as i was going throughout my day today i realized that, if i didn't post something by 12:00 this evening i would have failed at my new years resolution after just one week. i then became sorely disappointed in myself for allowing it to come so close. thankfully though, having an entire weekend alone to myself in ephraim (since the rest of my roommates went home) has provided me time to sit down and write something. as i was pondering on my thoughts today i found myself coming back to the same thought endless amounts of times. i noticed today while i was salivating over a plate of pizza that i was in fact eating something without having to count every last calorie that was going in my body. to some, this might sound off considering this is not a habit that most people have. for me though, this has been a process that has been slow moving. i have spent the past 5 years of my life dealing with this incredibly exhausting self-image problem. i have never been able to see myself as pretty, skinny, charming, or at all worth keeping around. this might sound normal to most, for i am a girl, and it seems we all do this. and while there is some truth to that statement, there was so much more behind it for me. as a 15 year old freshman i was starving myself. i was allowing myself to only consume a certain amount of calories a day until i had reached my ideal weight. the problem that came with this was that the "ideal weight" does not exist. once you start desecrating your body, it is incredibly difficult to stop. another struggle is that not only is your body physically effected, but your mind is emotionally changed. even after i had decided that i was not going to become an anorexic and i allowed my body to recover from the damage i had done, my mind never fully recovered. i had told myself that i was only changing to stop from drawing too much attention in my direction, and not because i thought i looked the way i should. no, my mind never fully healed. there was so much damage that nobody could see. i spent all of high school and my first year of college comparing myself to everyone else around me. i was never good enough, skinny enough, pretty enough, smart enough, or successful enough to ever achieve anything. it was a hard way to live. not to say that i was never happy, because that was not true, but i made some really lousy mistakes because of this mindset. having no confidence can make a girl do some crazy things on her way to find acceptance. *sigh*
the thing is though, i have not looked at a plate of food and thought about the amount of calories i was consuming, in months. of course there are still moments when i wish i looked and was built like another girl, but i feel more content with who i am now, then i ever have before. there are a few reasons for this. i have some amazing friends in my life. god has blessed me with people who know exactly who i am, love me for it, and do everything they can to help me see the best in myself. courtney boss never lets me talk bad about myself. if i do, she hits me and then throws ten billion positive things my way. same with jennifer. geeze, these two girls make me feel like i am on top of the world. another person i admire is dezmon dean. we have been friends since the very beginning of this whole process. he has always listened to me. the thing is though, he never forced words of positivity down my throat. instead, he has always listened to me, and simply said that he loves me for everything i am, not just for the things that i don't lack. as a 15 year old girl, i refused to listen to this piece of advice from a friend. how could he even know? he was just being nice. but as time has gone on, and he has seen more of me than anyone else has, i have learned a valuable lesson. friendship is more than just being there when someone needs you, but it is being there always. the nights that they call, and the nights that they don't. it's making them understand that everything they are is good enough, and that it is okay that they feel. he understands my insecurities, but doesn't try to change them. he simply just smiles at me and tells me that "i'm crazy", that i am worth it, and that i need to think more highly of myself. then he continues to listen and be my friend, even after all of that. these past few months have changed my life, and i have done things that old caitlin would have never dared to do. it is a process, but i am learning, slowly. i have the people around me to thank for that. i would be absolutely nowhere without them, their love, and their patience.
for those of you out there struggling with their self-image just hear this. just know that in your head there will always be someone skinnier, someone prettier, someone more talented, and someone more amazing than you, in your own head. the hardest part is accepting that, and beginning to accept yourself for everything that you are. flaws, mood swings, pimples, and all. once you can accept that you are you and there are good things inside of you, that is when the process of healing can begin. don't be afraid to try something new, talk to a stranger, or eat lots of chocolate cake. in the end, it is about how you feel about yourself and about the change you left on people you know. if you are happy with yourself, you can move forward and touch the lives of people around you. i have amazing people in my life to thank for showing me that. my steps towards healing is a process, and will not end overnight. it will take time, patience, love, and understanding. but, i make a promise to my readers right now, that if you start now, you can change your own world. you can be your own hero. you can make a significant change. be the master of your own soul. be the keeper of your own thoughts. and be the break in this self desecration cycle. love who you are, and what you have to offer. smile, sparkle, and shine. the world needs you.