I play it over and over again in my head.
How did I get here? Not physically here, like my location. But here as in who I am.
How did it all lead up to this? My life wasn't supposed to be this way. Yet here I am on this path and I have no idea where I am going.
Let's just say I always hated my body. In kindergarten I hated my body. I always felt like I was different. I looked different than the other girls. I wasn't as pretty. I was bigger. I had frizzy red hair. My teeth were crooked.
Of course, these are things that happen to all of us, right? We all feel ugly and different at some point. We all feel insecure.
I pushed it aside and focused on being the "smart girl". I got really good grades and won awards for all kinds of things. But those awards don't even mean anything to me now. Then, they were everything. They defined my worth. But now, I look back and I don't even care.
As I grew up I continued to hate myself, but carried on like nothing was bothering me. I still had my As and I had my life plan to go on to university, become a teacher and live in a house with a white picket fence.
When I went off to school it kicked right in. I wasn't the smartest anymore. Other people had their lives together. They were smarter. They were going places. And I was in a whirlwind of chaos in my mind because everything I thought I was... wasn't. This wasn't where I was supposed to be. I wasn't supposed to live like this.
I felt scared, uncertain and my "life plan" was gone.
Then one day I saw a picture of myself. It brought me to tears. All the years of suppressing how I felt about my body came out that day. I hated how I looked. The girl on the inside didn't match the girl on the outside. I remember having a bath that night thinking "THIS IS IT."
"This is the last night I will ever be this big."
So what did I do? I went to the Internet. I Googled how to lose weight fast. How to get smaller thighs. How to get a slimmer waistline. HOW HOW HOW HOW HOW HOW?
Google told me to stop eating bread. Google told me to stop eating fats. Google told me to exercise every single day and to never miss a Monday.
Because you know, if you "miss" a Monday, your life is fucking over.
Then I found Tumblr. Tumblr is what a scrolled through for hours and hours a day. Looking at all the pictures of what I wanted to look like. Who I wanted to be like. Perfect.
Tumblr also told me to keep going. Stay on that treadmill longer than I did yesterday. Eat less than I did yesterday. WEIGH LESS THAN YOU DID YESTERDAY.
I was addicted. I was obsessed. I was out of control. Social media was ruining my life.
I was scared, I was trapped. I was in this world where ALL that matters was how you looked and what you weighed.
I was sick. I was tired. I was exhausted. I was rude. I was lonely. I was depressed. I was SUFFERING.
Then social media saved my life...
This generation tries to find answers online, and that's exactly what I did. I found a new answer. I found people on social media who were living beautiful, fit, healthy, happy lives while also eating, and not killing themselves doing cardio all day.
I found peace. I had to do it. I had to try it. I had to change. I couldn't live like this anymore.
I started to research into what was "wrong" with me. I accepted my unhappiness. I accepted that I was insecure. And I was okay with it.
I started to document my own LIFE journey on Instagram. People started relating to me - saying they were going through the same thing.
I found people promoting flexible dieting - AKA no more diet culture, it's all about balance. I LIVED for that. I started to do that myself. No, it wasn't easy and it took and is STILL TAKING time for me to fully feel free. But the vulnerability that people share on social media saved me.
I am not the only one alone, scared and afraid. I am not the only one suffering.
We all are. We all have no idea what's going on, but we are strong. We can fight. We are fighters who support, love and inspire each other.
Today, I live to live freely. I live to express. I live to be open and honest. I live to be happy. I live to help others. I live to become stronger physically and mentally. I live to help those young girls who are now the ones on social media looking at things that are WRONG. That are telling them to diet and exercise their way to happiness. I am telling them THAT will not bring you happiness.
Today I stand up for myself and for others. Today I will not let social media break you. I will express and redefine fitness. I AM expressing and I AM redefining fitn.ess
Social media, you are toxic. Social media, you saved me.