“She’s going to marry a carrot!”

Terri Doty

Ha! Thought that Simpsons reference would get your attention! Now feel free to run away because this is a serious post… No? You want to stick around? Okay. Truth bomb is about to go off like nothing else. Consider yourself warned.

Haven’t really talked about it before. Not even on That Anime Show, which is pretty surprising when you consider everything we’ve discussed on it. Figured it was time I step up to the plate.

I have body image issues. There, I said it. Honestly, I don’t know anyone that doesn’t in some way. Perhaps not to the extreme that others do.

“Don’t cut your hair short, it’ll make your face look fatter.”

“Boys don’t like girls that aren’t skinny.”

“You’d be so beautiful if you just lost some weight.”

These were the kind of things I grew up hearing. Never was I made to feel comfortable about the way my body was. It was always about what could use improvement. The list seemed never-ending. Didn’t that just make me feel all sorts of warm and fuzzy… No. The answer is no.

The especially crappy part of this is those saying these things actually thought they were being helpful. To them, it was probably constructive criticism. To me, it felt like I was being personally attacked.

End result was not: “They’re right. I’ll lose weight and all my problems will be solved.”

Instead I internalized everything “wrong” with me. I would look at the people I was made to think were “perfect” and hated myself for not being one of them.

“I’ll never look like her.”

“Someone like me will never be able to wear something so cool.”

Actually heard someone say offhandedly how ugly they are and that they’ve grown to except it… My heart breaks hearing things like this. Never, and I mean NEVER, except that you’re ugly. It isn’t true.

For some reason, my old English/Humanities teacher comes to mind. Mr. Johnson once said something to the effect of: “I hate when people say we’re a melting pot. I like to think of us as a salad: lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, and so on might be different but they’re all in the same bowl.” You be a carrot, I’ll be romaine.

Do you get where I’m going with this? I’m not exactly being subtle.

No, you’ll never be them. You’re you. I’m me. And, let’s be honest, that’s pretty freakin’ awesome. It has taken longer than I care to admit to get to a place where I’m happy. Truly happy with me. And it has nothing to do with some idea of what I could be or how I could look.

It is by no means easy. Some days are better than others. There are no quick fixes for something like this. Sometimes soup is more appealing than a salad. But that doesn’t mean I should give up on being the best Terri D I can be. And you should keep being you. Beautiful, wonderful you.

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