Proud2Bme | A Body Confidence Awakening: How I Learned to Stop Hiding Behind My Towel

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A Body Confidence Awakening: How I Learned to Stop Hiding Behind My Towel

By Holly A.--I’ve been heavier than almost all my friends and all the girls in my class since I was five years old.

Throughout elementary and middle school, my size never mattered to me. I enjoyed myself, hung out with my friends, had play dates, and did all the fun stuff kids do. But once I hit fourteen, I started noticing my friends dropping lots of weight and dressing differently. My older sister lost a lot of weight too, and she invested a large chunk of money in plastic surgery. In my case, my weight didn’t drop--my self-esteem did.

I started to feel embarrassed about the way I looked. And that embarrassment lasted all through high school and up until very recently. I would hide my body, and even hide myself. I would never go on vacation with friends or family. I would ditch parties and gatherings. I became the master of making excuses. Why did I do all of this? Because I was embarrassed. I was the girl who would hide behind her towel at the pool. It wasn’t really my fault; I didn’t know any better.

When I took a Women’s Studies class with Professor Melanie Klein, my eyes opened. I became conscious of all those media images that I once thought were real, perfect, absolute. The more reading I would do and lectures I listened to, the more I realized that people aren’t supposed to look the same. We are all different. I was taking in all this information and it was confusing. I was in shock. I didn’t know how to react. Towards the end of the semester I started reading Communion by bell hooks. That’s when it finally clicked: self-love. You have to love yourself and be comfortable in your own skin. And that’s what I set out to do. The past few months have really changed my life. It’s not something that came to me overnight. It’s been a gradual process. It takes a lot of time and effort to get to that happy place.

And speaking of happy places…

Vacation time came around and I booked a trip. For the first time in years I walked out in front of everyone, in nothing but my two-piece bathing suit. And let me tell you, I felt HOT! I shed the towel I would always hide behind--the towel that was not just an average towel, but a shield that kept me from the outside world. I spent three days by the pool in my bathing suit, laughing, and having fun. I had this new confidence and it attracted so much positive attention. Instead of spending so much time, effort, and energy stressing over my body, I was able to focus that energy on having fun, smiling, and being happy. When I finally felt happy in my own skin, most of my stress vanished. I guess what I am trying to say is that no matter what you look like--whether you are thick, thin, tall, short, narrow, or wide--you are still beautiful. There really is no absolute image or definition of beauty. We are all beautiful in our own ways. Love yourself and embrace your unique features. Think about it, if all of us looked exactly the same, that would be pretty boring, no?

Holly is a 19-year-old community college student born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She majors in Women's Studies and has an interest in Accounting. When she's not at school she spends a lot of time working in the real estate world. Aside from school and work, Holly lives and breathes music.

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Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

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