DAY4

Hey guys! it’s officially day 4 of my a-post-a-day challenge!

So, today’s topic is body image and my advice for loving your body no matter what.

Let’s paint a picture.

Imagine a Taiwanese and Vietnamese mix, 4’11 girl.

She has short hair a little past her shoulders and wears glasses too big for her baby face (but that’s how she likes it).

She’s got so-called ‘small bones,’ with a 23 ½ inch waist, 31 ½ inch hips, and 31 inch bust.

She’s got an arch in her foot because she wore heels at too young an age and that arch is not natural but she looks like she has dancers’ feet now.

She has no thigh gap, she’s got hip dips and belly rolls (just like everybody else) and jiggly upper arms.

I’ve always been told that I was short and much too skinny.

People would always ask me if I was anorexic or bulimic-but I swear I’m not.

My sister calls me fat all the time (not in a malicious way-she just means I have to get up from the couch and go exercise).

I’ve never felt uncomfortable with how I look because I’m confident in myself and that while appearances are important-its how I present myself to others that detract from how I look and put more emphasis on my personality.

I’ve been ‘skinny-shamed,’ and I’ve been called ‘vertically challenged,’ but I’ve never really cared because I’m content with the way I am. You know, its easy to overlook these comments if you’re truly confident in yourself. I make jokes about my height all the time-its easier to win hide and seek by the way.

You can learn to love yourself by: standing in front of a mirror and just say one positive thing about yourself every day; wear the right clothes, ones that make you feel ready to take on the world (I didn’t win best dressed senior by wearing sweats every day ya know); focus on being a good person to those around you-your friends can build up your confidence better than you can alone; there’s plenty of other ways other bloggers have discovered that I haven’t thought of.

The plus-size community is a pretty powerful group of people sharing self-love and image positivity. The reason that this group in particular is so successful, is because they have icons and activists who are confident in themselves and their identity and their fans share that confidence (because we all want to imitate our idols).

If you don’t feel comfortable with the way you are now-then change to be better. If you don’t love your rolls or your love handles, exercise and work for the body you want. It’s all about mindset, you have to believe that you can do it-because in the end if its something that you really want, then you just do it. You can complain and whine as much as you want-as long as you get the job done. There are a lot of people who wallow in self-pity because they’re not happy with the way they are-and what I say to them is this:

“Don’t hate on society for shaming you when you shame yourself. It’s a different story if you accept and love yourself just the way you are. But if you wish that you had the body of a model from that magazine you like, if you wish to look different from the way you are now-then you have to change your attitude. Work hard to obtain the changes you want-because there will always be body-shamers out there and it’s easy to blame them. Don’t take the easy way out.”

I’m not saying its easy. I’m not saying that it’ll be instant results. I’m not saying that you should change to conform to society’s expectations of beautiful (because that is always changing)-but if its your own personal goal-if the reason you want to change is to better yourself-then you have to work hard.

PROUD

My sister, prior to me writing this (obviously LOL), asked me for a friend of hers, if I believed if cheaters can change- and I said,

-that he wouldn’t have cheated in the first place if he cared for her.

-he shouldn’t have cheated on her if he even respected her, even just a little bit.

This lack of respect reminds me of the relationship my best friend had with this guy (yes, I did get permission to tell this story).

I think that while he genuinely liked her for quite a while, he was also burdened by expectations from his friends and people that only knew of him.

I remember when we were kids-fifth graders, everyone knew he had a crush on her and they both had been teased about it for quite a while. Flash forward to the summer before senior year-they go on their first date. It’s all roses and sunshine, I went on a couple double dates with them, etc. Then comes time for college application month, NaNoWriMo to some, etc. Basically, November-the month of craziness. They have their first fight over not going out on enough dates. She’s busy with college stuff so she can’t go out and so they argue. He isn’t happy and basically ignores her for the next four months and the most talking they do is small talk over text. OVER TEXT, guys. Its silent. She finally was able to get a chance to break up with him late May. So, what this tells me is that there were a lot of issues that were never addressed and still have not been addressed. Both had issues and I’m not blind to her problems just because she’s my best friend.

A lack of communication. When the only method of communication that a couple is comfortable using is text-well that’s a big no-no isn’t it.

Too much pressure. Like I mentioned previously, a lot of people had played matchmaker with them and I think one of the reasons they got together was because so many people were indirectly pressuring them to be together.

Both acted cowardly (in my opinion, sorry bestie!). Anyways, they never really confronted each other in person-which ties back to the communication portion. They ignored their problems until it blew up in their faces.

She could have made time for him-the whole argument they had-could have been avoided had she made time for him. Relationships are all about give-and-take, compromise.

At the same time, it was a busy time for her and he could have been more understanding.

Ultimately none of these things that are kind of important to a successful relationship existed.

I side with her because she’s my best friend, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that she wasn’t also in the wrong ya know?

She doesn’t play victim and she knows she has issues-I don’t fake sympathizing with her because she doesn’t need it. I’m proud that she respects herself and him enough to not play victim, to not point fingers.

Final advice?

Find someone who will respect you first as a person, then pursue a relationship if that’s what you wish.

 

OWN IT

I had always fallen victim to the so-called ‘blame game.’ There are times when I found that it was just so much easier to blame someone else for my lack of success when I know logically it really wasn’t anyone else’s fault that they got the opportunity to do something that I wanted to do. This sense of entitlement is something I fell victim to maybe in middle school and I realized when I started high school that things were different. I opened my eyes to the truth.

Gary Vaynerchuk is famous for his speeches and advice for success. One thing that he’s said recently struck a cord with me, he says,

“But when you take control of your at bat. When you put it all on yourself. When it’s your fault. And your wins. When you own it. That’s when it starts happening.”

I thought it was really important to share this because I totally believe its true. I may not have lived for a very long time-but even I know that if you want to be successful you have to take control of your life-not only by owning up to whatever you’ve done with your life so far, but also knowing that despite whatever talent you think you have-it won’t be enough. Yes, hard work and opportunity is important. But, I also feel like you can’t really get anywhere if you don’t know people. The mentality of masses as a whole and how society is going to react. We will always have exceptions to opinions, its understanding the majority that gives insight to general mentality. I think its important to know people. How they think, how they react. How will they react to whatever content you put out? How will you appeal to them if they were your fans? Stuff like that doesn’t seem important but it is.

For example, if I wanted to become a best-selling author one day, then I would not only need to write something that will appeal to a specific demographic but I would also need to gauge possible reactions to the release so that I can be prepared to respond.

If I wanted to be a car saleswoman than I would need to understand people on a more physical level-body reactions, I’d need to be persuasive. I would need to understand people on a fundamental level.

Any job that one might have-will involve dealing with all kinds of people, how is subjective but in principle the message is the same.

I’m only 17, but others… well let’s just say they’ve only got one life and they should be squeezing the hell out of whatever they’ve got left.

LISTEN

It’s hard to accept sometimes that pretty much most people will have different opinions from me. I am hard-headed and stubborn pretty much all the time and so it makes it difficult for me to keep an open mind when I already have fully formed opinions on a topic. I do try to educate myself as much as possible before taking a stance or making an opinion because I don’t ever want to be accused of being ignorant. That said, I wouldn’t consider myself intolerant-more as making an effort to understand others’ point of view even if I don’t agree.

This has always been something I considered to be extremely important-its important to be informed and tolerant. Not only by listening to others’ opinions but also making an effort to understand where they come from-because circumstances change and no two situations are exactly the same. While my efforts may not always be fruitful, I will always take something from the situation no matter the outcome.

SO, for example, whenever my family and I sit down for dinner, or get in the car, or be in generally a small space together-we start discussions and we always talk about something that a lot of people can input opinions into and it gets all tense. One topic that got particularly heated, was our discussion over double standards for girls and boys being raised and how they’re treated in a household. I have three sisters and no brothers, so I don’t know how my parents would treat a son specifically, but it was strange because we all came to a consensus that yes double standards exist. But, my dad claims that these double standards are necessary-for example, parents are more protective of the girls, and my dad claims that it’s because they need more protecting than the boys do. OF course, me and my sisters disagreed but anyways I could see where he was coming from and understand that as a father its his job to care for his kids-but at the same time it doesn’t mean that I have to accept his reasoning as being right (in a black and white sort of sense).

But the most important part of any discussion or exchange of opinions, is listening. You want to make a rebuttal? That’s fine, as long as you listen to what they’re trying to say and interpret correctly. You don’t want to argue or talk about it anymore? Let them finish what they’re saying first-knowledge is power after all.

Oh another thing to mention is this: you don’t always have to argue back-yeah I know it sounds crazy but it’s something to consider. You’ll find that not everything is worth arguing about. You want your voice to be heard? Don’t worry, there will be an opportunity for you in the future. There are a lot of outspoken people out there-myself included- and sometimes what they say will offend you and that’s okay as long as you know that it’s all just opinion. We all have different opinions on certain topics but in the end these opinions shouldn’t be an obstacle in the way of obtaining a more tolerant society.

CONFIDENCE

I’ve always believed confidence in oneself was one of the most admirable and desirable traits one could have. But at the same time there is a borderline between confidence and arrogance which I feel should never be crossed-duh! But how do we know when we cross the line?

Here’s some examples that are not as obvious:

  • If you show up late to outings frequently-it shows that you feel like your time is more valuable than others. And, it is one of the most understated signs of arrogance because most people don’t think that deeply about something like being late.
  • If you go out of your way to prove that you’re right or to prove that you’re never wrong- it a lack of acceptance on your part that shows arrogance and if you end up being right about it and you can’t be gracious about it, then well, its arrogance.

But confidence is not just about being proud of how you look or being comfortable in your own skin. Its also about being able to respect yourself in a way no one else can. You respect yourself by not doubting your ability and skills. You respect yourself when you push yourself to do better in every aspect of your life. Because this kind of respect-the kind that stems from self-love- is all the more impactful.

They say that when you have less confidence, it prevents you from seizing opportunities and taking risks for yourself that could ultimately help you succeed. I’ve struggled with that for a long time. I was confident in who I was and I was comfortable in who I was as a person. But, I was never confident in my abilities and I never took risks. But, at the same time, I wouldn’t change the decisions I’ve made because I’m able to talk about it now whereas if I did have the confidence to do things I ordinarily wouldn’t do, I probably couldn’t relate to this on such a personal level.

[relation]/[friend] ships!

How do you know if you’re in a toxic relationship?

I find that a majority of the time it’s easy to identify toxic elements of a relationship or even a friendship from the outside. A lot of people like to think that once you know you’re in a toxic relationship that it is easy to get out of it, and it’s really not and the problem is that you have other people telling you one thing, while in your mind, there is one half that wants to agree-that maybe your friends are only saying these things to help you; and the other half wants to believe that the other person in the relationship/friendship is not what everyone says that they are-that they are different from what others say. So how do you make the decision between the two?

[personal story time] So, one of my first boyfriends-I guess he could be considered a boyfriend- had a reputation for being a playboy and all of my friends were very disapproving, and I was really into him-blind as a bat- and I thought that he was kind, smart, witty, all that; but I was soon disillusioned by the fact that my friends would continuously tell me “oh no, Celeste, I heard that he only dates girls for a month and then dumps them,” of course, I didn’t believe them and then the things that they said came true and I was regretful that I didn’t heed my friends’ advice. And, most people when they hear this story, they think, “well, don’t worry I won’t make the same mistake,” but its very easy to make the same mistake and there isn’t any shame in making mistakes because we all learn from our own experiences best. So my advice is, having an outside perspective in the form of friends is helpful, but ultimately it is up to you to make decisions that will benefit you the most.

 

Tips for getting into relationships?

Well, a lot of people say that being yourself is key to attracting others; I say that its mainly self-confidence that attracts people. But, in reality most people look for enhanced superficial qualities-basically how you look. And, it seems naïve to say that looks don’t matter because they do. Be the best version of you that you can achieve. Take care of yourself, first and foremost, be healthy. Find what you love and don’t let it go-hobbies like art or cooking-something. I find that a lot of people are attracted to raw beauty and that can be achieved by, again being the best you that you can be. Accept your insecurities-don’t like them? work to change. IF you can’t change what you don’t like, then self-love is the next option, learn to love yourself so that you aren’t dependent when you are in a relationship in the future. Ultimately, all of this, leads to self-confidence and that I feel is what draws people. You notice that it’s usually the beautiful people who are the popular kids-it’s because a majority of them have mastered confidence in themselves and their abilities.

[personal story time] My school’s yearbook has a section dedicated to the superlatives of the seniors and I technically won two categories (we are only allowed to pick one if we won): Best Dressed and Biggest Flirt. I was hoping to win the Best Dressed category when the survey came out. So, it was a shock that I had also won Biggest Flirt-so I asked around and turns out that the people who voted for me, voted for me because I was flirty with most people that I talked to, which didn’t make sense to me, because I don’t really recall doing so. And, after careful “interrogation” of my friends, I found that the way I talk to people can come off as flirty because I put on a front of self-confidence (not that they knew it was a half-formed mask). I mean, that friendly interactions can also be misconstrued as being flirty and so that was the whole premise behind that. So now, I’m more careful with how I talk to others because I don’t want to come off as looking for a relationship when I don’t want one.

Making friends is fun!

It is hard making friends, being the one to approach another first-not my idea of fun. I used to be an introvert throughout middle school and the first year of high school. I never approached new people, I always thought that people that I had been friends with for years would continue to do so-naïve of me. I never bothered to make friends beyond my core group unless someone approached me first, and it is something that I regret. It wasn’t until sophomore year that I knew that I couldn’t go on the same way-too much dependence on this group. So, bucked up the courage to make friends with those around me in my classes-whoever was at my table or in my group for a project-I made an effort to approach them first with an offer of friendship because I somehow knew that it wasn’t in my nature to not be sociable with people. I remember doing my best to fake confidence and cheerfully ask them how their day went or some random ice breaker questions-not because I desperately wanted more friends or whatnot, but because I knew that if I didn’t, I would regret it and I was right. I still do it even now, when I’m so busy with hanging out with friends, maintaining good contact with those I don’t see regularly. Because, friendships are important, not just socially, politically, but also mentally-friendships can encourage happiness and a sense of belonging.

Reflection

Do you like what you see when you look in the mirror?

Does what you see, match what you wish to see?

Do you love yourself as much as those who love you do?

Why do we see our imperfections and flaws before the good things?

I will freely say that I have dealt with my fair share of insecurities and I know that pretty much everyone else has too. Not only physical insecurities but also insecurities about my personality and stuff like whether people would accept me for being me. But as I grew up, I realized that these “flaws” that I would always see, would always be with me for as long as I did nothing about it. As much as I worked out or wore makeup, I could never fit into my ideal of what was pretty. In my mind, my face was too fat, I didn’t have a good smile, I was too short. I have a belly most of the time.

And this was only my physical features too. My friends are beautiful and they’re smart as heck and they have goals that reach beyond whatever I could ever hope to achieve. Yet, I couldn’t help but compare, I’m not in sports, I have average grades, I have no idea what I want to do. BUT, the question is, then, what am I happy with about myself? How could I find a way to offset these “flaws”? So, I began with activities that I really love doing: designing and writing.

This blog is borne of my insecurities.

I exercise to achieve a better body.

I design clothing.

I live positively.

Yet, I still have to face these insecurities every single day. And, that’s okay.

My friends know I have insecurities and never confront me about it, and I appreciate them for that.

It’s hard to accept that there is going to be some things that just can’t be changed, and that’s the hardest part of self-love. But, I’m in high school and I have time to learn to accept it.

We live in an age where, how you look and what your reputation says about you is an important part of being successful. They say, “be the best you that you can be”-but sometimes that isn’t good enough.

I don’t write about these posts because I want pity, I write because I know others deal with similar issues and I want to share my experiences-simply because there is no shame in admitting weakness and vulnerability voluntarily. It means more when others believe it is a power they can hold over you. You let these vulnerabilities be talked about, and you’re set free.

You could say, “well, Celeste, that’s easy for you to say, you’re writing to strangers,” and I would say that you’re right. Maybe take up writing a blog or some other such thing, like Youtube :D.

Anyways, there is tons of people who promote self-love, but they don’t explicitly mention that it’s a personal journey for each and every one of us. Not everyone is willing to expose their insecurities, not everyone is shy about it, and no one ever talks about how lonely this road of self-discovery actually is. Only you can deal with it, sure your friends will offer support in whatever you think you have to do to better yourself, but they wouldn’t understand all the issues that you’ll go through. BE STRONG. BE BOLD. BE YOU.
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