You are beautiful

WEBellensopinion copy 2
Illustration by Philip Kuhns

“You’re really pretty for a fat girl.”

“You have such a pretty face.”

“You’d be so much prettier if you just lost a little weight.”

These are all phrases people have said about me directly to my face, and they hurt. Who says my fat isn’t beautiful?

Society, that’s who.

Media bombards us with the message that thin is in. Actually, it’s more like thin with a Kim Kardashian booty is in, but that’s beside the point.

Society has warped our views of beauty and worth, disordered our eating habits and made us ashamed of the bodies we were given for too long.

Our world is full of weight-loss products, diet fads and cool new workouts. We’re told that if we just lose a little weight or get bigger boobs, we’ll finally feel good about ourselves.

That is a myth.

You will not suddenly achieve the happiness you’ve always wanted by losing 10 pounds. If your happiness is dependent on the way you look, you will never be happy.

You will always find something to hate about yourself.

In high school, I hated myself. I wished I could take a knife and cut the fat from my thighs.

I starved myself. I went on crazy diets. And I could not manage to achieve the size that made me feel worthy.

My sophomore year of college, I realized  I was the one who decided whether or not I liked the way I looked. I said, “screw you” to society’s standards for my body and I found great joy in accepting myself.

Now, I’m two sizes bigger than I was in high school and I love my body. I am beautiful and curvy all at the same time. I am beautiful because I say I am.

Whether society says we’re too skinny, too big, too tall or too whatever ridiculous standard we’re being held to,  we need to resist the message that beauty is related to clothing size or appearances.

Beauty is just as much a size two as it is a size 12. Beauty is who you are, not how you look.

You are beautiful, not for the size and shape of your body, but for your laugh, or the way your eyes twinkle when you smile, or the little dance you do when you’re happy.

You are beautiful because you are you.