America, society, magazines, billboards, media, industry, patriarchy—I blame you.
I blame you, because I stepped on the scale yesterday for the first time in a year, and the number was higher than I anticipated—and my world crumbled.
I blame you for communicating daily to me—via talk shows, and commercials, and food labels, and magazines at grocery stores (all directed at me)—that my worth is proportional to my weight.
I blame you for making me believe that I am less worthy now: happy, free, and unconcerned with what I eat as long as it is kind to my body—than I was when I was 30 pounds lighter: obsessive, constricted, numb.
I blame you for my being so self-conscious about my weight gain that I missed out on a weekend of love and belonging with my family.
I blame you for relentlessly droning into my subconscious (and conscious) mind that I am lesser now.
I blame you…but I know that you are not responsible.
I am responsible for who I am.
You can tell me a million times that my worth is a number, but I am responsible for how I react to that.
I don’t need your validation.
Who I am is unquantifiable. Unconditional.
I choose to be insecure and worried. I choose to control my body as an attempt to control others. I choose to quantify myself. I choose to dominate others with my thinness, or subordinate myself to others due to my lack thereof.
You are zero percent responsible for that.
That is all me.
I’m owning it.
You don’t get that kind of power, sorry.
I am 100 percent responsible for my life—and I choose Joy.
I choose confidence. Peace. Freedom. Contribution. Creativity. Connection.
I choose love.
Not because you gave it to me—oh no.
You don’t have that kind of power.
I choose it, because it’s my choice.
At 120 pounds. At 160 pounds. At 200 pounds.
I’m done policing myself for you—because every goddamn time I step on that scale, that’s what I’m doing.
And I’m done exacting your punishments upon myself. I’m done being a self-inflicting torturer.
My body is sacred, however it is.
You have no say in who or what is worthy…not anymore. Not since I chose to be responsible for my happiness.
This is my personal story of being a young woman who was constantly pressured to sacrifice my health and my dreams, in order to pursue a career in beauty. I began to relate to myself as an object, and I lost sight of what was truly important to me in an effort to conform to beauty standards.
I finally realized that there is no true correlation between beauty and happiness or peace.
Author: Brandilyn Tebo
Image: Flickr/Alicia Chenaux
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Copy editor: Danielle Beutell
Social editor: Callie Rushton stinkypants