I wake up at 4am, as a 10 year old. I squeeze on 2 pairs of tights and a constricting leotard. To my dismay I need no bra, unless to pretend. I become more aware that my thighs bubble out, noticing my sides spilling over my tights though hidden under spandex. I resume my morning routine of a 2 hour session complete with private lesson. Over 8 years of figure skating, puberty was pitched as the apocalypse. My coach and I would snicker about who wouldn't be able to handle the boobs, butt, and belly battle most skaters seemed to lose. I went to camps where I was sat down with a nutritionist, and cried while gagging down my salad. Skating holds some of my best memories, but also spurred some of my worst habits. When puberty came, it certainly wasn't the boobs that caused my demise, but the glimmering dream of late mornings, sleep overs, and boyfriends. Unfortunately, that freedom also introduced pizza, cheetos, and sweet tea by the gallon. As I make my way through highshool those consequences slowly start to add up in LBs. I glared and sarcastically slandered the metabolic magicians. You know, the girls who weighed shy of 100 lbs while eating a tub of icecream while I looked at chocolate cake too long while my pant size increased.
Fast forward to Senior year and I finally saw a photo I couldn't believe was me. Not only was my body suffering, but I was quite litearlly failing PE. So I silently threw myself in the gym with my body builder brother, cut my calories, and made the life change everyone talks about. But after I lost the bulk of my weight, I became obsessed. I had a fear of food and what it would do. One unplanned bite would ruin me. I had a strict formula of what was allowed, and wept when I went off course.
Five years and nearly fifty pounds later, I still struggle. Not only with the extra pounds. I look in the mirror and long for fuller breasts and sensual curves. I'm wounded by lies that I am less of a woman without cleavage. But something has drastically shifted. I'm not striving to be different than the look of the girl in that photo, I'm striving to be the woman beside her, my mom. At 50-something-she-would-kill-
me-for-sharing, she could quite literally run circles around me. Everyday is filled with running, cycling, and tennis matches. She has more energy and less medication; loves and lives harder than I can fathom.
I wake up at 9am, as a 23 year old. I slip on my Ivy Park leggings I paid too much for and my new Nike's I figured would encourage the workout. My friends are jealous that I need no bra. I love on my wide hips and the space they provided for my tattoos, I gloat over the shadow of an ab line I have been working for years, and I appreciate the bubble of my thighs that reminds me of all those 4am figure skating mornings. I go to the gym even when I don't want to (all the time) because I want to be healthy; the best version of myself. I want to literally create my own happiness with endorphins and add structure to my day. Feeling accomplished at 11am seems to cause even more accomplishments. My economics teacher would talk of this circle of life: healthy promotes healthy. Healthy body - healthy food - healthy wallet - healthy happy - healthy relationship....
It's certainly not everyday that I wake up this way. Especially in an industry so saturated by comparison, I frequently find myself craving better, smaller, slender, stronger. But even when working towards a new goal, I make sure to keep my confidence in check exactly where I am.
You will never move forward while tearing yourself down.
Regardless of where you are with your body, the most imperative lesson is confidence. Realizing that even if you do want to change, this is who you are right now. As a makeup artist I work with women to combine my knowledge with their concerns to find that perfect cocktail of confidence. Though I have swiped on some lipstick and mascara, it is their natural God given beauty that always shines through. They just needed a little confidence to see it. Be empowered by the extra mile we take to present ourselves. The morning at the gym, the $50 foundation, those heels that pinch your feet, and the way you feel walking down the street knowing it's all you.