Recently I looked back on some old photos from my early twenties, culling data on external hard drives to free up space, I found myself taking a longer then planned for walk down memory lane.
I spent what should have probably been my best years believing I was excessively and extremely overweight. I would call myself fat (and ugly) at any opportunity I got. I looked at these photos and thought now in my “post two pregnancies, early 30s mummy brain” woah – I was truly deluded! How incredibly low my self confidence and self esteem were, to believe something about myself which was so far from the truth.
Granted I never was a “skinny” or “naturally thin” girl, but I was by no means “fat”. I’ve just always been a bigger build most my life, as puberty hit I became curvier then most in my circles. Teenage years are horrible for anyone, and I did get to a point where I was an unhealthy weight for my age at the time. But I also remembering losing a large number of KGs in my final year of high school and entering university at a healthy weight looking rather slimer than what I was used too. I always thought life was so much easier for the skinny girls, they didn’t have to worry about what they ate, they could almost always attract boys, “the life of a skinny girl must be bliss!”
It wasn’t until I entered my twenties that I realized this wasn’t the case for the skinny girls. It was far from it actually. I had girlfriends that were more self-conscious then I was, worrying about their bodies, their looks, what they ate more then I ever imagined. Sometimes I found myself arguing with them saying things like, “if only you girls knew what it really felt like to be ‘fat’ you’d be so much more grateful for them genes you’ve been blessed with”.
I realized later that self love was an issue MOST if not ALL girls and women go through, big or small. We’re just never happy with what and who we are, always searching for more or an idea of what’s ‘better’ or more acceptable or appealing. If it wasn’t the super skinny flat chested girl wishing she had a curvier or more womanly body, to the overweight girl crying herself to sleep wishing for a size 6 body, we’ve all experienced our share of demons when it comes to body image.
I looked back on my old photos and wished 21 year old Tanja knew just how pretty and “not fat” she actually was. If I could go back and tell her just one thing I’d try and hammer that thought deep into her subconscious mind so that she would never forget it. For too long I spent so many years thinking I wasn’t enough. Wasn’t as good as the rest. For far too long I hated what I saw in the mirror.
And this is why I wanted to have a girl so much. I wanted to raise a confident self loving girl, the girl I never felt I was. The girl I wish so many of us were. I recently came across the most appropriate quote… “all these years of education and they never taught us how to love ourselves.” – ain’t that the truth!