It started as a child, but I didn't really realize it then. I thought it was normal to look in the mirror and hate the way I looked. I thought I was supposed to feel unworthy. I thought I wasn't meant to be as "cool" as the other kids. I thought I was supposed to be the ugly one. The one that boys didn't like. The one that wasn't funny, confident or fun. I was meant to be like this. I was meant to hate myself.
Throughout my teenage years, I admit, I started to love myself more. But I still never looked in the mirror and thought I was pretty. When I saw a picture of myself I wished more than anything that I didn't look that way. It was sad. I was sad. But I suppressed the emotions. This was when I really felt like there was someone inside of me that I had to let loose. I had to show the world who I truly was. I needed to stop hiding. But what was bothering me the most, was the way I looked. So I started dieting and exercising. Something I NEVER did or knew how to do. My innocent diet turned into an eating disorder and an obsession with cardio. My naturally thick hair became extremely thin and brittle. I was skin and bones. I had no energy. I was killing my body. All I cared about was restricting food, exercising and sleeping. My relationships suffered. My mom became extremely worried. But throughout it all, I declared "I WAS FINE." Because it was too hard to face the truth.
But I knew I had to face the truth. Then the battle began. I knew I couldn't live like this. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I couldn't live my life hating myself. It was holding me back from my full potential. It was holding me back from who I truly was/am. This is when the war began. When you go through years of hating yourself, it's hard to shift your mindset into loving your mind, body and soul. One day you may feel good, but the next, you're at war again. I don't even know how to explain how it feels to be at war with yourself. To know that you have this person inside you fighting to come out. It's a disaster.
Throughout all of my self-discovery, I found Blogilates and POP Pilates. Cassey featured me on her Instagram as a " before and after." But at this time I was still struggling a lot. But all of a sudden all these young girls started following me on Instagram. How could they look up to someone who was still portraying unhealthy habits and thoughts? It wasn't right. So, I decided to do something about it. The war with myself became even stronger. And even though it was a tough battle. The years of struggle were worth it. Now, I'm able to openly talk about my struggles because somewhere, someone around the world can relate. They are going through the same thing, and it gives them peace and hope. I went through this, I fought, and here I am today. No. Not perfect. Not 100% happy with myself or body. But will we ever be? It doesn't matter. What matters is that I can talk about it and that we as a community can be open about body image and find ways to love ourselves again.
As my self-discovery evolved (and I'd like to remind you that I'm today, still evolving. We all are) - I found a love for fitness in a new level. I found the gym. This wasn't easy at first. I was comfortable doing cardio and Pilates. And for any girl itching to get into the gym, but they are too scared to, I get it. I understand you. But you need to take the first step. That's all you need - is to step into the gym and say "today is the day I will start lifting." Today when I go to the gym, sometimes I'm the ONLY girl lifting weights - the rest are guys. Some days it's ONLY women there lifting. Either way, it's powerful. What my mind, body and soul really wanted was to feel powerful and strong. It gave me that drive I was looking for. It gave me something to strive for. I go in with a goal, a purpose far beyond looking a certain way.
But I won't ignore the fact that when I started lifting, my body truly started to change. The days of endless amounts of cardio will never come back. The days of feeling guilty for missing workouts will never come back. I am strong. I feel strong. I am empowered and I empower YOU to feel that way too. And show the world.
Now when I look in the mirror, I don't look at my body and think about what I could change or what's "wrong" with it. I look at my body and I'm proud. I'm proud that I've been able to overcome such self-hate and self-destruction. Of course, I am still human and I do have bad days. Days where I feel like I should look different. But I talk myself through it. As I always say, thoughts are just thoughts and your body does not define who you are.
This is my expression in words and photos of the journey that I've been on. The purpose of this photo-shoot wasn't to flaunt my body. The purpose was to tell a story. A story that many of us are in right now. Maybe at different points and slightly different directions. But we are all here together, battling to love ourselves unconditionally.
What I'm Wearing // POPFLEX ACTIVE
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