I've debated with myself for some time over whether I should write about my past body image issues. I’ve definitely had a few, but I’ve always felt like no one really wants to hear a skinny girl talk about feeling unattractive. And, I get that. “Skinny privilege” is definitely real, and regardless of how many feelings of inadequacy I’ve experienced, its a fact that our society frequently values thin bodies over thick ones.
That being said, it’s not fair to assume thin women have never had their bodies openly judged as lacking too. Yes, I’ve always been thin. Yes, by some sorcery I genuinely enjoy working out. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t had parts of my body openly mocked, and it certainly doesn’t mean I haven’t had to overcome my own list of insecurities about my body to overcome.
My awkward phase lasted forever, and I didn’t truly feel good about my whole body until I was around 21 years old. Fortunately, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve also gotten more and more comfortable in my own skin. I still feel insecure sometimes, but I love my body. All of it. Even these six parts of it that I hated as a kid.
1. My Small Boobs
I hated my boobs when I was a teenager. They’re small, they’ve always been small, and they will always be small. I was mercilessly teased about them growing up for this reason. But you know what? I love them now. Yeah, they’re small, but they look awesome in bikinis, they’re healthy, and they’re mine. It took me awhile to realize that they aren’t any less beautiful just because they aren’t big — but I'm glad I did.
2. My 'Chicken Legs'
I hated my legs growing up. They’re meatier now, but they’ve always been pretty thin, and my knees stick out quite a bit because of this. Think of Dobby (the main house elf from Harry Potter) and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what my knees look like (I’m honestly only exaggerating a little).
Kids called me “chicken legs” or “Chicken Little” and adults told me my legs looked like toothpicks. I know, boo hoo, but it made me feel really self-conscious. So much so that I didn’t feel attractive in shorts until I was like 18, and there are times even now when I still feel like I have the weirdest knees in the whole world. But I love my legs now — I mean, they go on for days!
3. My Big Nose
I have a big nose. It’s Nick Miller big. Plus, when I was 14, a girl from my church broke it (another story for another time) so it’s got a little pink scar and a slight bump right on the bridge. I absolutely hated my nose more than anything else on this list when I was a kid, but now, whenever I see it I feel like Meryl Streep, Barbara Streisand, Lady Gaga, and all the Greek goddesses combined. It’s one of my strongest features, I think, and I really like it.
4. My Smile
I love my smile, and I love to smile. As a kid? Not so much. For the longest time I felt like my lips weren’t plump enough, probably because I had a longstanding crush on Angelina Jolie after Tomb Raider came out. On top of my lip-insecurity, I had braces and retainers off and on, and I was always getting made fun of for having buck teeth. But guess whose teeth look like a damn toothpaste ad now? This girl.
5. My Curly Hair
I was born with hair so curly and so frizzy that my dad nicknamed me, “Fuzzbucket.” As a kid, all I wanted was straight hair. When I was growing up, curly hair was not popular, and I knew very few girls besides myself who actually had naturally curly hair. I stuck out pretty much everywhere.
Since my home state is humid as all hell for a large part of the year, frizz became my unbeatable foe. I tried flat iron after flat iron but eventually I gave up because straightening my hair was just too exhausting. And I’m so glad I did. It took me a while, but I finally realized I have hair like a Disney princess, and I'm super grateful for my curly hair now. (I’m also 99 percent sure it’s the source of all my power.)
6. My Fair Skin
I’ve always been pretty pale, and I hated it for a long time. You can actually see the blue of my veins through my skin and I once got sunburned while spending my thirty-minute lunch break in my car. I didn’t find a foundation that really matched my face until 2014, and I’ve had purplish dark circles for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I blushed all the damn time and during basketball practice, and my face looked like a giant beet. Several of my friends tanned frequently, and being pale was anything but popular.
But these days, I love my fair skin, and I have for years now. It's partially thanks to fair-skinned women like Taylor Swift and Cate Blanchett who have always rocked the pale thing, but I’ve also grown to love it just because its mine. I’ll never stop thinking dark skin is beautiful — Hannah Simone’s gorgeous caramel skin makes me envious, and I think Lupita Nyong'o is one of the most stunning women I’ve ever seen — but fair skin is beautiful too, and I’m so glad I finally realized that.