paleeza, do you think you can run in the field event relay?”
This meet was special because there was a 200 meter relay for all of the people who only did field events. I was a sprinter but we didn’t have enough people to run the event.
Coach: “We need someone who is over 150lbs and I thought you would be a great candidate!”
My face got bright red. My heart sank. I felt so embarrassed and fat.
Me: “I’m sorry, Coach, but I’m only 128lbs.”
That memory will forever be a part of me. I will never forgot that horrible moment in my life. You may be thinking, “what’s the big deal? you aren’t even overweight?” Well, that may be true, but I wasn’t fine with being “healthy”. I wasn’t fine with having curves. When I walked back into the locker room, I began to compare myself to all of the other girls in there. They were all so thin! I felt like an elephant next to a bunch of flamingos!!
That was when I decided to make a change. I wanted to be skinny.
I have social anxiety disorder (SAD). Nobody in school, except my three friends, knew anything about me. I was just “the quiet girl“. I wanted to be more than that. More than a label. I thought that people would notice me if I looked beautiful. But, I didn’t feel beautiful at the time. Not only did I feel fat, but I also had acne. (Puberty sucks.) My hair was frizzy. I had glasses and braces. I felt hideous.
I felt like the odd one out because the other women in my family were (and still are) gorgeous!! I was embarrassed of myself. I hated getting my picture taken. The first two things that changed were my braces and glasses. I had braces for 5 years and when those bad boys finally came off, I felt like I could start changing my appearance in other areas too. I wanted to be pretty.
My hair was still a frizzy mess and I still felt fat (YOU CAN SEE MY COLLAR BONES!). I started experimenting with makeup for all the wrong reasons. I wanted to wear it to hide the ugly. I also became addicted to the scale. Every time I lost weight, I was so happy. If I gained even half a pound, I cried. I weighed myself every single day.
My freshman year of high school I managed to lose 19lbs. I went from 128 to 109. You could see my ribs, shoulder blades, collar bone…I did not look healthy. Every day I would throw my lunch away. My mom never knew. She eventually grew concerned, however, because I was looking very thin. My period wouldn’t come for months at a time. I felt dizzy and had headaches. My mom knew this was because of my weight. I didn’t believe her so she scheduled a doctor appt. for me. And, of course, the doctor confirmed that I was indeed under weight.
Seeing how much this worried my mother was like a wake-up call for me. I didn’t want to put my life in danger and I didn’t want others to worry about me. I began to pray about it and finally got the courage to gain 9lbs back. I was sticking with 118lbs.
Even though I managed to gain some weight back, I was still addicted to the scale. I needed to stay 118lbs. I was afraid to lose weight because I knew I would like that too much, and I didn’t want to gain any weight because I still wanted to be “skinny”.
My senior year of high school was the biggest change for me. I finally found glasses I actually felt cute in. My acne wasn’t nearly as bad as it was before (although I still, to this day, struggle with acne. But I am OK-ish with it now). I FINALLY learned how to style the beast on my head that some people call hair. I actually felt good about how I looked. And guess what! I was 122lbs.
When I went to college, I stayed in an apartment. I refused to buy a scale. I went up to 127lb and it is the healthiest I’ve ever felt!! I went up a cup size in one year and two pant sizes and I’ve never felt better about myself!
I still struggle, deep down inside. I don’t gain weight in my tummy (it all goes to my breasts, booty, and thighs thank goodness!) so the times where I am bloated, I feel very insecure. My husband and I have a bathroom scale and I still find myself checking it every time I have to tiniest bloat in my belly. I love what my husband says to me whenever I feel this way, “Honey, I understand that you feel bloated and that you see that you’re bloated, but sweetheart there is nothing there! And even if there was, you’d still be the most beautiful girl in the world.” I know I’m not the most beautiful girl in the world lol but I do know that in his eyes I am, just like he is the most handsome man in the world to me. And when I hear him say that, my insecurities (temporarily) melt away.
Basically the message I am trying to get across is Rock Your Curves GIRL!!! And if you aren’t built curvy, LOVE YOURSELF because you are still gorgeous!!! As long as you are healthy, you should love yourself! God loves you! And you should too!!! No matter what body type you are, you are beautiful. I can’t stress this enough! Once you begin to love yourself, you will see how beautiful you really are and that beauty will shine brighter than ever!
I challenge all of you to face your securities head on and love them, rock them, use them to grow stronger!